Yes my friends, this picture is how I felt inside about singing for years. The funny thing is that I always wanted to sing but was super scared that I wouldn't sound good so I didn't a lot! I didn't try to sing at all for years because I felt like I was genetically jipped in some way where everyone else was blessed with a beautiful singing voice except me. It all seems really funny to me now. I really like to sing but I wouldn't because I cared about what other people thought so much that I didn't.
In order to validate this fear, I had a lot of proof. My friend made a comment saying that she thought I was joking and when she realized I wasn't she turned up the radio. Another friend said that I was ruining a song at a wedding when alcohol rubbed away my fear and I was belting it out. The list goes on. It's amazing how the slightest criticism can shut a person down from exploring their creativity. We live in a harsh culture where if you aren't good at something then just don't do it, even if it brings you joy or else you will get judged. The honest facts are, I probably wasn't a very good singer, because I never sang! The more you practice something the better you get at it and I wasn't putting in the time because of my inhibitions.
How did all this start? I don't want to be blaming anyone because at the end of the day it's my job to heal myself. However, in the past these events happened that started my singing shutdown. My first experience with singing was in church when I was a little girl. I was raised Catholic and my mother was very religious but my father wasn't. He was raised Lutheran and converted for my mother. He used to complain with me all the time about going to church. My mother would sing all the songs and I used to think she sounded nice. She used to be a second soprano in a choir when she was younger. My dad would play a game with me called "Frickus" where he pretended his hand was a claw and it would eat my hand to keep me entertained in church. He would jokingly howl like a wolf and say that my mom sounded awful and bad. I never responded but would listen. I loved my dad so much and started to develop my fear then because I would never sing out of fear that my father wouldn't like my voice.
I didn't sing forever until I was 21 and I bought a guitar. For some reason I was drawn to it and singing. I wanted to overcome my fear because I enjoyed singing. I practiced scales, chords and learned to play a song. At this time of my life, I already graduated from college and was working for my first computer consulting job that re-located me to Santa Barbara, CA. My father came to visit and of course pull out my guitar to play for him. When I played for him he started laughing at me to the point that he was crying. He then went on to reference the movie Animal House with the scene where John Belushi sees the guy singing on the stairs to all the girls and he picks up the guitar and smashes it everywhere. My dad said how he loved that scene because the singer guy was so corny and John Belushi rightfully smashed his guitar. I sold my guitars and didn't pick them up again for 11 years.
I kept getting this nagging to sing and around 28 I took a singing class at The Old Town School of Music in Chicago. I learned some basics to singing and just had some fun. They got me singing into a microphone so I could playback what I sang but I was always super critical of myself and couldn't stand listening to the playback.
At 32 I met my ex-husband and he was a musical theater major and I was in acting at the time. I got over my fear of talking in front of people on stage but I still had a hard time singing. We lived in a house with 3 musical theater roomies and me. We used to have a lot of gatherings at my house and lots of musical people came over and played music. I was super envious because I really really wanted to sing but completely lacked confidence to ever belt out my voice or even sing softly. My ex-husband encouraged me to pick up my guitar and play again and so I did. When I sang for him he would cry because he loved hearing me sing. As you can imagine, this was incredibly healing for me as I was terrified before and he gave me some much needed courage. He then proceeded to tell me how his singing teacher would never let anyone laugh at anyone else because they were taking a risk and others needed to respect that risk.
I started to dabble with singing in groups at our parties and I started practicing my guitar again. This time I mostly played chords simply so I can accompany myself when I sang. I even took about 2 or 3 months of private lessons. When I took my lessons, it was the start of my health journey and I remember the entire time that I took lessons, I had a sinus infection. It was awful, I couldn't breath at all and it muffled how I could hear myself. I tried to work through it but overall singing with a sinus infection isn't very much fun. My old roommate Kevin was so sweet and would often help me and encourage me. I would from then on stop and start playing again based on if I was inspired by a song on the radio. If I liked the song, then I got good enough to look up the song and pluck my way through it.
Now I am to the point where I like to sing even in public even if I'm not the best singer. Yikes! Do I still get scared, yes! But fear of not doing it is worse. I sing not because I'm the best singer but because singing is healing for me. Singing is not being afraid anymore. Singing is joyful especially when you belt it out. And if you hit a wrong note, so what. I learned not to be so hard on myself and simply find the play in it all. As I sing more and more, my voice doesn't sound so bad anymore. Actually, sometimes I think it sounds pretty but that's not the point. The point is that as my dad was laughing at me, he wasn't trying to be mean. I was witnessing my dad's own insecurities with singing and I developed those same insecurities. I wonder what my dad would have sounded like if he sang more. I'm sure he has a beautiful voice that was waiting to be polished. Maybe he was teased about it when he was young. Who knows but something happened and he was hurt. Singing was one of his unhealed wounds and I took it on in my lifetime to heal that wound for myself.
I work on healing myself so that I don't pass on my pain to my children. They are the source of my motivation to heal myself both physically and mentally. I lived through a lot of traumas in my life and as I'm going through this 300 hour yoga teacher training, I'm realizing how broken I was. I thought I was fine but I wasn't. I was hiding behind alcohol or some other distraction for a long time to avoid dealing with my wounds. I sing now because it is fun to play and because it is healing. I got to watch my daughter's singing concert the other day and I can barely hold back my tears of joy as I watch her giggle and sing fearlessly. I never laugh and I always encourage her. I don't care if she ever does anything with her singing but I do care if she doesn't do it because of an insecurity. If there is a song that she likes then I look it up and I learn it and we sing together. My son and ex-husband also like to join in and we all become present simply enjoying each other.
I like the way the sounds buzz in my mouth when I sing. I like switching from my head voice to my chest voice. I like matching pitch. I like my liquid consonants and holding them. I like singing higher than the song really is and then dropping it down low playing with the pitch. I like singing in my car super loud and I don't even care if I'm at a stop light anymore. I probably look like a huge nerd and I don't care and that is healing. Geeking out and playing is healing. Singing for me in healing. I love you dad and I wish I could heal your voice too. I still get scared but I try to work through it for you and for my kids. Our voices are important and need to be heard.
I'm always super impressed when someone belt out a song. I especially love chanting at Kirtan's. I like that I get to repeat the same words over and over. I like playing with my voice and belting it out. I like the way singing makes me feel. I loves singing for my children when they were babies. They always made mom feel like a rock star. I still like to sing with them and my son's sweet soprano voice nearly knocks me off my feet because it's so beautiful. Much love my lovely readers. Thanks for listening to my rants:) . Let me know if any of you also have a fear of singing. Always curious. Always looking to help. Peace out! I hope you all sing your hearts out!
Today I meditate by the pool on a lawn chair topless! Oh my! I happen to live on a big lot that has podocarpus bushes lining the fence lines so there is lots of privacy. One of the essentials to healthy living in Natural Hygiene is to make you you get sunlight on the body. Even the parts that never see the sun. The best times of the day are mornings and late afternoons to avoid the peak sun times. Our bodies are beautiful and natural and I'm not into body shaming no matter what our bodies look like. We are blessed with these bodies and we need to love them. It felt so good to let the sun light warm my body and listen to the sounds of the Sand Hill Cranes as they fly by. I can feel a gentle wind as I sip my water, lean back and go into my blissful meditation.
As soon as I close my eyes, I see a bright fuchsia red aura. It's the color red similar to the one in the image but not so much black and more red with light behind it. After my meditation I try to look up these aura images and I'm shocked at how it is difficult to find an image that matches the color and the shapes of the aura I see. I am honestly inspired to paint them but not just yet as I have other projects first. It's just an idea that comes up. I'm starting to think there's no accident to these ideas. These images don't exist, only I can see them. We learn all about these aura field's in my yoga teacher training and while maybe I noticed they were there in the past, I didn't pay any attention to them. Now when I see aura's they are vivid, strong and beautiful.
After the red, purple comes in from the bottom followed by a flickering white light. I think about what my yoga teacher Shelly tells me, "change the white light to gold", so I do. The brightest yellow rays appear melting into brown in the upper right corners. I can't hold the yellow. It's gone some green appears in the center followed by a bright light blue which now covers the aura. I think about how blue is nurturing like water and how I'm next to the pool so I'm right where I need to be. I feel my heart bursting into the sky I feel so much bliss from the warm sun. It's as if the sun is reaching down and holding my heart softly. Cradling it. Healing it. I feel a re-birth of myself happening. It feels like I am taking my old skin off and coming back into a newer stronger version of my original self.
I was working with a client the other day who knows me well and my crazy roller coaster ride life that I've been on the past couple years. He met my mother and was really impressed with her. She has her PHD and 5 kids by the time she was 29. After that she owned her own real estate brokerage while whe was a full time high school special ed teacher. She is an amazingly motivated woman who has been very successful in life. She is wickedly smart and a very interesting woman. She has spent the past 8 or 9 years sailing around the world on world cruises until my father was too ill to travel anymore. She has been very fortunate to have an amazing teacher pension that pays her 80% of her salary for the rest of her life. She really gets to live that life of leisure where nothing is needed to be done everyday. Everyday, she gets to choose how she wants to live. After meeting my mother, my client says to me, "your mom comes into town" and he shakes his fist into the sky and says "to remind you who you are". I nearly fell over when he says this to me.
Yes I forgot who I was. I forgot my self worth. In the process of trying to make a relationship work, I found myself compromising myself. I compromised it so much to the point that I needed someone to remind me. I needed my mother. She has been slowly helping me re-build my life. She moved in with me because my dad is too sick and has to be in a home because he needs 24 hour care for stage 3 Alzheimer's disease. She is also sick and needs help and while I can't help my dad mostly because I can't be at home 24 hours a day, I can help my mom. And in return my mom has been helping me. She does little things like grocery shop, wash the laundry, help make school lunches and help raise my children so I can leave for an hour here and there. I drive her all over the place, to doctors appointments, to The Villages, FL where she sold her house and to Tampa to visit my dad and brother. It has been the most healing relationship that I have ever mended and I'm so glad I did.
I was very angry with her for a long time but in the process of being angry with her, I was hurting because I love her so much and I missed her. I had to let my anger go and allow her to love me once again. And the funny thing is, I needed it. I didn't realize how much I needed it until I felt her love and support lifting me back up like a crippled up angel who's will is so strong that she can push me toward the light despite her frailing body and my fear. It's amazing what mother's do for their children. It has been very humbling and healing to forgive. As she comes closer to the end of her life, it really doesn't matter what we were fighting about. All that matter's is now. I'm so inspired by her strength, her will and her determination. I find my strength from my mother. It is her special gift to me and all those lives who are touched by her.
We find incredible joy during this time as we go watch my daughter's singing concert, holding hands and fighting back proud tears as we listen to her yodle. Or watch in sheer amazement as my son masters Halo video games at age 4. The joy the children bring heals both of us. I think the red aura is my mother's wild passion to see the best in me and to have me thrive while the purple is my connection to the divine bringing us back together again through forgiveness. It is a time for girl time. I always wanted to be best friends with my mom. I used to be very proud of her when I was younger. I lost that and found it once again. I am so damn lucky. I love you mom, more than you can ever imagine. My work comes out of my deep love for you. Many blessings. It's time to be re-born again and remember who I am. I am Amy Lynn Hendricks, my maiden name. Time to go back.
The best way to be consistent with your exercise is to find an activity that you enjoy. If you have joy and play when you exercise then it will be easy to sustain. I used to be in a professional dance company in my teens and I used to dance everyday at school instead of gym. I discovered yoga and I love trying new yoga postures. If I fall then I laugh at myself and try again. This simply means that I am learning something new and that I am growing. I don’t take it too seriously but I am committed to it as I have been committed to some form of exercise for a large chunk of my adult life. I like that there is an endless amount to learn in yoga. You never actually get “there” because there is always more. This keeps my exercise interesting as there is always growth.
I can’t stress the importance of consistency with exercise. Strength is built over time a little by a little. You don’t have to work out for hours and hours everyday but I do recommend being smart and consistent with your workouts. If you are new to exercise then start slowly to prevent injuries and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. I used to work out for over two hours a day before I made dietary changes but I was still a little chubby despite my hard work. I made the changes in my diet to a high raw, low fat whole food plant based diet and I saw that I had more energy for better workouts and faster recovery.
I used to run everyday and I was bad about stretching. Over time I developed severe plantar fasciitis. I would get severe pain in my feet especially in the morning. I could barely walk, ouch! I switch to yoga, yin yoga and TRX and healed my plantar’s feet. Yoga has progressions and can get very hard fast. I used to discard it because I was a workout snob and I didn’t think that I could burn as many calories as I could running. My yoga workouts are very intense and overall the number of calories from one sport to the other are comparable. For me I saw that I could have a longer sustaining athletic career as a yogi especially as I age verses a runner with better overall conditioning of my whole body. Now, if you are an avid runner, I’m not saying stop by any means. If you love it then keep doing it. Maybe you would like to add yoga into your routine to prevent injury and for muscle length. It really helped me tremendously. The thing that I like most about yoga is that it is exercise that is therapeutic for your body. It is designed to heal the body through yoga postures to stretch the fascia tissue in the body, to strengthen the muscles and to create healthy joints. I do yoga or TRX approximately 5 to 6 days a week.
Over the course of my exercise career I have done step aerobics, cardio-kick boxing, weights, cycling, running and calisthenics. I used to play volleyball, softball, snowboarding, golf, surfing and I was an avid dancer in my youth. I received an incredible benefit from all of these activities and I really love moving. It takes time to get in shape but it is not so hard to maintain it. The joy that I feel from being able to move my body pain free is wonderful and something that I hope to share with you all. I am 43 and I can move and push myself when I used to think that as you aged that your body somehow gives out on you. Age might slow you down but you will be surprised by what the body can do even in your older years.
I personally dedicate about 45-75 minutes a day exercising. Yes life gets busy and I will miss a day here and there but if I can get my exercise in then I will. I have made this commitment to myself. I feel very strongly that my daily exercise along with eating healthy is like putting money into my health bank. It is my natural anti-depressant and mood lifter. I like to ride my edge when I exercise so I can grow. I don’t push myself too far to avoid getting injured and if I do then I know to back off and slow down. The longevity of your exercise career is what matters most. If you don’t exercise already then start. It is a critical component to your overall health and it will be one of the best investments you ever made. I wish you much joy and happiness as you move your body!
When my ex-husband got sick with Lyme Disease about 6 years ago, his weight dropped down to 150 lbs at 6’3”. We were successfully running a dog training business in Chicago, I had a 9 month old baby and he had severe arthritis in his joints that seemed to move around his body without an injury. He also was extremely lethargic and often slept in his car between appointments. He would even be parked in the driveway, sleeping on the wheel because he was too tired to walk inside. It was clear that he needed a break from training dogs because his health was failing him. It was at the height of his business that we worked so hard to grow that we decided to sell. He is an extremely talented dog trainer and his body was inflamed and in pain. I thought it was possible that if we didn’t make serious changes that he would die. The month that we sold the business we were making $30,000 a month and it was on the verge of doubling. We sold everything that we owned and moved to Vilcabamba Ecuador with a baby, 2 dogs and nothing but a suitcase. Vilcabamba is known as the city of longevity or centurions and the fertile valley because of its moderate 70 degree year round climate. I also knew there was a strong vegan and vegetarian expat community there as I was watching many of them on youtube. I watched hours of youtube videos on Vilcabamba. I saw there were families living there working on permaculture farms, plus it was super cheap. I knew we had to go to this magical healing place in the middle of nowhere deep in the Andes Mountains.
My ex-husband needed time off to rest and take care of his health. When we were there we found a small Ecuadorian house that was about 2 or 3 blocks away from our new friends Nic from Germany and Serena from Italy. These are two of the most beautiful souls that I ever met. I was on the raw food track but I didn’t know much about Natural Hygiene. They were there taking a course from a man named Robert Sniadach at the Transformation Institute. We became friends and they learned that my ex-husband was very sick. They proceeded to tell me about Natural Hygiene and how following this lifestyle would help him boost his immune system and recover his health. They told me that if they every got really sick that they would immediately do a water only fast followed up by a Natural Hygienic diet which consists of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds. The bulk of the calories coming from fruits. We were already vegetarian at this point for a few years because of my wedding juicer but we were still eating eggs and dairy. When we heard how a high fruit low fat raw based diet could improve his health, we tried it. He already tried antibiotics and it wasn’t working so we had nothing to lose. The key is to stick with Natural Hygiene over time. Reversing and cleansing the body takes time, it is not a quick fix. It can take over a year to really heal the body with a clean diet and fasting can help speed up the healing.
I ended up becoming friends with Robert Sniadach and took his Natural Hygiene course. When I started reading it, I was shocked at how detailed and involved the 2000 page course would be. I felt like a doctor reading about the body, the systems, how things worked and how to make the body thrive. As far as I was concerned, Natural Hygiene was the greatest thing that ever learned. It follows nature and as far as I’m concerned, mother nature didn’t mess things up. If we follow this simple guideline to follow nature and go back to our roots as a species then all of us can have thriving health. My ex-husband ended up making a fully recovery after 2 years of being debilitatingly sick. My eczema and sinus issues disappear. Our health was starting to thrive as we took some much needed time off to heal our bodies. My life was forever changed after our move to Vilcabamba. You can’t unlearn something. Once you learn about it, there is a truth to it because it follows the laws of nature and the results speak. Natural Hygiene makes logical sense. When you try this lifestyle for a period of time, you will feel your health flourish as did mine.
The hardest part about making the lifestyle switch was trying to fit in socially. The world doesn’t want you to be healthy and will not support it. It is more socially acceptable to go out and get a double bacon cheese burger with fries and a beer or a coke than it is to eat a mango monomeal or a salad. I was excited to teach everyone back home all about it because I saw many people suffering with illnesses or trauma’s and I wanted to help. Most importantly I wanted to heal my mother’s Crohn’s disease, edema, kidney stones and Parkinson’s and my father’s Alzheimer’s. I was really crushed that so many people, including my own parents, didn’t want to hear about it.
I didn’t realize what a landmine talking about food was. People have serious emotional addictions to food. They emotionally medicate themselves through the pleasure of foods that taste good but are not good for you. My peers didn’t care about Natural Hygiene. I could barely talk about the extensive topic without triggering someone. From my experience people weren’t interested in doing their own research on their own healthcare. They would only take advice from a doctor which can be a mistake because so many of them are not trained on the health benefits of a plant based diet.
As much as I would like to believe that everyone who graduates medical school is going to be a good doctor, it just isn’t true. An example is that my old roommate from college was in medical school and one of her close friends hated medicine but she already started medical school and started accumulating a tremendous amount of loans. The only way she could pay them off was to finish medical school and become a doctor. Of course she didn’t realize she wasn’t going to like medicine when she started but it happened and I’m sure it happens to a lot of medical students. Some people just want the intellectual prestige of being a doctor but not really have a true passion for medicine or the well-fare of their patients. I advise people to really invest in your relationship with your doctor to make sure you find one that knows something about the health benefits of a plant based diet and new research or at least be open minded to learn from you.
For me, if I see an unhealthy doctor, then I am skeptical of their advice. If they can’t take good care of their own health then how can they possibly advise me on mine. Now, I say this with caution because at the same time we need doctors for medical testing, check-ups and emergencies. The combination of a well-informed doctor and the knowledge of Natural Hygiene can be a powerful force in the world of healthcare and medicine. It’s just sad that the biggest benefactors to medical schools are big pharmaceutical companies, big food corporations, big charities who are in bed with the lobbyist, big time meat and diary industries and big time anyone who can make a profit by manipulating the government to modify the food pyramid just a little so they can sell more of their products. These lobbyist impact the quality of the education that is taught in medical schools. The topic that is the biggest taboo to talk about and is hardly even taught in medical schools is nutrition. It takes a special doctor who discovers the truth about health and nutrition to be willing to stick their necks out against the grain of social conditioning to offer people truth and real quality healthcare. The sad part about it is that there is more money to be made in what Natural Hygentists call the Disease Care system instead of the Health Care system. If you can stay chronically ill but not die then everyone makes money at your expense. Does this upset you? It really pisses me off. People I love are dying and it could have been prevented if there wasn’t such a gigantic cluster fuck of contradicting nutritional information forcing people to have to sift through the shit to find the truth.
It's time for me to start writing this book that I want to write and I am procrastinating! I worked a Thai session last night and then taught class. After I take my kids to Food Truck Night so my kids can jump on the bouncy house and climb the rock wall. They have a blast at Food Truck. River had so much fun and was jumping a lot. I'm happy because he is a little introvert guy and I was worried he'd get hurt or be too shy but he was ok. He just laughed and jumped and laughed and jumped. He had so much fun that he wouldn't tell me that he had to go to the bathroom and wet himself, ugh!
My sweet little 6 year old girl loves climbing the rock wall at Food Truck as she is a little ninja. I watch her effortlessly climb and can't help but to giggle at her outfit. She is such a girly girl. She wore a flowery skirt shorts with a sparkle top and iridescent pink glittery kiddie high heels. I told her to take the shoes off but she insisted on wearing them. Ok I say. As she climbs, she has to climb with duck feet because of her heels. It doesn't matter, she easily scales the wall just the same as she easily scaled her crib when she was 15 months old. I couldn't believe it that a 15 month old baby could easily climb out of her crib.
After food truck, I go home and their daddy takes the kids and I had 2 hours to write and what to I do...I eat one of my mom's weed brownies with her! The brownie knocks us both on our butts. She doesn't like how high she is and it really affects her footing. She has to shuffle across the room. I start to laugh like major giggles. Then I have to tell her to just go to bed so she can settle down. I can't write, I feel crazy. She asks me how long until she stops feeling weird. I tell her to just sleep it off. She says this was dumb because now she feels awake but she wants to sleep. What is the point of getting high and going to sleep she asks? Good question. I pass out. I wake up mad at myself for procrastinating. I need to stay away from my mom's brownies if I'm going to get anything done.
I meditate in the morning to clean my mind and to witness what is coming up. I struggle because my foot falls asleep and my lower back hurts. I sat cross legged but I prefer sitting up in a chair when I meditate. I just think about how I need to just get started. Today will be the day that I make the start. First I'm going to yoga and then I'll work the rest of the day with one meeting from my lawyer friend to go over legal matters regarding my parent's death planning. It stinks to do this or think about it but it is also calming to have to opportunity to talk to my mom and work this out together. Reconnecting with my mom has re-grounded me. I feel empowered and healed. Now it's time to stop procrastinating! And Focus!