The Caged Bird Who Couldn’t Sing

In November 2014, I started taking singing lessons, which has been an absolute delight! This new endeavor took flight after a wonderful session of “Coffee With Cathy,” where all in attendance agreed to learn something new. One participant discovered during this session, that for most of her life she felt like she didn’t have a voice until recently. I suggested she take singing lessons, but her response was, “no, that’s not for me…why don’t you try it?” So here I am nine months later still taking singing lessons and absolutely loving them. My artist of choice to sing is Whitney Houston and my, what a talented artist and songstress she was. I did not recognize the brilliance of her talent until I started taking singing lessons. I started out singing some of her easier songs and I progressively chose more difficult songs as time goes by. My vocal coach patiently works with me while making me believe I can sing anything.

Well about eight weeks ago, this particular session was a little different. You see, my vocal coach carefully goes through the lyrics of each song, marking and highlighting on my lyric sheet when I should go to head voice, switch to chest voice and even putting large commas where I should breathe. He is even teaching me the intricate technique of belting, which is no easy task! You see, it is all of these little nuances that really make a difference while singing a song…especially a Whitney Houston song! So, this particular week in the midst of me singing, “I Will Always Love You,” I was feeling very unsure of myself and caged by the fear of not being good at something new. Frankly, I was feeling defeated! I wanted so badly to just give up and I was anxiously waiting for my vocal coach to stop me and just walk me through. Well this week he didn’t stop me, he let me continue to sing this song and I knew it wasn’t my best, for I had given up and gone back to what was comfortable for me, flat line singing…I was deflated. I thought to myself, “This is how you sang before you started taking lessons”

Finally, before the big finish to the song, he rescued me with his hand motion for me to stop. He then asked, with a tone of confusion in his voice, “Are you making the changes we marked on the lyrics?” I said, “No.” He then responded with a very powerful question, “Then why are we here?” That question along with the look of disappointment on his face was a painful “Aha” moment for me. I felt like the caged bird who couldn’t sing. I recognized in that moment that I only wanted to do what was comfortable for me. Then my vocal instructor said, “if you keep doing the same thing over and over again you will never improve.” I thought to myself, “that’s the definition of insanity.” These were short powerful statements that made me stand back, readjust and put forth the needed effort and to make the changes we discussed even it meant being uncomfortable for awhile.

As I was leaving my lesson this particular week, I asked myself, “How often does this same behavior show up in my life?” How often am I caged by my own fears, lack of confidence and desire to be comfortable, thereby, stifling my growth and making it difficult to get to the next level? My drive home from that singing lesson was very instrumental (no pun intended) in helping me make a major life change. I recently transitioned from my comfortable career of 12 years to “sing” in an arena that I have come to love for many years as a Life Coach/Executive Coach. Were there moments of being uncomfortable as I was making this change? Absolutely! Was there fear? Indeed, for I was walking away from what was comfortable for 12 years. (1 John 4:18) However, because I am no longer caged by these feelings, I have learned to acknowledge them, validate them and then open the cage and let them fly away. I’m amazed at how being able to manage these emotions, along with my strong support system, not only has my singing greatly improved…but I am now the caged bird who confidently sings, “I believe I can fly.” (Philippians 4:13)

For your Journal: Okay ladies…are there areas in your life where you feel caged? Areas where you keep doing the same thing over and over again, not because you want to, but because you like to being comfortable? Do share…

16 thoughts on “The Caged Bird Who Couldn’t Sing”

  1. Learning when to let go and let God… Short story long: Growing up as a child, teenager and adult, I didn’t have a father to nurture me, nor did I ever have a positive father figure in the home. That being the case, I yearned and searched for that lost love and security in men. A painful lesson that I repeated was not listening to my intuition. After all, how could I? I didn’t know how to because I didn’t know me. I had no idea what my inner voice sounded like because I was so busy listening to the outer voices, in hopes of finding acceptance. Throughout my journey in life I asked God to show me how I was created in his image, however I couldn’t comprehend the full essence of being a spiritual person because I hadn’t learned that you cannot measure healing by physical results only. I had to learn that healing occurs on so many different levels. So I continued on the vicious roller coaster ride for many years. Nonetheless, every step leading up to this point in my life has shown me a different perspective for growth. I’ve often asked myself “Why did the same situation keep presenting itself to me over and over again?” “What is it that I am doing wrong?” I am a believer that certain coincidences are not random. They are instances of spirit arranging things for us to see, take notice and gain some insight of the situation. Apparently, if the first time you don’t learn the lesson, it will be presented to you again so that hopefully you will get it the next time. In some cases it may have to be repeated over and over again. Pain gets our attention. And I finally came to the conclusion that this frequent place of pain is not a leisure spot that I want to keep visiting. This time I listened intently to the messenger and I made a conscious decision to spend quality time alone with God, and as I sought answers, He began to reveal Himself to me. It was through a great journey of pain that I came to understand that I had wrongly trusted that human relationships would fill a void that only God Himself can fill. This lesson has taught me that the ultimate trust is knowing that Jehovah God loves me and that I am enough… Now after much prayer and daily time set aside to be alone with God, I can relate to Him as a loving Father from whom I can draw a deep sense of secure belonging. As I have matured spiritually, as well as in other areas, I now understand that the lesson that you don’t learn the first time, you will be doomed to repeat until you learn what God is trying to teach you. –When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

    1. OMG…Deb, what a great story. Thank you for sharing. Your writing style touches my heart and my soul! That is so true about the same lesson repeating itself. “Insanity” indeed! Yes, alone time with our Heavenly Father will reveal what we ourselves cannot see, or refuse to see. So many of us are afraid to sit in the silence. I always say, “great things happen in the silence.” I’m so happy that in your silence you found the love you were looking for. Stay tuned for the October date of Coffee With Cathy. You will be a great addition to our group. Much Love ~Cathy~

  2. I enjoy all the awesome comments that I read here,but I’m waiting for the next session date to be given so that I can put it on my schedule and attend. Thanks

    1. Hi Deb, Thanks for your feedback. The next Coffee With Cathy Session will be held in October. As soon as I have a definite date, I will post it. Thank you for the encouragement and the anticipation.

  3. I just recently started taking dancing lessons, and although my instructor and the other students keep telling me that I am doing good, I know that my lack of confidence and not practicing enough is stifling me from being the best that I can be. It gets frustrating, and at times I want to give up, but I know that will make me a quitter, so I keep attending my classes, knowing that in the near future when I look back, I will be able to smile with confidence knowing that I accomplished my goal and did not give up.

    1. Welcome to our discussion JT. Don’t give up. You will eventually get it. My vocal coach says, in order to master or learn something new, you have to be comfortable being bad at it first. That is a hard place to be in. I think qualities that help in the learning process are humility, patience and love. Humility to be in the place of a learner…it’s uncomfortable. Patience to know where you are today as a dancer is temporary, you will improve and love. Love yourself to know that you/we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to do our best, and modesty helps us to know when we’ve pushed ourselves as far as we can go and yet submitting to our limitations. (Micah 6:8) There is so much to learn in taking up a hobby…it truly does build character. Thanks for sharing JT.

  4. Oh yes it has. I find it difficult to form and maintain solid healthy friendships. I know a lot of people but to have healthy friendships has been a challenge. I was afraid that people may not like me or was afraid of letting the real me out for fear of judgement. As a child I was seen and not heard. But since attending “coffee with cathy” workshops I’m learning how to not be so afraid and step outside my comfort zone I am realizing I can be seen and heard. She encouraged me to try new things and that should help me. Well I’m glad to say I am. Just this week I am signing up for swim lessons that I have been putting off for awhile. Ladies it feels good to try something new.

    1. My Dear Sheila…what a jewel of a friend you are. It’s amazing how in the right environment we can discover the courage, strength and support to shine from the inside out. I’m thankful to be in your company and enjoy your sense of humor, your candor and your strength. I am so happy you have found value in our Coffee With Cathy sessions and you have found your voice. I can’t wait to hear all about your swim lessons. When I started Coffee with Cathy, I had no idea how it would turn out, I’m so privileged to be right along side you sharing in your growth. You truly are brewing a robust life! You Rock Shero!

  5. I wrote a poem once that went something like this
    There once was a butterfly caught in a cage
    The boundaries around him kept him in rage
    Free me ! Free me! The butterfly cried
    Oh shut up the owner replied
    Alone and stressed the butterfly died
    Empty and depressed the owner cried.

    Your caged bird reminded me of this butterfly, but unlike you this dream died. So my comment to all you dreamers is to dream your dream, free your butterflies and you caged birds… Sing!
    Love your thoughts, and proud of you for pursuing your dreams !

    1. Oh my Goodness Kathy….how beautiful! Thank you for sharing your poem. So short, but speaks volumes to so many. So many times we cage ourselves and we actually become the owner and the butterfly. Yes, fear is such an awful inhibitor and it’s always there. We must remember that as the owner, we have the key to set ourselves free and most often we can’t do it alone; we need a strong support system to recognized it and someone to help us navigate through boundaries that cage us. I’m thankful that we have our Heavenly Father to help us. (Proverbs 3:5,6) I love your poem…it should be published;-)

  6. I was so surprised to read that You have Fear of Anything! I see You as the most Fearless Woman I know! You’re such a Special Angel i guess I forget that you’re human lol!

    1. Thank you so much Kiki…Yes, I do come face to face with fear. However, it helps me to be keenly aware of the presence of the emotion and then make an conscious choice not to let it hold me back. (Nehemiah 2:2-6) I recently read, “Without fear there is no opportunity for faith or courage. Courage only takes place in the presence of fear.” I pray daily for faith and courage. I think it was Jeffrey Osborne who sang the song, “I’m only human” Yes, that’s me;-)

  7. OMGOODNESS Cathy! I was so excited to see this sip of coffee in my email this morning! This is my life story! I have lived my life in the comfort zone! There have been very few occasions in my life where I welcome the discomfort for growth reasons which often leave me feeling very stagnant! I have found it to be a cycle in my family. I have been raised in a family of many single mothers. This being the case, it seems that we’ve all focused on just “surviving” not living our dreams. As a child I wanted to be a model. As I got older I wanted to be a journalist and then as I got into the nursing field of work I started attending college to become a nurse. I never realized any of those dreams. I still live with that regret. Fear has been a driving force in my life 😕. Right now in my life my dream is to become a foster parent. I have a fear of not being good enough that has been consistent throughout my life. I also worry that it would put a damper on my marriage and affect my relationship with my grands but it is really what I wanna do. I used to say I would become a foster parent after my girls became adults. It’s where my heart is.

    1. My Dearest Kiki, I think you would be an awesome Foster parent. Your fear of not being good enough is something you can control, that is your internal monster that has dictated your life for quite sometime and it sounds like you’re fed up with it…Either you can sleigh that monster on your own, or I can coach you through it. Remember fear is such an inhibitor to truly loving yourself and others. (1 John 4:18) AS far as your marriage is concerned, talk to your husband and share how important it is for you to do this. You definitely need your husband’s support on this one, because he would have to share you with the foster children. However, you being a happy person within the marriage will contribute to you being good wife, which will help your marriage to not just survive, but continue to thrive. In order for that to happen…you must also transition from the mentality of just surviving to thriving. I believe in you Kiki…but most important you have to believe in you. Thank you Kiki for sharing a piece of your heart.

  8. I feel caged when it comes to losing weight. I really want to make it a main priority but I keep going back to what is comfortable. I eat pretty healthy, splurging every once and a while. But I just can’t motivate myself to go to the gym, I pay for the membership faithfully but I can’t commit to walking into that gym. I feel caged and it bothers me so knowing my family health history. How can I get out of this cage?

    1. My Dear Keeshi: My advice to you is to get a personal trainer. You inspire, encourage, and motivate so many in your life that by the time you get an opportunity to go to the gym, you don’t have the emotional energy to talk yourself into it. However, if you knew a personal trainer was expecting you at a certain time at the gym and that person would motivate and inspire you, I bet it would make it a lot easier for you to get there. Treat yourself to something good with lasting results my friend…you deserve it!

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