Spirits in my head and they won’t go

I’ve been lookin’ at the stars tonight
And I think “Oh, how I miss the bright sun!*

This song has a special meaning to me for two reasons:

The Strumbellas album was my travel companion on my trip through the States and as such is connected in my head to this adventurous feeling of heading off into uncharted waters and being free. Whenever I had taken my comfy seat on the ponderous Amtrak train I had become so fond of and the train started, I put on that album; and listening to it intensified my joy.

Now that I am back it keeps reminding me of that trip and the amazing time I experienced in America. And it also reminds me of what I am missing.

I got guns in my head and they won’t go
Spirits in my head and they won’t go*

It is true that also before my month-long trip I had been having these „spirits in my head“. And they basically never went away. They were there, lingering in the back, asking for more. And even though I knew there was a constant craving for something in my life that wasn’t there in my current situation; that I just was not living as would become my true self, I kind of settled for less. Because, well, ….
I thought I wasn’t ready yet. And that making a move might end up taking my security from me. Because I tended to listen to those voices telling me I had to content myself with what I had because, you know, who wouldn’t want to have security?

I’m just waiting for my day to come
And I think “Oh, cause I don’t wanna let you down.”
But something inside has changed,
and maybe we don’t wanna stay the same*

Now that I have been back from my trip for about a month, it has been dawning on me that, indeed, something inside has changed. Call it an attitude, or maybe just the increased craving for freedom. Whatever it is I feel different. I’ve been experiencing a shade of serenity that is new to me and that comes with a new tinge of audacity.
And with this feeling comes the urge to change something. And also the notion that, maybe, security isn’t all there is to life. Or might it even be possible that trusting in life provide us with a different type of security?

The decision has been taken in the past few days. Maybe it’s true what Lemony Snicket said: „If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.“

At least this quote appeals a lot to me at the moment and so I have decided to try my luck…:

And I don’t want a never-ending life
I just want to be alive
While I’m here*


Quotes taken from the song „Spirits“ by The Strumbellas
Image "Crossroads" by IcE MaN, CC BY 2.0

Sunburn to my eyes

I am a firm believer in consciously going through times of crisis, of embracing your crisis, so to speak, and acknowledging feelings of pain and fear. In fact, I am convinced that at the bottom of each crisis lies the option of growth. Fittingly, Facebook has reminded me of one of my favourite Rumi/Shams Tabrizi qoutes today:

“The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advices “Be careful, protect yourself” Whereas love says “Let yourself, go!” The mind is strong, never fells down, while love hurts itself, fells into ruins. But isn’t it in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.”

~ Shams Tabrizi¹

That is also why I particularly liked the song I last shared; because it, too, contaied the notion of facing it. I am not talking of giving in to dark feelings here; but rather of acknowleding them and moving through them, without letting them take control. Painful as it may be, I found this to always help me move forward in the end. And it turned out to work even this time, when, for a moment, I felt so overwhelmed and numbed by fear and forsaken that I was desperate.

So this is what I did: I became my own best friend; I listened to the signals my body sent and did everything that did me good. Which included having a good cry, or, rather, several of them; wrapping myself in music like in a comforting blanket; and: asking for help. Both explicitly and inwardly.

Blinded by your light, sunburn to my eyes
Guided by your noise, heart speak through the night

I am not a religious person, at least not in the conventional sense. I do not follow any of the established religions. But at this very moment, you could say that I experienced life’s grace. It was as if the whole universe worked on my behalf and answered my every need.

I was granted all the love and assistance I could dream of. It was amazing how my friends, or „my tribe“, as I like to call them, got my back during this hard time by just being there, listening and sending their love in terms of encouraging thoughts and ideas. Especially friends I hadn’t even reached out for initially surprised me the most. And I got all this:

When the world seems empty, you will have my shoulder
And always remember you are someone’s daughter
Join me on this journey like a dancing soldier
On the road to freedom coming home to hold ya-ya-ya

The exchange with my friends also resulted in my getting in touch with exactly the right reading material. Apart from being a music person I am a word person. So reading has always enriched my life, and the books I came across thanks to my friends, and the words I found in them, carried me through my dark times like the wave of a kind ocean. I guess several book dealers quite benefited from my crisis, but I did too, because these books have been providing me with the most amazing insights and ideas and will accompany me for another while (for a brief list of recommendations see below).

Lastly, I made an appointment with my trusted life coach. Sometimes it’s good to talk to a professional. She has never failed me and also this time she helped me come to terms and find my way again. And I got better.

It is true that this was a particularly painful period and the dark feelings didn’t disappear just like that. However, going through them, I felt myself being more and more reminded of the love that is there, and has always been, in abundance. As already Björk had pointed out a couple of years ago.

She was right. As was Shams Tabrizi.

And maybe I just hadn’t been receiving. So this was the treasure I found at the bottom of my pain: The awareness that I am loved. And the knowledge that I will be helped whenever I need it.

And this is also what I want to remind you of. That this is true for all of us and that you can trust to be loved and supported by life.

And, me being the musicfairy, my breaking of a new dawn was signified by a wave of new music that flowed into my life. Which resulted in a short playlist of happiness.

A word on depression

I am lucky enough to never have experienced depression, but I am aware that depression is a serious condition that can completely paralyze you. Luckily I was reminded today that many people still seem to think that all it takes to deal with depression is pulling oneself together. By suggesting embracing painful feelings it is not my intenton to support this view. I know how important getting the right kind of help can be and believe that talking to a professional is the best you can do in some situations. As I did myself, even without having to deal with depression.

What I am convinced of, however, is this:
Everything is going to be alright in the end. The dawn will break and you will smile again.

And the time will come for this playlist:

 


Books and reading material I find inspiring and uplifting:

 

¹ Source: Rumi

Image: Rays of sunshine by Susanne Nilsson, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Love and mercy

Hey, love and mercy, that’s what we need tonight
So love and mercy to you and your friends tonight
Love and mercy, that’s what you need tonight.

So, obviously, Brian Wilson had a huge effect on me. I am still addicted to the “Smile” album and keep listening to it wherever I go. It just consoles me – even more so with the images from the movie in my head that showed how this music just seemed to pour out of him.

However, the part about letting out the treasure hidden inside of you despite any negativity that might surround you was just half of the story to me. When I did some research after watching the “Love and Mercy” movie to find out about the truth behind it I found something that impressed me even more.

And that was Brian Wilson’s apparent ability and willingness to forgive. And his focus on the positive aspects of even the worst situations or people.

It seems to be a fact that this therapist clearly bullied and abused Brian Wilson over years. The scenes on this in the movie were almost unbearable to watch. And the reality is reported to have been even worse. In an article published by the New York Post, I read that “the largely unknown true story of his overmedication, psychological abuse, financial control and virtual imprisonment of Wilson is even more horrific”.¹

And still, after going through all this horror and pain, upon looking back, Brian Wilson simply states:

“I still feel that there was benefit (…) I try to overlook the bad stuff, and be thankful for what he taught me.”¹

Simple as that.
It took me a while to take this in. And the more I pondered on this the more it left me in awe.

I believe that it is this attitude that actually helped him survive through all the dark times he faced throughout his life.

It is easy to regret and lament about what has gone wrong. Even easier if you have someone you can blame for the bad things that happened to you. And still I think that this kind of attitude Brian Wilson shows is the one that really helps you move on and let go of whatever bad things you encountered.

And I do believe that we could all do with a little more of this attitude. Because it cultivates a focus on what really matters, which I think is love and forgiveness, first of all. This is what I take from Brian Wilson’s words.

So why not start today? Why not finally forgive those who have done you wrong and focus on the good stuff?
And speaking of forgiveness: why not start with yourself?


¹ as cited by Hardeep Phull, New York Post, June 4, 2015.

Image credits:
"Forgive." by Tony Webster
https://goo.gl/57sKBB
is licensed under a Creative Commons license:
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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…