Thursday 21 February 2019

And breathe...

Yesterday I went for the second time to see a voice coach. On my first visit this wonderful coach 'found' my voice again, and on the second, yesterday, she brought it definitively out from the shadows, mainly after repeating the exercises we did last time, but also by really concentrating on my breathing.

It seems that in all those years whilst caring, my main problem was that I had forgotten how to breathe! It seems so silly and obvious, but I  was simply not taking in enough air, and as soon as she got me to properly breathe, I felt a huge difference and so much more energy. I ended the session standing up and singing the song I had sung as a solo at three friend's weddings, and thought i would never sing again . I sang it loud and clear and hit all the high notes and felt empowered and energised and so amazed and happy again. My homework is to be aware of my breathing and keep singing. I think this could really impact my life apart from singing  and  really improve my health and energy in so many ways.

I think that trying to make a living as a  writer can be very stressful, and that it is possible some people reading this are also forgetting to breathe!

So check - are you breathing in a good way - and are you filling your lungs and taking good, deep breaths? Are constant deadlines  making you breathe in an anxious way?

Some writers reading this may also be forgetting to metaphorically breathe - to take weekends and evenings off, or to go on holiday, or let themselves read outside their genre or have hobbies not related to the day job or to exercise (all of these apply to me!).

It might be that someone reading this may need to learn to breathe again, to change their way of life and not think that how they live now is the only way they can live

- they may need to cut down on other work, to keep themselves breathing space to write.

- they may need to stop trying to make a living as a full-time writer and go back to work full or part-time for a while so that they can cut down on stress and maybe get some oxygen from being with others and not being self-employed.

-they may need to apply for a grant from The Society of authors or  other organisation like the Arts Council.

They may need to go on a writers' retreat - and there are grants available from places like The Arvon Foundation so that you can actually get 5 days free to write in a beautiful place, with the input of professional writers tutoring it, but  also the inspiration of fellow students.

There are other places to go for retreats - like Chez Castillon  in France or Retreats for You in Devon.

There are places to go for religious retreats and yoga retreats. I loved my time in silence at St Beuno's  in Wales, for example.

Someone reading this  may need to check that their relationships are giving them the oxygen they need. They may need to seek out supportive friends and avoid overly-critical people, and maybe, most of all, deal with any overly -critical voices in their own heads. I found working through  The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron  to be so helpful in discovering my negative 'blurts'.  This is a wonderful book if you feel creatively blocked, and will give you a boost. The exercises are great ad lots of fun too.

I know this sounds so obvious - but someone reading this may need to check  they are eating and drinking properly - all mind-boggingly simple and obvious things -

but I can't talk -  I forgot to breathe!

Here is lovely Mary Oliver - being wise as usual - and sharing how trees show her how to 'go easy'.

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