Category Archives: Communication

3 Keys to Resolving Conflicts

It was recently suggested to me that I displayed classic symptoms of Battered Women’s Syndrome. My symptoms were as follows: I felt verbally paralyzed, unable to speak out or take a stance in fear of what consequence may follow.

I don’t remember being battered, but I have experienced near death accidents that have caused post traumatic stress reactions and I have experienced other forms of suppression, such as verbal abuse, scare tactics and withholding.

Some of these experiences are still affecting my life from time to time in the form of fear. Fear of conflict being the most energy- and time consuming. In the spirit of Vocal Freedom, I am going to share 3 key elements that I have found to be the most useful in terms of regaining my confidence and ability to resolve conflicts:

1 – Being Fully Present

My automatic reaction to stress is to dissociate, to leave my body. Dissociation may be an affective tool to handle stress in the moment, but is not conducive to being effective or productive or resolving conflicts. So, in order to move into a better feeling place and a place of power, I first need to become present in my own body, to ground myself in the here and now, to feel my feelings.

2 – Identifying the Most Ideal Outcome

It is easy to get wrapped up in other people’s words and actions, to take things personally. And to respond from a place of feeling wounded and needy. So, in order to counter this victim-based reactive behavior, I step back and try to see the situation from a higher perspective, by identifying the most ideal outcome. In order to do this effectively, it is vital that I don’t act from an emotional charge, but wait until I have identified what I really want to get out of the situation.

I recently stepped into a difficult conversation with a group of people I didn’t know. And, because my initial engagement happened as a knee-jerk reaction, I fell flat on my face. It took almost a day and a half to untangle myself from the emotional defense I had gotten myself into and to see my carefully drafted ignorant BS for what it was. This can be a tricky thing to identify, since the ego automatically will come up with a number of self-glorifying justifications for our behavior, as long as we remain emotionally charged. Stepping back and identifying the most ideal outcome, helped me see clearly how to untangle myself and proceed in a more constructive way.

3 – Humbly Embracing the Opportunity to Learn

It takes a great deal of courage to be humble. It requires enough personal strength, confidence and wisdom to see the value of such a receptive state of being. For me in particular, being humble is something I have fought, tooth and nail, every step of the way. Why? Because I mistook it for weakness. Fortunately, I have come to realize that humility can serve as a most wonderful tool to discover what is possible to achieve and receive. When I humbly embrace the opportunity to learn from a situation, however triggering, confusing or challenging it may be, I put myself in a position of optimal reception. Being humble and unassuming enable us to see and receive what we have to offer each other with greater ease and precision.

Here’s a song I wrote that expresses the magic and beauty of being fully present, identifying a most ideal outcome and humbly embracing the opportunity to learn: Dancing In The Nude. It features Jennifer Leitham on bass, Katisse Buckingham on sax and programming, Tom Zink on keys, Chris Wabich on drums and Caroline Waters on piano and vocals. Enjoy!

Honoring the Victims of War

We must remember to whom we owe our freedom. We must remember that freedom itself is a privilege. We must remember those who die for the cause of freedom. We must remember to lend a helping hand, so that those who wants freedom can achieve it. And we must make sure that the freedom that we enjoy in our so-called civilized corner of the world is not in any way based on the suffering of others.

Tomorrow, I will sing and play my heart out with cellist Elisa Herbig and refugee kids, to commemorate those who died in an attempt to find refuge from war. Feel free to bring a rose and join us, if you are anywhere near the vicinity of Åmål, Sweden. If you are too far away, feel free to join us in song, prayer or meditation. We will meet at 7PM, behind the old church, down by the water.

Love,
Caroline

Angels, Bandits and the Power of YES

Amazing things happen when we open to receive the good that abounds. Last summer, I said YES to perform at a music festival in Brønnøysund. It took three days to drive there with my sweetheart in a super cool electric Nissan Leaf and three days to drive back, across the beautiful mountains of Norway. And, as I thoroughly enjoyed the whole festival experience and appreciated all the aspects of the journey, I received another proposal. A group of extraordinary women musicians asked if I wanted to join them in a band. Again, I said YES.

Engla & Banditta

Our band name is Engla & Banditta, which in English means Angels and Bandits. The name itself is significant for many reasons. In addition to our music being incredibly expressive, deep, joyous and diverse, ranging from Bluesy Rock to Jazzy Pop, we have a fierce social engagement and a soft spot for the underdog.

Banjo- and guitar playing Tove Bøygard, who sings in real Halling, is improving the lives of drug addicts and prostitutes as a social worker. Bass- and castanet playing Venja Ruud Nilsen and sax tooting Bente Mari Mortensen are improving the lives of women prisoners as music therapists. Swedish singer/songwriter and electric guitar player Sara Andersson teaches and performs with extraordinary depth and compassion. Legendary drummer Metch Johannessen fights for the downtrodden with every beat of her heart and drum. And I, in addition to sharing my own personal story of overcoming adversary in Finding Venus, give seminars and teach Vocal Freedom for anyone and everyone who wants to heal from post-traumatic stress, find/ strengthen their voice and let their heart sing with no holds barred.

Engla & Banditta in Action

Engla & Banditta recently completed our first concert series, with performances at Iris Scene in Odda, Bredtveit Women’s Prison and Herr Nilsen in Oslo, Norway. The audience response has been amazing and we are now getting ready for a delicious summer of joyous expression in both Norway and Sweden.

If you would like to book us for your event, party, club, stage, TV or radio program, let us know via booking@englaogbanditta.com. Chances are, if schedules allow and the price is right, we’ll say YES!

Click HERE for a video teaser from one of our shows in Oslo!

Musically Yours,
Caroline Waters

Creating Something Awesome

There is something so thrilling about having a blank canvass, free from old attachments, to paint on. And the idea that I have colors at my disposal that I don’t even know about yet is equally thrilling.

What I am creating in the moment is truly exceptional. It is a culmination of all that I have lived and learned on my journey so far, with the secret ingredient being total freedom from attachment. Freedom from imposed deadlines, result oriented expectations and financial pressure. Freedom to simply create what feels good and inspired in and by the moment.

The key to accessing the blank canvass requires nothing but courage. The courage to be still, to wait, to listen, to not try to fix anything or make anything happen. When we dare to simply show up for the present without attempting to fill it with the past or the future we have access to infinite power of creation.

From that position of creative power (presence), we get to choose what elements we’d like to include from the past, present or future. Elements that are discovered in the moment tend to contain the most expansive energy, whereas elements from the past or future may feel energetically constricted because they tend to be emotionally charged in one way or another. That being said, a mixture of the three might exactly be what we want in order to create something juicy and delicious with a hint of spice to it.

I am creating a fabulous mixture of all three at the moment – onto a truly blank canvass. The canvass is blank simply because I have released all expectations and worries connected to the outcome of that which I am creating. I am simply gathering elements from the past, present and future that feels good to me. I am not trying to control or fix anything. On the contrary, I am in the flow. And in the process, I am creating something awesome.

Love Always,
Caroline

Letting Go

It’s not easy to let go. Not for people like me. I am so practiced at fixing things, maintaining equilibrium no matter what, taking the higher road and reaching for the good in everyone and everything. These are useful habits, but sometimes they keep us at bay.

Sometimes anger is good, as it propel us forward and help us take action. I have found it extremely helpful to acknowledge the contrasts that clarify my desire. Accepting people, things and events for whom and what they are, without trying to fix, change, belittle or make excuses for them, can release a tremendous amount of energy, – energy that is otherwise bound up in denial or repression.

I have found that, when I allow this anger or dismay to simply be what it is, an uncomfortable feeling, a gage, if you will, that helps clarify my preferences… When I allow this feeling without resistance, it changes form quite quickly. Resisting my feelings, resisting change is what causes me to feel pain. When I let myself go with the flow and allow the gage that is my emotional meter to simply clarify my objective, I can rise to my own occasion with surprising speed and elegance.

This year is a year of tremendous change for me, personally and professionally. I am letting go, physically and emotionally, of people, places and things that have held me at bay. And in doing so, I am stepping up to my own plate in a way I have never done before. By letting go of that which no longer serves my creative vision I am opening my heart and soul to new dimensions of being. It’s very exciting!

The most effective way for me to let go of people, places and things are by acknowledging the awesome gift of their being in my life. I am eternally grateful for each and every experience that has led me to this place in time. No matter how joyous or sad, not matter how pleasurable or painful. Each contrasting experience have served to clarify my vision and enhanced my dream building.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, it is not easy for people like me to let go. As a matter of fact, it has taken me half a lifetime to get to this point of feeling okay with it. But I can tell you this much. The joy I am feeling at the core of my being as a result of my resolution to let go of the old and embrace the new is beyond words. I highly recommend it!

Here’s to celebrating the Now, by fearlessly releasing the ghosts of the past and embracing what is to come with no holds bar!

Love, Blessings and Cheers from Caroline

The Infinite Wisdom of Cats

Early this morning, as the sun began to beam and stretch over the horizon, I was privy to a remarkable interaction between two beautiful black cats, sitting in the street across from my kitchen window. They seemed to be engaged in a very serious conversation about their relationship and took turns meowing and listening to each other.

After almost ten minutes of this rather extraordinary exhibit, an elderly gentleman in robe and slippers came out to fetch his newspaper in the driveway. The two love balls swiftly dashed under a parked car and came out flying on the other side, like a yin yang ball of fire, enmeshed in a furious embrace, rolling full speed across the street toward me. Then, with shocking elegance, they came to a complete Matrix stance, their respective coats in perfect shine, and began a staring contest that simply left me in awe.

What amazed me the most was that the energetic interaction between these two magnificent creatures seemed just as profound as any human interaction I have ever witnessed. They appeared to exhibit a deep love and respect for each other – and the ease in which they expressed their emotions was simply mind blowing.

The display of infinite wisdom in these animals served as a reminder for me to be present in the moment and in my body, – and to interact with others, fully present and in my body. Lately, I have been wrapped up in conflict resolution involving numerous analytical processes regarding what was said. Very silly, but quite automatic. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. And these two cats, in spite of the fact that I have no clue what they were saying to each other or what their issues might have been, totally helped me get out of my own way.

I feel like dedicating this blog post to my little Rascal, who used to help me get out of my own way on a daily basis when she was alive and well in this physical time and space reality. She was an amazing healer. Here’s a link to a music video we made together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nfY6JzvadM

Enjoy!
Rascal on top of the bookshelf

Vocal Freedom in Oslo

Norway just had an election. The liberal Labour party got the most votes, but did not make it because the right wing parties combined were stronger. Surprisingly, Norway’s most racist, selfish and anti-climate party got lots and lots of votes. I can’t even begin to explain how that is possible in a nature loving country that is on the leading edge when it comes to equality, anti-discrimination, education and social welfare.

To live in a society where we are free to choose how to vote, how to think, what to believe in and how to express ourselves is a privilege that we need to appreciate, savor, take advantage of and not take for granted. I voted for the Green party, simply because I wanted someone to strongly represent mother nature in government. And, as I ponder how to be most effective in making a positive change for the issues I believe in, no matter what kind of government is in charge, I choose to focus on Vocal Freedom.

The positive aspect of having oppositional parties in power is that we tend to engage in debate more passionately and be inspired to take new action. This, in turn, helps us realize who we are on a deeper level and , hopefully, gets us to hone our skills and talents. I am totally inspired and committed right now to better myself so I can make a difference in the world at large through my words, music, performance and coaching. Will you join me? Will you make sure your voice gets heard?

Vocal Freedom guides us through a powerful transformational process to find, nurture and strengthen our individual voices, so we can express ourselves fully. Since several people have expressed an interest, I will be offering another seminar in Oslo before I head back to perform Finding Venus and to teach Vocal Freedom on the Beach in LA.

Stay tuned at www.carolinewaters.com/seminars.php

Cheers,
Caroline