Who moved my cheese . . . again?

Kitty hiding amongst flowers

It has been a rather nostalgic week as I prepare for the next leg of my journey to a life very different to the one I’ve known and become accustomed to.

At the office, wading through paperwork accumulated over the last thirteen years, remembering the good and the bad times. It’s amazing how much clutter we accumulate over the years but equally amazing to see how many memories are hidden within the clutter.

Through the clutter we also see how times have changed and how we (on a personal level) have changed. Systems, processes, belief systems all change as we journey through the process of time. Time changes so much more than we realise. Looking back, remembering the tears and fears of the past – leaving all this behind.

Baby sleeping on crescent moon

Through all this I’m filled with mixed emotions – saying good-bye to the past and hello to the future. I’m filled with mixed emotions thinking about a new friendship made a week ago, uncertain of where this path will lead. Through all this and as a result of this new friendship, I cannot stop thinking about all the wars and sadness in the world.

All the walls are falling down
No more children off to war
If we search in our hearts
All the suffering will be no more

As I wade through thirteen years of paper and the memories, I hum the tune of the song “Love oh Love” by Lionel Richie, struggling to get this tune (and words) out of my head “. . . and let there be joy in the world, and let there be no sorrow . . .” My mind constantly drifting to the men and women in foreign lands trying to restore peace where there is none. Included in these thoughts is my new friend.

Cellphone in hand

I read an article this week which left a tremendous impact on my mind and which said that for most people fleeing their homes and countries in war-torn countries, the only memories they have of their past are what’s captured on their Smart phones. The only photos and messages they have of loved ones, are those in the memory of their Smart phones. Smart phones are not indestructible, so what happens when they lose that as well? Can you imagine having your life reduced to this? How sad . . .

From the bottom to the top
To the leaders of the land
We all have one heart
Everyone of us must lend a hand

So, here I am, wading through thirteen years of memories at the office, remembering the good times and bad. In my thirteen years at this particular office, I have seen many colleagues come and go. Most left for greener pastures and found them, others left for greener pastures, did not find them and came back. I’ve been part of babies being born and have watched them grow up over the years. There has also been sad times, when colleagues have left us through death, some through illness and others sudden and unexpected. Many will be fondly remembered, always.

Here I am, filled with all this mixed emotions on the last leg of this particular part of my life’s journey at this particular place of employment.

Box with bow

Am I at peace with my decision to leave? Yes, I am! The time has come to say good-bye and to look forward to what lies ahead on the horizon.

I look forward to taking a well-deserved break during the month of December, a time definitely needed to re-charge and replenish and I look forward to the endless opportunities and possibilities 2016 may bring.

Love, oh Love – Lionel Richie

Show the world and all its people
All the wonders love can bring
Give us strength and understanding
Give us all one song to sing

Let the music play
Play it loud and make it clear
It’s time to stand up
To a new world that is now so near

From the bottom to the top
To the leaders of the land
We all have one heart
Everyone of us must lend a hand

And let there be joy in the world
And let there be no sorrow
(Let there be)
And let there be peace on earth
And let there be peace on earth
For all the world
We’ve got to see

That love, oh love
What a blessed thing (oh, yeah)
Say it loud
Make it clear today

All the walls are falling down
No more children off to war
If we search in our hearts
All the suffering will be no more

And let there be joy in the world
And let there be no sorrow
For all god’s children
Let them see
That love, oh love
What a blessed thing (oh, yeah)
Say it loud
Make it clear today

And freedom, no more lies
We can save this world if we try
One world I know we can make it
Yes, it’s only in your heart
Yes, it’s only in your dreams
You can climb the highest mountains
You can make the whole world sing

Love, oh love
What a blessed thing (oh, yeah)
Say it loud
Make it clear today

Songwriters: RICHIE, LIONEL B., JR. / HARVEY RICHIE BRENDA,
Love, Oh Love lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Mindfulness: Why are you swimming upstream?

Field of pink flowers

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. – Will Rogers

What do you want? What do you REALLY REALLY want in your life and where are you on the path towards what you really want?

So much of our lives is controlled by our intentions and our beliefs. What I believe and what you believe and what we believe as a community matters but how much of what others believe is influencing your decisions and choices?

Fruit Banquet

Our intentions become our thoughts . . . our thoughts become our beliefs . . . our beliefs become our words and actions and leads to the choices and decisions we make (whether good or bad).

When we get to the end of our lives will we ask questions like:
• Why was I struggling all that time?
• Why was I swimming upstream all the time instead of going with the flow or establishing my own path?

All we need to do is to just look at each other and accept each other for who we each represent on the planet. We all ultimately want the same thing.

So, what do you want? What do you REALLY REALLY want in your life and where are you on the path towards what you really want?

Balloon Circle

Goal Setting Questions

1. Which goal do you want to achieve?
2. Will that goal bring you closer to your dream (long term goal)?
3. What do you have to do to achieve it? (resources, time, money)
4. Are you willing to sacrifice what is needed?

Let’s talk about this.

Let me know if these questions struck a chord in you somehow.

Just breathe

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Baby Swimming

Keep your head clear. It doesn’t matter how bright the path is if your head is always cloudy. – Unknown

What does it mean to “just breathe”? When we feel frustrated, panicked, stressed or scared, we tend to breathe rapid, shallow breaths, allowing the minimal amount of air into our lungs. This can lead to a number of physical problems i.e. dizziness, headaches, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, high blood pressure and numbness.

What is the alternative?
Take deep, slow, mindful breaths through the nose. Hold the breath briefly before exhaling through the mouth for twice as long as the inhalation. This is what it means to “just breathe”. To concentrate specifically on nourishing our bodies with air, and, in so doing, bring about a sense of internal safety. It is also a reminder that no matter how catastrophic or overwhelming things may seem, we are still alive and we can overcome whatever lies ahead for us.

When you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, worried or scared, just breathe. For a minute, forget about everything that needs to be done and take it all one slow step and deep breath at a time.

Sometimes the world inside our heads is far more chaotic than the world outside and we forget that we have the immense power to calm it all by remembering to “just breathe”.

In pursuit of my African Dream : Breathe in, Breathe out!

Voice_You have a voice

You may remember that not too long ago I wrote about training as a Voice Over Artiste
Find the post here:

In preparation for finding work as a Voice Over Artiste I’m hard at work practicing my exercises and keeping my voice in tip-top shape. I’ve learned that your voice is a vehicle for your words just like a car is a literal means of getting around. Vocal preparation, maintenance of the voice and overall health considerations are important.

As a Voice Over Artiste I need to master breathing techniques and take care of my voice in the same way as a professional singer would. In my search for exercises I could use, I’ve come across these which I thought you might find useful too if you are using your voice professionally on a regular basis.

Words to warm up by:
Someone said something simple
A simple something said to me
Simply simple someone said
A simple something said to me

Find your voice

How to warm up like an athlete:
Side stretches (expands the rib cage and makes your lungs feel like they’re full of air):
• Take a deep breath and raise your arms to the sky
• Exhale and lean slightly to the left, lengthening in your side. Hold it there for a few seconds before you inhale to centre, and then exhale over to the right.
• Stand with your feet hip width apart. Inhale, with your arms up to the sky, then slowly bend at your waist on the exhale and take your hands towards the ground. It doesn’t matter how far down you can go. Stay there for a few breaths, on an inhale, come back up into a standing position.

Voice_faceless person

Your face:
• Moving your fingers in a circular motion massage your face where your jaw hinges. This will stimulate blood flow to your jaw muscles, where many of us store tension.
• Gentle head and neck rolls can also make you feel more comfortable behind the mic.
• Yawning is a great way to loosen things up.

If you’ve just woken up, do not get behind a mic without warming up.

Voice_mike

VOICE CARE EXERCISES:
Quick warm ups:
Humming: A loose, gentle modulating hum is a nice way to ease in your facial muscles and create space for resonant sound
Lip trills: Go back to your childhood i.e. a car goes B r r r r r r r
Descend on a nasal consonant sound: e.g. onion, gn sound (gnocchi), anything that ends in Z (buzz, fuzz), linger on the Z to get resonating as well.
Articulation exercises: Tongue Twisters
– Unique New York, Unique New York . . .
– A big black bug bit a big black bear
– She sells sea shells by the sea shore
– Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
– How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
Range: Yawning is a good thing. It naturally drops your jaw and regulates oxygen while extending your soft palate. Do the yawning-sigh.
– Open your mouth as if you’re going to yawn and slide all the way down from the top of your vocal range to the lowest grumble you can do. Only do this a few times per warm up and never start with this one. Leave it till the end when you’ve already warmed up your voice.

Voice_Person with mike in hand

Breathing Techniques (5 minute workout by Tommy Griffiths):
This one is perfect as a regular workout for facial muscles, lips, mouth and tongue and is a great way to maintain good articulation, breathing and posture. With daily practice it will help wake up your vocal cords and ensure your voice always comes out strong and clear.

Stretching exercises for your mouth, tongue and lips (do this for 1 minute)
Grin as hard as you can and hold it for a few seconds, then quickly purse your lips and hold. Do this back and forth a few times then quickly stick your tongue out and stretch it as far as it will go. Then touch the back of your upper teeth with the tip of your tongue. Hold for 5 seconds.
Say the word “WoW”. Notice the positions of your mouth when you say the word? Your lips start out pursed and the word ends with your mouth open. Exaggerate the positions and repeat over and over as though you’re saying the word “WoW”. At this point you should feel the facial muscles in and around your mouth.

Frangipani_Single

Improving your articulation with the obstruction drill (do this for about 2 minutes)
• Find a piece of copy and an obstruction for your mouth. Ideally it should be the size of a wine cork. Sit up straight or stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
• Place the obstruction between your front teeth and read the copy out loud as clearly as possible. The obstruction will force your muscles to over compensate for the difficulty in articulating the words. Keep reading for about 2 minutes.
• Take the obstruction out of your mouth and read the same piece of copy. You’ll notice that you now effortlessly pronounce the words.

Sea Shells

Learning to master our Plosives (do this for about 2 minutes)
Hold the palm of your hand a few inches away from your mouth, approximately where your mic would be. Then say “Pam’s preppy pal Peter”. You’ll likely feel a rush of air with the P’s. That rush of air is what creates the “popping” sound through your mic.
With full vocalisation, practice saying “Pam’s preppy pal Peter” until you no longer feel the rush of air.
Practice this every day for about 2 minutes until it becomes second nature to you to speak “plosive” free, even in your regular day-to-day conversations.

It is suggested that you practice these three simple exercises every day for two weeks before speaking or singing in public or recording your auditions.

animal-cute-kitten-cat-medium

Common ways to practice your exercises:
Reading copy aloud: or repeating or imitating what you’ve heard on radio or television
Analysing what you hear: whether it is your own recorded voice or someone else’s voice)
Mentally reviewing copy: to observe markings for breaths, punctuation, inflection etc.

Waterfall

The Announcer’s Test:
Every person who wishes to become an Announcer on radio goes through a particular test called the Announcer’s Test which involves retention, memory, repetition, enunciation, diction and ten factors that use every letter in the alphabet a variety of times. This test is also known as the Tibetan Memory Trick.

T. M. T. (Tibetan Memory Trick)
1. One hen.
2. Two ducks.
3. Three squawking geese.
4. Four limerick oysters.
5. Five corpulent porpoises.
6. Six pairs of Revlon tweezers.
7. Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array.
8. Eight brass monkeys from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt.
9. Nine apathetic sympathetic diabetic old men on roller skates
with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth.
10. Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who
stalk around the corner of a cove all at the very same time.

Voice_faceless person

This is actually spoken adding one at a time, so here is how it
actually goes.

1. One hen.
2. One hen, two ducks.
3. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese.
4. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters.

5. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises.

6. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers.

7. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array.

8. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array, eight brass monkeys
from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt.

9. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array, eight brass monkeys
from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt, nine apathetic sympathetic
diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards
procrastination and sloth.

10. One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, four limerick oysters,
five corpulent porpoises, six pairs of Revlon tweezers, seven
thousand Macedonians in full battle array, eight brass monkeys
from the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt, nine apathetic sympathetic
diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards
procrastination and sloth, ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical
denizens of the deep who stalk around the corner of a cove
all at the very same time.

Whewf!!!!!!!!!!! That was long!!!!!

Turtles were created to remind us to slow down . . .

Life is beautiful . . .

God created . . .

Turtles to remind us to slow down;

Elephants to remind us to think big;

Ants to remind us about small things;

The sky to remind us to always look up and pray;

The ground to remind us to always look down and to be humble;

Sinfonia_Mauritius by mom

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY

God created . . .

Family and friends to remind us how beautiful life can be;

It is not the presence of someone that brings meaning to life,

But it’s the way that someone touches your heart!
– Anonymous