I met Carisa Holmes at the Center for Spiritual Living. The first time I experienced her creative magic is when she was the guest performer.
Carisa is a beautiful woman and reminded me of someone I had met before. It took me a long time to figure out who it was. It turns out it wasn’t a person, it was Sri Lankan goddesses.
I was looking at some pictures of a trip that I had taken to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a tiny island just off the southern tip of India. It is rich in Buddhist and Hindu art and culture. It hit me, Carisa reminded me of paintings of goddesses I had seen in a cave, high up in Sigiriya Rock, an ancient palace. I sensed something spiritual and graceful about Carisa as soon as I met her.
When Carisa started to sing, she portrayed timeless beauty and grace with her hands in mudra.
Carisa has an incredibly beautiful voice, writes many of her songs and to my delight, plays the flute.
She has many other talents, as creative people do. She’s a published author, visual artist, energy healer, corporate creativity trainer, blogger, voice coach and more.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Carisa, experiencing her magical energy healing. Carisa is a surprisingly powerful woman given her gentle demeanor.
Without further ado, I give you Carisa Holmes!
What IS creativity to you?
Creativity is life at play. It is the power and the process by which all things come into being. It is our connection to the highest power and the purest form of holiness there is; the desire to bring forth something out of nothing.
You are a very gifted musician and singer, tell me how it manifested in your life. Did you study music? If so, where.
My musicality is a part inheritance, and part persistence and hard work.
My father’s side of the family is full of very gifted musicians and artists, and I began learning music by ear under my father’s guidance in the church where he was the Minister of Music.
I sang in the gospel choir and played a bit of piano, but due to my inner conflict with the religious content, I could not connect with the love of music in that place. In fact, I actually thought I hated singing!
At my mother’s insistence, I started playing the flute in 4th grade and found that I liked it. I decided to audition for Stivers Music Magnet junior high, and I was accepted.
I later auditioned for Colonel White High School for the Arts and was accepted there as well for classical flute.
Now, at that time I still thought I hated singing and had no intention of studying voice. That is, until I saw a school concert during which the vocal jazz group performed, using a mixture of slick choreography and jazz-infused vocals. You see, there was a really cute guy in the group, and I decided I would join in hopes that I could be his dance partner the next year!
Upon joining the jazz choir, I was required to start taking classical voice lessons and found that when I was singing music that I loved, I loved singing!
Opera and jazz music gave me a chance to experience how wonderful it feels to sing without spiritual dissonance, and from there I never looked back. I took voice, flute, and music theory and upon graduation, went to Wright State University to continue my classical and jazz voice studies. I was very blessed to have parents that supported me in being a music major and focusing on art.
Please tell me how you got into performing and singing spiritual messages?
I began songwriting and recording in studios when I was in high school, in a collaboration with a talented R&B songwriter/producer that also attended my school.
I continued honing my songwriting skills through college and beyond, and so, as my own healing journey lead me to explore spirituality, it was a natural progression for me to write music about it. For me, and I think many people, songwriting is a catharsis, it is art therapy.
I also feel songwriting is best when it’s honest, and when it is based on what you are feeling, or what you are receiving from your higher Creative Self, in the moment.
So, when I write a song with a “spiritual” message, it’s because that’s what I was working with that day, or that’s the message I received to pass along.
Tell me how you feel when you’re performing.
Most of the time I feel incredibly alive, and a sensation I can only describe as “perpetual goose bump cascade” happens over most of my body.
I feel a sense of a fluid energy substance coming into my form and flowing out through my hands, down to my feet, out of my face and eyes and of course, out with my voice.
If I close my eyes, I sometimes see colors, patterns or full visions, and being a very sensitive empath, I can feel some of what the listeners are feeling as they listen.
Every now and then when I’m performing, a part of me that I have yet to fully integrate comes up, and I can sense that she is terrified for me to make a sound and wants me to hide and be quiet!
It feels like every cell in my body is quivering, and my body gets so tight it’s actually hard to get a full breath.
I have some trauma in my history, and it has taken time to resolve the residual impact these events left on my being. I am patiently going about the work of integrating all the fragmented pieces of my being and envisioning all of me bathing in that goose bump cascade without fear.
Why do you think most people think they are not creative?
I think it’s because many assume being creative is the same as being artistic. They think you have to be a painter, or musician, or clever and crafty to be creative.
In actuality, creativity is the primary driving force behind innovation and enlivens the business world and scientific advancement as much as it does art galleries and amphitheaters.
Even if you never have a million dollar business idea, or make a quantum leap in science, the simple fact that you are alive means you are creative.
Your personality is your greatest work of art, your body is a living temple sculpted by your every choice and experience, and every aspect of your life is a part of a grand story that will not be finished until you are. Every child came forth as an act of creation, every meal prepared is a creation, and, every thought you think is a created thing. T
he mind is generative, and it’s up to us to focus that creative power in meaningful and intentional ways.
What have you learned about success and failure along the way?
You have to fail, fail, fail to accomplish anything. I was so terrible at singing in the beginning… it was awful!
I had to work really hard and give a lot of bad performances to get where I am.
I have launched more business offerings that never took off than I care to mention, auditioned for parts that I didn’t get, participated in musical collaborations that went bust, and wrote a lot of content that never made the cut.
Essentially, failure is how we make course corrections along our path, and failure is what happens regularly while you are learning any new skill.
Failing and getting back up and back in stride helps you get over the fear that you might fail that can paralyze you and prevent you from trying anything. If you’re not failing regularly, you’re stagnating.
Success, however, is what is needed for us to build confidence in our abilities, and to feel a sense of completion when we have been working at particular project or intention. I
t’s also a gauge for the value of an offering, or the effectiveness of a technique. It’s important to experience success, or you can end up losing your faith in yourself, and in life.
Has your art healed you in any way? (Cause it sure helps heal me!)
Art has helped heal me of a deathly fear of the power of my voice, being heard, and expressing myself openly.
Art has helped me learn how to trust myself, and trust Source.
I have absolute faith in my connection to my Creative Self, and in the clarity and potency of Creative Power. Art has allowed me to touch holiness and embody my own divinity in a way that religion never could.
Has it been difficult to make your living with your creativity?
Yes, it has. While it is changing, the current paradigm is not set up to cater to creative types.
Many times, musicians are treated as immature people who just want to hang out in the basement with guitars and friends, and painters are treated as glorified hobbyists who need to get a “real job.” Ironically, everyone seems to want music and art for their events and gatherings, but many won’t offer these artists a fair wage.
There is this pervasive idea that people are doing you a favor for giving you “exposure”, or even worse, that you should do your work for free because you love it so much. Apparently, one should only collect money for performing work that you find distasteful!
In institutions, few jobs for music and art professionals pay according to the value these practitioners bring, and there are few resources out there to train musicians and other artists the best ways to make a living as self-employed entrepreneurs. Essentially, you not only have to train and practice to be very good at your craft, you also have to figure out how to be a successful entrepreneur, to create your own opportunities, or find the elusive golden gigs that are available. Clearly, you really have to love what you do to put in such time and effort!
It is one of my goals to not only empower myself to live abundantly as an artist and muse, but to empower other aspiring artists as well, especially the youth, and to create a world that appreciates and supports the artists that bring magic into the realm of form.
Any parting words or insights you’d like to add?
Please trust that you are connected to a Creative Power more dazzling than you can imagine and that your own generative capacity is far beyond anything you’ve ever conceived.
You are portal and a vessel and my hopes are that you have the chance to quiet your overthinking, open that door, and watch in wonder as the light streams in and through you, illuminating everything you touch.
You can see more about Carisa on her Facebook page.
With deep appreciation for my creative friends,
Cool interview, enjoyed reading it!
Thanks Erica. I’m glad you liked it. It’s easy to have a great post when I interview great people!