Learning how to Breathe / My fears

Last night Carlos went out to a local pub, the Black Horse Pub in Hollister. My dad works at the restaurant owned by the same man, Dr. Mike, and he told us about an open mic night they have every monday at 7. I haven't been into playing music with anyone other than myself and the trees lately. Carlos, however, loves playing as much as ever and rarely has the opportunity to play with other folks.. so we went.

I was already feeling very self conscious before we went because when my dad was telling us about it, he said that Carlos should play there and that it's a place for practiced musicians to play, that I wouldn't be able to just sit around and beat on a drum... So I felt like I wasn't good enough.

In most tasks in my life, I am very self confident. I know that I'm a great gardener, a wonderful artist, an interesting story teller, a good driver, a great cook ... so none of these things make me nervous. As soon as I even think about singing in front of people, I feel like I swallowed a whole melon. My throat swells, my heart races, I get totally anxious and nervous. Needless to say, I did not perform last night. Carlos performed wonderfully with many different musicians and was asked to record music with them and jam with them again. I am very happy for him, but I also felt very distant - especially when he started singing House of the Rising Sun, a song I love to sing but never want to sing in public. My anxiousness made me sad because I want to be free and do whatever I feel like doing every moment of my life. I wanted to sing and share my voice with everyone, but I don't want to for fear of criticism from myself and others.

The people there were so wonderful. We met incredibly kind and warm hearted folks that go there every Monday night. It's like a home for them, it's like family. I told stories and shared my passions, but the most valuable part of the night was near the end.

Teddy is a beautiful lady who played the bass the entire night, with every single musician that went up. She has incredible energy about her. I told her that I loved her music and her energy. She spoke to me saying that she could feel my beautiful energy too. Come to find out, she contacted us 5 months ago when Carlos and I were trying to get a band together. We already had some other guys playing with us, and soon after that I went into my holed up fear of singing again, and this I told her.

She told me the trick to singing is to breathe. That it is all about the breath. She noticed that my breathing is completely wrong for singing and put my hand on her belly to show me how she does it. I have always been breathing into my chest, not into my belly. I don't completely fill up my lungs. Everything makes so much sense to me now! The main thing that bothers me when I listen to my singing recorded is that I sound tense. Carlos doesn't hear, but it's all I hear in my music. An incredible tenseness that makes me feel totally uncomfortable just listening to it. If my breath was deep and easy, my singing would be easy and less tense. I told her I think a lot about the people watching me, the microphones, the amplification... she said not to think about anything - only think about my breath.

Since then I have been practicing my breath pretty constantly! :) I think this will save my life. One day I will be fearless.


  1. I can relaye(: I actually learned the breathing trick back in choir it works wonders
    Swapbot love comment blog(8)

  2. It really does! I notice that when I sing with power, my breathing naturally fills up my lungs entirely. I have been practicing applying it to all my mundane tasks too, like when I'm crocheting. :) My breathing is also more natural when I am outside. I breathe very deeply outside. It's interesting to take notice of these things.

  3. Hello Dez,

    It is wonderful to be stopping by your blog. Your shops is one of my favorites on Etsy and it is no small world that you just happen to be my swap partner on swap-bot for the love comment blog(8).

    It sounds like you had a wonderful learning experience all in one, by being there that night, by discovering how you are around people, how you feel and meeting that lady who you were destined to meet and teaching you about breath.

    When you breathe from the stomach you are using your power and you are in control of who you are and what you share with the world, that's why the breath comes from there. Also when you breathe you are present and in the now current moment thus it makes it easier to be feel and be relaxed. Another thing is that it helps because you feel connected to the earth and grounded and that's important too.

    Do you know what the root cause is of why you feel anxious when you are around people? Have you always felt this way?

    I'd like to give you some advice if I may, whenever you see yourself around people and you feel tense, go into your feet and feel the earth and then breathe and continue breathing slowly, it will make you aware of your presence and you will feel relaxed and more connected.

    I too, used to feel that way and I learnt to be grounded first, and how important it was and then I could communicate and connect with people. It is a true pleasure to meet you as we seem to have a lot in common.

    Wish you well on your journey

    With love

    AnaGoncalves from Love Comment Blog 8 on Swapbot

    1. Hello Ana,

      Thank you so much for all of your comments. I truly appreciate your loving and thoughtful words. You are a beautiful person and I agree that we have much in common. I looked at your swap-bot profile and I think it's such a beautiful thing that you grow up with nature, close to the earth, and close to the community around you. I did not grow up in that way, but I felt a pull to live this lifestyle years ago and I have been walking the path of earth loving connectedness ever since. :)

      To clarify my feelings of anxiousness - It is rare for me to feel anxious around people. I am very out spoken and extremely comfortable even my first time meeting someone. I can approach strangers without a doubt and tell them anything. I rarely feel shame or apprehension. The only time I really feel those feelings is when I am even THINKING of singing in front of people. But most of the time when I start actually doing it, I get a lot more comfortable. Like on this day that I went to the open mic night. The whole night I was somewhat uncomfortable and withdrawn from people because I was wondering if I should sing or not.. I was constantly doubting myself. But last monday I went to the open mic night again, this time with my ukulele and my voice :) and at first I was incredibly nervous... When I actually started singing though, my voice was powerful and strong, very loud and to me it was perfect and my ukulele playing was good too. I felt totally comfortable once I started. It's the doubt in my mind before the action that makes my breathing slow and shallow, that makes me uncomfortable. I need to release all self doubt, but I'm not sure how. Grounding is so important. I know that will help me achieve anything and it's something I need to focus on. It's hard in a city sometimes.. but achievable.

      Thank you again for your comments. We will definitely talk more soon. :)