Sometimes you have to get out of your head

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When Lara and I were running our business together, we started buying Leonie Dawson's journals to help us think about the previous year and plan for the new year. I've stopped buying them now because I never really have time to finish them and that bothers me irrationally. They're great tools to get you thinking about how things went, what you'd change and how you want to move forward. I did best with it the first year we got them. 

But my favorite part was a really short section that asked for a list of five things to do when a break is needed. The concept of identifying a finite list of ways to get out of work mode so I could return to a more productive head space was kind of revolutionary for me.

Since I'm going through my 52 Lists for Happiness in my own little way here on the blog, I immediately thought of that list when I came to the assignment about things that help you get out of your head. So, here goes:

  • Stories are the best way for me to turn off all the noise around me. I can escape into a book and let everything else fall away. (I try not to let it fall so far that the laundry doesn't get done.)
  • Music is so healing. I can be frustrated or mad and a fun song with a great beat will take me to a whole new space where I can relax and stop stressing.
  • Those days when you're hyperventilating and wondering how you're going to manage situations, there's nothing like having a chat or a glass of wine with a good friend. 
  • Taking a long walk helps me wake up when I need a jolt of coffee. And it can help me get out of a room so I can get out of my head when I really need to.
  • Movies and TV shows that have great storylines can be just as effective as a book for providing a vehicle to another world that doesn't share the same worries.
  • Getting immersed in creative writing can get me well and truly lost in another world. Unfortunately, it's not such a great way to pause work for only a short time unless that means hours or days.

I'd love to say I knit or crochet to escape, but I'm not consistent at practicing or even good at either one. I do both on occasion anyway. The jury's still out on whether such crafty activities are true escapism for me. I think I might be entertaining a fruitless idea that I'll one day be somewhat decent and grow to love them. I probably need to embrace my non-crafty status and stop buying yarn.

Please throw your own suggestions for getting out of your head in the comments - anything that works for you might help someone else. (Like moi.)

Day 13 - A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days. (write a letter.)

Photo Credit: Kym Shumsky (Relishing.ca)It’s been over a year since I started this meme and I’m not even halfway through. Partially because I decided I was going to do as I was inspired to and I think that’s okay. The other part is because there are many prompts after the first few that I’m just not that into.

I can’t tell you why this particular prompt isn’t inspiring me. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like writing a letter. I don’t. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to detail the tough days. Definitely don’t. The problem isn’t that I don’t have a deep connection to music (at times) that helps me get through my own emotions. I definitely do.

Maybe it’s a fear of vulnerability. Tough times in life that you remember through music can be hard to dredge up. Putting those times out there in a blog post for the world to see allows people to come in to a place I’m not sure I want to invite people.

What if they don’t like the band I mention?

What if the songs that touched me are songs they hate?

What if I can’t handle sharing that part of my self?

My likes and dislikes in music are very personal. I can take teasing about liking certain groups, but one that is connected to an emotional event isn’t something I want to take a chance on. Not now.

So, I’ll share a song that got me through the waiting to move to Canada - a song that Matt (ironically) cannot stand. :) Those were tough days for more reasons than just the pending move. But every time I listened to this CD and heard this song, I danced around my house doing housework, nodding my agreement. I knew it was time to go, but I was truly “weighed by the chains that keep me hangin’ around” (mainly the lack of a permanent resident visa):

Do you have a song that got you through a tough time? Does it feel too personal to share?

Day 26 - Music is Powerful (#reverb11)

Music is powerful - Think of one song that you turn to time and again, and describe why it’s important to you.  - Think of one song that you turn to time and again, and describe why it’s important to you.

 *****

I used to think that music was my passion. I believed that it was with such intensity that I embarked on a music education degree that was misguided but taught me a lot about myself. The first and foremost being that I am not a musician in the artistry sense of the word. I am somewhat technically proficient (or once was), but not nearly good enough to teach others music.

There’s never been any one song I’ve turned to in my entire life to fill an emotional need. For a lot of years I couldn’t have even pinpointed a particular band or artist that was a favorite. I can now. From the first time I heard Yellow and with each successive release, so much of Coldplay’s music speaks to me in a very personal way, but there is still no one song that stands out above all the others. They are the only band whose albums I buy every time they release a new one.

I am a music lover. I appreciate the message, the medium, the universality of its reach. Maybe that’s why narrowing down to one song is so hard. It’s taken my 34 years to identify a favorite band. Maybe in another 34 years I can figure out a song to answer this prompt with.

He did NOT learn that from me!

This morning, Matt, Brandon and I got in the car and pulled out of the driveway. I was focused on chugging coffee, so I wasn’t paying much attention to what was playing on the stereo. Brandon, however, always pays attention. He’s a music and movie junkie - we could very well be raising a child who is channeling my younger brother’s interests in spite of the fact that the two have never even met.

I’ve done my best to introduce Brandon to good quality movies and music. Content that I can be proud for him to enjoy and know. I want him to have every opportunity to learn to appreciate the finer talented artists out there and eschew those that do not measure up.

Imagine my shock when Brandon requested that we start over the song and my consciousness slowly - I was still drinking my coffee, remember? - realized that it was a NICKELBACK song! How has this happened!? Who infected my precious little boy’s brain with that…that…<insert appropriate distasteful word here> band!?

I’ll tell you who. 

It was Matt.

He likes that…that…<you know the drill> band.

Ugh.

Now I have to reprogram him and counteract the damage that’s been done. I can’t let my son to listen to Nickelback and get the idea they’re good. Mom don’t let sons do that. Nor do friends let friends or any other applicable relationship of influence over musical tastes.

Excuse me while I go delete and purge all Nickelback from the server in this house and restore order to my world.

I am a hopeless romantic and not ashamed of it

Friday afternoon, I checked my Facebook and one of my friends had posted a link to this video:

Since Ben Folds is one of my favorite artists, I started checking out other videos of his West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) performances, as well as some of the old Ben Folds Five videos. He's such an amazing musician and songwriter. (I have to say that I am a total sucker for orchestra arrangements with popular musicians.)

I used to have The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, but it was stolen out of my car several years ago and I actually "forgot" about him. Since I haven't followed his music for a while, I missed the song "The Luckiest" and after hearing it once, I was hooked. It is a beautiful song that encompasses how I feel about my husband better than I ever could.

The Luckiest

I don't get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday

And I know
That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

What if I'd been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a wide sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize

And I know
That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

I love you more than I have ever found a way to say to you
Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep

And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know
That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest


This is a live performance Ben did as part of the tour with WASO mentioned above.

This song just makes me happy. See? Hopeless romantic; that's me and I doubt I'm gonna change (nor do I want to).