All I Have to do is Dream. Dream, dream, dream

My beau and I are getting back on a cruise ship in three days. We’ve had 5 weeks off between contracts, which is long enough to get some rest and recharge, but not completely deplete our bank accounts.

I have mixed feelings about going back. This will be my second contract, which I know will be different from my first.

Things I am not looking forward to:

Wearing a nametag. Having to dress a certain way to get some fresh air. Not being able to cook. Not being able to go home at the end of the day and get space from people I may not feel connected to. Tiny, uncomfortable bed. Potential sea sickness

Things I am looking forward to:

Singing with boyfriend every day. Seeing new places and ports. Meeting new people. Seeing some people from the last contract. Having New Orleans as a home port. Cozumel. Being in warm places in the middle of winter. Having the ship rock me to sleep. Best sleep I’ve had in years was on the ship, even if the beds were tiny. Not having access to good wifi.

I know that last one is weird, but I am on my phone a LOT, like any modern human of 2018. And it takes me hours sometimes to start my day because of the wormhole the is clicking and scrolling.

Anyway, I wanted share my overall general experience of my first contract. It is hard to share this in person because it’s hard to narrow down exactly how working on a cruise ship will be for every person. Some people love it, some hate it. I swung back and forth on the spectrum:

The first half of our contract was rough for me because I didn’t know how to express myself without a band behind me. I didn’t know how to move my body, I didn’t know how to be free within the same songs that we performed every single day. We both would go through phases of feeling energetic and free and being bored and tired. I felt like I’d stepped out of a life that I had built and enjoyed: teaching and singing and yoga– to some weird corporate musicians-are-slaves subject to judgment and ratings world. And I had my person with me, but I didn’t want to admit to him that I wasn’t happy with the gig. I was with him, so I should have been happy right?

I was, and I wasn’t. Lots of growing pains happened.

I really missed singing with a band while I was gone. I can’t tell you how different it is to sing with another voice and guitar versus feeling the vibrations of drums and bass and horns. But there is a different energy and creativity that came up when I allowed. My voice strengthened on that contract.

An energy shift happened halfway through our contract. We figured out a way I could pull some leadership into our duo. Ship people left, new people came. And there was love and light in the newness. I accepted that I was where I was, and I had chosen to be there. What I had left would still be there when I got back to land.

Our very last night on the ship was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever experienced. Almost all of the music department was in the pub and we sang and performed our hearts out with the band, and with the other duo on board. Afterwards we drank and ate and laughed and ran around the crew deck putting stickers on our friends’ doors.

When my boyfriend and I signed off the ship the next day, we had been on that ship for 23 weeks. Five months. We had worked together, practiced together, ate every meal together, shared a cabin, and literally shared all of our ups and downs together. We were hungover, had gotten two hours of sleep, felt backed up if you know what I mean, and we had to wait in line at immigration for two hours. We were delirious and laughable.

Boyfriend told me on the bus as we rode to the airport to come home that day that he was proud of me for leading the band through a song I had struggled with when we had first started rehearsing. He also said that it wasn’t just the new people that gave us energy, but that we had raised the vibrations on the ship so things could be better. We gave people energy, and they gave it back. Energy is a cycle. Real love moves freely in both directions. We allowed ourselves to be open to the change.

When I came back to Austin, I noticed the things that had changed and things that had stayed the same. I felt grounded. I’m sad to leave, but I’m excited to come back and see what growth will happen in the next few months.

I’m working on raising the vibe. Always. And I’ve got a wonderful partner-in-musical crime.

 

Advertisements

Once Upon Another Time

Well hot damn, it’s been about a year since I’ve written in this thing.

I used to write a lot in my online journal. I had a xanga from the time I was about 14 until I was 24. My xanga helped me through high school, college, and then my years in San Francisco. Xanga shut down right after I got to Austin. So I got this here wordpress, and I just… missed the formatting of xanga. Figures. I guess you could say I miss when people had landlines and dialup too.

Anyways, I’m going to turn 30 this year. THIRTY! It’s time I start throwing some knowledge down! Or at least, tell stories. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. And I simply miss the cathartic and therapeutic act of writing. I’ve been writing tons in my personal journal. Actually, last night I drank a bottle of wine and there’s now a page of barely-legible rambling in it.

But hey, I filed my taxes last night! After driving 3 hours from Austin to Dallas. I deserved that bottle of wine! I then watched a movie, read a Cheryl Strayed Dear Sugar advice column out loud to my boyfriend and cried over it because it was so damn beautiful, then I read a chapter of a David Levithan book I’ve had for a long time but haven’t gotten to yet. Oh yeah, I also attempted to register with the Yoga Alliance now that I have my 200 hour teaching certificate, but was too drunk to figure that out. For a night in, it was very eventful.

Which brings me to this morning: I laid in bed with the aches that accompany one who consumes an entire bottle of white wine paired with Cheez-its at 3AM and who has also started her lady time. I remembered the events of the evening (I am definitely not in my early twenties anymore) and I searched for a tax return from a few years ago, just to compare how much I’ve grown.. financially. (It hasn’t changed much to be honest, but my passion for what I do has grown the older I’ve gotten and become more selective about my work, and the amount of hours under stress has lessened). But of course, I typed in my mom’s email address (because duh, she used to do my taxes), and I found a few pieces of writing I’d done– from helping her with essays she took in college, to an angry letter I had written to a boss in my early twenties and then forwarded to her, to a xanga entry I had written about my parents half a decade ago.

I’m going to start sharing them here over the next few days before I leave. And then, something I want to do is share an entry a week (or at least be-weekly) while I’m on my next cruise ship. Because life happens on cruise ships. It’s a very different life, but one that should be recorded because it’s really hard to describe it once it’s in the past.

I have a good friend who recently started rewriting in her wordpress after a hiatus, so I’m following her lead. You should follow her too. She’s insightful and fabulous and travels everywhere in the world.

I also found a link that led to Cheryl Strayed’s original Dear Sugar column on therumpus, before there was ever a podcast, so I’ve been reading that a lot this week. My relationship with her writing has changed and grown as I’ve gotten older. It’s always full of love and adoration, but different subjects strike me differently.

I love that particular entry from Dear Sugar titled “Tiny, Beautiful Things.” The part that used to get me was the part about the balloons. I thought it was so beautiful. But as I read it out loud to my boyfriend last night, the section that started my waterworks was,

“You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.”

I have my one true love now. He is realer and freer than anyone I’ve ever known. A story on him to come soon.

I am all over the place with this entry, but it’s my first one in a long time. I’m getting the kinks out.

Please be patient with me as I get my shit together, because I will blow your mind, I promise you =)

What it all comes down to, is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine

Well, it’s almost 4 in the morning on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

I just got home under an hour ago from a gig in San Antonio with my band. I could’ve been home by 2 AM, but, alas, we had terrible luck as the band rode into the Walmart parking lot, which is where we usually leave our cars when we have out of town gigs and then we ride in a van/rig together.

Walmart had decided on this beautiful evening to redo their black top surface. And in order to do that, they towed ALL of our cars to a location about 15 miles north of where they were parked.

Many bands I’ve played with will park at this particular Walmart– it’s right off the freeway, it’s usually near a lot where rented vans/rigs are stored. Walmart is open 24/7, so generally as long as we park our cars in a scattered manner, we generally don’t worry about getting towed.

It’s been a night. I’m going to bed. Other things have happened that I’d like to share, things that are worth diving into and probably have more impact on my life than getting towed tonight, but it feels right. So I decided to not delay it for once =)

 

 

Sweet like candy in my veins

Two nights ago, I went on a date to a vegetarian restaurant with the love of my life.

Yesterday, I had 5 of My Own Music Students play and/or sing in a recital.

Last night, I performed a full show at a private party with the band I’m in, a band that has a following.

Today, I practiced yoga, and then went to watch someone in my upline promote to a position that brings her time, money, and freedom for helping other people, in a company where personal and financial growth is not limited.

Tomorrow is the last day of my first semester of teaching aerial yoga to elementary -aged students. They are performing a routine we’ve been working on all semester.

Is this real life?

I never would have dreamed that this would be my life. I didn’t even know most of these things were things to dream for, or to want. But they’ve all happened and they make my life so full and I feel grateful and I feel love.

Christmastime is Here (Alternate title: Reflections from Phoenix Sky Harbor airport)

We’re entering the last phase of the year: the Holidays.

I spent last weekend filling in with my old band, The New Waves, doing 3 nights in 3 different cities. It was such an awesome experience to meet the new members and see how much better the guys that were there when I left, when they were “new,” have gotten So. Much. Better. I am also grateful that filling in is an option that I have when Rotel doesn’t have gigs. Band politics are a strange thing.

I’m really grateful for all of my experiences. The first few months of 2016 were so hard for me. I didn’t feel connected to myself, or the people I love the most. I learned what alcoholism is really like to live with. That was honestly one of the hardest periods of my life. What I found most difficult was separating the person I loved from the drunk who did the things that hurt me. It’s something I’m still processing, though it doesn’t consume my life like it did back then. It’s a memory of feelings that comes up at times.

But I was able to separate myself from that person, and from those feelings. And I’ve latched onto much more positive people and vibes and experiences.

I grew up so much this year. And it’s not over!!! There’s still another 5 or 6 weeks of experiences to absorb!

I spent Thanksgiving in Phoenix with my Uncle, and my dad was able to come have Thanksgiving dinner with us yesterday. It was a really good week. I don’t think I’ve ever just spent one on one time with my uncle. There is alignment there. And he actually told me that I’m one of the coolest people he knows. That’s a really cool thing to hear from someone you love.

My boyfriend told me the same thing over the weekend, after he saw me sing with The New Waves. I am so grateful and so inspired to just keep doing the things I love and be around people that I love.

My amazing boyfriend also brought up an opportunity/experience that he wants to take on with me, and it made me feel excitement and fear. More on that to come later. I’m letting it percolate for now.

When I get back to Austin in a few hours, one of my college roommates, who has been traveling the country by herself, is going to pick me up and we’re going to hang out this weekend, eat sushi, do some yoga, go be around water and go bouldering. Then I’m going to join her for a brief leg of her trip as we head to Denver to visit our wonderful college friend who is in med school.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am! These are some of my favorite people: they are beautiful and hard-working and full of spirit and love. I am so very excited.

Here is to love, and allowing light come to you during the holiday season.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/ None but ourselves can free our mind

I have always shied away from talking about politics. My father and I don’t share the same political views, and I’m someone who does not enjoy arguing with my parents, especially since they live so far away. I think that time spent in communication with them should be spent in a loving space.

I’m observant, and try to listen to all sides, but being the soothing and peace-making person I am, I shut out arguing. It’s not something that I do well. I like when people get along. I work with children, and I think the whole “be kind and genuine thing” helps me a lot in my particular field of work.

One of the owners of the kids yoga studio I work at sent out a text to all of her employees this morning. She said that she woke up to her 9 year old daughter saying, “Trump won. There’s terror in the world.” I responded with, “We get to keep spreading love and light. We get to choose not to let ourselves sink. There’s a lot of dark, murky water around us but we only sink if we let the darkness in. Stay afloat and spread love.”

Then I forced myself to get out of bed and drove myself to teach a music class, and I got to do the very thing I had just preached on. Someone at work said she was in a great mood.  She had gone to bed worried that she’d wake up with Hillary as our next president. This was, of course, preceded by “I’m not political, but…” And I bit my tongue. I didn’t feel anger toward her, just confusion. I swore I didn’t know anyone in Austin who was for Trump. Until this morning, and I realized I saw this person often and I genuinely like this person.

I went in and taught my class. I danced around and played drums and read books to a bunch of 4 year olds, and then we ended class by coloring pictures while listening to “Redemption Song.” After class, the same woman who told me how happy she was that Trump was president also told me that part of the reason she was in a good mood was because she knew she was going to get to see me.

Which proves my point even more: We are human first. Where we each stand politically is such a small part of our identities. It is rarely something that we talk about on a day to day basis, at least in my world. I know if someone prefers coffee or tea, beer or wine, what their favorite color is, their favorite place to travel– before I ever find out where they stand politically.

Isn’t it funny that Thanksgiving is in two weeks? It’s such a funny contrast– or, right now, it actually feels more like a test. I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my Uncle, who lives in Arizona, and my dad, who lives in Florida. I do recall Thanksgivings past, in which my dad and uncle got into it about politics and I would immediately remove myself from the table, refill my glass of sangria, and go find a book to stare at while continuing to listen. I know my uncle and I agree. And I know my dad supports Trump.

But what’s more important than that is that I get to spend Thanksgiving with them. And you know what else? My dad is a great dad. He supports me and my music and he has always just shown me support and love. A lot of fear is coming up in me that Thanksgiving will be spent in a huge argument about the election. I’m probably right. But my dad is not Trump. He just sees something in Trump that I don’t. My love for my dad has to go beyond my fear of what his opinion is. Otherwise Trump wins again.

I have so much fear. Not just about Thanksgiving. I think the past few days, most of us have been glued to our TV’s, computers, phones. Per usual, many of us can’t stop scrolling through social media. But it is gushing with words of hate and fear. Social media amplifies what we already fear.

GO DO SOMETHING. I have felt paralyzed while staring at my phone over the last few days, and while watching the election last night on my laptop, and my stomach keeps turning, but scrolling through facebook is NOT helping. Get off social media. Yes, it’s a place for us to express ourselves. But it’s also very saturated with negativity right now.

Children are listening. They’re watching us– all of us, those who won and those who feel defeated. They will learn how to react to things from us. If they see us crying and staying in bed or putting words of anger malice out, that is what they’re going to do. We’re only going to breed more hate, and nothing will change. He will have won, in more ways than he already has.

Can I just point out that it’s awesome that we had a woman RUN for president, and that she has so many supporters? Especially considering this old gem:

barkhorn_womenvoters1

Yes, this is 100 years ago. But it was also in America. We have come so far. We really have.

Nothing about this situation is permanent. Nothing ever is.

Here’s the cheese. You ready?

It starts with us. It literally starts with you and me and the people we spend our time with, and how we treat them. If you want the world to change, don’t leave it up to our leaders. Lead yourself toward greatness. Be the best you in your given circumstances.

Be a light for others. Being sad or angry about someone or something doesn’t change the fact that it happened, that it exists. Be brave, move forward. Show the people around you how to act like the bad ass civilized adult you truly are.

Act with love, not fear.

I can change the world/I will be the sunlight in your universe

It has been a long time since I’ve shared my writing here. I made room for a lot of growth this summer. It was scary and delicious. I’m a little delusional right now, I’ve had not a lot of sleep over the past few days, and I love that.

I learned from the Evolving Out Loud event that I went to to just revel in all the sensations and feelings I have: to acknowledge them and be with them, good or bad, and to just love all the things.

For example, today I had to work brunch after doing a 3 hour gig last night. I had gotten less than four hours of sleep, and to top that off, started my lady time today. I didn’t feel good, nor did I particularly want to work a full brunch shift, but I acknowledged, and also knew that that was going to be my reality today, and I love that. The people I work with are awesome, we had a solid team, and I got to make some money. I’ve had days that were much worse than today. Today actually wasn’t bad at all! My body is just achey, and I want some personal time.

I’m getting in touch with the universe, or trying to. I am excited because I will be teaching either music or yoga every afternoon this Fall. For the past 2 years, I taught maybe one day/week sometimes. Then, over the past.. roughly 6 weeks, all of these opportunities started to present themselves:

  1. About a year ago, I was reading Austin Fit magazine while waiting to get a massage, and I discovered that Kids Yoga studios existed, and not only that, but they existed right HERE in Austin, Texas. I signed up for Teacher Training, and then for aerial training a few months after that. I knew these were things that I wanted to do. And then, after months of just wishing and sending my energy in that direction, a position opened up. I start my first semester-long yoga course tomorrow. I am overjoyed.
  2. I started applying for music teaching positions after putting in my notice with Stargazer Productions that I wanted to ease out of the cover band scene, or at least doing it full time. So, back in February, I got hired at a music school here in Austin to teach a toddler class one morning a week. I spent a few months subbing for sick or out of town voice teachers, and then at the start of summer, was offered a regular teaching day. Fast forward 2 months, and this week, I have set days at all 3 locations.

I have had to turn down work this summer– either really cool gigs or teaching jobs that I wanted to do– because so many of the things that I do and have spent time practicing and cultivating started needing someone of my knowledge and energy. I am sharing this more out of awe than anything.

Kyle Cease is right: there are so many ways to make money. After his EOL event, I bought his Entrepreneurial Shift program on my way out of the event. The reason I picked that particular one is because, on top of everything else, I also decided over this summer to start my own health and wellness business through Arbonne. And it’s been such a challenge, but it’s helping me break out of my comfort zone and talk to people again. I’m also sharing all of these awesome things that I love. And I really think that a lot of these opportunities that have presented themselves are because of the people I’ve been spending my time and energy with. I really think energy is a huge thing. I believe that the energy you spend on yourself and the kind of energy you are willing to put into the people around you comes back to you.

My point being, Kyle Cease is right. On Day 1 of his Entrepreneurial program he says, “Be authentic. Let go of things that don’t align with you. You’re always measuring what you’ll lose, you can’t see what you will gain.”

And I’m sharing this now because there’s this teetering inside of me that wants to quit my service industry job. It’s something that I talk about often enough to know that it needs to be done. I have fear around quitting because basically since I graduated college– 6 years ago, I have worked at least part time in either restaurants or bars because I would always work a part time job that I DID love– whether it be with children or with music. The service industry allowed me to have disposable income. And it also brought wonderful people into my life. I’ve had a lot of really awesome moments and encounters while waiting tables, and even sometimes, bartending.

But, now all these other things are happening because I’ve made room for them. And I feel like I’m always reducing the number of shifts that I work. But now I’m teaching the things– the kinds of classes and the kinds of lessons I’ve always wanted to teach. And I’m a new teacher so the pay is a little lower than it’s going to be, and I also don’t have as many students and I know I’m capable of taking on. And my gigging calendar is pretty consistent throughout September and October. And the free time I do have, I want to spend it on growing my business and sharing my products with people because I really do love them and I believe that they can help people.

I just think that the 10-20 hours/week I currently spend waiting tables could be spent growing my business, and then I’d actually have free time for myself. I am just terrified of having to pinch pennies for awhile. The service industry provides immediate cash flow, whereas when you’re growing a business, a lot of waiting is involved. But look at everything else I wrote— the waiting is totally worth it.

I feel that I need to let go to make room for things. I’ll be letting go of immediate needs, but I can’t see what I’ll gain. I just have a taste.

I’ve been thinking about this xanga entry (when that was a thing) I wrote about three and a half years ago, when I was at a different crossroads: deciding whether or not to accept the loans that UT Austin had offered me, and move halfway across the country from San Francisco to go to grad school for music education.

I decided to decline the loan offers, but move anyway, become a Texas resident, and reapply so as to cut tuition.

It’s crazy how plans change. My energy and goal was the same: be around kids and be around music, hopefully all at the same time. I tried the grad school thing. It wasn’t right for me at the time I did it– again, because there were so many other opportunities I was taking advantage of at the same time that I was more interesting in focusing on.

Anyways, this is what I wanted to share because it makes me happy that this was and will probably always be my goal:

Tuesday April 9, 2013

Ideally, if I could tailor a job for myself, I would teach yoga to kids in a library where music is constantly played, and books and instruments and pencils are paper are available at our disposal for when our minds start to wander. But places like that don’t exist, and from what experience has taught me, if they did, they would only offer voluntary jobs.”