Hi everyone, I am so so proud to be launching my new podcast series called A Voice and Beyond. This fortnightly podcast is targeted at the singing voice community and is focused on self-care, personal development and self growth. The show has been inspired by my own journey, my learnings and my curiosity into how to deal with some health issues that began almost two years ago. My journey of self care and personal growth and development started while completing a PhD, when I didn’t feel quite myself and learned that I was suffering from chronic anxiety and mild depression.
For years I had gone next, next, next, achieving one thing after, even after achieving almost every goal that I set for myself. Some of these goals were in my professional world while others were in my personal life. Some of these goals were even big-ticket items such as completing a PhD, landing a book publishing deal. I was a high achiever and at times I set ridiculously often almost unachievable standards for myself. Every time I shared my achievements on social media or with my family, the most common response I got was what an inspiration I was to them. People would often call me a pocket rocket, especially at work and I was often asked where did I get all my energy from? But these comments made me feel as though I was an imposter because all I felt on the inside was empty, always looking for my “next”. I had never stopped to ask myself why was this so? Why was I always so dissatisfied with my life and with my accomplishments? Why was there a feeling of emptiness in the pit of my stomach?
Somewhere along the journey of my life I had become so busy pleasing others and living up to others’ expectations that I had stopped serving myself and doing things that made me happy. I had lost my best self and was being seduced by the thoughts and beliefs of others
What I discovered, after taking time out every day for self-reflection, was that my body, mind and spirit were disconnected and I was completely out of alignment with my passion and my purpose. That moment of self-discovery almost two years ago was the beginning of my healing journey and some amazing changes that have led to me wanting to share my story in this Podcast.
What I had to learn was that the true meaning of success is a reflection of our perception of ourselves and who we truly are in the inside and I was burnt out by trying to achieve my own idea of “success”. My perceptions were really messed up and I had to learn to reconnect with my true self, give myself permission to breathe, be still, present, satisfied, feel accomplished, grateful, enjoy the process and take a moment to create beautiful memories along the way. I also discovered that like the ocean, we too have ebb and flow. Not everything can be smooth sailing in our lives all of the time. You can only have joy when you experience sorrow. You can only appreciate success when you have disappointment. And it’s ok to acknowledge those moments of sadness, allow them to pass, be thankful for them and then just move on. It’s when you fight those difficult moments in time, and try hard to push through them that we become ill, some may call this being dis-eased. When we supress our feelings, they don’t go away, no matter how hard you try. They will just keep simmering until they boil over. It’s when our bodies and minds are on a collision course with one another and this creates disharmony within us. This is when we can begin to spiral downwardly in our mental and physical health. We must learn to acknowledge our feelings and reactions as these moments in our lives as opportunities to learn and for growth. If we can do that, what would otherwise have become a festering sore, will not even become a blimp on our radar in the grand scheme of our lives.
So I started my healing journey with self care and this has become so important to me to make time out daily for self-care. Self-care for me is taking care of myself first, and being true to my needs to better serve myself before others, including my students and this in turn led to the betterment of their outcomes! Self care means scheduling time for an activity that leaves me feeling peaceful, confident, or healthy. Self-care to me means taking care of all those areas of my life that empower me to show up each day at my best. This includes eating well, prioritizing exercise, and taking quiet time for myself each day to be in the moment and to reflect when needed. But the best gift of self-care I can give myself is to get adequate sleep.
My self care had to be vamped up even further during COVID when I felt that all the things that mattered to me had been taken away. The gym, connection with other people, friends, collealueges, students and family. I couldn’t visit my 98 year old for a year because she lived in another state and the borders were shut between states. I had to learn to centre myself amidst the chaos and the stress, the struggle and the challenge of things that I had no control over. Instead of consuming fake news on social media and curling up in a corner, eating chocoloate and drinking wine while wathinc NETFLIX, I started to listen to all the amazing thought leaders I could find such as Jay Shetty, Brendon Burchard, Lewis Howes, Brene Brown for inspiration. I would walk for an hour everyday and consume all this information and feel so inspired that I would go home and write based on something that had been a topic of one of their shows. I used this time to recalibrate, reinvest in myself both professionally and personally, I wanted to have clarity and focus on the things that were important to me. I needed make changes in my life and this was my way of feeling good every day and being very intentional about it at a time we were all in lockdown and disconnected from our realities.
So I want to tell my story, share my expereinces and hope some of you can connect to it somehow. This may be hard for some of you because as singing teachers we are all so busy taking care of everyone else and we don’t put ourselves first. We think of self care as something that is selfish. Problem is that you can’t take care of everyone else if you are not taken care of yourself. Are you someone that is always looking after everyone else’s needs and neglect your own? How many of you take time out every day for self-care or just to do something that brings you joy?
Self-care simply means taking care of yourself. Putting yourself and your needs above others as a way to protect, preserve and respect yourself. You can do this by setting boundaries, being aware of your thoughts, and being in tune with your feelings, and your actions, so you can be at your best and especially when you show up for your students. You can teach, role model and mentor with good intentions.
Self-care can simply mean saying “No” at times. I have become much more organized and dropping things off on my daily to do list! The best list you can make for yourself is a “Not To Do” list!
As you learn to dial into yourselves, you can elevate your life. Now is the time for you to make the decision to create opportunities, take action and experience growth as a person and in your reaching practice. We must become students of life and embark on a journey of lifelong learning.
It is going to take time effort to recalibrate your mindset. Making change is the hard choice and continuing on as you are is easy. You need to leave the harbour and embark on a difficult journey to make positive changes in your life. No one said it is easy. However, if you decide to remain on the boat, in the security of the harbour, it will be even harder long term. By sailing away, you create the opportunity for change and the opportunity to learn and grow. Be prepared that making change will trigger all kinds of negativity and self-sabotage. Be the captain of the ship of your life, your body. Remain steady while the seas are rocky and you will acquire sea legs and you will become the captain. If something is not difficult, it is not producing growth. Own your experiences along the way and don’t be ashamed of the set-backs. You will arrive at your destination safely even when the seas are rough. Life is full of anxiety and stress as everyday presents itself with a situation or scenario that creates an unexpected set back. I want everyone to live their best lives. Feel good about themselves, be role models. Be the people that our students look up to. We are their role models.
New podcast episodes will be launched every fortnight on platforms such as iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Sticher, Amazon Music and many others. I will rotate the style of the shows to include both interview and solo rounds. In the interview rounds you will learn and be inspired by some amazing healthcare practitioners, voice teachers and music industry professionals who will share their stories, their knowledge and experiences in their specialised fields. I can’t wait to introduce to this stunning line up of guests. In the solo round episodes, my goal is to share new ideas and perspectives to help you as a member of the voice community reach your highest performance levels in every area of your life, to help you stay focused, be more fulfilled, be more excellent and on purpose. So make the commitment now for self- care, and personal development right now. My intention is not to preach about self care but to teach and it is not my intention to shame but to educate.
So why is the show called Beyond a voice – I believe that the voice is a higher form of self expression. And as singers our whole body is the instrument and our bodies echo how we are feeling physically, mentally and emotionally, so if we have a kink in our system, that kink will be there when we sing. So to sing it more than just learning how to use the voice, it’s about a voice and beyond.
I look forward to joining you in the coming episodes.