Sing Like Nobody is Watching

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Recently I did a performance and many people were telling me that they admired my courage to sing in front of people.  I told them that I just decided that I was going to be brave and not worry about what other people think.

I read a really good book which I highly recommend for anyone that wants to pursue their dreams or goals.  The main thing I got from this book was that you have to do what makes you happy and forget about what everyone else thinks or says.  Also if someone criticizes you, then tell them to come and do a better job.  So that attitude really resonated with me.  The name of that book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  

big magic

Just to be clear that I am a student.  I am not a professional.  My preparation to sing this song began about 11 months prior when I first started listening to this song by Lindsey Stirling called Shatter Me and I just really fell in  love with that song.  I listened to that song over and over on a road trip.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to sing that song because it seemed like a difficult song to me.  I spoke to my voice teacher and she said, “Let’s do it in G Minor.”  So I got the music and we started working on it in December 2017.  It was very brutal at first.  Just painful to listen to.  But I just kept working on it.

After a while I asked my music teacher if maybe someone could accompany me on the violin.  So she was able to find an advanced student to accompany me.  (Please note that she did not want to be videotaped.  We had to actually edit her out because she did not want to have her images on the web.  But Rebekah is beautiful and an amazing violinist.)  The first time we rehearsed together was brutal.  Imagine trying to sing with someone banging drums right in your ear.  I couldn’t believe how thrown off I was.  My music teacher said it’s completely normal.  When the violin accompanies me, I was listening to her play and my timing was off and it was way more difficult than I thought.  It’s like I am distracting her by singing and she was distracting me by playing the violin.  The thing is we had to be in sync with our timing.

wood music classic sound

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In any event this is the results of the preparation.  I watched numerous George Michael Videos.  I became a bit obsessed with him (which is a completely different story.) In any case this is the result.  Thanks for watching and any kind words are appreciated.  Also remember I am a student.  Think of your kid that’s been singing for a couple of years.  T

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach. She has a passion for singing, dancing and following her heart. She encourages everyone to do the same.  Please subscribe to her Youtube channel and Follow Enlighten Your Lives to support everyone’s dreams.  Namaste

How to set Dreams and Goals for 2018

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Well 2017 has come and gone.  This was an amazing year.  I feel like I really lived it.  Some years let’s just be honest have been terrible.  This year for me personally was really good.  I had the following major accomplishments: RETIREMENT, AMBER DOG, Performances and I’ve been able to keep my sanity for the most part.

I looked over my goals for 2017 and I have to say that I have stuck with them.  That just means I need to continue to add to my goals.  I mean if I could nail the goals for 2017 then I can surely continue to nail the goals for 2018.

Since I’ve retired my focus has shifted.  I was super stressed when I was working and now that I’ve retired it’s time for me to get serious about relaxation and just settling into my groove.  Retirement is a Huge Adjustment and unless you’ve done it, I don’t think you quite get it.val_edited-9177

      This is me thinking about positive thoughts.  Give it a try and see what happens.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to give me a way to focus my energy in a positive manner.

So how do you set goals anyway?

  1. Keep it simple.  Make too many goals and you end up not doing anything.
  2. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with fitness or health.  This is a popular resolution but you can set whatever goal or dream you want.  This is your chance to really get creative with your dreams and try to figure out exactly what it is that you want anyway.
  3. Write it down.  Perhaps your resolution could be to start journaling.  If you have never journaled or not for a while, this is a great time to start.
  4. Tell someone what your goal is with the hope that you can get some accountability and also once you tell someone, it reinforces your goal because you are discussing it.
  5. Day dream about your goals.  What would it look like if you had this?  How would you feel?  Imagine it’s already yours and be happy knowing that it’s coming into fruition.

Feel free to comment below with some of your dreams and goals.  Remember the more you talk about it, the more likely it will happen.  So I’ll go ahead and get this party started by sharing my dreams and goals for 2018.

  • Daily yoga (at least 10 minutes)
  • Meditation at least 3 days per week but the more the better
  • Dance daily at least 20 minutes
  • Write daily at least 20 minutes
  • Go on a plane for vacation
  • Shop local, vegan diet and breathe through all difficulties
  • Transform my guest bedroom.
  • Keep singing

VAL DANCING FOR RONI

This is me dancing at my party and having fun.  This is what dreams look like.  Just do it.

Now see that wasn’t so difficult.  Well here’s to an amazing 2018.  Don’t worry about all the drama that’s going on in the world.  You allow what comes into your reality.  Choose wisely.

Retirement Performance

VAL DANCING STAGE

Retirement Performance

When I first decided that I wanted to dance at my retirement party, my main motivation was because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to do it because I wanted to see exactly what my capabilities were at age 50. I felt that since I was a yoga instructor and a health coach that I should have the ability to perform and with the proper instruction, anything is possible.

So the dance training began and I found it to be very difficult. I had an injury at the same time I started training so I had to be very careful not to hurt myself. But I knew that I loved dancing and I just wanted to put on this epic performance at my party. I had an interest in belly dancing for years and I had done some training starting in 2008. I took a few classes with a local dance instructor and watched some videos but I hadn’t found a dance instructor in my area that I really was compatible with.
Then in 2015, I had surgery and the Dr. gave me the usual recommendation which was not to exercise for 6 weeks. I really despise that recommendation but of course I followed the Dr’s orders. They told me walking was fine.  Yoga was still not an option but the one thing I was able to do was belly dancing. And it just felt amazing on my spine, neck, shoulders and hips. Thus a belly dancer was born.
I soon realized that yoga and belly dancing were very much intertwined with one another.

VAL SPINNING
I kept up the belly dancing and I even taught a workshop at Angeline’s dance studio in 2016. I had previously been a Zumba and U-Jam Fitness Instructor and I felt comfortable dancing in front of people and I knew I wanted to perform at my retirement party in front of my loved ones, but I felt belly dancing alone would just feel completely inappropriate and I knew if I wanted it to turn out good, then I needed professional training and choreography.

I picked the song which was Transcendence by Lindsey Stirling and it had a classical feel to it. Although I used to belly dance at home to that song, I knew that ballet would go nicely with it as well.

At first I wanted to do a partner dance. But it’s difficult to find a partner and I decided to just do private instruction.
So it was going to be a belly dance/ballet fusion dance.
So ballet is very challenging. It’s pilates on steroids as I like to call it. And I was still working at the time and my work was not helping the situation at all. Because all of the sitting was counter productive. But I kept up with the training and the video is the final result.
When I watch the video, I feel happy with certain parts and other parts, I wish were better. But overall, I feel grateful that I had the ability and opportunity to dance and perform especially at the age of 50.

Sometimes when the fear strikes me when I think about releasing a video, I just think well if someone wants to criticize me that’s fine. They can go ahead and do a performance and then we can discuss my performance afterwards.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor. She recently retired from a Career in Law Enforcement after 26 years. Email her at:estrella.valerie@yahoo.com

How I Became a Singer

 

Music has a way of being influential.  As a young child music was always being played growing up.  Having a music teacher, John DeDios Barron, for a father has many pros and cons.  An alleged pro is being exposed to many different formats.  The con is hearing the same song over and over and over.  Many times the music would be classical or jazz.  Mexican music was played regularly as well since he was a Mariachi as well.  My father could play the trumpet and piano very well.  However later in life he took up violin and that was just painful.  Wow!!  Also the volume of music could be very loud.

A regular scenario was trying to watch Gilligan’s Island to all of a sudden hearing, Brick House hella loud.  And forget about thinking you’re going to get your way and watch the rest of the show. TV time was just over.  That was a definite Con.

music therapy

Piano was offered as my father was a music teacher.  However I wasn’t feeling the whole piano thing with my dad so I rejected the concept and instead focused on dance.  I didn’t think I had the music gene until recently it has been awakened.

My daughter was taking voice lessons and she was being much towards me as I was towards my dad which was rejecting the voice lessons provided for her.  She was rejecting voice lessons and when she was  done, she was done.  So having already paid for the lessons, I decided that I would take the voice lessons in her place.  That was in 2014.

 

At first I was pretty terrible.  I had to learn so much and anyway I just kept going to class.  One thing I noticed was that the singing made me feel very happy.  It became music therapy for me.  So I kept taking the classes but then took a break in 2015.  I took it up again last March 2017 and decided to work towards my goal which was to sing at my retirement party.  Which I did.

Singing is very physical.  One thing I struggle with is singing and looking relaxed  You know like it’ the easiest thing to do.  Effortlessness.

Your body becomes your instrument and I have to keep it really strong if I want to continue to sing.  But it is very therapeutic to sing.  I would recommend it to anyone.  It did not come natural for me but it absolutely comes natural for my daughter.  Now if I can only figure out how to get her singing again.

In any case I am going to stick with it for now as it is a positive outlet and lord knows we all need that.soy milk(This is here just to see if anyone sees this.  I thought this was so funny!!!  Never thought about Soy Milk being in Spanish.  lol

My Dream Retirement Party

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When working a long career, it is easy to dream about retirement.  Dreams about the future and dreams about a retirement celebration.  As the time grew nearer, I spoke to people about having a retirement party and I decided that I definitely wanted to have a party.  And I was only going to invite people who I truly cared about.  When you work for the government, you work with people that you have no choice in the matter.  I’ll say it first, I haven’t been the easiest person to work with over the years.

Anyway planning this party was a fantasy of mine and I only wanted super cool people there.  So I invited people who are currently in my life that were sweet. People that I’ve known for years since I was a kid and we kept some semblance of contact with each other over the years.  It’s so hard to maintain relationships over the years.  We get caught up in careers, kids and relationships.  Also for financial reasons, I just couldn’t invite everyone.

I decided that I wanted to share my dreams and passions with my guests.  For so many years I’ve had to walk around with this mask on that was suffocating me.  I had to be super tough and I couldn’t let the real me out or it would have been seen as weakness.

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Celebrating my 29th Birthday at SVSP.

It was in this safe space that I was creating that I knew I would be able to let my passions shine.  I decided I was going to perform for my guests.  It was really fun to plan this event.  I wanted to plan it because I knew it would be exactly as I wanted.

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The most amazing people showed up and assisted me with this event.  My dear friend, Peggy who is an amazing event organizer, provided me with the caterer, a DJ was recommended by another friend and I found an amazing Videographer, Kristian Medina that was super cool and creative.

Kristian took these photographs but I am proud to say, I did the slide show.  Those that know me, know this is no small feat.  I was really happy with the way it came out.  I tried my best to put pictures in that were flattering.  Trust me I have some black male pictures if I wanted. Not really.

I did do a little editing and I finally figured out how to do a slide show.  And I picked some music from the evening and added that in.  #Lindseysterlingtranscendence, #Beatsantiquebattle, #Pa’Bailar-Siemprequieromasbajofondo&Julieta.  I threw in Siempre Quiero Mas because it’s an amazing song.  Great song to dance to.  (Wink Wink)

Also I really want to thank the people who showed up.  It’s not easy to get out of the house these days.  But thank you for showing up. I love you and appreciate you from the bottom of my heart.

I wrote a thank you note and was planning on reading it that night but of course I forgot it and had to just do it ad-lib style.  My favorite thing to do.  I’m going to write that here:

Thank you Letter intended for Valerie’s Retirement Party

I want to take this time out to thank everyone for coming to my party.  I really appreciate your spending time with me on this special occasion.  This has been a dream and a goal of mine for many years and I have happy to have finally made it to retirement.

Special thanks to the following:

Leonora Barron, mi madre and mommy.  I would not be here physically and also you helped me to make this event possible. Thank you Mom for always being there for me with all of my crazy ideas.  You’ve always supported and encouraged me and I appreciate you for that.   Again working for CDCR was not easy and I know I could be very harsh at times.  Thank you for forgiving me.  I hope I can be as gracious as you.

My father, John Barron who without you, I would not have been exposed to music to the extent that I was.  I know as a child it was sometimes very annoying to have a musician for a father.  But looking g back I am thankful that I had that influence in my life.  I understand now how you used to be “spacey” at times and I’m sure it was because you were mentally trying to figure out timing or a musical arrangement.  Thanks for following your dreams because I know it helped me go for my dreams.

For my daughter Victoria, Thank you for being so patient with me.  Thank you for being so loving and kind to me.  You have a huge heart and I hope you keep letting your light shine.  Thank you for going with me to all those classes and events and for taking my classes.  You were a real little trooper and I appreciate and love you for that.  Don’t ever forget your name means Victorious Star of the People.  Let’s enjoy my new-found freedom.  Let’s see the world.

To my brother, Adam Barron: Thanks for being there during the years and especially for looking out for my father.  Thank you for being supportive and for always opening your house up to me.  I know I hardly go around anymore but it’s because I’ve been working like a dog.  Keep shining your light Adam.  You are a beautiful person that everyone loves.  Don’t ever forget that.  Thanks for allowing me to be, “Adam’s little sister.”

To my brother, Ben:Thank you for always encouraging me to pursue my goals and for listening to me.  You’re an amazingly talented guitarist and performer.  I encourage you to continue with your artistic goals.  Thank you for staying true to your art which isn’t an easy task in these times.  You are a role model for everyone.

To my Aunt, Eleanor Barron-Druckery, thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for being supporting and listening to me over the years.  You a dreamer and I never realized how important dreams are.  But with all of your extensive writings on dreams, it has definitely helped me to find my vision for dreams.

To my cousin Ray Ray Lozano:  Thank you for being there for me.  It’s been great getting a male perspective on things.  No matter what we are family first and even though we don’t always agree on everything, we’re still family.  Keep striving for your dreams and goals and you are an awesome role model.  Remember it’s your strength is found in forgiveness.

Peggy Rairden:  Thank you for helping with the decorations and for all of the input on the party.  Who knew going to a Zumba class would bring me a great new bathroom and such an amazingly talorented interior decorator and party planner.  Thank you for all of your support.

Alice Hutchings: I’ve known you for 20 years and have had a lot of fun in the past.  I want to thank you for coming the distance to be at this event.  I’ve always been able to rely on you over the years.  You used to be my mom at work.  Whether I needed a fork or if you shared your left overs.  You always helped me out in the best way and made me feel better.  You have a beautiful heart and keep letting it shine.

Special thanks to Angeline:  Thank you for pushing me beyond my limits.  Thank you for pursuing your dreams because.   You are always able to figure out what a person is doing and what they need to be doing so they can be better.  I don’t know how you do it.  As you know it’s not always easy working with people and our excuses for why we don’t do things to improve our capabilities.  Thank you for creating such an amazing safe place to learn to dance and thrive.  I wish you continued success.

Thank you to Alina for being the amazingly talented musician you are.  I know I wouldn’t have been able to get up here today and sing had it not been for your support and encouragement.  Thank you for following your dreams and you’re helping so many people and children to fall in love with the universal language of music  Thank you for sharing your gifts with us in the US.  I know you could have lived anywhere on the planet and yet we found each other. Thank you for following your passion had you not, you would not have been able to assist me with mine.  

I also want to thank all of the people who have been supportive of me throughout my career  As you know it’s not an easy career.  Sometimes it feels like all you are doing is putting out fires and it can be difficult to work together to reach a common goal.  I really want to thank John Butler who was my supervisor for 4 years.  I want to thank you for being supportive of me.  You probably don’t know how much you helped me and I will always be thankful for that.  I think I most appreciate was how you were more than understanding about giving time off.  Also after you retired, I missed your sayings or as I refer to them, “Butlerisms.”  Anyway I just wanted to say thank you!! In case you don’t know I’ve had some dark times during my career and as you know there are many people that suffer in my line of work.  

And it’s my passion and goal that I can inspire you to pursue your dreams and goals, no matter what they might be.

Lastly I love you all  and wish you all the best today and always.  I truly hope we are able to keep in touch.  And although we may not always agree on every single issue in life, I hope we are able to put those things aside and truly look at each other’s heart when we have disagreements.  We don’t know how long we have to live and I truly wish you all peace in your heart, love in your spirit and joy in your life.

 

 

Just Show Up, You never know what kind of awesome you are missing

Recently I had a retirement party and had a 50/50 Raffle. One lucky winner would win 50% of the proceeds and the other 50% went to a “Mystery Guest.”  People were asking me who the mystery guest was and did they actually think I was going to tell them.  I don’t think so.  I had my mouth closed like someone pleading the 5th.

How did I select this mystery guest?  Well I really wanted to bless this person because I just wanted them to know how much I appreciate their work and how their work was a blessing to me.

So I had it all planned out.  I picked the most amazing person.  I was working on my speech and then after I sent out the invitations, I promptly received an RSVP saying they couldn’t make it.  “Darn it.”  I really wanted to bless the.  So I had to pick another mystery guest.  Guess what happened…. they didn’t show up either.

So then I decided that I could not choose just one person.  So I chose two.  In alphabetical order my first choice was Alina Adams.  I chose her because she is my voice instructor and she’s really patient, positive and gives really good feedback.  She’s from the Ukraine and she’s a very talented violinist who honestly could have lived anywhere on the planet.  But we found each other and I just appreciate her work.  And also if she didn’t follow her dream of music then she would not have been there to help me when I found my dream of music.

mystery edited

Next comes Angeline Lucia DeGeorge.  I first met Angeline at a Zumbathon at her dance studio and I was a guest instructor.  I noticed she was a very talented dancer.  After I quit being a Group Fitness Instructor, I decided to be the student and began taking classes with Angeline.  I started with beginning tap and then convinced her to teach an adult ballet class.  She told me if I could get 6 people to commit that she would do a class.  The first class was very full with about 8.  The second class was 4 and now it’s usually 4 to 6 regulars.  After I decided I wanted to do a performance, I asked Angeline to choreograph it and work with her privately.  So for six months I met with her weekly.  It was very difficult, agonizing and rewarding. She’s also a very talented dancer and instuctor.  I picked her to share as a Mystery Guest because after all, had she not followed her dream and passion of being a dancer than I would not have been able to follow my dream of being a dancer.

Bottom line, had they now shown up they would not have won and trust me they were happy they won.