Laugh at Yesterday

So I forgot to mention – and maybe by Day 6 I don’t need to anymore – that this month’s edition of NaBloPoMo posts are all inspired by songs. Music is inspirational. It makes you think, feel, dance, SING, and so many other things. I couldn’t go a day without music. Even if it’s not playing out loud, there are always songs in my head.

What I’m listening to depends largely on my mood, unless other forces intrude. With five people in the house and even more outside in the world, that’s a pretty large influence. The music in my head is usually mine. The music I play for myself on my headphones is mine too. As a mother of three, “mine” is an interesting concept. Now that they’re getting older, I definitely have more “me” time. When they were younger, “me” time was a precious commodity. Sometimes the only way I got some peace and quiet was to put everyone in time out, including me. Being on my own, in my own room? Priceless.

Even now, I sometimes tell the kids to go up and “clean their rooms” or whatever they want to call it, just so they get to be in a place by themselves, where their thoughts can roam untethered. The Eldest likes to play her music and dance around. The Youngest likes to play with her dolls or read a book. The Son likes to pace back and forth and tell himself stories. In short, they do whatever they want to do. The rest of the house is designated as a public area – you have to deal with each other’s behaviors. In your room, you are free to do your dreaming and your scheming, your crying and your sighing. “In My Room,” by the Beach Boys, is the perfect soundtrack – that is, if you want it to be. Your room, your choice.

Spread Sunshine All Over The Place

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been watching the relationship of two people close to me further disintegrate. There’s really few things worse than watching someone suffer and not knowing how to fix it. The bottom line is that they’re both miserable people. I can’t fix that – it was to come from inside. So, instead of fussing constantly over the state of their marriage, I’ve decided to try to make sure that my marriage is and will remain on solid ground.

In the spirit of that goal, I asked my Bestest what I could do to improve myself and make me a more likable person. His answer – cheer up and stop worrying so much about other people’s troubles. Do what you can but then know when to let go. Easy for him to say. He’s the laid back one. I’m hyper. But it’s a worthwhile goal. Even the eldest says “don’t read that!” when she sees me looking at an email from one of the aggrieved parties. She knows it upsets me. How is my behavior affecting her?

Numerous studies have shown that maintaining a positive attitude can help you lead a longer life. There are days when I’m not sure a longer life is what I’m after. But it’s not just me I need to think about anymore. I need to stand up, be strong, and put on a little good-mood music. It doesn’t get much better than “Put on a Happy Face” from the Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie.”

Gray skies are going to clear up, right? Right?

What IF God was (one of) Us?

Last night, I watched Julia Sweeney’s brilliant introspective piece, “Letting Go Of God.” It wasn’t something I sought out; I stumbled upon it while clicking through all of the channels that Verizon’s free movie channel promo had added to my Fios experience. The short part of it I saw intrigued me enough that I set the DVR to record the next full showing. I’m glad I did even though the feelings it left me with confuse me even now, several house after watching it. I suspect they’ll keep confusing me for a while.

Religious confusion is nothing new for me; wondering whether God actually exists is. I love God. I trust in God. But Julia Sweeney made me question whether God is real or if the concept of a God – I do believe that “God” is different things to different people – is just something we all believe in to get ourselves through this life. There is no God – no deity. “God” as we believe in is just something that lives in our heads.

What a concept. Really – no God? No one to pray to? Just our brains talking to us? We’d have to be self-reliant. That’s pretty scary. Scary enough that most people don’t even want to consider the concept. Add in the years of religious indoctrination and it’s no wonder there are so few atheists. Few people allow themselves to get to that point in their thought process. Sweeney herself faced the possibility of being disowned by her parents for her beliefs. Imagine being cast out of your family just because you didn’t follow your upbringing. Was the truth that she had come to for her life so important that she’d be willing to lose them? Apparently so. Happily, they eventually grew comfortable with her beliefs.

I’m not so sure about my beliefs. When I first listened to Joan Osborne’s song, “One of Us”, I couldn’t imagine God being one of us. Now I wonder if each of us is God. We all have the power within ourselves to be that strong, that brave, if only we choose to use it. Imagine how the universe could be changed if every person in it believed in their own strength. Is religion holding us back from that? I’m not sure. I think that in so many ways, religion strengthens us. The prayers, songs, rituals that join us make us strong as a group.

Having left the Catholic Church but not yet joined another church, I identify with Sweeney’s longing for a place to celebrate life’s milestones with songs, rituals, family. A church family can make a person so strong. But like my own family, I find that it can also make me sad. That’s the reason I left the Church. I can’t leave God though. If I believe that God is in me, that makes things easier. The beauty of life, and the sadness as well, are inescapable. Can I truly believe that there isn’t one person in charge of it all? Maybe.

Help Me Understand

Yesterday, I was synching my iPhone with my iTunes account when I got a notification asking me to confirm that my Notes had changed and did I want to synch them? Well, sure, but what note? I’ve been on some fun post-knee surgery painkillers the last few days so not remembering writing a note wasn’t exactly out of the question. I decided to check anyway. The note? Not written by me.

“I just love you, do you know that? You’re amazing.”

Love on a notepad, digital no less. I cannot for the life of me imagine what I did to deserve having my Bestest in my life. Just the other day, he caught me frowning at my reflection in the mirror. He stopped, smiled at me, and said “I wish you could see yourself the way I do. You’re gorgeous.”

I am amazed, AMAZED, that someone loves me the way he does. I am not so amazed that I love him so much. How could I not? Paul McCartney said it well in his song, “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

No Words Exchanged

She thinks, we look at each other
Wondering what the other is thinking
But we never say a thing
These crimes between us grow deeper

Today’s earworm comes courtesy of my Bestest, who put lyrics from Dave Matthews Band’s “Ants Marching” in his Facebook Status this morning. While “the week ends, the week begins” is probably appropriate for going back to work after a long weekend, the song is now stuck in my head. Thanks for that.

The rest of the song resonates for different reasons. I just finished an intriguing book that talks, among other things, about not communicating effectively with others. In “The Four Agreements”, author Don Miguel Ruiz advocates not making assumptions about what someone else is thinking. Talk about it. What an easy yet complicated solution to so many of life’s problems.

Right now I’m watching a relationship between two people further disintegrate. So many of their problems are caused by not communicating effectively. And yet, I don’t think that I could ever get them to the point of just sitting down together and talking. They go through this cycle over and over. It’s nothing new. Somehow, the love in their relationship triumphs and they stay together. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part and what they really do is just settle. The crisis passes and they go back to their old ways. There’s no joy in watching this process.

So I’ve resolved that things will be different for my kids. They’ll understand that sometimes my husband, their father, my Bestest friend, and I argue. We have differences of opinion. We do things differently. We see things differently. They’ll see also that we discuss these things so that we understand each other. They’ll know that we respect each other’s right to have different opinions, different thoughts, different feelings. They’ll know that You are not Me (but that’s another song for another day).

I can’t fix my parents’ relationship. That’s not for me to do – it’s up to them. What I can do is love them both equally. I can’t choose sides. I shouldn’t have to. I can, however, honor what they’ve taught me about life and ensure that my kids grow up in a better world than I did. “We all do it the same way” – but I don’t have to. I choose to live a life of joy.

Turn Some Pages

Oh, poor neglected blog – another victim of my ADD-addled existence. But there’s hope yet – November is National Blog Posting Month. The idea is that I’ll post every day and make it a habit. It’s a worthy goal, right?

The first of the month always feels like a fresh start anyway. You get a new calendar page and 30ish days to get things done before the next one pops up. In reality, life just keeps coming at you until it doesn’t anymore. We just periodically have an opportunity to pretend to press the Reset button. Except the Reset button doesn’t actually work. The past still exists. You can’t change it or obscure it. You can only remember it and deal with it.

I prefer to press Play on some type of music. What that music is depends on how I feel. Today? “Roll With the Changes” by REO Speedwagon. “So if you’re tired of the same old story, oh, turn some pages.” There’s no Reset button needed – just make a change. Some change. Any change. My choice. Kinda like a jukebox of life.