Life Tracks – Helen Reddy… Grateful

Don't let your struggle define you.(1)

You can bend but never break me ’cause it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal. And I come back even stronger. Not a novice any longer. ‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul.

“I am grateful for my struggle.”

“Say it again,” she said.

“I am grateful for my struggle, ”  I said through my tears… and at that moment,  I truly meant it.

I am grateful for the way it has broken me wide open allowing me to see things from a depth that I didn’t have before. I am grateful that I know the darkness so that I can truly appreciate the light. And the light is so, so bright after the darkness. I am grateful for my lessons that have threatened to break me… but haven’t.

My son is an addict. There. I said it out loud. More people need to say these words without the fear of shame. There are so many of us affected by this deadly disease but no one wants to talk about it for fear of being judged. You must have been a bad parent to allow this to happen. Right? Wrong. Addiction is a disease that doesn’t discriminate – whether you come from dysfunction or harmony, it doesn’t matter. Unlike cancer or any other horrific disease,  we have to show our support by not helping… not in the usual sense of the word. This is counter-intuitive because as a mother, it is deeply instinctive to want to protect our children and to try to ease their pain. Addiction is the only disease where saying no is the antidote and turning away from the ailing is the only hope for a cure. It is a disease that magnifies the pain that the addict is so desperately trying to numb and all you can do is hope that they will finally hurt badly enough to want to help themselves… because helping themselves is the only way out.

Oh, oh, yes I am wise but it’s wisdom borne of pain. Yes, I’ve paid the price but look how much I’ve gained. If I have to, I can face anything. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.

So… yes, I am grateful for my struggle because it has made me stronger than I have ever been before. It takes a lot of strength to give up the need to control and to just trust. Trust that everything is as it should be even if it seems so. totally. messed. up. Just trust.

I will not let my struggle define me but I will allow the growth that has occurred as a result of it, to shine from me and through me, beautifully.

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Life Tracks – Colbie Caillat – Try

So often, we get caught up in what other people think and what really matters is what we think of ourselves. We are so hard on ourselves in our unattainable quest for perfection. Listen to the words to this song and be gentle with yourself.

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

Take your make up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you

I believe this song has an important message for EVERYONE and it so resonated with me that I was  inspired to create an art journal page. This is me with my make up off and my hair down. And in answer to the question… Do you like you? Yes. Yes, I do.
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Life Tracks – Natalie Merchant – Giving Up Everything

…people have this kind of primal desire and need for music to nourish them emotionally… The song is my attempt to tell myself to release the grip that I have on expectations and on notions of how things should be, and be more accepting of the way that things are.

Natalie Merchant, Spirituality and Health Magazine, July/August 2014

Natalie has done it again – her deep, contemplative lyrics combined with the unique and sultry alto that is unmistakeably hers, will have me playing this one in those soul searching moments. There is always a line or two in a song that especially resonates for me and in this one, they are “I mercy-killed my craving” and “My cursed search for meaning”.

Giving up everything
My hungry ghost of hopefulness
Giving up everything
Not haunted by wanting this

Giving up everything
The fortune I was saving
Giving up everything
I mercy-killed my craving

Giving up everything
I’ve opened up my eyes for this
Giving up everything
See the cold magnificent emptiness

Give what I want for how it is
The stone inside and the bitterness
For sweetness at the core of it

Giving up everything
The master plan, the scheming
Giving up everything
My cursed search for meaning

Giving up everything
The compass and the map I was reading
The hinterlands I’m leaving
I’m finally leaving behind

Giving up everything
The big to-do, the hullabaloo
Talk of hope for some twisted truth
For the everlasting ache of it

No longer sleep, not chained to it
No gate, no guard, no keeper
No guru, master, teacher
See the slow, see the faces
Dissolve to black, no traces