Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Arms Wide Open’ Category

How Persistent Are You?

sunny disposition |24

Image by ms.Tea via Flickr

I am a positive person – one who used to jump out of bed in the morning as a child and have a “sunny” disposition most of the time – just ask my mother.  And although I do NOT jump out of bed in the morning now – I’m still the same positive person – for the most part.

I usually see the best in people – not the worst.  This can be a problem.  How – you say?  Well if I only see the good in people – and ignore or avoid the dark side of behavior or tendencies – then it always seems to surprise and sneak up on me when things go sideways.  And not in a good way.

However – because of my ability to “see only the best” I have been able to go places that few ever dare to.  Jumping in and charging full force into something I have NO CLUE about – or what dangers may lie waiting for me there.

I like to think of this as sheer optimism – but others call it reckless abandon and naivety.   And I have paid a very high emotional cost for going there with some.  A price that I still pay today.

How does one truly love and see the good – without holding back and analyzing people first?  Deciding whether or not they are worth my time – or anyone’s time?  I’ve never been very good at holding back.

I’ve also never been one to give up easily.

I am VERY persistent in the things that other deem “impossible”.

You say I CAN’T do that?  I say – Yes I can!

That situation is impossible, you say?  No it is NOT!  Thank you very much.

You say that I will never be able to learn that new task?  I will learn it or die trying.

If there is an unresolved relationship, daunting and scary to revisit and investigate  – You say – “that person will never revisit – ever begin the scary process of starting again  – where there has been silence – suddenly start talking again”.  I say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”  I will never stop believing – never stop praying – never stop hoping.  My motto is:  “Hope spring eternal” – and that is how I will always see it.  Period.

And if we are Christians and really live like we believe – then SHAME ON THOSE who tell me there is no hope in a situation.  No possibility for reconciliation from a estranged brother or sister – no glimmer of things to be put to right again.  I believe the impossible – because I really live what I believe.  I cannot be responsible for how others respond to pain, loss and hurt – but I can be ready to receive them back – when they finally are ready to come back.  I am ready to give up the fight – and to welcome back what was lost to me.

And I’m just dumb enough to believe that once someone imprints on your heart – they are never really lost to you – and that someday they will come back.  And that love is the greatest motivator we have.  A friendship that had depth and meaning – will always find a way to make amends.  Even when dumb things are said and done.  Even then.

How persistent are you in your faith?  In a relationship gone bad?  In something new that takes patience and resolve?  Don’t wait to resolve it – the other person at the end of your dark journey may just be waiting for you there.

I am praying for you today.

God Bless

Another Year Of Celebration

Christmas in the post-War United States

Image via Wikipedia

Today is a two-year anniversary for my husband and me.  A very personal anniversary for us that started with an ordinary day – a much-needed phone call and participation in a wedding  – and ended up with a great loss, confusion  and many questions.

Time and distance has put new perspective on many things – including that day.  But sadly, not even the marriage that Greg performed on that fateful day - has lasted. It’s almost like the whole day was fated to just be  ‘one of those days’.

But memories linger anyway - and help us fill in the blanks where we are left to wonder – and left to fill  in the empty silent spots.  This can be dangerous – and not very accurate as I’ve recently found out – but sometimes – this is all we can do.  It is better to take the ‘no harm – no blame’ philosophy – rather than point fingers.  And there’s something about this season of the year – and the cold weather that reminds me once again.

And as the Grinch says to Cindy Lou Who in “The Grinch” – as they are speeding recklessly down the hill, ‘Even if we’re HORRIBLY mangled – there will be NO sad faces at Christmas‘.

And so that is exactly how we feel.  barely escaping being ‘horribly mangled‘ – we have gone on – dealt with loss and misunderstanding – and purposed to be our own people and have our own say in things – even when it was not popular to do so.  We’ve kept our unique perspective – and worked it out – our way.  And we won’t apologize for that.   And the way we look at it now after 2 years is this:   No harm done – lesson learned – and another year to celebrate God‘s goodness, protection and provision in our lives.

And so – here’s to another year of celebration.  We wave goodbye once again to the past, fear, ignorance and denial.  And we warmly embrace goodness, love, forgiveness and truth.

Happy Anniversary to us.  We made it. ♥

God Bless

I Belong

It’s so nice to know.

God Bless

Working The Anger Out

"Always write angry letters to your enemi...

Image by Abby Lanes via Flickr

‎”Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them.” – James Fallows

How many times have we done this? I know I have.  More than once.  My own dear husband admits to writing one of these to me a couple of years ago – and never let me read it – and he’s glad – so am I.

Letters written with anger are never restorative. Instead they can do real damage – as the written word is forever.  It is always imprinted on the memory and heart and is a tough thing to move past.

I don’t believe it is a sin to be angry.  Jesus was angry – many times.  He never sinned in anger and asks that we do the same.  There are going to be things that make us angry – it’s just a fact of life.  There are things we can’t understand – things we can’t resolve and the list goes on and on.

I wrote one of these ‘angry’ letters to a friend I had a falling out with – but I’m so glad I never mailed it – or passed it through an email.  The letter was for me alone – part of my healing to just ‘get it out’ on paper and reevaluate what went wrong – and validate me as a person.  Sometimes this is a necessary thing to do.  Once the anger and emotion is passed – often times there is something left in its place.  Perspective and sadness. Sadness for the circumstances – and perspective that time passing brings – taking the punch out of the anger.  Sadness that so much time is lost in the mean time.

I must admit that I don’t get angry very often.  I’m pretty even-tempered – yet I’m passionate about certain things – but usually not angry.  I love people in my life – deeply.  Love my family and friends with a solid love.  I think what really sets me off are ‘half truths’ told about me – or people totally misunderstanding me and passing me off as something that is not even true.  And being helpless to change this opinion.  Another thing that really sets me off is being helpless to change past circumstances that got blown WAY out of proportion.  I am naive enough to believe that adults should be able to get past themselves – truly and totally forgive – to save the relationship – learn from mistakes of the past and be restored in every sense of the word.  My dear husband smiles at me and pats me on the head – like I’m a small child full of innocence and wonder.  And says, ‘Oh Cindy – that is just not the real world’

And so writing letters are for me alone. God is the only one who sees them.  And He is doing a deep work of art – in my heart.  Helping me work out the disappointment, hurt and anger – and stop it before I spew it on others close to me.  I’ve kept a journal for years – and recently I told ‘my story’ as I remember it.  We all have our ‘story’ don’t we?  Mistakes we have made?  Someone that has hurt you?  Something you can’t fix on your own?  Yes – we all do.

Can I be angry and not sin?  That is the challenge for me. Can I still be passionate about wanting change – and not push before people are ready for change?  Can I keep who I am intact – and not lose myself to emotion?  Can I do and feel what is right – and not compromise what I feel God would want me to do?  Follow His leading and direction – rather than what others tell me?  Know myself so well – that it is not a dilemma for me to restore others in love?  These are the questions I struggle with – daily.  And sometimes what I feel God is leading me to do – is not the popular consensus.

My encouragement for you is this:  Write that angry emotional letter – get it all out!  All of it. The feelings and emotions – the being misunderstood – the slander against you – the feelings of betrayal and being wronged.   Imagine taking a walk with that person who has wronged you.  Find a nice place to stop along the road – a nice grassy patch that’s very quiet and peaceful.  Take out the letter and read it out-loud to that person.  Ask them not to interrupt you until you’re done reading it.  This letter will say it all – and you won’t have to depend on your memory – and get lost in emotion – you can just read it.  Imagine that they hear you.  Really hear you. Imagine that they understand – and that they feel sorry for causing you pain – and they accept your apology too.  Imagine the conversation of healing and restoration – even if you have to MAKE IT UP.  Remember - it is for you. It is part of your heart healing – and letting go of the anger.

I have done this – not once – but many times. It is always a restorative conversation.  The anger is no longer there.  I am still writing – and there are days when I have to take that walk with someone again and read a letter – forgive and be forgiven – and have a healing conversation.  There are days when I have to forgive myself all over again.  I wish I could say that all of my relationships have been finally worked out and are restored – back in good daily communication – having put the past behind – but sadly this is not true.  But I still wait in anticipation for God to truly restore and heal – and bring back to me – what was once lost. There must still be lessons for me to learn. Until then – I am still working on me. I am in process – on a long journey.

God Bless

Walking Inside Of You

Scared child

Image via Wikipedia

“First of all,” he [Atticus] said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

To Kill A Mockingbird

 

This is one of my favorite quotes from the movie – and the book.  And sums up how much better we would get along with people if we would first take the time to see things from their point of view – instead of just looking at them through our very limited lens of understanding.

I watched the original version of ‘Freaky Friday’ last night with Jodi Foster – and although it is a silly movie – the point is made quite clearly:  If we walked around in another person’s body and could see things from their point of view – how differently we would see them!

In this film a mother and daughter change places only to find a unique perspective on what is going on in their world everyday – and what seems to be easy to the other person – turns out to be difficult.  How many times do we wish we could change places with someone so that they could see how hard – or how complicated our life is!  Or for them to understand us better.  I have often wished I could understand them better too and  have wished to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in certain homes – so I could watch the ‘drama’ unfold – as I know it does.  Many have wanted to do this in my home as well, I’m sure.  It’s human nature.  It’s difficult to identify with what we cannot understand.

Think about it – if we all were granted this wish – to walk around and be somebody else for a day – who would it be?  And who would you want to walk around in your skin for a day and be you?

If we could apply this simple principle into our lives everyday – to stop and consider – the next time someone says something unkind or uncalled for – or the next time someone acts irrationally – or hurts you, remember this:  consider what it is like to be them. Walk around inside their skin and look through their eyes.  You may just see things you didn’t see before.  And you may gain some perspective and understanding for things you didn’t have before.  You see if we really did this – If I really did this – there would be no room in my heart for blame and bitterness.  I would no longer have to hold you at an arm’s length because of fear of the unknown.  I would know.  And I would love and embrace the scared lonely child in you.  And if you did the same in my skin – so would you.

 

I am praying this prayer today for you.  That you would see people how God sees them.  Understanding them on a heart level – with no agenda and no angle.  Just pure love.  Take a little walk inside of them today.

 

God Bless

 

Letting Go Of My Negative Self-Talk

Pecha Kucha: Positive Negative Patterns

Image by bluekdesign via Flickr

I was awake in the wee hours with some thoughts and had to immediately reach and turn on my iPhone so I could jot the ideas down on my ‘notes’ – so I wouldn’t forget them by morning!  It was annoying – but sometimes it is better to get rid of them by writing them down so they won’t be all bottled up inside my head preventing me going back to sleep – or worse yet – be all tangled up in my dreams.

These thoughts were on negative and positive self talk.

It is said that for every negative thing said to you – it takes at least FIVE positive things said to counteract the effect of that ONE negative.  What’s up with that?  But I know it’s true.  Ever had someone say someone negative to you?  You can’t get that stupid, thoughtless comment out of your head – no matter how many other people tell you how it’s not true and try to give you a positive instead.  Been there.  Done that.  Still doing it.

Because I teach piano and voice lessons – I have an interesting ‘take’ – if you will – on negative and positive reinforcement in students.  Here are some of the things I have learned in all my years of teaching.

1) It takes much more energy to re-learn something – so we work extra hard to learn something correctly the first time.

2) When the negative or incorrect passage of music has been learned – the brain has a ‘default’ to go back and play it wrong – instead of grabbing the correct way – even though you have played it a thousand times.  Negative is always what is grabbed and it has much stronger of a pull.

3) Positive comments and affirmation make a student bloom and grow – but the negative is always there and difficult to get out of their heads.

4) You don’t have to teach children to do things the wrong way.  It comes naturally.  It takes effort to do things the right way.

5) With much practice you can overcome the negative and incorrect way of doing things.  But only then.

In much the same way – you and I do not have to be taught to be negative – it is called the sin nature. We have to work hard to overcome bad thought patterns and teach ourselves through much practice to remain positive.

Because most of us (especially women) have memories like an elephant – it can become hard to break out of the past – especially if it had negative consequences for us.  Here’s what can sometimes happen to me.

1) I make a new friend in person or online.  Because of a past experience with another friend – I hold you at arm’s length and have trouble trusting you.  The friendship continues and lives are shared.  There is laughter and continued conversation as is normal between friends.  The only difference is this:  I have been hurt.  By someone who knew me.  I will say things to myself like this, ‘Oh no – you are messaging me – you are being very friendly – it seems innocent enough – but this is how another friendship started and tragically ended.  Should I trust you?  What if you betray me?  What if things I say things in confidence to you – and you reveal them to someone else – never meant for anyone else to hear?  Can I really trust you?  I trusted before – revealed parts of myself reserved for very few.  This was someone I loved and who I thought loved me – will I be burned again? – should I trust? – or shouldn’t I? – how much of me should I reveal? – Can I be truly authentic?  How much of me should I share?  How much of me is really safe – OH NO – It’s happening again - will I be crushed and hurt AGAIN?  I don’t think I could ever go through that again.  EVER!!!”  And the negative experience wins again. And I close myself off to what could be a wonderful new relationship – all because that stupid person in my past was a jerk and didn’t know how to treat me – didn’t know how to hold on to a confidence – didn’t respect me enough and ruined trust in my life for other much more deserving people.  Is it right to think that everyone is like this?  Of course not!  And they aren’t.

Or

2) Someone close to me says or writes something negative about me.  (Writing it is much worse by the way – either by email or comment)  I am crushed.  And because it is someone close in – it hurts me more.  Those not close to me cannot hurt me like this.  My self talk becomes like this, “Well I’m just not going to talk to them anymore – I will assign an ‘outer-orbit’ for them to be in – and not let them in too close – yes – that will have to work – there’s NO WAY I’m ever going to allow them to hurt me again”  And I feel justified in doing this.  After all – I have rights, right?  Again – I have given in to my emotions and the negative wins again. Is everyone critical and negative?  Of course not.  But in my mind and heart I pull away – fearful that they are.

I have trust issues – I will admit it.  I also have a willing heart that wants to trust.  That’s the negative and positive pull in my life.  The letting go of the bad and reaching for the good.  And most of all – learning the difference.  Being wise about who I let in to my world.  Learning to share things with people I can trust – those that I am sure love me and have my back and won’t get all WEIRD when things don’t go as planned.  And life goes sideways.  In the crisis periods of my life when I really need that good friend to be protective.  We all need people we can be our true selves with – and confide the deepest part of our heart.

The bottom line is that we should be able to trust.  And we should be able to let go of the negative people and comments – but it is a daily struggle to know the difference and chose wisely.  And with God’s help and guidance – it will get easier.

Here is my motto:

I will NOT let others rule me with the negative.  I will NOT allow myself to be swallowed by others who are negative.  I WILL live a positive, healthy life.  I WILL strive to see the best in others and not cower behind the memory of hurt from the past.  I WILL NOT  allow one person to destroy my joy. I WILL welcome new relationships with open arms.  Yes – I will.

Have you let go of your negative today – and embraced your positive?

God Bless

With Arms Wide Open

With Arms Wide Open (2)

Image by Knight Zeisy via Flickr

I was listening to this song by Creed – in the truck today while running an errand – and although I have heard it before and did not know it was written because Scott Stapp was about to be a father for the first time – the lyrics struck me in a different way altogether.

Because I was by myself – just driving and listening – I was deep in thought.  I had a moment just absorbing the music and thinking about how I want to be able to get to the point where nothing else matters to me except holding on to people whom I love – and those I have lost, with arms wide open. I don’t want any explanations or apologies for relationships that have gone bad – I just want to stop the madness.  I don’t care what I’ve been told – by well-meaning people who don’t know me – who can’t possibly understand why I’ve done the things that I have done.  I don’t want that to rule me.   I believe that God allows certain people to cross our path for a reason – to help us on our journey – to learn lessons from – to love.  And sometimes there is no explanation for feeling the way we do about people – it’s natural and instinctive. It goes deep to the heart level. It simply feels right for us.  They are important to us – just because they are.  Yes we need boundaries for our feelings and emotions – especially if they have hurt us – but we cannot be so locked up that we are unable to forgive, love and embrace those that God has given to us – even if they’ve hurt us.   I believe we all need each other to help us in our journey.  Friendship is a gift – and if it’s right – it should be forever no matter what has happened to mess it up.  Let the love of Christ be your guide.  Welcome those that have crossed your path with arms wide open. Don’t be so quick to dismiss it because of hurt or disappointment.  God doesn’t make mistakes – He gives you the people in your life for a reason.

It is important to remember how God loved us and gave himself up for us.  His loving, grace and mercy for all of us – the unlovely and unlovable – is forever our model of true Christ-like behavior.

I want to love that way – with no fear.  And that’s hard to do.  I have been hurt – more times than I care to remember.  But after a while I just can’t hide behind that anymore.  I have to give up all the ‘junior high childishness’ of holding people at an arm’s length – and just simply give in to love.  Accepting and loving – means surrendering with arms wide open. Whether or not I’ve been burned – whether or not others think I should – whether or not I think I should or not – loving and accepting because it’s the right thing to do.  What a concept.

And this is how I want to live.  I hope you do too.

 

My prayers are with you

 

God Bless

 

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I closed my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

Well I don’t know if I’m ready
To be the man I have to be
I’ll take a breath, I’ll take her by my side
We stand in awe, we’ve created life

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I’ll show you love
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I’ll show you everything …oh yeah
With arms wide open..wide open

[Guitar Break]

If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he’s not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open…

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
Now everything has changed
I’ll show you love
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open
I’ll show you everything..oh yeah
With arms wide open….wide open

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