When I came out of the Landmark Forum almost a year ago, I knew one thing for sure: I wasn’t happy – and my physical state was a reflection of that – not the cause of it. I deduced that if I created a life I loved doing things that light me up daily, I might lose weight…or I might not…but at least I’d be happy doing things that inspire me. That’s when I created my personal mission: make music, make art, make a difference. I’m happy to say, I’m doing all of those things more and more…and I’m happy. And I’m losing weight…go figure!
I have been singing most of my life. Choirs when I was younger, then karaoke, then other peoples’ bands, then my own. I released an album, Come out of the Blue, in 2013, which was a wonderful and fulfilling bucket list item. But I worked full time and there wasn’t much I could do with the album. Touring was out of the question, gigging was reserved for weekends. I got a bit of radio play on local public radio and then that was it. It was kind of like giving birth and letting the baby die. After that, the band gigged less and less, only taking on shows and events that came through word of mouth.
Here’s the thing: music is medicine for the soul – at least it is for mine. The less I sang, the sadder, slower and bigger I got. It was like not letting music out of my body was toxic. As I got bigger, performing became more and more difficult. Eventually, I had to sit through my shows. That was the case last Christmas for our annual holiday show.
Seeing this picture now makes me a little sad…though I’m proud of me for being fat and tired and in pain and doing it anyway…because it made me happy. My band has since expressed they were worried about me that day. Before the show, we were walking from a restaurant less than a block away and I needed to stop and rest. Less than a block. No wonder they were concerned!
We are doing another Christmas show this year. I will be standing, dancing, and expressing myself fully. We have been gigging regularly (check here for scheduled shows) and the difference in my performance is extraordinary…the band has always been and continues to be a stellar group of musicians.
Shameless plug: Get your tickets here!
I am also a painter: though, unlike singing, it’s not something that came naturally to me. I learned as an adult to paint and I fell in love. For a number of years, I was painting regularly, creating new works almost monthly, even selling some.
And then I stopped. For a few years I didn’t paint at all. Creativity is not something that should be stifled! While I may not have made that correlation at the time, I’m clear now that creative expression is as important to my wellbeing as breathing is. Death may come more quickly for lack of oxygen, but make no mistake, I was dying.
In the last year, I picked up the brush again and completed a painting I’d promised my cousin and his wife as a wedding gift two years before (better late than never?), completed a gift for my beautiful friend Trish and did two silent auction donation paintings. And it feels great. I am now creating the possibility of generating revenue from art once again:
Shameless plug: Commission a piece today!
Make a Difference
For the past eight years I have worked in non-profits. It’s important to me to contribute to making the world a better place. That has become very present for me over the last year.
After completing the Forum, I quit my job. I wasn’t happy…and the quickest, most drastic change I could make was to leave my job. Fortunately, my boss offered me a part-time alternative that has allowed me time and freedom to pursue making music, making art and making a difference while still being able to buy a home and pay the bills. My cup doesn’t necessarily runneth over with money, but my life is abundant with sunshine, exercise, great food, great conversation, friends, strangers, laughter, love and, who could forget my dog, The Jooge.
Of course, I still need to earn money…preferably while making a difference. During my Forum, I came up with an idea to provide affordable housing to emerging artists. Working with my friend and colleague Candace, it has manifested itself in the form of LaunchPads. I’m going to be super honest here and say that I’ve hit some road blocks. I am committed to creating a community in which artists don’t have to choose between paying their rent and following their passion and it seems I have some personal development to do when it comes to asking people and organizations for support…particularly when it comes to money. I’m committed to getting better at this, so I can have a greater impact in my communities.
I’m passionate about a few causes: animal welfare, human rights/justice (women, first nations, refugees in particular) and arts and culture and I’m creating the possibility of generating income while making a difference in these areas.
Shameless plug: If you know of opportunities or people I should talk to in these areas, drop me a line! Let’s make a difference together!
Is there an area you’re unfulfilled in life? Something you’ve always wanted to do, but never done? What’s holding you back? I’d love to hear your stories.
Love and light,