Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Observations from my iPhone................

I found these shoes in my  closet,  my first thought, oh how adorable, and then I got another flash, the message was clear:  ~Dear Mommy, I am watching everything you do, so don't screw up.~ 
For a brief second I flirted with fear and loathing for my mistakes but I pushed it aside because I had to. She is watching me. So I turned my focus to being grateful for where I am and for what inspired me to care about where I am.

I taught my 10 year old son to make French toast one Sunday morning. This was what he served me, my heart melted. I was so touched I took a pic with my iPhone and posted it on my Facebook wall.  He beamed when he saw  my post and the love has continued to travel because he has since made french toast for his teacher in school as well as for his Dad and Grandparents while they were on holiday together.

I used to be too cautious  and would stop my boy from doing things like this, but I gathered quickly that it didn't really protect him  it only made him fearful to try things.  Now I just stand by and watch and applaud (and I also suggest that if we have to go to a hospital because he is making really stupid choices he'd best be prepared to suck it up because we won't  be entertaining tears over the situation, to which he says, "deal".).

Walking alone  in the rain  is usually when I let myself cry, that way  no one has to see the tears.

There is certainly something to be said for allowing yourself to sing like nobody is watching. It took me more than a decade to learn how to open up and allow myself to be so free. I've always had the spirit but never quite the capacity to harness my energy and properly present it like I knew I might be able to. It took me a long while to get over my nerves and not choke onstage particularly for larger events. Now I feel calm, I know what I can do and it's all just what it is.  I wish I could put into words how to get over that fear so  someone else could benefit if they so choose,  but there are no words really, and my way may not be yours. In any case, I learned through doing, trying, and sometimes making mistakes. 
Pretty much like you learn anything else in life.

It seems like now that I have the performance anxiety issue out of the way, I could very well  be opening up to another way to be free of myself  and it scares the shit out of me.

I've actually thought for one brief speck of a  moment that I would like to go back to a time from before I learned that my innocence had been taken,  to start again from that point  perhaps where it felt safe and simple without that whole thing in the way. They say it changes the way you  view yourself, this thing

The fact that I even allowed this thought in my head for a moment  tells me there is something I have yet to explore.  I don't exactly fear it but I don't want to make any mistakes either. I have a feeling it will be powerful and fulfilling because  it's something I know I have held onto, saved for myself, spoken out loud to no one about and only barely hinted at once  while describing an imagined kiss as being no more threatening than a youthful one.  Trust building within me, with me being comfortable taking initiative, deciding it's ok to do so, as opposed to being pushed, wooed, pursued, or coerced.  Something about that is a key to something transforming for me and somewhere deep inside I know it.  I know that (like opening myself up to the singing), when I change the way I view myself  the more likely this will open up the something that I've kept closed. I've caught whiffs of these faraway feelings and what that change will feel like, it's  like I know it's  there, but if I look it disappears, just out of reach  and I retreat, not really sure I want to let it all out.   I do whatever I can manage to possibly do to avoid actually facing it, all while I think I am trying to face it.  Make sense?  Of course not. Ah, well this has always been a mess,  you don't want to read my mess. Usually when I write something down, I have no choice but to look at it, so, now I've written it, just ignore me while I work on cleaning it up please.

I like light, I am drawn to it because it is not afraid of the truth.

Light knows that even a shadow does not change what is truly there. 

See that sign beside me with the red line through an arrow that looks like it is saying NO don't? 
Some of you probably saw it right away and some of you saw it but had to go back to the picture and focus on it to really see it.  To me this picture is an aristic/visual respresentation of that little voice inside your head. It's always there isn't it? No matter how aware of it we may or may not be it is there.  

 For the most part I totally get that voice, it really does guide me well and I am comfortable with it. 
But every once in a while, I blatantly ignore it  like a puppy dog so lost on the delicious aroma he is rolling in that he can't hear his owner calling him, telling him to stop.  It's like when I find myself pressing 'send' on things that are better off left unsent I hear myself say 'stupid, don't'  but I justify it to myself and  I imagine that my good heart will shine though and....
but it doesn't work that way, I really need to heed that voice.

My friend/co-worker  surprised me one day, I was relaying a story about verbally tearing a strip off of my daughter in a store and feeling so bad about it......and at the end she said she was relieved to hear I had moments where I thought I was a complete failure, because according to my online reporting,  life  looks to be so picture  perfect for me.  Really?

Some things I just don't talk about. I don't want to feel pity and  I  keep up the dance so that I don't have to. Some things no one knows, because no one needs to know. Everyone has their own mess, they don't need mine.  Pour souls are the few who I choose to dump on as I would  profess loudly that I am not broken, right exactly when I am starting wonder if maybe a part of me is broken.
For their understanding ear I feel very grateful.

And I do wonder, because the more I figure out, the less I actually seem to know.
One of the few things I do know however, is that my perspective isn't the only one, nor am I sure it is the right one, all I know is that it's mine.

Took this pic of the road while out walking one day  and immediately Sheryl Crowe's 'Everyday is a winding Road' began playing on the soundtrack that constantly  runs in the back of my mind. 
So, without thinking too much I just took the next two shots to mimic the lyrics....


                             ~every day is a winding road, I get a little bit closer, to feeling fine~

and I guess I do, so, with gratitude to you,  I wish you the best~ 


Monday, July 26, 2010

from Abba to Ariel and everything inbetween

A couple of weekends ago I subbed in for an Abbacadabra gig with Alyssa (and the Mooncoin crew)  at a big outdoor event. It was one of those scenarios where there were no facilities to get ready in (save for our truck which was operating more like an oven after sitting in the sun all day) so, we got ready (for the most part)  in the shade behind the truck which was parked behind the stage. Alyssa and I just had so much fun with the situation and of course we did what we felt sure everyone with an iPhone would do in the same circumstance, we took before and after shots so we could post them to facebook.

I love working with Alyssa, we have so much fun bouncing good energy back and forth. We've had many a bonding moment over welcoming ourselves and pushing to evolve. Embracing every bump, hill and curve along the way and feeling wholly grateful for even the hardest lessons (knowing they often bring the most impactful growth). 
On the topic of lessons, I learned on this day, that I should do a little more dance testing on costumes before I walk onstage in them. You see we had brand new costumes on an unfortunately,  halfways through the very first song I looked down and realized my pants were sneakily headed in the direction of my toes. Uh, ok, yikes, 75 minutes of show to go with virtually no chance to get offstage and secure them, all I could do was keep pulling them up!  So here I had on these pants that were sliding down with every 'can can' that we did while on an open gazebo style stage where the crowd were even sitting behind us. 360 baby. All or nothing for this gig. It was outstanding. 

I managed to quietly right myself throughout the night and mercifully a group of kids (angels from heaven) kept us busy by giving us flowers (dandelion weeds) and we had to stop and collect them from the little hands. BONUS,  I could quite rightly get out of actual dancing with this nifty little distraction and just stand there holding my pants up. A small but important victory if you ask me. Eventually there were so many kids sitting onstage with us that our dancing was clearly restricted and it somehow looked natural for me to be looking a little gorky as I moved.  hehehe  Ok, well wasn't really that noticeable I suppose, I'm sure I imagined it to be moreso, no one said they could tell afterward. In any case we had a pile of fun and were really enjoying the crowd, especially the kids. You pretty much must have a partner who is smiling and fun to be with onstage when you face a challenge like this and Alyssa never missed a beat or stopped sharing her brilliant light.

So before I tell you where we play next (where all costume issues will be completely fixed) I thought I would deak off onto another path for a moment and share with you what Alyssa does besides being a glam Abba babe. She's put her musical and performing skills to use to create  Princess shows for little Princesses who are having birthdays or special celebrations.  Now, weirdly, I don't know another person anywhere who is more perfectly suited to doing this job. Alyssa is a sweet, beautiful, petite, graceful, charming, lovely, warm, angel like energy  who's eyes sparkle and voice sounds just  like Ariel when she sings. She seeks the good in everyone and she easily and naturally composes herself with the soft grace of a real fairy tale princess. I know Alyssa as a mother, friend and  a good hearted soul and I know that deep down she feels a passion for using her influence on the young girls to help guide them towards self love and acceptance. It makes me proud that she calls me a friend.

On one of the first occassions that I ever worked with Alyssa, we were playing at the Vancouver Convention Centre and she walked into the venue for sound check dressed in her Cinderella costume. It turns out she was coming straight from another gig and she had forgotten to bring her change of clothes, hahaha.......I can tell you with some authority that walking with Cinderella in downtown Vancouver is a very interesting experience.  I do believe that Alyssa has a number of different characters she can portray so your little girl can choose her favorite show. ~   If you would like to have a  real Princess come to sing and  sprinkle fairy dust at your daughters party please leave me a comment or contact me directly  through my website and I can hook you up with Alyssa. Once she gets her website up I will post links. :)

In the meantime on Wednesday we are putting on a smaller version of the  Abbacadabra show, the 4 piece will be playing in front of Bentall Centre this Wed July 28th from 12-2pm for the summer lunchtime concert series.

To see the full production video from Mooncoin's production of Abbacadabra  please click this VIDEO link.

See you there!
Rach xo

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

wandering along the trail.......

              My Mom for the first time today tried walking in the forest rachaelpachel style.

The trick to this game is to imagine something exciting, something from another time  such as;  you are one of your ancestors and you are embroiled in battle in the forest, every tree, stump, bush stick and weed can be an enemy target (you can't acutally hit things though, don't destroy the forest please)...think of it like a reality video game! 

If you know martial arts then this is especially fun as you can work hard on your form  and core strength as you walk.

Editors note:   to keep hikes interesting and entertaining sometimes it helps to look for things to play with and/or ways to balance, climb, kick, hit, lift and/or scale with. You can tailor activities to match your abilities, ie: don't just do step ups on the cut logs, do push ups from them, or jump back and forth over them sideways as you move forward.

And finally, take time to enjoy and appreciate the perfection and wonder of mother nature's canvas.

This message and the activity it promotes is HST free. 

Rachael  xox 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

anthems at Nat Bailey Stadium, Vancouver Canadians!

On July the 12th I had the great pleasure of being asked to sing both the Canadian and US anthems for the Vancouver Canadians game against Yakima at Nat Bailey Stadium.  In the half hour before the game started, as people were strolling in to watch the game  and I decided to stand outside with my guitar warming up my voice while offering some complimentary entertainment. (and I got to snap this pic with  this dude.........)

Just before the game started I was ushered onto the diamond where I would be waiting to fulfill my role in the nights production. And production it was. Nat Bailey Stadium and the Canadians (along with sponsors like Scotiabank and Rogers) put on one heck of a cool night that all the members of your family can enjoy, and for such a great price as well. I was so tickled to see so many people taking advantage  because from everything I observed it really fosters  a feeling of connectedness between a family and it's community. So I'm posting the pics and a video as well as sharing some links to the website which is where you will find the schedule and directions to purchase tickets.

I got a good luck smooch before I went on.......

My friend Rae took this video and she apologized to me for the sound quality at the beginning but to tell you the truth I think the sound issue is more because I was nervous and as a result I was crowding the microphone  (which means I caused the distortion myself).  Truth be known though, I'm less worried about that and more delighted that I remembered the words....

The Canadian anthem is easy, I could sing it while I am  sleeping but the US anthem is just something I never learned. So in preparation for this night I set myself on a mission to learn it and by game day I could sing it flawlessly (as well as in a higher key) in my car, shower or living room.  But I had this feeling that once I got  up there all nervous and excited, there was a chance I would go brain dead and forget the lyrics anyway. Now normally this wouldn't be a big, big problem  (to forget a line from a song), I am pretty adept at singing the right notes and just making up the words so you in the audience don't really notice it when I flub, but with the US anthem............well lets just say  there is no room for wiggle room.  I felt saftest with a back up plan. 

It's always the first words of the line of a song that I forget so, often keywords are all I need. Seeing as I didn't want to hold a piece of paper I did the next best thing........which no one was supposed to find out about until my friend Rae asked me while we were sitting in the stands............ " Why do you have writing on your hand?" I immediately mimed myself singing the anthem which showed her that were I holding a microphone, I would be able to see the writing on my hand right there in front of me without looking like I was looking at anything other than straight ahead...........;) She laughed and said she had to take a picture

As we settled into watching the game I was delighted over and over again by all the activity going on, the bouncy castle for the kids, the mascots, vendors  and between inning entertainment..... My favorite had to be when the groundsmen stopped right in the middle of grooming the field and started breakdancing, HA! They were awesome and had the crowd cheering!  So much to look at, so much to do and it seemed as if everyone was walking around  with a smile on their face.  Yeah.  Take me out to the ball game.


Many thanks  to my friends and family who came out to enjoy the night and support me through my bundle of nerves moment.  And thank you to the Vancouver Canadians for having me there!

Rach xox