I am changing. This is me embracing joy. Saying YES.
It would feel natural to say that I'm "improving," but really what's happening is that I am stripping away layers of nonsense. Incinerating parts of me that were never true. Unlearning things that I took on to get by when things were different.
I am ... more me.
I wrote a novel once. And I didn't feel super-driven to write another, at least not right away. What I've been doing, is working on me. I've spent a year, four seasons, diving into my fears and phobias. Traveling. Observing. Feeling. Writing. Healing. I've discovered in this year of me, that I am a singer/songwriter. This is such a huge part of who I am, and it vanished... once I entered academia and prepared for "a real job." A common tale for creatives.
Side-note: higher ed can be great and I have no regrets. It got me to now, which is great. But it's not everything. If you feel a calling, answer it. Honor it. Hone it. You may wake up one day and wonder why you spent all that time and money for paper and memorized jargon. This is common. On the flip-side, pursuing higher education is a saving grace for some people, it's the perfect recipe to provide growth, independence, freedom, and validation of Self. Follow YOUR path.
I have a new new trunk full of originals, they pour out of me now. I'm addicted to it again. But there was that lingering monster... stage fright.
I am baby-stepping it. I sang an original for my mother, to the delight of positive feedback. But that's my MOTHER. Then, I had a coaching appointment this morning and I schlepped my guitar across the parking lot, feeling quite strange the whole way. And I played/sang my newest for her: it's an ode to the dreamers who are also parents, and it's got 💯 of my heart and soul in it. My coach nearly wept as I finished it, and something happened inside... listen... it's not about me and my nerves. Although my fingers quivered and my feet shook uncontrollably and my voice cracked a few times and I felt my neck starting to gather sweat... my heart also cracked wide open. Wow. What magic was this? Yes magic.
It's about sharing what I've been given.
Indeed. It's about purpose. Again, the world seems newer. Brighter. Beautiful.
Hoping to start recording these little nuggets of deep feels and stories and moments for you. A two week travel/writing adventure starts on Thursday and I should be close to a finished first draft of Wild Horses and Mistakes. I'm so freakin' excited about this. Like, feet-shaking-knee-knocking-excited.
That must be good...
More soon... xoxo
With so much love,
Magical, mystical, music.
"I knew when I was 13 what I wanted to do - I wanted to be a musician." - John Mayer
And so he has been.
I took the night off from overthinking, writing, practicing, Mom'ing, planning, exercising, pain-treating, and everything else...and I let music have its way with me tonight. Not sorry. It was good for me. Even the Belgian White felt medicinal.
It was a blessing, a homecoming...the BFF and I went to Jones Beach to see JM many moons ago, and I say homecoming, because, well listen to this coolness:
Way back when, in another lifetime, we went to this place, under the stars, to see the Counting Crows, Maroon 5, and this John Mayer guy. I was there for Adam Levine, nothing else. Or so I thought. That first time I saw him, John Mayer, I was surprised. I hadn't been a fan of the "run through the halls of my school" stuff. Your body is a what? Ew. I appreciate it now, and know every word, but back then? College days? Competing with DMB, Alicia, J-Lo, Janet, Gwen, Staind, Usher, Maroon 5, and ay dios mio, Enrique.... well, maybe I liked one song on the album: My Stupid Mouth. Yeah, I got that. It resonated. I had no filter. And Neon...great picking, wow. I thought we could hang, maybe, but the music? Eh. Coffeehouse. Chin pubes. College kids, fake IDs. Whatevs. (That was THEN John, I adore you now.)
Anyway, that night, back then, that first night I saw him live, he wasn't a frat kid at a coffeehouse. He brought out an electric guitar. The lights went down, the spot followed him to center-stage, and he started channeling Jimi Hendrix. This was way before the Trio. He just stood there and left it all the floor. He bled. Something magical happened. I felt it. And it spilled out of him, onto the floor, through the fog, across the crowd and seeped into me. I was hooked. This...this wailing, this pain-filled melancholic magic, this kind of connecting...moved me. So much more than the acoustic rhythmic strumming. I remember then, after seeing him, coming right back home, the way I did tonight, and I gushed into my MySpace blog for a good hour about that solo and how it "took me to outer space."
2003. August 25, 2003. Two days shy of 14 years ago. How much has gone down, how much we've seen and witnessed, since those simple days. How much Life has crept by?
And now. What magic is this, in these tones, these lyrics, these sounds, this... emoting... connecting... that brings it all right back. To then. What a gift that is, to create time-travel. To create doorways in the mind to such bliss, such simplicity, such joy. Remembering.
And to create more, here and now. Oh...art.
It's a magic I can't explain. If I was in the blissed-out state the guy a few seats down from me was in, I'd say... it's some epic, mind-blowing, cosmic shit. Yeah, man. Something like that. All those things.
Music. What is it about music that can do this for us?
And it's not all music I connect to in this way, it's what I call the authentic stuff. Connected stuff. It has to feel a bit organic, to me. And that's what it is, right there. It's real. Songwriting... taking in the world, the highs the lows, the waves of bliss and sorrow, the try-it-agains, and the fucked-it-ups, the climbing so high and the crashing so low. The movement, the pain, the memory, the fear, the longing. Imagining. Obsessing. Dreaming. The emotion. And it's this, this capture of raw, of real, of...Life. This is what connects us all. Art. To have an emotional experience, to share it, and to have us feel it, too. Connection. Heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul. This is what the artist, the creator, does.
And it's true for any art. They just take us there. Where we want and need to go. To enter into their world, to be there, to feel, to release, to let go, to heal. To hope, to dream, to imagine, to smile. To pause, to breathe. To appreciate. To wonder. To celebrate.
Musicians, while fulfilling their own need for release and connecting with us... also hold space. They hold for a us a sacred space in time to connect in a world full of distraction. Harmony in a world of disharmony. They give us moments, really, precious moments of unified and focused energy: a whole crowd feeling the same things at the same time. Which is why sensitive folks, well...me, at least... love these events so much. They light us up: we breathe in joy, awe, bliss, melancholy. But together, as a whole, a living organism, an expanding and contracting universe of meaning and and communication, all its own.
I feel blessed to have to gone. Thanks John Mayer. 14 years. Only getting better. We've got creases and lines and joint issues and other things, gen-xers, but, deep down, we're all still 'those kids.' And you took us there. Again. And I am moved. Again.
This is...yes...serious ass-kissing, but also an homage to music; being the glue that binds us. And how lucky you are, how lucky anyone can be: to be up there, living it, and have such influence. What a gift. What a dream, what an inspiration.
Thanks for a great night out.
PS...John Mayer totally admitted to being a guy who likes a good cry. Relevant because I just blogged about that in Big Boys Don't Cry...
Hello friends. It's been a doozy of a week or two. Let's just say that some recent revelations, crumbling of illusions...still... have led me to explore some old things. The past.
Everywhere we turn we read something that tells us that the past is in the past. "Let it go...let it go..." But I really do think that in order to have a clear picture of where we're going, that we must look at and know where we've been. And not to forget...but to remember.
I finally went through an old box that's been lurking around. Songs. Lyrics, chords, notes, poems...from the nineties. A lifetime ago, and yet...reading through these things, these snippets, these snapshots in time reminding me who I was, what I was feeling, what I wanted...was like reuniting with an old friend. I laughed, I cried a little, I sighed, I smiled. Music. I lived and breathed words and music. I came across notebooks that should've been filled with notes that pertained to the courses I was taking...but instead? Songs. Words, words, feelings, more words.
This in particular stuck out:
"June 10, 2000:
Too often our surroundings can suffocate us. We can become overwhelmed and feel backed into a corner. Our senses get muddled and at times it seems we're screaming with urgent intensity and yet no one is listening. Sometimes all we need is to wake up, in every way a person can awaken, and look at the world with a different perspective. Every day can be a new beginning. I know that now.
Looking back, browsing through the experiences I've had living in the microcosm I call 'my world,' it took a while to get here. Just like any other, my life was filled with ups and downs, high hopes and disappointments, triumphs and failures. What I've realized, is that every experience, every person we meet and every situation we encounter, help us to grow.
Bad things happen, but we can learn from them. The good things we can keep with us in our memories, in our hearts; they can remain there to keep us warm. In order to appreciate the positive, we must endure the negative."
I'm not sure what prompted these words...the perspective...although I'm sure if I ask around I'll find out something. Reading them took my breath away. I thought such a perspective, those words, were new and shiny for me. But they weren't. I always say that we are writing...our whole lives. And literally, right here, in my own handwriting...I see the impetus for the writing that became the novel I wrote and the quotes and inspirational words that I share. The vision, the seed, was planted so many years ago. Hidden, growing, in silence. With me...completely unaware of them. And maybe it's more than that.
Big picture...I feel as though I've just rekindled a relationship with my soul. With the child inside. And it's...awe inspiring. Inexplicable. It's...connection, in the best possible way.
What happens to us?
So many of us, as children, and into adolescence...have such vivid dreams. I was knee deep in these old songs I wrote, and they were just dripping with passion. Longing. Ideas of love. Mystery and magic. Heartbreak, emptiness, loneliness, feeling lost. And at the same time, envisioning a bright future, healing the world, breaking down stereotypes. So idealistic, so full of hope. All I wanted to do was write music, sing, and inspire people. Connect with people, connect people to each other. Let them know that if only for 3 and a half minutes...that I felt it too...that they weren't alone.
So, once again, looking back...I see that somewhere, some time...I decided that my dreams weren't enough. They wouldn't cut it. I got "real." A passion became a hobby which became a once in a while thing...which eventually faded into obscurity. Somewhere along the line, I let the external control my wishes. I stopped believing, in all of it. Until the desire to write finally rose back up. And I am still beyond grateful for that day...March 28, 2015. Renaissance began. The ME inside, woke up.
A lot of this awakening that we read about...this waking up, evolving, remembering "who we are..." doesn't always have to mean something profound and epic. Sometimes, I think that a spiritual awakening is an obstacle course, bursting with opportunities for insight and life lessons...learning compassion and imperfection... showing us a whole new perspective and vision of our lives and what they could be... to lead us right back to where we started...ourselves. Indeed, it starts within. Just think of all the systems that exist...within us. Each of us. From neutrinos to bacteria to organs to our bodies and minds and souls...there are indeed universes within each of us. And yes, we are in relationship with ourselves. From our cells to our speech. And then, to make it more fun and exciting, we are also in constant relationship with everything and everyone else. Perhaps that's why we see "Self-love" everywhere. There's so much to balance and work on within each one of us, and each thought and word and action...has impact.
Wow...so what does that mean? I don't know. I think it means that we owe it to the greater good of our species and planet, at least, to understand and know ourselves enough to be responsible participants in the journey of life.
We're all the same, at the core of things...and yet there is only one ME. There is only one YOU. Remembering who I am has more to do with the little girl who lost her way, years ago, then with ascending to mysterious dimensions of spirituality and bending space-time. And that's another topic, entirely.
It's fascinating to see how I've come full circle. Let's find ourselves, the ones who've been hidden, waiting, with so much to say, having been silenced for so long, before the influence and hardships of life got inside...and changed us. Let's find our Selves...from this life. Right here, right now. And let's get our hands dirty with learning and experiencing, with "ups and downs, high hopes and disappointments, triumphs and failures." Let's live...while we're here. Right? Isn't that the point? And to somehow find the balance in all of it, and find joy knowing that we are awake, alive, and participating in the writing of our own stories.
Whatever this Life is...it's happening. And to make the most of it, is to know...who we are. What we want. What fills us with passion. And maybe some things ought to stay in the past. Some things need another look, and they're let go. And maybe some things need to be reintegrated and given the attention that they deserve. And something else that fascinates me...one glance at these old words, from...1997, most seem to be...and the melody instantly came back. I sang them in my head as I read. How powerful is that? Not a thought in nearly 20 years, and then...wow. Instant recognition and recall. So, what does all this mean? I'm not quite sure...but I will say that I've started writing music again.
Hello, heart. I see you. Let's talk. I'm listening. <3