My post title is a lyric line from my song “Crystal Oceans.” It has two meanings for me. One is that I am reaching for my dreams – so many of them have already come true. The other, is that I hope I will reach many people and comfort them with my stories and music.
There are “No Words” to describe how happy I am.
I lead a musical life, and I often hear myself speaking lyric lines from the songs that I sing. I could write a post simply using all of my lyrics!
As I experience another birthday this week, I celebrate how much I love my life at the age of 52. My life began to change when I turned 50. It started with great adversity, due to my mother’s illness. But with adversity came my powerful rebirth and as a result my life completely changed.
Last week, I had an hour-long opportunity to share my music and stories for a workshop at my temple. I only had a small group of people and that was perfectly fine with me. I prefer a more intimate setting and I was inspired about those I touched. My good friend, Susan, attended with her husband and I received a very special card once again from her. I am sharing it at the end of this post.
My audio book is well under way, and I have been improving all of my stories before recording them for my book. Sometimes, those revisions are slight and sometimes they are huge.
I would love to share one revision that was truly amazing for me.
I did not like the ending for my story “Illustrating My Life Lessons Through Art.” It felt hollow. I felt dishonest including the word passion at the end of my story. I was not a passionate artist. I decided to ask my editor and friends what they thought about it.
My message to my friends:
I would love some feedback about this ending for my story. It just doesn’t feel honest having the word passion there. I was never a passionate artist, unlike my music and writing where I am very passionate. Without that word, though – my ending is bland. What makes a person dedicated or committed, even without passion?
I never dreamed that I would pursue art as a career. Seeing how much I improved was very gratifying. I went from being an artist who disliked drawing, to an artist who loved painting. I had tremendous satisfaction when I completed assignments that pleased my clients. As an artist, my greatest lesson was that with dedication and commitment my dreams became reality.
The best message I could have possibly received came from my former college art teacher, Nancy. She wrote:
On Oct 8, 2011, Nancy wrote:
I read your statement and noticed something. You state, ”I had tremendous satisfaction when I completed assignments that pleased my clients. As an artist, my greatest lesson was that with dedication and commitment, my dreams became reality.”
I can’t help but wonder if your question, “What makes a person dedicated or committed?” is answered in that quoted line. You state that you “completed assignments that pleased (your) clients.” You were satisfied that you pleased your clients, but what about yourself? You were doing your art for them and not for yourself. It was THEIR dreams that were becoming a reality, not yours.
Now that you no longer have clients to please there is only yourself. It makes sense that you may not have felt the same about being an artist as you feel toward your music. Perhaps you reached a point of enlightenment. You became aware that you weren’t really doing your art for yourself. How could anyone feel passionate about always pleasing someone else?
It’s miraculous to finally recognize that what we thought was our passion was just an unconscious pattern we kept pursuing until we woke up and smelled the roses!
Just a thought….
On Oct. 8, 2011, Judy wrote:
I always hope when I share that I would get such an amazing and thoughtful message back! You are so insightful!
Passion might just be about pursuing something for our own pleasure (not financially, though). Still, I seldom wanted to do art for myself.
Now how does this sound as the revised ending to my story?
I never dreamed that I would pursue art as a career. Seeing how much I improved was very gratifying. I went from being an artist who disliked drawing, to an artist who loved painting. I had tremendous satisfaction when I completed assignments that pleased my clients.
But I am far more passionate about my writing and music than I ever was about my artwork. Perhaps the difference is that I am not seeking to satisfy anyone other than myself. I might never have imagined I’d be a successful artist, but in contrast, I feel very positive that with my music and writing I will touch and heal many people. But most importantly, I have certainly healed myself.
On Oct 8, 2011, Nancy wrote:
I returned home from dinner just a few minutes ago to happily discover your newest emails. There’s a smile on my face, partly because I am glad my comments didn’t offend you and partly because I love your newest statement. You’re not only a wonderful musician, Judy; you’re also a great writer. The “healing” references are rich with purpose. Your choices of words contain so much more meaning in your final statement.
Love you Jude,
Ahhh . . . the benefits of sharing amaze me once again. My story ending improved a thousand fold because of your insightful input! Being open is the crux of everything. It’s so important to be open because then wonderful things happen!
Update on my parents:
Only a week ago, my mother could have become seriously ill after being given an overdose of blood pressure medication. Before the error was discovered, I was told my mother needed observation for her palpitations and dizziness.
Thankfully, the error was discovered after two days. I am very used to phone calls alerting me to changes in her condition, but what upset me the most was that I was never alerted to the fact that her medication was increased due to her blood pressure being erratic! I remain hopeful that the problem will be corrected and not happen in the future.
Remaining hopeful is a big change from a year ago when I might have posted a nasty memo to her facility on my blog.
Another change in my mother’s life is that she does not grasp the purpose for her hearing aids anymore. I recently refurbished one of them for $250; they cost about $4,000.
I clearly remember how upset my mother would be whenever she didn’t have her hearing aids. My father did not want her to have them when she was in the hospital, because his mother lost hers there; they are quite expensive and difficult to replace.
About a month ago, my mother started taking them off – one time they were found in a trashcan. Her social worker suggested putting a string on them, which I thought was an excellent idea. The other day, she dropped her hearing aides into juice. They are now destroyed.
Without being able to hear well, my mom is retreating further into her dementia.
However, despite her dementia, she still recognizes and expresses her love to me. Just that alone, is enough for me to appreciate how fortunate I am. I treasure her love for me every minute of my day.
“Celebrating my birthday with a good friend”
I have started off celebrating my upcoming birthday by having dinner last night with my good friend, Marge. In addition to our wonderful dinner, we saw a movie that really moved me called “Sarah’s Key.” Afterwards, Marge gave me her unique assortment of wrapped goodies that she always goes out of her way to gather for every one of my birthdays.
I was extremely touched when Marge told me that she had attended a lecture given by the group who recorded the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” That song was played at Jason’s funeral because he loved that song so much.
Marge told me that at the end of the lecture, she raised her hand and shared my story about Jason loving that song. She said the room was hushed when she reached the part about the song being on Jason’s gravestone.
One of Marge’s gifts to me was an autographed CD.
An excerpt from Susan’s card:
Every time I see you perform; I am blown away by your talent. I was so glad to be at the temple for your songwriting workshop. The passion that you feel for your beautiful songs is so apparent by all who listen to you. All of the women in the room were sobbing after hearing you talk and sing. You told your story so effectively and eloquently. You are a wonderful public speaker who easily relates to her audience in a friendly and comforting way. You are never bitter or complain about what fate dealt you. You tell your story honestly and factually without bitterness.
The melodies you create in all your songs are so beautiful, yet haunting as they were written because of a terrible tragic occurrence. You sing with such feeling! I noticed that your eyes are usually closed and that you are in “another world” that no one can really enter. What an amazing artist you are in every sense of the word!
I hope you enjoy your birthday and are able to celebrate the day in a special way that brings you pleasure. You deserve it! I very much appreciate our enduring friendship the past 19 years.
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.