Tag Archives: Jazz entertainer Caroline Waters

On Stage with Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall

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:

IMG_1230

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 🙂
Yo-Yo Ma

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!

Join us on Facebook!

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

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:)

The Key to Happiness

Why do we spend so much time worrying about, criticizing, evaluating and complaining about the desires we have yet to manifest? Why don’t we simply BE HAPPY that we are alive and on our way to our new destination? Why don’t we savor and celebrate every single step of the journey, including the difficult stepping stones that propel us further toward our desired goal?

Some say our brains are wired to focus on problem solving as a modern extension of our basic survival instinct, no matter how well we are doing/ being. We also seem to have forgotten to utilize the art of appreciation and acknowledgement on a daily basis. Until Thanksgiving comes around, or Christmas, we seem to bury our heads in the sands of our tasks.

The glorious results of childhood conditioning
I spent most of my childhood in eager and active pursuit of goals related to my intellectual, physical and artistic progress. I learned early on to appreciate the value of discipline, hard work and focused study. And for this I am grateful. But for the longest time I didn’t realize that I or anyone else, or life itself for that matter, had value other than in the achievement of goals or perfected performance.

Today, after a rich life of contrasting experiences, I savor and appreciate as much as I can, as I know it is the KEY to my happiness.

The important art of savoring
When we savor a moment, we let ourselves be filled with awareness which in turn expands our consciousness in that instant. Have you noticed that when you stop to smell a flower, you also become aware of more of your surroundings?

When we become aware of our surroundings in the spirit of appreciation, we  open ourselves to what is possible and to the gifts that are there for us.

The dangerous art of complaining
It never cease to amaze me when I listen to someone complain about something and I realize that they are totally blind to the opportunities that would be apparent to them if they’d only stop complaining. For example:

I met a man in a seminar I attended, who was buried in grief about his daughter’s illness. I listened patiently for a while and then offered a resource that I knew had helped a lot of people in the same situation. But it was as if he didn’t want to know about it. It seemed as if he was more interested in continuing his rambling than finding a solution to his daughter’s condition. I wrote the name of the resource on my card and handed it to him, but found my card on the floor underneath his chair when he left the seminar. My heart just ached.

Living like there’s no tomorrow
I was blessed with a serious car accident that helped me get out of my own way. I don’t wish this on anyone else, but for me it almost seemed like it was necessary to force me to “let go and let God”. During the course of my tremendously tumultuous journey of recovery and discovery, I have learned to appreciate and savor each moment like there’s no tomorrow.

Today, I appreciate every single day I get to wake up and seize the day. And as I practice savoring every lesson learned and every single being who grace my path, I am discovering a whole new world of opportunity, creativity and deliciousness I never knew existed.

The Trick: Replacing fear with appreciation
There is one little trick to this appreciation business. You can’t be fearful and savor at the same time, so you’ve got to let the fear go bye-bye. This takes a bit of courage to do, but if you practice savoring the stuff that has less of a charge, your appreciation muscle will soon become strong enough to shoo the fear away!

I have done it, so I know it works:)

Finding Venus – Come Hell or High Waters
If you’d like, you can catch a sneak peak of my journey of recovery and discovery, as I have just finished creating  a web site for my new musical, Finding Venus – Come Hell or High Waters, with video and sound clips  and all that Jazz!

Finding Venus - Come Hell or High Waters

All Love, Caroline

The Challenge of Treating Each Other with Courtesy and Respect

Speaking my mind on the treatment of a serial killer

As I ventured to my favorite Starbucks, and happened to sit down next to an ultra conservative, self proclaimed Christian, I made the “mistake” of mentioning in conversation, to the person sitting across from me, that I thought it was a good thing that the court system in Norway was treating Anders Behring Breivik, the serial killer, with courtesy and respect in their proceedings.

Being challenged

The guy next to me just simply took off, raising his voice and saying things like, “Who are you to forgive? Who gave you that right?” And then he proceeded to tell me about his grand mother who was raped and murdered by someone who “only” served fifteen years in prison and is a free man today. Clearly, there were some unresolved feelings on his part. Since I recognized the pain underlying his statement, I actively listened with a compassionate heart, yet maintained my position; that I believed we could only heal this kind of violence by holding ourselves to a higher standard.

Feeling powerless

The saddest thing to me was that he seemed completely unable to hear anything other than what might be fueling his rage. He just continued to ramble on about “what the bastards deserve is to get raped and killed themselves… an eye for an eye..” etc. “Wouldn’t that just turn the rest of us into monsters?” I asked, but that only served to fuel his anger even more. When I asked him his name he wouldn’t give it. When I told him that I was sorry I made him upset and that that was not my intention, he said “Shut up and leave me alone! I don’t want to talk with you!” So, as he continued to ask me questions in an accusatory manner, but not wanting to hear any answers, I felt I had no choice but to leave.

Adding perspective

The person across from me, who had witnessed the whole thing, said not to take it personally, that this guy always worked himself up over other people’s statements. He even said the guy might even end up killing someone in a rage one day, just because of his lack of ability to listen to other people’s point of view. No pun intended. This, of course, gave me pause.

It made me sad that I had to leave. It made me feel powerless over the situation. I really wanted for us to come to some kind of understanding, even if it meant to agree not to agree. And it made me realize how upsetting it is to me when people choose their anger and righteous claim to whatever their point of view is, rather than being open to civilized debate. It saddens me when people shut down, for whatever reason, instead of opening to communication and to widening their perspective.

Finding a solution

How can we contribute to that wider perspective in our communication without fueling the rage of those who cannot handle what we are trying to say? One answer could be that it simply isn’t possible, that one person’s expansion might more often than not contain someone else’s trigger.

I know all too well that I cannot please everyone, that I certainly cannot control anyone’s choice of expression and that when I choose to take a stand in a public space, I am vulnerable to the wrath of those who oppose my view.

As a performing artist, author, composer, Vocal Freedom coach and keynote speaker, I am on a mission to empower people to their heartfelt expression. The tricky part is, as healthy as I believe it is to express angry as well as joyous notions, to channel these expression in ways that honor our co-creative efforts.

Learning from the actions of a serial killer

Anders Behring Breivik thought it necessary to kill in order to get his point across. He said he felt unheard and disrespected in his previous attempts to communicate in a “more civilized” manner. This is a powerful statement, from someone who, however misguided and delusional, was able to carry out one of the worst terrorist attacks in modern history.

To listen without prejudice

I have made a vow, to listen without prejudice as much as I can, to those who happen to cross my path. We all need to be heard, seen and validated in order to survive and thrive and make our best contribution on this planet. And our contrasting perspectives are what makes us learn and grow and expand.

Imagine what we could co-create if we were to treat each other as if we sang in a choir together or played in a symphony orchestra. Each of us truly appreciating the different timbres, notes and expressions of our different instruments and how they blend together in harmony when we practice listening to each other as a whole and at the same time hone our own instrument and how we can play our part so that it supports the overall sound as intended.

Love and Blessings, Caroline

Planetary Relief and Focused Intention

We are pummeled, on a daily basis now, with powerful images of the force of nature as She rains and shakes and shifts and overflows. We are also pummeled, on a daily basis, with powerful images of the force of people, as we unite in protest against tyranny and dictatorship, as we kill each other in the name of God and just cause, and as we cause major disasters in the name of capitalism and industrial progress.

The art of appreciation, focus and communication

How can we set the tone for a more harmonious co-creation? How can we empower each other to collaborate in the spirit of love? How can we allow ourselves to receive the good that abounds and let the energy of good vibrations reverberate into the world at large?

These are some of the main tools that help me stay focused and inspired:

Appreciation – Express what you appreciate as often as you can, in words and action, and bask in the feeling of that which you appreciate as you go about your day. Write it, sing it, speak it, show it in all kinds of ways you  can think of and watch how your perspective and the world around you transforms as a result.

Focus – Keep you eye on what it is you wish to accomplish, create, receive and avoid fear based distractions. Give your attention, time and energy to that which you love and want to see blossom and thrive. Do this with any scenario that has your attention and see what happens.

Communication – Share your strengths, vision and gifts in ways that gives you joy and feels good in your heart and soul. Ask for help when you need it and receive the love that abounds with open arms, also when it comes in unexpected ways.

These simple tools have helped me in more ways than I can describe. By keeping my eye on the ball, giving and receiving in the spirit of joy and heartfelt communication and practicing the art of appreciation as much as I can, I am able to stay positive and creative in the face of adversity and turmoil. By focusing on the positive aspects, I can see the beauty and creative potential in people and situations that otherwise would have scared me and inhibited my expression.

Here’s my song Did You Know as I performed it with cellist Erlend Habbestad at an amazing venue called Smöga in Sweden last summer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4swoKym5y5Q

Love and Blessings, Caroline

When Things Fall Apart

One of the basic principles I have learned from Craniosacral Therapy is that “things fall apart in order to come back together in a higher level of order”. This concept is true for most organic systems and can effectively be applied to other systems as well, such as how we organize our thoughts and manage our lives and relationships.

I remember how profoundly it struck me when Sally Field’s character, Sybil, was at the point in her therapy when she felt that the world was coming to an end. And the therapist pointed out that it wasn’t the world that was coming to an end, it was just Sybil’s world as she knew it that was changing in a big way. She was actually beginning to remember parts of her life and thus coming together as a personality system in a better way.

Sometimes allowing things to fall apart is the best thing we can do. Often resistance only serves to prolong the agony and fear of change. When we allow ourselves to go with the flow and surrender to the process of what is happening instead of denying it or fighting it, we create space for a greater part of ourselves to emerge.

And don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t stand up for ourselves or fight for what we believe in. I only mean that when there is a breakdown of sorts in our lives, it can be useful to surrender to the natural process of that breakdown in order to achieve the full benefit of what is created as things fall back together again.

For example: When we feel like we are coming down with something, it is not an uncommon practice to fight it or suppress it with pills and caffeine instead of listening to the signals our bodies are giving us and taking the time to nurture ourselves and rejuvenate. We are so conditioned in our society to suppress our feelings and keep it together and tough it out that we are forgetting how amazing we really are. Yet, when we actually listen and nurture ourselves accordingly, we emerge as stronger, happier and more productive beings.

This is nothing new. I am only choosing to look at it more closely these days, since I have made a commitment to allow myself to feel more and do less. The commitment came about as I realized I was heading full speed into a dead end street (figuratively, not literally) as a performer by working too much, playing too little and burning that famous candle in both ends. My programmed response, from years and years of deadline driven habits and adrenaline junky behaviors, would have been to will the dead end street into a through street and plow ahead as if nothing had happened.

Instead I stopped, got out of the car and began to smell the flowers. And, as I allowed myself to breathe and to surrender to doing absolutely nothing but smelling those flowers, a new idea formed in my mind: “What would happen if I let myself just be for a while? If I actually took that time off that I said I would take off after I finished my last project? Would my world fall apart? And if it did, would it then be possible for it to come back together in a much better way?

Sometimes all we need is to get out of our own way.

Love and Blessings, Caroline