Where does a thought lead, unencumbered by the heart?
Music taught me what magic truly is. I was only eleven years old when I realized that a song could understand my heart. The title of this blog is a quote from Isaac Hanson of Hanson, the band whose music has been my safe place to fall for the past seventeen years. He was speaking about what music means to us, how we can only describe it through the music itself. I have witnessed this band overcome many obstacles in their path that may have been insurmountable if it was not for their passion for every note they create, every lyric they write. Through it all, their all consuming need to make music always draws them back to it—like air, it sustains them. Hearts like theirs were born to reach others. In the end, the music refuses to die; the art must express itself endlessly or the musician suffers. I learned that in my writing I can never give in and give up either. It’s a calling that won’t let me turn and walk down a different road without returning to its path. Sometimes, all it takes as one note to remind me, echoing the sighs within my soul, giving them meaning beyond the moment.
Indeed we can’t define in words how music affects us. I have tried for years, and I can’t even express it to myself except through feeling—it’s the last star in the empty sky, that tiny spark of light that pulls me out of the darkness, if only for a moment. Lyrics and melody create the next breath within me, carrying me forward until I rediscover myself gradually, flickers of hope that become my rebirth into the fire of passion. A song is a story I’ve held within, fearing no one would ever understand. It takes me by the hand, leads me through the confusion, and offers up sweet resolution. When I stand in an audience and experience the music washing over me, it literally transforms my state of mind and heart. It’s this surreal kind of magic that sheds me of all my outer layers and allows me to just be—fully exposed and unashamed. Music reminds me that life can be a miracle, and sustains me through the trials it seems as though I cannot bear. The sweet voices that sing create a warmth within me that builds my heart back up from broken, time and time again.
Kelly Bazely, my best friend, is another incredible healer of song. Her courage to grow from her own heartbreak by writing songs for other broken hearts is a perfect example of what makes music so powerful. I have been so touched by her ability to comfort and inspire hearts from a place of such humility. Her project, Fifty days Underground, has been the voice of the broken hearted for 2014. She has shown me the beauty in an aching heart, the gift of song as exchanged for discovering deeper meaning in the wake of heart break. We are all together in this experience, and her songs vary in their tales, yet there is a theme that runs through them all—there is always hope.
I can’t explain how music changes us, but I do know that it makes life so much more worth living, that without it, my soul would not know what it truly means to feel alive.
I encourage you to check out Kelly Bazely’s wonderful and inspiring project here 🙂
I went through a period of depression when I was in my early twenties. I had experienced sadness, but never this deeply. It paralyzed me, and caused each day to blur into the next. I wrestled with demons that I couldn’t name, and I lost myself in my work to avoid feeling too much, or even feeling at all. The numbness was the worst part—the nothingness scared me half to death. But it was through this dark time that I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life—give and you will heal.
I had longed to make myself useful in one way or another since I could remember, and I had the misconception for a long time that my disability prevented me from doing so. When I found the Leave out Violence (L.O.V.E.) program, I was immediately aware that I had much more than simply a feature story for my class. Everything about the organization captivated me—to have a place like this where at risk youth could express themselves and feel accepted touched my heart and I knew that I had to be a part of it. When I was a youth, I would have grown so much from all L.O.V.E. had to offer, and I knew it would be a comfort to teach these beautiful young souls about the importance of loving themselves. To know they might be able to make significant strides towards self acceptance sooner than I had made me realize that perhaps the heart was all you needed to give something worthy to someone else after all.
Looking back, I can see exactly how timely my involvement with L.O.V.E. was. There was a period of about three months between when I wrote my story and when I was able to complete the criminal record check that would allow me to officially volunteer. February of 2007, I had my first night at L.O.V.E. after coming through some of my darkest days. I learned all about these brave youth, who had taken on so much more than I could ever have conceived. I heard their poetry and for the first time in so long, I was able to remove the focus of how much I hurt. Listening and supporting to the participants of this program reminded me to be grateful and allowed me to gradually find my way back to myself again. Through the years, L.O.V.E. has become my second family, and each evening I spent there has given me the strength to keep fighting, to be an example of perseverance through all kinds of storms.
I remember one night this year when I was able to witness L.O.V.E. from a place outside of myself. I watched these youth that had come to mean so much to me laughing and carrying on with each other as they usually do, however at that moment I was struck by the blessing they had come to be in my life. How their courage and their undeniable light and presence constantly reminded me that we all have a voice that needs to be shared with the world. Moments like these bring me back to the heart of my purpose—encouraging others to shine their light by daring to shine a little of my own through the darkness. If you want to heal your heart—be courageous enough to give it away in the wake of your most difficult pains. The transformation within just may astound you.
Even when we learn of the beauty of our own light, we can become separated from it when wondering through a time of significant darkness, of a pain so great, it represses the words that we know we possess within our hearts. We fear we may never recover our messages that we long to share again, that somehow, in the revelations of immense pain and deeply set struggles, they might lose their truth. We find ourselves in a state of choking when we try to speak, and so we doubt the strength of our own voice. Still, if we are open, we are able to discover small moments each day that remind our hearts of their timeless glow.
I sit here, pondering fear and anticipating the direction my life will take next. Today there is one of those wonderful kind of breezes, the kind that stirs just enough within, that excites me without that feeling becoming overwhelming. This has been a year of stumbling over myself, resting, carrying on, and pressing restart on the whole crazy cycle all over again. I have had to crash down to the bottom, no longer the girl who once had her whole future panned out. The darkest of days have taught me so much about myself and forced me to look at what I wanted to avoid—learning how to accept myself.
Honestly, I have considered turning down a different road then this writing life I chose so long ago. I have had to pose some questions to myself that were far from easy. Do I have the discipline it takes to be a professional writer? I know for certain that I have the passion. I have learn that the need to quench my thirst for diving into my soul through words refuses to leave me, no matter how my mind persistently insists that I have failed, that I am incapable of having the career that I have always dreamed of. One last roadblock remains in my way, a stubborn habitual way of being—fear.
The risk of attempting to have my words published is something that can set my stomach in knots if I even think about it too much. Rejection has been something I have fought against for my whole life, however I also know how necessary it is to growth, and that eventually, you come to a point where you no longer have a choice but to embrace it. The little world you created must fall apart so that you can create a beauty that is so raw, it stings a bit in the process of creation. People will break you down with their voices, but you can’t help but listen to those voices that build you up. Those are the voices of the hearts that need you. This is the first step towards experiencing growth through darkness. I will fill my heart with the reflection of the light of others until I find strength enough to fully emit my own.
I will wade through these waves that crash over me until I settle the storm within and transmit the rain through rainbows…