Just put your butt on the cushion and focus on your breath –says Jaime Babbitt.
I think we can all agree that in addition to our voices being inside us, our voices are connected to our emotions.
Obviously, musicians can never have that same relationship to their instruments; they put their guitars and saxophones in their cases when they finish playing. Wouldn’t THAT be nice?
Since we can’t do that, it’s very important that we care for both our voices AND our emotions in order to preserve our vocal health and integrity.
Here are ways you can begin doing that:
Meditate, Meditate, Meditate
Yes, I said meditate. And believe me, I wish I were more consistent at it myself. However, it is a fabulous way to get you focused on your breathing, which puts you more in the present moment.
Sit on a cushion, sit in a chair, close your eyes, stare at a candle, put on music, sit in silence… but just do it. At first, you will not be able to sit for very long and that’s okay; this is not a test you have to pass. Just put your butt on the cushion and focus on your breath.
In time, you’ll find that you can sit longer and longer. Except for those of you with ADD (and I mean this seriously); it may be a bit harder for you to get into it. But, please, stick with it. It has impacted many peoples’ lives for the better.
Note: don’t meditate for any particular purpose, or to feel better, or to calm down. Just put your butt on the cushion and focus on your breath.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Ah, yes, she’s going to talk about that darn power of positive thinking again. Suffice it to say: whether or not anything good comes from you thinking positively, you’re guaranteed to feel better than if you’re thinking negatively. Why wouldn’t you want to feel better?
Let’s just suppose for a moment that you are in control of your thoughts, which you are, even though it’s super-hard to keep that belief going day in and day out. Thinking a certain way produces a feeling, and then you’re going to feel a certain way. So it stands to reason that if you can be aware of your thinking, you can be more aware of your feelings.
I think most of us would agree how much easier it is for us to think negative thoughts about ourselves than it is to think positive ones. Listen to how you talk to yourself when you make a mistake; our inner dialogue is awful! We call ourselves stupid, or clumsy, or any number of negative things.
I say, let’s turn that around. Let’s try to think positive thoughts so that we have positive feelings; then, we’ll more likely speak positive words. As my mom would say, “It couldn’t hurt!”
Limit Exposure to Toxic People, or at Least Learn to Deal with Them Effectively
If you’ve spent time with toxic people, you know how you feel during and after being with them: drained, depleted, headachy, nervous, angry and depressed, not to mention the anxiety you experience even before you hang out.
You can’t control them, but you can control your own behavior. You also can control two other things: your feet. Your feet can take you anywhere you want to go (If you’re in a wheelchair, so can your wheels). So, if you’re having a challenging time with a toxic or negative person, use your feet. Get away, even if only for a bit so you can regroup, breathe and even meditate if possible.
If you must be in their presence, I recommend this (thanks to Veronica O’Grady, a wonderful healer, for introducing me to this concept): create a bubble around yourself in your mind’s eye. Your bubble can look however you like and can be made of and contain anything you wish (gold, silver, rainbows, chocolate, unicorns, puppies…hey, it’s YOUR bubble.) And the great thing about your bubble is: nothing/nobody gets in.
I know it sounds a little wacky, but run with me on this: by creating your protective bubble, you energetically keep toxicity away from YOU. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but I tried it and it worked for me. Hey, it couldn’t hurt!
So I hope you can treat yourself well while navigating the wonderful world of singing. Remember, you deserve it!