Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sweet Mistakes

"Sweet Mistakes" seems like a great way to open up this blog* because it's just such a great song from every angle. Ellis Paul is, of course, an incredible songwriter. He combines insightful lyrics with upbeat, catchy tunes that reel you in. You find yourself humming the melody, then singing along, and then suddenly you realize what the song is about on your 12th time through.

That's what happened to me with Sweet Mistakes. I loved the song instantly but it took time for me to figure out why. Its chorus talks about one of the keys to life -- learning from our mistakes, being grateful for the opportunities to make them, because it is through them that we grow and change. The mistakes we've made may have hurt when they were happening, but time heals all wounds, and they are part of what makes you who you are today.

But there's a larger meaning to this song too. It's about living your life *your* way, being Who You Really Are, and how the world just laps it up and asks for more. It's about the power of faith. And it's about peace and gratitude, too. It packs quite a lot of punch, and it's fun to sing along with to boot. :)

Artist: Ellis Paul
More information:
Song: Sweet Mistakes
Albums: Sweet Mistakes; The Speed of Trees; Essentials

Pop the cork, a champagne glass
Raise to the future, drink to the past
Thank the Lord for the friends he cast,
In the play he wrote for you.
And if you love the girl, man, light up a torch
Blaze a trail to her front porch
Kiss her till your lips are scorched
Till the rain comes down on you

Bless your sweet mistakes,
That crumbled you down to your knees.
That brought you to this place
Changing you by degrees...
When change was just what you needed...
What you needed...

So if you live your life in a three piece suit,
In a cocktail dress, or combat boots
You pick your path, you walk your truth
And the world will come round to you.
It's a long strange ride, I can't tell you why
But there's a place in your pocket where peace can abide
You pull it out, it's a compass, a guide
And it will put a little soul on you.

[repeat chorus]

And in this wild blue world
There is a soul weavin' fine feelin' girl
You've got to walk in paradise to find a pearl
If you only believe,
You'll get what you need...
What you needed...
Conquer your fear and you'll master the game,
Life is always and never the same.
Use a little faith to light the flame
And I know you'll connect to you.

[repeat chorus]

Pop the cork, a champagne glass
Raise to the future, drink to the past
Thank the Lord for the friends he cast,
In the play he wrote for you.

Copyright Ellis Paul Publishing SESAC

* I temporarily had a separate music blog and this was my first post on it.

My dark side

My dark side is rearing its ugly head this morning. It's like a cacophony of voices ringing in my head, the voices of fear saying, You'll never be good enough... you're not special... there are thousands of writers and coaches and intuitives and teachers and healers out there. What makes you think you're special? What makes you think you've got something unique or different to say? And the best one of all -- Who do you think you are?

Ah yes, the dark side. My negative self-talk that often masquerades as rational, critical thinking. It can sound so self-protective sometimes, like when a parent is trying to let their child down easy, or give advice the child doesn't really want to hear. Other times it sounds harsh, cruel, angry, throwing past failures (or even current) in my face as if to say, See? If you'd just listened to me in the first place, this never would have happened. And when I'm feeling a little down, what those voices are saying make so much sense. I start thinking you're right, I'm being totally silly here, I should try something more practical, something safe. But something inside of me knows there's only one thing that voice of fear has said that's entirely true -- if I had listened to it in the first place, this never would have happened. The voice means it to be reprimanding, to suggest that next time I should follow its advice. But the real truth is that making those mistakes, putting myself out there in such a way that there's even a possibility of failure is the only way I'm going to grow, the only way I'm going to learn.

You'll hear people talk about not being able to follow their dreams because look how old they are. I can't go to film school, medical school, etc. -- I'm already 30, or 40, or 50! But what they aren't considering is that if they don't go follow that dream, they'll still be however old they are and stuck in the same unfulfilled place they are now. I do not want to be one of those people. What I want more than anything else in this life is to shake off all these feelings of "should have" and "supposed to," all this practical, intellect-based thinking, and really FEEL, really and truly LIVE. And the only way I'm going to be able to do that is to take leaps of faith, to continue to push the envelope, to come out of hiding, to integrate all of the facets of my personality into one ME and show her off to the whole world. And sometimes I'm going to fall flat on my face and bang up my knees (literally and figuratively), but I will always have the support I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again tomorrow.

What is your dream? What would living your life fully look like? What aren't you doing today that feels like a gaping hole in your life, even if it's a hole that has never been filled? You show me yours and I'll show you mine. And then maybe, we can give each other a boost, help each other unfurl those wings, and give flying a try together. Namaste.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What's The Matter

I was really struck by the lyrics of Catie Curtis's "What's The Matter" today. I don't know why I never really noticed this song before, but it's such a good one. I'm really on a heavy music kick this week. Not that I don't always love music and feel connected through music, but I'm just really conscious of it right now. It's like modern poetry. It makes me want to write a song.

I'm keeping it short today and sharing the lyrics of this amazing song with you. Namaste.

What's The Matter

I love this town you can see the stars at night
Even from downtown
'Cause there are no city lights
This town was my biggest fan
'Til I was who I am

What's the matter
What's the matter
All I ask if why be afraid of this girl
What's the matter
What's the matter
All I ask is why be afraid of this world

I love this town the moon is dancing on the waves
And in the bars half of them are underage
People let a lot slip by
When they look a lot alike


What if I am Black or Jew
Straight or queer mother of two
Run around in a hippie dress
Ride my bike in a leather vest
What's the matter

I love this town where I climbed the apple trees
And that was me cheering for the hometown team
I've got something to give
In this town where I want to live

So what's the matter
What's the matter
All I ask if why be afraid of this girl
What's the matter
What's the matter
All I ask is why be why be
What's the matter
What's the matter
All I ask is why be afraid of this world
Why be afraid

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Music makes the world go round

I've spent a substantial part of the day today working. Shocking, I know. I'm really enjoying freelancing because it gives me something a little different to sink my teeth into each day. Today, however, what I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to sit in one place for most of the day listening to music. I have such strong associations with the concept of "work" not being fun -- even though I always laughed a lot and made having fun at the office a priority -- that I felt a little guilty having enjoyed this background aspect of my workday. Yes, something for me to eradicate before I create my next work experience, because I genuinely believe that when your work is play, you are more productive and happier to boot.

Not really surprising after my giddy post last night, I'm enamored with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I made myself a "Falling Slowly" station on Pandora and have been listening to it for the past few hours. It's given me additional joy by reminding me of songs I love by Damien Rice (Cold Water), Rosie Thomas (Kite Song), Blue October (Into the Ocean), and Colin Hay (Overkill). Across the universe, Ellis, who has the honor of being the most recent musical love of my life, sent out an email update and included a music video she made for one of her new songs. While it is silly and obviously low budget, I absolutely love the song and played it a few times and danced around my office for a bit.

I swear, music makes the world go round. It is one of the primary ways that I connect emotionally with the rest of the world. Each song has its own little universe contained in it full of love and heartbreak and passion and life. A good song fills up me, makes me FEEL in such a way that my heart wants to burst with its emotion. I'll laugh, and cry, and laugh and cry some more, and then replay the song and do it all over again. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would pick a handful of really talented but mostly unknown singer-songwriters and fund their music careers so that they could share their powerful magic with more of the world.

Who do you love right now? Who knocks you out and makes you want to dance and fills you with passion? Help me in my eternal quest to expand my musical horizons, and thereby my heart and soul. Namaste.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Don!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Oh wow. And wow again. I've had the soundtrack to Once for months but hadn't seen the movie until tonight. Actually, I'm only 30 minutes in and I had to stop to listen to the soundtrack again. I'm falling in love with this movie in a long-term, passionate way and it is 85% because of the music. The other 15% is the wonderful acting and emotion portrayed by the characters, which so far is definitely worth watching and promises to only get better. But the music, especially the primary song Falling Slowly, is just so beautifully haunting it makes me want to cry with the enormity of the emotion. It's like a direct hit to the heart. If you haven't seen this movie or heard this soundtrack, do yourself a favor and get a hold of it as soon as you can. You won't regret it, I promise.

Follow up note, 1/17/08: I finally was able to finish the movie this evening. As promised, it was FANTASTIC. This is one to own!

Finding balance

I have to laugh at myself for not posting yesterday. It's almost like I've been doing so much work and had so much come up for me that I short-circuited my brain and ended up with nothing to write about. As I sit here now I can feel myself being torn in different directions. What's most important for me right now -- my finances? My freelance work? Balancing my chakras? Coming out of hiding? Nurturing myself? Making healthy (and yummy) food choices? Getting my body moving? Connecting with people I value? Being comfortable in my own skin? Just thinking about it all makes the short-circuit kick back in again. I think the key thing for me to focus on in the midst of all of this is BALANCE.

Balance is one of those words you hear people talk about a lot these days. It's trendy, even, which seems odd for something that is so essential to living well. But what does balance look like really? I can tell you one thing for sure -- it does not look like perfection. I think we all have an idea in our heads of what our life would look like if everything were going perfectly. For me, I'd be up early, meditate and do my morning practice, go for a run, eat a healthy breakfast, write a chapter of my book -- all before 10am. It honestly makes my stomach churn to think about how that would play out in reality. I think the key is more to take things one at a time, to live in the moment and be fully committed to what you're doing right now, to mix things up a little bit and not get too hung up on a routine, to make sure each day has a little bit of each of the key ingredients without being too heavy on a single one (love, connection, work, play).

When I first left my job, I made lists of everything I was going to do each day. By the time 3pm rolled around, I was exhausted and hadn't even come close to finishing everything on the daily list, let alone the bigger projects I planned to undertake in my time off. Since then I've discovered what works better for me is to have sort of groups of lists, and to do at least one thing from each group every day. This flows organically for me, to the point that I don't need to look at the list very often. I use it more of a reminder of the things I could do instead of having it weigh me down under the burden of things I should do. And it's amazing how things naturally cycle. In my morning pages each day it's like I receive direction on what's important for me today and I get different messages every day depending on what I need.

Today that direction was loudly and clearly about cultivating friendships with people who like to think about the big picture, changing the world, connecting to Source, living life fully. And more specifically it was about starting with the people that are already in my life and making them more of a priority. By 10am I had already connected with three friends and made plans to meet up with some people for dinner and a discussion about life, the universe, and everything. When you set your intention and begin to take action on that intention, the universe responds in kind. I just love living my life from a place of consciousness, being aware of all of the shifts that are taking place, small and large. It makes each day an adventure to be treasured. And it's a hell of a lot more fun to boot. Have a fabulous, love- and fun-filled day. Namaste.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Order out of chaos

Today felt a bit like the universe was saying, "Oh yeah? Let's see if you really mean that." After the joy of last week's spring cleaning, I've been stoked to tackle a few other organization projects that are ready and waiting for me around the house. First up? The linen closet. I never knew you could cram so much stuff into such a small space. It had gotten so bad that the past few weeks whenever I needed to put something in there, I would just open the door, take whatever was in my hand and shove it into the first available space. It was literally overflowing. It didn't feel like that long ago since I'd tackled at least the shelf with the medicines and toiletries, but it might as well have been last millennium with the state it was in. I vowed that no matter what else came up today, I would tackle that linen closet.

Remembering the last time I'd cleaned it out, I was thinking it was an hour long job, maybe two at the outside. I got in there and started pulling stuff out and pulling stuff out and pulling stuff out until I didn't have any place to put the contents any more. But I knew that the shelves needed to be cleaned off and the carpet vacuumed so I just kept going until the closet was completely empty... and my home was an absolute disaster. By the time the closet was clean and I was ready to even begin throwing things away, let alone putting stuff back in, I'd been working for over an hour. I was beginning to understand the enormity of the task I'd taken on and it was feeling completely overwhelming. I'd like to be able to say that I saw the gift in this situation as it was happening, but I didn't -- I ended up sharing my overwhelment with my mother and husband, aka complaining. My mother, in all her wisdom, reminded me that this experience was a metaphor for life -- sometimes you have to mess things up before you can start seeing the results you are looking for. Just what I needed to hear!

This is exactly the way life works. We recognize that things in our life aren't working out the way we want them to, but we know that change can be disruptive. Moving towards our goals might even make the things we already have and enjoy in our life appear to disappear, and so all too often we stay in a place that feels less than or stuck instead of taking the steps necessary to reach a place of freedom, of more. These small scale examples are life's reminders that even in the midst of great chaos, there is always a divine order waiting for us to discover it. So go ahead, make a big mess of things, it's okay. When you come out the other side all you will be able to see is how everything fits into place beautifully.

I really have to learn to take before shots for comparison purposes, but here's an after picture of my much calmer, orderly linen closet. Aaaah... definitely worth it!

e.e. cummings Quote

yes is a world & in this world of yes live (skilfully curled) all worlds

~e.e. cummings

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Room to change

It's Sunday morning and I'm moving a little bit slowly. I've been sitting in bed with my laptop doing my morning pages, checking my email, fiddling around with the blog. Somewhere in the backdrop I was aware of my cat Morgan crying, but that isn't unusual. Morgan is one of those cats who will leave the room that contains everyone else in the family and then cry as if to say, Where is everybody? So my thoughts are somewhere else completely and I hear this sort of funny scratching sound and I think she must have found a bug, which would account for the crying. I look up and instead see Morgan hanging out of the top of my chest of drawers. The front of one of the drawers fell off a while back, so I moved it to the top of the dresser and use it like a shelf for my t-shirts. Morgan had squeezed herself in amongst the piles of shirts, not very well mind you as she ended up falling right back out again. It was so startling I burst out laughing, which of course annoyed Morgan to no end. I tried to apologize to her saying it was just that I had never seen her do anything even remotely like that in all of her six years with us. She's not a jumper, having difficulty even getting up on the couch with grace, and she's not one of those cats who likes to crawl into anything and everything they can fit in. But my cats never cease to amaze me with the crazy new things they come up with, even in the midst of a life that appears to be all routine, and mostly sleep.

The truth is, however, that if we pay attention, the people in our lives can amaze us as well. The reason we don't usually notice that, however, is that we expect them not to change. Have you ever had a full conversation in your head with someone and then you're surprised later when you try to talk to them about it and they have no idea what you're talking about? We think we know the people in our lives so well that we know what they'll say or do around just about anything. The funny thing about that for me is that I am so invested in my own growth and work pretty hard to shift the way I interact with the people around me so that I am showing up more authentically -- meaning, it would be challenging for someone to know how I was going to react at any given time because I'm not sure I would know that myself in advance. So why can't I apply that concept to the other people in my life? Now, I'm not saying that we should expect people to change -- that really never works and just leaves us disappointed. I guess all I'm saying is that we should leave them room to change. Don't assume you know what your mother or your brother or your wife thinks about something -- ask them. I suspect they'll surprise you.