Dear (Adult Student Name Withheld), After several tearful sessions, it’s no wonder you would be thinking of “taking a break” from your singing lessons. Usually when a student quits, my response is, “I understand, and it has been a pleasure working with you.” This is different because I have grown to care about you as a friend. You are strong, brilliant, full of love, brimming with personality, funny, uninhibited, creative, and so much more. You also happen to be a good singer. You have done your best to do as I ask, and you have progressed at a good, steady pace. What did you start telling yourself at the lessons that made you cry? Why did you start to refuse to use some of the tools I offer? I’ve heard the word “can’t” from you several times lately. Do you feel like you’re not doing it right enough? The truth is you are way ahead of the crowd. Let me remind you that there is no end to learning. We are never finished in the Performance Arts (or anywhere else). Beyond each level is another level. The greatest opera singers are still “working on it”. Most of them have coaches to help. We can always be better, and that doesn’t make us bad. In fact, I believe we are all loving source energy at our very core. When we tell ourselves we are anything less than the goodness we actually are, it causes pain and distorts our reality. Can you love yourself even if you don’t appear to be the perfection you truly are? Not that long ago, you created a funny theatrical character, and I made up a friend to match. Our ongoing improv at your lessons was fun and filled with laughter. Simultaneously, you progressed quickly to a level where you seemed performance ready, and I even invited you to perform at a mic. This quick movement forward might not have been a coincidence, and it gives me a sort of “outside-the-box” idea: Let’s kick off 2019 by spending a little time making up a new “game” to keep our sessions light and fun. Laughing is good to open up the voice, and nothing serious is actually going on. Maybe you could enjoy being here moment by moment working on the more advanced singing skills we’ve begun. Meanwhile, we can continue holding a positive expectation for the future, and keep you always moving in the desired direction… With love, Cynthia
With leftover turkey soup in the freezer, and the new year feeling about a quick minute away, I’m deep in the holiday to-do list. Every year I try to simplify, but it still overwhelms. Apparently I don’t now how to decorate just a little, or invite less company, or keep the shopping to a minimum. Maybe the truth is that I get a kick out of the hectic holiday hubbub we’ve invented around a celebration that’s meant to reflect love, light, and peace. Seriously twisted, isn’t it? In an effort to compensate, here’s an offering from a deeper part of myself:
Light the candle.
Venture down the hall.
Turn the handle.
Open to love’s call.
Like the sun glows undercover
In the night while darkness hovers,
We are radiant with light
That is Ever Shining Bright.
(excerpt from Ever Shining Bright
Copyright 2016 Cynthia Bythell.
All Rights Reserved.)
It’s Thanksgiving time again, but every day I can get great joy from savoring all I appreciate. It’s kind of selfish really. I just do it to make myself feel happy. Here’s how I write my (almost) daily personal gratitude list: 1.Put a positive spin on everything that happened yesterday. 2.Give thanks for today so far, and all the good things I have planned. I also give gratitude for all the day’s unexpected surprises, because the past has taught me that they are truly blessings whether they appear to be or not. 3.Great appreciation for abstinence from excessive food, sobriety, and freedom from substance abuse. 4.Such a gift to have ever-renewing health and healing energy. 5.Thankful for my loved ones and their on-going health and happiness. 6.Grateful for ever-flowing abundance. 7.Blessed beyond words with a desire to cultivate a positive attitude and spiritual growth. 8.I have been given an awareness of my Divine purpose/mission and the faith to go with it. 9.So happy for plenty of time to create and practice music. 10.Thankful for my over-flowing piano & voice teaching business. 11.Give gratitude for what thrills me most about my current circumstances. ( Right now, it’s two up-coming gigs. I’ll be playing & singing 3 of my inspirational songs at Santa Rosa Unity Church, Sun Dec. 2 for the 10:30 service. Then on Sat. evening Dec.8, I’ll be performing 4 more of my original tunes at “Peaceful Mind: The Magic of Music & Meditation” which takes place at the Swedenbogian Hillside in El Cerrito from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. For Tickets write firstname.lastname@example.org) 12. I’ve written about a page and a half by now, and am generally feeling pretty “blissed out”. So, I polish it off with something like, “Thank you for this amazing and transformative life of love & laughter, and creative adventure. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.” …… Works for me.
I love recording at Sandy Stone’s studio. My new CD containing three of my original inspirational songs is done, and I’m happy with it. You probably wouldn’t know what a miracle that is, so let me explain that like so many artists, I am my own worst critic. But, Sandy has a way of capturing the truth. I feel like for the first time, the recording reflects who I truly am. It’s honest. Maybe her quiet and calm demeanor just allows me to be me. Certainly the comfy atmosphere, and the light through the large window with a view of a gorgeous old tree makes me feel glad to be there. More than in any studio that has gone before, I am able to relax and sing from my soul. When I sang and played my newest original, Heaven Is in The Heart, I felt the overwhelming bliss that we can all find when we reach down into our deepest selves. During my quirky tune, Invisible Glasses, I experienced the amazing wonder of realizing we can actually create our own reality. And, Welcome to The Party practically made me bounce off the walls with the wild abandon of knowing that life is meant to be joyous. So, when I listened to some takes in the control room, I realized more fully than ever, that what matters most is the emotional content, not how “perfect” each note is, or perhaps is not. The inner critic all but disappeared, and I am incredibly grateful. I just want to share what makes me happy… (If you’d like to hear these songs, go to the inspirational music page on this website and click on “Listen to Tracks”. You can hear them, and get a download for free if you want.)