A Change is Gonna Come…

Hi friends! It’s been too long since my last post, and I’m sorry. 2015 was a very busy year, and 2016 is off to quite a start. I went back to OperaWorks in January for 2 blissful weeks of intense and amazing work with talented singers & faculty from around the globe. OperaWorks is my happy place. I made some new friends there who changed my life…and exciting things are happening for us all. Stay tuned.

I’m writing especially to let my followers know that I am moving thedivadigests to my new website (currently being designed by the lovely Kristina Driskill), and you’ll be able to find everything you could possibly want about my performances, voice studio, health coaching practice, & this blog! The site that Cherry Duke designed for me is still up & running, and the new site will occupy the “old” place at http://www.erikaperson.com when it’s complete.

Thanks for following me here, and donor giving up on me. 2015 was the year of THINK, but 2016 is the year of DO, so expect to hear more from me at http://www.erikaperson.com.

Can you believe it’s almost March? We’re that much closer to SPRING!!

The Space Between…

Yesterday’s yoga lesson was about the space between. The space between thoughts, between breaths. The massage I got after class seemed to be about the space between my cranium and my spine, between my vertebrae. I really need to cultivate the space between. That that space, that expansiveness, is where our true essence resides. The space between our matter is our Spirit, and that is who we truly are — beautiful, free, ever-expanding Spirits…in a material world. The challenge is to engage and live in the Spirit, The Space Between, and to float through the chaos and matter of reality. I know for myself that I am caught by the trappings of reality – clothing, possessions, my physical body, money…all of it. It occurs to me that fear is actually a product of our material life, not our spiritual life. What do we fear? I think usually it’s LOSS — of love, of family, of money, of power, of freedom, of life, of STUFF. But if the self is truly identified as the Spirit, the matter through which we come to define ourselves becomes simply STUFF. (This is particularly apt as I am embarking on a major closet purge at home. I have a lot of stuff, and it is cluttering up both my environment and my mind.) Some of it is beloved stuff that we attach to powerful memories, but as they say, “You can’t take it with you.” When we die, all we take with us is our Spirit, our Space Between.

Imagine the Space Between in other areas of your life. The Space Between items on your to-do list – that’s where you live. The Space Between your ideal and your reality – that’s where you grow. The Space Between two people – that’s where you come together. When we communicate with each other, the core of what we need to say, the truth, comes from the space between. When we actively listen, we learn to hear the space between the words; we give the other person a chance to express what comes up in the space between their thoughts, between their breaths, between their words. In that space between thoughts is infinite wonder and knowing and possibility. In that space is the truth you never knew about yourself. It’s forgiveness, and acceptance, and growth, and change, and release. It’s peace.

Make regular dates with yourself to explore the space between your thoughts, the space between your breath. It can be challenging in this material world of go-go-go/more-more-more!, but like anything worth doing, it takes practice. Try it in a quiet place or on the A Train at rush hour or at 2am with your teething toddler. Turn your gaze inward and notice what you find in that space. You will likely find the room you need to grow, to get to know who it is you are meant to be, who it is you already are. You will find compassion. You will meet your Spirit — the spirit who is connected to your ancestors, to the network of All Souls, to the Interspirit Highway (I just made that up, but I like it. It came to me in The Space Between…). You will find your infinite potential, your place in this spiritual world. You will lose your fear of failure and loss, because you will have found, and learned to inhabit, your own marvelous light.

Namaste.

Feeling lost? Maybe you need a new map…

Like this one from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. A 6-month Roadmap To Health & Happiness. It’s a gift from me to you. It is never too late to choose happiness. It is never too late to choose health. You may stumble on the road – but at least you know where you’re going, and you’ll have some guidance. Is your health holding you back from making your dreams come true? Are you stressed out? Exhausted? Addicted to sugar? Feeling like you’re not reaching your potential or serving your special purpose in this world? Think of your health as your foundationnot your goal. Strengthen your foundation, and your perception about what’s possible will shift. And you will become unstoppable

If you are interested in a free wellness consultation, drop me a line at thedivadigests@gmail.com – I would love to help you on your journey with your very own, totally individualized 6-month program.

Rose Colored Glasses

I have this friend, Rose. She is one of the most creative thinkers I know. This makes her one of the most imaginative and interesting performing artists I have ever seen. She can improvise an aria or a dramatic scene or a nonsense song in your voicemail like nobody’s business. She’s also an intensely good listener, highly intuitive, and keenly insightful. She actively reflects what she hears, which ensures that we both get to the heart of the matter. If she chose to, she’d make one heck of a life coach. Last Sunday, Rose and I finally celebrated Christmas (it’s a long story) and had a lovely picnic overlooking the Hudson where we discussed an endless number of subjects while soaking up some sun and eating some delicious organic food. 

I feel like I’ve been in transition for the last few years. Last summer, to pursue a relatively new interest, I registered for the Health Coach certification program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. (I’m more than halfway done and just got certified to start seeing clients, so be sure to stay tuned for more info!!) Now, this is on top of my full-time job as a legal secretary, my career as an opera singer, church musician and voice teacher, and my involvement with Team In Training and the LLS. I’m not bragging. In fact, I’m exhausted. Possibly even over-committed. When you’re chronically busy and life is always hectic, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and that you’re barely keeping it together. Although I’ve recently gotten much better about acknowledging my accomplishments, it’s still way too easy for me to undermine my own confidence and belittle what I’ve achieved. (As Marie Curie said: “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”) So I complained to Rose that I was tired of being a chicken, of holding myself back because I hadn’t taken as many big risks as I wished. Rose quickly fired back that she wouldn’t let me get away with that kind of talk. She sees me as incredibly brave person who leads with her heart and is infinitely capable. Huh. 

Which got me thinking — how we see ourselves is critically important, and we’re often told that how others see us doesn’t matter. But I want you, as an exercise, to try to see yourself as your most trusted friends see you. It can change the way you see yourself. I swear it’s true!! They don’t see you that way for no reason — they see you that way because they can see your essence more clearly than you do! Especially if you’re in a rut or a funk (and not the cool kind of funk), ask your 3 closest friends for the 5 words that best describe you, or the 3 qualities that they admire most about you.

I always laugh when friends say they think I’m organized. HA! But they think I’m organized because of the sheer magnitude of stuff I do in a week. If I wasn’t organized (even in what I think of as my own feeble way), I wouldn’t get anywhere or do anything! Every week, my chiropractor comments on how strong I am. HA! Doesn’t she know I’m seeing her because my body is weak? Well, no, actually, maybe my body is having a normal response to the incredible stress to which I subject it every day and my strength is what keeps me from falling apart completely. Huh. So Rose thinks I’m brave, big-hearted, and infinitely capable. HA! Wait. Maybe she’s right…

According to Answers.com, you have to hear a thing an average of 7 times before you believe it. Cue THE MANTRA. (No, not Mothra. Mantra.) Our friends at Wikipedia define the etymology of the word MANTRA thus-wise:

The Sanskrit word mantra- (m.; also n. mantram) consists of the root man- “to think” (also in manas “mind”) and the suffix -tra, designating tools or instruments, hence a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”.

An instrument of thought… A tool with which to guide the mind… When you get lost, you ask for directions. So when your spirit feels a little lost, why not ask for guidance? It’s a relatively simple thing to write yourself a love note (a/k/a mantra) and tape it to your medicine chest. You’ll see that note several times a day. If you look yourself in the eye and speak the words aloud every time you go to brush your teeth (2x/day) and wash your face (2x/day), that’s 4x/day that you’ve delivered the message. Type up the same phrase (or a collection of inspiring, confidence-building quotes) and use them as a bookmark for your favorite book, keep messages taped at eye-level at work, and you’ll hit 7x in no time. Some simple self-esteem building mantras (borrowed from various sources) include:

  • I am a well loved and well respected person.
  • I feel secure in who I am, and do not need to compare myself to others.
  • I am free to make my own choices and decisions.
  • I am a unique and a very special person and worthy of respect from others.
  • I deserve all that is good. I release any need for misery and suffering.
  • I release the need to prove myself to anyone as I am my own self and I love it that way.
  • My mind is full of gratitude for my lovely and wonderful life.
  • I consciously release the past and live only in the present. That way I get to enjoy and experience life to the full.
  • Confidence comes through action.

Some of my favorite confidence-building quotes are:

I leave you with a challenge: ask your Rose and your other besties how they would describe you. Write down their answers. And then learn to see yourself the way they see you, through your very own pair of ROSE COLORED GLASSES

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson