Check out the synchronicity:
This guest post was scheduled at least two weeks before the idea dawned on me to host a EnChanting Women’s Healing Song Circle on Valentine’s Day. And look, I couldn’t have found a more fitting guest post if I’d have bribed someone to write one to order.
Jenny lives in a small town in Wisconsin on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. She and her husband juggle (sometimes not so successfully) working outside the home, parenthood and housework. Jenny is a mom to two beautiful girls who is trying to tame her inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom. She is @jenrenpody on twitter, and she blogs at http://tranquilamama.
Singing as Self-care
“For me, singing is a way of escaping. It’s another world. I’m no longer on earth” – Edith Piaf.
I have been singing since I was two years old. I sang in choir consecutively from middle school all the way through college. I was involved in the music ministry in my parish at college and at my first parish as an adult.
Singing for me is the ultimate form of self-care. I can lose myself in the story and words I am singing about. If I need to be inspired, I have a list of go to songs. If I need to be calmed, I listen to Enya, Philip Glass or Gustav Holst “The Planets”. When I am feeling low, I listen to artists who have struggled with depression – Dave Matthews and Johnny Cash. I listen to country, bluegrass, alternative, classical, Broadway show tunes, jam bands (Phish, Grateful Dead), classic rock, Latin pop, salsa, merengue, jazz, hip hop and reggae. I listen to some pop music, but it is limited to a subset of strong female voices and performers like P!nk, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Shakira (her Spanish releases). These women use their songs and lyrics for empowering women and celebrating feminism. “Raise Your Glass” by P!nk celebrates our unique individuality. Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”and Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful reminds me of how far I have come in my journey of self-acceptance.
Singing gives me the physical tools to combat my anxiety. Diaphragmatic breathing (pranayama as it is known in yoga practice) helps lower my blood pressure and calm me down. It is impossible to sing the Schubert “Ave Maria” without breathing deeply from the diaphragm. Breathing is an integral part of my singing practice. Through my breath I can control my vibrato, my tone and my volume.
Singing is my mental, emotional and spiritual release. I can pour my whole heart and soul into singing. One of my music teachers once told us that singing is like praying twice. I have always held onto that. Music is a vessel that allows me to work out my emotions. It is truly a cathartic release. I use music as a way to refuel and recharge my batteries.
Oh, this woman can sing. I would give a year of my life for a voice like that.
My voice? Nowhere near this level of singing ability and still I chant all the time. You know why? Because in chanting it’s not about how you cary the tune, it’s how you cary your heart as you sing. If you can talk, you can chant. It’s a forgiving and healing and sweet thing to do, especially in community. So I hope you can join us next week at our Valentine’s EnChanting Circle.
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