Posts Tagged With: “West Side Story”

Day 1993: Power

Yesterday, in a therapy group, I randomly picked this “angel card”:

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We all have power. Soon, I will be taking on more power as the President of a professional group therapy organization. I hope to use that power well.

A few days ago, I noticed that the cafeteria in the hospital where I work had stopped including vitamin-K-rich spinach in their salad bar. Because I take the powerful medication Coumadin. I need the power to control the amount of Vitamin K in my diet, and I usually do so by taking the same amount of spinach every day from the salad bar.   I owned my personal power and asked to speak to the person who had the power to decide what items to include in that salad bar. She told me that the hospital had decided to feature local produce and had replaced the spinach with locally grown kale. I told her about my taking Coumadin, which is a very common drug, and explained that kale had too much vitamin K and that I can’t eat kale.  As I was explaining all this to her, these were my powerful thoughts, “Why am I doing this?  I don’t have any power here. They’ve already made this decision.    I’ll have to figure out how to regulate my vitamin K a different way.”

The next day, I saw this at the hospital salad bar:

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Sometimes we have power even when we think we don’t.  The powerful moral for me: keep speaking up, because maybe somebody is listening.

Do you see power in my other photos from yesterday?

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People have the power to decide whether they want their pictures taken.  My son Aaron was okay with that last night (and Michael wasn’t).

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The ocean has the power to heal, I believe.

Today, Aaron and I will be experiencing the power of “West Side Story” at Boston’s Symphony Hall.  I never get tired of the power of that score by Bernstein and Sondheim and I’m glad that YouTube has the power to provide the musical clips I need for this blog (here and here).

I look forward to the power of your comments, below.

I always end these daily posts with the power of gratitude to all who help me create them and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 1607: Magical Places

Last night, in the magical place of group therapy, people shared thoughts and feelings about magical places.

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As you can see, my magical places included Monument Valley, the ocean, The Land of Lost Treasures, and the human heart.

What are your magical places?

Here are more magical places I visited yesterday:

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Music brings me to a magical place (here  in the magical place of YouTube).

Somewhere, there’s a place for your magical comments, below.

As always, I’m in a magical place of gratitude when I finish a post. Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for making my blog a magical place by being here, now.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 141: I am singing differently this year

I’ve been working on my singing, lately.

I love to sing and have since I was a little kid.

I remember playing records of musicals — including “West Side Story”, “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific,” and “Guys and Dolls” — in the basement of my house,  pretending I was in those musical numbers. I danced and sang across the basement floor. Nobody saw me doing that (except for my cat, Tuffy).  It was one of my favorite and most joyful things to do, during some difficult times as I was growing up.

I also took singing lessons, starting when I was a kid.  The main thing I remember about that teacher, Mr Payette, was that he had some strong opinions about what was good and not good about my voice. He told me that the main thing that made my voice special was that I could sing really, really high. I was a Super Soprano — I could hit B flat over high C.   I remember him laughing, with delight, when my voice would keep going — up and up  — as he played the scales.

He also characterized my voice as thin, with not a lot of power. He told me that if I wanted to pursue singing, that I should only sing songs that highlighted my strength — the high notes.

So I sang mostly sweet, pretty songs, that had a high range, with not a lot of dynamic changes.  Songs like “Those Were the Days,”  by Mary Hopkins:

I loved singing these songs, but I never stretched beyond them, into something more dangerous or bold.

I remember something else  Mr Payette said to me, during my singing lessons. He told me to make sure that I never, ever hit a note wrong, when performing. That would be disastrous, he said, because …

you could sing every other note beautifully and perfectly, but if you hit one note imperfectly, THAT’S what the audience will remember.

I can remember him saying those words, so vividly. That really stuck.

I liked working with Mr. Payette. I think he was a good guy.

But I have been working on letting go some of those lessons he taught me. Because for most of my life, I’ve been kind of a timid singer. I’ve focused more on the imperfections in my voice. I’ve thought of my voice as weak. I’ve thought that there were only certain types of songs that I could sing. I’ve thought of myself as a “stiff” singer, not able to show the full range of human emotions.

I’m realizing that those ideas about my singing were formed when I was a kid, and they may be …. rather outdated.

When I was a kid, I DID have limits as a singer, especially as an interpreter of lyrics. I mean, I couldn’t give the lyrics of songs a full-bodied interpretation back then. Geesh! I didn’t even know what some of those lyrics meant.

I didn’t have the experience to give life to all those words about love and loss.

However I’ve been realizing lately that I’m not a kid any more, when it comes to song.  Now that I’m an adult, I can sing like one.

I don’t have to be timid — holding back for fear of making that one mistake that people will remember. I don’t have to imagine the audience forgetting everything else I may have sung, no matter how beautiful it was, if I sing one note imperfectly.

Now, I DO understand lyrics. And I can channel this understanding — and  the full range of human emotions —  into songs.

Also, about two months, ago, I made a real change in how I sang.  It started when I suddenly made room– through song — for a certain powerful emotion.

Anger.

About two weeks ago, when I was angry at somebody, and was considering trying my new anger technique of Screaming As Loud As I Could In the Car,  I tried something different, instead.

I made up an anger song — which included some rather rude words — and sang THAT in my car, as loudly as I could.

Man, it was fun singing that song.  It helped me let go of the anger.  And — holy moly!  Did my voice sound different!   It sounded clear and really strong, in  all registers. No matter what notes I was hitting in The Anger Song —  high notes, low notes, in-between notes —  everything sounded good  — and different — to my ears.

Since then, I’ve been singing differently.  I’m singing with feeling. I’m not holding back. I’m not afraid of the imperfect notes.

I’m thinking I’d like to keep singing more, this year. I may take some chances — maybe go to an open mic night and sing a solo. That’s always been a dream of mine, as yet unfulfilled.

Maybe I’ll sing, in front of an audience, a full-bodied, adult song, with complicated lyrics, and trust in my ability to deliver that song.  Maybe I’ll have faith that I can translate my ability to communicate passion and conviction — while using my regular speaking voice — into the musical realm.

I’m hoping that before This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally is over, that I will overcome some fears about singing in front of other people and do something new and spectacular.

No matter what, though I’m really lovin’ the different ways I’ve been singing lately.

Thanks for hearing  My Bloggy Song here, today. And I hope you let your full voice out, too, in any ways you can.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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