Starting Anew and Living From the Heart

I was recently listening to Les Brown as he talked about how when he stepped into his greatness, his life got easier, not harder.  He talked about the 14 years when his mentor tried to show him his greatness but he refused to see it.  Then, when he finally decided to step up to the plate in his life, everything he needed was provided with grace and ease.  Somehow I just knew he was telling the truth.  

Just this weekend, I was DJ GAL-VanIZed at the Agape Toastmasters Red Carpet.  It’s perfect for me to be a DJ because music is a lifelong interest and influence in my life. Every time I DJ in public or play a mix, I meet people who want to hire me, this weekend included. It’s possible that I’ll get to do a gig that I’ve been wanting to do for years. When I have more details, I’ll share them here. At this point, I’m just happy to have had the conversation. It lets me know someone or something is listening, including me.

There was a period of time in my life when, playing music loud and dancing wildly became “not okay”.  I tried to grow up, tone down my exuberance and “get serious”. But as soon as someone turned the music on, my music lover switch also came on. I realized that I had to make peace with whatever rules I had made up about music and dancing, I had to take my love for music out of the closet and just do it because it’s my thing.

Agape Toastmasters helped me overcome a lot of fears, including the fear of playing “my music” in front of others. Because the music I listened to most of my life is the music I wasn’t supposed to listen to. Maybe you know what I mean, maybe not but I think I convey the story best here in this video I did at open mic night in 2011 when I was truly busting out of the cocoon. “That’s what girls do“.

With the New Year approaching, it’s a great time to throw out useless ideas about what you can and cannot do. It’s the ideal time to let go of the past and start anew, living from the heart. What will you let go of? What does living from the heart mean to you?

Anyway by Duck Sauce on DJ GAL-VanIZed Jukebox

The song is cool and the video is cooler. A nice combination of flashback to 70’s Soul Train mixed with the deep club beats you expect in the 2000’s.

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An iPod allows you to fit 1,000’s of songs in your pocket; whereas a Jukebox stays in one place and your selections are limited. What would you do if you only got to choose 52 songs to put on your iPod? What would the list include?

One Tribe by Black Eyed Peas on DJ GAL-VanIZed Jukebox

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An iPod allows you to fit 1,000’s of songs in your pocket; whereas a Jukebox stays in one place and your selections are limited. What would you do if you had a 52- song limit on your iPod? What would the list include?

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Remember When Exercise Used to Be Fun

Exercise used to be fun. Before it was called exercise and before anyone told you that you were supposed to do it. When I was a kid all I needed was a Hula Hoop and an episode of Soul Train to send me into a spiral of activity that burned all the calories in the world. At EPIC in Signal Hill I learned how to have fun exercising again and, I got the opportunity to share the fun of exercise and music with my friends at the Hour of Power. You’ll see the Hula Hoop and Soul Train influence in full effect in this video.

The Hour of Power can help free you from fear, stress and anxiety so you can experience improved physical and emotional health. Stay tuned to this blog for details on the upcoming shows or sign the mailing list at sherizampelli.com to stay in the loop.

The Power of Music, Words and Images

Over the past 3 years or so I’ve been continually looking for ways to incorporate more music into my life and my career. Early on in this quest, I came across a video by Urban Voodoo, a Long Beach City College Student who is active in his community is using the power of words and music to help people heal through Hip-Hop and spoken word. It is one of the many things that inspired me to continue my search so I’ll share it with you.

Thinking of the power of words and music helped me to take a risk and try something new when I was teaching Helping and Listening Skills class. I decided that since I know communication is powerful and since I know I am the leader of my classroom, maybe I should use that power wisely. I decided to practice what I preach, in front of a live audience.

You really had to be there to “get it” but let’s just say I played two music videos in class as part of a lesson called, “How much can you tell about a person by looking at them.” I played the Dead Kennedy’s video (California Uber Alles) and scrolled the lyrics then played Grandmaster Flash doing The Message and scrolled the lyrics. Then I showed photos from my punk rock teenage years and talked a little bit about going to punk rock shows and seeing Grandmaster Flash in the 80’s.

The point I was trying to make is that many times we look at people and we make snapshot decisions about them based on how they look NOW and we don’t even listen to hear what’s going on beneath the surface or to find out the story behind the story.

The other point I’ve been drilling in people’s minds each week is that 70-90% of communication is non-verbal. I explained that the clothing and music a person chooses can tell you a lot about them, even if they won’t open their mouth and speak one word to you.

At 16, that was me. I wanted desperately to speak out about the domestic violence and child abuse that went on in my home routinely but I couldn’t speak. Even when I did, I was cut off. So, I spoke by chopping off all my hair, running away from home and listening to recordings of people who WERE brave enough to speak. I wanted desperately for someone to hear what I wasn’t saying, for someone to do something to help me.

Now, I’m brave enough to speak and I have a place to do it at. Don’t you think I should put it to good use? I believe my job is to help my students to help others in the most impactful way possible and if I have any knowledge about that, whether it’s personal or professional, it is my duty to make it available.

One of the things I’d like to start with is sharing information about music and healing. Music can help a person overcome obstacles and deal with grief, depression and physical pain. Choosing the music that expresses emotion and life-experience can be cathartic and healing in a way nothing else can.

I’m not sure what it takes to become an expert on the subject of music and healing but I can say that my personal experience is backed up by experts. If this subject intrigues you, a good place to get authoritative back up is via the Music and the Brain podcast series put together by the Library of Congress and available on iTunes. As I continue my quest to incorporate music into my life and my career, I will share additional resources with you. In the meantime, if you have resources to share, please leave a comment below.

Music at The Sky Room with Linderella

The theme of music and dancing has been well established in my life now.  It seems there is no turning back to the incredibly serious and stoic life-path I had planned for myself.

When possible, I like to enjoy some live music and a night on the town with my husband.  In May 2011 we both visited the famous Sky Room in Long Beach for the first time.  I must say the view is breathtaking and the club had a great vibe.

In the elevator ride on the way up we learned a little history about the Sky Room.  For example, it was “a rendezvous for luminaries such as Elizabeth Taylor, Nicky Hilton, Charles Lindberg, Babe Ruth, Merle Oberon, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, and other celebrities.”

Here are a few photos from the evening.  We were celebrating Linda Leek’s birthday and I got to hang out with some cool, creative, musicians and artists including jazz singer Linda Saito, aka Linderella.

Look for Linderella’s performances in Long Beach and surrounding areas or follow her on Facebook.

The Gift of Gabriella

Last week, Valerie from Upstate New York commented on my blog about the Playlist that got me through the Honolulu Marathon. She shared some of her favorite workout tunes like Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness) Piano Tribute Players, Love Drunk Piano Tribute to Boys Like Girls and Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriella.

I decided to explore a few of her selections just to see what I’d find.

What I found was a musical act called Rodrigo Y Gabriella and I found their performance mesmerizing. Being the rock and roll girl that I am, when faced with a choice of which of their videos I wanted to watch I headed for a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven followed by a cover of Metallica’s Orion, which was worth sharing so here you go: (click here to watch on YouTube.)

Speaking of rock and roll girls, Gabriella definitely knows how to rock the guitar which she alternately uses as a percussion instrument.

Gabriella immerses herself in her art and is an inspiration to watch. By the time I got to the end of the video, I was roused, galvanized and a tiny bit teary-eyed. Check it out, it’s worth 2:46 of your time.