Divine Diva Karen

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When you were starting out in your career how did you know you were making the right choice as far as pursuing that career for yourself?

Gee, do we ever know if we are making the “right choice”? I think life is a series of paths that you just keep choosing and if you keep trusting your heart, hopefully you are lead to the path that feels the best. There is no way, when I was first starting out that I would have thought that the path I am on right now would be where I am today. Life just kept presenting choices and eventually those choices lead me to where I am toady. I know that I am happier than I have ever been, and it is all due to a million little decisions I have made over the years to keep following what my authentic path was.

Who were you biggest influences growing up? 

Carol Burnett and Carole King. I loved Carol Burnett because she gave me hope and a focus. I was a geeky kid who was basically an outsider, but had the ability to make people laugh. Her personal story was similar to mine (we both grew up in Hollywood, went to Hollywood High) and I found that when I would go every Friday to the taping of her show, I would feel there was hope for me to find a place in this world. Around the same time, Carole King moved on to my street and I became the baby-sitter for her children. When she remodeled her house, she gifted me with the life changing event of allowing me to “baby-sit” her piano for about a year. I traveled with her, I watched how she handled her life, and her music influenced me to start writing little songs of my own — and now, 30 or so years later I am making my living doing what was just a fantasy when I was a teenager.

When you faced obstacles or fear along the way how did you overcome them, and move beyond them? 

Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. I think everyone has fear, the difference is how you deal with it and how much energy and power you give it. I have a certain level of fear with everything I do – whether it is making a new CD, doing a concert, or being in an unknown situation. I just try and really get clear about what I DO want in the situation, and allow myself to acknowledge and then gently walk through those fears so that they don’t stop me. I breathe, I listen to music that inspires me, I call friends and ask for support, and I always pray for the highest good to be revealed. I think the more you are clear on what your highest good is in any situation the fear lessens because you are there for a higher purpose than all those little things that your inner critic will serve up!

What or who inspires you and why? 

Nature inspires me the most. I live in an area where I hike almost daily and am amazed at the ocean, forest, redwoods that are just so incredibly beautiful. Any kind of stress that is going on in my life can be utterly transformed by swimming in the San Francisco Bay, hiking in the forest, watching the sunset.

I write my songs when I am in this kind of environment. I am also blessed to be friends with some amazing inspirational authors. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I realize I am doing the music for a conference with authors I have been reading for years. People like Joan Borysenko, Alan Cohen, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, SARK, and Mary Manin Morrissey are sources of great inspiration and helping me believe in a bigger dream.

If you could go back in time and change anything about your life would you change anything? If so what would you change and why? 

I am a big believer that everything happens for a purpose. There are people who come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I feel those relationships are almost divinely ordained. So when I think of my worst mistakes, failures, or relationships that didn’t work, they have all lead me to who I am today. When I have been in the middle of something that is not working, it has been challenging to remember this – but for me this is a spiritual practice. I have to remember that there might be something bigger happening right around the corner that I might not know about yet. When I have faith and trust that all is well a lot of times what happened eventually turned out to be far better than what I was planning on!

What do you feel is your greatest achievement? 

It’s funny I have had large achievements in my life, ( had my own TV show at 21, was part of a relay team that swam the English Channel, received an honorary doctorate) and yet what comes up in this moment is that my biggest achievement is that I think of myself as a loving, kind and compassionate person. I have a husband that I adore, friends that I love, and feel honored to have been with both of my parents when they made their transition. I think all I ever really want to be thought of as is a kind and loving person.

What are the most important lessons you have learned along the way?

 I wrote a song years ago that said “Everything that you do all comes back to you.” I think that is what my main philosophy is. I try to make everything in my life be a mirror – how I treat people is how I will be treated, how much love I give out is how much I will receive. I also think the lesson of opening up to the idea that there is a larger picture that I might not be aware of right now has been a turning point in my life.

What do you hope others will remember most about you and your life?

 I hope that they feel I have made a difference with my music, workshops, and I have contributed something good while I was here. I hope they will feel that I heard them, saw them, and contributed to their life in some way. I really hope people will just have a good ole chuckle and remember me for my comedy and also my chants that hopefully have inspired them.

What is the best advice you would give other women who are not sure what path to choose in their life? 

I would say just do it, just start, don’t worry about doing things right or wrong. I have a chant that says –”I don’t have to be perfect, it’s ok to be wrong, I give myself permission to sing this song!”

Every time I write a song, I write pages and pages of lyrics that get thrown out, I try all sorts of ‘wrong” notes and lyrics until I find the ones that are right. How do we ever sculpt something if we are not willing to make “ mistakes”? It is the mistakes that get you to what is right: meaning, what feels right to your heart. So just go for it and try, and when you fall down, acknowledge yourself and start again. My chant “I will be gentle with myself” was written to help me treat myself with tenderness when I am doing something new. I wish we all could treat ourselves with sweetness more often.

What does success mean to you?

Success to me means feeling joyful, waking up happy with the expectation of what this day will bring, feeling soul-fulfilled, and having a happy personal life and a balance between my work life and personal life. Growing up in Hollywood, it seemed to me that life was all about having lots of “stuff”: fancy car, big house, expensive clothes. Now I see how all that “stuff” is nice but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are happy or fulfilled. Success ultimately means that I am living a joyfully happy life and giving and receiving love.

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Karen Drucker

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Karen Drucker’s generous spirit and enormous talent bring music that moves to to the center of who we are to any gathering.

— Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Author

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