Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I didn’t write anything at all. I didn’t write anything, I didn’t make a list, I didn’t go through and try to figure anything out – well, I stopped myself when I started doing that. And I made it a point to take the time to enjoy freedom. Just for a bit. For one day. I let myself be free from everything and simply enjoy the day.
It gets overwhelming sometimes when we need something to happen. And we need it to happen soon. We are working and working and trying to figure out what our next move will be, and that can interfere with actually being productive. It’s important to remind ourselves that we have to take a break sometimes. We have to stop. We have put too much in the way, and we can no longer find where our focus is at. We lose track of what’s going on, and we lose track of the fact that lots of things in our life need attention. We need attention. The people around us need attention. Life needs attention. Sometimes in order to actually focus, we have to allow ourselves to breathe for just a minute without feeling so much pressure. We have to let our minds recharge. We have to let them regroup so that we are better able to move forward in the days ahead.
We are bombarded daily by things we should and need to do. There is so much going on around us that we have to make sure we aren’t ignoring things that need to be priorities. We have to pay attention to the things that don’t get the attention they should, including ourselves. We have to give ourselves the freedom to appreciate and prioritize all of the areas in our lives that have been glossed over. The freedom to recharge. And the freedom to move forward feeling more comfortable and more focused in who we are and where we are going.
(This does not negate the last post… It’s simply a reminder that sometimes we have to take a short break to allow our focus time to return, and often times to return stronger than before. The focus does not disappear, it’s just that we remove the pressure, which has a tendency to build when we get stuck. And the break is not intended to ignore everything, simply to remind yourself to focus on other areas as well, while you feel the freedom of removing the pressure.)
(The book is still on sale for two more days for .99 on Amazon. (and barnes and noble) It’s a good source of freedom, and definitely lets you return more focused and ready for the challenges that come your way! 🙂 )
One of the most important things I’ve come to realize is that the only power we actually have is over ourselves. By this I mean it is impossible to make anyone else do something that they don’t want to do or be something they aren’t willing to be. They have to consent as well. They have to be open and willing as well. And there isn’t anything that I can do to force this. With my nephews and my son it was easy to be open to their love. It was easy to trust that I wanted to love them and wanted them in my life. When it comes to other kinds of relationships, both friendships, but more importantly with intimate relationships it is a lot more difficult for me to be willing to be open. I’m not sure that it hasn’t gotten harder since learning that I can’t make someone love me. It simply has to be something that they choose and something that I have to trust. Although I also find it a little bit easier, as well, because I’m less confused about what needs to happen and what I want in order to make anything happen. And I think that knowledge is extremely beneficial.
But the aspect that has been on my mind lately is how difficult it can be to have to let go. We can’t force others to do well if they aren’t going to choose to. We can’t make our kids do well in school if they don’t want to. We can’t make them socialize with the people we would prefer, or date or marry who we would prefer. We can’t make the people we love have the life we think they should have. And letting go of what we want can be extremely difficult. We can’t live anyone’s life for them. We have to let people make mistakes. And watching that happen with no control over it is hard under any circumstance – parent, child, friend, significant other. So in the end all we can really control is ourselves. And letting go of that need to change the paths that others are on is something that we have to do for ourselves. It doesn’t mean we have to leave them alone, but in some cases that is what’s best. It doesn’t mean we can’t encourage them, or offer assistance. But we have to be willing to allow them to make their own decisions, because no one responds well to excessive pressure. The pot will always boil over in those cases. Excessive worrying is just as traumatic, only we are hurting ourselves. Looking at ourselves, understanding our role, learning how we can best approach the situation in a way that is beneficial for both people is the only way for anything worthwhile to emerge. We have to use the power that we have over ourselves in order to help others who we want to help. We can’t force others to do anything, but we can make the right choices for us.
Well, at least this is supposed to be day 3. I’ve been at two different houses today and the internet was out at both. Something happened with the line at the cable company, so I haven’t been able to get online all day. It’s been a nice change of pace. Normally I have checked my mail about 10 times by now. It’s just after 6 pm. I’ve been on all of my social network sites. Caught up on everything that I can be caught up on in the world of the internet. But, today I’m somewhat out of the loop, and it’s nice. I used my computer for something I haven’t in a long time, which is listening to my music. So I figured that today, I would talk about music. Because music keeps me sane!
There was a study published recently that talked about how music makes people happy. And I think most people agree that it’s true for them. I love music. When I was little the only shows I would watch on TV were ones that had people singing in them. So as you can imagine growing up in the 80s I watched a lot of Kids Incorporated and Jem (who truly amazed me). My parents even taped Kids Inc. for me so that I could watch it on the weekends while they slept in. I had a light up microphone that I used to sing oldies to, because my parents made us listen to the music they liked. Fortunately I never minded that, and I appreciate it today. Billy Joel was my first concert. I was somewhere around the age of 2. And that was quickly followed by the Beach Boys. The music I remember most from when I was really young comes from that era… It was the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Billy Joel and Motown. People find it funny in conversations when the Temptations come on and my response is always that it brings me back to my childhood, because the songs were popularized 20 years before I was born. But that’s the great thing about great music. It lives on.
When I need to escape, when I need to think, or when I need to just smile there’s a song for it. There are usually multiple songs for it. Music is diversified and designed to make us feel. Even without words, music can move us. I think the universe is inherently musical. It’s how it communicates with us and how we respond in kind. When I started writing on May 1st I also decided that I was going to work this month to improve my mental health practices. So I meditated that night after writing. It was brief, just five minutes or so. But I worked to focus my mind on peace and relaxation. I kept repeating the word calm in my head, because well… I don’t really know how to meditate without a focus, and before I can make my mind quiet I have to tell it what I want it to do. But we need those moments of calmness, and if we can get there stillness (but relaxing to that point takes me longer, my mind is quite active, as many others’ are). So I’m going to keep meditating for whatever amount of time I get each day to myself to find some quiet and calm. It really does help me focus. And today I’m going to add finding an old song that I used to love and haven’t listened to in a while and playing it. It’s funny how happy it made me stumbling upon some of the songs I did today. Even the sad songs made me smile. Singing is cathartic for me in a way that is similar to writing. Only I don’t sing well, so listening wouldn’t be of much benefit to others. Are there old songs you’ve forgotten you loved? Artists you wish were still on the radio? Everybody needs good music. It livens up the soul!