In praise of sloppy courage: or, why singing (just okay-ishly) can unlock hearts & uplift the world.

 

So. Here’s what happened over the past 240 hours:

 
I turned 28. I sat naked on a stool in a dark room while a well-intentioned sprite scrubbed my back with sea salt. I dreamt about tsunamis. I realized that the farther away you move from resentment, the closer you move to your art. And: I led my final two Write Yourself Into Motion workshops of the year.

Each ‘shop was me & 20 women in a sanctuary by the sea, just outside of San Francisco. (Sublime.)

I opened each workshop by performing my 2012 manifesto — which happens to include a bundle of song lyrics. Picture me, belting Cat Stevens into the center of a (slightly-bewildered) room. Followed by a bit o’ Leonard Cohen, VNV Nation, and Richard Thompson. Oh, and — it was 9:30am in the morning.

Now. Allow me to explain: I’m a former choir nerd, and I can certainly carry a tune. But it’s been ten years since the last time I sang for an audience — other than my potted orchid plant, or a kindly bar of soap in the shower.

My voice is far from phenomenal. But I sang … as an act of permission. I wanted to give everyone in the room full-on & full-out permission to be sloppy. To be unpolished. To be ridiculous. To experience even just a moment of fierce, unfettered & free self-expression.

So. Here’s what broke free:

 
Jacq performed a sacred mantra, and brought me to tears. Sarah serenaded us with an entire Joni Mitchell song. Kris channeled the collective spirit of the Mermaid on a bongo drum. Jennifer juggled a trio of tangerines. Lisa declared that she’s an Artist — and that’s final. And Gail blessed the room with a prayer, that emerged as a dance.

(Oh, and did I mention … this was a copywriting workshop. Allegedly. Ha.)

The moral of the story …

 
Never underestimate the power of one random act of kindness — or one rough & tumble act of courage.

When you speak, sing, write, dance, muse & move to the beat of your invisible freak-drum — impeccably, messily, off-key or on-point — you grant heroic permission. You crack every ceiling. You strike awe & hit home. You move people to share their own incandescent awesomery.

The results are infectious. And simply astonishing.

XO.

P.S. To everyone who came to my last two workshops … sweet Christmas on a cracker. I’m dazzled, right down to my DNA. Thank you.

 

And now, a brief word from our sponSOAR…

 
Speaking of wild expression & artistry … our sponSOAR today is none other than Mr. Kent Youngstrom. You’ve probably seen his mixed-media magic at your local CB2, or in the glossy pages of People magazine.

What’s that? You haven’t? Well, today is your lucky day (especially if you’ve been procrastinating on your holiday gift procurement, like … um, me.)

Hop over to Kent’s online shop & marvel at his canvas prints & original works. I bet one of his pieces would look spectacular hanging above your bed, your desk, or your family cuddle-den. Selected works are on-sale, for the holidays.

‘Cause art makes everything merrier.

 

creativity // inspiration devotion // liberty

Comments

I had a bit of a sloppy experience lately, but it felt good to put myself out there!

You are a bundle of magic. Yes! to granting permission, and to the ripples of inspiration it sends out.

You are truly inspiring. Here’s to big messy leaps of expression and being supported by our sister!

Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack, in every thing. That’s how the light gets in. – anthem, Leonard Cohen xoxo

Erin on Dec 18, 2012 Reply

How beautiful! It’s amazing how one little thing can create such a huge turn and waterfall of happy vibes. Hat tip to you! x

@Erin, I love that lyric! Just came across it in Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly.”

Love this. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that doing what we feel called to do isn’t selfish – it’s actually the greatest gift we can give to the world, because by doing so we inspire others to do the same. .

Being YOU – It’s the ULTIMATE way to serve the world

Alexandra – love you dearly and so filled with gratitude for this weekend with you.

And, by the way. Your singing rocks!

Would love to have your voice on a track of my mermaid rock n roll album. With a little cello, congas and whale song underneath. REALLY!

Kris, I really enjoyed your sharing! It was such a treat. I felt touched that you let us into your world like that , and happy to play with the mermaids and you :)

And Alex, when you opened with song, I thought, Whoa, this woman is seriously not messing around..I had better bring it! What stood out for me: nothing less than cosmic awesome hair. Im gonna borrow that :)

Hi Nicole! Thank you for your kind compliment. Love what you’re up to.

Can’t wait for our paths to cross again and I’ll see you in the Facebook group.

xoxo

Wonderful you created/started the wave, butterfly effect:-) Perfect a great reminder

Um….Alex. It was not rough and tumble. Your singing was totally awesome. And thank you for such an amazing experience this weekend. I stand clear on my “Artist” thing because of you. Big, Big Gratitude.

Sweet Christmas on a cracker is right. What a weekend. Thank you for your beautiful voice and full permission. I can’t wait to hear that track on Kris’ new album.

KRIS :: Uh … YES to the whale song! When? Where?

Alexandra Franzen on Dec 18, 2012 Reply

Alex- email me the dates you’ll be in LA next year. We’ll figure out a day/ time to record your vocals. You have so much soulful music in you.

KRIS :: On it. ;)

Alexandra Franzen on Dec 18, 2012 Reply

I gotta say I love the whale singing comments, ladies!

AND I ADORE this freaking amazing piece of writing, Alexandra <3 Honey – you r one piece of the goddamn rainbow!

Hollar if your ever in need of some nerdy green juice, choir, tree hugging bonding. In Sweden.. <3

With huge amounts of love

Love you, Alex. Thank you for continuously inspiring me and pushing me to be all that I am meant to be. Singing that sacred chant for you was my honor. xoxo

I have always believed in not taking myself too seriously and that means a lot of off-key singing and yes, dancing to invisible freak-drumming. I would love to join one of these copywriting sessions. Hope I can make my way all the way to SF.

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