Tomorrow is my 62nd birthday. Just writing that stuns me! As a young girl, I used to write to “Judy of the Future.” Perhaps now I’m that older and wiser woman, but I like to believe there is still a “future Judy” ahead of me with more stories to tell.
It has been six months since my last blog post for “My Journey’s Insight.” When I first began blogging, I remember how I couldn’t wait to write and share my heart with brutal honesty. That time of “opening up” was definitely pivotal to my healing. Eleven years later, I share less and less and write infrequently. Although that sounds negative, I want to explain my thoughts surrounding that.
First off, I am a lot more careful not to impinge upon my adult childrens’ privacy. At the beginning of my blog, I wrote about my tenacious advocacy and parenting struggles. I have so many incredibly touching stories I would love to write related to their current achievements. Perhaps I will someday. But right now, I don’t want to embarrass them. They all know how proud I am!
Secondly, I actually am able to easily open my heart with honesty when I perform live on Insight Timer. I feel vulnerable when I sing, and push through my hesitation. I do not “practice singing” and my voice is very limited for a number of reasons. But my audience is so warm and loving – this allows me to simply tell my story and not worry too much about my abilities. I am very fortunate.
Lastly, I am in a peaceful place. I have already released so much anguish, heartache and trauma. That space is now filled with calmness and gratitude. I haven’t written a new song with vocals in five years (but I have composed new instrumental music). I accept that perhaps I’ve written all of the acoustic songs I ever will. Pressuring myself to write a new one doesn’t serve me. A song is a gift from heaven that will come to me if it is supposed to.
So many of my songs appeared to guide me when I was bereft. Maintaining my song garden is also a joyous pursuit. My music continues to bloom and grow and I feel like I am the luckiest songwriter on earth.
I began creating piano solos for my courses on Insight Timer. They were a perfect ending for a song lesson. Eventually, they became a 3-year project and I have created piano solos for almost all of my songs. I have only four left and because those last ones have elaborate finger-picking, I’m not sure how they will translate to piano. I have written about my piano editing on my music blog here: “The Magic of Piano.”
Last week, I released “Healing Piano Melodies – Part 2” on Insight Timer. It carries 15 songs. “Healing Piano Melodies – Part 1,” carried 20 songs, because the clips were shorter. I am well into “Healing Piano Melodies – Part 3” and have eleven melodies already completed for it.
Clicking on the image plays my tracks on Insight Timer:
I recorded a third course for Insight Timer over the past five months. It was very time intensive and that is why I haven’t painted as much. I haven’t submitted it yet and once I do, it will probably take many months before it is released.
I currently have recorded 3 courses that consist of 30 song lessons. The process of writing lessons for my songs has been both challenging and rewarding. Mixing in background music is very fun and creative for me. I even started recording some slow nylon guitar meanderings to add to my lessons. I wonder whether I will write lessons for the remaining 20 songs. Wondering is a good thing!
Despite my focus on music, I did squeeze in time for a few new paintings. A fig tree next to the tennis court where I play every week inspired me. The figs were actually quite tasty in my salads.
And this past summer, I had a real craving for Rainier Cherries!
In 2018, I had the glorious experience of shooting a music video for my song “Crystal Oceans.” After three years, I had never seen any of the raw footage; I was particularly interested in the reels of me playing my guitar on a sailboat. That footage wasn’t used in the final video because the actor playing my love interest didn’t show up that day. The editor wanted a more romantic story line, so my solo singing on a sailboat wasn’t included.
I was finally able to see myself performing on that boat when my son converted the files for me. I extracted a few stills and am sharing them on this post.
I don’t feel as young as I did then, even though it was only three years ago. But I remind myself that I broke my ankle a year later and it was a huge setback.
A few days ago, I spoke to a good friend across the country. She was recovering from foot surgery and giving her a pep talk reminded me what an achievement it was that I healed from a broken ankle in 2019. Then in 2020, I had the hardware surgically removed. Somehow, I have put it all behind me and am incredibly grateful that I can do so much of what I did before. The only difference is that I am extremely cautious.
I continue to play tennis once or twice a week and unfortunately, my dry eyes still bother me when I play. Some days, I shuffle out of my chair with stiffness from sitting too long, but when I’m on the tennis court – I amaze myself. I am careful not to lose balance because I know what’s at stake.
Talking to my friend, I understood how she felt as she faces several months in a wheelchair. Back then, I could only dream of playing tennis again. Running around with my girlfriends and whacking that tennis ball truly is a miracle in my life.
Last week, there was one day where I felt teary. I wasn’t sure why I felt so emotional, until I realized that the fall season holds so many anniversaries of the heart for me. Today is actually the day my mother died. I shared that with my daughter and she texted back: “Wow! Grandma would be so proud of you and the woman you’ve become.”
So tomorrow on my birthday, I celebrate many things. At the top of my list is my health. I can see well enough to drive, paint and play tennis. I can sing my heart out to a loving audience anytime I want to.
I have amazing children whom I adore. All three are close to me, despite the physical distance with two of them. My deceased son, Jason, continues to live on in my music and songs.
On October 6th, it was 29 years since Jason died. My day was filled with ordinary activities, yet my heart felt extraordinary. What came into my mind was the line I spoke at the end of one of my song lessons for my newest course:
“I am positive the absolute best time in my life is right now, at this very moment.”
I share below an excerpt from my song lesson for “More Than You Know.”
“More Than You Know” was originally about my sadness over losing a good friend, but it holds so much more wisdom for me. With the line “I thought that you were mine” I was forced to accept the harsh truth no one could ever belong to me. Instead, I held onto what I cherished with all the love in my heart as I let them go. It was letting go of being responsible and simply acknowledging love that led to my healing.
At the beginning when my mother had dementia, I was so bereft at the loss of the sharp woman she used to be. It was awful watching my father suffer and wish for death. I was depressed receiving reports about the disabilities my children struggled with.
Letting go in all of those situations wasn’t remotely easy. But my love carried me through. I also turned that love into compassion and forgiveness. I couldn’t continue to blame myself for not being able to save Jason.
My story “Each Day” is about making every day my best. On what was a particularly stressful day in my former caregiving life, I was able to find beauty in small moments. Is there a way in your life, you can see beyond the stress and discover miracles?
As relatable as “More Than You Know” is in so many ways, there is one other lyric line that is not honest. I‘ve left it there anyway, because it brings a smile for me to realize how far I’ve come. The line, “How could I have guessed our time would be my best?” just isn’t true for me anymore.
I am positive the absolute best time in my life is right now, at this very moment.”