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Janna Audey: Blog

I Am Woman - May 12, 2017

It's time for my annual blog. This time, closer to Mother's Day weekend. And quite fitting, as the topic is about the Feminine.

Something has been brewing over the past 18-24 months. I have been speaking with a small handful of female friends who work in the healing arts, such as myself. A call to the feminine energy. Indescribable. A yearning to emerge…that’s the best way I can describe it. This is not a sexual thing, mind you, this is an expression of that which is feminine—creative, loving, sensual, nurturing, healing. Even men possess feminine traits. Men need women, women need men, in respectable, complementary ways.

As a society, we have been pushing the feminine energy down for so long, devaluing it. Again—not a man/woman thing. I’m talking the traits of woman. Along with what I mentioned above, also things like patience. Kindness. Protection. Courage. Inner strength. We mustn't abandon the masculine to develop the feminine. Oh, by golly, no. We need the masculine to be feminine. We need the feminine to be masculine. We need both. This is not an either/or scenario, whatsoever...

Then it began to permeate the music. Female listeners, no matter where I performed, were commenting on the artists and songs and everything about what I was doing. Many male listeners were also responding in a positive way-- some of the stronger or more dominant of the men had their fair share of things to say, a few comments, not so favorable. I sat patiently and took all of the feedback in. Like a good analyst, I processed the data. What was the overriding message here?

I went back to the 90s, when my first official rock band formed with me as the only singer. A band of men and me. The explosion of all of the female artists back then made it easy to select songs to play and sing outside of the songs I was writing. And these women were writing songs that weren’t about being victimized in love. They had intelligent stories to tell about the world, love, sexuality, all of it. How refreshing this was as a vocalist and writer to express something other than “ooh, baby baby”. It was a vibrant time with many opportunities. And I, we, have only moved forward, and deeper.

Alanis wrote: “These precious illusions in my head did not let me down when I was a kid.” She speaks of letting go of her youth on the path of becoming a woman. And how hard it is—for the illusions are like “childhood friends”.

Madonna sang, “Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone” in Like a Prayer. Yet years before that Carole King wrote, “You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running. To see you again.” As a young woman I, we, all had fantasies that the friend would physically appear, however, as I mature I realize what she is saying is that our lifelong friends are forever in our hearts. And by simply calling out their name we make that connection, within. We close our eyes, meditate, breathe, and smile…’cause that energy forever lives inside of us. Our male friends and our female friends. Family.

It’s both. We are alone and together. If we wish to become an individual and whole, one must get comfortable spending time alone. And then we can bring that whole version of ourselves into every friendship, work relationship, love relationship…healthier, wiser, interdependent. Some of my favorite relationships are not with people like me, they are with people who are strong enough in their sense of self to allow me to be me. And I, of course, offer the same freedom in return…

The woman in me, the man in me—the Yin, the Yang, the masculine, the feminine…these are the things that make me Whole. I am not 25, 30, 35, 40, 45…I am a woman. Gone is the Mother and the Lover-- The Queen archetype has emerged. And over the past 18-24 months I have had to let all of those precious illusions go. There isn’t much discussion about one’s life after 50, and so I plan to be a voice box for the depth that these years are already offering. And also a pair of eyes and a heart for my younger friends, to help them make sense of those years, too. Trust me, I remember. And you are not alone. My heart swells from the front, back and sides of my chest cavity for it yearns to share. May your day be bright. May it offer you what you need. Without harm. To yourself, others, or the Planet. 

Looking forward to sharing life and positive energy through song with many of you this spring and summer. Thank you, always, for your support and this connection!

Let the Music Play - April 28, 2016

It has been a long time since I’ve written a blog. Goodness, close to 18 months. Life has gotten busier, and I’ve been writing new music, plus performing out a lot more. I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying listening to other friends and musicians make music, sitting in the audience, which is the main inspiration for this latest blog. The importance of being in the chairs, at the tables, and the significant and collaborative role the audiences (YOU!) play in each performance…

Almost two years ago (thanks to Facebook) I reconnected with about 80% of the musicians from my past. Most of you know me from playing with Rob and our various bands, however before Rob I was in four other bands. I thought it a bit interesting to have everyone reappear all at once, and knew this was a special time. Between thumbs-up’s, likes, and scanning the Newsfeed, I actually got to see many of the musicians in person. Holy Flashback!

The bass player from my third band, Jerry, posted that he was playing in Old Town Alexandria on July 11, 2014. Hey—that was my birthday, and I told my husband I knew what I wanted to do that night. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Il Porto, and walked up the street to the 219. I was completely blown away by his new band, Mudlark. You just don’t hear live rock and roll from the 60s-70s-80s played the way they play it much anymore. Really. I mean this.

Seeing Jerry sparked old memories, of how “before Rob” I would often go out to listen to bands by myself and with friends. Any given night I could head into the city and hear live jazz, R&B, or rock and roll. Sadly, all of the rooms I used to go to are no more. The demand for live music is not what it once was.  All things change. Life is different these days. We’re all different these days. Except for the heart/soul. Yeah, that part doesn’t change. It only gets better.

A couple months later, I headed back to the 219 to hear Jerry’s band. I sat in the corner and observed. Of course, I met people sitting close by, and we talked about life, and shared in the magic and mood of the evening. This is what live music does—it connects people.  I also started listening to local acoustic artists, and witnessed the same joy through their audiences. Future nights at the 219, Strongbow's, Indigo Landing, Evening Star, and other rooms, unknowingly, were to become a mirror for me as a live performer. And the message was loud and clear: "Witness the impact from the audience. You must continue to make and share music. Period!"

It’s easy to get distracted on this journey…am I too old? Am I too this? Not enough that? There are no absolute truths, for good music will always have an audience. What I do is dramatically different from what Mudlark does, because our venues and audiences are different. Be true to yourself, in whatever you do. And what the audiences at the 219 were also telling me is that there is no age limit or expiration date for great music. That is the truth, plain and simple.

Whatever you are “great” at, the same holds true. Know this.

It’s been fascinating to go out at this stage of life and just talk to people without any hidden agenda. Back in the day, in our younger bodies, sexual advances were common. Now, though, we’re all married or simply interested in good old-fashioned socializing. It’s been my experience that everyone wants to connect through and with the music, and share stories. From Air Force pilots to lawyers, retired police officers, other musicians, accountants…you name it, I’ve met folks from various social, professional backgrounds. When live music is playing, those barriers do not exist. We are simply human beings, needing to slip into the space of joy and happiness for a few hours, so we can make it through the rest of our week, month, life…

So, from the bottom, the center, the top of my big, big heart…thank you all for your continued support. I’m going on 33 years performing live now. Thirty-three years! As long as my body and voice can continue to perform live, and trust me when I say I am doing my part to keep healthy, I am dedicated to connecting to you.  We need each other. And, by golly, we’re in this, together.

Until next time…

These Are Days - December 1, 2014


Howdy, folks...and happy December! Thirty-one days left in this fabulous year...and I plan to make each of them count. :)
A little over seven years ago, I remember telling the CEO of the company I worked for that I was "getting off the train". He asked where I was going. My reply: "On the platform".  A change was brewing inside of me, and I wasn't quite certain where I belonged professionally. I knew that in order to get my answers, I had to stop. He was gracious enough to give me the space I needed to discern my truth. 
About two months ago I had the same vision, the memory of our then conversation. And then Natalie Merchant singing in my head, "See the signs and know their meaning." As a yogi, I have become accustomed to these internal cues and intuitions. I knew that something was brewing again, and so I have been sitting with quite a bit of internal discomfort, on the platform, all the while showing up for my obligations and doing my work, at home, on the yoga mat, behind the microphone, etc.
The life of a modern yogi is a beautiful, challenging journey. We consciously choose to release and re-emerge through the practice, through the shedding of the unhealthy ego, through healing, through postures, breath- all of it. The past seven years along this journey I have healed from cancer physically/emotionally, started a new vocation as a yoga teacher, unlearned untruths, relearned actual truths, became more of a homemaker, performed regionally as a solo artist, lost myself, found myself, the list goes on. It's been a dramatic chapter, one parallel to the hero's/heroine's journey. My coming on the platform has been necessary to see the magnitude, process the macro-lessons, and move forward into 2015 as this new integrated self. What I have learned is that, as a yogi, and in the quest of balance and moderation, there can be "too much of a good thing". Especially if the good thing is taking me away from other aspects of self of equal importance.
I am here to love-- aren't we all? We each have our own way of showing up in love. I have a husband, and a doggie-daughter, I sing, I teach yoga, have friends and extended family, oh, and yes-- I have to love myself, too. Don't misunderstand the messaging of the wisdom traditions-- yes, we must think of others, however, we also must think of ourselves, too. From the basics (food/shelter/health) to the more evolved (personal potential, consciousness), the journey of self-care must run a parallel path with that in service of others. And, yes, you will lose yourself for awhile. Fear not. You will be guided back on track just as I have been many times over. It's part of the journey. 
I will be reducing my permanent/weekly yoga classes in half for 2015 so that I can have greater balance between the yoga and the music, care of others and self-care, space to be creative, time to be disciplined. Opportunities to develop students, opportunities to sub for other teachers, and also to teach teacher trainees. Life moves us forward. I choose to move forward into 2015 with a bit more awareness of what is sustainable at this stage of life. Mind/body/heart/spirit integration is a path of mindfulness. And living in this way is not easy, however, it is by far, the most rewarding path. It's about understanding what our personal state of enough is. 
These are days...31 of them, to be exact. As Natalie Merchant reminds us, "Hear the signs and know they're speaking to you." Don't be afraid of your truth, for as we live with greater awareness, we are elevating and inspiring others to pay closer attention, too. And that is pretty cool, isn't it?
Until next time...

Howdy, folks...and happy December! Thirty-one days left in this fabulous year...and I plan to make each of them count. :)

A little over seven years ago, I remember telling the CEO of the company I worked for that I was "getting off the train". He asked where I was going. My reply: "On the platform".  A change was brewing inside of me, and I wasn't quite certain where I belonged professionally. I knew that in order to get my answers, I had to stop. He was gracious enough to give me the space I needed to discern my truth.

About two months ago I had the same vision, the memory of our then conversation. And then Natalie Merchant singing in my head, "See the signs and know their meaning." As a yogi, I have become accustomed to these internal cues and intuitions. I knew that something was brewing again, and so I have been sitting with quite a bit of internal discomfort, on the platform, all the while showing up for my obligations and doing my work, at home, on the yoga mat, behind the microphone, etc.

The life of a modern yogi is a beautiful, challenging journey. We consciously choose to release and re-emerge through the practice, through the shedding of the unhealthy ego, through healing, through postures, meditation, breath- all of it. The past seven years along this journey I have healed from cancer physically/emotionally, started a new vocation as a yoga teacher, unlearned untruths, relearned actual truths, became more of a homemaker, performed regionally as a solo artist, lost myself, found myself, the list goes on. It's been a dramatic chapter, one parallel to the hero's/heroine's journey. My coming on the platform has been necessary to see the magnitude, process the macro-lessons, and move forward into 2015 as this new integrated self. What I have learned is that, as a yogi, and in the quest of balance and moderation, there can be "too much of a good thing". Especially if the good thing is taking me away from other aspects of self of equal importance.

I am here to love-- aren't we all? We each have our own way of showing up in love. I have a husband, and a doggie-daughter, I sing, I teach yoga, have friends and extended family, oh, and yes-- I have to love myself, too. Don't misunderstand the messaging of the wisdom traditions-- yes, we must think of others, however, we also must think of ourselves, too. From the basics (food/shelter/health) to the more evolved (personal potential, consciousness), the journey of self-care must run a parallel path with that in service of others. And, yes, you will lose yourself for awhile. Fear not. You will be guided back on track just as I have been many times over. It's part of the journey.

I am working toward sustainability as I enter 2015 so that I can have greater balance between the yoga and the music, care of others and self-care, space to be creative, time to be disciplined. New opportunities coming in that reflect where I need to be, shedding old patterns of taking on too much. It's quite an interesting phase of self-assessment here on the platform.  Life moves us forward on all paths. Mind/body/heart/spirit integration is a path of mindfulness. And living in this way is not easy, however, it is by far, the most rewarding path I've been on. The most humbling aspect has been about understanding what my personal state of enough is. 

These are days...31 of them, to be exact. As Natalie Merchant reminds us, "Hear the signs and know they're speaking to you." Don't be afraid of your truth, for as we live with greater awareness, we are elevating and inspiring others to pay closer attention, too. And that is pretty cool, isn't it?

Until next time...

It's Been Such a Long Time - February 15, 2014

Good morning, and happy snowy, rainy, drizzly Saturday.  It has been such a long time since I've sat down to write.  I'm a bit shocked, actually, to see that it's been since last May.  The thing is, I write daily-- I simply haven't been blogging.  And, well, it feels good and right to sit down and connect to this familiar space, once again. The main intention behind this public forum is to share and inspire, with the hope that you will understand where you are a bit more, too.  

There is something about this weekend that always seems to trigger the same issue with me.  Before my breakthrough this morning I had the breakdown.  Tears, uncertainty, anxiety...I stopped myself, and decided that instead of working through whatever "this" was in my journal, on the meditation cushion, or through my yoga practice, it was speed and iron calling my name.  So, I got dressed, headed over to the gym, and began the self-discovery process on the elliptical, jogged on the treadmill for a couple miles, and then lifted weights.  What was going on internally, unbeknownst to anyone around me, was a private boxing match with my fear.  It went something like this: 

Fear: "What are you doing with your life? You don't have enough ambition, money, xxxx, yyyy."

Me:  "Okay, fear, um, in the past five years, I was focused on saving my life from cancer, leaving the 9-5 lifestyle and environment after 23 years, simultaneously starting a new career, and continuing my education. Oh-- and I was also becoming a loving and compassionate human being, the best wife I've ever been, and so many other things.  So, what are you really trying to get me to see, fear?"

Fear: "Hmm...I see...well, it's tax season, and you always wrap-up your taxes this weekend, and I just wanted to point out that you aren't earning as much money as you once were.  And in this culture, money equals power and success."

Me: "Yes, that is a fact, fear. I am not earning as much money, however, I am earning more this year than last year, and still loving my vocation as a yoga teacher.  Also, my role in the home is much more demanding than it once was, as well as the commitment of sustaining overall wellness, and I am older, albeit, a happy, content, self-aware 47 year-old older. :)  It takes work to be happy! However, there is some validity to what you are saying-- and as a woman who values interdependence as much as individuality, beauty as much as good health, connection to others as much as inner peace, and strength as much as self-awareness, I want to thank you for dropping in and reminding me of the parts of myself that I'm not quite ready to put to rest yet, and that I had forgotten about.  Parts of myself that I had to put on the shelf while I was navigating my way through a couple big life changes."

Fear: "Cool.  Let's register for a 5K this spring."

Me: "What a great idea! "

My fear was actually my friend.  It became crazy-fear when I was trying to run away from it.  It became tempered and real and valid when I faced it with courage.  And, this is the thing with life-- we are growing and evolving, and yet we need space and time to acknowledge and assess, too.  And, as we mature, we begin to realize that we have to let go of certain aspects of self to make progress in other areas.  And then, hopefully, we become whole, again and again and again....

It's been such a long time since I wrote a blog, and it's been such a long time since I allowed myself to remember who I used to be.  I've been so focused on pruning away the old parts of self, that I may have been a bit too ambitious in "letting go".  By golly, there is a lot of who I used to be that I miss.  And while I will never be 35, 40, or even 45 again, I choose to bring in those aspects of Janna-past here and now. And how I look forward to every song I have yet to learn and sing, every yoga class I have yet to teach and take, every dinner and intimate moment with Rob I have yet to enjoy and share, every book I've yet to read, every new pair of shoes I have yet to buy, every trip I've yet to take, every person I have yet to meet, every cup of coffee and deep conversation I have yet to share with my sister, friends, and myself, every family gathering I have yet to be a part of...the list goes on.  

If it's been such a long time for you-- perhaps since you've bought a new pair of jeans, or read a good book, or cooked a new recipe-- whatever that something is that you miss-- may this blog inspire you to reclaim and reunite with all that you adore about yourself and your precious life.  

Until next time...

Here's Where the Story Ends - May 23, 2013

Good morning, and happy Thursday!  I hope all is well with each of you, and that life continues to reveal your personal truth in the most magnificent ways...

Our band just had an amazing gig at Paradise Springs Winery last Friday night. I was extra excited (as was our drummer, Terry) and a few of our fans, because we pulled two tunes "out of the vault" from the early-90s period.  One of them, Here's Where the Story Ends by The Sundays.

Music carries with it energy.  I witness this during my solo shows so often. While I love performing and connecting to folks through my original material (especially when the lyrics hit-home with the audience), the moment I begin to play a cover that they recognize, I observe the listener being transported back to "somewhere" in their mind. A smile may wash over their face, eyes sometimes close, and often, lips sing along. 

We were blessed with an audience of folks in our age-range, and they were so thankful for playing music from our generation.  They even loved our originals, and mentioned "no one plays music like this anymore."  It's as if the universe brought us all together, just as other musicians who play other styles of music witness in their own performances.  This is the magic of music!

On the flip side, the more earthly/real elements, was so hot on Friday, and unlike the early 1990s, I am now 46 years old (closer to 47) and have been going through menopause for about five years.  There was a physical heaviness on the inside unfamiliar to the memory of my 28 year-old self.  Ah,'s because I'm not her anymore. :)

Another "earthly" reality is that there has been a gradual decrease in pay and opportunities for we seasoned musicians over the past few years-- the economy has hit many of the venues we play at, and things like live music are now considered a luxury item. 

Things like Facebook-- heck, even email/internet...didn't exist back when we performed had to Xerox flyers and hand them out to their friends at work, or call people directly. In hindsight, knowing what I know and having experienced what I experienced, I'm actually glad the visual aspect of today wasn't present when we were in our prime.  Why?  Because it's always been about the music to me, us...the pure talent that we were gifted with.  The memories are still there, and I believe will always be there.  "You had to be there" to know and understand what I am talking about.

And yet, paradoxically, I am so thankful to Facebook, email, Twitter...the technological conveniences of today's world for helping me remain connected to so many acquaintences and friends I've met along the way (30 years of adult living...that's a helluva lot of people).  What a gift it is!  Posting pics, witnessing the birth of their children, and being there to extend love and care throughout life's challenges.  I love the gifts of today as much as I love the absence of them when I was younger. 

I never quite understood that I was an introvert, although as I look back, I exhibited signs of introversion even "in my prime".  It was somehow clouded or misunderstood as a hangover day, or artistic privacy.  Becoming a yoga teacher and the entire path of self-awareness is when I began dissecting and deconstructing "Janna".  And not merely accepting this part of me, but embracing it.

As a yoga teacher, I am able to guide/lead students toward their personal potential without cameras.  It is in this space of privacy, for all of us, that we can find and nurture our authentic state of being.  It's public and private at the same time.

The demand for yoga is on the rise, and more and more people are investing in their health.  To watch life unfold over the past few years has been pretty amazing. We can't rush personal mantra is "be here now".  For "now" is impermanent.  No regrets. :)

As a student and teacher, I find that I am most present and consistently content when I am clear and peaceful in mind, healthy and strong in body, and nurturing my heart and spirit in nature.  Late night gigs, eating food that may not be the healthiest...well, I cannot do that too often. It takes the greater, more whole part of me way off track, and sometimes days to recover., where am I going with all of this?  Well, after much thought and consideration, after 30 years of performing semi-full-time/non-stop, this yogini has found herself at one of those proverbial forks-in-the-road.  The winner?  Yoga-teacher-Janna.  It's where I have the greatest impact; purpose. To use my gifts. No worries--I'll still be singing, and we'll still be connecting at my favorite wineries, markets and cafes.  In order to maintain my yogic life, I have to make a personal commitment to sing no more than 1-2x per month.  And as an introvert, it's all I can handle, too. :) (Not all yoga teachers are introverts, so I need to include this important puzzle piece.)

I am utterly thankful to have had three decades worth of excitement, and to know each of you.  So while this story ends, this next chapter is just beginning.  How grateful I am to have been given so much time to perform live-- and during the chapter of my life when I could do it.  The magic of music and the universe. :)

I encourage you to look in your internal rooms.  Is there a past part of self that is taking up too much space, preventing you from emerging and growing and becoming the most expressive, loving, version of you?  Go on...pull out that emotional splinter from yesterday.  Yes, it's gonna hurt like hell.  But I promise you, within a short time, you are going to feel light, real, and free.

Until next time...

Middle of the Road - January 11, 2013

Good morning, and happy Friday.  My hope is that your 2013 is off to a beautiful start, and that no matter what life challenges you may be facing, you meet them face-to-face, with open heart, and the awareness that you are building some serious emotional and spiritual muscle.  To quote Benjamin Franklin, "Those things that hurt, instruct." 

I realize it has been awhile since I've been inspired to write.  Life had been full of action from October through December, performing live, conducting lots of yoga workshops in the community, teaching regular classes, and nourishing the garden of our family, connection, and reflection.  When everyone else tends to wind-down and want to celebrate the end of the year, well, both sides of my work are in full-gear.  It's something I've grown to love about this next chapter...serving people during a season that can be quite stressful if we overextend ourselves.

Simultaneous with loving my work I've also been contemplating the direction of my professional life. I’ve been working with one of my spiritual mentors and author, Rolf Gates, for one-on-one coaching.  It’s been life-changing.  Through our conversations, homework assignments, and independent self-inquiry, I spent several months stripping away and sanding my internal self, purifying, releasing old ideals and beliefs, gaining some serious professional self-respect, and now, moving forward into the next version, as a small business owner, a yoga teacher, a professional singer, and performer. 

Not an easy time whatsoever, yet I knew it was essential, and found contentment through the challenge.  I experienced many moments of what I call ego-crankiness.  The ego part of our mind, if not ‘in check”, has this tendency to want to hold onto the past, to do and be everything it used to, neglecting to witness that time is ushering us forward.  The soul and heart yearn to hold hands with the mind and say, "It's time to release. And it's okay. We’re in this together."  The renegade ego will harshly turn away.  We all know this experience, and even the most talented yogis in the world have had to wrestle with their untamed minds. 

The good news is we also know what it feels like to gel, to be in harmony with all aspects of self.  This is something that happens inside.  Harmony is riding a bicycle.  Lack of harmony is riding the bicycle and engaging the brakes at the same time.  This very act of resistance is what causes the crankiness, and where most of us get stuck.  It’s a lovely reminder that the forward movement is liberating...the struggle is rooted in the holding-on to what no longer is.

I have chosen to use Chrissie Hynde's Middle of the Road for today's blog title. I'm mildy amused, as she thought 33 was mid-life.  Yowzah.  Probably because she was already embarking on parenthood, and that makes sense.  If I am honest with myself, I was feeling the effects of the aging process in my late 20s/early 30s... 

Back to now...and here we are in January 2013.  The holiday hangover has worn off, and it's a good time to pause in the middle of our road and assess.  Sometimes we just hop on the next train before we think about where it may be going.  Without taking into account everything else going on in our lives.  As we age we must become more mindful.  Self-awareness is the act of discerning where to put our time and energy.  Where we put our time, when mindful, is in alignment with our values and interests. 

On December 30th, I enjoyed an imaginary dance with my 28-year old self (a chapter that really extends from 26-33 years old).  You see, letting go doesn't have to be sad.  I really love(d) that version of myself. She was wild and carefree.  Loving, giving, and outgoing. She drank blue shots and lots of beer.  She was one of the guys, rockin' out at Jaxx and Nick's, Iota and Strangeway's, and bars that don't even exist anymore.  She worked hard, and played hard.  She was out listening to live music when she wasn't playing, to fusion jazz, R&B, and any number of Rob's other four bands. :)  I simply choose not to hold onto her anymore. That version of me is long gone, as she should be.  And her lingering memory had been taking up prime real estate inside of me!

When I was "28", I rocked the heck out of the phase, exploring and enjoying things I cannot write about here. :)  And now I'm 46, and truly loving and honoring this stage of life, the maturity, the wisdom, the gifts, the inner peace, and with the vision and intention in living out the rest of my life with a light-hearted, yet focused, drive. Music and yoga have been sharing the stage for five years now-- it certainly makes for an interesting dynamic.  Connecting the diversity to the greater whole.

May you be exactly who you are, where you are, and thankful for who you have been.  And when it’s time to let go, smile on the inside, have your own imaginary dance, and set yourself free...

Until next time...


You Are the Sun, I Am the Moon - September 24, 2012

Good morning, and happy Monday!  Fall is here, and she is ushering in beauty, as well as change.  I feel an internal shift, as you? :)

In the quest for the whole self, one must be willing, always, to be open to hearing the intuitive voice within.  It's in that space, deep within the core of who we are, where we feel *and* know what the next steps are.  As we age, we find we must release to move forward, as new ways of thinking, or perhaps more tangible things, enter our precious lives. 

In my life, there is the whole "Janna" that I strive for, and a whole "Rob and Janna and Mysti" that must, too, be maintained.  The 30s were all about individuation, discovering who we were and what our unique talents are.  We both left our jobs at different stages back then to stop and listen. Rob educated himself in IT; I began my songwriting and solo artist journey. As we entered our 40s, we have chosen to use our work and talents to support our collective whole; in essence, for a greater purpose.  We are not living in the "I-zone" as much as we are the "We-zone".  Certainly, we are still very much individuals, and yet our individual needs map to our relationship.  And, also to the communities in which we work. The "We-zone" becomes even larger.  And yet, it must start with "I". 

The moment words like "greater purpose" come up, the western mind immediately thinks more money.  Fame.  I am here to tell you that this may be the case for some, and yet it also may not be the case.  The key is to find that path that works in alignment to your whole.

Money is part of the whole, but it isn't the know this by now, right?  :)  Depending on your needs, your values, and the lifestyle you have found that is important to you, you will eventually figure out what you can do without and what you must have in order to sustain the whole of who you are.  And that is very personal.  Your parents won't have the answer to these questions, neither will your therapist, your priest, or your best friend.  Yes, they may lead you to your well, however it is your own reflection that you must seek.  And that truth lives only in you, and can only be seen through your eyes.

In Neil Diamond's song, Play Me, he writes: You are the sun, I am the moon, you are the words, I am the tune, play me.  I listened to this song this morning, and my heart swelled, for I understand that love he is speaking of.  During the work-week, Rob is the sun and I am the moon; during the weekends, I am the sun and he is the moon.  We switch roles to balance our state of wholeness, and it has taken many, many fumbles and falls to get here.  We also know where we are now is impermanent, and we'll adapt and flow with whatever changes life brings us in the future.  Individually, and ultimately as a couple.  We think of the future, yet live in the now...we are content.

It can be challenging having eastern values in a western world, and yet somehow we're making it work.  We are allowing ourselves to be who we are, celebrating our friends' successes as though they are our own, and open to the birth/death/re-birth cycles that come each and every year.  Sometimes, more than once.  Life is expansive, yes...and life is also rich and deep.  Layer after layer, if we are patient, we find that our truth lives in the center, the core, of who we are.

Faster is not the energy for this path, dear friends.  Patience is.

My wish is that you are well, that you are listening, and that you find peace and love in your day.  You are exactly where you need to be.  And there is so much beauty already in you and around you.  Until next time...

Feed the Tree - July 23, 2012

Howdy!  I hope you are enjoying the hot days of summer, and finding fun ways to cool off. :)

Rob, Mysti and I are just settling back into our home after a true summer vacation in the Outer Banks. Toes in the sand, daily yoga, Rob caught lots of yummy fish from the shore...we cooked together, relaxed together, ate out at the local restaurants...oh, and we celebrated my 46th birthday, too. :)  Mainly, though, we turned off our gadgets for about 80% of the trip, relaxed our minds, and immersed ourselves in the things that fill our souls and bring us contentment, as a couple and individually, too.  I've come back with a deeper appreciation for self-care...

I'm not quite sure the meaning behind Belly's song Feed the Tree-- to me, this phrase represents self...the stronger our roots, the higher we can climb.  One must always feed their tree...come back down to earth. Ground. Root. Center.  And then we can make our way back up the trunk and onto the branches.  I suppose the roots symbolize self-care...the trunk and the branches represent how we show up in the world. Extend ourselves. Live with purpose. 

As we age, we have more than one branch on our tree, aligned with our multiple interests, obligations, and values-- which means our time and energy management becomes more critical to the self-care and living with purpose paths.  Most of us still cook and clean for ourselves, drive ourselves where we need to go, shop for ourselves, role models are not the celebrities on TV.  My role models are successful people in this extended community who still take out the trash. :) 

There is no handbook on what to feed your tree, how many times a week or how many hours to feed your tree...that is highly personal, and will flow with the changes of life, your health, whether you own your property or rent, your personality, and your familial obligations.  It is all-too easy to forget to feed our trees-- and I do this self-discovery thing for a living. :) 

What matters to you?  What can you do *right now* to feed your tree?  Go on...what are you waiting for? :)

Until next time...

I Can't Be Anyone But Me - May 11, 2012

Good morning, and happy Friday!  I hope you are enjoying the month of May-- the abundance, the color, the cool nights, and the warmer days. 

Springtime has always been my season.  We all have a time of year where we feel stronger, wiser, more least, this has been my observation.  Oddly it is the season where some pretty big life "stuff" touched me father passed away 11 years ago at the end of April, and I was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago and started treatment around the same time.  Despite, or perhaps maybe because of, I feel more alive, more energized, and more aware of how precious our time on earth really is during this season.  There is no time to "waste"...after all, time is life. 

Around four years ago I stumbled upon a fabulous indie artist named Nerina Pallot.  Her song, Idaho, really spoke to me, and continues to.  The chorus goes: "'Cause I can't be anyone but me, anyone but me /
And I can't keep dreaming that I'm free, dreaming that I'm free, / I don't want to fall asleep and watch my life from fifty feet, / My hands are on the wheel so I'm driving to Idaho." 

Over the past four years, here is how this mantra has evolved for me: I can't be anyone but me.  I won't be anyone but me.  I do not want to be anyone but me.  I love being me. 

I've noticed significant changes in my personality, or perhaps I've simply begun to understand my personality better since becoming a yoga teacher.  You see, yoga is a form of exercise that stretches and strenghtens the body and the mind, the spirit and the heart.  It is a time where we come to our mats, to our personal worlds, and begin to make sense of self, of life's situations, and also a time to listen. To turn inward. 

One skill that I have developed is one of being incredibly empathic. I can feel a room, the energy from people.  As a teacher and a singer, this helps me tremendously, as I can respond and guide from this place of awareness. 

In being me, I am also very aware that I am a big 'ole introvert, which means that the very skill of empathy that helps me to be authentic as a teacher, singer, and wife, can make social situations somewhat overwhelming.  If God didn't bless me with this unique blend of opposing traits, I may not be able to live in balance, and balance is a top value of mine.  I would burnout-- and I have already, actually...I've learned balance through the experience of imbalance.  Yes, in being "me", I accept all of me.  The limitations actually serve me in my work, in our home, and in life.  In not being me, I've also learned who I am not.  Those experiences have been equally as helpful.

I bet right about now you are beginning to think of something in your own life in which you have perceived one way, that may actually be serving you quite well.  I sure hope so.  This is the main reason I share my life and help open you up.  So that you can release self-judgement and embrace all the wonder that you are. :)

In my off-time I jog and go to the gym, and also enjoy reading, journaling, practicing yoga, meditating, walking in nature with our dog, and living a very silent life.  For it is in the silence where I can hear, replenish, self-nourish, commune with God and my heart and the energy in which I wish to emit.  I must feed myself strength, joy, love and peace in order to share the same.  As I am full, I can then step behind the microphone and onto the mat with authenticity.

This life that brings me such contentment has its trade-offs.  Family gatherings and time with friends...very limited.  Drinking, about six glasses of wine a year.  Small talk...little mental space for it.  I have no regrets, no wishes for anything different, and absolutely no sadness.  Because I have already had and enjoyed many, many, many nights out, family get togethers, the idle chit-chat, the hungover mornings, etc.  I enjoyed them when I was meant to.  And now it is time to experience what it means to be 45-year-old-Janna.  I have more on my plate than I did 5 years ago. 

What version of you are you experiencing?  Is it time to let go and move forward?  Can you take a moment, close your eyes, breathe, and listen?  Your heart is aching to chat with you. :)  My truth is only meant to inspire your truth.  Our truths will be different, and that's what makes life so rich, don't ya think?

May you continue to be the magnificent you that you are.  Honor your truth. Release expectations. Simply be your best in all that you do.  I look forward to seeing you out there soon.  Until then...

Waiting to Exhale - March 21, 2012

Happy spring and happy Wednesday!  It's been awhile since I have written.  Today seems perfect, before the yoga teaching day begins.  There is a calm energy on this gray day...

I chose the title of a Whitney Houston song for today's blog entry.  Her sudden passing was a shock to those who followed her music, her impeccable delivery as a vocalist, and her troubled life.  I think we as a society have much to learn from Whitney. She was blessed with such raw talent, undeniable beauty, a strong presence, and that package came with a big that she, unfortunately, couldn't escape.  She was human and angelic at the same time.  Aren't we all?

We all live with shadows...some are more apparent than others.  Food addiction is not something to be ridiculed, nor is drug or alcohol addiction.  Other addictions are less visible-- being overly ambitious, an incessant gossip, or highly competitive, for example, always needing to "win" or "be right".  Our culture seems to support some of these behaviors.  Certainly, if you are a professional athlete, then you are required to be competitive and overly ambitious.  For the rest of us, though, when we find ourselves teetering, it's always good to check-in and ask "why?"...

Why am I working so hard? Why do I talk about others in unpleasant ways? Why am I reaching for that extra helping of food when I'm really not hungry?  Why am I feeling tempted?  Often times, it is a physiological need, other times, though, its root is psychological in nature. 

There is a little bit of Whitney Houston in each of us.  Before you cast the stone and take it upon yourself to judge her, all I ask is that you stop, think, and examine your own life.  Self-compassion and self-forgiveness are incredible gifts.  As we genuinely allow ourselves permission to be human and to work through our "stuff", we then give everyone around us the freedom to do the same.  We then feel compassion-- genuine compassion-- for people when they must publicly face their stuff.

Only you have the answers to your truth.  Only you have lived your life.  There is no one else like you on the planet, which means that your truth may resemble someone else's, however as we dig deeper we find the journey to be quite personal, unique.

Go ahead...let go.  Exhale.  That's right.  You are a human being, imperfect, flawed and beautiful!  You are here to learn through every experience.  That the biggest challenges you have faced are gifts, too.  They will most likely catapult you to higher highs, for you've already seen those lowest-lows.  And then, life comes into a balance, as we experience our earthly form while connected to the realm of spirit, consciousness, cosmos-- whatever your beliefs.  Our differences, our shadows, our similarities, our gifts, our struggles, within our micro-communities work together, keeping things in balance.   We remind one another of what is possible, and when we succeed, reflect back how important it is to stay dedicated to our life's truth.  To look ahead.  To perservere.

May you find strength in your day, compassion in your heart, and patience in your mind.  Until next time...

Back to the Middle - January 26, 2012

Good morning, and happy Thursday!  It's a gentle, gray day here in northern VA.  The perfect kind of day to slow down, reflect, write, and share...

Over the years I have worked diligently at maintaining a sense of balance in my life.  We are all familiar with the word "balance"...and, as we age, we begin to understand that balance is a moving target, based on what is on our plate from day to day, week to week.  How our health is.  How our family's health is.  Work responsibilities.  The list goes on...relative to what you value in your own life.  Some folks value maintaining multiple social relationships, while others value alone-time.  You may like to travel, or use your time-off for a staycation-- to work on a home project or hobby.  The key is that we balance all of our needs-- physical, intellectual, emotional, creative, spiritual, and so on...

I remember back in the late 90s my brother and I were having an email dialogue.  I joked with him, as I recognized that all I had mastered at that stage was balance.  Many of my peers were skyrocketing in their careers, while I chose to stay where I was...for I knew inherently, given my values and personality type, the moment I began to manage people would be the moment I had to give up my music to the degree at which my mind and heart needed to express itself.  And that meant a big part of me would die.  Who knew that 10 years later, after our e-conversation, I would become a certified yoga teacher, where things like balance and self-awareness are essential aims on the yogic path?  That what my heart and soul were guiding me to do led me to where I needed to be.

Wow.  If this has happened in my life, I know it has happened in yours.  Have you ever hit that pause button, come back to the middle, to that state of balance where you can actually hear/listen to your inner truth, and acknowledge where and why you are doing what you are doing?  Put the pieces of your life together? It is one of the most gratifying things in the world.  Understanding self is one of the reasons we are all here...

I'm coming back to the middle with everything else on my plate.  And I have a lot on my plate...several values and needs that if one of them goes unattended, the other parts of me feel uneasy.  Musically, that means I'll be gigging out at a steadier pace, regardless of the season.  What I learned from 2011 and past years was that over-gigging in the spring and summer sent my yoga-self into a tailspin, and I'm done feeling that way.  I lived a fast-paced life for many of my adult years.  And it's time to move forward from living that way, for I learned what I needed to from that experience. 

How about you?  Has your soul been growing, pressing up against your skin from the inside, encouraging you to let go of some of those not-so-important things on your to-do-list?  Are you listening?  Have you observed when it is that you feel balanced, content, and genuinely happy?  Are you feeding those parts of you with consistency?  This is the reason I share my truth with you...because truth feeds truth.  And you living a truthful life matters.  It matters to everyone around you.  For as we live our truth, we encourage others to live theirs, even if and often times when it is different from ours.  It's magical!

My wish is that you continue to uncover, remember, and ignite all of the goodness that lives in you.  Happy journeying!

Until next time...

The Price of Love - December 18, 2011

Good morning, and happy Sunday!

The sun is shining, and before Rob, Mysti and I venture out on our morning hike, I wanted to sit and write, and share a few thoughts and ideas with you.  Connecting through words is such an accessible form of communication.  It allows me to write as I have the space and time, and you to read and receive when you have the same.  Thank you, technology!

This has been an interesting year for me.  Every year is, however this one seems to have been about purging the old ways that no longer serve the who I am becoming.  Pretty profound ways, as they relate to long-term relationships in my life, such as music, health and family.  While the path of yoga reminds me to evaluate life each step of the way, there is something quite profound about the close of one year that allows us to look back on bigger chunks of time.  And then make sense of it all...

When we accept who we are, what our purpose in life is, and then make it our business to feed this purpose each and every day, which to me is a form of pure love, whether you label it that or not, then we naturally have less time for those things that aren't feeding the mission, the goal, the who we are "now".  It's not that we don't love those things anymore, it simply means that we have already had our time to experience them, and that it's time to move forward to experience growth and evolution.  We have to be where we are, fully, when it is our time to be there.  And when it's time to move on, we must also be willing to travel into the unknown of what's to come. 

Whether we let go of "XYZ" forever, or simply place it on a shelf for an extended period of time, the key here is to acknowledge that we do, in fact, need to tend to something of greater interest or importance to us.  This is what the aging process teaches us.  Time moves us, and we have more things on our plates-- more relationships, more life experiences, more obligations, and all the while we still only have 24 hours in a day.  To add to the mix, the body is aging, and we must keep up with our own health, and this takes energy, time, discipline, and money, too. 

This Thanksgiving was a turning point for me, as I looked back on the richness I have experienced over the years.  Family trips, gatherings, turkey, laughter, over-eating, wine, coffee drinks, board games, etc.  A tradition that our family carried on even after our father passed away.  November 24, 2011...things were different.  My commitment to health, wellness, and balance are of greater importance to me now (yes, cancer has left my body, however my duty to care for body is an ongoing on).  And that means overeating, loud conversation, driving six hours in traffic, etc...those parts of the experiences are not of value to me anymore.  I've already had my share of those things, and a call for peace is much stronger.  Especially since both music and yoga require me to work before and after holidays.  I can't be in the background as a lead singer or a yoga teacher.  I must be present and aware.  Yes, this Thanksgiving, I simply needed time to be in the quiet.  And, Rob, Mysti and I kicked off the holiday season with health and wellness...hiking every day, enveloped by nature's stillness, and quiet evenings on the couch.  There was love, laughter, and even wine...and, through it all, a pulse of serene energy.  The gifts of technology allowed us to connect to our loved ones via phone, email, text and Skype.  We made it all work with our "now". :)

The next two days, I was able to teach yoga from an authentic place-- a joyful heart, a peaceful mind, and a calm tummy, too. :)  I had the foresight and enough experiences to draw from to know that choosing old ways to honor Thanksgiving would have taken me off path...and negatively impacted my students and my own health. 

My commitment and love for this purpose, this work of yoga, which has become a way of life, has changed the way I do many things-- it requires tremendous discipline, and four years into teaching I can now firmly say this: it limits the time I have to socialize, to gig out, and draws me closer to things like self-analysis, daily exercise, conscious eating, stillness, and peace.  The togetherness we experience in each yoga class is so rich, whether I am the student or the teacher.  My values and my work are finally, it's up to me to continue to feed these parts.  What are your values at this stage of life?  And what are you willing to let go of, and more important, welcome in? :)

The price of love is so worth it, and I look back with gratitude for all that I experienced during those more youthful days, and now look ahead with a curious, yet discerning, mind and open heart of what is yet to come.  I am ready!  Are you?

Until next time... ~Janna

Bathe in These Waters - November 16, 2011

Good morning, and happy Wednesday.  The pull to write this morning is quite strong.  Even though I have a busy teaching schedule, I am flowing with this energy.

Yesterday was a magical and challenging day.  Yep.  It was both things.  Greeted in the morning by an angel-- an earth angel...a stranger who reflected back to me light and love and God, to then move throughout the day to have no choice but to purge a few old ways.  Imagine yourself playing tug-of-war with a rope-- on one end, your former self.  On the other end, your current and future self.  That's what was going on inside...

Future self: "Janna, it's time to let go of XYZ.  It's no longer serving you, and doesn't gel with your family life, your yogic life, or your post-cancer-limited-energy life."

Past self...disguised as current self:  "No way...I can still do this.  I can do all things!"

Future self:  "Um, no you can't.  As soon as you accept this you will feel free."  :)

Sound familiar?

We all go through the push-and-pull in our lives.  As we are younger, we're probably not as aware of the process, because our emotional and psychological development isn't-- and shouldn't be-- what it is in our 40s and beyond.  As we get older, and especially so if we are leading a disciplined life, we are very much aware of what fits and doesn't fit anymore.  Our bodies respond.  Our hearts speak to us.  The question is, are we listening?

What gets challenging for we humans is that we think we only have to release things that we no longer enjoy or like.  This isn't always the case, as we often times must let go of things that we still like at some level.  When we are dealing with habits and beliefs-- intangible "stuff"-- it can get tricky.  It's the same with clothing, shoes, or furniture that we donate.  We've simply "outgrown" whatever it is we need to let go of.   Or there's not enough room in our internal closets.  Our spiritual and emotional selves grow right along with our bodies.  And we have limited space to house these things, much like we do in our homes.  Unless you enjoy clutter?

This morning's song is one from Donna DeLory.  Formerly Madonna's back-up singer, awhile back she traded in her cone-bra and is making a new kind of music.  A blend of western and eastern (Sanskrit) lyrics and melody.  She is singing from her heart.  It's not that she wasn't singing from her heart when she was with Madonna...she's simply growing and evolving. 

As the song opens, she sings..."Lost, criticized. Hard to reach, hard to find.  You will rise, I'll watch you fly.  You will shine, in time.  Bathe in these waters.  Bathe in these waters.  And wash it away..."

You will time.  You are shining now, at whatever stage of you life you are at!  And if you feel it's time to change and move forward, well, dig up some of your favorite music, sit, listen, and be still.  And then release and...wash it away.

Until next time...

Brand New - October 25, 2011

Good morning, and happy Tuesday!  I'm feeling that internal tension, one that I've become quite familiar with.  The sensation that speaks "it's time to write".  Let's see where this blog takes us. :)

Coming off a busy stretch of travel and music, I am reminded of a song that I wrote during my cancer journey called Brand New.  The further away from the experience of healing body and mind and (still) recovering from chemotherapy, the deeper meaning this song has come to have.  While my personal story is one of surviving cancer, yours may be about something else...a death in your family, overcoming addiction, loss of a job, divorce, etc. 

While we are in the midst of the experience itself it may be challenging to see the scope of the metamorphosis that is taking place.  Being a yoga teacher, the daughter of a psychologist, and a woman who has been analyzing self for 22 years now, I consciously blocked off time each day during treatment, after treatment, and still, to process what was happening-- I wanted to be fully present with the situation, as I knew it was life-changing, and had much to teach me. 

I learned to listen to my body, I learned to help heal my body along with western medicine (I was extremely blessed in that my treatment was targeted chemotherapy, specific to the cancer cells in my body), I learned to be present, and most of all, I learned self-acceptance.  I learned to love myself as a bald woman with lower physical energy, no libido (thankfully, temporary!), dedicated to teaching yoga and performing out. Somehow I had the energy for these things, because I knew that they were a byproduct of love, and that they were contributing to my healing.

Spiritually, I witnessed myself blossom into a loving, compassionate, accepting, discerning, aware woman.  In essence, I had to let go of the physical stuff to grow the other parts of me.  It wasn't easy, walking the tightrope of wanting to be like I was while stumbling time and time again, being reminded to let those parts of me go.  Over the past eight months, I have been trying to piece everything back together, striving to become whole. 

I'm 3-1/2 years older since the diagnosis-- and those years in your 40s make a difference.  Especially so after six cycles of R-CHOP, killing your cells and then generating new cells every 21 days.  My body regenerated itself six times over-- something that typically happens in a healthy body, and not all at once, every seven years or so.  Good grief, no wonder why I feel as though I am 80 years old many days.  My body, while new, some days is still very tired from this process. 

Some of you are probably saying, "How does this make you brand new?  You are tired and feel older?"  Because the sense of newness is so much more-- it's my perception of reality vs. illusion, it's the state of joy I feel a little bit each and every day, it's because I have less energy I have come to prioritize my life and how I use the time to feed those parts that perpetuate good health, joy, love, and overall wellness, and mostly, it's been in the letting go of what and who I "should" be, and fully, unabashedly, embracing who I am

And I want that for everyone around me who strives to want this for themselves.  I am so blessed to teach yoga and share a genuine passion for truth-seeking, self-care, love (self and others) and compassion (self and others).  And I wouldn't be who I am without having experienced cancer, treatment, and recovery. 

I can only understand my life, and it is in and through sharing and experiential learning where we can encourage one another to find and discover their own way.  To remind you to be who you are and love it.  And this season is such a special one-- rapid change in nature that reflects back, in the immortal words of George Sand, that "it is never too late to be what you might have been."

Until next time...

Heal Over - September 16, 2011

Good afternoon! And, happy Friday...

Well, I've been drawn to write, and so let's see where this blog entry takes us all.  I must confess, I learn as I type, release, and put these thoughts into structure, form.  Thank you for reading along and encouraging me to continue to share.  It really means a great deal to me...

I recently dug-up an old KT Tunstall tune called "Heal Over".  A few of the lyrics reached out to me, in the second verse, and she sings:  "And I don't wanna hear you tell yourself / That these feelings are in the past / You know it doesn't mean they're off the shelf / Because pain is built to last."  This verse struck me because it seems that many people only want to feel the happy thoughts.  That they will go to great lengths to swallow the emotional stuff that isn't "pretty".   To tuck it away.  To keep busy.  What eventually happens, though, is that the ball of pain gets bigger, which means that bigger and taller walls are then built on the inside to keep hiding the pain, to a place of non-feeling.  The price that we pay for tucking the sadness away is that we are fully disengaging from the entire color pallete...the black and white, the greens, the blues, the pinks, the oranges, and the reds.  We're stuck in a sort of gray, just moving along.  I know because I spent about three years in my 30s doing just that... 

As I am returning from a yoga retreat/training in Palm Springs, still downloading all of the nuggets of wisdom, one common thought we yoga teachers shared was that we see a large part of the population simply "going through the motions", unaware of where and what they are doing.  There is a level of numbness out there, and it's as if the pain, or the absence of joy, is what is becoming mainstream.  That we are actually, at large, uncomfortable feeling happiness because it's become so foreign to us.  I need to repeat that:  most people actually feel guilty for feeling joy or happiness because everyone else has found comfort in the state of numbness.  Wow.  Again, I know this, because I experienced it.  And, here's the beauty-- I accept that it was part of my journey to becoming who I am. :)  No regrets! 

I suppose I'm now far enough removed where I choose to make that conscious decision to look forward, not back, to not give that previous state of being any energy or time, because what we feed grows.  Life has taken me across too many miles since then to turn back to that place.  I much prefer to use my experience for (hopefully) inspire others to embrace their precious lives and all that is.  To find contentment and acceptance with where they are...

If you are feeling stuck or surrounded by this type of stagnant energy, become a leader!  Make a conscious decision to heal your past (sorry, KT, IMHO, while pain may last, we can transform it into an energy that ultimately empowers us), to work through the pain, and to then begin to make choices that feed more positive, uplifting aspects of you.  The things that make you smile, because when we live consciously, we are nourishing ourselves *and* everyone around us at the same time. 

And, guess what?  Even through life's challenges we can find joy, if we choose to see the good around us and in us. :)

That said, if you don't have a trusted friend or life partner, or a thick journal to write in, please seek the help of a professional life coach, therapist, etc., to help you get back on track until you feel comfortable working through life's challenges with some level of comfort.  Something beautiful happens after we work through the pain...we feel immediate release, space, and openness inside, of which only love can then fill.

Until next time...

Time for Me to Fly - August 20, 2011

Good morning, and happy Saturday!  Almost like clockwork, I am called to write my monthly blog...and so, here I am! :)

Every step in life is so important...these aren't mere words.  Each movement, decision we make is tied to our growth, learning and evolution.  Sometimes we move at a turtle's pace, and other times we make big leaps forward.  If you are living with intention, then you will view the moments of stillness as forward movement in themselves.  Because they require us to journey within, to be undistracted by external "stuff".  And for this introvert...that is an exciting place to be.  For the extroverts out there...not so much.  :)

Before I move on, so many folks shake their heads in disbelief that I, Janna, am an introvert.  :)  For everyone's enlightenment, I want to include the definitions for introverted and extroverted personalities...because we introverts are often misunderstood.  Once you know and accept who you are primarily, you can readily see and accept in others who they are.  It's beautiful!  

I have learned that following my dreams and staying connected and true to my core values requires a tremendous amount of downtime so that I can hear my truth.  I only know my truth, as a 45-year old, Lebanese-American married, introverted, yoga-teacher, singer-songwriter woman, whose top value is a state of wholeness.  I speak my truth to you so that you can honor and see yourself with the same level of authenticity.  We have too much dishonesty around us, and it's all-too-easy to talk ourselves out of what is true for us, simply because "everyone else" is doing "x, y, z".   What I have learned over the past 10 years is this:  we become and adapt to the energy and environment around us.  What are you willing or unwilling to "let-in" to your environment?  It is all too easy to get off-track, my friends.  And at this age...time is equal to life.  And I really value my life.  I sure hope you value yours, too. :)

The journey inward actually requires me to fly above myself, to observe "Janna" as if she were not me, so that I may remain objective.  To understand the choices I make, why, make changes, let go, let in, whatever it is that I am tending to at the moment.  Life is constantly moving and flowing, as much as we humans want it to stand still.  Creation of a balanced life requires discipline.  And a balanced life is where I am most joyful and at peace, so it is a discipline well worth the time and effort.  

Do you need to "fly", step away from what you think you should be doing, to see yourself for who you actually are?  Are you willing to pursue your truth with all that you have?  To protect what is important to you?  Do you know what these things are at this stage of your life?  Start a turtle...embrace the process...because there is nothing more gratifying than discovering you.

Until next time...


Thank You, Consequence - July 26, 2011

Hello, and happy Tuesday!  I hope you are enjoying the day...

So, I'm using another Alanis Morissette lyric this month.  Just because. :)  As I prepare to write each monthly blog, I am guided or drawn to a certain lyric the moment I open up the website editor.  It's not really a planned thing.  I suppose leading up to this moment I'm subconsciously processing the stuff going on in my life, and how I am learning from it.  Those things that require us to hit the pause button.  Because I have been nursing a broken toe these days, and literally stopped in my tracks for awhile, this lyric is perfect...just perfect. :)

I know, I know, most of you are thinking, well to what is the broken toe a consequence of?  It's true...the afternoon I jammed my foot into a stool I was not in a hurry, I was not distracted, I was actually walking down the stairs in a calm manner.  It's quite odd that the pace of my stride would've caused a broken toe, but it did.  Being a student and follower of the 8-limbed path of yoga,  I believe, as do other avid followers of yoga, that everything...and I mean every here to teach us, to guide us back to our truest nature.  To get us back on track.

After two days vascillating between giddy laughter and crying my eyes out (those pain meds were strong!)  I came back to center.  That state of balance where I can listen, understand, and receive clarity.  And it was then I realized that breaking my toe was actually a good thing.  I had been taking on too many things, and forgetting to let stuff go from my very full plate.

Back in January I broke my ring finger, which caused me to cancel a few shows, as I couldn't play guitar for awhile.  Now in July, while I was forced to cancel two shows because I was unable to hold any weight on my foot at all (and highly-medicated!), the physical limitation is really surrounding my yoga practice, as a teacher and a student.  I've had to sub-out many of the classes that require the constant demonstration of the postures.  This evaluation led to a big a-ha moment for me.  As with the January incident, my life had gotten out of balance...way out of balance.  And it was time to re-assess things. 

Thank you, consequence...thank you, broken toe!! :)  I am listening!

It is impossible to accurately understand our lives when we are in constant motion, a state of always doing.  We actually need to block ample time throughout our lives to simply be so that we can see where we are, what direction we are heading, and how we plan to get there.  As much as we hope for quick fixes, I've come to understand there are no shortcuts.  If we believe in God, Divine, Supreme Being-- a universal force beyond ourselves...whatever you choose to label that energy as-- then we must believe that everything that is happening around us is really about keeping us aligned to fulfill our unique purpose in this world.  What we are here to accomplish.  And then keeping that piece of our lives in-check with the rest of it, and what we value.  And that is personal...only you know what is important to you. 

Whatever it is that you are working toward or on in your life, I hope that you find your clarity and understanding, whether through the challenges that you are facing, through the lives and experiences of your friends, through sacred texts, or journaling, or over a glass of wine on your front porch.  Whatever rocks your world.  You are in the driver's seat, my friend.  And there are times when the car is in first gear, other times when life's demands take it up to fifth gear, and then moments where we must pull over and put the car in park.  The key is to be exactly where you are while you are there, that when circumstance changes the pace of things, to flow with the new direction.  To let go of resistance.  To understand that "it" is happening to teach you. 

May you understand that your life is perfect just the way it is.  Each day, each breath, each moment, is remarkable.  And so are you...

Until next time... 

I'm High, But I'm Grounded - June 20, 2011

Good morning, and happy Monday!  I hope all of the fathers enjoyed their special day yesterday. :)

I love the summer season.  It offers me many opportunities to share the gift of music throughout the region.  It's hard to describe the feeling of peace I feel in my heart, mind, and soul after a show...I think Alanis' line from "Hand in Pocket" describes it best, hence the title of this blog.  I'm high, but I'm grounded.  Yeah!

It's interesting, because last week during the yoga classes I taught, we focused on the importance of remaining grounded.  Especially around the full moon and her energy.  In general, though, especially for we creative types, we must stay rooted in order to realize our vision, our dreams.  On one hand, we have the potential to tap into that collective unconscious and see the world from above, and on the other hand, we can have the propensity to stay up there and not come down.  In which case, the vision never gets to be born through us. 

The deeper our roots, the higher we can actually go.  Maslow spoke of this in his heirarchy of needs, as well.  It's pretty hard to think of anything beyond survival if the base needs are not being met.  In yoga, the chakra system is very similar to this paradigm.  We have the root chakra all the way up to the crown chakra.  We must keep all parts of self aligned and balanced to continue to grow and evolve.

As we age, and the deeper we go into our life's purpose, our true work, the greater the need for balance, groundedness, and ultimately expansion.  Late nights on the town are not a frequent part of my life anymore, because I simply *love* mornings...the untaintedness, the rawness and purity.  Like, early mornings (6AM).  Of course, I'm speaking as an almost-45-year old woman, who has celebrated and enjoyed so many nights out on the town already. :) At some point, to move forward, we have to let go, or at least begin to moderate fun with the other aspects of our lives.  The development of we humans changes dramatically after 40. If we choose, and if we are listening...

So let's bring this back to you, in the context of your life, and what you value.  Even if you are much younger than me, there may be a message in here for you.  What is your vision? What motivates you? How can you begin to incorporate your dreams into your reality?  And, what are you willing to let go of to find true inner happiness?

"Cause what it all comes down to, is that no one's really got it figured out just yet.  I've got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is...."  The other one is what?

My wish for you is that you continue to share with the world all of your beauty, your gifts, and allow others around you to do the same.  Remember, when we live our truth, we inspire others to do the same.

Until next time...

Love the One You're With - May 17, 2011

Good morning, and happy mid-May! :)

I have been feeling a strong push to move forward since April...right around the full moon.  And tonight, another full moon awaits us.  Her energy is encouraging, and strong.  Whether you believe in the energy that the universe shines down on us or not, maybe you've been aware that this time, this season, is calling on us all to make progress.  And, often times, this progress is a result of challenge, pain, fear *and* hope, wonder, and faith.  That's right, it's all of it.  It's time for we as a people to acknowledge that life is all things.  And that we must stop blaming, and use our precious, vital energy to love ourselves and those around us...

We are all imperfect.  Once we embrace this truth, we can begin to accept ourselves "as-is", put energy into growing and enhancing what we can in our lives, and then release the stuff that doesn't serve us anymore. 

As we accept ourselves, something magical happens...we begin to truly love ourselves.  Unconditional love for self.  We must start here before we can expect others to love us as we are. 

When we discover love for self, we then begin to see others with a loving heart.  With compassion.  For we have accepted our own imperfections, our own struggles, our own truth, and realize that everyone else is struggling, too.  We are all sharing the human experience...taking unique paths to get "there".  

So, just for today, do something for YOU.  When you catch yourself about to vent or complain or blame, instead, do something that makes you happy.  Go for a walk around the block.  Listen to your favorite song.  Close the office door and play air guitar.  Try something new.  Feed that part of you...because really, in the end, when we complain or blame, it stems from a feeling of lack.  Counter the hunger by nourishing; take control of your own happiness.  It really is that simple, and that difficult. :)

I hope you are able to"love the one you're with" everyday.  That means, you.

Until next time...



Singin' in the Rain - April 19, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Mysti and I just returned from taking a stroll around a community pond.  Midway through our walk it began to pour down rain.  My instinct was to start running, but quickly decided to let Mysti take the lead.  With tail wagging and mouth smiling, witnessing that Mysti was in her now and fully enjoying it, we simply walked at our normal pace, and thoroughly enjoyed getting drenched!

While the transition into spring has been a beautiful mix of excitement, contentment, struggle, introspection, and sadness, and as I realized how wet we actually were, I felt a wave of relief, as if the last bits of the past ten years were being washed away, out of me, off of me.  I felt free, for I've been working on some of these cobwebs for a couple years now.  To my surprise, out came a big, belly laugh, and melodic singing.  Mysti responded to my happiness by galloping. :)

The last ten years...what's Janna talking about?  Well, I subscribe to the belief  that life happens in ten year cycles.  And I have experienced that the shift actually starts at the seven year mark.  Ten years ago this weekend (4/22-4/23) was the last time I saw my father before his stroke and brain hemorrhage.  And on April 28, 2001, he passed away.  I can't remember if it was the 26th or the 27th when he actually had his stroke, but we rushed up to PA in the middle of the night to go to the hospital to be by his side.  I knew the moment we got the call his death was imminent.

Death is part of life, and it's a sad part of life. It's the flip-side to joy, and I had a lot of joy growing up as my father's daughter.  It only makes sense that his death would be profound, and it was the first time (I was 34 at the time) that I felt real sorrow.  That deep, pit, hollow, holy-crap-what-is this know what I'm talking about if you have experienced the loss of a parent, or someone close to you.

And as I scan back on these past ten years...WOW.  It's so much, it's overwhelming, all the growth and experience that has transpired.  And from 40-44, even moreso.  Every year seems to count after 40, and this is something you won't understand until you cross the line into this rich decade. (Enjoy the 20s/30s while you are there, with all of the confusion and the excitement and the abundant energy...I sure did!)

I'm letting go of a persona that no longer fits me, which means that a huge part of me is dying, too.  I'm de-weeding my internal self, my garden, so that I can create space for a  much larger part of me that is ready to bloom.  She needs more space, less clutter.  I think it was this part of my future self that was actually singing in the rain this morning.  She's been waiting for this moment.

I hope that you, too, are honoring both the sadness and excitement of life.  That in the letting go, in the space that you give yourself-- even though it may hurt to release the familiar-- you see your potential, the road ahead, and begin to walk toward those new, yet-to-be-explored parts of you.

Peace to you on this gentle, rainy day.  Until next time...

Let Go... - March 3, 2011

Good morning, folks--

I hope you are enjoying the first few days of March.  The sun is shining today, but he's deceiving.  Even with mittens, a wool cap, and a winter coat, I was still rather cold. :)

Mysti and I just returned from the dog park.  Rob has after-work play dates, I take the mornings.  I love the little traces of history throughout the park, all of the sticks strewn about, and a few even close to the gate's door...stories of the fun that my family enjoyed 14 hours before this moment. :)

I've been noticing over the past few weeks Mysti's desire to want to hold more than one toy in her mouth.  The game is I toss a stick, she fetches it, I toss another, she chases after it with the first stick in her mouth.  And then, in her puppy-like state, she doesn't know what to do.  She drops the stick to take another, and then realizes she had to give up the first stick, and so she plays this back and forth, until her jaw decides which stick it likes best, and then she runs toward me, awaiting the next toss.

I tell her while we're playing, "Mysti, you can't have have to choose."  Of course, the inner yogini in me begins to smile, because this is a life lesson in itself.  How Mysti has been reminding me through February until now that I, too, must let go of a "stick" or two in my own life. :)

Today, though, as the park became Mysti's toybox, I was well-aware that we had a good flow of energy with about 4-5 of the sticks...that Mysti, once she surrendered to the reality that she could really only have one stick at a time, playtime became a rhythmic motion of toss-n-fetch.

I know what this means to me, but what does it mean to you?

For me, I am reminded that multi-tasking is a total myth.  We cannot focus or do two things at once without giving up something in return-- whether that be accuracy, our total attention, or complete mindfulness.  As a yoga student, follower, and teacher, living mindfully is a discipline that I nurture each day of my life.  And it's amazing how quickly it can escape me even with a day or two of trying to live opposite to this way of life.

March is the month to begin creating the next version of you. Chances are, new "sticks" are being tossed your way, which means that it's time to let go of one or two of the old ones.  Holding onto everything in your toybox of life will only cause frustration, anxiety, and disharmony, within you and in your relationships to those around you. 

So what are you ready to let go of? 

May you continue to evolve in becoming the best possible version of yourself, now and always.  Until next time...


You Can't Always Get What You Want - February 5, 2011

Ah, yeah...I just love this song by the Rolling Stones.  And the chorus goes...

You can't always get what you want, you can't always get what you want, you can't always get what you want, But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need, Ah, yeah!"

That's right.  You get what you need.

Sure, life is a mix of things.  Accidents happen.  Death happens.  Birth happens.  In between, well, there is a lot of gray space...seemingly random stuff.  It is my belief that it is in the random stuff where we learn about what we're made of.  Where we are supposed to be going.  That is, if we choose to listen, and not play the victim. 

I supposed I've always believed this, and have learned-first hand, that these things happen to get us back on track.  At a certain age, there's a checklist of milestones one can look back on.  Those big events that just "happened", and as we get through, we can actually look back and say, "Wow, I totally get why I needed to experience this!"  And, if you are living a mindful life, most often, you understand "why" while it is actually happening...

Cancer was that "biggie" for me...the life lesson that, well, took me into new territory. While I recognize that we all change and grow, having experienced what I went through on all levels-- physically, emotionally, and spiritually-- well, I'm forever changed.  While I never want to travel the cancer miles again, I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to heal all of me.  I would not be me without the experience of cancer.  I knew the moment the tumor was found-- along with the sadness-- that there was a huge opportunity awaiting me, but I had no idea the scope of this until I passed through the gate...

It's amazing how many people have reached out to me about my bruised poor little ring finger, which has kept me from playing guitar.  I am *so thankful* for all of the love and kindness, truly.  And, yet, I was not down about what happened to me.  I knew immediately when it happened, after the *#*! bleep-bleepity-bleeps, "why" it happened.  My body was speaking to me.  My mind was speaking to me.  Through this seemingly random thing...

I gig so much, and as a songwriter, a musician, and as a woman who is turning 45 this year, well, it's quite important to stop the wheels once in awhile to see if we're on the right bus for the next leg of the journey.  Having this time "off" from playing has afforded me the space for this level of contemplation.  And what perfect timing-- while I'm recording my solo stuff!  Where do I need to be heading with the music?  What's possible for me at this stage of life-- and in the context of *all* of my life-- not just making music.  I'm a yoga teacher now, who meditates most (early) mornings, I relish my time with Rob and Mysti, and traveling, and visits with family and friends.  It's time to re-evaluate everything on the plate.  It's all about portion control. :)  At least for me...balance is one of my top values.  Why?  Because it's in that state of balance when I'm happiest, most content, and genuine...

My sincere hope is that at least one person will shift their perception, in seeing that in not getting what they want, they are really getting what they need...

Until next time,



All You Need Is Love - January 9, 2011

Good morning, and happy Sunday!

It's only 7:45AM here in northern VA.  I've been up for about two hours already.  Yes, I'm a morning person. :)  

I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday.  Our conversations are always incredibly rich and supportive. Our friendship has evolved over the years, but at this stage of our lives, we help one another make sense of where we are, and explore ways that we can continue to share the gifts that we've been blessed with.  We believe in Purpose.  We believe in goodness.  And we believe in sharing the gift of Love. 

I'll call my friend "Sally".  Sally was sharing with me how there is so much fear being perpetuated in her work environment, through the media, and how this (unfortunate) leadership style is really one of locking people in.  I believe she said it like this, "You cannot control happy, grounded, self-aware people."  Wow.  Think about that.  Think about the ramifications of being led by this fear-based approach.

I know of several success stories of friends who have found new positions and landed on their feet after their layoff.  Or folks, like me, who ventured out to follow their passion, and are thriving. Did I mention that I was diagnosed with cancer 13 days after I left my job to follow my passion, and that still didn't stop me? 

We can always convince ourselves of whatever it is that we need to believe.  So, if we are afraid to leave our job with benefits and the big salary, we'll keep telling ourselves why we should stay.  The mind is a very powerful thing, and this works both ways....

Or, we can tell ourselves that, yes, we need the job to save money so that we can have a nestegg to support ourselves until we are ready to make the transition, but the end-goal is the transition.  And the transition is to step over the hurdle, from doing what we think we should be doing, to following what we are destined to do...

Okay, so maybe you have a really big mortgage and expenses and can't afford to follow your dreams 100%.  That's okay...I bet you have an hour or two a week that you can find to nourish your gifts part-time.  Maybe join the church choir or band?  Or sign-up for that creative writing class that you've been meaning to do for the past three years.  Or become certified in a trade or skill that your experience and knowledge should be represented by.  Every step toward loving our gifts, feeding our gifts, makes us happier people.  Whether it's one hour a week or 20 hours a week.  We have to start somewhere...and starting small is always a healthy, doable approach.

If you are over 40, every single year counts.   And if you are in your 30s, one day you will realize this, too.  When we have youth, we needn't think about the aging process.  It's not too soon, however, to think about what it is that you want to do "one day" probably already have a few ideas. :)

When we make the shift to share our talents and gifts, and follow our purpose, it feeds love, not fear.  We nurture things like inspiration and joy.  Of course, there will be challenges, as with everything in life, but I'd rather climb a mountain lined with vibrant colors and clean air than one surrounded by black and gray and pollution.

Love yourself.  Nourish your talents.  You'll be amazed that how, by doing so, your capacity to love others blooms.

Until next time... ~Janna

Just The Way You Are - November 7, 2010

I am finding the need to write tonight...actually, all weekend I have felt the urge.  Let's see where this all takes me...

I initially wanted to title the blog "confessions of an aging musician", but then I realized that what I'm feeling goes beyond music.  I suppose the scope of what I want to write about is being content with who you are when you are where you are.  Huh?  Re-read it a couple times...I think it will make sense. :)

I remember starting out in music back in 1984.  Jazz ensemble all the way to state chorus and the ultimate, a lead role in Kiss Me, Kate. After high school, I quickly made the leap into rock-and-roll, which was where my heart and soul felt most comfortable.  Sure, it was a stage, but not theater.  There was no acting involved...the dancing around, head-banging, swaying of the hips, all of it...was, and is, sincere.  It's simply what I felt and still feel when the band plays their instruments, when I sing the songs. 

Moving through the years, playing bigger stages and such, well, I must confess, I had a bit of an ego.  I was the same Janna in many ways...loving and complimenting every band I heard before and after our spots, but I really thought we were the best rock band EVER and that we were going to "make it". :)  Ah...the youthful ways of my mid-late 20s.  Regrets?  No way!  I loved every moment of my 20s...the blue shots, the pitchers of beer, the extra 15 pounds that came with the drinking, playing pool, hanging out until 2AM, grabbing late breakfasts after...functioning on little sleep.  I enjoyed who I was when I was where I was.  That is, until I wasn't supposed to be there anymore...

My 30s took me in a slightly different direction.  I still played rock music, but wasn't enjoying it as much.  I preferred time spent learning guitar, writing, playing coffeehouses, and developing a new style to my singing.  I yearned for this quieter side, the raw intimacy that the solo shows gave me.  People were actually listening to my lyrics and asking me about the meaning of the songs.  Alas, the loud rock music, the screaming to talk to people in-between sets, and the late nights weren't as much fun anymore.  Looking back, I understand why...the new side of the music I was committed to was polar opposite to my late teen and 20s-something music scene.  It was all about looking in.  And that requires 8 hours of sleep, preferably without a hangover.  :)

Then the late 30s happened, and that seemed to be the time in my life where I was beginning to create space for both sides of the music.  And fully accepting that I wasn't just one style of singer.  My 40s have been such a beautiful nod from the if the music gods are agreeing with the path I have chosen.  This isn't a hobby anymore, and the shows that seem to make their way to us fit-in with this stage of life, from the rock band gigs to the solo events.  

This is who I am now.  While I have an idea of the direction we will most likely be taking in the music scene as we continue to age, I'm keeping an open mind.  Sometimes those music gods have their own plans, and so there must always be an element of flow, surprise, and openness, along with goal setting, marketing, and booking shows.

So what about YOU?  What stage are you at on your own path?  Do have an area of your life where you've been investing hours and hours and years and years into?  Are you content or have you hit a wall?  What is your purpose with this gift that you possess?  We're all gifted, you know.  Fame and success aren't always the same thing, that's all.  

I hope I always see the potential and possibilities, with music,, and I hope you see this for yourself, too.  And then, allow yourself to take that step back from your vision, so that you can honor who you are now.  Why?  Because this is'll never get to come back to this moment.  And who you are now is exactly who you are meant to be.

Until next time...


Baby You Can Drive My Car - October 14, 2010

Good morning!  It's a gentle, rainy Thursday here on the east coast, and I feel drawn to sit, write, and share...

This past weekend, Rob, Mysti and I traveled to Charlottsville, Lynchburg, and Moneta...all cities located in the central and southern parts of this beautiful state of Virginia.  Rob drove his new Subaru (his SUV was totalled in August where he was the 3rd car in a 4-car collision on Route 64...thankfully, no one was hurt!).  Me, well, I sat in the passenger seat, and our little Mysti sprawled out in the back.  We took advantage of the 3-day, Columbus Day weekend to connect to one another, and explore new things.

We went to vintage clothing stores, enjoyed two dinners al fresco style (with Mysti), hiked one park, found an off-leash dog park where Mysti ran around with several dogs, and met up with old friends.  Oh, yeah, and we even managed to squeeze in a greasy breakfast at Waffle House...I must confess, since it's such a rare thing to our diet, it was most dee-lish!  Four quarters got us six tunes on the juke box!

Driving is much like life.  You see, while Rob was driving, focusing on things like safety, oncoming cars, passing zones, and speed limits, I was focusing on the expansive, rolling Virginia countryside.  The vineyard and farm properties, the changing leaves, and the cool, relaxed energy in my mind.  The fullness in my heart.  I was able to get a clear picture of my own life and our life as a couple and family as soon as we hit 15 South.  It's true what "they" say-- you can't see the forest through the trees...

Of course, once we were traveled through no-man's land and transitioned into cruise control, Rob was able to notice the red, golden, and green leaves forming a canopy around us through the moon/sunroof, the Garlic Festival at a local vineyard, cattle and horses...and the smiles on my and Mysti's faces. 

The beginning of Rob's and my weekend journey was much like the push we all need to get going to start our day, and Rob represents this well as the "driver".  Whether we are venturing out to an office, packing the kids' lunches, running errands for the home, or trying to make it on time for a daily or weekly doctor's appointment, the focus is on getting things done.  In this mode, unless we have alot of disposal, lingering, free time, we, most likely, are unable to notice the wrens sitting on the tree branches.

Once we get settled into our day, well, we have those pockets of time and space to be the passenger.  To observe our fellow man, nature, glimpses of ourselves.  At least, my hope is that most of you have at least one opportunity each day to go into cruise control mode, or actually take the rest stop. :)

What can you do today to give back to yourself, before you need to get behind the wheel, once again? 

Until next time,


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