I am a passionate songwriter.
I love expressing myself with words, and writing about my life has healed so much of my pain. For some reason, by sharing my intimate feelings I feel connected to other people. I am never lonely anymore.
But songwriting takes me far beyond words, because adding them to beautiful music is magnificent.
Currently, I am writing a new song. It truly is like a “birth,” because my song has a life of it’s own. As the words and music are slowly revealed to me, I dream about how it might sound arranged. The process of cultivating and growing a new “song seed” to add to my song garden, simply adds more perfume and color into my inspirational life.
A few weeks ago, I could hum and play only one verse. Just last week, the lyrics and melody for the chorus began to develop. Throughout my day, I hum that melody and dance along with it. The excitement in my life has been building because my new song is blooming around me.
Just for fun, I recorded the first two verses while playing my guitar for a good friend.
Click the blue link below to play audio:
A RAINBOW THROUGH MY TEARS – IN PROGRESS
One way that I love to describe myself is that I am a “song gardener.”
What I love about my current existence is the freedom I have given myself to be that gardener.
I’m not in any hurry to have my garden trampled in order for my songs to be more “commercial.” This garden is mine to enjoy, though I do love sharing it and my songs can freely be heard on my blog.
The difference is that I’m not sharing a “final product” but instead am opening my heart to the world. Every post, leads to a song in some way. This glorious process of songwriting and healing has become my new life and my blog documents how my songs have unfolded.
In the past, I might have told myself that singing and songwriting was a waste of time; it was “frivolous.” But I feel financially stable since my divorce and am also working as an artist. When I received another large illustration assignment this week, I took that as a sign from God that I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
Following my dream is most certainly possible for me and that is why I am so happy!
Trust me, in order to cultivate my “song seeds” into lovely flowers there was a lot for me to learn. In the last three years, I’ve become adept at music editing and have worked hard to improve my singing voice after not using it for over thirty years. (Hint: I never considered myself to be a good singer when I was young.)
So that is why it is amazing for me now – I love singing and hearing my own voice. I am far less anxious about performing and look forward to sharing my journey publicly through speaking and singing more and more. During those performances I plan to talk about grief and healing.
Writing about my “song garden” really helped me gain clarity. For many months now, I was not enjoying the beautiful flowers blooming in my song garden.
I realize now that it was because I was digging and hoeing, removing dead petals, wilted leaves and unwanted pests. I wasn’t seeing color or smelling the aromas; I saw only the flaws in my garden. Many of my earlier song recordings had crackles and buzzes on a few tracks. Although I wanted a manicured and perfect garden and was proud of my ability to create it, the entire process became an exhausting job.
When I was focused on fixing every minute flaw, all of my creative energy was sapped.
The reason a song garden is such a wonderful metaphor for me is because it relates to something I also discovered as an artist. I loved painting flowers over man-made objects because they were imperfect and organic. So now I’ve decided that there’s nothing wrong with my music being a wild garden that flourishes with new blossoms every day.
Sometimes I have encountered strong opinions from others about what my songs require. It has been challenging for me to balance those opinions, because I’ve never considered myself to be an expert musician.
But now that I have become a seasoned song gardener, I’ve begun to follow my own intuition more and more and it feels great! There is no perfect way to sell my song CD.
There is just whatever way I want to do it – I get to choose! When I’m ready, I will. I’m in no hurry.
I plan to continue recording vocals, creating new arrangements and writing new songs. As I finish songs, I always update my two song pages, which are links that are on the right side of my blog. Clicking on “JUDY’S MUSIC COMPLETE,” goes to a page where I always have a date next to each song mix.
I love my life and celebrate the peace that comes with following my heart.
Lyrics and music surround me on this wondrous journey my life has become.
MY SONG GARDEN
When I was a very young child, I composed melodies to express how much I loved my mom.
I learned how to play the guitar at the age of fifteen. The sweet notes of my guitar were captivating. I discovered I could channel all of my feelings into a song; the process was magical.
Singing sad songs soothed my emptiness. Songs that were joyous lifted me higher than the heavens.
I had no idea, but it was then when my song garden began to grow.
With music, life was incredibly beautiful. Every experience became a song.
Some of my songs expressed things I hadn’t yet experienced but imagined I would.
The prophecies of those song lyrics were nothing short of remarkable.
I sang about love and eventually I fell in love. My future mate adored listening to my songs and for that reason I loved him even more. Up until the day we were married, I carried my guitar everywhere and sang to him.
After we were married, I stopped singing my songs. I decided that my energy needed to be directed toward living a mature life. My mind was full of grown up visions and there was no longer room in my life for a song garden as an adult.
The truth was that I no longer had any emotions with which to grow songs.
I denied my true feelings and disconnected myself from my heart. I did not express anger. I could not feel joy.
I simply dedicated myself to becoming a great illustrator in order to make money. After seven years of dullness, I went on to have children and realize now that perhaps it was to fill my void. Every child of mine was a miracle. I deeply loved them and never looked back.
So my garden was relegated to memories of a young girl. The songs that had once bloomed and flourished became barren and their melodies disappeared into the wind.
The years went by . . .
As an adult, I carried scars from the ravages of unbearable grief. I had little time for memories; I was weary of life and grateful that I rarely cried like I did when my child first died.
I refused to face that truth, or admit that my “mature life” had been so unsatisfying. Instead, I lived through the joy that I saw in my children. They became my life force.
I was numb. Memories of my joy as a young girl were extremely sad because it was a reminder that the best part of my life was over.
One day, I was so tired of holding all of my emotions inside and feeling discouraged about life. Gradually, I allowed myself to feel and to remember.
I began to release the pain inside my heart.
At first, I was afraid, but then I simply let go of fear. There was nothing to lose and I decided to give myself permission to be happy.
The memories of music gently whispered to me and I wondered if I could remember any of the songs that used to give me so much pleasure.
I often noticed the dusty guitar case in my closet. My guitar was like a long-lost friend that I never wanted to let go of, even though we hadn’t touched in many, many years.
With curiosity, I decided to open the case and see what I could remember.
Holding my guitar again was comfortable and familiar. At first, there was pain as I played it. But as the memory of chords came into my fingertips, I easily ignored the pain.
Suddenly, I felt emotion swelling inside of me; sadness began to dissipate. I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm and filled with disbelief.
My songs had not died!
My youthful song garden was wild, tangled and always blooming. I could easily remember how I danced through my garden and sang freely as a young girl.
My adult song garden was sparse and barren for decades. The moment I began to play my guitar again, I was determined to restore it.
Because I was an older woman, I had maturity and new emotions to express.
Now I could cultivate my garden in a spectacular way. I carefully dug to search for every song seed I could find. Every ounce of pain in my life (a euphemism for “crap”) became my fertilizer. I gently grew each one of those song seeds and watched my songs explode into radiant blooms.
My adult song garden became a bountiful paradise. The song seeds from decades earlier bloomed in ways I never could have imagined. All of my pain was healed by the garden I surrounded myself with and my life was transformed.
Although I had been married for decades to the same man I fell in love with as a young girl, we were strangers. It was too lonely for me to continue to live that way. My music gave me courage to know that it would be far better to live alone. Living with him kept my heart closed with a complete denial of my true feelings.
It was because of my songs that I learned my true feelings.
I followed my own song lyrics and changed the course of my life.
My new life was filled with passion and it even caused me to find faith in God.
God wanted me to share my garden with the world. I took my task seriously and devoted myself to it with every ounce of my being. There were no coincidences for me, because wonderful people appeared in my life in order to help my garden grow.
I hoped I could help other people heal by sharing the beauty of my garden.
However, there were many times when my life became challenging. It was not possible to always be joyous. I watched my father die and my mother fade with dementia. I chose to end my marriage after 31 years.
But when I was filled with sadness, my songs always comforted me. If I fell down, my songs lifted me up.
Every song that I planted was healing and inspiring because the lyrics and music perfectly fit my life. The sweet perfume of song melodies and the magic of my garden sustained me.
My songs were filled with love. I danced through my life hearing music and was grateful to God for blessing me with such a beautiful gift.
I knew I was the richest woman in the world.
I found myself reading and re-reading your letter. I cannot for a moment pretend to understand what you experienced as a result of Jason’s death or the time that followed. I believe one of the greatest tragedies of life is when a child passes before their parents. It’s unimaginable to me – the raw pain. Yet, here you are – reaching out to me to ease my illness – your strength is incredible! Further, in coping with caring for your mom after you had already experienced so much grief – is beyond my comprehension.
I am thankful you began to write about your experiences. In doing so, even inadvertently, you can touch so many and bring healing, understanding and so much more to their lives.
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2013. 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.
You’re great, Jude. Thanks for featuring me on your last blog post. You had me in tears!
I’ve been reading your blog this morning and want to thank you for writing so truthfully. There are some interesting parallels on our paths – age, artistic nature, birth of first child by emergency C-section, bereavement, finding a path through writing – and there are many differences, too. My grief work has taken a different path than yours, but the landscape is familiar. It is encouraging to see how others are surviving and growing through this hard landscape of the death of a beloved child. It does bring hope. May God continue to bless you with love and joy.
Hi Judy, again my heart is touched, expanded a little more because you influence great love. I will say, yet again, that I cried, but they were tears of joy in recognition of all the strength you have had to endure. Finding you has been a blessing in my life. I am very moved to see portions of my letter in this post, because it meant you felt what I said. Knowing I touched your heart, deeply reaches mine as well. Blessings on your day and all the days that follow. Much love, Belinda
Oh, Belinda – I feel you. You see how beautifully your letter fit into my story. You are part of my story. Thank you for entering my world and touching me, too.