Category Archives: Tools for overcoming depression

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!

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

Finding Venus in Norwegian

I am working hard every day now to get ready for and promote Jakten på Venus, which is the Norwegian version of the musical thriller, Finding Venus.

Jakten på Venus av og med Caroline Waters

Finding Venus
tells part of my life story, starting with highlights from my tomboy child star years, growing up in performance with my “Superstar Papa”, Per Asplin, and how the bicycle accident that sent me flying 28 feet through the air with a severed left leg served to bring my consciousness and being to a whole new level of existence.

I was 18. I landed on my nose. My lungs collapsed and filled up with water. Everything shut down. I went into the tunnel. I experienced the incredible beauty of the Light that is all knowing, all loving and connects us all in perfect harmony. Then two Light-Being-looking dudes stopped me and told me to return to the broken mess that used to be my body. They said I had a job to do. I refused, but to no avail.

It took four years to recover. Four roller coaster years of pain management, amnesia, post traumatic stress, pill addiction and a relentless search for identity, love and a sense of purpose. Throughout this time period, it was the music and desire to express myself that helped me win the battle agains feeling powerless and suicidal. That, and an angel named Esther.

Finding Venus also tells the humorous story of how I came out of the closet to an “ultra conservative family of supreme court lawyers and royal blood”. And it reveals how my desperate search for Stefanie Stroh, the only person I was able to remember after the accident, who vanished without a trace in the same area a notorious serial killer was operating, led to a surprising discovery.

If you happen to be in Oslo, Norway, on December 12-19, please join us at Elsker! If you happen to have peeps in Scandinavia who might enjoy and appreciate this musical adventure, please give them a heads up!

Jakten på Venus is starring:
Caroline Waters as Venus and on piano, guitar and percussion
Svein Fuglestad as Papa and Frank and Missionary Man
Odille Blerh as Mama and Esther &
Elisa Herbig on cello

Tickets and more at www.carolinewaters.com/shows.php

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

3 Keys to Vocal Freedom

Have you ever felt like you’re on the verge of doom and that you don’t know how to move forward? Have you ever felt trapped in your own mind because you feel as if you are stuck between impossible choices?

I go through periods when these kinds of feelings are prominent. And when I stop to analyze the situation, I realize the feeling of doom is usually exaggerated and not a realistic response to my actual predicament. But it is often serious enough to warrant some major changes in the way I go abut my life or business.

The key, when I am faced with indecision, of not knowing what to do next, is to stay calm, breathe, make sure my body is properly nurtured and then proceed with activities that move me into a better feeling place.

When we build habits based on activities that put us in a better feeling place, solutions will present themselves in a more organic fashion. The following habits are my personal keys to freedom from mind bondage and indecision:

1. Make sure you get enough oxygen flowing through your system by doing yoga, breathing meditations, walking, running, jumping or dancing on a daily basis.

2. Make sure you are properly watered and nurtured with organically grown whole foods that are alkaline and life affirming on a daily basis.

3. Make sure you have an outlet for thoughts, feelings and ideas by journaling, conversing, songwriting, creating art, speaking or singing on a daily basis.

Vocal Freedom in Santa Monica
For the next five mornings, I will be teaching Vocal Freedom on the beach in Santa Monica. Feel free to join us if you’d like to walk with the dolphins, free your expression, strengthen your voice and sing your life into a more powerful and joyous existence. I will walk with you every step of the way.

Vocal Freedom in Culver City
You are also welcome to join us next Saturday, as I’ll be teaching a one-day Vocal Freedom Intensive seminar at Redhead Records Studio in Culver City.

Registration and more info at www.carolinewaters.com/seminars.php 

Fighting Artistic Depression

I am situated at a small café in Oslo, drinking my favorite, Chai tea latte with soy milk. I slept through the night. I had a healthy breakfast. I rode my bike here. In other words, there is no reason why this shouldn’t be a most delicious creative and productive day.

But underneath my optimistic facade, the soft smile on my face, the playlist of truly interesting creative tasks and the intellectual knowing that all is well in the present moment, I can sense a deep murmur of fear beneath the surface. This murmur has the power to paralyze me completely, if I let it.

It’s an old murmur. A murmur from childhood, psychologically intensified by layers and layers of similar feeling murmurs. In its current manifestation it can be described as a web of sticky mind-mist and soggy, glue-like emotional mud.

I know that if I can get to the core of the murmur, if I can catch a glimpse of the cause of the original fear, or even just the original emotion that got triggered from said fear, I can dissolve it. This requires courage, patience and willingness to surrender my ego.

My ego will fight me at every turn. It will tell me that under no circumstance am I allowed to admit that I have felt anything less than all-powerful. It will do its damdest to convince me to maintain a picture perfect facade of a strong, vibrant, successful artist in motion. It doesn’t know any better. It is merely doing its job as ego.

Surrendering the ego can be an amazingly powerful thing, especially when it comes to reprogramming old patterns that no longer serves their original purpose. By letting myself sink into the feelings of interest and observe their related thought patterns without trying to judge, combat or fix them, I surrender the ego. I surrender to a state of simply being fully present to the moment.

When I surrender to the moment, no matter how painful it is or uncomfortable it makes me feel, I allow for an expansion of consciousness to take place. This is the point where I can most effectively let go of that which no longer serve me, let my body rejuvenate and receive new wisdom.

Today’s murmur happens to be about perfection in performance and a tremendous sense of urgency in terms of maximizing the potential of my talent. Growing up as a child star with parents who modelled an unusually high level of productivity and fabulousness, I felt a constant pressure to maximize my potential at every turn. This pressure has caused me to develop my talent in extraordinary fashions and be amazingly productive. It has also caused me to periodically feel overwhelmed and insignificant and paralyzed.

So, today, I surrender to simply being and feeling and observing. Today I surrender to loving myself as whole and complete in this moment and the next, just the way I am. Today, I declare that I am enough just for being. I forgive myself for allowing the ghosts of the past influence my joy and lightness of being. I forgive my parents for the pressure they caused and I open my heart and mind to receiving the good that abounds.

Sometimes the best way to fight something is to surrender:)