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Janna Audey: Blog

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby - September 8, 2010

Happy September, everyone!  I sure hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend, feel refreshed and ready for the new things that the fall season is about to bring us all.

Around mid-August, as my gig schedule began to wind down, I had some space and time to think about what the summer season offered.  How challenging and abundant this stretch was-- probably the richest and most balanced summer I can recall having.  Reminded that we are where we are until we don't need to be there anymore, well, I moved completely out of my past and into my now-- consciously, deliberately, and with great discipline.  

I found myself spending less time on Facebook, and more time meeting with friends face-to-face.  I came to the realization that while I love my social media tools, I need the real thing-- human connection. 

Just the other day I was reminded of the old "guns-and-butter" theory from Economics 101.  The x-axis, the y-axis, and the visual of how time and resources spent on producing either too much or too little of one product (guns or butter) impacts the production of the other.  Depending on how full our lives already are, well, we probably have more than “guns” and “butter” that we’re producing, so we really have to budget our energy to work with everything on our plates, if it is a balanced and harmonious life that we are seeking.  And so we must use this most precious commodity wisely.  As Lao Tzu said, If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

In spending less time on Facebook, Myspace, email, and Twitter (why do I even have a Twitter account?), well, I found that I had and continue to have more energy to do what I am meant to be doing—my vocations are three-fold:  I am a homemaker, I teach and share the gift of yoga, and I write, record, market, and perform music.  Of course, I also have personal interests, continuing education, and gatherings with extended family or friends. 

I still use and love these wonderful networking sites as you all know, but not everyday.  It makes me appreciate what they do offer that much more! You have no idea how many times my Facebook Family has helped me, especially working independently.  In many ways, you’re my virtual coworkers.  :)

So, how about you—what is real to you?  What is your sense of purpose(s) at this stage of your life?

Do you know how much I genuinely care about your success and happiness?  These aren’t mere words.  I know it takes time and energy to create happiness in our lives, but it’s well worth the investment.  My wish is that you continue to feed the parts of you that are yearning for nourishment, that you feel joy, that you learn from your challenges with the understanding that they are connected to your growth, and that you give yourself space and time to be real, to be you.  :)

Until next time...

 

Dreamin' Is Free - August 9, 2010

Good morning, and happy Monday!

As I was walking our dog, Mysti, this morning, surrounded by green, warmth, and buzzing sounds, I was thinking about everyone I love.  Hoping and wishing that, even if you are not able to devote much time to your "dreams" these days, that at the very least, you have a dream.  Or two. :)

Dreams can be quite powerful, even in their unmanifested state.  Because the mere possibility can bring joy to the soul.  Many of us will never realize our dreams because of life's circumstances or the choices we make.  I quote Rush from "Freewill"..."If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice."  But the very thought of the dream can take us to far away places, and perhaps in some parallel universe, we are living that version of ourselves.

I need to speak candidly, because as we age, well, we all have to examine our lives and our choices.  Our differences should be embraced, not a source of challenge.  One of my favorite quotes is "We can have it all, but not all at once."  And that really applies to what I'm about to say.  If you are ready to embark on the path of creating a new reality for yourself, and you are in your 30s, 40s, or 50s, please don't make money the #1 motivator, or else you will be destined to not achieve your true potential.  Why?  Because you aren't following your dreams for capital gain...you are following them for reasons that stem from the inside.  Happiness, contentment, joy, peace.  Just as with your first job, in time, as skill is acquired, money will follow.  Paradoxically, it won't really matter all that much...

Now, I speak as a woman who has chosen not to have children.  For my friends that have children, your path is completely different, because a huge part of your life's dream is to be a parent.  So, in essence, even if you dislike your 9-5 job, at the end of the day, you are coming home to your dream!

For those of us without children, we probably have a bit more financial freedom, depending on our lifestyles, simply because we don't have extra mouths to feed, bigger houses, minivans for the extra bodies, etc.  Remember, everything in life is a choice.  Even if the circumstance isn't, how we respond to it is...do we really need the sportscar if we're miserable?  Is the sportscar a golden handcuff to a job we want to move on from?  (I sold my sportscar back in the mid-90s...and while I had it, I thorougly enjoyed it.  Remember, truth is fluid, two-sided, and can evolve, just as we do.)

Self-editing/self-examination will then be critical components to realizing your dreams.  See what else is out there.  Are you as good as you think?  Can you get training to make you better? Volunteer in your field of interest to be around those who are already doing what you aspire to do?  Or, is your dream a fantasy?  What are your inherent skills?  Do you feel you have a purpose to fulfill?  What is stopping you from taking the first step?  We all have to face these questions...

My parents followed their dreams *and* were parents...my mom had to wait until we kids were a bit older, but now at almost-80 years old, she is *still* singing in her community chorus!  Dad was able to be a part-time musician while we were younger, because times were different...men had more freedoms than women.  But that has changed for your generation, ladies....thankfully!

So, maybe you cannot be on reality TV just yet...don't let this stop you!  You can be making a difference in your community.  We all have to start somewhere...and some of us, depending on what else we have on our plates, may choose to stay at the community level.  Remember, these are *your* dreams, no one else's. 

Shine on, and in doing so, know that you will inspire those around you!

Until next time...

 

 

Who Are You? - July 21, 2010

I had an interesting dream last night.  That I was driving our Toyota Rav 4, Rob in the passenger seat, our new doggie, Mysti, in the back.  Not sure where we were, but I somehow slid into an old, rusted out car.  There was no damage to either car, nor fear felt by me or Rob for having this fender-bender. 

The dream happened a few hours after I was at Jammin' Java, watching 20 and 30-something indie bands kick some major butt on stage.  My favorite of the night, Girl in a Coma, drove up in a van from San Antonio.  About 1600 miles, one way, to play an hour set.  For me in the audience, it was nothing short of a magical experience.  Yes, at 44 years old, I was inspired by their 22-year old front person.

The lead singer had that certain quality I personally admire...she had depth, soul, passion, style, fluidity.  She was raw, real, and authentic in her style.  The 3-piece band had a togetherness, and yet not exceptional musical talent, that can only be accomplished after countless hours of rehearsal, recording, and touring.  They were a band, not three individuals on stage. 

We all have dreams, of the waking kind, and in western society we seem to want the whole enchilada.  The big house, the perfect family, the killer job, the designer clothes, a thin body, adorable friends, and love and happiness.  But what western society doesn't want to show you through media, reality TV, or the red carpet, is that there are concessions, trade-offs, with every path we choose to take.  What I have found is that once you decide who you are, well, then, the concessions aren't sacrifices.  They are actually conscious decisions.

When I was about 30ish, I, too, had aspirations of being a mega-recording star.  After marketing our then-band, Revlon Jihad, old-school style-- we're talking hard copy flyers, no internet-- and playing at the big clubs in the area, then being paid very little money for a whole lot of time and effort, the band actually "broke-up" in a parking lot.  Yes, the type of ending b-movies are made of.
 
I was ready to try my solo career, did my research, wrote and recorded my material, had a few songs forwarded to record labels, and realized I had to make a move to continue to progress-- to either LA, NYC, or Memphis.  Rob supported whatever path I wanted to take, but also told me he wasn't going to come along with me.
 
Hmmm.  So, I could follow my "dreams", but I would eventually lose the love of my life in doing so.  I knew this then, and I know it now.  If you aren't feeding your relationship, someone else will, right?  Or, it will simply die a natural death.  Looking at that side of the coin, well, the decision was easy to stay-put in northern VA, and see how I could develop a local career in music *and* keep my relationship with Rob alive, thriving, and evolving.
 
It's been many years since that pivotal point, and I'm happy to report that I have absolutely no regrets.  I get to come home-- to our home-- after each show.  I get to share my songs on my terms,  book the shows I want, feel joy and love and raw energy and all of that stuff whether I'm flying solo, with Rob, or the band.  And my latest CD is actually getting a lot of radio airplay overseas...something I never expected. :)
 
Music is only a part of me, not all of me.  It's a large part of me, of course, but it's still only a fraction of who I am.  I understand that all parts of me are like a garden, and we know what happens to our garden if we don't tend to it. 

So, maybe you are thinking about your dreams...I sure hope so!  The key is not to surrender the dream if it doesn't go as planned, but to re-create it so that it fits in with all parts of you. 

And so I ask...
who are you?

Until next time...

I Must Let Go - June 28, 2010

Good morning, and happy Monday!

I'm quoting a lyric from one of my own tunes today...this line is from "Rest of Me".  While I wrote this song 5 years ago, each time I undergo big change it comes to mind.  The verse actually goes:  "Here I stand divided/Holding on to history/Before I can move on I must let go."

The past two weeks have represented a big ending for Rob and me.  With the passing of our sweet Rio (she made it to 15!), well, one can't help but examine their life...past, present, and even future.  The first week of healing was all about looking back.

We spent over 14 years with Rio, and Rob and I were very young at heart when we adopted her.  Rob was in 5 rock bands back then, I was in two bands plus the solo thing, we rented a house in Arlington, we both drove convertibles, spring vacations in the mountains, early fall getaways at the beach...we were very carefree. And Rio was right along there with us.

Through the years we matured, as did Rio.  New things became important to us.  We bought a home, got SUVs, scaled back on the music (meaning only 2 bands each!), progressed in our careers, produced a few CDs, we experienced the passing of my father, my diagnosis of cancer back in 2008, and then Rio’s cancer diagnosis in February 2010.  Simply put, Rob, Rio and I—“we”-- experienced everything together. And the entire time, Rio was smiling. She was a bundle of joy!

Rio's precious life ending this month came as no surprise to me on many levels.  She represents the past several chapters of our lives.  And in order to make space for the next book, well, it's time to let go.  Not of the memories, not from the love...but from the bits of ourselves that may still think we're 29 years old.  Sometimes we don't realize we're aging, or that our loved ones are aging, until there is an ending like this.  It’s a good time to evaluate where we are, what we have, and how we can still make things work within the context of it all. 

Rob said it so eloquently…”Rio’s love was simple and pure.  And with her, we created a pack, a family.  Human love is much more complex.”  We both have realized that the love shared with Rio was unique, and this hole we feel can only be filled by loving another animal.  Not by shopping more, not by gigging more, working more, not be teaching more yoga, or buying another guitar.  Only love—pure love—can replace love.  Rio has forever opened a part of us to animal love and care.

So as we’re moving on, letting go of the old bits, we can now gaze at ourselves in the mirror.  Where we can go from here.  One thing’s for sure-- we’ll be rescuing another dog soon.  Along with gigging, recording, teaching, writing code, vacationing, shopping, exercising, caring for home, caring for ourselves, connecting with friends, drawing inspiration from others, sharing, loving, experiencing, and balancing all of the things that are on our plates at this stage of our lives.

Many of you have told me that these blogs somehow inspire you.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me...truly.  While you may not be experiencing an ending quite like this, perhaps it is still a good time to check-in.  Observe yourself on the train of life.  Is it, are you, heading in the direction you wish or need to go?  If not, get off and just allow yourself to stand on the platform for a bit.  When you're ready, the next train will pull up, so that you can move on from who you were to who you are becoming. 

 Until next time…

Lost and Found - June 11, 2010

Good morning!  I hope you are enjoying the first days of summer...

What a transitional stage this is...if you read my last blog, "I'm Ready", you know I've been working on cleaning my cupboards, both metaphorically and literally.  This week's project…my home office.

It's amazing how much paper we accumulate...so many fragments of my past self...personal and professional project plans, medical records from the cancer journey, and letters to people never sent.  I even found a piece of notebook paper with disjointed thoughts from my previous job-- which I left in February 2008.  It felt freeing to put that paper in the shredder.  How one little page triggered a whole lot of unresolved emotions.

I've always been designated the "cheerleader"...you know, that person who helps you see the positive side to things.  This is a great skill to have, unless of course, we're neglecting to see the full truth, and talking ourselves into staying in unhealthy situations. I am here to confess that with my last job, I failed to allow myself to see the full scope.  And because of this, I stayed longer than I needed to.  Or did I?

Lao Tzu is quoted as saying, "The words of truth are always paradoxical."  As I have begun my new life, sharing music full-time, teaching yoga, and launching Happy Heart Yoga, loving my family every possible minute, living in the now, following my truth, I must reveal the other side of this last chapter-- there is no need not to.  No fear of retribution.  I feel mostly compelled to share this honesty because my instincts are that there is at least one of my readers who will feel the words and take action in their own life to move forward to living a happier, healthier existence.  And that, my friends, makes this 45 minutes of blogging well-worth the time!

I need to step back for a sec-- were you a "Lost" fan?  I hope so, because this story will make much more sense. :)  The series finale was open to many different interpretations, based on the viewer's knowledge, belief systems, and, well, all good art should really have more than one meaning.  I felt as though the island was purgatory—they died in the crash.  But these souls needed to sort through whatever they needed to before they could move on-- to the Light, Heaven, the next level of consciousness...whatever your beliefs.  Jack was the last to go…and everyone was waiting for him in the end.  It was beautiful.

My last job, where I spent over 4 years of my life, was my purgatory.  I worked there from ages 37-41.  Some of my younger friends found the job to be easy—“candyland”.  And I'm so happy it was, because they were just starting out on their career paths.  But for someone who had been down this road 15 years ago, it was far from it…from day one I knew it wasn’t for me.  Truly.  You see, over the four years, I kept recycling the same experiences over and over again.  I had been “here/there" before.   While my soul understood why it needed to move on from those other jobs, I suppose in my late 30s/early 40s, my mind wanted to know why. Four years...four years of my precious life.  To be diagnosed with cancer 13 days after my departure...let’s just say I knew immediately what was going on.  It was not "bad luck"...simply put, it was a huge wake-up call.  This is merely my truth.  Only you know what your truth is.

I had a bit of Jack Shepard in myself-- trying harder and harder to make things work, being a leader in a non-leadership role on this island.  I was trapped by my own need to do good for the company-- the island-- that I forgot about me.  I was allowing someone else to lead me, the course of my life.  This is fine if we're in our 20s or early 30s, but as we age, it is very important that we have a handle on who we are so that we don't allow others to take us off track.

Thankfully, I was anchored during those four years with a husband who loves me, a beautiful extended family, music, yoga, and faith.  I obviously needed to be there before I could move forward. 

There were a couple "Sawyers", or bullies, in our virtual purgatory.  But mainly, the island's inhabitants were loving, caring, fun people.  A few of them, younger versions of myself; others, not so much, yet we respected  the differences and supported one another.  If there is a divine plan, and this was necessary for my evolution, well, I had the best group of people to be stuck with.  At a soul level, I am extremely grateful and feel love for all of them. 

I loved the Janna I was, and I am allowing her to speak her full truth, so that this current version of me can be free and clear of the emotional clutter.  I suppose I needed to be lost on this island so that I could find my complete truth.  And for that, I am forever grateful.  And ungrateful at the same time. :)   

Don’t wait for the cancer, the heart attack, the miscarriage, the divorce-- chances are, you've had minor wake-up calls in your life already.  Are you listening?  Or are you too busy like I was?  Take a moment this weekend, give yourself some space, as painful as it may be, and listen.  Simply listen to your truth, and begin to unwrap your gifts.    

Until next time…Janna

I'm Ready - May 23, 2010

Good morning, and happy Sunday!  I am just returning from my personal yoga practice, and am in a state of grounded bliss.  Before I become one with my family and prepare brunch, I thought to take a moment to channel this energy creatively. 

I don't know about you, but the month of May has been a big one, of letting go of old ways...cleaning my internal cupboards.  I have found that once we create the space, we can begin to see ourselves for who we truly are at this moment.  Maybe, just maybe, we will even get a glimpse of who we are preparing to become. 

As we grow older, mature, chances are we begin to accumulate things.  Depending on how long you've lived in your home, you can see this in tangible form-- how crowded your crawl space is, the kitchen pantry, the toy box, and your closets.  I suppose spring cleaning is actually a wonderful way of physically making space, all the while, hopefully we are able to pass things along to someone else in need, by donating our goods.   

I remember in December 2008, I was cleaning our kitchen cabinets.  I couldn't believe all of the outdated food I found pushed to the back of each shelf.  By the time I organized our broths, soups, beans, sauces, and spices, our shelves were *still full*.  And I had two kitchen bags filled for trash.  Ouch.  This clutter was merely a reflection of how busy and disorganized my life was beneath the surface.  Oh, sure, with the doors closed, one couldn't see the crammed cans, but once those doors opened and I dedicated time to the project, I could dig a bit deeper to see what was really going on.

We're all so busy, and the D.C. metropolitan area has this way of pushing us to achieve our best.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  As with everything, it simply needs to be adjusted, balanced with the other parts of our precious lives.  We need to take better inventory of our psychological and emotional space.  What do you really need?  What serves you at this stage of your life?  Trust me when I say your internal and your external lives are interconnected.

Now that my cupboards are cleared for the next leg of my personal and professional journey, I'm ready.  I'm ready to continue to reach my full potential, not just professionally, and not just personally.  All parts of self are traveling together down this road, harmoniously.

Are you ready for the next version of you?

Until next time...

~Janna

 

The Heart Will Go On - April 28, 2010

Today is a sacred day.  Somehow you think over the years you'll forget about it, let it pass by.  It's been exactly nine years since Dad passed away, and along with his birthday, the 28th day of April will forever remain a day to reflect, remember and honor him.  Not just for me, but for my mom, and my siblings, too. 

If you have lost a parent, and were close to your parent, then you know that the healing process takes much longer than those around you who haven't lost a parent think "should" be enough time.  I suppose it's a bit of fear and pure ignorance that fuels their thoughts.  I understand, as I probably was insensitive to this topic before Dad died.  Of course, life goes on.  But when I lost dad at 34 years old, I was not prepared on any level...my life's experiences up to that point had been a collection of job transitions, a couple of boyfriends, and the biggie: a divorce.  Death?  "I'm too young", I thought.  Aren't we all too young to have to go through this?  To have to lose the physical presence of someone so beloved?  Through dad's passing, one of my coworkers shared that he lost his dad when he was in his early 20s.  How blessed I was to have dad as long as I did...

Ah, yes, today I choose to share with whoever reads my blog how powerful a presence Dad was in my life.  He helped shape my brain, my curiousity, for he raised me with an open mind and unconditional love.  He encouraged my music, and we wrote songs together.  We shared books together.  We listened to music together.  When I quit my high-powered job at MCI back in the mid-90s, he, as my parent, had a few questions.  "Janna, are you sure you want to do this?  You're earning more than I ever earned as a psychologist."  After I explained my need and passion to move toward my musical goals, Dad then confided in me, "I often saw myself, Janna, as being an accountant during tax season and a full-time musician, but I had a family to provide for."  Let me be clear-- Dad had no regrets having his family.  But at that moment, what he was really sharing with me was the power and impact our decisions have on all aspects of our lives.  That there are trade-offs. 

While it took me another decade to make this dream of music and yoga come to fruition, I'm here....I'm here!  And every single time I sit to write a new song, all I need to do is go into my heart, where Dad still lives, and write, re-write.  It's part me and it's part him.  Even these blogs I write...they are, in essence, a result of being raised by two loving, open-minded parents.  A psychologist and musician for a father, and a classical singer and free spirit in my mother, who, thankfully, continues to inspire me at 79 years young.

So today, do me a favor.  Remember those who have passed on, or connect with someone you work with who may have experienced loss.  Then take a moment out of your day to love the living.  Step out of your comfort zone and share your love, in words, in gesture, with those closest to you.  Hug them.  Look into their eyes.  Celebrate why we are all here-- our true purpose-- to love one another. 

Until next time...

~Janna

And She Dances on the Sand - April 13, 2010

April.  This has always been a month of change for me.  I can look back a good ten years now and say that...perhaps nature merely reflects what is going on internally...our own emotional and spiritual evolution? 

We're just returning from the beach...she made it!  In late March, things weren't looking promising.  Not only did Rio make it for the trip, but she was actually vibrant and physically stronger.  Paradoxically, the prednisone began to lose its effect a few days before our departure...her lymph nodes (neck) are becoming swollen again.  This doesn't seem to matter to Rio, so I'm going to follow her lead. :)

I mentioned in my previous entry, Her Name is Rio, that throughout her life, Rio has been a little Buddha for me.  And she still is.  How much I am learning about her, me, us (Rob & me)-- life-- through this challenge. 

For example, dogs don't have pride.  Sure, they can be a bit stubborn, but they know when to concede in situations.  Rio likes long walks, but her 15-year-old-legs tire midway through.  So, with the generosity of one of our beautiful neighbors, Rio now has a wagon.  Yep...a Red Flyer.  When she slows down, Rob simply picks her up, puts her in the wagon, and begins to pull her.  Immediately Rio smiles, because she feels relief. She feels comfort. She understands that she needs the wagon.  No pride. 

How many times are we offered things that we need, but are quick to say "no, thank you" because our pride stands in the way?  As if it we've been trained that receiving help from others is a sign of weakness? We don't have enough white space for me to share how often I've succumbed to pride in my past.  :)

Rob and I had time for one another while at the beach...it was a vacation for us, too.  Nourishing our relationship, our love, and even having individual alone time is as essential as water (I was able to take 1.5 hour yoga classes daily...heaven!).  I know we all know this, and yet blocking the time can be a very challenging aspect in most families.  As I watched the moms, dads, and kids build sand castles, the couples holding hands walking on the beach, how  I knew they, too, were enjoying their precious family time. 

Today of all days I am officially closing the chapter to my own cancer journey...come 3PM, a surgeon will be removing the 3-pronged power port embedded in the right side of my chest. This is where nurses administered chemotherapy back in 2008, and my first cycle of chemo was almost two years to the day. I am reminded through Rio's journey what my own cancer journey taught me.  I, too, am dancing on the sand.

Life is full of challenges-- no one can escape this.  Reframing how we define these challenges could be the key to a more peaceful existence. 

Here's to a peaceful day-- in your minds, and in your hearts.  Until next time...

Jailhouse Rock - March 21, 2010

Happy Sunday, Happy Spring! 

Many of you know that along with being a professional musician, I am also a yoga teacher/instructor.  Back in December 2008, I predicted that the musical and yogic paths would soon be intersecting, even though I didn't quite know what that meant or looked like.  At the close of 2009, I began to understand...


So, I set 2010 goals, one of which was to offer more service through both yoga and music.  Yes, in essence, every yoga class I teach or song I sing is a form of service, but my intention here was to reach out to those truly in-need, beyond the basic struggles of day-to-day living.  In yoga, we call this Karma Service, or selfless service.  Not the karma that most westerners think of in "what goes around comes around". In karma service, one truly serves for the purpose of serving and helping. Period.


This doesn't mean that the giver doesn't receive, for more often than not, the person who gives feels tremendous joy at the end of their service. :)


Yesterday-- the first day of spring-- the Janna Audey Band had the privilege of performing at the Alexandria Jail, a pre-trial facility in northern VA, for the inmate services division.  This division at the jail is committed to helping incarcerated individuals gain skills and knowledge, so as they re-enter society, they are better equipped to lead productive lives.  My sister is Captain of this division.


Here's the beautiful part-- my sis had *no idea* of my mission of service when she approached me on Christmas Day about what the program has been doing.  She was beaming with excitement, because she saw the HOPE that the inmates were receiving as a result of the program.  HOPE that they *can* be more than drug dealers, users, etc.  I need to mention here that the men and women we played for were just that-- drug dealers, users.  There were no high-profile inmates permitted to participate in the program.


As we were setting up our equipment, WTOP wanted to interview us...that was pretty cool, and totally unexpected.  Terry and I shared that if we could make one person smile, tap their toes, or feel hope, than we would've done our part.  What transpired over the next hour was completely mind-blowing.  Chair dancing, singing, eyes closed, feeling the music, rhythmic, syncopated hand claps to keep the beat, and standing ovations.  This crowd was completely experiencing the music for what it is.  A form of love, positive energy, and this gig allowed us yet another opportunity to do just that...to share our gifts.


No matter what your gifts are, I hope you are sharing them. Touching and  inspiring others, whoever those "others" may be.  You never know who you may impact, or what type of positive effect this can have on that person, and those around them.


Until next time... ~Janna

Knockin' On Heaven's Door - March 12, 2010

In case you haven't noticed yet, or are a new reader, each blog title is either a song title or a lyric from a song.  Since yesterday, I haven't been able to get this Bob Dylan tune out of my head.  Probably because my aunt just died, and we're getting ready to head to PA to honor her life. Lebanese-style...

Every culture is unique and rich.  I am blessed to have been born second-generation Lebanese.  As I look back on my youth, I understand all of the layers of our culture, and then specific to being an "Audey" and a "Nasser". 

Yes, I am sad my Aunt Kay has passed, because she was probably the most spirited of my Dad's sisters.  She and I connected...those deep brown eyes of hers, the feisty temperament, the casual dropping of the F-bomb, that beautiful, bold laugh.  As a woman, to recall those childhood and young-adult memories with her from this vantage point, well, it's pretty powerful to put it all together.  She'll be forever imprinted in my DNA, my soul. 

The flip side to the sadness is that I have no doubt that her siblings-- my dad, Uncle John, Aunt Annie, Uncle Ernie, Aunt Vicky, Aunt Isabel, her parents, and her in-laws, are all toasting her arrival, instruments are being played, and Arabic songs are being sung.  They are dancing the dabke, waving the napkin at each end, celebrating the second part of her life, as she is now reunited with them...it's their turn to have her, once again.

We here on Earth can celebrate and rejoice in all of the good times, and remember the challenging times, too.  Life is filled with both, as we humans are complex.  We are all learning and growing, stumbling and falling, no matter how old, wise, or aware.  We are perfectly imperfect.

So here's to you, Aunt Kay.  To the love you shared through your incredible cooking, your generosity, your laughter, your entire being.  I will be raising the glass to you this weekend along with all of your other nieces and nephews, and your children, friends, and surviving brother.  Heaven's doors have opened wide for your vibrant soul. 

Until next time...Janna

Her Name is Rio - March 2, 2010

It’s the day after our appointment with the vet-oncologist.  Our sweet, beautiful, angel-of-a-dog, Rio, was diagnosed with lymphoma last week.  We had five days to do a bit of research, weigh all the options, and take everything into consideration.  The moment we received word about her cancer, Rob and I realized that this last leg of Rio’s journey was all about her.  Her health, her happiness, her end…our decision could then only reflect our complete and utter care for her overall state of being.  We must do her right, with the hand we've been dealt.

Rio was a stray, and came into our lives through the Arlington Animal Welfare League back in May 1996.  They estimated her age to be at least one year, so she’s 14 years and 10 months old.  Other than fatigue and slowing down from aging, the only sign of the lymphoma was swollen lymph nodes, which we thought were mildly enlarged from an infection of some sort.  We’re so glad we got her checked out, because doing so has given us time, and with time, one can explore options. 

Rob and I have decided, because of her age, that palliative care is the best path, and will be giving Rio a steroid, prednisone, twice daily, which will actually shrink the tumors for a bit—it “tricks” the cancer. This means that Rio will be able to eat (and bark!) without pain, until the steroids no longer work and the tumors grow back.  When that happens, shortly after, Rio will develop symptoms such as listlessness and loss of appetite.  The vet suggested that when this happens, it will be time to schedule her peaceful passing.  Right now, Rio is still vibrant and full of life, begging for treats like a puppy, and a furry bundle of love!

I have always called Rio my little Buddha, and have no doubt that I will continue to learn by observing her during these last two months, and ultimately through her death.  It just seems like the natural evolution of things.  As for Rob, he is my husband, my best friend, and this experience is an inevitable part of life as pet owners, a couple, human beings.  We've been through quite a bit over the past 15 years together, and the binding love we share always brings us closer.  Rob came up with the term sorrow-bration to describe what we are feeling.  He says we only feel sadness because we’ve experienced so much happiness…very Khalil Gibran of him, don't ya think?!  Did I mention that Rob is also one of my life professors?  :)

Bringing yoga into this process, we are honoring all that is.  We're not burying the tears, nor are we drowning in them.  We are letting them pass through us, just as laughter does.  Pictures, movies, cuddles, walks...oh-- if anyone knows how to bottle up the scent of a pet, drop me a line.  :)

Yesterday afternoon we booked our final beach vacation with Rio.  We’ll be heading to NC in a few weeks…toes and paws in the sand, sunrise walks on the beach, treats galore, smiles, tears, warmth, and love.  How blessed we are to have this opportunity to plan for the end.  How blessed we are, indeed…

Until next time…
~Janna

 

You Are What You Love - January 29, 2010

Happy January, folks!  I hope all is well. :)

This month has always been one of deep reflection for me.  Now two solid years and over 1000 hours of yoga classes taught, not to mention the countless hours of self-study and training hours I've undertaken, I can honestly say that every day allows for this quiet reflection.  Why?  Well, I choose for it.  I make space for it, because it makes me a happier person.  I must walk my talk, live my yoga, and share this journey, if I am to guide others.  I am a student as much as I am a leader. 

This has always been my authentic nature, the study of self, of human life, growth, and evolution.  Yet in years past, because of the career choices I made, I wasn't able to dedicate as much time to the process.  And this was a constant struggle for me-- I would be so drained at the end of a workday.  I felt restricted, and too rushed.  I was living in a 9-5 world where most people liked to talk, while understanding my need and preference to go within, to relish the silence, then find and honor my own truth.  I always felt like an oddity, because I am friendly and outgoing, and yet very much an introvert.  My answers are typically not found through spoken conversation, unless my mind is so clouded and restless that I can't hear that inner voice.  During those moments, magically, the wisdom will either come through my husband, Rob, or my family members.  God speaks through the lips of those closest to us...

Most people see me as happy, joyful.  And this is very true.  Yet I feel the need to let you all know that it takes constant dedication to create joy, train our minds, and live a happy life.  It also helps that I am surrounded by pure love in our home-- Rob and our dog, Rio, are definitely earth-angels.  And, I've worked very hard on establishing boundaries in my personal and professional lives, learning this lesson the hard way.  Being my own boss, I have the freedom and awareness to choose what energy I allow in.  I definitely believe that my lymphoma/cancer was, in part, the result of not following my heart, living small, minimizing my true gifts, having unclear boundaries, and year after year trying to work in an office when I'm a creative soul.  I take full responsibility for the choices I made, as I blame no one-- not even myself.  For if I knew better back then, my decisions would have reflected this knowingness. Every step takes us to where we need to be--even, and often times, especially, the unpleasant things.  I have a feeling I'm not alone, that at least one of you feels the same.

Now that I am living to my full potential, honoring the real me, within the context of my life, balancing everything (not just yoga and music) so that there is complete harmony, I want to make the connection, ask a few questions.  Who are you?  What makes you happy?  What is your truest nature?  Are you allowing yourself to shine, or are you living small?  Is there a way that you can incorporate your gifts into your life today--even for just a few moments?  Perhaps eventually you will allow time each week to express these gifts until, one day, they infuse you, fill you up, and merge your once separate worlds into one. 

Until next time...

~Janna

 

Winter Wonderland - December 19, 2009

It's 8AM here on the east coast...the morning after the first phase of our big blizzard.  There is a sense of peace around...no activity in the community, not even a truck to plow.  My husband and our dog are sound asleep.  I've been awake since 6AM, in awe of the surroundings.

I had a gig last night about an hour away...it took me two hours to get home.  I hope that my other friends who had shows arrived home safe and sound.  As I was driving through country roads for the first few miles, I was overcome by the beauty, and had to really focus on the drive, and the drive alone.  The snow was already beginning to stick, and underneath it...black ice.  No radio, no CDs playing, no daydreaming, no cell phone.  In yoga, we call this complete dedication one-pointedness...

As musicians, you can all relate to what this is...the zone.  It never ceases to amaze me, the minute I step outside of the zone, invariably I miss a lyric or stray from the soul-connection to the music.  Those minor distractions reflect back that I need to reel myself back in.  To reconnect with the band, to get back in the zone...

It's not easy in this western society to be one-pointed, especially when it seems as though the media and all of our technological conveniences are grooming us to multi-task.  It's possible, but it takes discipline and self-awareness to not get distracted.  I, personally, prefer focus and commitment to whatever I am doing.  Whether that be making music, writing this blog, washing dishes, cooking dinner, or driving on snowy roads...

As I was driving I was faced with impatient drivers, who thought they could squeeze in a right-on-red, only to find themselves slip-sliding-away. Thankfully, I didn't witness any accidents, but I certainly came across some "almosts". We can't drive the way we would when the roads are dry.  And this is a good life-lesson, in general.  If something changes in our worlds, we can't expect the same output as when all is well...

And herein lies the beautiful paradox.  It's typically during those times when we are forced to slow down, and not "produce" a million things, when something inside of us blooms.  There is a time for action, and there is a time for inaction.  Maybe we simply need to reframe our thinking as to what productive really means?

Let's enjoy this gift from above, this day to really pace ourselves, to connect with our neighbors, our spouses, our significant others, our pets, our children, and familiar strangers.  To be present with what is.  All of it.  You may just find that in the slowing down and embracing the moments of inaction, you are more productive in your day-to-day living...

Happy holidays, be safe, be well, and enjoy the weekend!

Until next time...

~Janna

What Goes Up Must Come Down - November 8, 2009

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here.  My husband just awoke, and I’m on my second cup of coffee.  I am feeling the pull to write about balance, what it means, and how we can manage it, as so many folks talk about it, yearn for it. 

 

Balance means different things to different people.  We each have unique lives—some with kids, some without.  Some married, some single.  Some caring for aging parents, others with healthy, younger families…perhaps you find yourself dealing with young children and aging parents?  My heart goes out to you, and my wish is that you have or are brought supportive bosses, friends, neighbors, a great therapist, or the fellowship of your faith to carry you through whatever challenge you are facing. 

 

Balance is, no matter what our circumstances, the ability to nourish all parts of our lives.  When one area goes unattended, we get cranky.  So as we add new things onto our lists, we have to let other parts go, if we wish to maintain balance.  Otherwise, we find ourselves entering an energy deficit, and from experience I can tell you it takes a long time to recover from this scenario. 

 

Often times the pendulum swings from one side to the other before true balance is achieved.  I’ll never forget when I first started dating my husband.  We were consumed with one another, the true and pure love we felt just by being in each other’s presence.  Why?  Because both of us had lacked this level of love in our lives for years, and our souls and bodies and emotions hungered for it.  Then, about three months in, as we awoke on a Saturday morning, Rob looked over to his bedroom wall and noticed a pile of laundry--actually, piles of laundry.  He turned to me and said, “Janna, I have to wash clothes today.”  It was the moment where he acknowledged that he had to come back to center, that we couldn’t go on the way we were without other parts of our life getting completely out of balance. 


The beauty of this story is that we allowed ourselves to become temporarily out of balance to attain true balance in our lives at that point in time…love was a new part of our individual and collective worlds, which hadn’t been before.  Together now over 15 years, our values and states of balance have shifted as we have pursued different goals, but our love has always been nourished.

 

Maybe your out-of-balance moment was a new job, your first child, step-children, divorce, illness, getting fired, gaining weight, losing weight—we all experience swings.  The swings are here to remind us what’s been neglected. They are an opportunity to come back to center.

 

There is no end to this journey of finding, seeking, and maintaining balance, for our needs change as we age.  At some point along the trajectory of one’s growth, core values remain the same for longer periods of time, mostly because we have found what we had been looking for.  And once we know true balance, know ourselves, we understand that it is a gift worth nurturing every single day, to the best of our ability.

 

Living an authentic, balanced life is that midpoint between going with the flow of change, and being disciplined enough to focus and feed the things that are most important to us.  To not get distracted.  Each and every day allows us the opportunity to continue to dig a bit deeper, through the ups, downs, twists, turns, highs, lows, speed bumps, and level roads...

Suddenly I See - October 31, 2009

Hello friends...I hope life is treating you well.  I hope you are treating your life well...

The title of today's blog is about those a-ha moments.  While it seems as though we are struck with clarity by a flash of lightening, most likely it is the accrual of bits and pieces, question after question, the constant seeking, that brings one to this place.  It is such a fascinating process, and no matter how many times I experience it, I always yearn for more.

When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was primarily searching outside of myself for the answers.  Through friendships, other people, circumstance, etc.  As I entered the late 30s and continue on, now in my early 40s, I realize, humbly, that the truth lies within.  Not only am I embracing the introvert in me, I'm nourishing her...

Thankfully, my work provides balance, both teaching yoga and sharing music.  Both of these vocations require a strength and openness, so that I may authentically connect to others.  And in order to be authentic, I need a great deal of time to journey within, to replenish, restore, and grow.

I am blessed to be able to feed one of my core values of balance each and every day.  It is a conscious choice, one that requires effort and discipline.  The reward?  True joy, inner peace, which are sub-values of spiritual serenity, a second value in my top five.  And spiritual serenity cannot be maintained without balance, so, thankfully, these values work hand-in-hand.  Again, it takes conscious living to make all of this happen...

Balance, inner peace, and joy may not be core values of yours, as we are all different.  My wish, as always, is that you identify what is important to you and invest your time developing those things, so that you achieve personal success.  As we age, we dig much deeper.  Skimming the surface, the dabbling mentality of our early 30s, doesn't cut it anymore.  And yet, those years are critical to helping us discover our interests.  How thankful I am for all of the lessons learned during this rich, challenging decade!

Only you can bring yourself success.  Not your parents, not your boss, not your friends, not even your spouse or significant other.  And yet, these relationships can either support/enhance, or detract from who we become.  This is why it is so important to surround ourselves with people and things that nurture the many layers of our authentic self.

Know that you're getting closer every day, and yet this path has no end.  Remember to be compassionate with yourself and with others, which means you need to let go of the inner critic. There is no perfect, okay?  So let go-- smile, laugh, and, by golly, have fun! 

Until next time,
~Janna

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes - September 27, 2009

What an incredible time we are living in right now. Do you feel it? We're in the midst of major growth. A big wave of change awaits all of us. Since self-awareness is my "work", I observed the beginning of the shift around May, really hit mid-July, and August was the month to take action. September? Well, it's been the month that has forced us to look at old habits and patterns, and discard of the baggage before we step into the next version of ourselves...and the window is about to close.

What happens during these periods is that we are transforming. We are challenged to look in the mirror, catch-up to "now", and let go of "what was". I released so much of the former me in September...I actually feel lighter. This release has been three years in the making, and as we dig deep, we find that there is more. As we age, there's a lot of living and experience to look back upon. The process has been filled with agitation, sadness, love, joy, and acknowledgement. I wouldn't have expected anything different.

I've changed so much since March 2008. Cancer catapulted me into different territory. While I'm not thankful for the tumor, oddly, the disease healed my mind and my heart-- it was a cleansing process. One can't go back after moving forward, or should I say, moving inward...

I hope that you are implementing positive change at this very moment. If something doesn't feel right, get out of it. Listen to your inner voice. Trust your instincts. And then once you pass through, be thankful, not angry. Otherwise, you will find yourself "stuck".

Life is so rich and complex. Once we fully allow ourselves to be free, content, and happy, and as we discover self-acceptance, there is no turning back. Give yourself time to work through it all, especially if this is all brand new to you. Patience, okay? If it took you ten years to create a pattern that no longer serves, it may take awhile to break it, shed the layers, and build new neural pathways, healthier ways. Every step in the right direction is progress!

Until next time...

~Janna

Got To Please Yourself - August 28, 2009

Good morning, and happy Friday!

This has been an interesting week, filled with up-and-down emotions, doctor's visits, pangs of lonliness, joy & happiness, daily errands, and spiritual healing.  I feel as though I've been going from the fast lane to the slow lane, in the center, and then off the road altogether. While not an easy week, I worked through it. This is life. And we must be where we are, no matter how unpleasant. 

I guided my yoga classes through a meditation. One that I was guided to guide them through. This week, our journey was to take ourselves into our gardens-- our spiritual and emotional gardens.  As an observer, to see what plants were growing or dying (representing our values, our priorities), Which ones looked healthy, needed tending to, or even further, removed from the garden, altogether.

I think it's important as the seasons begin to change and the new cycle begins that we evaluate our lives. Not enough people do this-- I know, because I used to be one of them.  We just move along, following everyone else's needs, and we forget about ourselves.  We must always take care of ourselves. No exceptions-- even in the midst of a crisis, you must take care of you.  If you've been taught that this is selfish, please unlearn this.  Find the balance between preoccupation and narcissism, as therein lies self-nurturing...

As I tend to my garden, I have found some very old plants with dead leaves and dried up roots that are taking up space.  And my garden needs open space for the new parts of me that are emerging.  If you visualize this-- we have a finite amount of space, time, energy, and you can quickly see why the garden needs looked at often. 

This is a fulfilling yet difficult journey, and the rewards are beyond words.  Self-contentment, good health, peace of mind...it really exists.  The paradox is that more often than not, it takes disease, anxiety, uneasiness, the layoff, divorce, and loss to bring us here.  When we can weather through what life brings to each of us-- challenges, small and large-- and look upon each circumstance with non-resistance, well, then you have made it.

Do one thing that will make you happy today.  Take off an hour early. Buy the ice cream cone. Talk for an hour on the phone, instead of using email.  Don't multi-task.  Take a walk.  Sit in silence.  Download your favorite song.  Inch by inch, this will become a very natural thing.  Pleasing yourself will become a part of your daily life.

Until next time...

The Other Side - August 10, 2009

What a beautiful morning it is, the Monday after a very rich weekend.  A weekend filled with all of the things that stir my senses, my soul.

It was quite fascinating, because I connected with many people. On Saturday, we were surrounded by old friends...it was pure heaven.  There's nothing like being with folks who have common truths in their lives.  Ending the night with acoustic music, where everyone joined in and shared their talents, and to witness how this fed the souls of both the givers and receivers...a big WOW moment.

To have this feeling juxtaposed, seeing acquaintances from a past that is now so far removed from who I am becoming, well, the experience is also one to be thankful for.  Because through the momentary discomfort, I looked within and realized how far I've come.  And how blessed I am to have traveled these miles...

This morning, I rolled out my yoga mat and started the day with my personal practice.  Linking breath and movement, mindful of the subtle nuances of each pose, I realized that yoga has become a way of life, since 2007.  From walking the dog, to looking into someone's eyes, to the words I choose to speak or write about, to the songs I perform and the energy of the music I listen to, to the food we buy and cook to nourish our bodies, to something simple, like cleaning the home...every single thing is. 

To be able to teach yoga several times a week and share this energy-- a form of Divine Love-- with each class, and encourage the practioners to journey within to find their truth, their inner peace, their yoga...it's a privilege.  To now see that the music has become a form of yoga over the years, and understand why people feel relaxed or energized after one of the shows.  Because, as with yoga, I am merely a vessel, a conduit.  It's not about me...it's never been about me.  It's about us, whoever "us" is at that time. 

This is the other side, the opportunity every single human has in their life.  Not just me, or the person down the street-- you, too. It takes work, discipline, daily practice, to train the mind to be still and focused.  I've been studying Hinduism and Buddhism off and on for 22 years, and I can honestly say that while I've had glimpses of peace, this true state of being has become more consistent over the past two years.  Maybe because I've been more consistent with my practice?  And yet a state of being isn't without real life stuff-- I find myself stumbling, falling, crawling, then standing, often.  The awareness of it all is what has changed.

Everyone seems to be searching for this-- contentment, love, happiness-- no matter what social or economic background we may come from.  As we age, we continue to build layers onto who we are, shedding the skins of our past that no longer serve us, while developing depth to the parts that are our core values. 

My hope is that you find a bit of of yoga in your day today, even if just for a moment.  Because in that brief spec of time lies the hope that there is more.  And there is, more.

Until next time...

You Live, You Learn - July 14, 2009

Happy July...and what a terrific month it has been so far!  I'm a July-baby, and so I always tend to be a bit more observant this time of year.  Where am I?  Where do I want to be?  What do I need to let go of?  These are all questions I have pondered over the past few weeks.  Funny how when we put time and energy toward something we actually make progress.

This is the thing with life...where we put our energy is where we put our energy.  So, if you are constantly worrying, guess what?  All you get is a cycle of confusion and worry.  I know I've said this before, but the mind is incredibly powerful.  I'm speaking of knowledge, yes, but also talking about higher consciousness.

The flip side is once we develop this ability, that we not abuse the power, as in manipulation or cohersion.  Or, not to be so entrenched in positive thinking that we aren't grounded in reality.  As with everything, there must be a mid-point, balance.

In studying the eight limbs of yoga, I've been especially intrigued by saucha, or purification.  At the most basic level, it looks at cleanliness of body, home.  Then, this niyama evolves just as we do.  What we feed our bodies, what we feed our minds, and what energy we choose to be around.   By energy, in tangible form, this means where you work, and who you choose to associate with (friendships). 

No matter how positive our minds are, if we are working in a smoke-filled bar night after night, chances are our physical health will suffer.  Perhaps the smoke is toxicity of another level...an abusive relationship, a negative boss, etc. 

So, even though it's not your birthday (or maybe it is?), hit that pause button.  We need to slow down to attain full clarity.  Are you where you want to be?  Are you in alignment with who you are becoming?  If not, that's okay.  Acknowledge your growth, give thanks for whatever it is in your life that you are ready to move on from.  And then, by golly, move on.  Time is precious...you are precious. 

As for me, I'm piecing together my personal and professional mission, and have summed it up in five simple words:  I am here to serve.  Through the music, and through yoga teaching.  And I am so grateful that each and every experience in my life has led me here. 

Have a beautiful day...until next time.  ~Janna

Ask Yourself Why - June 8, 2009

I'm just coming down from the past two weeks...six days in Minneapolis for an educational yoga conference, a reunion with hubby and dog on Monday night, then back on the fast track with band practice, solo practice, duo practice, two gigs, and seven yoga classes leading into the weekend.  Today was the first day that I felt completely integrated, balanced. 

The yoga conference taught us a lot.  Philosophy, theory, advanced postures, self-reflection, patience, stamina, and much more.  But one of the biggest takeaways for me was one simple question..."ask yourself why."

The master trainers led us into the unknown.  We were guided to our physical edges, and yet if we stepped beyond them, we were asked to take ourselves back.  Every so often, especially during deeper expressions of the poses, the instructors would encourage us to go within, find out our motives before continuing on.  Was it because everyone else was doing it?  Because we were feeling strong?  Perhaps we were competing with others, or even a past version of ourselves? 

As we answered this question honestly, we were able to delve into our personality. This can be scary for some folks.  How about you?

Since the conference, I've been asking myself this question outside of my yoga practice.  The reality of life is that we have a finite amount of energy and time each day, and if we continue doing "more", chances are, there will be less of us to devote to the stuff that matters most.  That's when you start to feel anxious, get short with your loved ones, or yell at cashiers.  If you find yourself feeling like this a lot, please stop the wheels and begin taking things off of your plate.  It's your inner voice saying "ENOUGH". 

Stepping from bliss to mania and now back to center, I walked away with an incredible respect for the value of balance/moderation.  For me, this specific value has been a work in progress for over ten years.  I'm getting more natural at it, but there is still room for improvement. :)  Being creative and an introvert, I need more quiet time than the average person.  It is during the moments of stillness where some of my best ideas are born, and ideas are part of my work.  My right brain needs space to grow, and then the left brain can step in and execute...

If you're finding that you are getting caught up in the summer energy and feeling over-extended, simply ask yourself "why" the next time you agree to do something that you really don't wanna do.  You may learn something meaningful about the most important person on the planet...YOU.

Nighty-night. 

~Janna

The Rest of Me - May 9, 2009

It's the day after the band's big show at Fireflies, and my creative juices are flowing. While body is physically tired from shaking my booty all night long, the rest of me is very much in tact.

I awoke early this morning. While I was underslept, I was still on the adrenaline high from the night before. The sun was shining, and I couldn't believe it when the termite exterminator came on time (here at 8:20AM for the "between 8AM-Noon window"). After business was taken care of I felt inspired, and so I went for a run.

Midway through the journey my body began to speak to me. "Um, I think you may want to slow down a little." Okay...no problem...I honored that. And then specific parts of me began to speak up. My shins were telling me that I may want to consider walking for a bit, as the uphill climb and pavement were quite unkind, especially after wearing high heels and dancing all night. After they spoke up a little louder, I conceded, and for my last mile I walked.

I brought yoga into my run. Instead of letting my ego take over and finish the full course, I decided to let my body tell me what to do. Being self-driven and disciplined (I exercise every day, plus physical activity is part of my work, too) I trust that my body knows best. Mind over matter is not a good path to choose if injury is at stake-- pushing ourselves beyond our edge. It's always good to ask ourselves "why"...

And so the rest of my day has been about relaxing the body, and taking care of the rest of me. My mind, my soul, my senses. I read a lot. I started writing a new song. I sat in silence. I watched birds. I laughed and talked with my husband. I even did a little shopping. :)

I'm so glad I had the show last night, not just to share our gifts and connect with others, but because it tired out my body a bit. Because of this I could enjoy all of the other things I did today.

Until next time...

~Janna

The Morning After - April 19, 2009

Second cup of coffee, and it's the morning after the show. There is peace in the air and excitement in my heart. While Rob, my husband, and our dog are sleeping, I am wide awake, on so many levels...

Last night's show at kybecca wine bar was AMAZING. If you are ever in Fredericksburg, you have to check out this room. Food, service, ambience...a big WOW. And they are privately-owned...gotta support our local businesses! My favorite pick from last night: the curried mussels.

One of the owners was working last night, and was quite supportive of the original material. He actually prefers I stick with my own stuff for the next show. I felt as though I was time traveling, because about six years ago, another restaurant owner told me the very same thing. Guess I wasn't quite ready to hear it then. And, well, in between then and now I kinda got off track musically and focused more on 9-5 life...

The important thing is this: I am ready to hear these words now.

Because I am also a singer, I thoroughly enjoy performing other songwriters' material. But, I also realize that I have enough opportunities to appeal to this side of my Self. Yes, I produced my third CD in 2008, but it's time to continue to move forward on this path. Not just with writing, but sharing the material out, too.

If we sit with our feelings long enough, eventually the "why" is revealed to us. And, as with anything in life, with practice, becomes more intuitive a process each and every time we choose to venture inward.

Time to top off my cup of joe.

Until next time... ~Janna

New Web Site! - April 11, 2009

Hi guys--

Well, it's been over two years since I launched a new site. It's springtime, and I'm ready for a change. The site look and feel will continue to grow...as with life, it is a work in progress. Sign my guestbook, and let me know what you think!
~Janna

Farewell to the Old Me - February 25, 2009

It sure has been awhile since I've written a blog. The holidays came and went. My schedule got busy-busy-busy. Then I caught a cold, and hibernated like a bear. Just returned from a kick-butt yoga conference. And now, well, my mind is wide open. So is my heart. And I seem to have some space to simply sit and write tonight.

This time of year is an inward one. To think that just about this time last year I was getting ready to resign from my full-time job...gosh, so much has happened between then and now. It feels as if ten years have passed, not one. Probably because a lot of growth-- and a heck of a lot of shedding-- has been going on since then.

My cancer diagnosis and healing journey catapulted me to levels I never thought existed, at least for me. It's weird, because when I think about the experience-- now that there is enough distance between what was and what is-- I still can't believe all that it encompassed. How much I've grown, and ultimately changed. And yet, I find that, at the core, I am still the same loving and caring human being. Much moreso, that's all, and in different ways.

My vision last year of singing a lot more and teaching (yoga) is happening-- the cancer did not stop me from walking toward these goals. Actually, I think the threat of dying made me more determined. All the while, I continued to stay centered in my beliefs, in what matters most to me. My core values. The cool thing is this: I knew what these things were before I was diagnosed. Lots and lots of self reflection occurs before one decides to resign from a great company, with close friendships, and a decent salary. This little yogini needed peace and clarity and grace before such transition, and now I know why. I was about to face one of the biggest challenges of my life a mere 13 days later...

We never really know what's around the bend, do we? What we do know is that with focus, discipline, love, positive thinking, and wellness, we can make it through. If you find yourself in a challenge, instead of closing your heart to others, why not open it? Let others in...people really do want to help.

I speak these words as a recovering control freak and former-independence-junkie. I am ready to let go of the little bits of the old me that are still lingering. That former woman who protected herself with such thick armor. I still have a shield, but I've learned when to let my guard down, and when to set my boundaries. This approach is freeing, and much different than always walking around encased and disconnected from our loved ones. Trust me-- years and years of this will take a toll on your health. There really is something to the whole mind/body/spirit connection.

If you find yourself nodding your head, understanding what I'm saying, then please, make a shift. Make that change. Say farewell, and begin creating a better you.

When we can face and walk through challenge, come through the other side, and look back with new eyes, realizing that we are better off than we were before, and yet have no regrets or feelings of self-loathing for who we once were...well, that's what life is all about. This is maturity. And this is what understanding without judgement means.

I am grateful to have this forum to speak, reach, touch, and connect.

Until next time...

Time is Now - December 7, 2008

It sure has been awhile since I've written a public blog. I awoke this morning with the space and time to sit and just write to you all. I sometimes feel that whatever I'm going through may relate to others-- and how I have a need to share bits and pieces. Experiential learning...those a-ha moments. Hopefully but one person out there will benefit from these words.

What a magical weekend I am having...started off with crazy, beautiful energy at my gig on Friday night in Purcellville. Old friends stopped by, and I made new ones, too. We shared a connection through music, laughter, song-- life. The folks out in Purcellville are kind-hearted and genuine. And a man named Johnny shared his talents with us, too. His songs were real. As the group of us sat together it was as if we had known each other for years. It was more than worth the commute to head out there. I can't wait for the next show at Market Street Coffee!

I subbed for a friend's yoga class on Saturday AM. Such a strong class, and it felt gratifying to lead them to achieve their best. As a wise woman once said to me, "Yoga is your church, Janna". Boy, was she right. I teach every weekday-- some days two classes, and never tire of it. That's how you know you are doing something you love.

Do I make my old salary teaching yoga? Heck, no. I'm earning far less than I was in the business world, but not only is it enough, it is stimulating, gratifying, infinite. It is where my heart is.

The same goes for music. Boy, does my heart swell everytime I step in front of a microphone, strum that first chord, and sing...and it doesn't stop. That feeling builds throughout the night. No matter where I am at singing-- whether for a party where Bill Clinton is a guest or at St. Elmo's in Del Ray for 12 people, I give each show my all. It isn't about how many people are in the audience, it's about being authentic. And each and every show allows me the opportunity to be authentic, to share. When we share our gifts, we inspire others to do the same.

I believe that ultimately these two paths will be intersecting beyond my singing at the end of yoga class, and that I will have significant financial gain, too. But that isn't my driving force, nor is that what led me to take the leap out of the 9-5 world. We must be willing to take a step back to leap forward-- does that make sense to you? Things don't always come together 100%, but eventually they build up, even out. All we need is patience and direction.

I have to pause for a moment...my hangover is kicking in. My husband and I had two parties to go to last night. Me and my red wine...oy! But, man, it was soooo worth it. We loved sharing time and celebrating with our friends!

Okay, so back to my originial thoughts.

What makes you tick? What makes your senses go WOW? We all have gifts; passion within us. All we need is to dedicate the time to nurture and develop our talents. And that, my friends, is only something you can do. And so I quote a line from one of my songs, Looking Out at the Past...time is now. Time is now.

So what are you waiting for? January 1st? Next Tuesday? After the big project at work subsides? Tisk-tisk...don't delay! Start now...even if you are only devoting ten minutes a day to your dreams. We all have ten minutes a day, and if you don't...make the time. I guarantee you will be a much happier person by doing so. And if you're happier, by golly, so is the world around you.

Until next time...

~Janna
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