Singing With Self-Love: Open Mic With Jordan Serra

My good ol’ only-ever jam partner Jordan Serra and I performed our third ever singing open mic concert series back in Rhode Island last week. We’ve messed around holding “band practice” in his basement studio for about an hour or so before each performance, and more than anything we’re just having fun– Jordan more so than myself in our first few performances, where I held way too much pressure on myself to even enjoy in the slightest something that my soul deeply loves.

It’s about the one year anniversary of facing my open mic singing-in-public fears, and the evolution of my voice, confidence, intuition and ability to open and exercise my throat chakra is due solely to my newfound self-loving practices. My active self-healing and loving journey this year has transformed my life in every single way, and I believe that was evident beneath the spotlight at Perks and Corks that evening.

Our blast of an experience and the renouncing of my perfectionist standards was only exemplified by my excellent support team of friends who came to watch and my stage partner, who always emphasizes the fun factor behind a solid jam sesh.

Thank you all who have continued to support my feeling, healing and revealing, and I can only hope that these videos inspire you to get after something that makes your soul sing, too. Also, go give yourself a huge love-hug. Because you are magnificent. XO

 

The Jordan and Olivia Experience’s cover of ‘Valerie,’ by Amy Winehouse last week (August 2017).

 

The Jordan and Olivia Experience’s cover of ‘Alaska,’ by Maggie Rogers last year (December 2016).

 

A Jordan and Olivia Experience’s cover of Aaliyah’s ‘Are You That Somebody,’ last year (November 2016).

 

For more giggles and listening (including me trying to multi-task singing Beyoncé and tapping a tambourine, check out the YouTube channel. More than anything though, smile and have a little fun 🙂

How To Love One’s Demons

Demons. Monkey chatter, the ego, fears, self-doubt, that voice inside your head that tells you you’re not good enough– we all have them.

It wasn’t until an honest conversation with a best-friend-mirror last night in which I realized my demons were paralyzing me from writing.

I am well-versed in embracing the light. In loving it, channeling it and sharing it. I am much less comfortable and fluent in loving the dark. I knew deep down that an error in a recently published article of mine was instilling such fear in my mind that I had been avoiding Good & Grateful and neglecting the addressing of these deep-rooted emotions, and everything I had been trying to write in recent weeks felt inauthentic because of it.

It felt inauthentic because it wasn’t the piece that needed to surface; they weren’t the words of love and acceptance that my very demons needed more than anything, and anything else was neglect. And healing holds no space for neglect.

This morning, I embraced a healing first: I have journaled my demons in tangible written form for my eyes to see. I acknowledged them instead of neglecting them. And I went through each demon-fear and without judging it or trying to change it, I thanked it for being present, and I told it that I love it. Holding my heart, I went through each fear and thanked it for being here, because each of them have taught me exactly what I need to heal. I spent generous time with each demon until the flutter in my heart ceased upon reading it and instead transformed into hosted contentment, and I thanked them again.

I share this with you all because it was a powerful experience for me in working alongside my demons in the process of healing. It was an expression of love and light to the places that need them the most; the icky, messy, uncomfortable places to reach and hold onto. I also chose to embrace a further layer of vulnerability by sharing my particular demons, the ones preventing me from writing.

We are not strong, admirable or beautiful for the light we give alone. We are magic because of the way we light-work alongside our darknesses. The mind is incredibly powerful, and often times we forget that we are our toughest critics. Thank you to an inspirational, talented best-friend-mirror who helped me see this by sharing her own demons with me.  I encourage us all to explore the heart space in offering love and gratitude instead of avoidance next time our demons surface, for they will– and I know that my heart and I will be waiting.

My demons:

  • I’m terribly insecure about the title error in my elephant journal article
  • I’m embarrassed
  • It makes me feel like:
    • I’m really not a good writer
    • I shouldn’t have been and don’t deserve to be published
    • My writing is emotional fluff and I have nothing substantial to write about
    • All I do is share my feelings like an over-emotional little girl who’s trying to make up for 24 years of silence, misunderstanding and repressed expression 
    • My followers, the editors at the journal, and I think I’m not credible and that I have lost my credibility as a writer
    • My blog and Good & Grateful Instagram are now tainted with the error and they are no longer “clean” and attaining to be perfect 
    • I have nothing to write and I know nothing worth sharing that brings value to other people

And after it all, with love for the darkness and the light that makes it so,

XO, my Good’s & Grateful’s

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@Goodgrateful: Journaling + making vision boards with a soul sister = a solid Friday.

Edit: Why I’m the Last Millennial to Not Use Tinder

When it comes to mistakes, I’m turning away from self-blaming and toward self-loving.

Sometimes, we make mistakes. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t without flaw. We are human. How often do we allow ourselves to work through those mistakes with love?

I rarely ever have. I’ve most recently shared with you all my second published article. Unbeknownst to me, there was a typo in the title. I am not of Generation X, and while the title of the piece was first published as, “Why I’m the Last Non-Tinder User of Generation X,” it now accurately reads ‘millennial.’ On behalf of elephant journal and for my own credibility, learning and self-forgiveness, it required an accurate change.

Am I going to beat myself up over it? For a minute, I wanted to. I thought about all of the times I reread my article, all of the anal fact-checking I do and how this one slipped, and all of the people who proof-read or heard me speak the title who didn’t catch the error either.

Alas, a lesson in self-love and letting go of harsh, unhealthy tendencies. The edit is now published, and I thank you all for reading it anyway!

This holiday weekend, I sit deeply in my self-love and I hug myself just a little bit tighter.

Why I’m the Last Millennial to Not Use Tinder,” in full force. Check it out, but regardless, I encourage a squeeze of self-TLC. When was the last time you gave yourself a hug?

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Hot yoga boy

Hot yoga boy

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@Goodgrateful: The moon room @Trilogysanctuary yoga studio. Our kind instructor closed this class with: “It’s not about becoming good or better in our practice. It’s about learning to be fully awake in each moment.” And such is with life.

Surf, Sunshine & Sisterhood

Three weeks ago, I went, slightly impulsively, on a women’s surf, fitness, yoga and adventure retreat in Lagos, Portugal.

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Surfing on Portugal’s West Coast. Hannah Edy Photography

Envision: 7 a.m. beach circuits, learning how to surf in warm, green waves, the most delicious, locally sourced meals thrice a day every day, bottles of Portugal’s famous vinho verde, and the most amazing, encouraging group of women all living together for one week.

 

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Day 1 began with a sunrise run on the beach.

 

Read: the healthiest, most inspiring and well-intentioned week of my life to date.

 

 

 

It was a food critic’s most delicious dish yet, and an artist’s palate of all things brilliant and beautiful: green wine, 50-shades-of-turquoise blue water and fearless red energies of first-times mountain biking, horseback riding and jumping off a 30-foot dam. Add in constant sunshine, orange sunsets and purple zinc painting the faces of every unstoppable surf-chick-warrior in our tribe.

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Purple zinc became our chosen markings.
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Paella! Photo courtesy of Courtney Brokaw

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the divine meals and wine, we got a taste of the life of the unmatchable Sophie Everard, (who actually oozes radness) and was the chief-organizer of the Mad To Live Women’s Retreat in partnership with Lagos’ very own, The Surf Experience.

Fearlessly fit: featuring iconic Portuguese hand-painted tiles.
Fearlessly fit: featuring iconic Portuguese hand-painted tiles.
Sophie treating me with all of Portugal's delicacies.
Sophie treating me with all of Portugal’s delicacies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie is a traveling, writing and endlessly-exploring fitness blogger, sponsored by great organizations and companies for her own drive and very greatness. She alone was an inspiration in embracing unconventionality in part of one’s pursuit of truth. How can I ever thank you for providing a space that turned into the best week ever for so many of us?!

Photo by brilliant, Hannah Edy Photography
Photo by brilliant, Hannah Edy Photography

There is something to be said about the power and brilliance of a group of women who have come together as a team. I have experienced it before within my own group of girlfriends, and even more so on athletic teams in high school or college.

Women are intuitive and capable, instinctually maternal and because of this (evolutionarily speaking) created to take care and to love. We women are vessels with complex depths, and it is this empathetic intelligence that is both the essence of our magnificence and at times, the root of our aching.

Thus being, there is a special type of community, companionship and comfort in a group of women that has chosen to support and encourage each other’s depths. There is a wholeness in feeling understood by one of your own.

Hannah Edy Photography
Hannah Edy Photography

It is the understanding that you are not alone. You are not crazy or small in this world; rather in your safest space, surrounded by reassuring people who understand and appreciate your depths, you are grand. You are undoubtedly the very best being for everything your heart dreams of doing.

Yet we live in a world, swarming with distorted representations in mass media, that aim to keep us women apart.

It is oppression stemming from fear, and the imbalance of energy and the suppression of the Sacred Feminine over centuries that now requires many years of healthy, perpetual restoration from both male and female counterparts.

Humans have a less-than-grand history of making certain groups of people feel small out of fear of their potential to be great; perhaps even greater than the fearful themselves. But a true partnership in this life is bringing the other up to their fullest potential, understanding that they could never fill your particular role in this life-web; only you can do that. Lifting someone up to their greatness could never take away from your own, for they could never succeed in your role; it is not, nor can be for them, just as their role is for them alone, and could never be for you.

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The surfing, dancing, jumping, purple-zinc tribe. Hannah Edy Photography

I’m learning that it is not a man’s role to understand those depths of a woman, or to mirror them. The Chinese principle, yin and yang, the union and dance of opposites, honors exactly that: the differences between the two energies.

 

And I believe that a true man is not threatened by equality of the sexes; rather, he finds discomfort in the privileges he experiences in a system without it.

First-time mountain biking was exciting, especially when it led us to this view of the Algarve.
First-time mountain biking was exciting, especially when it led us to this view of the Algarve.

There was divine energy among the group of women collaborating with intentions of being healthy, driven, open-minded and full-spirited that week in Lagos.

In the very most, this is a prayer for the rejuvenation of feminine sacredness and a restoration of male-female balance. In the very least, it is my whole-hearted hope for all women to experience the community that a women’s retreat offers, as a stepping stone to a life system where all of us have each other’s best interests and spirits in mind and heart.

A wise friend of mine recently said to me, “there is perhaps nothing more powerful than a group of women dancing together– so long as they have each other’s backs.”

And during our time in Lagos, Portugal, we danced. And we laughed and explored and cheered each other on and saluted the sun and ran and fell and stood up once more every time. And it was not until the very end of the day when it was time to rest that we finally stopped– only until the sun came out again the very next morning, and we were ready to take on the world all over again.

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Magnificent sunset after a beach yoga session.
Hannah Edy Photography
Hannah Edy Photography

 

Check out below for Sophie’s video compilation of all of our fun activities during the week! Disclaimer: there is a clip of me being dragged on stage from the bathroom and free-style singing in front of a crowd before a DJ was to come on. My hands were wet. Enjoy! 😉

 

 

 

Tears Dry On Their Own

The legendary, soulful sound of Amy Winehouse first delighted the world on this day, September 14, in 1983. She would have been 33 years old today.

My appreciation for Amy’s work began at a young age and stemmed from my magical, fiery Auntie Denise who lived in Switzerland.

While other kids grew up listening to their parents’ old Beatles CD’s, I would spend summers reading Harry Potter in the backseat listening to ‘Back To Black’ with my mother and my visiting auntie.

Like many of her fans, I credit Amy Winehouse for my fondness of jazz, r&b and soul music– but I also credit her for being a lyrical and vocal role model in finding my own voice.

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20-year-old me having found sanctuary in a jazz café in Florence, Italy, during a semester abroad.

To me, Amy is a legacy of passion, feminine empowerment, deep-rooted pain and emptiness, and then, manifesting one’s own identity and truth. She was a torn, beautiful being who exuded emotion and talent. But then again, aren’t we all?

From shower sessions and solo car rides to the 8th grade talent show and humming at work, singing became the simplest and most soothing practice for my throat chakra to find it’s use. Sometimes they were my own words, sometimes they were Amy’s, or Frank Sinatra’s, or Taylor Swift’s. But every time, a heaviness deep inside of me found release.

So as this summer draws to a beautiful close, and New England weather reminds me just how sweet and sunny September can be, I knew I had some things to say in achieving my final goal of the hot season: singing at an open mic night.

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Perks and Corks has a book of house-made martinis… the cucumber one was delicious!

This past Monday night, I gathered with support from some dear, clear-eyed, independent queens at Perks and Corks in Westerly. We got martinis, grilled cheeses and girl time, and I got excitedly nervous. I was the last performer to go.

It was a small crowd, but seeing my friends (when I actually opened my eyes) and hearing the strength and feeling in my own voice as I got comfortable under the light was all that I needed.

At the end of the first song, the event manager gave me a verbal pat on the back. I hardly remember saying, “can I go again?!”, like a child on an amusement park ride, but he granted my wish.

Exposing my vulnerable voice and emotions to the outside world was the right kind of terrifying. Allowing myself to share my secret passion with the world was an act of self-love. Holding myself accountable to this fear-facing goal was a form of self-care, and great practice in putting myself first.

It was listening to my very soul, the essences of me that were screaming to be let out, and acknowledging that I deserve to be heard, in the way that each of us do. And in doing so I felt that same rush of adrenaline that I got from skydiving, and the best high I could ever feel in this life.

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Facing more fears and skydiving this past March in Santiago, Chile!

I’m no professional, but singing is something that I absolutely love to do. I’ll leave the rest to the videos. Thank you to all of my family and friends who have shown endless love and support!

‘I Heard Love Is Blind,’ by Amy Winehouse.

 

‘Stay,’ by Sugarland.