Thursday, August 21, 2014

Heartbreak - the great illusion

I've come to understand that heartbreak truly is a gift.

Without this feeling of pain, there's nothing to rise above.  Without this type of suffering, you can't experience the depths of your heart.

Blessed are the ones who dare to love enough to feel that kind of pain.

Heartbreak can be the best teacher we have.  If we open to it's gifts, it can show us how to become our own best friend, to heal the parts of ourselves that are still wounded and living in fear.

It truly is an opportunity to let more light and love in then before. It is a catalyst for great growth and transformation.  If you allow it, it can bring you a freedom you have never felt before.

Heartbreak, therefore, is an illusion.  Our heart is not broken, or we wouldn't be alive. It's just that the walls around our heart are coming up, and those walls are what make us ache.  If we can let those walls shatter and dissolve, that's when our heart softens and thus shines the radiant beauty of an open heart.

If we don't, then the ache remains.

That deep burning sensation in our heart during a "heartbreak" is our fear coming to the surface.  It is the anger, rejection, resentment, grief, jealousy, fear of being alone, fear of death...all of those deep feelings coming up for us to feel and move through.

When we do, resurrection is ours.

It takes bravery and courage to walk through it and feel it all...and eventually, let it go.  It takes constant vigilance not to escape by turning to a drink or food or any other vice that keeps you from feeling it. Those that stay present to the feelings are the ones who are set free.

And we all experience heartbreak.  It wears many faces; a break-up, loss of a loved one, a major disappointment, a traumatic life event, etc.  It is anything that challenges to break our spirit and block our beautiful hearts from love.

But in the end, heartbreak shows us who we really are and what we are truly capable of, if we let it.

 And if we do, we'll watch in awe as "the flowers begin to rise through the ashes."


After all of this pondering, I came to see that perhaps the word heartbreak needs to be re-defined.

Instead of it being a word that makes us feel broken, it can be a word that makes us feel like we are on the verge of something amazing. That the actual "break" is in the breaking down of the walls that try to protect our heart, not something external trying to break us down.

I say amen to that!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

dreams, decisions...and drums.

For about two months during my early twenties, I had a dream of becoming a drummer.

I remember telling my dad about it just before a trip we planned to take with a few friends to St. Thomas, and when I arrived to meet him there, he surprised me with a djembe he bought for me on the island.  I was so excited to start playing, and even more excited that he acknowledged me for my new found (and kind of random) desire.

After trying to put dreads in my hair on the trip (yes, seriously, the island ladies tried to start them for me...but after a few weeks it just turned out to be a mess :) i came back with my djembe and decided that I wanted more than just one drum...I wanted to play a full kit! So I started taking drum lessons.

It seemed like the perfect idea, because at the time I was in an acoustic duo with a friend in NYC.  We were both playing rhythm guitar, and we thought that having me on drums would put some much needed edge on our sound.  I would be like the Meg White in our little folk/rock duo :)

So my drum lessons ensued, and I believed my teacher when he told me i was actually good, and a pretty quick learner, which kept me going.

I got books on drumming and would practice at home on pillows my various rhythms, and would imagine myself onstage, tearing it up...

Then, one night, my friend told me she had a friend in Boston who was giving away his old kit.  Since I was so passionate about it at the time, and I could not wait to get it apparently, I took off for Boston (from Brooklyn) that night in my car at about 8:30pm on a serious mission. 

I drove all the way up there to his house, picked up the vintage, red, sparkly set, and drove all the way back to Brooklyn just before the sun rose.

Crazy?  Yes, a little bit I think. But, I was so stoked.  My dreams were being realized, I was manifesting my new vision quicker than i imagined. I was flying!

Then...shortly after I set up that sweet red sparkly kit in my living room...the whole thing fizzled out.

I decided to move to California, and our little duo broke up.  I ended up giving that sparkly red drum set that I had so desired to a drummer friend i knew, the same morning that I left in my car for San Diego (no room for the drums!).  It was the last thing I did before driving over the Brooklyn Bridge, heading out of NY to pick up my mom in NJ, to then head West toward California.

Fast forward many years later, I still enjoy keeping the rhythm but am far from being a drummer :)

I think about this, and all the other ideas and dreams I have had throughout my life of what I wanted to become.  I think about how I wanted to be an actress, a dancer, a writer, a photographer, a teacher, a director, and the owner of a really cool coffee shop! I've dabbled in many of these.

I think of all the times I moved, how many places, apartments, cities and countries I've lived many jobs I've had, relationships I've tried. I've been a gypsy, always moving, changing, growing, searching.

So, I am grateful that the one thing that has remained a constant for me in the last 7+ years is singing, writing and performing. I am grateful for the willingness I’ve had to continue this journey, as it has been the one thing that I’ve been able to grow inside of ~ a true path of evolution, and the one thing that "stuck" after all these years.

When i look at this picture below of me behind a drum kit late one night in Montreux during my tour, I am reminded of one of my dreams from the past.  And I see that I look really happy behind those drums...because I was.  I didn't feel as if I missed out on playing them.  I feel satisfied with the beautiful life I've created writing and singing my songs.  I am glad I stuck with that.

However, I do wonder. What would life have been like had I pursued that dream?  Could the drums possibly be another chapter in my life?

I have been writing this blog for over a week now, coming to the conclusion that drumming would not be in my future. It was a thing of the past, and an occasional and casual moment in the present. I have also been coming to the conclusion that one important lesson in my life is to stick with things...and resist the urge to constantly keep changing things up.

However, today someone asked me if I played the drums!! She suggested that I should do a White Stripes kind of a thing as a side project, like something totally unexpected for my fans.

I wanted to tell her that she should read this blog!!! I couldn't believe she asked me that, as it has been on my mind so much lately. What impeccable timing, what perfect alignment.

So...then.  Does this mean I could do both?  And does this suggest that maybe experimenting with the drums would open up a whole other side of me that I had forgotten about?  Commitment to one path surely and steadily opens up a lot of learning, but then again, so does allowing our heart to lead us into new territory.

Anyone up for giving me a drum lesson? :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Magic Numbers

Yesterday, my friend Sean told me his lucky number was 14.

"That's interesting you mentioned that," I said, "because mine is 41."

I always look at the clock at 41 after the hour...
and I seem to catch it on signs, or just in random places that i glance, and he says he does the same with 14.

Later that day, while addressing an envelope to a friend, i looked down at what I'd just written and realized my friend's house number was 4114.  Hmmmm.

Then, after 7 months of no comments on my Youtube version of #41, i received an email that afternoon with a new comment for that particular song.

Also, while sitting down to my computer in that same hour, i looked up and realized i had 1411 unread emails in my inboxes ~ i have 3 combined (and yes, i need to clean them out! :)

Then, while sharing these synchronicities with another friend, she told me she used to have an email address of:  Huh.

And finally, my friend said that on that same evening while out on a boat, he saw another boat pass by with with a big 41 on it.

So....what does it all mean?

Who knows...?!!

I do know that I will make myself crazy if I try and figure it out in my head. 

But I certainly know how it feels ~ and it feels like magic.  And it feels like i'm on the right path. And it feels like numbers are a confirmation, or a sign to say ~ wake up! We are all connected, and we are most definitely guided, if we pay attention.

So i wanted to commemorate that magic with a photo i took yesterday and make it look like how i felt ~ all warm and colorful and connected to the heavens. I wanted to create something as a reminder of that feeling.

And well...that is what we do when we get inspired...create! We touch something so powerful, we must share it, because that sweet sip of the divine needs to be expressed and...will maybe even inspire others.

And I didn't realize til just now, but it looks like there's a heart in the sky.  Perhaps its the universe's way of saying, I love you, thank you for paying attention! You are magic.

So, what's your magic number!? Have you seen it today?? Has it reminded you that you are watched over and guided by a magic hand?  Is it telling you to wake up and look at what's right in front of your eyes?

HA! at this moment of completion, i look up and it's 12:14.
 Ok, i'm done.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Peaceful Warriors

In May, I released a new video for an unreleased song, "Soldier."

The song was one of those that just came to me.  I didn't plan to write about this particular subject matter, though the message was definitely something I carried with me, and came out in this song.

As humans, I've noticed that we tend to start building walls if we get hurt in life.  After time, these walls can turn into thick armor around our hearts.  We're afraid to let love in and afraid to let love out.

Part of why we're here, I believe, is to learn how to get back to a pure and open heart.  And this, is not often easy.  It can be a struggle, a battle, a fight.  And we become like soldiers, fighting to love, to learn, to surrender.

Personally, in my own life, my armor started going up when I was 11.  My parents got divorced and I switched middle schools ~ went from private to public ~ all in the same month. It was devastating.

As a child, I enjoyed any kind of performance:  dance, singing, acting...some of which I made up myself and performed for my family on the makeshift stage in our basement.

When that fall came, when I was 11 and my parents told us they were splitting up, and I went from a small school where I was completely accepted for who i was, to a much bigger school where I was immediately teased, it crushed me.  The walls went up, the armor got thick, and I stopped being me.

That year, in 6th grade, I had a crush on a boy named TJ Anderson.  My friend, who was also into music and went to my old school, wrote a song about him for me.  One day on the playground, I sang it in confidence for my "friends." They ended up making fun of me for it and prank calling me after school to have me sing the song....they actually had TJ on the line.  It was mortifying.

It's moments like these that make us afraid to be who we are.  We get scared and retreat into a world where it's safe.  Often times, that means we have to close up a piece of our heart in order to protect it. That day I decided that singing wasn't safe.  And it wasn't long after that, that I stopped singing altogether for many years.

Coming back to music has been my heart opener, it has been my slow and steady process of allowing myself to be fully expressed in my heart again, after all these years ~ and it's still a daily process.

Life lessons on forgiveness have been my heart opener.  Often times they've led me to learn the hard way that bitterness and resentment cannot live inside a pure heart.  It takes great courage to really let go of those feelings and transform them back into love.

Learning from our triggers (the things that ignite us with emotion) ~ whether it be anger, jealousy, or sadness ~ if we are brave enough to look at WHY we feel that way and then find ways of effectively dealing with those triggers, we can be free. We can BE LOVE.

However we make our way in life, I believe it is crucial for us to be like Soldiers...or Peaceful Warriors...striving for the peace and love that we all deserve to have in our hearts. Nothing in our past was ever wrong or bad, it was just an opportunity to learn about love, no matter how difficult the lesson. 

So I invite you to look at those areas in your life where you are holding a grudge, where you are triggered by emotion, where you are "stuck" in something that doesn't serve to make you feel amazing about yourself and your life!  Also, where are you blaming someone? Can you see that it's never really about the other, and that it's about how we choose to relate to the situation?

What can you do to bring down the walls, to let more love flow in and out, to purify your heart? These are the important questions of today's world. Not ~ how much money do you make, what do you do for a living, where do you live, etc.

We are becoming a heart-centered world, so let's all take a moment to feel the power we have sitting right in our own chest, and beam our love to ourselves and on all those who cross our path.

And just think....if we are ALL Soldiers "fighting our own internal war," when each of us learns how to overcome our own personal struggles to find peace within, then...there will be peace in this world.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yoga = Unity

Last summer I traveled to Europe for an incredible tour through 7 different countries. While in Austria, my host family there was curious about yoga. Since I'd been practicing on and off for many years, I felt there were a few basics I could share.  So one evening just before the sun had set, we were out in the back yard and I led them through a few postures.

In that moment I thought to myself how wonderful it would be if I could actually lead them through a real class. The thought truly inspired me...but was not something  I really thought I could manage to make happen in my life.

Shortly after that thought, another one came. Wouldn't it be great if I had a deeper sense of my own yoga practice so that I could take it with me on the road to help keep me (and those around me) centered and balanced?  While the tour was amazing in almost every way, I had to admit the traveling was taking its toll on my well being.

When I returned back to California in the Fall, I took a class at the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, excited to try out a new studio.  I walked into The Soul for the first time, and I felt an immediate resonance with the feeling there, the people and the teachings.  I felt at home.

Soon, I was attending class almost every day - sometimes twice a day!

I thought...wouldn't it be wonderful if I could spend all day here...or even a whole week here!?

Then, I discovered their teacher training program and was excited to learn that the structure was an intensive course - perfect for someone like me with such a busy and fluctuating schedule.  That was when the butterflies began tickling my inside...and it seemed they were whispering for me to 'take this yoga training!'

I contemplated this for a few months with questions like...where would the money come from? Is now the right time? How will I use this skill in my life, and will it really be practical?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Love Remains

As songs get written, they usually start out with one thought, motivation or spark of insight, and then continue traveling and expanding into other landscapes, picking up more meanings and insights along the way.

"Love Remains" started as a song about ending a relationship with someone while still hoping to one day get back together, thinking that maybe then things would be better. Most of us have been in that place before, clinging to that hope of one day being able to make things work. Though most often we find it doesn't usually work out that way.

The song then came to reflect the peace I'd made with a different relationship in my life. One that was very difficult for me, one where I just wanted to stay angry at this person forever and never dig deep enough to find compassion and forgiveness for a person that I'd once cared so much about.

So far, its been my greatest life lesson about Love.

I truly didn't think I would regain the capacity to bring full love and forgiveness to this relationship, but there came a time where I could almost taste that residual anger like a poison, and I knew it was killing me. I knew it wasn't me.

So, after about two years of holding on, I let it go...

And finally, "Love Remains" brings a smile to my face as I remember my beautiful friend Matt. The one who was known for his LoVE sign.

His passing is a reminder that LoVE truly remains. People will come and go in our lives, all of our lives...but the LoVE of these relationships, the LoVE of our connections with each other's hearts, ALWAYS remains.

So, what about you? What does "Love Remains" mean to you?
Where in your life have you remembered or forgotten that Love remains?

Whatever the answers...they are yours to sing about.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Loving Wings

art by jon marro

Loving Wings
by Dave Matthews

My heart was made of broken bones
My Soul’s a bag of stick and stone
And out along this dusty road
You have come my love to take me home

I give to you my everything
You’ve given me these loving wings
And angels have all gathered round
to hear me sing my love out loud (oh...)

You lightly lifted me away
Out of a darkness, cold and gray
And I work beneath the midday sun
My cool blue water you have come

I give to you my everything
You’ve given me these loving wings
And angels have all gathered round
to hear me sing my love out loud (oh...)

So take your place here next to me
And I'll take my place there next to thee
And no matter how far YOU may roam
Its by your side I make my home

I give to you my everything
You’ve given me these loving wings
And angels have all gathered round
to hear me sing my love out loud (oh...)