Hello, happy summer wonder! This week the weather has been gloriously sunny here, which means outdoor water play whenever possible, and frequent watering of the garden to keep the plants from turning into leaf crisps. Water and sun, sun and water, how wonderful.
One question I get asked fairly often is how do I keep going, making weekly videos, writing lots of songs, putting myself out there in live-streams or on stage, as well as juggling family and work life… how do I keep doing all of this? This is a tough question to answer. I think there’s a variety of things that I have to do to keep all of the balls in the air. It means I am making some major adjustments in my life, the biggest, ongoing one is to keep moving. Energy in motion tends to stay in motion, according to Newton. Life is like a bicycle. It’s always easier to keep moving once you’re moving.
My experience of the past year has been somewhat unique in the music world. I was not playing many shows before the pandemic; I was dancing with burn out and felt very discouraged and stuck. Covid 19 was a big game changer for me. Before the pandemic I was working three to four days per week as a behavioural consultant, and helping lots with the care of my baby granddaughter (my daughter also worked) as well as taking care of my adult son who has a developmental disability. I was singing and playing guitar almost every day, as well as writing songs quite frequently, but a lot less than I wanted to, and all of my new songs were really sad. I felt so overwhelmed almost all of the time. I had all kinds of problems with my neck, arms and hands, and I was constantly sick, maxing out on sick days, and slowly working fewer and fewer hours at my paid employment.
Then the pandemic struck and I got to work from home, and I really cut back big time, to essentials. This is one of the biggest things I’ve done to keep moving forward – cut back where it makes sense to at the time. I actually left my paid employment this past March to focus on caring for my family and on developing my music career. I will need to earn an income again really soon, but this has been a wonderful music-focussed time for me. I feel like I am miles ahead of where I was pre-pandemic. Ready to create something really super cool and exciting over the coming year.
Another important part of keeping going is keeping focused on staying healthy, taking care of oneself in order to continue to stay in motion. I really love the Indigenous healing tool of the medicine wheel, and it’s four quadrants of self-care: physical, mental/intellectual, social, and emotional/spiritual. I have used it quite a bit when doing counselling with clients, and I use it every six months to a year or so, to make a self-care plan for myself. It’s very thorough. It also demonstrates the complexity of staying healthy and in balance, and how everything we do is interrelated. In addition to this tool, I also study psychology and trauma, do regular morning pages, am on a lifelong journey of learning how to set boundaries, and I practice being grateful for one thing every morning. Gratitude is like any other muscle, and sometimes there doesn’t seem like much to be grateful for. When I first started my gratitude practice I was struggling with depression, and the only thing I could think of that I was grateful for was the existence of colour. Focusing just a little bit on gratitude allowed me to also open up the flow of other emotions, and to keep those moving as well. All the emotions need to move, none is without purpose. Now most days I do actually feel grateful, especially for my family and the fact that I’m alive. And flowers; I find flowers and plants and Mother Nature so incredibly healing and nurturing. I think that living in a small village (Telkwa, BC) on the edge of a pristine river, which at one time felt like a restrictive prison, helps me to keep moving and remain in balance.
And of course, I am doing music to such a great extent because it’s a major passion for me, and I find it feeds my soul. It helps me to process emotion in a playful and healthy way, and helps me to connect with other people in a way that nothing else does. It isn’t difficult to keep doing a lot of music when the rest of my life is in some sort of balance. It’s a lifelong love affair.
And speaking of boundaries, this week I have decided that after this particular blog post, I need to take a break from writing a weekly blog so that I can put my focus on song-writing and making videos for my Youtube channel. And working on my new album project which I am recording in August (with a superstellar team of amazing musicians)!!! I hope to start writing a blog again in September.
There’s nothing perfect in life, not even in keeping moving to stay balanced. I continue to choose over and over again to let myself be not perfect, to keep learning, to try and keep a beginners joy and excitement about what I’m doing. There’s definitely anxiety for me in that, and the dragon guarding the treasure is pretty menacing. It’s takes courage to keep moving on a music career and keep putting myself into the view of others. But everyone is called on to be courageous in life. We live in an alarming world. The need to continue moving forward to keep balanced continues, forever. With lots of little breaks along the way.
Thank you for reading this post! Check out my Youtube channel on July 19 for the launch of my first real music video, Running in Jeans. And other updates will come out frequently on my Facebook and Instagram pages (links on my home page on this website). I wish you a wonderful summer 2021!