The Power of Music

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

– Aldous Huxley


My friend Tam sent me a beautiful video recently about the power of music.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I was thinking about it yesterday during a Creative Empowerment Workshop that Deb and I were running – I looked around watching the participants do their art, all listening to music.  Many were listening to the music that we supply, softly playing in the background; a few others had their own music playing on their ipods, but everywhere I looked people were immersed in some sort of music.  Near the end of the workshop, one participant said: “I really like the music you play during the workshop, I feel calm when I listen to it.”

Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”  Too harsh perhaps?  But reading this article in one of my favorite blogs, Daily Good, I am moved to see Nietzsche point.  The article describes music “bridging life and death.”  It is an interview with the woman who founded  The Threshold Choir, Kate Munger.  In the article Munger describes the beginning of The Threshold Choir.

“In November of 1990 I was invited to spend a day with a friend of mine who was dying of HIV Aids. He was comatose, but very agitated.  I sat down by his bedside and didn’t know what to do. I waited and waited. All I knew to do, to calm myself, was to sing. So I sang one song and I sang it for two hours. I sang it over and over again. I watched his breathing slow, and he got much calmer. And I got much calmer, because it was a song that was really soothing to me personally. So as I got comfortable, he got comfortable and at the end of the experience I felt like I’d touched something very deep.”

Attached is the video that Tam emailed to me.  A lovely representation of the power of music.

Please let me know your thoughts on this video, and I’d love to hear any stories you have about the Power of Music in your life.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

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Making positive changes that last!

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”

– Bo Bennett


I am reading the most wonderful book at the moment!  I am amazed I haven’t come across it before, but as I wrote in a previous post:

When the student is ready, the teacher appears  . . . I guess I wasn’t ready yet.

The book is called The Winner’s Bible by Dr. Kerry Spackman.  It is an inspirational book about “Rewiring your brain for permanent change.”  Because Dr. Spackman is a neuroscientist, he includes very relevant information about how the brain works and how to work with your brain to make positive changes that last.  The first portion of the book is devoted to helping individuals make their own Personal Winner’s Bible.  It was so fun to make!  I had a blast.  And it was different than other vision boards that I’ve made, which have felt very static.  This felt vibrant and alive!  I felt inspired, motivated and creative.  Thus Bo Bennett’s quote – Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.

You can find this book at betterworldbooks.com.  Better world books is a wonderful site to buy books!  Not only do they ship worldwide for FREE, but they also donate to literacy projects worldwide with every purchase made.  It is truly a phenomenal site, one well worth supporting!

Interestingly, Dr. Spackman is a New Zealander.  It’s inspiring to see a fellow Kiwi out there doing this work.  The attached video is an interview with Dr. Spackman on a NZ news program.

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts on this interview, and I’d love to hear from any of you who have read The Winner’s Bible.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

More on being right or being happy . . .

“Do you prefer that you be right or happy?”

– A Course in Miracles


It’s been very interesting – I have received so many emails, Facebook comments, Twitters and personal conversations about my last post – Right or Happy?  Not always an easy decision.  It seems to have touched a chord in many people.  As a matter of fact, one article claims that this is the most quoted line from A Course in Miracles.

Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” This is surely one of the most frequently quoted lines in the Course, especially when Course students are engaged in a debate of some sort. When someone expresses a strong conviction—a belief that he or she is right about something—this line is often used to suggest that being right and being happy are mutually exclusive. You can either stand up for what you believe is right or you can be happy. There is no way you can be bothright and happy; this line from the Course says that you must give up any and all desire to be right in order to be happy. It has become a part of Course lore that we can be right or we can be happy, and never the twain shall meet.”

I don’t know if that’s true, that never the twain shall meet.  But I’ve talked to so many people in the last week who claim that this was the main cause of their divorce or separation from a loved one.  I know that when Jeff and I get in arguments, we usually back ourselves into our separate corners and argue our point, trying in vain to prove we are right.  Just as an aside, I’m about 5 foot tall and Jeff is over 6 foot tall.  We had a counselor once who suggested I stand on a chair when we argue to even us up so I don’t have to look up to him when trying to prove my point.  That one act, standing on a chair, usually helps to end the argument, not necessarily so I can argue my point better, but because it makes us laugh! And this eases the way for us to come out of the respective corners that we’ve been backed ourselves into and start to communicate differently. A sense of humor makes all the difference in the world.

There is an inspiring article about being right or happy on one of my favorite blogs, Positively Positive. Well worth a read.

This little video about being right or happy is kind of fun.  (The video ended up being an advertisement for starting your own business, which I’m not advocating, but the beginning of the vid is fun anyway.)

 

 

I’d love to hear about your experiences being Right or Happy.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

Right or Happy? Not always an easy decision.

“Would you rather be right or happy.”

– Hugh Prather


I was on a beautiful bike ride yesterday on the new Hauraki Rail Trail.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and stunning.

The only problem was that on the first part of the journey, my husband Jeff and I were in an argument.  The argument wasn’t huge, it was a revisit of a common theme.  I tend to hyperbolize things . . . (OK and occasionally make stuff up to make a better story), and Jeff tends to want the TRUTH with a capital T in most situations.  On this particular occasion, I was talking about something financial, and I did a bit of spinning a tale, and Jeff reacted, in my opinion over-reacted.

I won’t bore you with details, but suffice it to say that it somewhat ruined the first half of the ride for me.  At the spot where we were going to turn around, Jeff put on his goofy grin and said, so “Do you want to be right or happy?”  Which allowed me some space to see the humor, which opened up our communication and we could talk about this latest argument.  We talked about the workshop we did with Hugh and Gale Prather in Tucson, AZ back in 1989.  It was a relationship workshop and a central theme was Right or Happy.  Sigh – I usually want both.

The important realization I had  though, was that after talking at that mid-way point on the ride, I had such a better time on the second half of the ride.  Although I didn’t prove my point and make him see that he was wrong and I was right, I was so much happier after we were able to communicate through the difficulty and move on. The ability to communicate through it was the central key.  We both listened and tried to understand the others’ point of view – not to say that the other person was right or wrong, just to understand the other side and accept it as valid for that person.

Please don’t get me wrong, this is not an easy decision, and anyone who knows me – knows that I really like to be right!  But usually (always?)  in relationships there are two sides of a story, two experiences in an argument and both are usually valid depending on which angle you are viewing it from.  And yesterday, on the bike ride I viscerally felt the feeling . . . I’d rather be happy.  But damn, it is not always an easy decision.

For those of you who have not read Notes To Myself  by Hugh Prather – it is a beautiful book, well worth a read.  Here is a very short clip by Hugh Prather about Attitudinal Healing.

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts on Hugh Prather and any experiences you have being Right or Happy.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Silence

“A moment of silence, please, for the lost art of shutting up.”

– Neil Genzlinger (American Playwrite)


I belong to a wonderful book club!  The No Guilt Book Club.  We go along to the group each month and have a glass of wine, or don’t; talk about books we’ve read, or haven’t; share some books, or don’t.  No Guilt, No Rules!  It’s fantastic!

Last night at book club, my friend Anne talked about the time she spent at Thich Nhat Hanh‘s Retreat Centre, Plum Village.  She explained that everytime a bell rang, a phone rang or any alarm sounded, everyone would take a moment to stop, be silent and mindful.  Imagine that, instead of rushing and hurrying everytime we hear a phone ring or an alarm sound to take just a split second and use that as a reminder to be silent and mindful.  When I asked her if she continued it after she left, Anne laughed and said no.  Of course not!  Who has time?  We are all so busy, who has time to take a moment to be silent every time a bell rings?

When I got home from book group last night, I got my newsletter from Daily Good.  In the email, there was a link for Fred Rogers’ (of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) acceptance speech for his Emmy for the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Now don’t get me wrong, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was never my all time favorite show, however I found this speech very moving.  He asked the audience to remember the people who had loved them into being.  What a wonderful way to put, to think about the people who have loved us into being.  He then asked the audience to take ten seconds of silence to think of the people who helped them become who they are.  It was very moving in that grand auditorium at the Emmy Awards, with everyone dressed in their finest to take a moment of  silence.  There were tears and a lot of emotion.

I don’t fool myself into thinking I will pause and be mindful every time I hear a bell in the future; but I am going to try to be silent for at least a moment every day – and to just breathe and just be, and perhaps think of the people who loved me into being.

Please take a moment to watch this speech by Mr. Rogers, and perhaps take a moment of silence to think of the people who loved you into being.

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts on this speech, and any methods you use to remind yourself to be mindful.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

Connecting the dots . . .

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”

– Steve Jobs


My son, Lukas used that quote in his speech at his high school graduation recently.  He used it in reference to looking back over his time at Thames High School, and in particular over his final year there as Head Boy.  I know I’m biased – but it was an amazing speech!  Needless to say, I was sobbing by the end.

I thought of Steve Job’s quote last night during a discussion my family and I were having after watching the movie, The Pianist.  (If there is anyone out there who has not seen this movie, it is a remarkable movie and a painful true story.)  While I was watching the movie, I was in physical pain with a knot in my stomach, wondering how it is that human beings can be so cruel to one another.  How is it possible that we can so lose sight of our unity. How can we become so polarized, so us and them oriented?

What occurred to me is that people stop Paying Attention, they stop noticing that what they are doing is so completely and humanly wrong.  And perhaps, it is only in looking back and connecting the dots, that some of us make realizations that should have been made along the way.  It is imperative that we pay attention NOW, and not look back and connect the dots and realize that we got it so very wrong.

For those of you who have not read or heard Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech at Standford, please take the time to watch this.  It is uplifting and inspiring, and will perhaps remind us not to wait too long before we connect the dots.

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts on Steve Jobs speech, and any stories you have looking back and connecting the dots.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

Versatility

“I think I’m unique to the game ’cause of my versatility.”

– Ice Cube


Thank you so much April B  for awarding me with versatility (that was unintentionally quite poetic!)

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much April B for the nomination!

 

 

 

 

So a few things about me:

  1. I have two magnificent sons, Lukas and Devin, who light up my life.
  2. I live in a wonderful home overlooking the sea with a stream in the backyard, so I am surrounded by water.
  3. I recently completed my book, A Woman’s Guide to Transformation, and it is with a publisher in the UK.
  4. I love my job.  I facilitate workshops for Figjam Workshops Charitable Trust:  http://www.figjamworkshops.co.nz/home
  5. I have dual citizenship in New Zealand and USA.
  6. I love to sit on the beach and read in the summer.
  7. I love to sit by the fire and read in the winter.

 

Next a few blogs that I think are Versatile:

Vinyl Record Face

Cultivating Ourselves, Together

SQUEEZING CREATIVITY

beatthroughthestreets

LIFE is unwritten

Mountain Top Journals

 

Thanks again April B –  I appreciate it!

 

 

Cooperation . . . we can make beautiful music together . . .

“We could make beautiful music together. “

– Gary Cooper


As I thought about my last blog post, Our Need For Connection, I started to wonder what is it that helps us connect, or fail to connect.  The first thing I thought of was communication. We need to communicate, to listen, to be present  with one another to find connection.  When we don’t communicate with respect, we fail to connect.

Someone once said: ” The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value.  Communication and respect.

And then I thought of cooperation. We need to practice cooperation, working together with respect.

I think this music video by Walk Off The Earth is a brillian example of cooperation.  The song is pretty, the words are fine – but it is the cooperation between the artists in this video that, in my opinion, is absolutely stunning!  Watch how they work together.  It is Awesome!

 

I hope you enjoy this music video, and if you hadn’t heard of Walk Off The Earth before, watch them on YouTube, they are great.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

What a Lovely Surprise!

Thank you Magnolia Beginnings for nominating me.  I am honored.

Do take the time to visit her blog, it’s inspiring and fun.  http://magnoliabeginnings.org/

 

The Rules for Award participation are:

▪   Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

▪   Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.

▪   Tell them 7 facts about yourself.

▪   Nominate 10 other blogs you like for this award.

▪   Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.

So a few things about me:

  1. I have two magnificent sons, Lukas and Devin, who light up my life.
  2. I live in a wonderful home overlooking the sea with a stream in the backyard, so I am surrounded by water.
  3. I recently completed my book, A Woman’s Guide to Transformation, and it is with a publisher in the UK.
  4. I love my job.  I facilitate workshops for Figjam Workshops Charitable Trust:  http://www.figjamworkshops.co.nz/home
  5. I have dual citizenship in New Zealand and USA.
  6. I love to sit on the beach and read in the summer.
  7. I love to sit by the fire and read in the winter.

Now I am happy to share with you some very interesting, or should I say lovely, blogs I have found and followed.

http://vinylrecordface.wordpress.com/

http://arganesh3.wordpress.com/

http://margekatherine.com/

http://sayyestohappy.wordpress.com/

http://ajourneyofthemind.wordpress.com/

http://ofloveandcreation.wordpress.com/

http://lifeisyourpieceofart.wordpress.com/

http://loismccullough.com/wp/welcomegate

http://youwerebornthatway.com/

http://ministryofhappiness.wordpress.com/

 

Thank you again Magnolia Beginnings  http://magnoliabeginnings.org/  I appreciate the award!

 

Our Need for Connection

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ”

– Herman Melville


As human beings we need connection. I believe our deepest need is to belong.

But to have true deep connection, Brene Brown explains that we need authenticity and vulnerability.  She explains that we need:

Courage – to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

Compassion – to be kind to yourself first and then to others.

Connection – as a result of authenticity, letting go of who we thought we should be in order to be who we are.

http://www.brenebrown.com/

In the following TED Talk, Brene Brown beautifully explains that we need to be vulnerable to have true connection.  We need  to let ourselves be seen as we really are; we need to love with our whole hearts even when it is hard; we need to practice gratitude and joy even when it is not easy; and finally each one of us needs to know, on that deepest level that I AM ENOUGH!

I hope you can take the time to watch Brene Brown in the wonderful video, it is uplifting and enlightening.

 

Please let me know your thoughts on this TED Talk video, and any stories you have about vulnerability and connection.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.