“Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well–that would be the end of the universe. But try dropping it. Watch what happens. Life continues on.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
As I move towards my 30s, I’ve started to learn how to let things go. It has been a slow and arduous process of baby steps, but I’ve begun to process and release the little annoyances, to-do lists, emotions, opinions, criticism, and things which used to haunt me for years and even decades. For the better part of my life, I struggled with perpetual anxiety and fear of failure. I lived my days in a constant struggle of trying to be perfect, trying to get people to like me, and trying to be and do everything. I spent so much of my time worrying about all these things that I never truly lived any of them. I was so worried about being perfect, that I made more mistakes than were necessary. I was so worried about people liking me that I shut down and turned into a wallflower when others were around. I was so worried about doing everything that I did not have the energy to do anything. It was a vicious circle of perfectionism and I was trapped. The problem was, I was spinning my “world handle” so fast that it rocked off its axis. Everything fell apart and I would usually end each day curled up on the floor as tears streamed down my cheeks. The pressure I put on myself was unbearable and, when I couldn’t live up to my own impossible standards, I broke down. But, as my meditation practice became stronger, I started to realize how deeply I yearned for the peace of letting these things go–of releasing the yoke of stress from my shoulders and just letting go of the things that I cannot control. I’m still a work in progress and I continue to fight with my control issues, but I am slowly learning to release the little things so that I can focus on and enjoy the bigger picture. Letting go let me live again.
Today I am grateful for the fact that I feel equally at home amongst 10 year olds as I do with adults; and I enjoy my time with both. My work with each helps me to see all the facets of my personality. Through my voice lessons and yoga classes, I meet people from all walks of life, all personality types, all energy levels, and all ages. But, I’ve realized that, while the teaching style may change, the information given remains fairly constant. Just as the yoga poses are the same whether you call it a “savasana” or a “snug as a bug,” so too the vocal mechanism is the same whether you tell someone to “produce more abdominal awareness through the friction created by a z-sound” or “let’s make the sound of a bee!” The more I work, share, and laugh with all ages of students, the more I realize that we’re more alike than we admit. Those inner children don’t go away. We just sometimes stifle them. So, here’s to being ridiculous, learning new things, keeping your childlike curiosity, and being playful with your body and voice. My littlest students may wear me out, but they keep me young. My older students may stretch my vocabulary and intellectual ability, but they keep me researching and training. I am greatful to each an every one of them for the lessons they have taught me.
Go ahead, be silly. It’s more fun that way.
Today I am grateful that I live only a hop, skip and a jump from the ocean. I grew up here and always took the sea for granted. Whenever I needed a break from the hustle of life, I would sit and watch the waves lapping softly upon the shore. I didn’t realize how much I needed this calming presence until I moved to West Virginia for grad school and had ocean withdrawals. On bad days I would watch video clips of the beach or stare at a photograph of Avila Beach… but it wasn’t the same. I need the feel of those negative ions and the cool chill of the morning mist on my skin. Marissa means “of the sea” and I definitely live up to my name. The sea is my home and I am glad to once again be living in a place where I can enjoy it whenever I want to.
Today I am grateful for technology and its ability to keep me moving and keep me safe. I absolutely love the Waze driving program and, considering how often I drive long distances through traffic, weather, and construction, it has probably saved my life multiple times. I love that I have a little guardian angel following me around and helping me along when I take a wrong turn or encounter an accident. Driving is so much easier now than when I was in my early 20s using print outs of mapquest and the kindness of strangers. I am so grateful that Waze keeps me moving with less anxiety and trepidation and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in this next decade.
Today I am grateful for the freedom and ability to travel for pleasure rather than as a requirement. Due to child custody requirements, I was flying cross country solo twice a year starting at the age of 3. The term “unaccompanied minor” used to make me sick to my stomach. I dreaded each plane flight, usually crying during the duration of my travels. For the longest time, “travel” was associated with pain, heartache, nausea, and tears.
As I grew older and started to make decisions for myself, I began to recognize how fun and enlightening travel can be. To immerse yourself in a new culture, new experiences, and new people is such a joy and a privilege. The world seems a lot smaller and a lot more connected when we step outside our own habitual 25 mile radius. I’m excited for this new decade of my life and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
You never know what you might see when you go somewhere new and turn the world upside down.
I’m grateful to be turning 30 because I finally realize the power that music has over us all. It’s ability to act as a therapist when we need a good cry or to pick us up when we are feeling down is profound. The music in my yoga classes completely set the energy for the whole class, whether it is a calm, restorative class or a rocking cardio workout. When I’m working with my voice students and they seem to be fatigued and unfocused, a change of tempo completely alters the mood of the lesson. It’s amazing what a song can do.
Music has helped me get through some difficult times in my life. This past year was probably my hardest year to date. I went through major emotional and physical turmoil; yet, through it all, one song gave me solace. I would play “She Used to Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles on constant repeat for months at a time, belting along while I choked back tears. The words of this broken woman fighting to regain control of her life spoke to me at a time when I needed it the most. She made it through the trying times in her life, so I knew I would too. And, I did. I even learned about myself in the process.
Today, I enjoyed recording a cover of this piece to pay tribute to a song which was my becon of light in the darkness.
Listen to She Used to be Mine as sung by Marissa Bloom.
Doing a little yoga while I record makes such a difference in my tone and emotive qualities…. plus it’s fun.
Revelation of the day: I like me.
That is definitely something to be grateful for.
I didn’t always like myself. Actually, for a good long while I was my biggest critic. I never saw the good in myself. I never thought I was enough. I listened when people put me down or hurt me. I let them make me feel small and weak. I played their insults on constant repeat until I believed that I was what they said.
But, as life has aged me and changed me, I’ve realize that I’m pretty darn cool. You’re pretty darn cool too. We’re all pretty darn cool. I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for what our bodies, our minds, and our spirits go through in this crazy ride we call life. It’s quite amazing when you sit down and think about it. Yes, sometimes we do things wrong; we fail; we make bad decisions; we don’t always look as good or achieve as much as we may want; but, in the end, we are all just doing the best we can. We are beautiful. We are strong. We are powerful beyond all measure. Like yourself. It changes everything.
“Let them judge you. Let them misunderstand you. Let them gossip about you. Their opinions aren’t your problem. You stay kind, committed to love, and free in your authenticity. No matter what they say or do, don’t you dare doubt your worth or the beauty of your truth. Just keep on shining like you do.” -Scott Stable