2017 Reflections

2017reflections_post

Happy New Year, friends! It’s been a minute since I last wrote here, but I’m excited to be back with this particular post.

Why? Well, because while I love reflecting all the time, the closing of a year presents an especially poignant opportunity to look back on all that we’ve experienced and learned over the past 12 months.

So, this is my 2017 reflection, inspired by Layla Saad’s #QuestionsFor Reflection on her Instagram account (@wildmysticwoman). (P.S. Learn more about this badass spiritual soul here.)

What did surrender & patience teach you this year?

Surrender taught me to let go of the expectations, questions, and worries about the future. You know, the ones we can’t predict, the ones that may or may not come true.

Instead, stay in the present. Simply do what feels honest right now. Taking that approach to life meant that surrender also taught me freedom.

Patience taught me to slow down during some big life changes (it’s still teaching me that)! Don’t be so hard on myself and expect that I’m gonna get everything “right” immediately — ’cause adapting to change takes time.

Again, it comes back to being in the present and focusing on what I have now, not just on what I hope to have in the future.

What did magic & mystery teach you this year?

Magic and mystery taught me to give in to falling in love, no matter how unreal and crazy it seemed. ‘Nuff said 😉

What did you decide you would no longer tolerate this year?

A huge thing that I’m continuing to stick to my guns about is saying no to things and people that drain my energy and waste my fricking time. Life is too short, y’all!

What experiences gave you the most pleasure this year?

Walks on the farm with Olive. Taking the sheep out to graze in the spring pastures. Witnessing gorgeous sunsets. Sleeping in my hammock tent, listening to the frogs sing nearby. Six beautiful days (and counting) of an unexpected romance. Hiking the fairytale Panorama Ridge Trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Moments by the lake on H1 at Killarney Provincial Park with my cousin Lilli. A two-night stay at a lovely ecolodge in Algonquin Provincial Park with my family.

How did you become more fully you this year?

I finally embraced what I believe is my calling in life: to be a creative, and to put my creations out there in the world.

That includes writing my first book, getting back into the singing life, and launching my soon-to-be first podcast, The Soul’s Work Podcast!

There’s a lot of vulnerability that is required to bare one’s creative soul, but I’m determined to take on the challenge come 2018!

What about you? How would you answer these questions for your own 2017?

Creative Space (Days 25-26 & 32 of #100daysofmusic)

My #100daysofmusic project (for the #100DayProject movement) has been progressing in waves — you know, up and down.

I think I always knew this, but it’s certainly been reinforced over the last few weeks that my physical space has a huge effect on my creativity, as well as my singing voice.

As someone who is super sensitive to her external environment (the weather, allergens, noise, other people), I have found it challenging to consistently feel comfortable enough to practice my music while moving around over and over again in Vancouver.

Long story as to why the nomadic life. But the important thing is learning how to work around it, because I suspect that I’ll be wandering around the world for a while 😉

“Cups” (Anna Kendrick cover)

I finally got a little music video up on my Instagram (@janicehoimages) a few days ago. I’m typically drawn to singing slow, moody songs with lots of minor-key action. But I had fun learning the more upbeat “Cups” by Anna Kendrick (from Pitch Perfect).

I was inspired to share what actually goes on during a practice session by another Instagrammer @patrick.hyatte, who is also taking part in #The100DayProject. He posts regularly on practicing the violin and explains the techniques he’s working on, etc.

For some reason, what I wrote disappeared from my Insta post! But here’s what it said:

I’m all about variation and dynamics, so once I know the melody, I like to play around with it so that (for example) Verse 2 sounds a bit different from Verse 1. You can hear me experimenting with this in the vid!

[*Hmm, why aren’t the videos showing up on this post?! While I figure this out, if you click on the box below, you will be taken to the video on Instagram!]

 

“Falling” (The Civil Wars cover) – with Tobias

One cool living space I ended up in was an Airbnb with four other guests who all played the guitar at one one level or another!

Tobias was one of them. One day, he knocked on my door as I was playing in my room and said: “Thanks for the music!”

We ended up playing some songs together and he learned the guitar part for a song I’ve been working on called “Falling” by The Civil Wars.

It was SO awesome and freeing to just be able to sing while someone played the guitar for me!

 

“Phoenix Rising” (Original) – with Chris

Yesterday, I met up with a fellow singer-songwriter friend, Chris, at a rehearsal studio in Vancouver.

We spent a couple of hours jamming to each others’ chosen tunes, both on guitar for the first hour and Chris on the drums the second.

We were both feeling slightly under the weather and hadn’t heard ourselves sing for a few days, but the rule was: “No judgment, this is a safe space.” 🙂

It’s great to have these creative spaces available to musicians who might want to wail away, but maybe doing so at home isn’t the greatest idea!

 

Do you have a preferred space for working on your creative projects? Is it a specific physical place? Or does it also involve people (or alone time!)?

The Siren’s Song (Day 15 of #100DaysofMusic)

Recently, I’ve been working on crafting a lyric entitled The Siren’s Song. I thought I had somehow lost my ability to write emo lyrics, but I guess not!

Across all songwriters, you’ll find different processes for songwriting. I have always found it incredibly difficult to start with the music or melody first. I feel like I have to then force myself to make a lyric fit within that.

I guess I’m about the story — making sure I’m saying what I want to say, then finding a melody and chords that bring that story to life.

I’m not saying that it’s the best method. In fact, I find it pretty inspiring when I see songwriters doing it the other way!

Well, here’s what I’ve got so far for The Siren’s Song. Whether or not it turns into an actual song that I’ll record is secondary at the moment.

I’ve had songwriter’s block for months now that it’s simply about getting words onto paper!

The Siren’s Song (work in progress)

Crawling down your back
That sense of shadowed things
Around the darkened bend
Where the siren’s sing

But step by step you find
Your feet keep moving on
Beckoned by the call
Of the siren’s song

And you know what
Curiosity will do to you
Shake you, break you
Take you down to your knees
But what’s on the other side
>>(What’s the hook?!)

Now you’re rolling in the sea
Pulled under by her spell
Deeper, darker, down you go
Into the wishing well

A siren knows what myths you’ve told
To enter the abyss
She’s seen them cheat, lie, deceive
Their way to feel her kiss

#The100DayProject

I’ve been meaning to participate in #The100DayProject for a while now, though I knew I would likely have to wait until I got to Vancouver to begin.

Now that all of my time is my own, I have no excuses but to refocus on something that’s been drifting in and out of my life like fleeting waves with the tide. (Sorry for the dramatic prose).

What’s #The100DayProject, you ask? It’s all explained here, but in a nutshell, it’s “a free, global art project that anyone can participate in.”

You choose what you want to pursue for 100 days, give it a unique hashtag on Instagram (#100daysof___), then just go for it!

Each day, do something towards your project and post it for the world to see! So, what’ll my project be about?

#100DaysofMusic

Of course, what else? 🙂

As I mentioned, it’s been tough for me to keep up with singing, and especially songwriting, over the last several months.

I just haven’t been able to get into the right groove and creative space to “do” music consistently. Creating music and expressing myself through singing is something I need for my soul to feel balanced and fulfilled.

I’m definitely a person who gets motivated by working towards something that involves other people. That’s why I did my Facebook Live show, and that’s why I’m now taking on #The100DayProject … starting today!

There’s no other better time than now, right?

My posts won’t necessarily be just about singing (although I definitely plan to put up some music vids!). It could be about anything that contributes toward bringing music back into my life in a meaningful way. ❤

What’s Your 100 Day Project?

So, are you in with me? Your project can be about music, photography, visual art, writing, or really anything else that you’re passionate about or want to work towards.

One person’s project was about working out to get more fit. Another person’s project was to write a card every day for someone.

Although the “official” 2017 start date for #The100DayProject was April 4th, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t start right now!

Let me know if you decide to join, your Instagram handle, and what your 100 Day Project will be all about! I’m at @janicehoimages — hope you’ll join me on my 100 day journey of music. 🙂

Vlog: Why Do We Share Our Music?

I just happened to come by some old vlog posts that I had recorded in 2013, when I first started my songwriting journey.

I was keeping a private blog back then, because I wanted to document the process, thoughts and learnings I was experiencing at such an early stage in my new music endeavour.

It seems pretty appropriate that I let some of these vlog posts resurface now, as I again embark on a new creative journey.

Well, perhaps it is more a continuation of the creative journey I have been ambling down my whole life. It’s just that I’m at a fork in the road now, and have decided to take the next step in sharing my music with others.

So, why do we share our music?

That’s what this video post was all about.

I still think these are reasons for why we share our music. There’s the other question of why we create music in the first place — I think for many of us, it’s just that intense, irrefutable need to get whatever’s in our soul out in some tangible form of expression — but with respect to why we then feel the need to share our creations with others, that’s a different story.

What about you? Are you a creator? Why do you share your creations with others?

The Non-Epiphany

So, I had an epiphany over the last two days. Maybe not an epiphany – because an epiphany implies a discovery of something completely new, unthought of before. And I don’t think this is a new revelation. It’s more of an uncovering, or acceptance even, of something that I suspect was always there.

What was always there was my true and ULTIMATE passion in life, and — dare I say it, I’m gonna say it — my calling: To sing. To create music. To express music. To share music with others.

It came about from continuously encountering the question of what that thing was that got me truly impassioned and excited. That thing that I would devote my time and energy to — because my heart said I must — even if I wasn’t getting paid to do it.

At the time, I had been working on developing my website NatureImmersed, and was right at the start of what I determined to be a new career path in writing. But the first thing that came to mind after being confronted with those questions was not writing. It was singing.

Singing. Is. My. Calling. It feels pretty weird to utter it aloud, even though in some ways it should be pretty logical given how completely in love I was with singing as a young child, that I once dreamed of becoming a singer, and that I have found that writing and singing music is the highest form of creative and personal expression for me.

Hm, I guess life and self-doubt have a serious way of repressing your true passions, and convincing you that they’re not really what you’re meant to do.

So, does this mean that I want to become a singer singer? The kind of singer that records albums, goes on performance tours, and – yes – promotes their music? I still don’t know, to be honest.

I think a huge reason for shying away from this path is that it’s always felt too self-promotional for my tastes. I know that my life’s work needs to be helping others and making this world just a bit better than if I hadn’t been in it. Plus, I’m too introverted to constantly be on a stage. Can’t I just write music and record it from my little cave for people to hear?

But lately I have been rethinking, reframing, the way I look at singing and sharing my music.

Writing, in general, is important to me because I want to communicate to others words of inspiration, learning and encouragement. The same can be done through songwriting. A dear singer-songwriter in our music community named Christine Gaiddes promoted just this and lived it through her music before she sadly passed away in 2016. The world needs more songs of love, compassion and hope, as she shared with us.

I am also a huge believer in allowing ourselves to feel — whether those are emotions of sadness, joy, anger, sensuality, or hopefulness. I think one of the greatest travesties in this world is how much people repress their feelings, even self-criticize and self-shame for experiencing them. By putting my own emotions — completely unfiltered — out there on the stage when I sing, I hope to give others permission to just feel.

So, I have no idea where this non-epiphany will lead me, but I’m going to open my heart to it in the same way I have to starting a new career path and new way of living in nature. Let’s see where the journey takes us …