I'm back home in L.A., and I am spending the morning nursing a headache (not too big, remember, the alcohol was sold to me in UTAH) and reflecting on my amazing experience at the Sundance Film Festival. It was amazing to see the Holllywood machine at work in a city far from Southern California. I was surprised to see friends from L.A. in Park City, performing and walking around. Saw a few random celebrities like Blake Lewis, and the guy who plays Ethan on "Lost" as well as the actress who played Ben's Daughter...) Got to go to a few private parties like the Fender party which featured the actresses from the film "The Manson Girls." They are all very talented singers!
The experience that was the best for me was cultivating courage. I was raised for most of my life in Tropical-Flat-Florida, and until about 6 years ago, one of my 3 biggest fears was driving on mountain roads, so when my husband asked me to go skiing, I looked at him and said,
"You want me to strap 2 long sticks to my feet and slide down a steep, snow-covered mountain, with only 2 poles to help me along?" Then I remembered all those times I've told my students that performers must always face their fears. Fear is our true enemy, because it takes calm focus and courage to get on a stage and expose your soul to the world. Well, one of the things I can't stand is hypocrisy, so I told Chad I would try it.
|I think I can! I think I can!|
|This is a very big mountain.|
At first there is fear in the mind, and soon it takes over my body. The chest becomes tight, and breathing becomes shallow. Heartbeat speeds up as panic tries to set in. What helped me was remembering my yoga practice. When a yoga pose becomes difficult, we are instructed to breathe slowly in and out of the nose, and to silently chant "sat" on the inhale, "nam" on the exhale. It only took a few seconds before my chest relaxed, the heartbeat slowed down, and my mind relaxed. Once that happened, I could actually feel the muscles in my legs that where in charge of the activity, and therefore, control them. I started to enjoy the process! I can't believe how patient Chad was with me. He was even able to record it:
What I just described could also describe the kind of anxiety that comes over me when I perform on stage. Surely you can all relate to this. Everyone has had to give a speech at some point, and we all know how scary that can be. Skiing gave me another way to look at fear, and how much of an enemy it truly is in the face of any challenge.
|The view from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.|
After Skiing, I was feeling very confident, so I decided to face another fear: My Mormon past. As I wrote those words, I cringed, and presently am fighting the urge to hit "delete." I don't talk about this part of my life with anyone but close friends. It's a part of my past that is filled with embarrassment and shame. However, the embarrassment is and has been keeping me from reaching my full potential. A good songwriter must be willing to bare her soul unapologetically. Vulnerability makes the best songwriting material, and embarrassment only gets in the way. You have to face your fears and own your past. "Non, Je ne Regrette Rein!," as Edith Piaf declared. So, I decided to go to Salt Lake City for the first time ever in my life, and face the past.
|Drinking not 1, but 2 cups of coffee. Such a rebel.|
|Offering Joseph Smith some coffee. What?|
|Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Still drinking coffee.|