The soundtrack of my life

This coming weekend I’m heading to Brisbane for a Daring Way™ three day workshop based on the research findings from Dr Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. The book looks at shame, vulnerability, courage and worthiness and the workshop will be a deeper dive into these concepts to help the other participants and me move to more authentic and wholehearted living. I can’t wait to attend.

This morning I received my pre-workshop assignment: nominate a song as the anthem of my life. This anthem is a song that inspires me to stay brave when the gremlins in my head start getting to me or when I start to doubt my ability to stay vulnerable in the tough parts of my life.

This is an assignment I took to with relish. I love music and have always loved dancing. When I was small I took tap dancing lessons, but then like most people as I grew up and grew more self-conscious, I stopped dancing. Why do we do this? My children used to love dancing around the house naked before their bath time each night. Those days are loooong gone.

Similarly, I stopped singing aloud years ago even though I loved singing. In Daring Greatly, Dr Brown talks a lot about shame and the role shame plays in our lives every day. Based on her research, 85% of people can recall a school incident from their childhood that was so shaming, it changed their behaviour. And about half of these incidents were from what Dr Brown calls ‘creativity scars’. Specific incidents where children were told they weren’t good writers, artists, musicians, dancers or something creative. This is exactly what happened to me. My drama teacher (and one of my favourite) teachers told me that I sang like a cow. From that day I stopped singing where anyone could hear me.

Until I had babies. I figured they couldn’t criticise me so I would sing them Brahms’ Lullaby, the song my dad used to sing to me whenever I couldn’t sleep. I used to love singing to my babies. It was one of the most intimate moments I shared with each of them each day. And it would instantly relax both of them. But of course babies grow up and I don’t get the chance to sing lullabies anymore.

Recently one of my kids asked me why I don’t sing and I told her about the incident with my drama teacher. She assured me that I have a good voice and told me I should sing if I want. It is something I’ve been thinking about in the past few months. My Reiki teacher also told me recently that I need to sing to let out a lot of frustration and angry energy that I carry around in my throat. And I find it interesting that whenever I have an issue with a friend or a colleague and feel I can’t talk to someone about what’s bothering me, it manifests as laryngitis. Coincidence? I think not.

But back to today’s assignment. My iPhone has more than 350 songs on it. As I started to go through them this afternoon to figure out the anthem to my life, I realised I can’t narrow it down to just one. I have different songs for different occasions in my life. And with my Pandora and Spotify accounts, I have access to thousands more.

If I’m waking up on Sunday morning, I pop on a Spotify Sunday Chill playlist.

If I’m getting ready to go out on Friday night, I play Aretha or Katy Perry.

If I’m cooking dinner and just mellowing out, I listen to lots of different Jazz artists or Joe Jackson or French artists, depending on my mood.

The month after I left my marriage I must have played A Little Bit Stronger by Sara Evans a million times.

Once a male friend sent me a copy of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off when things seemed particularly bad. He told me to remember that he and many other people still loved me. I play it when someone or something upsets me and it changes my mood quickly.

When I need to dance around the house with the music up LOUD to remind myself that I’m ok, I also listen to Vanessa Amorosi’s This is Who I Am.

When I’m having worthiness issues, I turn to P!nk and her fabulous F**kin’ Perfect.

When I realise that life is good and I’m in the present moment, again I turn to P!nk and listen to Good Old Days or Today’s My Day.

And when I need a reminder that I’m not doing this life alone, there’s nothing more inspirational for me than Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up.

Today, I’m working on a project that seems impossible (Anyone have ideas to raise $3.4million??) and yet, somehow I’m trying to figure out how to make it happen. What’s on repeat? Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked!.

How do I narrow it down to just one song??

I can’t. So I’ve created a playlist of my favourite anthems and called it my Brave Playlist. This afternoon I listened to every song on it while walking on the beach. Reg and I had the entire beach to ourselves so I decided to sing aloud with my headphones in my ears. Yes, if you’d been on the beach you wouldn’t have been able to hear the music, just me singing and dancing my way along. Reg didn’t seem to mind so maybe I’m not as bad of a singer as I thought?? Maybe he was just being kind as he wanted me to feed him tonight. Or maybe dogs don’t have nearly as good hearing as we are told they do.

But do you know what? It was fun. And I feel great. Stronger. Braver.

I love that I’ve already had a lesson from this workshop and it hasn’t even started… what else will be revealed this weekend? I can’t wait to find out. But I’m still hoping we don’t have to sing in front of others though as that would be real test of vulnerability for me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

2 thoughts on “The soundtrack of my life

Add yours

  1. Stumbled down memory lane as I read your post. I sang a lot as a kid and then stopped during high school because–you’ll love this–my high school BF and other friends were in chorus, while I was in band and orchestra. Teen logic at its finest.

    And then, I married people with extraordinary singing voices and wouldn’t sing around them. An extension of teen logic?

    Within moments (read: two months) after getting husband #2 out of the house, I realized I literally needed to rediscover my voice. I joined the church choir, took voice lessons, took a weekend workshop in Gregorian chant (!), sang with a community chorus, attended community sing-alongs, and sang everywhere–car, shower, etc. For years.

    And then, for a variety of some good and some not-so-good reasons, I pretty much stopped. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get back to singing. I really did feel so so much better in body, mind, and spirit when I did.


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