HEALING SONG – PART 2

Link to other stories and recordings: HEALING SONG

I composed “Healing Song” in 2016. I attempted to write lyrics for it, but gave up when I decided it was meant to be an instrumental song. “Healing Song” clearly spoke to me without words.

I recorded a slower version of my song with added piano touches and released it on the Insight Timer Meditation app. Lovely people all over the world thanked me for my song and told me it didn’t need lyrics.

“Healing Song” was a perfect title because I wrote it while suffering with painful dry eyes. The melody lifted me out of my discomfort and not long after my song was written, my eye condition improved. After suffering for over four years with dry eyes, this beautiful outcome was welcomed.

Recently, I performed “Healing Song.” I shortened it slightly because of time constraints, but was pleased with how I played it that night. I took my time and allowed myself to linger over the many sweet passages. I expressed my feelings with every note.

I had some concerns about the tuning on my guitar. But thankfully, that night it was fairly in tune.

For well over a year, I had noticed on many occasions that I wasn’t satisfied with my guitar’s sound despite trying many kinds of strings. I decided to seek out a luthier (guitar repair expert) who came highly recommended. His name was John and 6 months ago he replaced the frets on my beloved Lowden. My guitar played nicely after that, but unfortunately the problem with tuning continued to bother me.

A few days before my performance, I brought my guitar back to John. I told him how the day before I had spent several hours recording 14 guitar tracks and none of them were usable; one chord sounded terribly out of tune. The calluses on my left hand had deep grooves after that session – it was such a shame.

After checking out my guitar, he said he didn’t hear a major tuning problem. He told me he could order an adjustable nut. It wouldn’t be pretty, but it could possibly make a subtle improvement for me.

I told John about that one chord and demonstrated the problem. It sounded terrible and was clearly out of tune. He reached over and pressed the exact same string and it wasn’t out of tune.

I played it and it was out of tune. I handed it back to him – he played it and it wasn’t. I scratched my head. What was going on?

It turned out that I was pressing too hard and pushing the string out of tune. Pressing hard seemed to prevent buzzing, but it wasn’t necessary.

I didn’t want to change my playing and told John to go ahead and order the part. He sent me a message a few days later that it wasn’t available, but he’d keep trying to find it.

In the meantime, I decided this was a sign for me. Pushing harder than was needed related to one of my favorite metaphors of “less is more.”

When I performed “Healing Song” at Kulak’s Woodshed’s Twofer night, it was a great opportunity for me to relax and play with less pressure. It made such a difference for my performance.

The wisdom from this was applicable to my life in many ways. “Pressing hard” was something I’m very familiar with. It was definitely time for a lighter approach!

I realize that I am happier with less pressure and most of the time it’s self-imposed. For months now, I’ve been recording an audio class for Insight Timer named “Grief Healing Through Music.” I had hoped finish everything before the Christmas holiday, but have had to accept that I can’t. This was a concept that could definitely help me with my frustration.

Healing is a very inspiring.

If I look for it, I see healing all around me. Recently, I’ve watched two of my children repair their relationship. It has filled me with amazement. When they were growing up, it was exhausting and frustrating for me to deal with their friction. I really wasn’t able to fix anything and even as adults, the tension between them upset me greatly. But my satisfaction of seeing them interact in a whole different way now fills me with pleasure.

This picture was taken by one of my children experimenting with an old film camera!

My oldest son’s growth and healing is another story I could write. This has been his first year working as an elementary school teacher. It has been exhausting for him and I’ve been very supportive of his courage to move to another state and work at a job where he had little experience. When he sent me a picture of a trophy he received, I wanted to shout out from the rooftops how happy I was.

Recently, I visited him for two weeks. A good friend of mine who is a teacher came with me for a few days. She really made a difference to his life. Before my son started his job, all three of us went shopping for school supplies for his classroom. Linnae even made him a Pinterest page and wrote out lists of suggestions to help him.

All three of us took a lovely excursion to a state park named “Valley of Fire.” It was a beautiful day!

I closed my eyes like I often do – but I know I looked happy there!

Even though stress and worry was a familiar part of my life for decades, I am learning to relax and enjoy my simple life. I used to take care of many family members and now it’s mostly just me.

Less pressure equals more joy. Less is definitely more!

The comments I receive daily on Insight Timer are definitely my fuel.

 

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CRYSTAL OCEANS – PART 3

I remember singing the melody to my song “Crystal Oceans” when I was only 17 years old. I loved the la la la’s and never imagined that decades later a music video would be filmed about my song.

Proof! A recording clip from 1980: 

The experience of filming this video was amazing. There were many hurdles and challenging moments – I could write a book about it. Now that my video has come together into a beautiful 4-minute fairytale, I am basking in joy.

I have chosen not to feel disappointed that my life didn’t follow the same script as this heartwarming video. If I thought about my song that way, I could feel sad. Instead, I am bursting with pride that I followed my dream to embrace music again after so many years of sadness.

After seeing my video, a good friend wrote this message to me. She said, “I hope you find love soon.”

This is what I wrote back to her:

“I already have found love and it’s okay for me to be without a man in my life. I’m very happy to be free to sing my heart out! But I love you and I understand your wish for me to find companionship. I do have a happy ending, even if my life didn’t end up that way. I just have a different happy ending!”

Singing my heart out

It was tremendous fun to participate in such a creative project. The director, videographer, editor, and actors all generously shared their talent, time and energy to make my dream come true. 

Director:  David Lautman

Director of Photography:  Shimmy Lautman

Video editing: Donna Ivgi Lautman

Young Judy:  Bailey Sorrel

Young Noah:  Andrew Trischitta

Older Noah:  Jonathon Wright

David and Shimmy’s mother is my childhood friend, Joni Lautman. Joni is dear to my heart and the reason I picked up my guitar again after 30 years. I can never thank her enough for that, but she continues to find ways to encourage me to share my voice! The picture above is of Joni and I as young teenagers with my mother at the beach. I was told that I look like my mother in the video.

This scene above was shot in my current bedroom. I live in the same apartment where I grew up and composed Crystal Oceans. The charcoal guitar illustration hanging on the wall is one I used to have in my old bedroom! David is filming Bailey dreaming of meeting her blue-eyed boy on the beach.

Young Judy is composing her song with my old classical guitar, the same one that I originally played all those years ago!

David and Shimmy did an amazing job setting up the shots.

I enjoyed a delicious salad at Coral Tree Café during the filming. Watching these two talented actors interact at one of my favorite cafes was a joy. 

It was very cold the day we filmed at El Matador State Beach near Point Dume. I was freezing and wearing my furry jacket. Bailey and Andrew were shivering but it didn’t show as they frolicked in the freezing ocean surf!

I’m glad I was able to borrow some sunglasses. Because they looked cool, I was encouraged to keep them on during the filming for a few shots.

I looked excited about the champagne, but in reality I don’t drink at all. But this video was definitely not about my reality – it was a fantasy!

More about the music video before filming: #556 THAT MOMENT WHEN

Link to more recordings, lyrics and stories about my song:  CRYSTAL OCEANS

Baily and AndrewJudy & Baily

 

 

 

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HOPE CAME WITH THE RAINBOW

“Music is my passion and art is my profession.”

I’ve said that line above many times. My artwork has taken a backseat while I’ve pursued creating music that I love. Unfortunately, creating music has been rather expensive but there is nothing else I’d rather spend my money on.

This year was incredibly slow for me in terms of receiving custom illustration assignments. The fact that I was beginning to think about finding income from sources other than art had me puzzled. I decided not to give up on my art career. If anything, I’ve learned that when I did that in the past during slow times – I was wrong.

After doing a little research and getting advice from several art directors I’ve worked with, I decided to advertise my work with a page on an online artists’ directory named “The Workbook.” I advertised in their print book early on in my art career.

Here is a link to my new page: https://www.workbook.com/portfolios/judy_unger/galleries

On my last post, I shared that my arranger, Robert Maule moved to New York. Before he left, he was nice enough to help me out in setting up equipment so I could record at home. Even though my apartment is far noisier than I’d like, I am certain this is a good thing in the long run. I want to have guitar and vocal recordings for each one of my songs. Last week I  recorded number 38 and only have 13 more.

It wasn’t easy to be the guitarist and engineer for my first home recording. Though it was challenging, I did it! I’m very proud of myself. I figured out all of the inputs and outputs and managed to connect my audio interface and microphones. It took a lot of time and practice to get it right. After recording my guitar takes, I was exhilarated and exhausted!

I recorded my song “Rainbow Through My Tears” because it was such a perfect song for my life. It has been much better for me to cry and release my feelings than to walk around like a zombie holding everything in.

As I was setting up my Neumann TLM 103 Mic, It tipped out of my hands and landed on the floor with a resounding thump. I cried for a few minutes on my bed. Then I bent over, picked it up and screwed it back in. Thankfully, my recordings after that were fine.

“Rainbow Through My Tears” acoustic tracks in progress:

Link to more about this song: RAINBOW THROUGH MY TEARS

I’m getting recordings that I like, but my challenge is to record when it’s quiet in my apartment – not easy!

I really loved the meditation music I created while working with Robert. I released a medley of our songs and it has been very popular on Insight Timer. I also combined my acoustic guitar and piano recordings from this year into another track that is getting played a lot on that app.

I was very sad when our collaboration ended. But my journey has taken me down a new path and I’ve chosen to embrace it. I am certain that more amazing music is ahead for me.

A month ago on a whim, I decided to play tennis at a tennis center near my home in the evening. Playing at night isn’t as easy for me as daytime because I can’t see the ball well. But it definitely is one of my favorite ways to exercise.

The people at this tennis drop-in were friendly and it was really good for me. During one of the breaks between sets, I chatted with a young man who was wearing a music shirt. His name was Bobby. I told him how much I liked his shirt, because I was a music lover. Before long, we were talking animatedly about our musical passions.

A week later when I saw him again, we chatted more and I realized he could be an excellent fit to create meditation music with me. He created movie and television scores and had incredible keyboard skills. He mentioned he had the program Omnisphere, which is a fabulous sound bank for meditation music. Even though Bobby had a day job (in music, which isn’t easy to come by), he was eager to work with me in the evenings.

After our first session, I was buoyed. Bobby was incredibly talented and we could definitely create beautiful meditation tracks together. But before doing that, I had a different agenda. I wanted to create meditative snippets to add to my Insight Timer Courses that I’ve been recording and refining.

We started out working on my song “Every Season.” Bobby was very sweet when he told me how much he appreciated my unusual chord progressions. I was gasping when he easily played the melody and chords on his keyboard. In only an hour, he created a lush ambient background for my Insight Timer Lesson, as well as an exquisite outtro for the ending.

Even though it’s still unfinished, it gives me chills. Once we finish our work enhancing my Insight Timer Courses, we will begin creating full-length meditation songs. I am hoping I will receive illustration assignments because it will allow me to finance all the music I am eager to create!

I close my eyes, and concentrate on dispelling worry and fear. I feel peace and gratitude as waves of hopefulness wash over me. Nothing is more beautiful for me than to continue following my dream. That is it; I don’t need anything else.

Every Season meditation clip in progress:

I see a rainbow!

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HEAVENLY HEALING MEDITATION SONGS

Today marks twenty-six years since my 5-year-old son Jason died. I will always miss him, but he lives on in my music.

Last week, I released a new meditation album named Heavenly Healing Meditation Songs. I am blessed to be healed.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/judy-unger/980739638

On this anniversary of the heart, I do feel blessed. I am healthy and inspired as I finish the creation of an audio course for Insight Timer named “Grief Healing Through Music.”

It’s been such a beautiful experience to verbally express my stories, lyrics and gentle healing suggestions. Connecting with my audience through this project is something I’m very much looking forward to once my course is live.

Last week, my daughter came over and took some pictures of me to use for the course profile picture. Somehow, I forgot to include my guitar. I just might do another photo shoot, but I haven’t decided yet.

Jason does live on. I end my brief post with an excerpt from my lesson for “Beside Me Always.”

With this lesson I’ve shared how the statement “beside me always” is very uplifting. I remember being overwhelmed by unrelenting grief and feeling my pain lift just with the thought of my loved one holding me. A distinct memory can bring my loved one into my heart. When I’m in deep despair, I’ll listen in my mind to hear their voice, guiding me with love. And when I feel so much love inside, my grief is soothed and my loneliness is eased.

Thoughts equal feelings and thoughts can affect outcomes. It has been far more helpful for me to picture myself healing, than to view an endless horizon of despair.

When you feel discouraged, perhaps you can imagine ways where your loved one is beside you, holding you up. Continue to try to find signs of healing.

When I read the words of “Beside Me Always” at Jason’s funeral, my words expressed how he was always beside me. In the beginning of my grief journey, I used to worry that I would forget him. My longing for his physical presence was like torture.

But when I healed, I realized that Jason never left me. He was always there.

All of my angels surround me. They don’t want me to suffer and they comfort me when my heart is open to them.

I feel that I’m too smiley here for my profile on a grief course. But the rainbow over my head is very cool!

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MY SHINING STAR-PART 3

Before my arranger, Robert Maule closed his studio in Burbank we took a picture together.

Links to lyrics and other stories about this song: MY SHINING STAR

This month holds many anniversaries of the heart for me. I am grateful for my healing and peacefulness. I remember my angels with love.

I am excited to share an excerpt of my latest meditation song: “My Shining Star.” My arranger, Robert did a wonderful piano performance on our last meditation song “Beside Me Always.” For this new one, we combined my guitar playing with piano. This excerpt leads to the climax of my song – I love it so much!

Robert and I created three beautiful meditation songs for Insight Timer this year. We began with “Angel in the Sky” followed by “Beside Me Always.” Two weeks ago, I released our third one “My Shining Star.”

“My Shining Star Meditation Song” can be heard as a single on Insight Timer (free app). A longer version named Heavenly Healing Meditation Songs will be released on IT next month. All of my music can be purchased on Bandcamp. Most of my songs are also available on iTunes.

At this time, I am creating a course for Insight Timer. Over the last six months, I wrote all of my material and I’ve finished recording the ten lessons. I am still mixing and editing, but it’s close to being released.

This has been a very personal endeavor. Unlike other courses on Insight Timer, I am not exactly “teaching” about grief. Grief is very personal and I want my lessons to offer comfort and convey hope. I will encourage anyone taking my course to find support by connecting and sharing their stories with other people.

I am eager to share with the world my insights about grief. Every one of my lessons is named for a song of mine that led to my healing. My favorite one is “My Shining Star. Below is the introduction to my course named “Grief Healing Through Music.”

I was truly reborn in 2010. Everything changed when I opened my heart to share honest feelings. I rediscovered the music from my youth and joy returned into my life.

I was baby when my journey began – it was definitely a rebirth! And like a child, I was bubbling over with enthusiasm and bursting to share my feelings with the world. It was very inappropriate for me to share email messages with everyone I knew. But I accept that it was part of my journey and my healing.

I have since grown up! All my filters have gradually returned. I am especially careful to write only about myself and not reveal much about my children whenever possible. I love writing on my blog, but I hardly post anymore because I haven’t felt like opening up as much.

Occasionally I’ve wondered – has the musical magic left me? It’s been awhile since I’ve written a new song. But with 52 song compositions, I have chosen to concentrate my energy on recording all of them.

I was very disappointed last month when I found out my current arranger, Robert, was closing his Los Angeles studio and moving to New York. I will miss working with him.

I’ve recorded a dozen acoustic songs with Robert, and his piano additions have been lovely. I use the instrumental versions to create meditation medleys for Insight Timer. A 45-minute version is coming out soon and I’ve named it “You Are My Wings Piano and Guitar Medley.”

I am proud of Robert for following his dream and moving away with courage to a big city like New York. His sensitivity toward grief was evident in the beautiful musical passages we worked on together. Losing his father when he was in his early 20’s impacted him greatly.

Releasing vocals takes courage for me. It’s usually hard for me to declare something to be finished, but I’ve done it. I’ve gathered all of my acoustic vocal recordings from this year and they are available on Bandcamp. There are also two new albums on iTunes. They are named: “You Are My Wings” and “Clear.”

It’s been a slow year for me as an illustrator. In order to follow my dream, I do need a source of income because my savings have dwindled. I’ve had to cut back on many things, including music. I struggle not to worry about it.

As I say goodbye to Robert, perhaps his timing was a good thing. I’ve decided to record at home and that will save me money. I have set up a recording studio in my tiny apartment. It will be interesting figuring out the best times to record amidst traffic noise and my 21-year-old son’s erratic schedule.

I fondly remember the many people who were part of my journey since 2010. Certain ones are forever in my heart. I can hear their voice in my mind and picture them beside me. Their influence moved me in beautiful directions; they are with me. I am grateful for what I’ve learned from all of them.

I plan to continue my musical journey even if I make a “career change.” Another idea of mine is to advertise my art skills again; it’s been many years since I’ve done that.

Even if I need to find another source of income besides illustration (I’ve also considered being a Lyft or Uber driver), I won’t let the musical magic in my life die. Pursuing my dream was never about making money. It was and still is about helping people heal as I share my heart.

As I finish my passionate project, the Insight Timer Course, I am confident that these grief/healing-related recordings are something I was meant to do. Everything I’ve learned in the past eight years has come together for me to create it.

Life is exciting and I am glad I could share on my blog what is going on with me. There’s much more going on related to my three adult children, but I’m not going to write about that!

These lovely comments on Insight Timer are definitely fuel for my journey!

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MISUNDERSTOOD-PART 2

For lyrics and other recordings of my song: MISUNDERSTOOD

Since I left my marriage six years ago, my focus has been my children first, and then my music. That has continued.

Music makes my world magical. It lifts me over my stress and worries. It opens up my heart. Feelings buried in the depths of my mind erupt when I hear gorgeous melodies.

For almost a year now, I haven’t felt as connected to my blog. I’ve continued to wait for inspiration to write something profound and touching. Sharing my heart has helped me in the past but I cannot share my heart completely now because so much of what I go through involves other people and their lives.

So I have been quietly writing about other things.

I’m currently creating a workshop for the app Insight Timer on the topic of grief, music and healing. There are ten lessons and for each one I discuss the lyrics to one of my grief-related songs.

I have created three new meditation songs so far this year, and am currently working on my fourth one. I continue to record guitar and vocals for my “deck” of 52 acoustic songs. Currently, I am on number 32.

why did you go?

My lyrics in progress are always very revealing. I share my lyric drafts even with areas of words scratched out.

A few weeks ago I began recording my song “Misunderstood.”

Every acoustic song of mine has two or more tracks of guitar parts. For “Misunderstood” I decided to add some strumming, which is very new. I like trying new things!

Misunderstood Guitar Mix

My current arranger, Robert, played a lovely piano addition to my guitar tracks. It is quite beautiful and hearing my song this way is very uplifting. The process of creating piano is something I’m very much a part of because I edit and chose the notes from many different takes. I enjoy doing that a lot. I’m planning to create a medley of my latest guitar and piano songs to put on Insight Timer in the near future.

Misunderstood Guitar & Piano

The lyrics to my songs speak to me. I have found great wisdom through my own lyrics. Even though I wrote them, I often discover subtle new meanings that I never intended. It’s fascinating when that happens.

It was no coincidence that I chose to record “Misunderstood.” I was feeling very emotional because my child had disclosed something to me that was terribly upsetting. I cannot write about it, but for several weeks I found myself crying and attempting to hold myself together.

Worry and fear are very contracted energies. In an attempt to dispel my anguish I spun different ways to look at the situation. My biggest method of coping has been love. I love my child deeply and I also try to extend a lot of love and compassion to myself.

I was recording vocals for “Misunderstood” last week and Robert stopped me. He felt my emotional vibe for the song wasn’t working well, but he wasn’t sure why. This song was so different from my other songs. Regret was such a hopeless emotion.

Misunderstood Acoustic 7-20-18

I wondered if perhaps I sounded too angry or forlorn. I took a deep breath and remembered how important self-compassion was for healing and coping. I thought of my parents and how much I missed them. I wondered what they would have thought about the upsetting information my child shared with me.

I began singing again and then the revelation shook me. I wasn’t singing this song to my child. It was a song to me.

“The walls you’ve build protect you now, I want to tear them down somehow”

I remembered four years earlier when I composed “Misunderstood” that I related to that line in an interesting way. I was very heavy and needed to lose a lot of weight. Overeating was a wall of protection. It was a way to numb my feelings and distract myself from the truth.

Now three years later, I felt stressed and had started gaining weight again. I maintained most  of my weight loss overall, but I hated this recent feeling of heaviness.

With a more gentle mindset, I adjusted my headphones and closed my eyes. I felt the emotion and vulnerability pour from me as I sang.

“You won’t forgive me for that argument. Those words you heard – I never meant.”

“Misunderstood, left with regret. Painful words you can’t forget”

As I sang my song to myself, I realized I hadn’t forgiven myself for those painful words spoken to my child 4 years earlier. I was the one with the inability to let go.

There was no misunderstanding now.

I understood.

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Beside Me Always – Now Available On Audio!

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Originally posted on Susan Hanfield:
I am excited to celebrate with Judy Unger the audiobook release of her poignant memoir Beside Me Always  recorded at Studio City Sound and produced by Punch Audio.  I met Judy a year prior to…

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YOU’RE BESIDE ME

Susan Hanfield did an incredible job recording my audio book. My book is now available on Audible!

For thirty years I didn’t write. But In 2010, I opened up my heart completely and my journey of insight began. The material that poured forth on my blog became the script for my book.

I dreamed of releasing an audio book for over eight years. I recorded it myself four times and learned a great deal about recording from that. I hesitate to even think about how many hours I spent working on my passionate project.

I always envisioned my book as an audio book because I loved the idea of adding audio clips to enhance the story. Those clips weren’t actually used in the final rendition, but I added them as out-takes at the end of the book.

In 2015, I met with the publisher of Punch Audio to see if he could distribute my most recent book recording.  His name was Alex and his feedback was that I didn’t have a trained speaking voice to carry my material. He said that authors rarely speak their story well and instead recommended I have it professionally recorded.

His suggestion was to listen to one of Susan Hanfield’s audiobooks. I did, and set up another appointment with Alex. When I came to the recording studio, Alex introduced me to Susan who was there recording another book. We immediately hit it off.

I confessed to Susan that I was anxious about having someone else read my story. She completely understood and a few months later generously recorded a 10-minute sample of one of my stories.

When I began to listen to her sample I was nervous. But then I became emotional and realized what a beautiful voice she had to tell my story.

It took another two years after that before my project moved forward. I decided that I wanted to improve my book. My close friend, Janet who was an author helped with additional editing and I will be forever grateful to her. I ended up adding four more chapters due to her excellent suggestions.

Sitting in a recording studio and watching Susan record my story was magical and moving. I could hardly believe that my life stories were unfolding in such a beautiful way.

At the same time that my book was moving forward to completion, I began creating a new meditation song also named “Beside Me Always.” The melody that I composed when I was 17 reverberated through my life. I felt completely inspired and uplifted by the exquisitely haunting notes.

When my book became available two days before Mother’s Day, I eagerly shared the news. I created a slideshow with my new music “in progress” playing along with the lyrics Susan had so beautifully read.

I shared it with friends and family. And then the reality of it all hit me. I put my head down on my desk and cried.

They were tears of sorrow, tears of joy, and tears of healing.

 

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WE HAD TO SAY GOODBYE

Click to hear a shortened excerpt of Angel in the Sky Meditation Song. The 30-minute version is free on the Insight Timer Meditation App:

ANGEL IN THE SKY MEDITATION SONG BLOG EXCERPT

Watching a close friend die from pneumonia was a trigger for me. The horror of my mother’s death seemed vivid again as I took in the sad circumstances of my friend, Marilyn.

As always, I was thankful for my music. It carried me through the sadness and became a cozy blanket for everyone around me to rest upon.

I especially appreciated my newer meditation music. I had two new songs – one was still unfinished and the other one I had just released on Insight Timer, the meditation app where I had a warm family of listeners.

I was glad I made the decision to create new meditation music when 2018 began. I found a new arranger; his name was Robert. He was a kind young man and told me he was no stranger to grief when I described my music to him. We had a great connection from the start and our first song was one I had longed to use for meditation – Angel in the Sky.

I was very nervous. I had to catch my breath as I walked into the huge hospital. I was going to an isolation room where Marilyn was.

Only a few days before, her son had sent me a text and I ached reading it. He suggested it would be a good thing to visit her. Prior to that, she was undergoing stem cell treatments and wasn’t able to have visitors for months.

The line her son wrote that stuck in my head was: My mom has at least another week to go before she has the chance to come home and succumb to her terminal illness.

I donned a gown, gloves and a mask to enter the room; my heart was pounding. I tapped on the door and entered slowly.

Because of her weakened immune system, Marilyn was struggling with pneumonia. She coughed continuously, but she asked me to tell her about things happening with me. I couldn’t help but feel terrible knowing that she was dying as I shared about my life.

I could see she was tired and I told her I would play something soothing so she could sleep. I had brought a small speaker and began playing my meditation song “Angel in the Sky.” The notes caressed the hospital room.

When it was time for me to leave, I reassured Marilyn that I would come back to visit her again soon. My eyes watered when she told me in a whisper that she would like me to bring my guitar the next time I visited.

I returned a few days later. This time, another good friend came with me. Marilyn was part of a group – our group had been together for 15 years and had a very special bond.

Lynn spread lavender on Marilyn’s sheets and gently provided a Reiki treatment while I sat nearby.

I had brought my guitar and hesitantly pulled it out. It was difficult to play with gloves on, so i slipped them off. I slowly lowered my mask so I could sing and hoped it would be okay.

I played over a dozen grief-related songs. Marilyn thanked me after every one.

The one that gripped me the most was “Never Gone Away.” It was hard to sing the line: “I know that soon you will leave me.” The reality I was facing made those lyrics absolutely true.

With courage I blurted out, “Marilyn, I am going to dedicate a song to you when you are gone.”

She said softly, “That would be very nice.”

This photo was taken two years ago when our group visited Marilyn while she was undergoing chemo.

With each visit over the next two weeks, Marilyn grew weaker and weaker. Eventually she couldn’t speak or open her eyes.

The last time I visited her hospital isolation room, she was struggling to breathe with an oxygen mask. Her sister had been staying overnight and was exhausted. She filled Lynn and I in on the gravity of things. 

When Marilyn suddenly opened her eyes and expressively blinked at me, her sister told me it was unbelievable.

I unzipped my guitar from its case and began playing. Marilyn’s agitation diminished and she relaxed. I sang again for hours.

It was very spiritual and filled with deep music connection. I knew when I left that it would be the last time I’d be doing this with Marilyn.

She died later that evening.

But then, I was invited to play for her one more time. This time she was lying in a coffin at her vigil.

I waited for the right moment. I chose the songs I had played in the hospital. I sang my lyrics slowly and carefully so they could be understood.

I felt tears falling around me as I sang.

The flower bouquet for Marilyn from our group.

Our group of five “Special Moms” attended the funeral. We purchased a flower arrangement and it was Lynn’s idea that we could keep the tiny ornamental statue. We’d take turns bringing it with us to our gatherings. That way Marilyn could join us in spirit. I loved her idea!

Later on, Lynn confided in me. She said, “Ever since our last hospital visit, I’ve had some trouble sleeping. I’ve been listening to your Angel meditation song on Insight Timer. It has helped me sleep and feel better.”

Her words helped me feel better, too.

Marilyn was now an angel in my life.

The comments I receive on Insight Timer are definitely fuel for me to continue creating new music.

ANGEL IN THE SKY MEDITATION SONG ON ITUNES

ANGEL IN THE SKY MEDITATION SONG ON SPOTIFY

At a recent performance I dedicated a song to Marilyn. It can be heard at this link: NEVER GONE AWAY

Marilyn inspired my lyrics for “Wonder Why.” That song can be heard at this link: WONDER WHY

My Facebook post in dedication to my dear friend, Marilyn.

Seeing pictures of our group brought back wonderful memories such as this one taken in Solvang.

This is my favorite picture of our group. We call ourselves “Special Moms.”

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THAT MOMENT WHEN – PART 1

People often comment to me about my smile. I have always found it easy to smile and since I rediscovered my passion for music, I am bursting with joy from within.

I also like to look at my life as an adventure. It gives me the openness to try new things and to view anything scary as something worth overcoming.

I recently came back from touring Utah. It was definitely an adventure for me!

Next week, I am going to embark upon an adventure because I am having one of my songs filmed for a music video. It is truly a dream come true and nothing I ever imagined I’d be doing at the age of 58!

When I began playing my guitar again eight years ago, it was due to my good friend, Joni. She remembered how I had played in high school and encouraged me to play again. And how interesting it was that her two sons, David and Shimmy had recently started producing music videos. For a few years before that they had been producing commercials.

She connected me with them and I was intrigued by the idea that I could actually create a music video for one of my songs. I met with the creative team and was impressed with how professional everyone was. This was becoming a lot of fun for me!

David would direct the video and it would be filmed by Shimmy. Shimmy’s wife, Donna, added wonderful creative input. The obvious question they asked me was which one of my songs did I want made into a music video?

It wasn’t easy for me to pick my favorite song.

I sent a folder of recordings over to David. I narrowed down my choices to five songs. David listened to them and told me there was a favorite one – it was so sweet that it even made him teary. I tried to guess which song, but I couldn’t.

When he told me it was “Crystal Oceans,” I grinned from ear to ear – I never considered my love song to be that touching. But I did love the title and it certainly conjured up lovely imagery.

(Link to more about “Crystal Oceans” https://myjourneysinsight.com/crystal-oceans/)

It was so long ago when I composed my song as a 17-year-old girl dreaming of romance. How would anyone relate to my song since I’m a lot older now?

David reassured me that my song would work just fine. Actors could play out the song’s story. This was sounding more and more exciting. When I received his detailed script and shot list I almost fell out of my chair.

There would be a young Judy. And a handsome young man would portray the guy with crystal blue eyes running down the beach. Young Judy would be penning lyrics in her bedroom as she imagined him taking her by the hand. They would frolic in the tide and fall in love.

But older Judy (ME!) would also be in the video. David loved the image of me sailing on a boat. It held beautiful metaphors; I was setting my sites on the horizon as I calmly sailed across the sea to an unknown destination.

My lyrics for Crystal Oceans evolved over time. David didn’t know that my verse about sailing was only written six months ago. It definitely added more to my song’s story and I was ecstatic that everything had come together for my song in such a profound way.

But it was Donna, Shimmy’s wife who had a surprising idea. She said everyone loved happy endings. My video would close out with the image of a handsome older man holding me as I sailed across crystal blue seas at the end of the video. He was the older version of the young handsome man I longed for at the beginning of my song.

My post title of “That Moment When” is a line from “Crystal Oceans.” Sometimes, it becomes clear when there is a moment that changes everything.

Throughout my life, I’ve experienced that. Sometimes it is with hindsight that I’ve realized something minor was actually something very significant.

Originally “Crystal Oceans” was about my dream that a handsome young man would take my hand, but there was also that moment when I allowed music into my heart again after years and years of grief.

When I started to play music again after 30 years, I had many responsibilities and chores to do. But there I was sitting alone in my darkened bedroom and I never imagined what it would lead to; that my life would completely change after that.

At the age of 17, I loved singing the melody to “Crystal Oceans.” I even used la la la’s to fill in my song because it didn’t have verses. The catchy tune was one I never forgot, even after 3 decades.

Then In 2011, I was on a vacation with my family and decided to expand my song. I sat in the bathroom to write the verse lyrics and melody. It was very challenging to imagine romance because I was lonely at the time and very much devoted to my family. But as a songwriter, dreaming and imagining lifted me right out of my stressful life and was magical.

Last year, I recorded a new version of “Crystal Oceans.” I decided my song could benefit by adding one more verse. I was still married when I wrote the verse lyrics in 2011, but now I was divorced. What could I come up with? My new verse became:

In my dreams on crystal blue seas, you and I are sailing on an ocean breeze . . .

David’s script involved a sailboat and the rental was secured. Two months ago, I enjoyed watching the screen tests and the actors that were chosen were wonderful. I had to admit that I was a little nervous about filming the ending to my video in a romantic way with a total stranger.

I’ve thought a lot about my video ending with the illusion that I had an enduring relationship with the blue-eyed young man. If I chose to, I could be sad and mourn that I did not experience what I had dreamed of as a young girl.

But I’ve had many other dreams come true and there are many more to come. “Crystal Oceans” is all about dreaming and possibilities. Just because I’m older – well, it hasn’t ended for me.

I am on an adventure where anything is possible!

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