Recovering the Songbird

1376467_614197425297496_634544606_nAnne Lamott quoted her pastor in a Face Book post saying,

"It's not what you look at; it's what you look with."

Sometimes what we see at first glance is not what actually exists, but a misrepresentation. Through time we often discover and recover the depth of what is actually there.

Years ago a prophetic sort of fellow said to me that I had the ability to get the songbird up and singing again. I had the ability to mine the gold out of misfortune. Interestingly, all those many years ago, I had no idea that I would be the songbird that needed to reconnect to her song after 3 ½ years of silence and an inability to sing.

I’m not talking about technique, vocal prowess or the ins and outs of song writing. Although that is great stuff, I am talking about the truth that resonated with my heart spoken at the Nashville Tree House Songwriter’s Retreat by my friend Paulette Wooten. She spoke about the necessity of using the gifts we’ve been given. She reminded us that if we had a song we needed to sing it. We needed to sing it for ourselves.

That’s what I had always done, until I couldn’t anymore.

I started singing and writing at the age of twelve. I sang happy and I sang empty, but I always sang. 

A singer/songwriter retreat might have been something I would have eagerly done years ago when my singing and song writing was in full throttle; when I was in the thick of pursuing an acting career; landed the job as the opening act for Buzzy Linhart; or in a band being produced by Runaways producer Kim Fowley; performing in a musical, comedy improve troop; recording my Cd; or singing in my faith community; but this period of musical-shutdown was anything but my comfort zone.

Following this year’s discovery of incongruence within my heart; the pieces that had been at odds; the settling for less than what my heart knew was right; the dogma I could no longer tolerate; trying to shoe horn myself into what I had outgrown; owning the conflict and self-betrayal; unashamedly voicing my story, finally led me to recovering the songbird within myself.

guitar

Driving through Nashville the street sign ‘Song Bird’ popped out at me like a lightening flash on a stormy night. Then driving home after the sanctuary of the retreat, I popped in my Cd with Fleetwood Mac cuts and the words of Stevie Nick’s, Edge of Seventeen, hit me in the gut as if I'd heard it for the first time.

“Just like the white winged dove

Sings a song

Sounds like she's singin”

I paused in disbelief having the same ring tone on my phone but never recognizing the words I sang along to. I listened further to hear the words expressing my journey. Here are some of them.

“Well, he seemed broken hearted

Somethin' within him

 

Well, the music there

Well it was hauntingly familiar

When I see you doin'

What I try to do for me

With their words of a poet

And a voice from a choir

And a melody

Nothin' else mattered

 

Well then suddenly

There was no one left standing

 

In a flood of tears

That no one really ever heard fall at all

When I went searchin' for an answer

Up the stairs and down the hall

Not to find an answer

Just to hear the call

Of a nightbird singin'

(Come away)

(Come away)

 

Well, I hear you

In the morning

And I hear you

At nightfall

Sometime to be near you

Is to be unable to hear you

My love”

 

We all have a song, but if it gets trampled it will cease to sing. Singing and seeing begin with the heart. Tend your heart and all else will follow.

A New Model That Carries Real Weight

ID-10042153As some of you know I just returned from a creative retreat in Nashville. I have attended many creative retreats and women’s events over the years. I even host my own workshops and retreats, but something made this one different. That's what I hope to communicate in this post.

I, like an eager and hopeful little girl looking for the pony in the stall of manure have continued to search for my “community” and “tribe”, even though many a women’s retreat have felt like forcing myself into a small shoe box when I feel more like a pair of boots. 

I find life often speaks allegorically. One of my own personal parables began to surface about five or six years ago when I was traveling to Los Angeles to lead a workshop and was surprisingly upgraded to first class on my flight.

Upon returning to the airport for my flight home I learned that my flight had somehow been deleted during my previous upgrade. By the time the ticket agent got me back on the flight I had to scurry through the airport to make my connection.

As providence would have it I was stopped at the security checkpoint and searched from head to toe before rushing to make my connection. This wasn't just any search. As I approached the checkpoint a guard screamed a warning code to the other agents at which point we were ordered to stop in our tracks, because of a possible threat. A few seconds later we were cleared to proceed being informed that it was merely a warning test.

Hopping on the plane before the doors closed I suddenly noticed that my seat was an absolute downgrade. I quickly surmised that this was the worst seat on the plane! It was the last seat on the last row, up against the window. Since I now had become accustomed to first class, I had a bit of an attitude until I received a divine message and made an adjustment.

The message I received was as follows. We all have the opportunity to seek a high place of prominence, or humble ourselves and take the low seat. We can be certain that we will go through a “security checkpoint” sometime or another to evaluate our choices. A true upgrade of the first class nature comes through humility. It was loud and clear. Put yourself at the head of the table and you could be asked to move. Put yourself on the low plain (plane) and you will be elevated in due time. When you humble yourself you will be a carrier of true influence.

The saga continued. Three years later my son Samuel and I were at the Charlotte NC airport waiting to board a flight to Los Angeles where our family was relocating. We had our guitars with us when a famous band arrived in the gate area. The guitar player noticed our guitars and tossed my son a guitar pic.

After getting settled on the plane I noticed some commotion with an unhappy passenger whose seat wouldn't recline in the isle across from me. The flight attendant found a willing passenger to swop seats with the disgruntled man and suddenly the guitar player was sitting across from me. At that moment I knew some divine configuring was taking place and their was a message for me in the mix.

The guitar player and I spent the flight talking about his world as a single dad, his periodic substitute teaching in his son’s school, along with his years of touring with a mega star. I noticed immediately that there was no aroma of celebrity wafting about from this time tested, seasoned musician as he pleasantly chatted with Sam and I. 

I quickly gleaned the powerful take-away that my divinely arranged airplane travel provided for me and this was it: There are those who will seek to live from celebrity, but there is a greater choice and that is of relationship. The authenticity and humility the musician demonstrated was significant. He chose the lower seat. The attention and kindness he demonstrated toward my child spoke volumes about the kindness God demonstrates toward each of his children. 

The retreat I attended was led by yet another group of accomplished individuals, yes, celebrities in their fields, who humbly laid down their badges for authenticity, transparency and relationship. There was no feeling of striving or controlling to reach a perceived outcome. This was not token humility, talking about humility, but then actually controlling overtly, insisting on conformance, playing by established rules and regurgitating the old as if it were new. This was true freedom! I’ve heard babble about humility for years, but have often witnesses it traded in for the counterfeit of ego and  competition, a lot of the lesser, while forfeiting the greater it many a life, including my own. 

I still can’t get my head around the high level of participants. This was no sissy crowd. The women had been through a lot of “stuff” and were authentic, okay with where they were at, not needing to be fixed or trying to fix others! We were tracking, okay with not having all of the answers, okay with unknowing and with simply being! There was no pressure to perform or to dumb down. OMG! This was my tribe!

Don't misunderstand me. These women are human and have skin on too. But they have clearly made the right choice and it is and it will affect many. True authority only comes with humility. Free welding love makes room and space for true connection above agenda or ritual. I have seen first hand that it will invariably carry the whole flight to a new level. 

How Are You at Self-Coaching?

Ride of Your Life 1“…wonder opens the door to the delights of imagination, of curiosity, creativity, intellectual discovery. " -- Mary O'Connor  

Sometimes people say they don’t have funds to invest in hiring a coach. My response usually is, “What are you doing to implement self-coaching?” Self-coaching is a powerful tool that anyone can apply who possesses a sense of wonder.

Long before I went through the process of training to become a professional life coach, I spent hours and years, reading, studying applying my sense of wonder to gleaning from a variety of different sources. One of the best tools available that requires the least investment is reading.

Books require the least amount of commitment, the least amount of expense and most certainly the least amount of accountability, but they offer an opportunity to try something on to determine if it is a good fit. Many workshop facilitators, like myself, offer books that give an introduction to their work. After enjoying the sample platter you might be ready to dive in deeper to other offerings, such as workshops, online programs, conferences, or retreats.

If you're not in the position to hire a personal coach, start your spring and summer with the gift of self-coaching.  Be sure to expand into unfamiliar territory for the greatest opportunity to stretch and grow.

Another great tool for growth is the adventure of travel. Stay tuned as I share my adventures on my trek to Nashville and Memphis!

If you want a great book to jump start your own self-coaching purchase, Untamed Heart: Releasing Your Creative Genius!

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