Running on Empty

September 24, 2012

Serenity Stewart sang in her minivan. Occasionally, she’d step in front of a choir and do the same. But for years she hid her secret gift of song, in which she had been classically trained, just to get by.

With four children to raise on her own, she kept her creative self locked away while she did what she needed to do. Working as an office administrator for a busy health care practice, Serenity ran a tight ship, always looking after others.

But that creative self needed to live. It took Serenity’s nearly dying to breathe life back into it.

In July 2005 she suffered a brain aneurysm that left her bleeding out of her nose and even her eyes. As she lay on the cold ER table, her last view was of the gorgeous doctor with tan, tight arms scrubbing up for surgery.

“God, this can’t be my last vision,” she spoke to the sky. “Look at how beautiful this doctor is. I’ve got some unfinished business to do!” It was this sense of humor that got her through the next months of recovery. For the first time in her life, she started to strip away the layers of “mainstream” as she calls it to really live. In an act of self-discovery, she began to realize that an empty vase has the most potential.

“Every possibility starts with courage,” she told me over the phone. She took a year off and sailed around the world. She discovered her passion for deep sea fishing and even caught a marlin off the coast of San Diego. She literally emptied herself out to start anew.

Serenity now sings jazz reminiscent of the 1940s. Hers is sultry music that speaks of a long-lost era of community and togetherness. At the end of September she will start her P.S. I Love You tour, which will land her in Paris next March (yes, I’ll be going!).

Music helps her and her audience tune into the healing energy that only music can bring. It is a meditation, and a dedication, to life.

Listen to one of her songs today. You will be glad you did!

Silence is a rarity in our 24/7 world. Enjoy The Soothing Sound of Silence audio post. To listen, click on the link, and you should automatically be able to hear it. If not, right click the link, then save to your desktop to listen on your own audio software.

Dust in the Wind

July 23, 2012

Sometimes all we are is dust in the wind, as Kansas rightly sings. The first time I heard that song was at a talent show when I was ten years old. A few friends of my sister sang it. The message stuck with me all these years.

As you glide through this life, ask yourself, are you really dust in the wind? Or are you perhaps the wind itself? Or are you both?

Ride that wind and see where it takes you, my dear friends. It is worth the journey.

Playing for Change

July 22, 2012

It is true that once you leave home, you never really fully return because a part of you is left with the people you meet along the way. If that is so, I have my heart scattered on five continents.

But what is also true is that music can bring the world together, even when the actual musicians live far apart.

PlayingForChange.com is a movement that brings musicians together from around the world. They all perform the same song, in harmony, at the same time. And get this: Timeless Media is their for-profit arm that funds the project.

It goes something like this:

 

So you see. It doesn’t really matter if loved ones are far away. There is always a way to connect through technology. Of course, the real thing is good too!

The title caught your eye, didn’t it? Not all things that are worthwhile have to come slowly. And although I am dedicated to the power that slow brings, I’m equally committed to human happiness. And I mean for everyone.

You can experience instant joy by doing a few simple things. So in true slow style, I offer you five methods to attain more joy in every day situations.

  1. Traffic jams. Instead of beating yourself over the head that you took the slow lane and are now trapped on the road, take a look at all the other cars in line with you. They want to get to their destination too. Smile at someone you pass. They just might smile back. Joy points: 2+
  2. “I’m late” syndrome. While we all like to be on time, life gets in the way sometimes. So if you are going to be late to an appointment, call or text the person and let them know. Chances are they’ll be equally relieved to have a few minutes to breathe themselves. If you are going to be late for an event, trust that the Universe has your back and is aligning with what is meant to be. And remember: there’s really no such thing as late: you arrive at the right time, every time. Joy points: 1+
  3. The sound of music. Listen to your favorite tunes. A good song can boost your mood in no time. Joy points: 2+
  4. Acceptance. You might find this hard to believe, but accepting that some people in your life aren’t going to change can liberate you to focus on what they can do. While I do not condone abusive behavior (and if you find yourself in that situation, please ask for help), your quirks make you the person you are. This rule applies to everyone. Joy points: 3+
  5. Gratitude. I once thanked a person who said she could never be my friend for teaching me so much about communication. She didn’t get it, but it made me feel better as I left the situation. Gratitude can heal the weirdest of circumstances. Joy points: off the charts!

So now I’m going to tell you a little secret. To unlock your joy, look at your attitude. A good attitude will give you the altitude to stand above anything life throws at you.

I’m feeling a little joy high right now. Are you?

Biding Your Time

July 8, 2012

After attending a recent concert of international singers at my daughter’s school, I am convinced that music can heal the world. You can’t help but feel touched when voices rise up like that. Just try to listen to soul, for instance, and try not to be moved by it.

Music can also help us with hard times. We have all had the experience of waiting for someone we love; whether it’s because they are overseas in the military, on travel or simply live far away.

Busby Marou sings of it in his song, “Biding My Time”. It’s lovely and reminds me of the songs by Jack Johnson.

Enjoy!

As I have already said in an earlier blog post, “The Soundtrack of Our Lives”, music is the sonorous accompaniment of our days. It’s the grease that oils your remembering machine: the oh-my-god effect when you hear a song hidden in your history, somewhere buried deep down in a place only music can touch.

It permeates your skin. It penetrates your soul. Music is the balm to give you back your bounce.

So as you embark on our summer journey (or winter for you lovely folks in the Southern Hemisphere), consider putting together a mix of music to keep you company. Whether you’re on the subway or cruising down the autobahn, there is nothing like jamming to good tunes. Need inspiration? Everyone has their own tastes, but here are some of my favorite albums currently:

Looking 4 Myself (Usher)

Making Mirrors (Gotye)

Go (Vertical Horizon)

Here and Now (Nickelback)

What are some of your favorites? Please share because I’m in love with iTunes and need to feed that relationship!