Sunday, November 5, 2017
Music – A Glimpse into The Soul
Music, since as far back as I can remember, has always held a special place in my heart. From the instrumental without words that simply touch your soul to the lyrics of a song that seem to match the exact mood or state of mind you are in during that season of life. From the songs that got us through teenage heartbreak in our youth, to songs that got us through break ups and relationship troubles as an adult. I always knew that music had the power to influence our mood and the way we saw things but never really stopped to think about what kind of music I was feeding my soul. Looking back on my life I wonder how different the seasons of my life would have been had I simply fed my soul more uplifting music. Would my teenage years have been less painful? Would I have made different relationship choices? Would I have seen how much more I was hurting myself by staying in relationships that left me feeling empty and alone? What if you could change your life, change your thoughts, and lift yourself up simply by changing what music and lyrics we allow into our hearts? I believe that two of the most powerful things we have as humans are our heart and our mind; for what we think, we become.
When I was a teenager I remember listening to a variety of music. I preferred mostly a lot of classic rock or some of the old records that belonged to relatives that I loved to listen to. I also remember listening to things that my mother would have freaked out if she heard the lyrics like "Erotic City" by Prince. Looking back, I can't believe I listened to that at 13 and still managed to stay as "innocent" as I was until I finished high school. I think it was more the "taboo" of listening to things you knew you shouldn't that made me curious at the time. After all, Prince had some other amazing music at the time like Purple Rain, and When Doves Cry. As I got older and reached high school there were the hair bands like Bon Jovi, Poison, and Whitesnake. It seems that everything was about having a good time, love, or broken hearts. I remember couples having their song then later having a break-up song. It was like there was a song for every event of our lives and we could create a "mixed tape" to be our songs that reflected the season of life we were in. Later as an adult of course it changed from mixed taped to mixed CD's and now you just set up a playlist on your favorite music app. We create soundtracks for working out, road trips, Inspiration, motivation, and of course still for significant others. All of these play lists reflect the season of life we are in at any given moment.
Fast forward well into my adult years and when I look at the kind of music I listened to throughout seasons of my marriage it should have been a big red flag to those around me that things just weren't right at home. You see, even when we are not consciously aware of our thoughts and emotions they are reflected in the kind of music we listen to. Songs that I felt drawn to listen to were songs like; Fade to Black by Metallica, Numb and In the End by Linkin Park, Snuff by Slipknot, and then near the end of a really bad season, Bring Me to Life by Evanescence. It was like I was slipping into darkness and that last song was saying "wake up!" It was like a solar flare had been set off and I was desperately wanting to escape the darkness. It was in that season of my life that I began to realize that something needed to change. My taste in music became a mix of sadness, anger, courage, and inspiration. It was like a roller coaster of emotion. I guess you could say that period of my life was one of my dark nights of the soul. Overwhelmed emotion and feeling lost it wasn’t until a few years after my divorce that I started to find "Me" again. During that season of life my playlist included songs like; I will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield, and If Everyone Cared by Nickleback. I was fighting to hang on to get through life one day, one moment at a time. In my times of deepest sorrow one of my favorite songs I remember my grandmother singing would pop into my head, "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see…" I believe that it was in these times she was reaching out to me telling me to hang in there, it WILL get better.
This brings me to my current season of life, it has been one heck of a ride. I recently went through my computer browsing through all of the songs have purchased and saved over the years and the various playlists that I have saved. My current playlists are much more uplifting. I have started connecting with others and making new friends, begun to find my tribe of people who love and accepts me as I am. The song Superheroes by the Script, and Brother by Needtobreathe, are two songs that resonate right now. To me that are about being there for one another, helping each other through the storms of life, and rising up to be that shining light that we were meant to be in the world. I have been thinking a lot lately about what kind of things I am choosing to input into my life and how they affect what energy I am able to output as a result. As much as I love music and some of those old songs had served a purpose in my life I believe it is time to do some house cleaning and get rid of all of that music that only results in a negative output.
How many of us continue to listen to music that leaves us feeling down and out instead of music that lifts us up? The same could be said for what we watch on television as well, are you stuck watching things like reality tv because you have become addicted to the drama? What example are we setting for our children? How will we inspire them to be positive when all the messages they are seeing and hearing are negative? What will YOU do to change your thoughts? If what we think is what we become are you only listening to and watching positive messages that will lift you up? Or are you listening to and watching things that feed into all of the negativity you are trying to escape in your life?
So, what are you choosing for yourself? Ask yourself this, " How do I desire to see the world? What can I change in my life to make this a reality? Then one baby step at a time each and every day begin to change your thoughts. This is my challenge for you… For the next 11 days I am challenging you to only feed your soul with positive messages. Listen to music that lifts you up. Watch television shows that warm your heart. Read books that feed your soul. Stay away from negative social media even if that means unfollowing people so you are not affected by their negative output. Post and share only positive messages that come from a place of love. Try and write in a journal your experiences and challenges to stick with it. If it is difficult and you catch yourself returning to the habit of the negative input simply think of it as a detour and work to get yourself back on track again. Write how it makes you feel when you only have a positive input and how it makes you feel if/when you slip and have negative input. Acknowledge and honor your emotions because denial never gets us anywhere but bringing a suppressed emotion into the light is the first step towards healing. Acknowledge the season of life that at one time it got you through, then let it go for it no longer serves your highest good. Please try this for 11 days then on the 11th day look back and see where your thoughts and behaviors have shifted. If you like what has changed I urge you to consider continuing it and seeing how only allowing the positive input changes your life and the way you see the world. How do you think your life will change if you were to focus on the positive things in life? Isn't it worth trying for at least 11 days to see what shifts? You have nothing to lose and so much to gain! It is time for us to let go of the old to make way for something amazing to manifest into our lives.
Sunday, July 23, 2017
This past year has been full of emotion and I am sure that I am not the only one feeling it. It is like every time society takes 2 steps forward they are taking 3 steps back. The world is divided and we have no one to blame but ourselves. So much energy is wasted on who is right and who is wrong, who is privileged and who is not. Generation after generation we talk about following examples of great spiritual leaders before us such as Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, and many more who have been the example of responding in a non-violent way. Responding to hate and ignorance with love and compassion. One of the hardest things to do is to love someone who has caused you or someone you love harm. It is far easier to be angry and lash out when we are hurting. It is easy to fall into this trap which becomes a never-ending cycle if we refuse to wake up and see the light. We CANNOT go on living like this! This hate, this anger, judging others, it needs to stop! We are ALL human beings and should treat each other with the way we would want to be treated, how we want our children and grandchildren to be treated by others.
I love how many indigenous cultures think. When making decisions that impacts the generations to come they not only think of their children and grandchildren, they think of the next 7 generations. This is a way of life for many Native American tribes. We are not only a product of our own choices and that of our parents but of all of the generations before us. And just like the generations before us we all have the ability within us to impact and change future generations. One of my favorite quotes by Ann Frank from her diary, “It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” Such a powerful statement from such a young soul whose life was taken too soon. I can’t help but wonder how many people have been inspired by her words, the words of a young girl who witnessed so many horrible things and so much hate, yet still believed in the goodness of mankind. No one ever said life was going to be easy and always filled with joy and rainbows. Life is difficult and full of obstacles and challenges. We are who we are because of and in spite of the lessons life has brought into our lives.
Today I am asking all of you reading this to ask yourself, “What is the future I’m envisioning for future generations?” You see, our thoughts and words create our reality. If you want to continue to live feeling defeated, judged, broken, lost, or whatever other negative emotions you are feeling then simply do nothing. But I caution you, your children are watching, your peers are watching, and the cycle will continue until someone decides enough is enough. Now, if you envision a future with peace, unity, love, acceptance… Ask yourself, “What am I doing now to make this happen? How can I change what I am saying or doing to create this future?” Then don’t hesitate and start today! The one amazing thing about free will is we can choose at any given moment to change and then do it! If you hate your life and are depressed, change it. If you hate seeing so much hate in the world, start performing random acts of kindness. Say hello to a stranger, pay someone a compliment for no reason but to simply acknowledge and recognize them. If you see someone struggling with their kids in the store, think before you judge. They may be a parent or even a foster parent of a child with special needs that is over stimulated by all of the people and lights at the store. That parent may be at their breaking point and a single kind word from a stranger may be what gives them hope for tomorrow.
We have become a society that defines each other by labels and forgets to see the human attached to the label. What would the world look like if we only saw souls? If there were no labels to divide us? It was the generations before us that divided us by insisting we define our differences so we can be neatly placed into categories based on our income, religion, and by the color of our skin or if we do or don’t have a disability. Then they decided who was better based supposed statistics and research. None of us lived when all of these were decided and unless we can travel back in time we will never know if the intentions were good or bad. Maybe the original intention was simply to understand something that they couldn’t explain, what if it all started out of curiosity and somewhere down the line it was distorted and abused? We will never know. What I do know is that if it is ever going to change, it all starts with US! So many love to quote Ghandi by saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” yet they do not practice what they preach. I know that I have been guilty of this in the past as well.
So often we try so hard to make change and we get overwhelmed by the negativity that surrounds us and we give up. We get overwhelmed by the darkness that surrounds us and we lose hope that things will ever change. We watch the news and see all of the negative events happening in the world, or we see someone we care about post something so filled with hate on Facebook that we can’t comprehend how this good friend or family member can be so filled with hate for another human being. In the past, I spent a lot of time helping others and always did my best to play my part in making the world just a little bit brighter any chance I got. But that all changed about a year ago when I saw family turn against family, and long-time friends say hateful things to each other. There was people I looked up to and admired suddenly posting things that were so filled with hate all the while they were preaching love and tolerance that I lost faith in humanity and shut down emotionally. I would occasionally share my gift of healing with individuals who crossed my path to pull them out of the darkness and into the light, but not like I used to. I began to hide my gifts and who I am and threw myself into everything else in an attempt to escape the crisis that I see the world in. Every day there are more and more suicides and not just our children but famous actors and musicians. If they feel that lost with all of that money to access the resources they need to get better, what will it take to change?!
I heard a song for the first time yesterday, Katy Perry - Rise (Official) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdw1uKiTI5c and after reading another hate filled post I decided enough is enough. It is time for all of us to Rise Up. I know it can be difficult some days but we have to keep fighting and Rise Up. Hopefully others will as well and we can start bringing real change to the world. Some refer to times of intense darkness as the “Dark Night Of The Soul” because at times it may seem so dark that you can’t bear it anymore. It is in this time where some of the brightest lights are born. If this entire amazing universe we live in can be born out of complete darkness, imagine what we could all create if we just hang in there a little bit longer, let that caterpillar in the cocoon become an amazing butterfly! Now imagine if we could be the catalyst that sparks that fire in others to wake up and turn all of their tests in life to an amazing Testimony! Just imagine what we could all do! So, in this dark night of the soul I am asking you to begin to rise so we can create that amazing future we have always dreamed of a reality! Keep fighting for all of those we have lost to early. Do it from your heart and do it from a place of love. Maybe that is why love always saves the day in fairytales… With love, anything is possible.
Sometimes we have to let go of the people, ideas, or things that hold us down in order to Rise Up and shine like the light we were meant to be because seeing us rise will help others see that they can too. We are not all meant to be on the same path at the same time and when someone is ready extend your hand with love and lift them up. If we can do that, just imagine what the future will become!