A Week of Eclipse

Did you experience the solar eclipse? Through special glasses or through the media? Some people told me it was awesome. Others said it was disappointing. The darkest point, dusk-like, where we are in Lake Oswego, happened while I was in the shower, actually, with my schedule that day.

I like the word eclipse, as it’s also a verb. My shower with hand-made soap by Wandering Goods http://www.wanderinggoods.com/ eclipsed the eclipse, for example.

Yet my week of eclipse has more to do with something else. What’s happening next will eclipse my previous skill as a vocal teacher. (All right, enough with the eclipse theme already.)

My voice teacher, Linda Brice, has asked me to be the assistant teacher for the next Transformational Voice® apprenticeship class, beginning mid-September.

Here’s the back story, my friends. I used to be terrified of driving in Portland. Oregon has been my home now for longer than the state I was born in, South Dakota, yet I lived with an inability to drive in the city of Portland for – oh, a dozen years or so.

I tried a few times, got horribly lost, and going over all those quick interchanges, especially in four lanes of heavy traffic, over bridges (I’ve had dreams of almost dying because of bridges!) gave me the closest I have come to anxiety attacks. My hands were clenched on the steering wheel, palms sweaty, heart palpitating, brow growing moist, and my mental process went like: Please just let me make it off this bridge alive, don’t let me hit a car, don’t let a car hit me, please tell me where I need to go to get off this *&@#’g road, please let me park, please let me get out of this car and never ever have to *#%$’g drive again!!! Please!!

Yep, that’s pretty much how it went. Every time. Until I gave up. I wasn’t going to do that to myself anymore.

Looking back, it’s a miracle I kept any friends during this time period, because every friend who asked me to do something outside of Lake Oswego (“my” Portland suburb) had to drive. They had to pick me up, meet me in my neighborhood, or we simply didn’t meet. There were a few cab rides thrown in, but I imagine my friendships survived in large part because I invited people for dinner, cooked them a tasty meal, and plied them with wine.

And then…I became involved with the Transformational Voice® Institute…first as a student, and then as an apprentice teacher.

This changed the game. My voice teacher, Linda Brice, had been recommended by someone I implicitly trust, and I longed to start singing again so badly that I vowed to myself I would do whatever it took to find my way to that first class, without relying on anyone else.

I started with practice driving to the location of the first class ahead of time, when I knew the traffic would be light and it wasn’t raining. I managed to find someone to carpool with to the first class term (because I asked) and Margaret and I became great friends during those drives.

Slowly, I drove to more classes on my own, while I was learning the Transformational Voice® breathing technique and was eventually asked to join the very first apprentice teacher training class. The more I learned the breathing technique, the better I was able to relax and drive. The more I drove, the more comfortable I became with the driving process, and the more my voice relaxed in the voice classes and lessons.

Now, especially since we all have GPS devices readily available on our phones, I can navigate all over Portland comfortably. Driving is still not my favorite thing to do, but I’ve relaxed into it, in large part because of the breathing techniques I learned as a Transformational Voice® teacher: Expand your rib cage. Relax your belly. Breathe like a new born baby, deep belly breaths, and allow your voice to come out and forward on the breath.

Deep belly breathing brings you back to center and is the best way I know to practice being fully and authentically present, something everyone around you will thank you for. But most importantly, your authentic self will thank you.

So…current and future voice students…I wanted you to know that going through the apprenticeship program again, this time as an assistant teacher, will way up my skill level and presence with you.

I’m super excited to…won’t say that word again.

It’s doubtful that the other creatures waste the present in thoughts of past and future. A beaver only does beaver, and he does it right in the moment. He doesn’t spend his days wishing he were a young beaver again, or ruminating over the fact that his beaver siblings received more attention, or his father beaver ran off with a younger beaver when he was growing up. He’s always in the now. We can learn much from God’s creatures about enjoying the present moment rather than using it consumed up with guilt over the past or worry about the future. Practice living in the moment, and refuse to allow any thoughts based on your past to define you. –Dr. Wayne Dyer, 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace

Speak with power and confidence; be remembered and be inspirational. 

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Authentically Yours, Laura