When it comes to relaxation, I’m not an A student. I’ve tried yoga – it made me angry. My friend L, long time yogi, informed me that this was good. That I was physically venting my spleen. Strange, I thought I was just cross because it hurt so damn much and my teacher was insistent that I hold my poses much longer than I thought was humanly possible. Like five seconds or something.
I’ve tried meditating. It made me realise that my mind is very, very noisy. Concentrating on the space between my eyebrows proved difficult. Mostly because there’s not a lot of space there. Just noise. I did learn one thing, though – that I should never, ever sign up for one of those 10-day ‘no speakies’ meditating workshops. I could very easily drive myself crazy.
Usually, if I’m feeling a bit anxious or uptight or stressed, I walk. Miles, if necessary. Something about the rhythm of it allows me to work through my current crisis and I often find that I can dream up some ideas or an interesting plot point at the same time. This only works, however, if I’m on my own. Walking with Mr3, for example, is like meditating. Very noisy. Only the noise is coming from outside my mind, not inside.
Tonight, I went back to choir. I’ve had a couple of terms off, for various reasons, but today I was hit with a sudden desire to return. I’m so glad I did. I feel soothed. There is something about hitting a few high notes (and even a few off notes) that relaxes me in a way few things do. It is impossible to worry about anything when you’re trying to learn a new song. You can’t sing soprano without breathing deeply and often, and you don’t have to think about it too much. And there is the pure joy of just letting it all out. Melodically speaking, of course.
I climbed into my car for the journey home and thought carefully about my soundtrack. I needed something I knew and could belt out, but not something too loud. I have been reading Together Alone, Jeff Apter’s biography of Tim and Neil Finn. It’s a story I’ve long been fascinated by – so much talent in one family, so many opportunities for sibling rivalry. I’ve always thought Neil Finn a genius, but have realised in reading the book that I have under-appreciated Tim’s contribution to Australian music. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I chose a best of Crowded House CD and drove home singing harmony with Neil.
In some ways, the car singing and shower singing I do are just as therapeutic as the choir, though without the camaraderie, or the sheer two-hour intensity that the choir offers. I do my best performances in the car or shower, though. No pressure. Never under-prepared. It doesn’t matter if I forget the words (which, given my memory, is something I often do).
I have arrived back in Choir Land at just the right time of year, though. We will soon begin our Christmas Carol preparations and, unfashionable as it is, I just love singing Christmas Carols.
All in the name of relaxation, of course.
Are you a singer (be it car/shower/choir/karaoke/covers band)? What do you love to sing?