XOXO Sad Love Songs

How can I be sitting somewhere and listen to a theme song from a movie and just feel the sadness oozing out of it? Is it because I have seen the movie? Is it because I attach the situation immediately to the movie, or is it merely the way a composer has arranged those notes that create a sad song, just like a happy song or a marching song?

There are too many to mention, but here are a few: the Shindler’s Theme Song from Shindler’s List, We Had One Day from One Day (sad movie), Karen’s Theme I & II from Out of Africa, My Heart will Go On from Titanic (Okay, this one actually  causes more a nauseous feeling than a sad one!), and the infamous and long-standing  theme song A Time for Us from Romeo and Juliette.

The music tells the story best. As the notes swoon across the page, the instruments play (usually piano and stringed instruments), and it causes our hearts to feel the sadness. I think it’s such a curious thing. Why? What is happening in my experience and in my mind that is creating in that moment sadness, which in all reality, is not even my sadness?

And why does my heart cling to sadness in my own life? With my own sad love song? Why do I sit in sadness from a loss of love? Let it wash over me continually like a sad love song?

Do I or other’s sit in the experience of loss because we are sad about no longer having the experience with said person or thing, or because we do not believe we will ever experience the good feeling emotion again?

This is a good stopping point for a disclaimer, a worthy note of the type of loss: A loss of a loved one through death (or divorce), be it your beautiful and loyal pet, a sibling or spouse or good friend, is another whole category of loss. I do not, in any way, want to diminish this type of loss.  Those are gut wrenching and take long moments of healing.

Is it the investment I made toward something of great value that has caused my heart to feel sad?

Would I feel the same toward a purchase of failed stock or property? I don’t think so. It might be more toward the emotions of regret, anger or guilt.

Emotions of the heart are so palpable, so tangible in a very intangible place within our psyche. And is the depth of the sadness equal to the time spent in a relationship, in the investment I made? Not necessarily.

I believe it has more to do with the authentic connection. It has happened-something akin to the lock and key analogy. In only a very few instances has it taken moments to make my heart open and feel this loving connection, where the gate was priorly locked.

I remember as a teenager, around 15 years old, meeting a boy older than me while camping in Colorado. It was at the height of James Taylor’s career with Sweet Baby James, and Carol King’s song, You’ve Got a Friend. This boy reminded me of James Taylor (which, as you may have surmised, I had a big celebrity crush on), and he had a guitar and sang James Taylor songs to me around the campfire!

We became pen pals for a while. I imagined we would meet again and be boyfriend and girlfriend. When he stopped writing, I was so sad-for so long. But this is a juvenile, idealized version of sadness. It has no real basis except that he sounded and looked a bit like my celebrity crush.

Now, as a full-grown, adult woman, how much of my perspective of loss to a romantic situation is attached to the idea and how much to the actual person?

We tend to idealize people who we have loved, especially if the person has passed away. It’s as if, all the unhealthy aspects of the relationship have melted away. I’ve seen my aunts and mother do this. The person is a saint! Who cares if the same person was emotionally unhealthy and brought damage to others while in human form?

Do we idealize our losses because we feel, and yes, sometimes know we will not recapture or have the experience of this person in our life again?

Which part of our Achy Breaky Heart is a true representation of the experience, the person? And what part is really a piece of ourselves, of our own psyche working out our inner truth which has nothing to do with an outside dynamic in the form of a relationship?

How do we give ourselves compassion to move on from our loss and sadness? How do learn where I really stand in the truth of the relationship. Was it the person or an idealized version of the person? My idea of romance and relationship?

In other words, what part of my loss toward the real, flesh and blood, beating heart and  soul person I shared time with, is a real loss for him or her? And what portion of this experience with this person is a mirror toward me? Toward my journey to be real and loving with who I am in this time?

That’s a tricky question. I can’t take the love, the loss, the person’s characteristics that I love and dump in a centrifuge, separating out the real and the ideal.

Just like I cannot separate the person, the time, and the loss into definable chunks and release. It may take moments, months or years. I believe honoring the person, the experience and the love is the only way, I can make peace with the sadness and with the loss.

And very important, I have to honor me. I have to love me as much and more as I loved that person and the experience I had with him or her. Because when all is said and done- who we invite into our lives is some aspect of who we are and what journey we are on in this world.

I’m going now, to listen to Dumbledore’s Farewell from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!  So sad!

 

 

Posted in Relationships and Love | 2 Comments

 .  Happiness and Joy

Happiness is dependent on circumstances be it a place or person or thing.  

Joy is something you carry within you. It is deep and light. It is personal and it is published. It is still and it is movement.

We can have momentary joy that we lay up as treasure. We can have joy that continues even we are no longer here (parents and grandparents listen in!). Sometimes our joy is a memory, an honor of someone we loved who has passed on.

Joy does not go out unreturned.

Unlike happiness which is fleeting and based on something in time or beyond ourselves, joy remains.

I’m not knocking happiness though. Happiness is a celebration of humanity- a wedding, acceptance into a college of your choice, birth of a baby or winning the competition of an athletic event.  

Happiness is needed. I love the song sung by John Legend- Happiness. I jump up and down in my apartment and a grin spreads wide across my face! It truly makes me happy. And just for the record, we all need more songs that lift us up! No sad love songs  Adele!

Joy is the cake and happiness are the sprinkles in our life. Let’s hold onto both and Celebrate!!

And a special shout out to a couple who know happiness and joy! They are living examples of both- Lou and Fran!!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blind Optimism? or Faith?

The subject of blind optimism compared to real faith is one I grapple with a lot.

Blind optimism feels like a form of arrogance and naivete’. Faith is more like grounding oneself in something beyond the present toward the future.  Yet, do we as humans follow blind optimism (or conversely cynical beliefs) more than we follow Faith?

Blind optimism is easier to follow. I had what I felt and experienced  as a beautiful loving relationship come to an abrupt ending a few weeks ago. It truly was heartbreaking. I leaned on good friends as I cried, and in my mind negotiated the situation. I brought blind optimism with me when doubts or fears would rise up. I brought blind optimism with me when I was still negotiating in my mind how we would be together again.  Blind optimism is not faith. It does not give you rest. It only churns and churns within you. It rises and falls according to your emotions and thoughts.

Faith- it is solid. The earth can shake, the waves rise high upon the water, but faith keeps steady. People have faith in many things- a marriage will last through the test of time; friends you love will always be close; and the job you love (or at least feel some sense of contribution) is secure.

And it is jarring, painful and sorrowful when the bottom drops out-your marriage is not sustainable, your friend leaves, and you are laid off after working a lifetime at a place you thought cared about its employees. These are all circumstances. Yes they involve people, connections of some sort. We have on some level invested our time and attention, and even more our heart and faith in these circumstances.

Faith is believing without seeing. It’s how an invention or a business begins. Faith carries you through the set backs, the challenges and the things unseen in the moment.

How do I replace blind optimism with faith? And what is my faith in-truly? Is it in the idea that the right person will come into my life if I just trust they will? Or that this person and I will have a chance later down the road? Or the job I now have, which is disintegrating is opening to another opportunity?

Other people might handle all these circumstances differently. Distraction works well, at least temporally- stay busy, occupy your mind and time with other activities. Or maybe go into deep sorrow and hand-wringing worry over the circumstance. Or a real blind optimism of spouting affirmations that will change the circumstance on the person’s behalf.

Are any of these anchored in Faith? No, I can attest to these methods- I’ve tried them all.

This time I am doing my best to put my desires and human sorrow and disappointment into a faith. This faith is not easy. It requires doing and saying things that feel contrary to my present experience. And it requires me putting my thoughts of successful outcomes-those I think are best for me, aside.  And then what? What does this lead to?

My faith rests in the biggest L word of all, faith beyond myself, Faith in God and in trusting Him. For me- this is the hardest kind of Faith. And many times faith is mistaken for blind optimism.  How do we know? Because Faith is not fighting, struggling or figuring out the reason behind the human plane of disappointment or heartaches.

Faith is resting. Faith is handing over my blind optimism and my doubts. But how do I do this? and what is my motivation, my backup of reason that says I am doing the right thing?

One of my favorite verses has been a tag line for me in my present state. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Where does meditation, prayer accomplish? Being still, stilling the mind, stilling the doubts and sorrow. Breathing in, breathing out and being present with myself and allowing Love to enter in. I am too busy wringing my hands, trying to figure out what went wrong or what I did. None of this helps me.

Sitting still and feeling God’s love come in does help. Reading inspirational words or writing also helps. But being still and surrendering to what is, is the best. And I believe faith usually does not come in a big wave and voile’ you have faith. Jesus said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move the mountain.” That’s not a whole lof of faith. And what is the mountain? All those worries, all the sorrow, all the disappointment, and all the doubts.

Faith the size of a seed? Surely I have that much faith. So then, how is it my mountains still stands in front of me? Why has it not been thrown into the sea?  I’m still working on this. But when I see David in the Old Testament running for his life from King Saul and living in caves with his loyal men, I see his faith working.

Faith is not ignoring what is going on around us. Faith is stretching out beyond what is going on. In the Psalms there is a pattern: It begins with recognizing and bringing to the forefront the goodness of God. Call it praise. Something happens when we do the contrary of what we are feeling.  When we believe beyond our sorrow.

The psalms begin with stating the truth-God’s greatness or His protection or His love for me. Then it usually states the problem-the situation of either the problem or more likely the heart in the problem. Blind optimism would gloss over this, would rearrange the truth for deception.

David grapples with his truth, and God’s truth. He grapples with his heartache, his worry and fears. But after the grappling and stating the situation, he comes back to relying on the source of love outside. He becomes still and sits with God. And then he ends in praising, in resting and in Faith, knowing he is being led in the right direction.

Whether I am sitting still on my couch in the early hours of the morning or I am walking at my beautiful park and taking in the gorgeous sunset over the mountains or enjoying the cool breeze and the green of Spring everywhere, I am praising and ‘sitting still.’

You build faith in life not in a vacuum or a place of ease. You build it brick by brick until it becomes a wall of strength and surety.

And as anyone will tell you- sitting still involves letting go. And when we let go, wisdom arrives and gently and compassionately speaks to us. It happened on Wednesday. The day had been awful- all of my hurt and worry and doubts just hit me full force. I cried a lot. But then I went for my walk and all of it was lifted, I breathed in the beauty and listened to my songs of joy. And God whispered to me, “I desire your heart more than you desire XXX’s heart.” And I felt like a child, a lamb. In that moment my heart shifted and the thought of God loving me so much quieted my restlessness, my worry. At least for today. 
 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Knuckle Hills In Kenya

The Ngong Hills are peaks in a ridge along the Great Rift Valley, located southwest near Nairobi, in southern Kenya. The word “Ngong” is an Anglicization of a Maasai phrase “enkong’u emuny” meaning rhinoceros spring, and this name derives from a spring located near Ngong Town. [1]  Though I hear the villagers describe it as the seven knuckles. 

The Ngong Hills, from the east side slopes, overlook the Nairobi National Park and, off to the north, the city of Nairobi. The Ngong Hills, from the westside slopes, overlook the Great Rift Valley dropping over 1000 meters (4,000 feet) below, where Maasai villages have been developed.

The peak of the Ngong Hills is at 2460 meters (8070 feet) above sea level. [2]

During the years of British colonial rule, the area around the Ngong Hills was a major settler farming region, and many traditional colonial houses are still seen in the area.

In the 1985 film Out of Africa, the four peaks of the Ngong Hills appear in the background of several scenes near Karen Blixen‘s house. Local residents still reported seeing lions in the Hills during the 1990s.

And here I am with my co-workers last year in May.  May is the rainy season and the coolest part of the year for Kenya. As we began our ascent toward the first hill, and Honey, these aren’t Hill Country, Texas hills! No comparison. Practically no switchbacks  and straight up a ‘hill’ that is mostly grass and moist red dirt that doesn’t provide the best of footing.

But oh, it is worth it! Lush vegetation and continual scenes of houses nestled into the hill on one side, and views toward the Great Rift Valley on the other.

We scaled the hills in the rainy season of Kenya. Mist and fog surrounded us frequently. Clouds moving in and out above us. Scaling the last hill, we came upon the Great Rift Valley- the end of our destination. Only a thick blanket of fog greeted us. My heart sunk a bit. Did I tackle these steep hills not to see the most amazing sight of all?

We stretched our tired bodies on the green slant of the hill and had lunch. Meanwhile our guard talked with another guard, their AK-47’s slung casually over their shoulder’s.

In Kenya, as in many places of risk, you pay for a guard to accompany you. For wild animals? No. For wild people-looters and people who would do serious harm or rob you. Yes, even on this mountain (I am adverse to calling it a hill) surrounded by beauty.

But this is Kenya and you come to accept it.  Patience is required in Kenya. They call it Kenyan time/Africa time. Unlike the good Ol’ USA, people aren’t slaves to their timers and alarms. It is more relaxed.

So we ate our lunch and waited for the clouds to drift and dissipate. And yes,thirty minutes later, the valley revealed itself. It was worth the wait.

I started jumping and asked my work colleagues to do the same. We were on a slope and as we jumped and jumped, laughing all the while, we captured photos of us with the valley behind us.

IMG_6299

Photo opportunities abound-the valleys and the hills, the mountains in the distance, the small grasshoppers with butterfly wings, and the beauty of a tree that looks like it came straight out of a scene of Lord of the Rings movie.

I snapped a photo of all these. And a photo of a tree standing alone, it’s windswept branches reminding me of a girl’s long hair floating behind her.

When I came back home, I wrote a poem in regard to this photo, this tree. I hope you enjoy.

SOLO ON NGONG HILL

Solo on Ngong hill,

No duet, No pas de duex,

as you wave your body gracefully in the wind.

Alone, you have been for some years,

on this tall hill.

Rooted enough to let

the force of time shape,mold your branches

into a banner of beauty.

As I climb the crest of the ridge

I am in awe of your Brise’ Vole,

Your strength in dancing against the elements,

holding your ground  for one more storm.

Oh Dancer, dance with me;

Teach me your moves as

I traverse across your land,

A corps de ballet.

By Victoria Yeary

 

IMG_6360

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Letting Go of Home

Source: Letting Go of Home

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May in Colorado

I am a southern girl. I grew up in lush foliage, humid hotness and long summers where air conditioning was your best defense against the cloying heat.

Now I live 5620 feet above sea level. My windows are open and the 58 degrees is cool and comfortable.

I walk in my park- I call it my park because I am less than a mile’s walk from it. The park is green and cool and loaded with families that relax on a Sunday afternoon. I walk the 2.8 mile circumference and I am so full of joy! I see families and groups of friends in small groups across the grounds. Families who have been there for the day, tents erected for and loads of food splayed out on either a picnic table or blanket.  Lots of Latinos and Indians grouped together around picnic tables- lawn chairs (or rather collapsible chairs) with everyone relaxed and connecting in their own way. There are no cell phones, but talking and laughing and just being together.

Little fringed carriages that have two seats and everyone must contribute to the cycling to push it down the lane. and dogs every where of all sizes!

I am alone- no companion except my ITunes and sports style  blue tooth that wraps around my neck and into my ears. I feed off the green leaves sprouted fully on the trees regardless of the spring snows we have had. I am lifted by the energy of nature and people. Occasionally, I’ll say hello to someone or stop and pet a dog ( I do love dogs!). And even sometimes, I join a stranger on a walk and we talk. Who does that but a lonely extrovert?

And even though I have a very fast and intentioned walk, lately I have stopped to either sit in the cool blades of the grass under the big shade of tree or on a park bench and observe and appreciate all around me; it is glorious!

Now, I am on my couch writing this late at night. I have no air conditioning ( a sin in the south and a literal life support for hot weather). Now I look outside my big picture window (on the second floor of a small 12 unit Condo) and see tree branches full of green leaves and feel so grateful to be here, in the heart of the city and yet so surrounded by the bountiful nature of Colorado.

Come visit me- those who call me friends.

IMG_0917.jpgIMG_0918.jpg

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Strength of Ten Bulls

This is a story about a man who owned 74 Bulls! That’s impressive. Causes me to wonder about bulls in his life and the bulls in mine:

You have 74 bulls! Big shiny belt buckles and trophies show off your strength, your accomplishments. Wow! Such force, such power from 74 bulls! Strong bulls, bronco bulls, big bulls, sometimes up to 2000 pounds of muscles and bones. One of the strongest animals with great ability to buck so high, so fiercely that nothing stays on its back too long, nothing subdues it.

 

.images.jpg

I only have Ten bulls. They are small, stunted compared to your 74. Ordinary bulls that need no large stalls or trailers to transport them from place to place.

My Ten bulls all stay with me. They never leave my sight. Your bulls need food and shelter. My bulls feed and shelter me. They are gentle with me.

Can you go into a stall of one of your powerful bulls and lay your head on its shoulder and stroke his powerful flanks? Can you sit upon them and walk through the woods or over a grassy plain?

Fighting bulls are full of frustration, anger and power. They have learned to react to the circumstances of their suffering; they rebel though-fight back, bringing a grown man to his knees in less than 30 seconds.

Tell me your happiest, most satisfying moments with your bulls? Was it when they won a prize or money? When the nature of their self preservation bucked high? And when you returned with your earnings or your losses, how long did you carry them?

My ten bulls are my best friends. I can rest my head on their shoulders and stroke their flanks. I can ride on their backs-all of them because they are small. They carry me off to places I have never dreamed. They comfort me when swirls of dark clouds gather over the scenery of my life. When I ride with them, I am not as scared. Their strength rises up in me. I feel strong. I feel empowered. I feel free. And some times if I ride with them enough, I feel joy.

You have sold your 74 bulls. Were they your delight? Your distraction? It’s probably a good thing you do not have these brutal beasts of angst in your life anymore. You literally have 118,400 of pounds you no longer carry around with you.

I will never sell my bulls. They are a part of me. They are light and free me from my angst constantly. They give me confidence and comfort.

Even now, they are writing to you. They are carrying me on their backs across the wind of change and uncertainty.

I have the Strength of Ten Bulls.

 

close-up-fingers-on-the-computer-keyboard-E4T5WA.jpg

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment