Useless regretting…

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” – Shannon L. Alder

 Along with the benefits of growing older, the wisdom that comes with the myriad of life experiences… there are times in one’s life that one may become consumed with regresa, or at the very léase si der “what if” or “Shoulda, coulda, woulda”… It happens to most of us at some point and often at a time in our lives where maybe we thought we’d be in a different place or space and that things would have turned out differently..

Who comes to mind when I think of living life to the full and often referring to her “no regrets” policy, is my grandmother Mildred. She often used to quote from this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox…a poem written in 1917 and one I believe still stands true today.. at least for me:

Throw overboard toil misdirected, 
    

Throw overboard ill-advised hope, 


With aims which, your soul has detected, 
   

 Have self as their centre and scope.

 
Throw overboard useless regretting 
   

 For deeds which you cannot undo, 


And learn the great art of forgetting 
    

Old things which embitter the new.                    – Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1917)

I sometimes look back at the choices I made throughout my life… be them studies, career paths, relationships, travels, friendships, passions etc etc.. I am often filled with joy and confirmation that the choices I made were the right ones for me at the time. There’s a certain sense of relief too, if I’m honest!

So today, on weekend in October of 2016, en route back to Mexico City from Denver Colorado after having visited with my closest friends, I can honestly say that I have few regrets. Albeit there are one or two tiny niggling ones that I’m still tending to, as I’m almost sure they are connected to societal expectations.. Being a woman.

I’ve tried not to shy away from challenging situations.. That said, I am by no means a dare devil and jumping out of a plane is not featured anywhere near my bucket list! However, I can look back over the past 18 years since I moved out of Ireland permanently, at that time to Stockholm Sweden, and I can remember the moments where fear played huge role and at times delayed my taking a decision.. I can see now that I was not in fact ready to make those decisions, get them a foreign work contract, getting out of a dysfunctional relationship, standing up to pressures from society and those I put on myself..
One of the few regrets I have is not speaking up sooner on occasions. Specifically on occasions where I know that had I spoken up the outcome would have been more favourable and the process less laboured.. Fear played a small part of course but naivety and trusting those I shouldn’t have also played its part. 

I can think of one occasion in my life where I knew on a intuitive level that things were not right for me and I didn’t say anything.. The situation, needless to mention, dragged out long after it needed to. Since then, I’ve tested this theory and proven time and time again that, although sometimes considered inopportune or rocking the proverbial boat, it is ALWAYS best to be honest and clear. Diplomatically of course 🙂

One of the other regrets I have, as many of us have I feel, is that I trusted someone who betrayed me… And on this occasion it qualifies as a prett big regret on my part, as I was given clear enough signals and I consciously chose to  ignore them.

So why a short blog about regret right now… Well I’ve come to a point in my life where I look back and once in a while wonder what if… Thankfully I don’t dwell on it or stay there too long… But what if I had never decided to move out of Ireland, back in 1998. What if I’d actually believed my French teacher when she bullied me into thinking I was no good at languages and  decided I didn’t want to learn any! What if I continued eating meat, been afraid of pursuing a career in the arts and alternative health .. What if I’d said no again to the second round offer of a job on a cruise ship… Well that one reminds me that had it not been for cruiseships I would not be in Mexico City for one and I’d never have learned this third language I’ve always wanted to learn -SPANISH!
I was reminded of some of this over the past few days, as I visiting with my best mate, his husband and their three year old daughter… We had the chance, as we try to do every time we met up, to check in with each other and in doing so, providing us with a suitable opportunity to have a review over the past couple of years as well as a general overview and broader perspective from someone who knows us early two decades.

We all have to find our way in life and along that road are moments of indecisiveness and what ifs! So while chatting to my best mate, he pointed out to me, one or two of those what ifs I voiced to him in the past. Someone who sees us through the highs and lows as well as some huge changes both personally and professionally  in our lives, whose opinion we respect and trust, someone who’s never shown anything other that support and love over the extent of our friendship…

So upon concluding my visit and arriving and Denver airport to fly back to Mexico City, my now home.. I am once again assured that I’m in the right place and I’ve had the chance to step out of my everyday routine with a trust worthy sounding board,in order to realise that I’ve done ok and that I’m on the right path 🙂

I’m really really glad I didn’t base my life path, career and personal choices on too much fear. There’s pin t in saying it was always fearless, but a lot less fear driven decision making and more acknowledging the fear, facing it and working through what needed to be done.

I didn’t arrive at where I am today because I conceded to society’s pressures (too many to mention being a woman!).. I made my own choices, for the most part, based on what I felt was right at the time on a intuitive / gut feeling level!
One of the quotes I found, that I especially like is “never regret, what once made you happy”.. And this is so true. Jobs, relationships… If we were happy (and I mean truly happy) at one point, then it wasn’t a total failure or waste if time and therefore doesn’t warrant any huge regret! 
Hindsight is of course 20/20 vision as the saying goes… Had I the knowledge I have now back when I was making some big life decisions, I may have chosen differently, but that of course is never the case.

We live, we learn, we grow, we change, we adapt, we move, we connect, we express.

Well, at least those are my thoughts as I reflect on REGRET this sunny afternoon….. As I fly at 32,000ft en route to Houston Texas.

Let me know your thoughts on regret. I’d love to read them in the comments section below!

– Louise 🙂

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM

 

Advertisements

Improv in Jazz and Life…

v12n14wordle.png

 

A truly amazing gig tonight makes me, once again, aware of why I sing jazz and why it feels like everything makes sense when I do.

I got to sing with three truly amazing musicians tonight as well as really lovely human beings… We played two sets of 45 minutes and randomly picked our way through a list of over 100 jazz standards.. choosing as we went, whatever tune tickled our fancy and then just decided in the moment, tempo, style etc…  Lots and lots of swing of course!

I had only ever met the drummer after a concert he did at a prestigious auditorium here in Mexico City with the best known female jazz singer from Mexico about two years ago, so when I heard he was going to join us tonight, I was of course over the moon!

Albeit that I don’t know him very well, I feel like I got to know him musically tonight.  I also felt he got to know me a little, as we jammed, interchanged, improvised and generally just had a lovely time between the four of us as we tuned into each other, taking risks and even at times all making the exact same improvised decision simultaneously.

This is so much of what I love about JAZZ.

Last night I happened upon a TED TALKs video from Copenhagen, where a jazz pianist shared his thoughts on how he believed Jazz Wisdom could change our lives. I have to say, that I agreed with every single word of his talk and felt an enormous familiarity with his stories and experiences when referring to k¡how his life choices and attitude reflected itself in his music and how his JAZZ knowledge ( or ¨wisdom¨) influenced his choices on a daily basis.  One of the things I often refer to in my classes and when I’m just sitting down thinking to myself, is how in tandem my musical experiences and learning is with my life in general.

And it’s not always a simple solution! .. it involves time, observation, listening, responding,  having perspective and taking risks etc etc.

So I’m so grateful that from last night’s inspiring TED TALK, to my classes this morning and this afternoon… to an amazing gig tonight, that I am once again reminded that I am on the absolute right path for me.

Albeit not the traditional one by societal standards, it is absolutely the right one for me!

And with that I shall go rest my head as tomorrow is indeed another day!

-Louise

http://www.louisephelan.com

twitter: @louisephelan

FB: http://www.facebook.com/LouisePhelanJazzSinger

 

73d13cf940206ea23a019f7de2c0ab5b.jpg

Stepping in and out of one’s comfort zone

Overcoming limitations…

Comfort zone challenges! WARNING!!  Consciously putting yourself in a situation where you know, at the outset, you will feel uncomfortable…

So, I was faced with this exact sensation a couple of times over the past month or so.. And I have to say, it was a very interesting and rewarding time, as I got to see myself from a different light as well as figure things out from a very different perspective that I normally would have…

It was about finding solutions and being even more curious to explore and experiment than ever before!

I have to admit that, at the outset I did indeed feel uncomfortable.  I felt intimidated and also somewhat unprepared for what was to come…

On a conscious level, I needed to calm these nerves and insecurities and well, just go for it. All the while, knowing that it would most likely be a not so perfect execution but that it would have both its good and bad aspects and, above all, that it would be an experience well worth having.

Albeit that from the outside, sometimes it may look like I I am a person who has everything planned, in order and under control… I too of course, being human, regularly have my moments of questioning and wondering if I’m making the most informed and best decisions..

Stepping out of my comfort zone also involves taking a decision that may have quite a bit of ¨unknown¨ or ¨unclear¨ about it and I try to base these decisions on a combination of gut feeling and a need to take a risk!

However, if I do get a feeling that something doesn’t quite feel right for me(on an intuitive level), even if it looks exciting and lots of people around me are saying that I should go for it, I tend to listen more to my gut (intuition).

I suppose, I am trusting this more, given the lessons learned from past experiences, where I’ve run and jumped into something just that little bit too quickly and soon realized that I knew all along that it wasn’t going to work out…

On the other hand, having the experience of something not working out and trying anyway has its benefits too (ie regretting is also a useless pastime), it all depends on what feels right in the moment.  So it’s on a case by case basis that I take that step out of my comfort zone.

Comfort zone :

noun

a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.

I think it’s interesting that this is the definition that can be found online when you google ¨comfort zone¨…
I understand the safe and at ease part but the mention of WITHOUT stress… well, I suppose it would be easier to understand if it was ¨without unnecessary stress¨…as stress makes us function physiologically as well as react to situations – so we need it in a healthy productive / constructive measure… But hey that’s a whole other blog entry ¨The benefits of stress¨!
So here’s a couple of interesting TEDTALKs that i found… as they address the leaving of a comfort zone, letting go, overcoming FEAR among other things 🙂
Let me know what you think!
-Louise 🙂
your-comfort-zone-quote-1.jpg7764dd1ba0c919e1378544a40b835471.jpgtumblr_nng28wScwd1r12tq8o1_500.jpg

 

 

Bravery versus Perfection

There is something about this Ted Talk that resonates with me as I write this…

I too believe that there is so much conditioning that is done on a gender basis and that we are so limited in our thinking as to the role of girl/boy male/female…that it is destroying so many lives of those who feel they don’t want to conform, fit in or subscribe to a certain boxed identity..

And it is NOT abut dreaming big and surpassing expectations.  Happiness and success should be part of everyones’ lives, no matter who they are and where they come from.

I grew up in Ireland and back in the 80’s and 90’s there was still alot of closed mindedness about gender and its role in society…  At least that was my experience.

Now in 2016, there is a notable difference in how parents are raising their children.  Being open minded is almost (and I say almost) the norm. Tolerance of different cultures, languages, races and learning about the world is something that I think has come to positively affect educational systems across the world.  Access to the internet is of course playing a huge role in this evolution.

I know there are ¨nay-sayers¨out there who curse the internet and see it as a society and social killing evil force determined to make us lose out interpersonal skills.. and I can see the danger here, albeit that I don’t think we can turn back the clocks..

One thing’s for sure, evolution is inevitable and we are bound, if not obliged, to roll with it, learn new things, adapt, change and hopefully not suffer too much with those changes..

So when teaching the Alexander Technique here in Mexico City, sometimes I am still surprised at the conversations I am having with women about their apparent roles in families and societies and that they struggle with this regularly as nowadays it is almost impossible for the average family to live on one income alone (much like in Ireland too).. So as a wife and a mother, one needs to also work a full time job and that balance is indeed a HUGE challenge.

SO when I watched this Ted Talk, it struck a chord in me as it speaks about educating both our young girls AND boys! To be BRAVE and to not continue to strive for this so-called and non-existent PERFECTION!  Here! Here!

Watch it and let me know what you think… are we an open enough society for this to even be feasible?

– Louise

 

PS: I’ve also included some quotes that I love from two women who I admire Maya Angelou and Gloria Steinem15-quotes-from-brave-women-to-spark-your-inner-strength-grab-the-world.jpgi-have-met-brave-women-who-are-exploring-the-outer-edge-of-human-possibility-with-no-history-to-quote-1.jpg

 

www.louisephelan.com

 

Opera studio…a day of learning…

Last Friday I was working all day at the Opera Studio here in Mexico City, where I teach the Alexander Technique.  It was a full, almost 8 hour day today as I attended an audition that my students participated in for a well known Opera Director, after which we had a 2 hour AT group session and then after a short break to grab something to eat, came back to attend and assist in the Acting class where pieces were being reviewed as well as workshopped for upcoming performances..

To say that I was a little tired by the end of the day is an understatement!  However, along with this sense of physical lethargy, I also had the oh-so-familiar feeling of regenerated energy and motivation to know more and plan for future classes and explorations!

I truly love my job!

I feel so incredibly honoured and priveledged to be working with this programme and these very talented young artists.

The day´s session was not too heavy and active as I know it was going to be an intensive enough day.. so we reviewed some of the principles, relating them to their experiences and my observations of the morning audition as well as some mind-body work on the floor in ¨semi-supine¨.

I also gave them a short questionnaire to fill out.  This is something I’ve done for years, especially with long courses and group sessions. I see it as a check in, both for the student as well as for me… a ¨see where we are at¨ moment and a ¨where would like to continue towards¨ review..

It is so helpful to just stop and take stock. Especially when it has to do with something that is relatively, if not completely, new.  We spend hours a week investigating, exploring, discovering and reeducating our bodies and our minds.. why not stop and see how we´re doing!

On the way home I took the forms and had a read over them. It delights me to know that each individual student is having their very own journey with this work, as this is precisely what it is.  No one Alexander Technique experience will be a carbon copy of another…  And it is not something that can be repeated and/or imitated.. It comes from the individual and is essentially all about getting to know oneself better (¨Know thyself¨- Pluto), becoming more consciously aware of ones artistic, movement, vocal expressions and choices and o¡in doing so, allowing for some more space in time to make better choices and to stay connected.

The students all filled out their forms honestly and candidly noting their own self observations, knowledge and discoveries with the technique and how, today, they are defining it for themselves and how it relates to them in their performances and creative development.

It was extremely interesting for me to read these…as it gives me

1. a sense of where we are as a group

2. a sense of where each individually is in their own understanding and application of the technique and

3. ideas for future classes and areas to focus on for the remaining months of the year and programme.

Since this day I have been focussing in on exploring new class plans and activities to focus in on what they have told me they need and want.

As a teacher / educator, I believe this is out job, first and foremost.  To listen!  We are not there to impart through impressing with our curriculum or feeding our own egos by performing to an audience..  This work in teaching for me is about providing tools for exploration, creating a safe, non judgmental environment for learning…remaining curious and above all being humble and never losing sight on the fact that we are ALL students!

And so… I remain curious and open, listening and responding to the questions that come up in classes and continue to grow and improve my teaching.  I love it and I believe that the people who chose to come and learn with me through the Alexander Technique are the ones I will learn the most from!

-Louise

www.louisephelan.com

Beautiful-quote-for-teachers.jpg

 

 

Life on a cruise ships.. some thoughts

As I write this blog I am at an altitude of 36000ft on a British Airways flight from London to Mexico City… About 2200 km left to go.. Currently flying over Bermuda.. And on the flight map I’m seeing lots of names like Nassau, Miami, Freeport, Key West, Tampa.. and seeing these names is throwing me back to my ship days… Which honestly feels like a lifetime ago!

Albeit that I am thankful for those years (and so many wonderful opportunities and experiences had!) I can also look back and remember the not so wonderful times that came along with working in that kind of an environment.

You see, it’s not always as glamorous as it looks from the outside! It has its rewards and benefits of course, but with these come a lot of sacrifice!

Much of the time the benefits outweighed the sacrifices but over a long period of time I found that these sacrifices began to take their toll on my personal life, my family, home, career and above all my well being.

So choices were made!

Overall I was lucky. That said, some contracts were easier than others. Each one bringing with it its own kind of challenge, be it personal or professional, but it certainly was a time of learning and I don’t regret the decision to go and perform for five contracts during those five years. I also recognize that it was kind of a blessing in disguise that my last contract exemplified much of the negative and unhealthy  aspects of working on cruise ships so that it kind of forced me to take the decision to finish… it had run it´s course.

Except for these handful of rather unpleasant and strange people with big egos and lots of insecurities.. I made some  lovely friends and learned loads! I also had time to focus on my Alexander Technique, reading, studying, as well as planning for the future. While cruising, I was finding out about new cultures and seeing places I would never have seen otherwise, so for that I am forever grateful.

And cruise ships only continued to feed my love of travelling as well!

Sometimes I can have a moment of longing for those long sea days where I would go up on deck and stare out at the vastness of the ocean and dream and think, plan and prepare.

Nowadays those days don’t exist! On the contrary, time off is rarity and life and work responsibilities/opportunities have taken the driver’s seat these past few years, which is fine for now, but eventually I would like to see the velocity slow down a tad and for balance between professional and personal priorities to prevail 🙂

I sometimes look back on my contracts ¨at sea¨ like it was all a dream sequence lol! Then I log onto Facebook and see some of my former colleagues who are still travelling and working on ships and I’m thrown right back into those memories!

Does it make me miss it.. NO! (That ship has sailed – pun intended!) Well actually, come to think of it, I do miss aspects of it… Like the aforementioned travelling and lots of time off lol!

There have definitely been certain periods of my life that had a very clear beginning and an end.. Cruise ships was one of those.

So what did I do on cruise ships?

I performed as one of the lead vocalists in the musical production shows onboard.  The performance cast consisted of approximately 17 performers. With four lead singers.

Luckily this job allowed me to continue to perform (and my love of JAZZ grew stronger and stronger!) and also save money! These savings allowed me to make some bigger and more permanent life choices.

One of those choices was to find my ¨land legs¨ again and it also made it feasible to move to Mexico City and begin my life here!

And gosh am I glad I did! SOOOOOO many wonderful things have happened since then! More to come in future blogs on that… for now,

I’m looking back on those years and I’m grateful 🙂

travel-susie-meister-sarah-rice-brain-candy-podcast.jpg2524204da7281346a3485420a5e2323d.jpglessons-about-life.pngcaribbean-princess.jpg

Perspective…

Holding on to a semblance of perspective in times of challenge… In times of struggling with the infamous balance of time… These are the moments, when I am faced with, yet again, that thought or notion of … Perspective.

And of course, feeling subject, whether I agree to it or not, to other people’s opinions or feelings and equally their own personal perceptions and perspective. 

So what is it? How do I define this, for me? In what context of life and existence and how much do I do with it on a daily basis?

Well, I certainly don’t always have it in balanced proportions, that’s for sure. I am aware of its existence, most of the time, but it’s not always my “go to” solution or even desired choice in the moment as there are a number of different factors involved..
An example would when I am faced with a situation in my personal life, where the past, present and the future all roll into a series of rapid thoughts and become rather overwhelming …in fact QUITE overwhelming and so begins the sometimes inevitable downward spiral of thoughts that trigger a switch which makes it feel like things are quite simply “out of control”. It is a very strong experience and if perspective doesn’t come in quick (through me consciously activating it and practicing this awareness)… Well it can easily become a make or break moment.

 Putting things into perspective has a real accessibility to it in these instances and if it enters at the right moment it can, more often than not, lead me to make a more informed, slightly more calculated and intelligent decision with thankfully a more preferred outcome.

However if it does not come in, that’s a different story entirely.

A big part of this is my perspective on the moment, the issue, the situation. If I manage to have a clearer perspective, I interfered with by other people’s opinions and insecurities or need to control.. I can somehow clarifitnthings in my head a little more and clear out the mess, as it were. This then makes way for the gut feeling and intuition ..and decisions are taken in those moments a lot more quickly and are much more constructive.

A pack of perspective for me seems to equate destruction and limit, neither of which lean towards the positive scale..

So I’ve read books on it, I teach lessons incorporating it’s principles, however I never profess to be a perfect example of it. 
Who is?

 I do think though, that it is very evident when a person has a wide perspective on things or a narrowed one.. And we can all continue to learn and improve our perspective by clearing some space and staying connected to now.

There are so many other factors to consider as well of course…. Upbringing, culture, both community and family..
However, the above are just some thoughts I’m having right now on PERSPECTIVE as I finish up a short trip at home in Ireland and head back to my other home in Mexico City into what looks likely to be some work and life filled months..

So keeping some perspective as I venture towards new projects, new collaborations, new challenges, new lessons … Is something I’m sure will guide the way and support me.

Here’s a ted talk on some practical observations on perspective and how so many things are subject to different perceptions or perspectives depending on the information given and how that information is perceived… So staying informed also helps!

Food for though 🙂

– Louise

www.louisephelan.com
http://youtu.be/iueVZJVEmEs

   
    
   

Family … home.

 

 

So being back at home in Ireland right now, I’m always reminded as to how much I love being with my family as well as spending some time (albeit brief) in my native country..

There’s something that can’t be truly expressed with words about this unique sensation of familiarity, comfort and ease.

As far as being back in Ireland….
Well, the second the plane starts to approach Shannon airport I always make a point of staring out of the airplane window so I can see the green fields and hills and of course the Shannon river.. It’s something I’ve done for 20 years or so..

You see, every time I come back, I am coming back with a different perspective and of course having had many different experiences in life. 

I’m coming back.

Feeling changed yet again.

 And this turn beings with it a staunch reminder of all that has transpired in my life since the last time I saw that vast green landscape and my family. It always seems to be part of a circle, closing or opening inside of me.. The before and after that trip and of course, the thinking of predicting of what lies ahead during my days at “home”. 

Because Ireland will ALWAYS be home, no matter how long I live “abroad”. It just is what it is. 

(Incidentally, I now call Mexico City home too!)

I’ve mentioned in a previous log that I have lived out of Ireland for so long that I do feel a little disconnected to certain aspects of life here when I return.. But it’s not one of unbearable discomfort. It’s just the reality that I no on get live here on a daily basis and of course life here continues to move forward, develop, inevitably evolve and some other things stay relatively unchanged… 

But I have changed. 
I’m no longer the naïve 18 year who embarked on a one year long adventure across the US, Canada and Europe all those years ago. What I remember about that moment, is that I was desperate, not to leave Ireland, per say, but to see other places and have new experiences.. I was also intrigued by language, art, music and culture that I felt, even then, that I couldn’t possible begin to find and pursue a career if I didn’t venture outside of my “comfort zone” and get to know how parts of the world worked i.e. how people in other places, lived, worked, communicated, ate etc etc. 

I wasn’t even fully sure of what kind of career path I would pursue professionally but the desire was so strong that I took the leap and well, the rest is history.

It’s not always the plan to live ones life on another continent and far away from loved ones and family.. It’s not always the plan to do it a few times and have things not work out and have to start over either.. But things happen and life presents us with this turning points, be them challenges or life lessons.. And we follow along, as I’ve mentioned before, slowly turning the volume up on that intuitive voice inside that guides us towards our truth.

I do feel fortunate that I can look back and I have very few regrets and none of any real consequence.. 

I don’t necessarily subscribe to fully 100% “things happen for a reason” as I believe that this tag line or phrase has been warped out of context and seems to indulge and justify those who are not proactive in anything to do with their lives, to just settle and concede to ” well, sure, things happen for a reason”. 

There are times when those reasons are so bloody unclear. They are frustratingly invisible and yes I can completely look back in retrospect at the life and see that certain choices and moments were pivotal in steering my life in a particular direction and that I was forced into making them and committing to those decisions by the strength of my inner voice and that Louise inside that kept saying, about these decisions, “you’ll never know until you try!”

So I I did, I lived in different countries, I explored tons of different cultures, I speak a few languages, I’ve tried vegetarian dishes across five continents lol!

And is there more? OF COURSE, there will always be more.. To a real level of infinity given our life span on this earth… I will,never speak all the languages of the world (nor do I wish to), I will not set foot in every country, every city, every town that populates out planet, I will never be able to leRn every single song that was ever written etc. 

There are lots of “I will nevers” once one ventures out of our native land and our eyes are opened up to, well, figuratively speaking, lots of other worlds!

Having arrived at a place in my life where I know that time is precious when J am back home, I try to enjoy it to the fullest. This does not however means, exhausting myself running all over the place to see people and do things.. My family have become my main priority and continuing to nurture and develop a relationship with my three gorgeous nieces!

Could I see my self moving back on a permanent basis ? Not in the immediate future.. But never say never.

Ireland has changed a lot and continues to change thankfully. 

After all : Change is the only constant in life!

And as a dear friend of mine reminds me, there’s an element of holding on, while letting go, once we move out of Ireland and live somewhere else. We will never be natives of our new “home” but the world is getting smaller and thankfully this means that some (not all) of the harsh divisions are fizzling away..

I continue to change, I continue to see my family and my native country change and I am learning to embrace it more and more everyday and appreciate what is important in life and to let go of the things I cannot control..

Well it’s late here in Limerick, so I’m going to sign off and publish this blog entry..

L

www.louisephelan.com
www.facebook.com/louisephelanjazzsinger
Twitter: @louisephelan

Perseverance…

What is it about perseverance that had a slight shade of suffering attached to it… Sometimes it even has the image of someone with a red face, grunting while huffing and puffing to get through something they oftentimes don’t even want to get through.. And other times, they are SO determined to not ¨fail¨, that they persevere and do it anyway, often arriving at a ¨successful¨outcome…

And then there’s the wikipedia definition :

per·se·ver·ance
ˌpərsəˈvirəns/
noun
noun: perseverance
  1. steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
    “his perseverance with the technique illustrates his single-mindedness”
    synonyms: persistence, tenacity, determination, staying power, indefatigability,steadfastness, purposefulness;

    intransigence, obstinacy;
    informalstick-to-it-iveness;
    formalpertinacity
    “in a competitive environment, perseverance is an invaluable asset”

I believe, as in so many other cases, it is how YOU define this word that counts!

I have been having regular encounters with this business of PERSEVERANCE for the past few years and thought I’d share some thoughts that I’m having about it today…

There are times that, in order to persevere, there was some huffing and puffing involved, I’ll be honest.  Complaining and groaning came along for the ride too, as I questioned some life choices, paths etc.

I would sometimes here the phrases ¨STICK TO IT¨ or ¨DON’T GIVE UP¨… These often came to mind when I was in a somewhat competitive environment and I needed to exhibit my strengths, even though I felt weaker than a bubble learning a new complicated choreography, a new genre of music, how to teach well…. all the while something inside me kept going… and although it can also at times, be labeled as stubbornness, I call it PERSEVERANCE!

cb15ce0b60e272206ad18de682a7a67d.jpg

I would not have arrived at where I am today, had it not been for this!

Granted, I haven’t had the most challenging life as challenging lives go.  I haven’t had to weather famine, homelessness, extreme poverty, hunger, pain, disease etc…

But all of us have a subjective view point on life based on our own experiences as well as what we learn from the world around us.

And if we are well read, keeping ourselves up to date with what is happening, in as much as is possible while continuing to pursue our own lives and reams.. it’s safe to say that we are more than likely more worldly in our viewpoints and with a greater perspective on things in general.

I’m currently reading a book called  BIG MAGIC (http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/books/).  A book about Creative living without fear. I believe a large helping of PER>SEVERANCE is part of this journey and that, in order to overcome fear, one must persevere and work through and beyond obstacles, disbelief, insecurity and other people trying to put you down or intimate you for example…

So, have I persevered? I believe I have.  Did I ever give up?  Yep, i can remember when I was around 12, I decided I’d knit a cardigan for a younger cousin and I just gave up half way through.. it’s still one of those unfinished projects I have pending lol!

No but seriously, there were times where I was close to throwing in the towel.. and other times, when, no matter how much I persevered, it was just proving to be fruitless and I needed to just stop and well, give up… or let go.

Perseverance isn’t a personal challenge to see how far I can push myself.. Maybe it is for some other people.. but for me, it’s something that plays a big role in moments when I intuitively know that giving up is not the right choice but that time is needed, alongside perseverance and well, patience.

I have several role models in my life that I can think of.. family, close friends, who have persevered, survived and overcome such tremendous challenges…  Some to this day, who I am humbled by and left in awe at their perseverance.

A dear friend who recently went into remission from her second bout of cancer is one of those people! She is someone I admire greatly. She is the true definition for me of a survivor. A strong woman who has had her fair share of physical challenges all her life, but who continues to soldier on and persevere. She lets nothing stop her from doing what she wants, even when the odds are against her and so many people around her don’t fully support her decisions, she continues! She travels all over the world and she speaks several languages, three fluently, as well as working a high powered job in IT. To me, she is the epitome of PERSEVERANCE and bravery.

And having someone like this in my life as well as other people I could write about (but I’m mentioning her as we were just chatting online :), I believe so much of PERSEVERANCE is also about CHOICE, about PERSPECTIVE and about listening to ones own intuitive voice and when the moments come when we fall, get back up again.

  • Lou

Here’s a TED TALK by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love about her journey in life and in writing. (if you’ve been reading my blogs do far, you’ll know I’m a big fan of TED TALKS 🙂

https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_success_failure_and_the_drive_to_keep_creating?language=en

images.jpg

images-1.jpg

 

www.louisephelan.com

www.facebook.com/LouisePhelanJazzSinger

Twitter: @louisephelan

INTUITION….TRUST

Intuition… something I have come to trust more and more as time goes by..

Trusting it as well has also been an important part in the process as it’s one thing your intuition tells you something, and it’s another one that we actually listen and follow through!

I think some of this work and learning began to take solid form around 2005. It was around about a time in my life where I had finished my training as an Alexander Technique teacher which brought me such joy and opened me up to so many moments of challenging this trust and listening.

I was also, at the time, in a rather dysfunctional relationship.  Towards the middle to the end of 2005 the relationship came to an end.. and part of the final nail in the coffin as it were, was my intuition screaming at me to get the hell out of that situation and run as far away from this person and their mess as I could.

I of course was not entirely mess free either, but I just knew that something wasn’t right. I had known it for a few years and I was holding on… for some reason.  Call it fear, call it whatever you want.  But in August of 2005 my intuitive self was yelling so strongly that I finally had to answer and the truth came out and therefore the relationship came to an end.

Of course when any relationship ends it’s difficult.  Not least because you get kind of used to having that person and all the people that make up that circle in your life, part of your life.. and then all of a sudden, boom, it´s all falling apart and people are choosing sides and well, choices have to be made. It also involved HUGE changes in my life, such as moving country again, giving up my home, my belongings and my life as I had know it for almost 8 years..

So I made a decision and I look back on that moment as pivotal in my life.  It was truly a moment of revelation to how important it is that I listened to my intuition and I trusted!

I have taken this with me in every decision I have made since!

Turning point moments in life and career mostly… but even down to what kind of clothes to wear, food to eat, where to go, what to do, teach in a class or perform in a concert etc..

I like to think that I have come to respect my intuition and that we have an understanding!

There are of course times when I turn the volume down a bit…  and that might be overshadowed my work load or my life load etc. I also know that this isn’t the best thing.. but it gives me a window of time and I will soon turn the volume up again as my body, mind and soul will not stop giving me messages!

But overall, I have come to understand that this voice inside me knows best.  And that the best way to move forward to is to stop, listen and trust.

I can look back on the last 10 years and see that so many of my decisions were based on this.  I would not be where I am today had I not trusted my intuition which guided me in taking some leaps of faith into unknown and unchartered territory.

I had no idea 10 years ago that my life would now be based in Mexico City!  That I would have recorded two jazz albums, be working with some amazing musicians and collaborating with some wonderful creative artists and teachers. That I would also be teaching the Alexander Technique at several prestigious educational institutions and that I would be doing it all in SPANISH!  A language I have wanted to learn since I was a teenager!!

It’s hard to know when we have our low energy days or our darker moments whether we are on the right path.. as we look ahead and sometimes even just look around and begin to compare or think WHAT IF etc…

I’ve done it, I still do it from time to time.  But then I stop, I listen and I trust.

I am where I should be right now. All the circumstances that are my reality are MY reality. I create it and I chose to live it.

Yes, sometimes I wish things could be a little easier or a little different. And yes I am human and I have a bit of a strop and a whine about why some aspects of my life are so challenging..

But then I shake it off ( maybe I have a duvet day or a me day) and then I get on with it.

Life is about now and about making the most of it. We may not always succeed, but we have to try!

One of the songs I wrote after my experiences around 2005 and has since been added to my second album MOMENTS OF LIGHT is the song ¨TRY¨.

¨ I walk the path to my salvation No crossroad doubts, no hesitation

Just listen now and hear the voice within

It’s calling me with songs so free, From chains of old, the forgotten me

Try not to test it, try not to question. Deep in the soul the voices beckon

You’ve got the answers, I’ve got the will to change

All my illusions and indecision

Hear me, see me, show me Hear me, speak to me Show me ¨

 

In the upcoming weeks I’ll share the rest of the lyrics on my facebook page:

www.facebook.com/louisephelanjazzsinger

www.louisephelan.comf4660bf14f7e417a46171891055ba9e5.jpgA-quiet-mind-is-able-to-hear-intuition.jpgintuition-quotes-2.jpgf7b68563683eab0b6bf46d4dbedd26bc.jpg