Expanding My Bubble

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve hated trying new food. Let me take you back to the first time I ate grapes… I was about four years old getting ready to take a bath, running away from my mum, who was trying to convince me to try just one grape. It was a struggle. Although a seemingly easy task, trying to get a stubborn four-year-old to put an exotic looking “food” in her mouth is a lot harder than it sounds.

When my mum finally convinced me to try one (through her magical mothering powers, of course), I remember popping the grape into my mouth, slowly starting to chew, and realizing that the juicy taste was causing the corners of my mouth to slowly curl upwards. I then timidly asked my mother for another one, trying to hide the fact that she had been right when she said I would like them.

That one experience blew my little four-year-old mind; who knew there might actually be food out there that I may enjoy eating in addition to my standard diet? That’s how I think it is with most things in life. It’s so easy to be content with the way everything is going that you don’t want to alter anything in the fear that everything may fall apart. Add in the stubborn factor if you’re like me, and if you’re not careful you may get stuck in the same little bubble for the rest of your life. One little bubble… sounds suffocating, doesn’t it?

Well, I’ve had to come to the realisation that if I ever want to experience anything worth experiencing in this world, I must expand this little bubble of mine. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to just go ahead and pop it otherwise I’ll end up spiraling toward the ground and end up with another concussion… and we don’t want that to happen again. All I’m talking about is stepping outside of my comfort zone little by little until my comfort bubble encompasses the whole world.

There are many things in life that we could greatly benefit from trying new things and putting ourselves in uncomfortable positions until they become comfortable. But the more we do it, the more comfortable we get. It’s almost like exposure therapy. Trying new things, such as grapes, used to give me anxiety because it was not on my predetermined list of foods I ate, activities I participated in, or skills I knew I had. However in recent reconsideration, I have spread my wings and am now beginning to learn how to fly.

I’ve recently taken up a keen interest in my health and being fit. I’ve been exercising regularly, going on long walks and doing (very) short periods of strength training. I’ve also transitioned into a pescetarian diet and it has made me so much more aware of the food I have been and continue to put in my body. Food is fuel. And if we are filling ourselves up with crap, that’s what we are going to feel like. Along with the help of lots of iPhone apps, such as Fooducate and Yummly, I’ve been choosing and preparing my food with much more awareness about what I’m consuming and its nutritional value, not worrying about if it errs from the familiar diet I have been consuming my whole life (i.e. Weetabix and Marmite sandwiches).

This heightened awareness is what we strive to achieve in all areas of life. Ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s just comfortable. If we push to educate ourselves about new food, cultures, ways of life, activities, and all other aspects of life, we will be able to become more aware of who we are, what drives us, and how we fit into this massive universe of ours. Once you open yourself up to new experiences, you will be amazed at how large your little comfort bubble can grow.

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Marmite and cream cheese sandwich, with grape tomatoes, baby kale, and eggs over easy (seasoned with thyme).

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Growing Up in the World of Church Music

Hi everyone!

Long time no talk.

If you ask any of my friends, you will know how true it is that music is such a big part of my life. It carries me through the rough patches and inspires me to be part of something greater than myself. Lest not forget, it provides me with some pretty good beats to get down to on the dance floor.

Music is all-encompassing. It surrounds me in my daily life. As I sit in the mezzanine of the Bristol Youth Hostel writing this post, I am listening to a playlist of slow and relaxing music playing over the café speakers from the main floor, floating up to where I am sitting. Although the calming tunes float only so far until they are interrupted by the lively and vivacious Spanish music being played from a couple’s phone, who appear to have just come in from a night out. It is such a large and diverse world we live in, yet music brings it all together. Music is a language all of its own.

So speaking of languages and youth hostels, I am actually in England right now. It is currently 12:30 in the morning… I should be asleep, I know. But I am waiting for some pictures to upload so that I can put them up on my choir’s blog post tomorrow morning.

Growing up as a child, music was not only a passion of mine but a job. Since the age of six, I have been a chorister in multiple of my father’s church choirs. Yes, my father is a church musician.

In order to truly get to know me, you must know this about my upbringing. Ever since I was a timid young girl, church choir has continued to shape and challenge me in different areas of my life; it has forced me to develop my discipline and diligence in order to produce the heavenly music that is only achieved through the synergy of such focus and determination from every member of a choir. I belong to the American Episcopal Church, which is the equivalent to the Church of England in England (where I was born and lived for the first four years of my life), which may give you an idea of the type of music I have grown up singing.

My church follows quite a traditional path, and sticks to some of the oldest and most sacred music that has been written since the beginning of time itself. There is something about this which is what has made the whole experience of singing to me so special. Every time I pick up a piece written by Thomas Tallis or Howells, I know that with that comes a certain responsibility. If you are going to sing something, you sing it as well as you can, otherwise you are not doing it enough justice. Just as anything else I do in my life, I always strive to give my best performance.

Music links not only people together, but time periods, beliefs, and places. A piece that was written in England in the 1500s could just as easily be sung today in America as it could have been sung by hundreds of thousands of others all around the world in between the two times and places. Simply one piece of music is able to reach beyond the limits of a conversation or a prayer. It can become something greater. It connects and brings together people from all different walks of life.

Such a thought is what amazes me. I don’t know if I would even attend church if it weren’t for the music. I never feel as spiritual, as close to God (or whatever it is that makes our universe possible), or part of something greater as I do when I sing in church. Something about hearing the ring of a note or chord after it has come to an end reminds me of the eternity that music provides us with.

This is mainly just me having a late-night write/think (as one does when it gets past a certain time in the night). But truly, I hope some of you can connect. Music is special to me, as it is to many others. If you also share this passion, you will understand me when I say I would be lost without it.

If you would like to keep up with my choir and listen to some of the sacred music we have been singing here in Bristol, England please give us a listen and I hope to be updating my own blog more frequently when I return from tour!

As for now, I must say goodbye and goodnight.