31 Day Music Challenge: Day 24 A Song That You Want to Play At Your Funeral

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space (Photo credit: Sweetie187)

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“Holy Now” by Peter Mayer is a song that I would want someone to play at my funeral (preferably on the acoustic guitar).  I got stuck on this question because funeral songs are usually about saying goodbye or religious songs in my experiences.  Goodbye songs would be for other people to pick I think, so I picked this song because of the essence of the meaning behind the poetry is an outlook on life that I would like people to remember about me and carry on to their own lives.  It’s not a religious song per se, but it references religion and contrasts the childhood experience of going to church where we learn that once a week we worship to the idea of seeing every day life as worship and finding the divine in everything around us.  It very clearly sums up my religious beliefs.  “Wine from water is not so small, but an even better magic trick is that anything is here at all” is one of my favorite lines from the lyrics.  I’ve written before about my experiences with religion and my scientific philosophy. If you’re interested, here are the links:

Science Saved My Soul

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

30 Days of Truth: Day 5 Something You Hope to Do in Your Life

The lyrics to this song are a reminder to look at the miracle of life with humility and to see the beauty everywhere around us.  I don’t know what happens after death, but I do know that life goes on.  It’s amazing to think about the vastness of the universe and the diversity of life on this planet.  If our spirits do transcend to other realms or reincarnate to new beings that will be incredible.  It’s all a big mystery, and I would hope to leave behind that feeling of awe and wonder in those I knew and loved.

“When I was a boy, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
And everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

When I was in Sunday school
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
And I remember feeling sad
That miracles don’t happen still
But now I can’t keep track
‘Cause everything’s a miracle
Everything, Everything
Everything’s a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn’t one

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I’m swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven‘s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child’s face
And say it’s not a testament
That’d be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it’s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can’t be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now
It used to be a world half-there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now”

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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Self Care Sunday: Things happy people do differently.

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I found this list and think it offers many ideas on how to take care of ourselves. A few points resonate with me as things I am working on these days.

1. Express gratitude: We can always find reasons to complain, but it’s more of a challenge to be thankful for everything we do have instead of always wanting more.

Looking back over the years since I became a stay home mom, this idea helps me to appreciate the opportunity to stay home instead of going to work and being stressed out all the time. When I have laundry and dishes to do, I feel happier when I look at the chores with gratitude. I am thankful to have a family to take care of and the time to do it. Many women wish they could have children but can’t. Many women wish they could stay home and not work. Although I feel pain most days, I’m thankful I can walk, talk, see, hear, swim and do yoga. Other people have physical problems way worse than mine.

3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparisons: Man, that’s a tough one for me. I’m definitely an over-thinker. And I’m definitely aware of social comparisons. Even when I try not to think that way, someone else will remind me how I am different from most people. And the over-thinking? Well that’s one reason I have a blog. It helps to get my thoughts out so they aren’t just bouncing around in my brain. I’m also a deep thinker, so on a daily basis I have to remind myself not to worry about the unexplainable mysteries of life and to try not to worry about all the horrible things that could happen to me, my husband, or my kids. I infer things when I probably shouldn’t. I get my feelings hurt easily. And once you’ve crossed me, things are never the same. (See #7.)

5. Nurture social relationships: I am a social being. I knew that a long time ago. Since I moved to Texas though, I’ve been suffering from square peg in a round hole syndrome, so to speak. Although it’s easy to isolate myself, I’ve been making a point recently to nurture more relationships with my girlfriends. Spending quality time with the few friends I do have is important to me and gives me things to look forward to.

7. Learn to forgive: It sounds easy in theory and always makes sense. Taking the high road is always the answer no matter what the problem. But there are certain relationships where I have difficulty walking the walk. I know I should forgive, but I have to work past my pride and hurt to do it. I have to learn to forgive although it doesn’t mean the other person was necessarily right. But I do see that holding on to grudges can be toxic, so I am trying one day at a time.

8. Increase flow experiences: I love this one. It’s so important. And I’m happy to report that I do find myself caught up in the flow with certain experiences. It doesn’t happen as much as I’d like it to, but hey one little step at a time, right? When do I experience going with the flow and get so immersed in the activity that I don’t think about anything else? When I’m playing guitar, riding my bike, doing yoga, meditating, and tutoring math. There is nothing like getting caught up in an activity that brings happiness.

11. Practice spirituality: I don’t really practice religion because it pushes buttons from my upbringing when I had Christianity shoved down my throat. But, over the years I’ve learned to appreciate other ways of thinking (like Eastern religions) and have developed a universal view to our existence. I do understand that we are tiny specks of life in a planet in a universe surrounded by space. I’m humbled by my place in the universe, and I do realize that while my life seems so important to me, that I am just a miniscule part of life in the bigger picture. Instead of professing that I know the answers to life and death, I’m learning to accept not knowing. I am learning to trust that life is a process that will continue long after I’m gone, and it brings me some peace to know it’s all part of a bigger picture that I have no control over. All I can do is focus on living my life one day at a time and hope to make some kind of difference in the world while I am here.

What items on this list resonate with you? How are you taking care of yourself today?

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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My Experiences with a Ouija Board

Have you ever used a Ouija board? Although its a cardboard board game made by Hasbro, it claims to allow users to commune with the Spirit world. There is a game board with every letter of the alphabet as well as numbers, hello, goodbye, yes, and no. Players touch a plastic piece, and it moves around the board to spell out answers to questions. People use them to talk to the dead. Ouija boards open up a door to the world beyond ours, and people can supposedly communicate with spirits.

I played with Ouija boards when I was in college. I played with friends at school in Lexington, VA, and I played with friends on visits to my childhood home in Springfield, VA. I was open to the idea but recognized the probability that of one of my friends pushing the plastic piece around.

Things changed for me when one particular spirit consistently started talking to me. It kept spelling out SUSU (I went by Susie back then). I would ask, “who is this?” And it would answer, “SATAN.” Freaked out? Yes. But I thought my friends were probably messing with me. Then the same thing happened with different friends in Lexington while I was at college. I played with entirely different people and didn’t tell them about what happened at home. I didn’t understand how the same thing could happen with entirely different people. And I know I wasn’t doing it.

Then one night, I woke up with half my bedroom on fire. I fell asleep with a candle lit. It was on top of a speaker with a bandana under it like a little table cloth. Don’t hate-I was in college. I also had a tie-dyed tapestry hanging from the wall and some dirty laundry on the floor by the speaker. All of it was on fire, speaker and everything. Adrenaline pumping, I called 911, woke my roommate and got out of the apartment. I think four fire trucks arrived on the scene. It was quite a scare.

The next time I played with the Ouija board was the very last time I ever played or will play again in my life. Again, ‘SATAN’ contacted me and called me ‘SUSU.’ Then it said, “FIRE LAVA HAHA’ over and over again. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

I packed it up and went to the back of the apartment building and threw it in the dumpster.

Real or not, it freaked me out. I can’t explain what happened.

I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts, but I also don’t think there is evidence against the possibility of ghosts. So who knows? I just know I’m staying away from Ouija boards!
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Pain is a Pain

I suffer from chronic pain and have seen all kinds of practitioners over the years without much relief. I am addressing the problem from every possible angle including alternative medicine. I go to PT and workout at the gym on a regular basis, but over the years my gym activities have changed to accommodate my need for low impact, low resistance exercises. I’m trying to find that fine line between resting and strengthening without injury.

Physically, my body has been through a lot. Sixteen surgeries, including five on my abdomen and seven on my right leg have resulted in weakness and dysfunction in many areas. I’ve had three children and am turning forty-five this year. I know I have a lot to be grateful for including the fact that my body has produced three kids, and I can walk, swim and do yoga. I do miss the old days when I was strong enough to hike, mountain bike, rock climb, ski, run, and jump. Those days seem like forever ago. But I appreciate the memories of many adventures.

Working out can cause pain flare ups. Rest causes weakness and stiffness. Every day, I work on stretching and some kind of light activity. All I can do is take things one at a time.

I’ve always been a fan of massages and get them at least monthly to decrease muscle spasms. I discovered a place in town that provides Chinese foot reflexology and full body massages. The therapist told me my channels are blocked and that I think/worry too much. The idea is that if the brain is over active, it overloads the nervous system, and the body breaks down on many levels.

I’m becoming increasingly interested in alternative medicine like acupuncture. I first tried it in 1989 for pelvic pain. It didn’t help because I had a dermoid tumor the size of a grapefruit. I had surgery to have it removed.

My new acupuncturist told me my chi (energy) was blocked too. She opened up some chakras (energy centers) and has been using both needles and cupping to help increase circulation and remove toxins. I’ve never tried cupping before, but I thought it was interesting how my left shoulder area left lots of dark marks, and the right didn’t. The dark marks indicate where there are more toxins, and my left shoulder area has been flared up for weeks now after hurting it somehow doing side planks at PT.

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I first started seeing the acupuncturist more than a year ago on a referral from my ankle surgeon. I had two ankle surgeries, and there is a lot of scar tissue. I saw her for a while and then returned this month to follow up on back pain. She’s awesome! Check her out at… http://www.points4health.com

In Chinese medicine, they study the tongue. Check out this picture and see what tongue matches yours.

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Last year, I had the Yin deficiency tongue. I’ve focused on adding more yin to my life since then. I go to yin yoga class at the gym every week and love the inward focus and calming effects. This year, I have the Qi deficiency tongue (teeth marks and everything). It goes with being tired all the time and not having a good chi flow.

And by the way, can I say that tongues are weird?! Have you ever stopped to examine your tongue? They are weird. And they are always in motion. Just try to make yours hold still.

Anyway, at PT this week, my therapist asked if I have ever had my hormones checked. I didn’t know hormones could affect pain. I had hormone testing once in 2000 when I had spinal fractures and was diagnosed with osteopenia (low bone density). All my hormone levels were fine then. But I’m a lot older now, so it’s something to consider I guess.

I saw a chiropractor today and failed his applied kinesiology tests for adrenal function. I did a little Internet research and fit the description pretty well. Apparently the adrenal glands are what our bodies use to respond to stress. And he said I need cortisol testing. Cortisol is a hormone that’s produced in excess when we are stressed. And it causes widespread inflammation. So, I made an appointment for hormone testing including cortisol. He also told me to take these supplements.

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Vitamin B-12
Adrenacalm
Fish oil
Bamboo powder (to calm down my reactions to food sensitivities).

Check out these beads he put on my ears too.

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My right eat has two sets of beads; one for my back and one for my knee. And my left ear has one set of beads for my shoulder. They are accu-beads placed on acupuncture spots with clear tape on top. I’m supposed to leave them there until they fall off (1-2 weeks). They are a bit tender, but they said if they are tender they are working and to leave them there!

I’ve also been focusing more on meditation and calming my energy. After getting feedback that I think and worry too much, I learned I need to spend less time thinking about the past and worrying about the future. I strive to find calm energy and live in the moment. It helps.

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Thanks for reading. Peace out.

Life of Pi

I saw Life of Pi again today. My oldest daughter hadn’t seen it yet, and my two younger kids and I wanted to see it again. After reading the book and seeing it twice, I wanted to write a response to the story and what it said to me.

I loved how it mixed non-fiction with fiction and all the spiritual metaphors. It’s an incredible, unbelievable story told by the main character who survived against the odds. The story is framed as one that will make people believe in god. He is narrating the story to a friend of a friend, an author looking to write an incredible story.

Pi said we don’t know god until someone introduces him to us. Pi is born Hindu, but is also inspired by Christianity and Islam. His dad tells him to start with rational thinking and what science has proven. Believing in everything is like believing in nothing.

A common theme was appreciation of the diversity of life. Pi’s family owned a zoo with a plethora of creatures. When he survived the shipwreck during his family’s move from India to Canada, he found himself alone at sea with a tiger, hyena, zebra, and an orangutan.

Pi had compassion for animals and saw their souls in their eyes. His father told him he was only seeing his own emotions reflected in the animals’ eyes. He saved the tiger from drowning and said sorry to a fish he killed to feed it.

The tiger, Richard Parker, ate the other animals. He and Pi learned to coexist during their twenty seven days at sea. They faced life threatening hunger and thirst and were overwhelmed by the power of the stormy seas.

Pi surrendered to god, having lost everything. He didn’t give up hope.

Once he surrendered, the storm passed and the boat washed up on a carnivorous island. Beautiful and teeming with life during the day, it became acidic and brought death to the animals at night. After some rest, hydration, and nutrition, he decided to get back on the life boat. He didn’t leave Richard Parker behind because it would have meant killing him.

They finally washed up on a Mexican shore. Pi was so weak he could barely hold his head up. Richard Parker jumped off the boat, walked to the forest, and paused for a few moments and gazed into the forest. Pi hoped the tiger would turn around and look at him and was disappointed when he didn’t. After everything they endured together, he wanted some closure, an end, before he disappeared so unceremoniously into the forest.

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