Singing my mood out

Singing has been shown to alleviate depression and stress.

The song “Take Me To Church” by Hozier creeped up on me. At first I didn’t like it, mainly because it sounded like gospel or something. After a while I decided to trust my radio station 89X. Alternative music. There’s a reason for the song to be streaming on it, so I listened to it more than once. Really listened to the lyrics and the tiny cracks in my heart that had begun to spread deepened and widened. Plus I changed my medication, haha me.

When I listened to this song I would start crying. It reminded me of people that I know, knew or people in certain situations in general. It became a barometer for my mood and a cathartic exercise.

On my way home from work is when I usually have these emotional potholes. Once, I thought, “okay, what if I sing the song instead of just listening to it? Maybe I would stop crying.”

Wow, that was naive! The emotional flow broke out of the bottleneck and hit me full force. I had to pull into a parking lot. 

Since then I’ve been singing a lot more, it de-stresses me. And that particular song hasn’t made me as emotional. Now I can just appreciate it.

What I notice about singing is there’s no thought requirement. Even humming or whistling is good for the soul, if you feel uncomfortable with letting your voice belt out some lyrics. Not to self: with the onset of warm weather and open windows I will have to turn my volume down *sadface*. 

So if there is no thought during singing unless it’s remembering the words to a song, can one interrupt panicked thought processes or down spiral feeling? It’s worked so far for me. Even if I end up crying, I at least have let out the emotion and by the time I get home from work I’m doing far better than when I left work. It also helps I have about 45 minutes to spend on my own harmonic highway.

Interesting articles: 

http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/16/singing-changes-your-brain/

http://singfit.com/clinical-research-on-the-benefits-of-singing/

The Beauty of Grey

If winter is black and summer is white; then autumn and spring are grey.

Spring brings robins and tulips and the awakening of our senses. 

The rain ignites the green scents and uncovers colors otherwise buried in snow or nasty slush. Flowers and perennial herbs pop out of the thawed ground. Birds come back or become more active, chirping and tweeting, singing their serenades. Animals and people become more frisky. 

I love how the season has turned from cold, numb, blandness to vibrant, spontaneous energy. 

Another opportunity to experience the variety of nature. To take what moments are offered in our busy lives to enjoy the symphony of senses we are blessed with.

Changing seasons remind me of how our lives change. Of how we cannot always control the fact they do. But we can see the signs, the little things that let us know change is coming our way. And we can do our best to step back and see the beauty in the transition, to recognize and accept what is happening. 

I cannot speak for everyone, of course, but it certainly is hard to allow change to have its way. We get stuck in a happy summer or content cozy winter and then, oh noes, when did things begin to change? 

Poem: Lavender; dedicated to all my Mothers

Lavender: the color of dreams swimming
in the unifying bowl from
which we all draw.

Lavender, she said, harvest at partial bloom
for when it dries it will open
to its most fragrant.

Lavender were the wands my mother taught
me to bunch together and weave
a ribbon through its stems.

 

About this poem:  inspired and dedicated to Kathleen Hubert, Patricia DeSandro, and the Source; the mothers that have assisted me in making me who I am.

Respectively, my birth mother who put up with my mood swings and crazy stories. Who taught me that I am the only one that can make me happy, how to weed, enjoy gardens and accept gifts from the earth.

My spiritual mother who tested me and put up with me testing her  in return. She gave me advice such asking “why not?” about everything, so I have a tool to battle my own judgement and ignorance regarding religion and values. She guided me past the restrictions of mundane reality to fully view the universe in all it’s splendor.

The All Mother, the Source: all things are ultimately inspired by Her.

 

Sunset

When I was young, sunset was my least favorite time of day. I wasn’t done: playing on the playground, climbing a tree, lip-sinking plus dance moves to the most current pop song (yes, I did that only a couple times), reading a book, writing a poem or story, enjoying someone’s company. I didn’t want to go home, didn’t want to be tired and sleepy. The sun disappearing was very depressing to me. I was a summer girl who loved to swim. My parents even called me the family porpoise. I know, why not a dolphin! Porpoise sounds so clumsy and….wait….I guess that did fit *sigh*. I couldn’t stand looking at sunsets; I didn’t even want to be outside. Just to clear things up, night-time was a whole other story. Night-time meant more shenanigans! But sunset, no thank you.

Just after Lily was born I became fascinated by the evening years of life. I’m pretty sure the interest was born from the fact that I was discovering the Mother aspect of the Goddess in an intimate way. I was freaking out on the inside like most new moms plus I had created a couple emotional cyclones before I found out that I was pregnant, so, I was really stressed.

“What’s next?” is my go-to coping mechanism to try and diffuse the intensity or stress of most situations. “How odd!”, you say. A lot of people bring up the past when life was “good” and “stress-free”. Early in life, I recognized that “it’s love’s illusions that I recall”. That isn’t bad, but to expect it to be the same is unrealistic.

So, this is why I look to the unknown of the future, imagining what it will be like to be old-old. What can I do now to make sure that I’m happy? That I’m still in love with my husband? That Lily grows up to be a well-adjusted non-conformist? *wink* Also all the practical stuff but I had to work with my husband on that and he is stubborn to change, I mean, I love you honey! I am solely responsible for how I deal with my own emotions. Granted you share your burdens with your partner but they are not responsible for changing them for you.

I’m a very cerebral person. “Intent is Everything” I planned an emotional road. I made adjustments or totally sledgehammered my ideals. It just wasn’t worth risking the happiness of my future because I was unwilling to change and being wrecked by hormones and life growing in my womb helped a lot with that process. I am still the same girl just all grown up! In retrospect I call it an emotional road but at the time I just changed my course of thinking to something more productive.

Being a writer, observer of the human condition and filled with a desire to learn, I discovered some ways older folks cope. I even considered going into gerontology, fascinated as I was. But then realized that I needed an emotional road planned and needed to focus on this squalling pink thing that stank but also had the cutest smile that lit up my world like a disco-ball and compelled me to dance, sing, and make funny noises. I still remember how she loved laying on the bed as I flew the sheet up in the air to float down on her. Her eyes bright, arms and legs kicking around, sharp and undulating giggles! *shakes head* aaaargh, must stop reminiscing! Focus on blogging…

I’ve even written a story about an old guy who is coping with the loss of his beloved wife and have a draft of another where a daughter takes care of her father in his old age losing his memory.

I view life through a pagan perspective and follow the philosophy that there are at least three aspects of the Goddess and God all corresponding to different parts of life. Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone. God: Youth, Father, Sage. Also these aspects reside within us. I was a Maiden at one time and still am in many ways. Now I am a Mother. I will be a Crone in the future in which I will still retain traits of the Maiden and Mother stages of my life. I do not claim to know what it is like to be a Crone, only through observation and meditation and ponderings have I even attained a glimpse.

Being a Maiden or Youth is about building the foundation of your life. They hold the potential of life. Figuring out what you want out of your journey. Even figuring out how to figure stuff out, that’s a skill that will always be useful, always! This is when play is work and work feels like play. When you till your land, plant seeds and are amazed when green pushes through the soil reaching for the sun and catching the rain.

Being a Mother or Father is about maintaining and growing. The growth of life. This isn’t just for people who have children. There will be a time when you realize that you’re responsible for everything in your life. Your crops will die if you do not watch out for them. When the soil is bone dry, you find a way to water them. When part of the crop is failing, you decide what you will do with it. Be grateful for whatever help is provided to you but there is no shirking the duty of being a Mother or Father. Okay, I just realized there is a soapbox that was camouflaging as carpet under my feet, sorry about that.

I think Careers are bit more like a field of crop that you have to maintain as they grow but you have to deal with other people. And Children are little stubborn people that no matter what they say need you to hold their hand until you’ve observed they can do it on their own. They must be cultivated so that they can function in society and have the tools they need to accomplish what they want out of life.

Being a Crone or Sage: like I wrote before, I am not a Crone. I’m sure I’ve been a Crone in previous incarnations but I am not going to assume I know what it is like to be a Crone in this day and age. From observations and talking with Crones, I’ve found that being a Crone is about reaping the rewards of life. Crones get to watch the rest of us make mistakes and cackle with their friends who are other Crones. They’ve made these mistakes, too, so they can laugh about it. Also we, young ones, can take the opportunity to hear the Crone’s wisdom. Doesn’t mean we take it or even understand but you better be grateful! Most experiences can only be truly understood through the experience. Regardless, it must feel better to know that someone else came through a similar/same experience just fine.

When I found out I was pregnant, who did I call? No, not ghostbusters. I called the Crone. My mom and my spiritual mom/mentor. I felt safe talking to them because they had been where I was and had come out of the entire thing just fine.
The point is, Crones and Sages know lots! So Listen and Be Grateful!

Wrapping up: when I see sunsets, I watch and marvel at their beauty. I sit outside with my love and enjoy the colorful sky. As long as I am happy, I feel some sort of fulfillment at the end of the day I welcome the coming of night. (When I still participate in shenanigans!)

All or Nothing

All or Nothing thinking: “You either do this perfectly, or you don’t even bother.”

My husband and I have taken to enjoying sitting outside after dusk with a nightcap and him a cigar, chatting about things. It started Monday when we wanted to be under the night sky to discuss old and new ways of calculating the moons and pagan holidays and how investigating these concepts may deepen our understanding and attunement of these energies. The sky was overcast, we lamented not having a visual to accompany our discussion but we knew what was up there. Communing through verbal discourse we enjoyed the night and each other’s company.

Last night we ventured out to do the same thing. I took my Kindle with me and he played on his newly acquired iPhone, we continued our conversation from the other night. At some point he asked, “Why haven’t we done this before?” I replied, “Because it was never suggested.” He nodded; appreciating the simplicity of my answer (I’m sure). So as not to disappoint him in knowing my true verbose character, I expounded on my explanation.

Our family has a tendency toward an “All or Nothing” attitude. If we couldn’t have a clear night sky, sitting in the backyard of our dream house in the country than how could we possibly enjoy sitting outside our townhouse in the city? Overcast, light pollution, traffic sounds, and strangers walking or driving past us with loud music booming from their stereos or headphones. For us, if we couldn’t have our dream why would we settle for anything less. Don and I have it so ingrained in our personalities, I think, we don’t even notice its crippling effect on our life sometimes.

This observation is just one of the many treasures I’ve acquired over the past year. I had a bout of depression last year that kicked my ass. Whenever something tears me apart like that I take a hard look at myself, my desires, my relationships. Am I doing the best for me? for my family? how can I make my life and my relationships better? How can I be successful?

I started by stripping away everything I could that caused me stress. And getting medical help as well. Really didn’t want the meds route but my coping skills had deteriorated to the point of no return. But after a brief zombie transition period in which I was thankfully wiped of emotional torture but lacking personality, I’m back and motivated to do things at a slower more incremental pace.

I believe one of the things that drove me over the edge was the pressure I was putting on myself. The “All or Nothing” attitude had struck me down. I wanted to succeed at too many things in a certain way, in certain amount of time and I got whacked with reality. Failure…

My writing was a big one. I had stopped writing on my blog, as you can tell from the big couple year break. I could not handle the fact that I wasn’t meeting my own expectations or those I “perceived” from other people, so I dropped it completely. The blog anyway. I can’t stop writing totally. I write for me, my entertainment, and to help sort out my understanding of the human condition. Of course, I had to rediscover this. I had a crisis where I thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t bother because it wasn’t going the way I thought it “should” be.

Mirror of Inner WisdomIn retrospect, I feel like I was someone else, someone paralyzed by the ideal of perfection and expectation. It was an experience I hope never to forget so that I don’t relive it.

Now, I’m going to enjoy the night sky no matter where I am. I know what’s up there or at least enough to understand I should keep going on my path the way my inner wisdom tells me is true. I and my family have plans that will become fruitful in time, one loving, balanced, practical step at a time. We need to enjoy these moments with each other regardless of how imperfect they are. Truly, imperfection is generally more memorable than perfection anyway, and more entertaining.

 

Tattoo

Just like every other person I’ve met who has broken skin and planted color, I’ve craved to get back into the chair. I’ve resisted the urge plenty over the years. Most of the time it is a money issue so I don’t even venture an estimate.
After many years, I still want to  get inked with this:

It will cross my mind and then I consider placement. On my arm with a Sakura tree in blossom, branches reaching over the top of my shoulder into my collar. Then which side, I wonder? I have problems with my right shoulder. I fear one day needing surgery or something. I’ve always felt a kinship with the energy/concept of dryads. Share their life-force with a particular tree. They sustain each other in a symbiotic relationship. I didn’t find a particular dryad in mythology that connects to a Sakura tree. 

 

 

 

Until I grew attached to the Sakura tree for it’s beauty and representation of the transience of life, I was very much considering the oak tree. For many reasons it would be perfect, but for some reasons it would not be wholly me. I love the Laurel tree but the blossoms are white and I’m not so sure that it will work for me. The Laurel is associated with inspiration and being a creative person I feel that it would behoove me to be further linked with that.

I’ll figure it out eventually I suppose. Talk a bit with a tattoo artist. We’ll see.

The Last Day

It is the last day of my daughter’s kindergarten year and I am more emotional than she is. I figure it must be a mile-stone for both of us. The journey into the world for her and a journey for me of letting her go a little bit more. I imagine that this is the only time I will ever see her running to my car with her arms spread open yelling, “It’s the last day!”
She grew at least two inches since it started. I’ve noticed she will be able to wear her clothes for a while unless they become too short or I run out stain-fighter one day or it doesn’t work.
She is reading now. She didn’t seem very interested in it before school. Now I am grateful because she is reading her Dr. Seuss books all by herself! Her daddy and I are book people so we are excited she so interested. She’ll be doing the Lucas-County Library’s Summer Reading Program and YMCA’s Splash Program to learn safety in the water. Looking forward to having her home more. And then as August approaches….I’ll be looking forward to school starting, lol.

Paving a road to better health

Yup, it has been a while. Hope all is well with you, Reader. Lately, I’ve been focused on other things, trying to get habits formed. I joined a gym. I am spending money on going somewhere else to work out. At home there is an exercise bike and I made my hubbie go out a purchase WII Fit a long time ago. Sure it offers the opportunity but I’ve figured out that the opportunity is at home, where it seems there are so many other things that are more important to do! Like reorganize Lily’s toys or a wall that needs to be wiped down. Riiiight.

I figured out that I need someplace else to go to workout, to focus on my body. I need to make an effort to make an appointment with someone else (personal trainer, my mom, workout buddy, etc.) to get there and do it. Once there, what else am I going to do but workout? And if there is someone to talk to, well, I’ve trained myself to talk and work as an employee; why not do that at the gym!

What I needed to make sure I exercise:
1. Someplace else other than home.
2. Make an appointment with someone or just myself.
3. Make an effort to immerse myself in the culture of exercise.

This last may seem odd to you and maybe there is a better way of saying it. But I find it’s easy for me to think of it as a “culture”. I guess it’s an academic way of looking at it because a gym, in its way, is a community like anywhere else. They even have a nutrition bar at this place. Where you can drink your food!
The whole exercise concept of caring for your body, listening to it, treating right is a culture. And I want in!

I found out some interesting things on my journey to a healthier me. Did you know that a person can have an allergic reaction to exercise? Yeah, if a person consumes something that gives them a mild reaction, one that may not be noticeable any other given day and then tries to do the healthy thing and work it out; the act of working out causes the reaction to become more severe! Possibly even anaphylactic shock!

I looked this up because I noticed my skin itching after working out. I thought it had something to do with sweating. Like my pores were kicking up a fuss after prolonged abandonment. Of course, it has stopped doing that. So it probably was my laundry detergent, stubborn dye or something in the fabric of my workout clothes, who knows. But I’m fine, I don’t see foaming at the mouth while trying to stair-step in my future thankfully : )

Prose: A Heels Man

His battered Timberland steel-toes lain
on the carpet by his plaster spattered
jeans rolled up his stubble laden
calves, past his knees, so he could see
the pointed black three-inch heels
full on in the mirror.

Co-workers, grown women
skitter past the aisle
with their hands to their mouth
in awkward mirth
as the short lean man;
nervous, shaky voice:
states he’s won contests
that require participants to
stand for hours in high heels.

************************************************
This was an experience I had while living in a smaller town. I’ve conversed with customers having similar interests working in Toledo and found they were regulars and there was no awkwardness with other co-workers concerning their preferred shoe selection. Nothing against smaller towns. There are pros and cons. I remember being embarrassed, at this moment, because my co-workers (very nice people) were being unprofessional. I grew up in Toledo, OH, granted not a city like Chicago or New York City, but residents acquire a certain amount of anonymity as well as “live and let live” acceptance. There is a wide variety of people in Toledo that are active and “open” with their preferred lifestyle.
I always cherish conversations with people. They like to tell their stories and I listen attentively. As a writer/poet I stash them away for future pillaging. I guess you could say that we barter. I’m listening with compassion and sympathy; they receive my ears for a time and I receive potential writing material.