CAROLINE WATERS, JAZZ ENTERTAINER, AUTHOR, VOCAL COACH
Caroline Waters Blog Posts
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I admit it. I am petrified. Frozen with fear. Emotionally locked inside a deep darkness. The big fat void of avoidance, of all things postponed, is now staring me down to the ground. I am, literally, chained to the floor of my internal torture chamber, as the poisonous venom of guilt, shame and feeling inadequate works its way through my veins.
These are powerful feelings and I allow them all. “Bring it on!” I say, as I close my eyes and prepare for death, still unable to move or even brace for the impact. And as I allow the waves of distain, of self loathing and blame, of hatred and shame to wash right through me, to the very core… As I allow this nuclear explosion, this unhinged train, this blow torch, this torrential rain, to have its way with me, I am strangely okay.
“How is it possible,” I ask, “to feel okay in the middle of my very own, personal, Armageddon?” At the moment of asking, I don’t know the answer. I don’t have to. It is what it is and I accept it as is. I’ve paid my dues. I no longer need to prove myself, not even to myself. And herein lies the answer to my quest. I no longer need to prove a thing, not even to myself. From this statement alone, another revelation is born: When we surrender the ego, all ego-related feelings, such as guilt and shame and feeling inadequate, automatically falls away.
In the ten minutes it took me to write this, I have moved from feeling completely paralyzed to feeling completely energized. This, to me, is the power of surrender, of being totally present in the moment, in the body, letting whatever emotions are there be fully felt and pass through unobstructed, without trying to deny it, fix it, explain it or change it.
Bring it on and enjoy your day!
Have you ever experienced feeling like you expressed yourself with such immaculate clarity, but for some bizarre reason, most of your intended communication got lost in translation? I have. Many times. In fact, over and over. It’s really frustrating.
So, here’s the deal: We receive 400 billion pieces of information every second. Of these 400 billion pieces, only 2000 gets delivered to our conscious mind via our brain’s filtering system. And, this filtering system is continuously formed by our emotional experiences, which of course varies greatly from person to person, depending on our DNA, our upbringing and our surroundings at any given time.
This explains why we perceive things so differently and why we can experience the same event, but observe completely different aspects of it and thus tend to give entirely different accounts when we reiterate said event.
Seeing and hearing and feeling things so differently from one another can make it difficult to communicate. Here are my three keys to making it easier:
1 – Listen with the intention to learn where the other person is coming from and how they experience what they experience. Ask them to clarify if anything is unclear.
2 – Resist the urge to offer an opinion, unless specifically asked. And, even then, I often find it more useful to ask more questions so that the other person can arrive at their own understanding first.
3 – Let new information sink in before jumping to conclusions. Recognizing that we are only perceiving a small part of the whole picture at any given moment opens the door to more playful, curious and exploratory communication. When we resist the urge to judge, we open for the possibility to expand our vision. This, in turn, expands our ability to collaborate and co-create.
For those of you who are interested, I am designing new Vocal Freedom seminars that include fun and empowering processes for expanding our self awareness and enhancing our communication skills. This, in addition, of course, to finding, freeing and exquisitely expressing our voices.
If you want me to stop by your town for a Vocal Freedom Seminar and/ or House Concert or to give a concert at your favorite venue, feel free to shoot me an email. Many choose to book a seminar/ concert as a one- or two-day event.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or booking inquiries.
Vocal Freedom via SKYPE/ FaceTime is also an option.
I’m back in Los Angeles, after an intense few months in Sweden. I gave only three performances this time around, all well received and the last two sold out. One of them in concert with Norwegian country-artist extraordinaire, Tove Bøygard. In-between concerts, I took time off to get knee surgery, physical therapy and go on a week vacation to the Canary Islands to recover.
Looking at it from a neutral perspective, I feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Being on my way to recovering completely and getting in good shape for the upcoming Finding Venus album-, musical- and book release feels really good. The possibilities that lie ahead as a result of what I have accomplished so far are numerous and exciting. Producers, directors, film makers and bookers from both Europe and the US are showing a real interest in the book, musical and album. An expanded journey of traveling and broadening the horizons for Finding Venus lies afoot.
Yet, my mind is beating up on me for not having everything figured out already for the upcoming release. “Show me the money,” it says. “You should have had it all strategized, financed and in motion by now.” This is of course my workaholism at work, telling me that no matter what I do, it’s never good enough or fast enough or enough, period.
So, I try to sit back and just breathe, in the California sun, and remind myself that just for today, it’s enough just to be. Just for today it’s enough to appreciate where I’m at, how far I have come and to be excited for the journey that lies ahead. I tell myself that it’s okay to focus on getting fully back in shape before attempting another quantum leap. And it’s okay to take the time it takes to organically arrive at the most delicious solution to my dream building.
I realize that in and through all of this, getting back on the inside, looking at the world around me from the power that resides within me, is the most important course of action I can take. As I realize this, my shoulders drop and I am able to fully exhale. The moment I allow myself to just be, my mind opens wide to attract exactly who and what I need to proceed. Funny how that works 😉
Back On the Inside is on my Venus Envy album, which I co-produced with Greg Matheson and Katisse Buckingham. You can check it out by clicking here.
A Call to Action for you, my dear friends and fans:
Many of you are eagerly awaiting the Finding Venus album release and tour schedule. In that process I’d love to get your feedback!
– Where would you like to see me perform and in what setting?
– Do you have a favorite venue that you can recommend?
– Do you know producers and directors in your area that you’d like for me to get in touch with?
– Would it be of value to you if I offer Vocal Freedom seminars in conjunction with the Finding Venus performances?
Let me know your thoughts and ideas. I have a feeling it’s going to take the whole village to get this ball rolling as fabulously as I am feeling it.
It’s been a while since my last post… and for that I am truly sorry. So much have happened and I haven’t been good at letting y’all know in any kind of timely fashion. Since my last post, I finished the concerts I had already scheduled for Spring and Summer in New York, Florida, Norway and Sweden. With flying colors, I might add, well, sort of, until my body said, “Stop!”
As some of you may know, I have been struggling with being a workaholic for most of my career. One of the problems with being a workaholic is that I often ignore the signals my body are giving me when it needs rest and rejuvenation. Long story short, I decided to take the rest of the summer off, completely, just to rejuvenate. And it has worked wonders for my well being and creativity.
I am now back in LA, working in a more sane tempo to finish my book and to come up with a plan for a new and improved album release for Finding Venus. Even though I finished recording the album already, I decided to put the release on hold until I got my body back in shape and a team in place to help me promote it, along with my story, in a most fabulous fashion. Here’s a sneak peak. Click on the photo below to listen.
If you’re in the hood, feel free to join me for a drink, a chat or just to listen to a super relaxed concert this coming Thursday at The Grafton on Sunset in West Hollywood. I’ll bring my guitar and some CDs and enjoy your company.
The magical power of joyously focused intention
As some of you already know, one of my dreams has been to play Carnegie Hall. Another to play with Yo-Yo Ma. And, just three days ago, this thought entered my mind: “Wouldn’t it be fun if I got to attend a concert with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall, so I could put my energy in that room, with him, on that stage?”
So, as I Googled that thought, I found that Yo-Yo Ma was, in fact, going to be performing at Carnegie Hall. One performance only. But it was sold out. And according to Carnegie Hall, it had been sold out for months.
My next thought was, “I could swing by, just for fun, and see if an opportunity presents itself. Perhaps there’ll be a ticket, just for me.” So, as I strolled in through the entrance doors of Carnegie Hall, my heart was joyously soaring and I was fully immersed in the fantasy of, not only being present at Yo-Yo Ma’s concert, but also being up close and personal with my hero.
Imagine my facial expression as the ticket person tells me, “We have one ticket available. That is, if you don’t mind being on stage with Yo-Yo Ma.” I won’t leave you wondering – here’s my facial expression:
Long story short, I had the extraordinary privilege of sitting on that stage, less than ten feet from Yo-Yo Ma, as he became one with his instrument and danced his passion, sensitivity and brilliance into each and every breath of Beethoven’s Cello Sonatas.
For three full hours, I got to savor every detail of Yo-Yo Ma and his performance, his amazing pianist, Emanuel Ax, the beauty and majesty of Carnegie Hall, filled to the brim, the awe and admiration on people’s faces, the standing ovations. I got to take it all in, as if I was the performer. It felt as if we, who were so lucky as to be seated on stage with him, were part of his orchestra that evening, energetically reflecting his genius in our listening and being.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that he smiled, small talked and flirted with me as he passed me to go off and on stage 😉 This whole experience, in itself, is a dream come true! And it goes to show that anything is possible when we put our heartfelt intention to work 🙂
What’s Happening Next?
Feel free to join us this coming Tuesday, April 19th, as we are celebrating my new album, Finding Venus, in concert at Caffe Vivaldi in Greenwich Village. Incredible Russian cellist Anastasia Golenishcheva is playing with me and singer/songwriter Katelyn Richards is singing backup vocals. There is no cover charge, but reservations are highly recommended! Click here for more info!
My Papa was an annoyingly positive and persistent person.
In the summer, he would wake us up in the wee hours of the morning, by singing and dancing and ushering us down to the ocean for a swim in annoyingly enthusiastic manners, no matter how cold or windy it was. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I realize now, four decades later, how his attitude of joy combined with great discipline, work ethics and creative expression, has given me an incredible foundation to live, work and create from. It wasn’t always fun back then, to be subject to someone so intensely dedicated to absolutely everything he focused his attention on.
As a matter of fact, it has taken me years in therapy and self development, to fully appreciate and utilize the amazing gifts I received. And I try to remember the feeling of the not so fun moments when I feel myself mimicking his less elegant methods in my own desire to empower myself and others to greater productivity and expression.
The key to sanity, productivity and joyous expression.
In order to keep myself from crashing, burning or acting out on others, I strive every single day to maintain balance, between work and play, productivity and relaxation, creativity and reception. This balancing act requires that I allow myself to be less enthusiastic and joyous at times. It requires space and time to listen to myself and others and to simply be, without trying to move, fix or change anything.
In order for a tree to grow big and strong and fruitful, it needs ample time to grow and stretch it’s root system to ensure a rich supply of water, minerals and vitamins. In today’s society, so filled with lights and sounds and demands, it is easy to forget that we need the darkness, the aloneness and the silence to deepen and expand our root system.
Embracing the darkness, going deep into the soil of our subconscious, allows us to also discover and extract the gold and the diamonds that exist there.
The process of Finding Venus.
I’ve spent the last four years producing an album for Finding Venus, the musical thriller. In addition to the small village of brilliant musicians, actors and sound engineers who has blessed this project, it has taken all that I have had to give of my enthusiasm, talent, time, heart, listening and going deep into the soil of my emotional being to see it through to the finish line. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.