Climbing uphill

I will not be the girl stuck at home in the ‘burbs
With the baby, the dog, and the garden of herbs
I will not be the girl in the sensible shoes
Pushing burgers and beer nuts and missing the clues
I will not be the girl who gets asked how it feels
To be trotting along at the genius’s heels
I will not be the girl who requires a man to get by
And I…

Before I went on my last trip to Tel Aviv a very sweet friend of mine told me that by traveling you always travel to yourself as well.
And she turned out to be right.

Heading off for Israel I had no idea how this trip would confront me with questions eventually touching on the very essence of my being.
Most notably, one idea popped up on several occasions, and that was the notion how we seem to be depending on the goodwill of others in everything we do – even – or especially – when we decide to follow our dreams.

And, quite fittingly, this is the song I brought from Tel Aviv.

But are we really?

My experience in Tel Aviv made me wonder: do I really depend on these people or do I rather make myself dependent by thinking that I am?
And I realized how this went even as far as to my adopting the idea these people had of me and of making the way I perceive myself subject to how they saw me. Which eventually put me in the situation the girl in the song experiences when she starts questioning everything she does and bashing herself.

And then something beautiful happend. When I was forced to let go of certain people I in a way had felt dependent on, and once the initial panic had subsided, a certain feeling of freedom gradually started to prevail. And I got to learn that I wasn’t dependent at all.
Granted, it took me a while and some cups of that amazing coffee they have in Israel, to remind myself that I am certainly not defined by the way others see me; and to tell myself, like that girl in the song, that

I am a good person.

But when I finally got to the point of letting go of what those seemingly important people thought of me, it felt as if an open range of possibilities opened up in front of me, giving me room to do whatever I felt like doing; and to find my own definitions and set my own standards independently.

Which I did while exploring and enjoying this beautiful city of Tel Aviv; and while, funnily, feeling like I was always walking uphill.
Looking back, I smile at this and prefer to regard it as asymbol for actually climbing uphill.

And so, together with this amazing song, I brought this feeling back with me. And I am grateful that my trip reminded me that

I am a good person
I’m an attractive person
I am a talented person
Grant me Grace!

 

 

If you wanna go where the rainbows end…

“If you knew you had only one more year to live,
what would you do?”

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine, discussing that very question. And I had the answer ready even before I had raised this question: Of course, I would quit my job at once, take what little money I have put aside and travel the world. Get in touch with people everywhere and learn about foreign cultures. Just because I knew that this would be the thing that would most make me happy. There was no question about it.
And still, I regarded it impossible. But while I was still going on about all the reasons why, of course, this option was not available to me, he simply said:

“Do it!”

And with that answer, as if he had granted me permission to seriously consider this “childish” idea that had been hiding at the back of my mind for a long time, I could sense a slight, but clearly perceivable, feeling of freedom and happiness – as if, somewhere deep inside of me, something was rejoicing.

So it seems no wonder that, lately, I have found myself resonating especially with songs about this issue. Songs not only about travelling, but rather about setting off, and songs about taking that step into the unknown and following your heart’s calling. Just as this cover of a Tom Waits song by Rebekka Bakken.

Ever since that discussion I have been musing on this idea. I started thinking about actually making it reality. And I have come to a point where I do consider it a possibility at least in parts.

But still, I am wondering about this concept of following the true calling of your heart, by finding out about what truely makes you happy and turning this into that one big goal. On which you should focus with all your energy. Is this really the only sensible approach to living a purposeful life? And how do I even know if – just because they feel good  – the things that make me happy now will eventually lead me to “the ultimate goal”?

And if I failed – wouldn’t I then have left all my safety nets behind? How can I make sure of the outcome if I just follow an idea out of a whim, just because, now, it feels good? And without knowing where it might take me?
This is where, again, that song kicks in:

If you want to go
where the rainbows end
you’ll have to say goodbye
all our dreams come true
baby up ahead

And then a friend shared a video with me recently. In this video, Australian comedian, actor, and musician Tim Minchin kind of laughingly discloses his “nine life lessons”. Starting off with the lapidary statement that “you don’t have to have a dream”.

Wait, what?!

Granted, that kept me thinking for a while. Until I finally realized that I might indeed have got the whole idea wrong. At least to me, Minchin made a point by implying that focussing on that one big dream you might miss out on your life completely. In fact, I found it to be true for myself that whenever I assign very high importance to a goal (and what could be more important than living your true calling?) I put a lot of pressure on myself that whatever I do must bring me closer to that one goal. This seems to be the apporach I have always taken.

So for once, with Minchin’s words in mind and supported by all those beautiful songs, eventually, I decided to try something new:
Yes, I am going to travel, and by doing so, I will be pursuing the road that seems to be the one I want to have a look at now.

And why shouldn’t it be true that by following our heart’s current cravings we are heading for a direction that eventually brings us where we are supposed to be – no matter if we have a clear picture of it now?

Well, the road’s out before me
and the moon is shining bright

And so my next trip is going to start as early as tomorrow.

A little bit closer to feeling fine

I’ve been swimming in a sea of anarchy
I’ve been living on coffee and nicotine
I’ve been wondering if all the things I’ve seen
Were ever real, were ever really happening?

Apart from the nicotine, this pretty much sums up what has been going on in the past days. And is still going on. Which is somehow thrilling. And at the same time frightening.

It seems as if my life and me, somehow, have started moving again. And I am still not sure in which direction. But maybe, this is how it is supposed to be.

After Macklemore had saved me on that disastrous Lollapalooza Saturday I could literally watch things improve. On the following Sunday, everything was better organized, including me and my best friend, whom I had also failed to find the day before. We stuck together throughout the whole day and had a blast listening and jumping and dancing to the beat of our favourite bands. And I found it to be true that sometimes, all you need is that one friend. At the end of the day, I left the festival with my hope being restored – still without the slightest idea as to which step to take next, but curious about what life would bring me.

In this mood, I returned back to work and I managed to keep it up even though I did not seem to succeed in making any significant move. It was also during this time that one morning I listened to that familiar song on the radio and suddenly found something resonating inside of me.

Still feeling drawn between so many things that I wanted to do I felt unable to select and focus on just one of them. Which stopped me from making any move whatsoever. In this state of indecision I decided to for once decide on nothing at all and let fate, or life, or whatever you might want to call it, take over instead.

Ever since then I could not stop wondering about this one question: Is it true that, to achieve a meaningful life, you have to find out what makes you happy and then focus on this single thing with all your might until you finally succeed?  – An idea which I have encountered over and over again following all these motivational speakers and inspiring personalities I so admire.

Or is it better to let go and follow the voice of your intuition to wherever it may take you, without any predefined goal, and with both heart and mind wide open for whatever influences might hit you? And to thus take the alluring advice of that song?

Jump in, let’s go
Lay back, enjoy the show
Everybody gets high, everybody gets low
These are the days when anything goes

Without thinking much, and for the first time completely ignoring my inner critic going berserk time and again, I somehow ended up following the second approach and dived right into life without any obvious purpose whatsoever. I connected with friends, hosted people from all over the world, made even more friends, started reading books again, was at times addicted to all sorts of social media (there are so many of them!), experienced both loneliness and the happiest moments, found my passion in writing and found even more pleasure in singing … all that happening at the same time.

And all along, this song by Shery Crow accompanied me, seemingly supporting me in my choice, or rather, non-choice.

I still have not found the answer to my question. I have the feeling, though, that maybe, both alternatives are somehow right. Maybe there is a time for each of them. Recently, there have been first signs that my letting go and my openness might not have been the worst decision. And that I might be on the brink of new, promising developments.

So maybe, hopefully, I have chosen the right path, and I am curious to find out where it will lead me.

Benediction

Originally, this post was supposed to feature a song about New York, this great city, where I will be travelling to tomorrow. To me, this means a dream come true, since I have never felt as free and happy as I have in New York.

But then, I came across this beautiful, breathtaking song by Luke Sital-Singh and could not resist using this one instead.

Because it totally captures the mood I am in at the moment, and the energy present in my life that includes everything from my travelling plans, to the inspiring people I have been encountering, to new projects and ideas I have.

It all started this summer, when some of the most inspiring people I have ever met brought this air of freedom and a completely new feeling to my life. Or maybe, it had been present all along and all I needed was someone to ignite it. In any case, this energy found me like a long lost friend and I felt happy the instant it poured all over me.

Life keeps bringing more and more of these amazing people to me. And with them comes that energy and the awareness that there are so many things that I still want to experience.

And that all I ever have is this moment.

And that I want to make the most of it, since I never know how long I will be in the position to do so.
In fact, nobody does. We just tend to forget sometimes, or to block the thought, while being absorbed by all these everyday challenges that, after all, do not really matter.

And this is what this song and its beautiful lyrics reminded me of, when I accidentally found it, on my way to work.

I have come to believe that, if we take the time, and the courage, to face not just the possibility, but the certain fact of us being limited, we might find that this adds another quality to our life. I found experiences to become more intense. And I found that I want exactly this: to experience life and everything in it, to “keep listening”, as Luke Sital-Singh puts it, to everything this amazing life presents me with.

And so I went and booked that trip to New York. And started to pursue my dreams, the things I feel are worth living for. And decided to, just for a moment, let go of all the self-imposed doubts and fears and just live.

And is it not amazing that tomorrow, the day of my journey to the destination of my dreams, will be the fifth anniversary of that moment in my life where the option of dying was so close to me that I could barely handle it? And which reminded me, after all, of the preciousness of life?

So, are you listening?

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Supplementary note:
This is not the only inspiring and beautiful song by Luke Sital-Singh. In fact, I had a hard time deciding for a particular song, since I found them all so beautiful.
If you feel you want to find out more about him, check out his website here: Luke Sital-Singh – official website

So this is it…

… I am starting my own blog. How could this happen?

In the course of my studies to become a journalist we were required to install our own blog. I didn’t like it. Wrote about two or three entries, which was the required number to finish this task, and then stopped it immediately.

After one of my closest friends had brought up the subject recently, the idea struck me while sitting on a train and at that moment I knew exactly what I would be writing about. So here I am, getting started all over again. And writing a blog that finally feels like mine and something I want to do.

This is going to be a blog about music, or rather, the impact that music, in the form of certain songs, has on me, my life and thinking. I am a music person and my life is constantly accompanied by songs which seem to find me at just the right time. Each of them tells something about where I am standing at that moment and inspires thoughts and ideas that help me grow. In the past few weeks I have encountered so many people who seemed to have a similar passion for music that my idea of writing that blog was fueled. So this is what I want to share with you.

And yet, there are these doubts. What if nobody wants to read it? What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail?

So maybe this is the perfect opportunity to dive right into it and share my first song recommendation, because, after all, it might have contributed to me getting started eventually. And it offers the perfect answer to all these self-doubts most of us seem to entertain deep down inside.

I have encountered these well known doubts a lot recently. In fact, they keep haunting me most of the time these days. There are so many things I would like to achieve, so many ideas and desires, and naturally, not all of them work out as planned and I have to face setbacks time and again. And so, this voice keeps coming into my head, never getting tired of asking its “What if”s.

And then, yesterday, this song found me. And with listening to this song came the calmness, and the assurance that maybe I am good enough. And maybe I am capable of inspiring people by just being the person I am. And maybe it’s worth trying.
I really needed that song and I think we all could do with more songs like that: to remind us that we don’t have to do or achieve anything to be valuable and that, in fact, we can put trust in ourselves.

A story I just read by a very gifted person I know reminded me that you never know whose lives you touch by simply being you and dedicating yourself with passion to whatever matters to you.

And so, finally, I came up with some new “What if”s:
What if I actually do have something to say? And what if, just like these songs keep finding me, the right people will find me too? And what if what I am is beautiful?

And what if, sometimes, all it takes is to just be you and put yourself out there; and shine bright, like a diamond?

But that might be another blog post…