I like to put myself in positions from time to time to stretch my comfort zones, to expand and evolve. This has seen me do 10-day silent meditation retreats, spirit medicine ceremonies, and fasting in the bush on a vision quest for 4 days with nothing but a little water. But what I am doing this weekend has the levels of anxious anticipation and “WTF” are you doing Rich at an all-time high?

Seriously, have caught myself going, this is ridiculous just don’t go. All sorts of comical “little self” conversations and emotions.

So what is it that I am doing?

Well good question and glad you asked.

Now you may have a little laugh at this, kids did.

I am going to a weekend workshop entitled “voice alchemy”. What is that you wonder? Well, it is a weekend where musicians, poets, and singers, or those that want to be are going to expand their expression via the instrument of the human vocal chords. And just to clarify this is no want-to-be rockstar type of thing, it is an immersion in nature, doing voice embodiment processes and playing a lot of music together.

Now I don’t consider myself worthy of any such titles (such as poet, musician, or singer), however, I have been writing since I was a teenager both songs and poetry and playing guitar. But the only time I would ever play in front of people was when I was very drunk.

Ah sorry, I did play a song to my wife when we got married. So that is the exception but after nearly 30 years of playing with my creative expression via word and song, I can count on one hand the people (aside from said wedding) who I have played music in front of. This has always been just something I have done for my personal expression.

So the thought of turning up to a weekend with professional musicians and playing or singing with them scares the shit out of the little boy within.

So Rich if that is the case, if you are indeed just a musical shrinking violet, what compelled you to do such a thing?

Ah, that is the same question I have been asking, I would seriously be more comfortable going on another vision quest or taking a cosmic beating on ayahuasca or something intimidating along those lines than singing in front of people.

But here I am. Locked and loaded and thankfully already paid (otherwise I would have gone, yeah but nah not coming).

I feel this is where we cultivate more joy in life, through conscious expansion.

Diving into those points where we feel a little charged, walking into the shadows, and facing what we deep down fear.

That which we want to keep hidden or dormant.

That which keeps us small.

I do not want to walk smilingly towards death knowing that I have robbed myself of experiencing a sense of greater openness and willingness to feel. And this often has me cringing at what am I doing. But deep down, screw that, you know I feel I now want to do this sort of thing more and more, while at the same time nurturing the nervous system but expanding my awareness and experience.

So I am literally doing the thing that I feel scares me more than anything. Going to “band camp” as my wife likes to joke.

After all, what is fear but an invitation to confront a made-up reality or perception of some consequence in the mind.

For me, that may be being judged, or an old app in the background saying you are not good enough or you don’t have a good voice or whatever. You get the idea.

Just outdated models. That only serves to keep us small.

And to those outdated models that will hinder a broader view of the vistas of life, I say I am coming for you, one at a time. After a long time of cultivating inner stability through my practices, it is now time for the enhancement of conscious joy and expansion.

Or at least continue peering over the edge of the ravine until the comfort levels realise there is actually no need for fear (False evidence appearing real).

So will I be holding court on the weekend and belting my songs out totally uninhibited? Doubt it. 30 years of programming may not dissolve in one weekend. But I also don’t want to hold onto that idea, if I do well, great, but I’ll let you know either way.

But it is really not the point, is it. What is it then?

Well for me, It is to push the borders and continually stretch the canvas of life, and to move in that direction which I find more charming. To follow the breadcrumbs of my passions and take one step, then another, then another.

And what I do find charming is to continually evolve my consciousness to that of a quiet mind and open heart. And to face life and my shadows with a humble yet brave perspective on all that I experience is truly just a reflection of my own consciousness. What else can it be?

Therefore, is not every little shadow inside a wonderful opportunity to investigate, an invitation to pull back the curtains and let as much light in as possible? Gosh, that sounds a little self-help 101, but hey sometimes these little metaphors hold merit.

Till next time, when I tell you about “this one time at bandcamp…”

Much love and keep meditating.