Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Oracle of the Onion: Melons! Coupons! Oignons!

Everybody has their weak spot. Mine seems to be my right ear. My sinus passages are thinner on that side and, well, sometimes gunk gets up in there, doesn’t drain properly and voilá - ear infection. So, here I sit with half an onion strapped to my head (supposedly onions draw out infections). Since I used one of my hippy sashes to affix the vegetable to my ear, the get-up makes me look like some kind of fortune teller.

In my darkest hours (mostly in winter) I have consulted fortune tellers, just so I could hear them tell me that everything was going to be okay. In that respect, they were right - I’m still singing for a living, I’m not living underneath a bridge and, although I haven’t yet met my one true love (or have I?), I don’t have any enemies. None that I mind having, anyway. 

Just this week, one of my favorite horoscope columns (the only one I read, actually - Free Will Astrology by Rob Breszny) also mentioned this time of darkness:

“Not all darkness is bad. You know that. Sometimes you need to escape from the bright lights. It can be restorative to sit quietly in the pitch blackness and drink in the mystery of the Great Unknown. The same is true for silence and stillness and aloneness. Now and then you've got to retreat into their protective sanctuary. Dreaming big empty thoughts in the tranquil depths can heal you and recharge you. The magic moment has arrived for this kind of rejuvenation, Virgo. “

Well, I am most certainly sitting in the dark (because winter), drinking the mystery of the great unknown (also known as Cabernet Sauvign-unknown). And you cynics think horoscopes are inaccurate!

In addition to fortune tellers and horoscopes, I’ve begun working with a career coach who is helping me focus my energy on the things I want to achieve. Much like the half an onion strapped to my ear, I was a bit skeptical about this kind of approach. A lot of what goes on in the singing business - in fact, everything that goes on in the singing business - is not up to me. Unless I strap a tambourine to my foot and sing on the sidewalk with a bucket in front of me, there’s no way to make money in this business alone. Sometimes the criteria for getting work are so very arbitrary, it’s hard to believe that I have any influence in it at all.

I have enough experience with self-promotion to know that most of my efforts come up fruitless -- this position has already been filled, that opera has already been cast, we’re hiring someone we’ve already worked with, you’re too small/tall experienced/inexperienced old/young whatever.... Still, rather than focus on what could possibly go wrong, each week my career coach and I come up with about five things that I can do to make progress. That’s totally doable, and if necessary I can write each thing on each one of my fingers to remind me (yeah, yeah, I have ten fingers, but one hand is writing, isn’t it?)

Lo and behold, the weirdest things have started happening. My coach assigned me to contact certain people about certain things, and although I got mixed responses from my efforts, I’ve been getting offers, or at least chances, from completely different people, from unexpected directions. All the more unsettling that I should get an ear infection right now.  Because, according to one froo-froo holistic healing website, an ear infection is a symptom of this:

“You are stagnating because you have not been open to new information or you do not like what you are hearing. You need to accept what is presented to you in order to relax and flow with life without resistance.”

Maybe the ear infection is just a gentle reminder that I am on the right track, because I’m hearing that my efforts have not gone unnoticed, that 2015 is going to rock (details to be revealed as soon as the ink is dry), and that I am being presented with plenty of opportunities -- some to be accepted and some to be turned down. The wisdom lies in knowing which is which, I suppose. 

Speaking of choices, I’ve tried heating the onion - the warmth is indeed very soothing for the ear - and I’ve tried leaving it raw, since the pungent fumes seem to help the mucus flow (I know, too much information), but all in all I think only my intuition and a doctor’s professional opinion will be able to tell whether I’ll be well enough to sing the concert I have to sing tomorrow, which, to be honest, is something I probably should have turned down. Perhaps before accepting my next offer, I should consult a fortune teller.