Sunday, January 23, 2011

Life on Shuffle...December 7, 2008

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately. It has been some very diverse music. Some would be described as depressing. Other music would be described as peppy, fast, slow, hyper, trance, techno, and on and on the list of descriptions and genres would go until you’ve covered pretty well everything except for Polka. But pulling the focus back on the stuff people would be calling depressing… Sarah McLachlan, Anna Nalick, Michelle Branch, Sarah Bareilles, and on and on that list goes too. I will admit. On the surface, some of their music is pretty sad, and depressing. But, that’s simply a matter of interpretation.

I know I tend to come back to music, but perhaps there’s a reason for that. As some people may know, I was in piano lessons for a while when I was a kid, and then a rather unfortunate incident happened which left me having to drop out of lessons. For a lot of kids, that would be a blessing, but for me, talk about a curse. While I’ll admit, I didn’t much care for my music exams, the very act and art of playing was a balm. It helped bring order to my thoughts, and helped me keep focused in school. I loved the very act and art of playing. Learning to complexities of the music, and overcoming the thought that “I’ll never be able to do that” and then nailing it. A perfect run through. Knowing that, while I may not have written the music, the music came from inside me. It was some other person’s words, but it was presented by my soul, through my hands. Me. Mine. No one else’s.

I look at my hands now, from back then. My fingers are more twisted now. The articulation is still not what it was before I nearly shattered my hand. The reflexes are not sharp enough to go back to exams, and I know enough to teach myself now. Every so often, when I’m near a keyboard, or a piano, I’ll sit or stand there, and just play. Sure, it may just be scales. Or maybe just some chords. But even the simplicity of them, I can still put my own twist. Variable time measures, emphasis, soft notes, sharp notes, discordant notes, anything that I can do to the music to make it mine, even the simplest of it. It doesn’t make me feel powerful, or in charge, or anything half assed crap like that. What does it make me feel then you might be wondering? That answer is going to sound odd, and perhaps flawed. Which is perfect, seeing as I am odd and flawed. Everyone is after all. I just take much delight in this fact. But it makes me feel creative, happy, open, honest, I feel that pump of blood that normally only comes from driving a really nice car really fast on the 401. I know, it’s odd that simply playing a few notes can give you that rush, but I’m not a normal person.

I am flawed, eccentric, happy, sad, angry, bold, strong, weak, ugly, beautiful, mild, wild, boring, interesting, but most importantly. Absolutely, and MOST importantly, I am me. There are people out there who try to distract my focus from that detail. That try and turn my head, and follow the herd. They seek to quiet my voice, or beat me down until I feel so sad or depressed that I can’t or won’t fight back. I am man enough to admit that there have been times in recent history where that’s been a danger, and it’s almost succeeded. Okay, maybe in the grand scheme of things they were nowhere near, but for me to let it get to the point where I was able to notice that their efforts were having an effect…well…that’s epic.

So, how does this bring me back to my latest musical selections? Simple. In nearly all music that is out there, there is a message inside that we can use to bolster our strength, steel our resolve, soften our hearts, or open our eyes. Sometimes, it’s just to breathe, or not settle for the next best thing. Other times, it is putting in words what we need from someone. But most importantly, it’s the sound track of our lives. Nearly ever person I’ve spoken to and asked at random, “What song can you just not be without right now.” It can change day to day, but about 85% of the people I’ve asked, have a song for me.

I’ve received some private messages from people lately with some of the blogging I’ve been doing. Seeing and making sure I’m doing well, and all that sort of thing. And in interests of answering these people, I’m just sayin’ this. Thank you, for your concern about me and my well being. But, even as sad as the tone of these may be at times, I don’t think I’ve actually been this good for years. Yes, it is true, I have been doing some soul searching lately, but every so often, that a good thing to do. Like emotional spring cleaning. Going through everything, and letting go of the stuff we don’t need. And sometimes, letting it go can hurt, and be painful. We have to let go of the bad, no matter how hard it is. It can be rough, and gut wrenching, even though we know it has to be done. That’s why I like pouring it out on paper. To release myself of it, to stand back, and look at things objectively. As much as we let things go, they still linger with us. The important thing is being able to look at our baggage, and see it, not as an insurmountable dilemma, but objectively and realize that yes, there may be this tremendous mountain of stuff sitting infront of us, but there is nothing you can’t do, if you just work at it.

How do you eat an entire elephant? One bite at a time.

So, in the tremendous shit storm that is my life from time to time, even if my notes don’t touch on the actual problem, they still serve to help me take the next bite. Just like music was for me, writing is for me now. I take the risk, and pour my heart and soul into these words, and publish them for everyone to see, to comment on. To analyze, or criticize, or compliment. And does it make me nervous? Or scared? Hell yes it does. Which is all the more reason to do it.

Now that we have reached the end of this train of thought, and taken a few interesting diversions, I ask you, what song can you just not be without right now. Feel free to post it as a comment, or send as a private message. If you want to say why, then please do. If you don’t, then no sweat.

And now, in parting, I leave you with this thought.

Every life we touch is left altered by our presence. Whether it is good, or ill, that is up to you to decide. Those who openly welcome you into their lives…move softly. You already walk within their heart. And those with whom you join over time? Feel the joy of having made a difference in their life.

So, my friends…the ball is now in your hand. What is the Soundtrack to your Life?

Recommended Listening List:

This is what I was listening to while I wrote this note. Some beautiful, some heart wrenching, and some that hold a meaning that only I’ll understand. Remember. I’ve been listening to these all with a smile, there is no sadness here.

Breathe (2 A.M.) – Anna Nalick
Strong Enough – Sheryl Crow
Fairytale – Sarah Bareilles
When I Grow Up – The Pussycat Dolls
The Game of Love – Michelle Branch and Santana
Everywhere – Michelle Branch
Near You Always – Jewel
Full of Grace – Sarah McLachlan
Blackbird – Sarah McLachlan’s cover
The Path of Thorns (Terms) – Sarah McLachlan

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