happiness

Alberta Bound

I have a happiness playlist on my phone that I listen to almost constantly. The songs are many and varied, but for different reasons they all bring me happiness when I listen to them.

A year ago the song that was played over and over was Alberta Bound by Paul Brandt. By that time we have been away from home for over 10 years, Dad was so sick, and I was desperate to be back among my people. We had decided the fall of of 2014 that the kids and I would be able to return home June 2015, but I was filled with uncertainty about how that would happen and if it would happen before it was too late for Dad.

I was listening to the song again today and thinking of what I was doing a year ago right now, still living in Virginia, still so uncertain, and alone, and homesick. I played Alberta Bound continuously as I prayed that somehow we would safely return back to our tribe. I remember sitting on the floor of our kitchen repeating the words over and over

I’m Alberta Bound
This piece of heaven that I’ve found
Rocky Mountains and black fertile ground
Everything I need beneath that big blue sky
Doesn’t matter where I go
This place will always be my home
Yeah I’ve been Alberta Bound for all my life
And I’ll be Alberta Bound until I die

Somehow I figured if I repeated it often enough it would make it happen.

And then it did. Things got quickly worse with Dad and I knew that if we didn’t come back right away we would not make it in time. We packed our essentials, left the rest of the packing in the good care of my friend to supervise (and later my husband to ship) and we left. Alberta bound.

We made it in time to spend two and a half months with Dad before he died. I will be forever grateful for that time that strengthened our family for what was to come.

 Back home again. The barn built by my grandpa  
Now we live in the house that was built by my great-grandparents, beside the barn built by my grandpa ( I can see it when I look out the kitchen window. That is happiness). We have our tribe all around us, we are firmly grounded in our roots, and I can see horses in the field (you have no idea what that does for my soul). This place has always been my home and I am so thankful that we are back here. We need the love and the support of our family and friends, and we are so blessed to be blended back in with them again.

Today on my drive home from the morning school drop off I had to pull off a couple of times to admire the beauty of where I live. It was a gratitude filled happiness moment.

  Those amazing Rocky Mountains. I never get enough of them. 

  

Machinery in the hay valley by our house  
 

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May it be

I have always been a big fan of having a personal theme song. I’ve had a few throughout the years – Don’t Stop Believin’, Rebel Yell, Say Hey (I love you), The Sound of Sunshine, Alberta Bound (this got me through the last year. The kids and I chanted it over and over and over… and look where we live) being a few of them.

Only a very few times has a song just completely captured my soul and it has sung out this is my song!! Stop and listen to it!! The first time I heard The Gayatri Mantra by Deva Primal my inner being swooned with love. I didn’t know who she was or what the words meant, but I knew that I had to listen to that over and over and over again. 9 years later it’s still something I listen to on almost a daily basis.

Today a song came up on my playlist that I’ve listened to many, many times over the past couple of years and my soul has always yelled that one. That is an important song. Stop and listen to it. Stop and listen I would, but I never knew the name of the song or really understood what the lyrics were saying. Today I stopped and pulled up the lyrics and followed them while I listened to May It Be by Hayley Westenra. And I realized that this has been the theme song of my life for the past few years as I’ve been reaching for better things.

May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh! How far you are from home

I started listening to this song when I was so far from home in every sense. Physically we were so far from home and our loved ones. I was so far from the home of my centered being, struggling to find myself in my storm of the dark night of the soul.

Mornië utúlië ([Quenya:] Darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië ([Quenya:] Darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadow’s call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

It was exactly what I did. I just kept believing (although it was while I was humming Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey) and I started to find my way.

When the night is overcome, you may rise to find the sun. I feel like that’s where I’m at now. Like I’ve just awoken to the gift of a beautiful sunrise of life.

A theme song that has been guiding my path out of that dark night of the soul and I wasn’t even aware. I guess that’s the great thing about reaching for better feelings, that I don’t have to control or worry about where they come from, just reaching for them is enough to make them come to me.

My happiness moment today was a re-walking of yesterday’s happiness moment, but with my Mom. We talked again about the sunflower picture that is in the bathroom of our hotel.

the photo is horrible, but the with the lighting in the bathroom there is only so much you can do. It’s a beautiful picture.  But, you get the added bonus of seeing me trying to hide in the corner of the photo 🙂 

Yesterday morning before my walk with the spirit of Dad, Mom had commented on how beautiful the sunflower picture was and how much Dad would have enjoyed seeing it and the inspiration he would have gained for his own photos. As we were out walking in the desert among the sunflowers Mom said it’s like Dad saying I told you I’d be in New Mexico with you. It was a beautiful and peaceful moment to share with her. I said that some people say that departed loved ones come back as butterflies and rainbows, but Dad comes back as sunflowers. Very fitting for who he was –  I knew immediately he was with us.

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Music for the spirit

I have always been a very musical person. To clarify, that means I’ve always been moved right to the core of my soul by music. Not that *I* can create that music. I love singing but the only one who likes listening to me sing is the dog (not the cat). The most entertainment my singing has ever brought me is watching the looks of mortification on the faces of my children while I sing and dance around the kitchen singing loudly to some 80s song. It actually brings me a lot more enjoyment than it should, doing that.

This morning I was driving to my walk after dropping the kids off when I started watching the lady at the red light across the intersection from me. She was maybe in her early 30s and was all dressed up so I assume she was going to work. Usually I pass people on their way to work and they already look so exhausted and unhappy. I often think what a miserable way to start the day off, big frown of stress, coffee in one hand, cigarette in the other, cell phone going (yes, I’m aware that that’s more hands than we have – you should see the drivers here, it’s insane). But back to this lady. I don’t know what she was listening to but oh man she must have loved it. She was full on car dancing. Hands waving up in the air, head flinging around, mouth singing. She was having a blast. She had an advance green while I was still waiting and I smiled as I watched her happily sing her way through the intersection. I don’t know where she was going or what is happening in her life – but for that moment in time she was radiating happiness. I was having kind of a groggy morning and she lifted me out of my fog and put a big smile on my face that I carried through my cold morning walk.

The power of music.

Music has always been able to enhance my moods. When I need to get myself up and moving, I have a song for that. When I’m feeling melancholy, I have a song for that. When I’m homesick, I have a song for that (Alberta Bound by Paul Brandt – I just had to stop and watch that 3 times – now I really am homesick. That is where my soul lives while the rest of me is stuck elsewhere). When I’m happy I, I have a song for that. Songs bring back memories of good times – every time I hear Billy Idol I see my badass little pony Pirate bouncing his head along to White Wedding.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to go to a JourneyDance at Kripalu which was probably the first time I spent 3 whole days dancing – in public – to the rhythm of my soul. I remember Toni Bergins saying something to the effect that she didn’t need therapy as long as she could dance. Very true. I loved it – and I’m not really one usually to be shaking my moves in public. I could tell things were going the wrong direction for me when I was back a couple of years later and couldn’t do the lunch time dance because I could feel there was so much sadness in my body and I couldn’t stop and deal with it then. I’m dancing again now though!

Every morning the kids and I listen to Deva Premal  on Pandora. Every once in a while the ipad is missing or I forget to turn it on and always the kids say “mom, don’t forget to turn on your yoga music. It makes me feel so relaxed and ready for the day.” The morning whining and fighting has all but disappeared since we started listening to her to begin our day.

I was first introduced to her music 8 years ago in Quebec at my first yoga class. The Gayatri Mantra affected me in a way that no other piece of music ever has. Without being able to understand a single word of it, it reached right into the core of my soul and shone some light. It made me feel safe, happy, warm, relaxed and at peace.

GAYATRI MANTRA (from Deva Premal’s website)

Om bhur bhuvaha svaha

Tat savitur varenyam

Bhargo devasya dhimahi

Dhiyo yonah prachodayat

Translation:

Praise to the source of
all things.

It is due to you that we attain

true happiness on the planes
of earth, astral, causal.
It is due to your transcendent
nature that you are worthy of
being worshipped and adored.
Ignite us with your all
pervading light

I listen to that song at least once – and often many more times – a day. It lightens my soul and makes me a happier person. Day 3 of my 44 days of happiness was brought to me by that lady car dancing at the light. I’m thankful she gave me the opportunity to reflect on what joy music brings to my life.

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