Category Archives: Healing

Overcoming Procrastination and Finding Venus

Roughly seven years after the birth of the idea to create a musical, based on chapters from the novel-eh-thriller-memoir that took a half a lifetime to dare to write, I am finally ready to release the double album, Finding Venus.

I am both excited and absolutely terrified. Not that the album itself is so dangerous. But the emotional content that is attached to each of the songs, brings up a world of issues for me. They remind me of times in my life where I have felt utterly powerless or deathly buried afraid or wanting to kill myself.

The songs, in themselves, are tremendously empowering, full of hope and strength and courage and humor and powerful expressions. Yet, for me, they bring up all the hidden passages of what it took for me to overcome the fear and pain and uncertainty of the trauma I lived through.

In addition to working hard to have it all come together, the book, the musical and the album, I must confess that procrastination techniques have been at play. Techniques such as, nitpicking, delaying making a decision, constantly debating the pros and cons of each decision made, beating up on myself for not being slim enough to present it, etc.

Now, that I have made the decision to move forward with the release, I realize the amount of fear that has been holding me back. I realize the kind of self doubt that I have carried with me for so long. In spite of the fact that I have been a great promoter of Vocal Freedom, I have held myself hostage, in a way, to my own fear.

The fear that I now have surrendered completely, in order to move forward with this release, is connected to a very old message, launched deeply within my younger self. This old message is about Not sharing personal stuff, about Always smiling to the camera, about Appearing strong and happy, even when I feel vulnerable or sad. Serendipitously, herein lies the core of the new message I wish to relay with my music and story:

Don’t be afraid to Be and Share who you are. There is tremendous power in opening to the inner wisdom of your being, allowing it to move you and expressing it powerfully in words, music and action.

All the songs for Finding Venus can now be enjoyed and purchased via www.carolinewaters.com and we’ll be super happy if you can make it to the Release Party at Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood on May 4th.

Let’s BE That Change!

If we want to live in a world where truth matters, where equal opportunity matters, where preserving our soil, our water, our basis for living, matters, we need to be honest to the core of our being.

We need to speak the truth about ourselves, about our own experiences, about how we feel. We need to stop spreading and feeding into the poison that fear-based propaganda is. We need to focus, wholeheartedly, on cleaning up our own, distorted, world views and make sure we come from a place of love and integrity with every single word we speak and type and sing and act on.

When we take 100% responsibility for how we feel and act, when we heal the internal wounds that are so easily triggered by external factors, when we stop projecting our feelings of hurt and anger and fear and instead channel all those feelings into a conscious, loving commitment to positive change, then and only then will we see the change we wish to see in the world. Let’s BE that change!

From Paralyzed to Energized

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!

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!

From Workaholic to Finding Venus in West Hollywood

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.

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.

Caroline Waters LIVE at The Grafton on Sunset

Love Always,
Caroline

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