Singing as Self-care

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.wordpress.com/.  Jenny is proud to be a Den Mother at Mama’s Comfort Camp.  She also is a producer for the inaugural Listen To Your Mother Show in Milwaukee, and she can be found posting updates at http://listentoyourmothershow.com/milwaukee

 

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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18 Responses to Singing as Self-care

  1. Wow! Beautiful! I totally get how you equate singing with self-care. When I used to sing, it was the greatest release I could experience. Just to open my mouth and have the sound come out. Sadly I let time take away some of that joy, and I don’t have nearly the voice I used to. You’ve inspired me to take up the torch and try again – for me! :) Thank you.

    • Jen, if you are trying to get back to singing, I would like to personally invite you to join Jenny and me and many other women from around the world in our Healing Song Circle on Valentine’s Day. It will be a sweet opportunity to share the joy of singing in community and sisterhood, and you, your heart, and your voice is welcome to join us.

  2. Jen, I let my singing fall by the wayside when I was struggling with PPD, PPA and some health issues last year. I decided to take back that joy and that gift. Definitely try again even if it’s just in the shower.

    • Thank you Andrea. That song is from one of my favorite musicals with my absolute dream role. I had the chance to audition for the part, but I looked too young. xo

  3. Beautiful, beautiful voice you have, Jenny! Thanks for sharing your talent with us! I sang in choirs from 6th grade through college and for several years in 2 NYC choirs, but haven’t been singing for nearly 2 decades. :( Will have to get back into it in the next few years! Maybe one day we will do a duet, or we can get a group of us to sing together. That would be lovely! :)

    • oooh, Ivy, the thought of a bunch of Mama Comfort Campers singing together is enough to bring me good chills, but the thought of singing with you and Jenny, wow! we must make this happen.
      Are you coming to BlogHer this summer? Jenny and I will be there, I so hope to see you again.

    • Thank you so much Ivy! I would love to do a duet or sing with a group of us. Music helped me heal from my depression and anxiety. I stopped singing and listening to music when I was really depressed. It has always been the easiest way for me to express myself creatively.

  4. I have recently taken an interest in throat singing and my first impression is that breathing is even more important for this style than for most other styles of singing or chanting. At least that’s what I’ve been having the most trouble with.

  5. Jenny is truly proud to be a Den beautiful Mother at Mama’s Comfort famous Camp. She also is a good producer for the worldwide inaugural Listen to Your Mother upcoming Show in Milwaukee.

  6. I listen to some pop music, but it is limited to a subset of powerful female voices and performance like P! nk, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and Shakira (Spanish versions). These women use their songs and songs to empower women and celebrate feminism. Celebrate “lift your glass” from P! nk our unique uniqueness.

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