2021 NEW BEGINNINGS
As I sit at my desk in my home office in Marin County, CA, the trees are sprouting new buds as the flowers make their Spring debut. Spring wakes us up from our Winter slumber. As the days become longer and we begin to take steps to return to "life as we knew it," I am aware that in order for us to resume our "normal" lives out of quarantine we must be willing to take an honest look at how we are going to re-enter society.
I had heard the term "re-entry" over the years from friends who had visited India and Nepal, as well as those who attended Burning Man. My re entry experience came in 2001 when I trekked the Annapurna Circuit with my bf Michaela Wung. We spent six life changing weeks in Nepal. It was my first trip to that part of the world. It was one of the most transformational experiences of my life along with moving from Maine to California 28 years ago, the unexpected passing of my beloved Mother, participating in a Year To Live practice based on Steven Levine's work with hospice patients, going through Breast Cancer twice, and becoming a Mother myself.
Coming home after six weeks in Nepal I became acutely aware of how different life was in the U.S. vs Nepal. In Nepal life was simpler, especially on the trek. Hard as hell, but simpler. No trappings, only you and the ground beneath your feet and the majestic beauty of the Himalayas. The three weeks we spent trekking revealed so much to me, not the least of which how strong I was physically and mentally, and how many things I wanted to let go of once I returned to California. As I share this with you I can remember how it felt to liberate myself from all the stuff I had been burdened with in my then 38 years, especially other people's expectations. Can I get an Amen!
Change is not inherently easy for any of us. We tend to resist change and embrace the familiar. 2020 was a year that forced change on the world. A change that none of us could have predicted. Have you looked at photos from the end of 2019 or January 0f 2020? We were unaware of what we were about to experience. Sometimes change is forced upon us and sometimes it manifests by our intentions or by necessity. However it manifests we are given the opportunity to grow.
Now is the time to assess the things that no longer serve us. To let go of the baggage we have been dragging behind us for too long and to sit quietly and listen to our most sacred inner voice, the voice that has the answers to what matters most to us. It takes courage to listen to that voice. I hope that each of us will not rush back into the world coming out of our quarantine, and instead take time to do so intentionally and with humility and grace. I hope too that each of us will seek out ways in which we can be more authentic in our lives and how we can be of service. I know these are the questions I have been sitting with. How can I use my life in addition to my teaching voice and performing to help create a better world?
I would love to hear from you. What has the past year revealed to you? How do you plan to be of service for the greater good?
Life is a precious gift. May we appreciate every breath.
Share your gifts
I don't know about you, but for me, being in nature, whether it's the ocean or the mountains, brings me so much joy! I feel better when I am hiking, walking the beach or exploring new places. It feeds my soul. If I go even a couple of days without connecting to nature, I start to feel anxious. The same is true when I take breaks from singing. Having been a singer for many years, (really all my life), I get the same feeling I do from being in nature... it's natural, nurturing, and where my spirit feels 100% aligned.
When I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January of 2014, I was singing with Danny Click and the Hell Yeah's, a killer, original Americana band based in Marin County, CA. I LOVE this band. I was singing with people I had known for many years, and loving the songs Danny wrote. Our voices sounded amazing together and singing backing vocals on his songs with my other long-time dear friend Don Bassey, was definitely a highlight of my career.
When you get a diagnosis such as Breast Cancer, life comes into sharp focus. For me, it was both a blessing and one of the worst experiences medically I have ever had. Suffice it to say, I learned A LOT, and would do things a little differently now. When you know better, you do better. That said, I did pretty damn well all things considered.
I took a break while in treatment from performing. The first break in many years. And initially it felt good to focus on my healing and to allow my body to recover. I returned to performing only a week after my final round of chemo, bald head covered in a beautiful scarf, signing at one of Rancho Nicasio's famous BBQ gigs in August of 2015 with Danny Click and the Hell Yeah's. I was excited, and also curious if I would have my voice. Turns out I did. I was touched by everyone's love and support, but I wasn't ready to return to gigging full time. As I recall, I did a few gigs here and there before I decided to take a break altogether. I wanted to spend the time I would have been gigging with my young Daughter, time I would never get back. I am so glad that I made that choice.
In October of that same year, 2015, I performed for one of my all time favorite charities "Wine Women and Song", Founded by my dear friend Susan Zelinksy, to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer. I have been performing with WW&S since 2009. This year will be their 20th!
I also performed for another local Breast Cancer organization "To Celebrate Life" in 2015. Both of those events were near and dear to my heart, and reminded me of why I loved singing in the first place, to connect soul to soul, to be of service, to have that special connection to the divine. Throughout my career, I have performed for charities and non-profits such as Bread and Roses, The Narada Michael Walden Foundation and more.
In December of 2016, I had a recurrence of Breast Cancer and again, had to put life on hold to heal from yet another surgery. This time however, I did not do any other treatment. 2017 Was a big year for healing and for re-grouping. I joined a fabulous on-line community of women called "Origin" founded and created by Kate Northrup, who developed this business to support women who are entrepreneurs and mothers. I don't know where I would be without Origin. It gave me the tools and the spark I needed to start fresh, and focus my energies on my business as a vocal coach. I have been teaching voice for ten years, and have been blessed to have a music studio and amazing students, all by referral and word of mouth. I have a desire to offer more than private voice lessons, so I joined Marie Forleo's B-School on 2/26/18, Twenty five years to the day I took my "leap of faith" moving from Maine to California! Time yet again to re-ignite, create, and SHINE!
I look forward to the unfolding, the discovery, creativity, and yes, the work. Change requires focus, discipline and consistency. I have been self-employed for nearly all of the 25 years I have lived here in the Bay Area, and I am ready to ramp things up to create more of what makes my soul leap with joy!!
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What are you passionate about? What have you taken a break from, or are excited about creating this year. Email me at Lynn.firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Shine on you crazy diamond!