And Then I Found This

Words to Live By (Part 4)

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”― Josh Billings

Dogs make things better, as do cats I suppose, if I had a cat in my life I’m sure I would think so.  I don’t.  I have dogs.  There’s so much joy there, in their eyes and the wag of their tails.  In the leaping and barking when they stand on the greeting couch after we’ve been gone for a minute or 10 hours.  In their constant need for us, to be near us.  I love them so, and that love is pure, like their love for us is pure.  Having them is a responsibility, and a pain in the ass sometimes if I must admit, but mostly it is beautiful and their eyes speak only love.  They are pure, and remind me every day about innocence and beauty and love for loves sake.

“Sometimes life is very mean: a person can spend days, weeks, months and years without feeling new. Then, when a door opens – a positive avalanche pours in. One moment, you have nothing, the next, you have more than you can cope with.” ― Paulo CoelhoEleven Minutes

Positivity leads to more positivity.  It also leads to hope and inspiration and joy.  It’s an old saying, think positively, but it does work.  That’s why it’s an old saying and why it’s stuck around so long.  Looking to the bright side, the up side, looking with hope, lightens your soul, your mood, your day.  Thinking that all good things are possible, and the next thing that’s going to happen can be better than the last thing, lifts spirits and hearts.  Being positive, trying to keep it positive, holds us up, negativity drags us down.  It’s as simple as that.

“Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another?We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person’s essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”

Knowing someone takes time, and effort.  It’s worth it, totally, for good or bad, and it never happens overnight.  Initially we put on faces for people, faces of the person we want them to know, the person we want them to believe we are, faces of the person we wish we were.  Those are good faces, but false ones.  To know someone we have to spend time.  We have to see each other with our faults on display, or mistakes out in the open.  We have to put in the time.  If we do, it can be a transcendent thing.  It can bring two souls close together.  To know and be known for who we are, there’s nothing more valuable.

“But luxury has never appealed to me, I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands.” ― Daphne du Maurier
Alone time, enjoying your own company, isn’t loneliness.  Far from it.  Being able to spend time with yourself, and enjoy it, is vital to knowing yourself, your limits, your heart.  It’s in those times when we’re alone that we find out who we really are.  How do we spend our time, what do we think of, do we enjoy our own company.  Liking yourself is key.  Being able to be alone without much discomfort says you like spending time with you.  If you enjoy spending time with you, others will as well.  It’s as simple as that.
“To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do. ” ― Hermann Hesse

Patience is a virtue.  Yes, another Mom saying.  You get older, you realize those things your parents told you, those fundamental things, are true.  Patience with our family with our friends and with ourselves leads to less discord, a higher acceptance, better listening, deeper love.  We are not perfect, no one is.  People make mistakes, misspeak,  get into moods.  Life happens.  It’s sometimes messy and fast and crazy.  Patience helps us to slow all of it down, to take a breath, to get a moment to look more deeply into things.  Having it reminds us the little things don’t matter as much, patience helps us to narrow our focus to what does matter.  It’s the breath of life.

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ” 

― Maya Angelou

Music articulates life in a way nothing else can.  Emotion, feeling, grace, anger, desperation, agreement, honesty, truth, beauty, joy, hope, distress, and on and on and on.  Feelings too numerous to list.  There is music everywhere, a rhythm to the world, underneath the noise of everyday life.  There’s even music in that noise, if you quiet your heart enough to hear it.  We are a part of it, our souls singing their own songs.  Artists articulate it for us, but we have our own as well.  I can feel the essence of things in a beat or a phrase of music.  Our hearts beat, our heads sometimes pound, our feet tap to the sounds of windshield wipers.  Hearing that ever-present music connects us.  Music lets us know we aren’t alone.  It helps us to know we are connected to the whole of the world.

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.” ― Audrey Hepburn

Soaking up moments, trying to absorb details as they happen, connects us with what’s happening now.  Not just seeing, but feeling what’s going on right where we are, deepens our connection to the moments we have, and helps us to have a greater experience.  Skimming over the details, failing to absorb what’s going on right where we are, lessens our connection, distances us from the moment.

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” 
― Bruce Lee

simple life, living with less, craving less, adds so much richness to our lives.  Not being concerned with having stuff, things, collecting, lessens the burdens of life and frees us up to concentrate on the things that really matter… family, friends, being right where we are.  Things weigh us down, more than we think they do.  When we begin to let some of those things go, we feel lighter, unchained somehow.  It opens space in our lives.

“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.” ― Virginia WoolfThe Waves

Coffee is essential to good living.  For me anyway.  I think everyone has that thing, small, but decadent.  Mine is coffee.  I look forward to it in the morning.  I’ve spent many an hour over a cup of coffee hashing out the ups and downs of life.  The smell of it brewing, the taste of a good cup.  Nectar of the gods for me.  We should all find simple pleasure is simple things.  One of those things for me is enjoying a great cup of coffee.

“It’s so large”
“It’s the world dear, did you think it’d be small?”

― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

We are small in a larger world.  It helps to remember this when our problems seem insurmountable, our sadness overwhelming.  Going out in nature, climbing up a hill and looking out over an endless vista, putting your feet in the sand and watching the crashing of wave after wave, gazing up to the clouds to see them moving.  These things remind us how small we are.  Even sitting in a traffic jam and noticing all the other people also sitting there, wondering where they’re going, what their day is like, where they all might be trying to get to.  We are so many times overburdened by our own thoughts, our own perspective, our own small lives.  The world is a vast place, enormous, and if we can keep some thought of that in mind, we can see how whatever is plaguing us at the moment is pliable, changeable, and in the grander scheme, small.

10 Word Review – Pitch Perfect 2

MV5BMTk0Mzg4NDYyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTM2ODg2NTE@._V1_SX214_AL_Lackluster. Disappointing. Flat. Vapid. Music. Strained. Humor. Underdeveloped. Jumbled. No.

Country Soul

I am loving this song, Let the World Go By, which just happens to be the single off of my cousin Karl Blau’s upcoming album, Country Soul.

Sailing Away

There is so much beauty in the world. I try to remind myself to be open, compassionate, and kind every day. We don’t know anyone else’s story. People are complex and have lived through things we will never understand. It’s important to remember that.

A public piano was installed, and then a homeless man sat down to play.

Music on Monday

Just discovered Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds and thought I’d share.

Play Through

K and I were driving to and from Chicago a couple of days ago, listening to music, and singing and dancing in the car.  Yes, we do this, and often.  It makes us laugh.  We have a lot of fun together.  While all of that was going on I noticed certain songs, which made me think of certain albums, that always seem to be my go-tos.  I make a lot of playlists, always have.  Before digital I was burning CDs, before CDs I was making cassette tapes.   Music is a passion of mine and so when I find a great album, one that provides more than just one or two songs I enjoy, I tend to go back to it over and over, mining the good stuff for whatever new playlist I’m working on.

During the drive I started making a list in my head of albums that, in my mind, are complete.  Meaning an album that’s worth a listen from beginning to end, the majority of the songs enjoyable.  To me this is actually a rare thing.  One of the reasons I make playlists is because it’s rare to find an album I want to listen to from beginning to end.  Those albums have to have a variety of sound, the songs have to blend well together, and most of the songs on the album have to be good.

So I started listing some albums in my head and thought it would make an interesting experiment, here on the blog, to see how many I could come up with, and what those would be.  I would imagine the list will change, as I remember more and add them, but for now, today, these are the albums I’ve come up with.  Albums that are worth a listen.  And yes, of course, this is subjective.  And yes, of course, there are a few duds on some of these albums.  But, overall, I like them very much.  Feel free to list any others you enjoy in the comments section, and don’t judge my list.  It’s mine.

Here we go….

Crosby, Stills, and Nash – Daylight Again

Dishwalla – Opaline

Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

Michael Tolcher – I Am

Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane

Indigo Girls – Swamp Ophelia

Karla Bonoff – Restless Nights

Melissa Etheridge – Lucky

Eagles – Hotel California

James Taylor – Greatest Hits 1976

Steve Miller Band -Greatest Hits 1974-1978

REO Speedwagon – hi Infidelity

Boston – Don’t Look Back

Sarah McLachlan – Fumbling Toward Ecstacy

Dan Fogelberg – Age of Innocence

Billy Joel – Songs in the Attic

Jon McLaughlin – Indiana

Adele – 21

Jim Croce – You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

Van Morrison – Moondance

James Morrison – Songs for You, Truths for Me

Bob Seger – Nine Tonight

Three Dog Night – The Best of Three Dog Night

Survivor – Vital Signs

Rob Thomas – …Something to Be

Andrea Bocelli – Romanza

Moulin Rouge – Soundtrack

Eurythmics – Touch

Genesis – Genesis