Tag Archives: education

#SelfLoveSelfie – 30 Days

This is an emergency.

For too many days in a row I have woken up with mean stories repeating in my head.  You know what I mean.  The stories accuse me of not being who I want to be or maybe just saying something stupid the night before.  They convince me that others don’t love me as much as I love them; they make me wonder if I will ever allow myself to be truly happy even though I work my ass off at it, all day, every day.  I work and I strive and I achieve and I dream and I give and I give and I give…

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Then I wake up feeling depleted and like nothing will ever be enough.

Selfies suck.

I am not one of those girls who made the “duck face” on myspace and thought she looked cute.  You won’t find me taking pictures of myself in the bathroom of a club, angled 45 degrees to the side with my hand on one hip.  I have almost no pictures of me as a teenager because I wouldn’t let my parents take them and I destroyed so many that were taken over the years. I am told I have a nice smile but when I turn the camera on now I see how my face crinkles up or the way my teeth seem too big or the fact that my mouth goes crooked… So I make the “Mel Face” (an Elvis sneer, really), call it a #selfie and post it to Instagram.  Really.  Why bother.

When you see me post a picture of myself that is actually nice or calm, where I’m not laughing my ass off or sneering or cropping it so only my eyeball appears, I am practicing.  I am looking at myself, holding my own gaze and waiting.  I wait for the mean stories to unfold.  The criticism and the fear pass through me in a matter of seconds or minutes but it can feel like an eternity.  I walk around the house waiting for the light to hit me the right way.  I smile, it seems forced.  I wait.  I smile a little less, a little more.  I wait.  I laugh.  I think “This is effing ridiculous.”

At some point I see my eyes relax.  My face softens.  I recognize a truth within myself.  I see my spirit start to emerge from behind the cold armor of fear and pain.  I see my heart in my eyes.  And then I take the picture.

I usually don’t post them.  But for 30 days I will.  Mainly because, like so many of us, I struggle with the idea of being seen exactly as I am.

I learned the art of self-love selfies (and self-care in general) from my brilliant friend and coach Hannah Marcotti.  She is always running outstanding online programs and live events.  I know I mention her just about every time I blog.  If you know her you know why.
http://www.hannahmarcotti.com

If you would like to join me, I am on Instagram and Twitter as @melmulligan
I will be using the hashtag #selfloveselfie

Melissa Mulligan is the owner and head of Artist Development at MMVS: Melissa Mulligan Vocal Studio in Connecticut, New York, California and online.  Her studio offers private voice, songwriting, piano, guitar and music lessons, group lessons, workshops and online programs.  For more information visit http://www.mymmvs.com or email mymmvs@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to tip my hat to my brilliant friends (and coaches) Hannah and Mara, who believe we need self-care Emergency Kits for days, weeks, and lunar cycles like this.

 

 

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And then she said…

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Through Hannah Marcotti’s 2013 Mastermind group I have been gifted a group of friends who text with intention.  I can sit with a cup of coffee, scroll through my phone’s history and shine throughout the day.

She said “I got this note from the universe that seems to be meant for you.”
And then she said “You’re doing it.”

She said “The voice that knew she had to stop breaking her own heart. I’ve been there.”
And then she said “Think of it like an antibiotic for that shitty voice in your head.”

She said “However it happens will be the right way.”
And then she said “I want to say this.  You are pretty and you are beautiful.”

She said “Day 12 you want to tell water to f*(& itself.”
And then she said “I love your morning messages!”

She said “Yes! Eyes in the dark, baby!”
And then she said “Got teary in the best of ways which means to me that this is truth.”

She said “Sending you beams of soft pink light, filled with love.”
Then she said “Asking the angels to wrap you in gentle divine light.”

She said “These are the days for sure!”
And then she said “Thank you, love. A bit of a vulnerability hangover.”

She said “I will keep peace and love in my heart.”
And then she said “Look we have live music! I didn’t even try to find it and voila, there it is!”

She said “Good morning! You are f*&(ing amazing and I love you.”
And then she said “I think there was something extra in my kombucha this morning – I’m almost giddy.”

She said “I have seen your soul and you and she are beautiful, beyond beautiful, radiant with joy and light and here on Earth you are a hot tamale.”
And then she said “Meant to be.”

She said “I choose to play the game of joy, empowerment, ease, fun and love. Shall we?”
And then she said “Good thing you have fabulous boots to ground you.”

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I Want This For You

When you giftare told you are a gift to the world, and you believe it.

I want this for you.

When your eyes take someone’s breath away, and that doesn’t seem strange to you.

I want this for you.

When you see yourself in the mirror and get knocked sideways, just for a second, that you’re here, on Earth, being magical and miraculous.

I want this for you.

When you can sit with your own pain, or the pain of someone you love, and feel your heart expanding into more feeling rather than shrinking, or numbing, or struggling to fix it.

I want this for you.

When your gifts are something you express gratitude for without judgement or comparison or fear of losing humility.

I want this for you.

When the love you feel for your awesomeness matches the awesomeness I see.

I want this for you.

I want this love for you. 

Inspired by my beautiful friends, family, students and guides, as well as a song by my gorgeous friend, Nicole Thompson, which has the refrain “I want this for you.” 

Walking While the Mind Runs

I should probably leave my phone at home so I can be alone with my thoughts while I walk.  My life and my business are very social; alone time is scarce.  I’ve been counseled to disconnect more often.drift

But my best thoughts come to me on my walks and I must capture them.  They say we are at our best in the spaces between intense thinking and frantic doing.  I suppose the mystics would say we are at our best when we are “being.”  I kind of suck at “being.”

So, I walk.  The phone stays in my hand, and I am often the idiot tripping over cracks in the sidewalk, oblivious to the birds and trees.  Eventually I do look up and breathe, I swear.

I use Instagram to express gratitude for the quiet moments, the flowers and the animals I find.
I text people crazy ideas and send invites to meet for breakfast or lunch (with apologies that I tend to work while the world eats dinner).
I turn little song ideas into voice memos.
I make important business decisions at my favorite pond while snapping pictures of my “pet” egret and turtles in the sun.
I call my husband to tell him I’m thinking of him.
I plan our next vacation.
Sometimes the phone rings and I answer; it’s like taking a walk with a friend (admittedly this means I will take a second walk after we hang up, so the mind can still wander).
I develop my blog posts (I sat down on a piece of driftwood and typed this one into my phone).

It’s free association at its finest; a combination of effortless free time and getting sh*t done.
I know it now: My busy brain needs this chance to run free like the wild horse it is.

Today I imagined sending my students outside when they have writer’s block, and then I wondered if I would have done better in Algebra if they let me walk while I tried to solve for “x.”  What if my friends in corporate offices took to the sidewalks and parks to plan their next marketing campaigns?

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What if we acknowledge the importance of the space between planned thinking and doing?  What if we accept that we get so much more accomplished when our minds have room to roam?

I’ll see you outside – please stop me and wave, even if I appear to be lost in thought.

Bullied, Bright and Brilliant

No one ever hit me so I didn’t call it bullying when I became a class scumbag.  My friends broke up with me, one per day, until there was none left; until the rest of our grade shunned me with stinging insults; until even the nice boys were barking at me in the hallways.  Every day I wondered why.  I cried tears of frustration because I did not understand.  It was impossible to think there was no reason for the onslaught of taunts, the ignoring, the vile comments, the nickname It (as in Ewww, let’s all move our desks so we don’t have to sit next to ‘It’).  Surely there was something I did, something I said, something about my face or my figure that led my classmates to despise me so deeply.

Now, not a week goes by without hearing that one of you, my beautiful, talented, bright and brilliant singers, is going through something similar.  You want to be home schooled or change schools or simply disappear into words, music, movies, anything at all.   Still, you keep singing.  You are so much stronger than I was at your age.

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Now, my friend, we are in this together.  And we deserve answers.  So let’s do this.

The act of bullying is about the bully, not the bullied.  There is nothing inherent within any one of us that deserves such treatment.  Our character is defined by how we behave, not how we are treated.  And our worth?  Our worthiness of love is a birth right that need not be earned and can not be beaten out of us.  And it is certainly not diminished by some kid with a big mouth.

Being bullied gives us the potential to change the world for the better.  We will not disappear.  We have seen that our light shines against all odds.  Our purpose is to be bright and brilliant, even in the darkness of night.

We are the peace makers.  The caretakers.  We may become coaches, musicians, scientists, counselors, writers, doctors, nurses, teachers, trainers, designers. Leaders. Creators.  We are the artists whose work inspires dream chasing and freedom.  We are idea people with high ideals.  We understand bullies and how deeply they fear us. We know ourselves and the power we hold to inspire others.

The best way to combat someone else’s cruelty is to be a caring and open person instead of closed and afraid.  Where love and hope reside, fear has no home.  So we shall keep filling our hearts with love for ourselves, our closest companions, secret hiding places and favorite songs.  Our words of hope are stronger than theirs of ignorance (and usually have more syllables).

Thank you, my friend, for showing up in this world with kindness, dignity, respect, and love.
Thank you for being a bright light of hope in the night sky.   Thank you for staying strong enough to sing.

We are in this together.