Archive | December 2013

Living Golden.

A years time goes by in a flash, two bizarrely even faster.
Have you given any thoughts to what you’ll change and or add to your life in 2014? Do you make new year’s resolutions? A new diet? Stopping a bad habit like smoking for instance?
Or do you tend to be like me and not even go there?
I have long been an advocate for NOT making new year resolutions. This last two years for me has brought so many new life changes that had I made any conscious resolutions the last two January’s I suspect I surely would have not been successful in playing out those resolutions. Simply so because I am busy living in the moments life is prone to, while navigating this that I refer to as the reinvention of my second season.
With the new year approaching, I remain steadfast in my way of thinking for 2014. I have made choices and changes in my life that have challenged me in ways I never even realized were possible. The challenge of finding new paths in life to live authentically, while finding a balance that brings the bliss of contentment comes with built-in fear factors. Fears that very well could have derailed me right from jump street had I fed the fears any energy. Instead I forged ahead, often with my eyes tightly shut not knowing what I might find at the end of each path.
The “reinvention of my second season” certainly has been filled with lessons I have found difficult to reconcile with,  affirming again for me it is not I who is in charge of all aspects of my life. 
And this is my own personal take on a familiar tradition of making new years resolutions, certainly not a suggestion that this is meant as advice in any way shape or form.

For me I am feeling this great wonder of having the freedom and ownership being on my own. The gift of being only that genuine person I have been shaped and molded to be, from all my life’s experiences and interactions is the most comfortable I have been in own my skin for a very long time.
I continue to be a devout and professional student of life. I am certainly in no way a “perfect person” and though I strive to live the “righteous life” of simply being a good person, living by the golden rule, I know without a doubt I am filled with a variety of flaws and imperfections. Which brings me to the theory of new years resolutions. It is not that I don’t need to make changes in my life where most of those flaws and imperfections lie. I do.
I wonder then where the disconnect for me comes regarding the theory behind new years resolutions. It is our tradition and custom to compile new years resolutions that we hope are going to improve who we are, and our behaviors. We all have our own inventory of these self-proclaimed improvements we seek in ourselves, and we think we only need to comply and our lives will magically improve  And there for me is the rub.
I realized that my discomfort in making resolutions comes from my personal theory that for me improving life is really about how to live as a person who treats our planet and all of its inhabitants with great care and respect. All the years.
I find myself needing to slow down in life and look for the ways I am best able to accomplish this as part of the person I am. Finding ways that I won’t just drop the ball after the first few weeks as I did with a diet. I discovered I simply needed to change my way of thinking. Just as I did in relation to my way of thinking about dieting. I chose to change my thinking from “die-it-ing” to instead to “live-it-ing”
Admittedly an abstract way of thinking, but it works for me. I am convinced our thinking determines our behaviors, and if I can simply change how I think about something it will have a direct influence on my perceptions and then consequently my behaviors.

While pondering and wandering in my mind I remembered something from so far back in school I was not even sure I knew what I was recalling was correct. In school studying about The Stoics  I recalled they believed in one basic behavior: Being Good.  Needing some research to confirm what I thought I remembered I was delighted to find history about the
philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium -early 3rd century B. C. 
I recalled correctly and was even more wonderful was that my research was serendipitous to my thoughts on improving life & new years resolutions.
Wiki notes on the Stoics: 
 “The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of “moral and intellectual perfection,” would not suffer such emotions.[1] Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said but how they behaved.”
Upon further reading I was reintroduced to the very basic of tenets that the Stoics lived by.  .
  • Living according to nature
  • Helping others
  • Commitment to self-improvement. (aha, resolutions maybe?)
  • Central to all else, maintaining a proper attitude. ( And there it is. An affirmation for me)
I find it fascinating when I learn about the philosophies throughout history that despite their originating cultures all touch on the very same ‘golden rule(s). In today’s life-style and belief systems I think living by a sense of the Golden Rule is the only path to true contentment.
 
There are four more tenets that I ascribe to that help me find a clarity in remaining true to myself,  true to those in my world, and true as well to this earth we call home and our universe.
 
  • Live without pretending.
  • Listen without defending.
  • Speak without offending…

And my All-Time, All-Star favorite tenant:

  • Love without depending. 
Maybe some might choose to call these resolutions, and that’s okay by me.
I can do this for the rest of my life, not for just a few weeks. 
 
I will still make the choice to call it simply “Living Golden”.
 
 

©ttaylor2013

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Winter’s Wild Wonderland

Finding delight during the height of the Christmas season brings a special sparkle. I love the classic (might I say vintage?) Christmas songs we all have grown up with, Hearing them year after year brings with them attached memories. I have this my first Christmas being single been especially remembering Christmas with my brothers, and with that has brought the soft feeling of being a bit homesick.

So this year I am going home!

The week after Christmas my daughter & I will be with my brothers & their families. I have a grand-niece who I will be meeting for the first, I am so looking forward to the trip. My brothers don’t know we are coming. My sister in-laws’ and I decided to make a surprise out of it for both my brothers who think they will not see me at all this holiday.

This means a road trip with my daughter as we will be making the trek across the Cascade Mountain range from our small home town on the high desert to the big city of Portland Oregon, Affectionately known as P-town.

All of this is very weather dependent of course. because of the temperamental climate of the wild winter wonderland of the Oregon mountains. Makes me think of the Christmas son Winter Wonderland.

The trip over the mountain pass this time of year can be quite a wild adventure if caught up at 6000-7000 feet above sea level in white out conditions.  (Think good thoughts for us please)

It can also be the most Zenful trip of the year  bringing an incredible sense of peace over your whole being. This stunning winter wonderland drive over the pass very soon begins to creates a calm and quiet that gently blankets the energy inside the car. No one speaks. Everyone feels it. Our breath is literally taken by the crisp and pure beauty that lies in every direction our eyes can scan.

And the silence. the blissful silence of snow. Only the subtle tapping cadence from the studded snow tires needed for traction keep time for the orchestrated quiet.  There is no radio reception, no cell/mobile service, and there is a sense for great reverence for that kind of wild winter wonderland silence. So we honor that for a bit of time and just drive.

We are in the middle of a national forest

 A deep humble sigh escape while softly smiling. Gratitude for the gift of living amongst such spectacular grace of nature is a shared thought. Day dreams about the little cabin nestled under the shelter of the great pines, tall sentry’s guarding at its sides. Then the narratives begin. As we wind through the mountains with the back drop of the sun glancing brilliant light off the snow we begin to spin tales. The stories we tell and build with one another;  the songs we make up on the fly singing together, and the silly laughter.

All part of the magic.

….and then once again the silence will come.

Oregon’s Wild Winter Wonderland.

Merry Christmas Y’all!

©ttaylor2013

A Beautiful Acoustic version of “O Holy Night” by Brett Service

For my mother, her favorite holiday season, her favorite Christmas hymn.
Thank you Brett!

Barefoot Music Group

    
“O Holy Night” by Brett Service

http://www.reverbnation.com/brettservice/song/19338260-o-holy-night

Brett Service

44 year old Singer/songwriter Brett Service is based in Windsor, Ontario Canada.

For more music by Brett Service please see his artist page @ http://www.mixposure.com/brett-service

44 year old Singer/songwriter Brett Service is based in Windsor, Ontario Canada.  Music is just a hobby these days.  Did the playing cover songs in bars thing for years, and it just isn’t my scene.  Preference is now on the creative process, writing and recording in a comfortable no pressure environment.  Have done many collaborations with artists around the world via the internet, and continue to do that from time to time.

Greatly influenced by the great Canadian singer/songwriters, Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Stan Rogers, Murray Mclauchlan.  Also influenced by Van Morrison, Colin Hay, Harry Chapin, CSNY etc.  Service’s music could best be described as a hybrid of folk, rock, pop and country.

–…

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Lost & Pining

( Note: I started this post a few days ago but at the time could not             finish it. I am leaving it however in present tense. )                  
I missed something today.

I just couldn’t even put it into words, that which I was missing.
I just felt lost.
Today the silliest of things, brought the quickest of tears to my eyes.
t’s been a lovely but weird change in my life, one that has certainly let me be alone lone enough to now know more of what my mom’s life was like for her after raising her Family. Then finding herself living alone for the first time in her life.
Though I refuse to live my life with regret I do wish I had the foreshadow to know then what I know today.
Some Triggers for feelings and memories can come from the oddest sources. The connections not really apparent.
At least right away.
For instance the video that follows below, I actually watched and fell in love with this story over a year ago, and there was not the trigger then for me like there is today. Maybe there was. [shrugging shoulders]
But I just was not in a mind-set that heard or felt it, that is a real possibility because even today it took me hours to recognize where that feeling of lost was coming from. I shared the video with a group, I watched it again, and I was crying before and after,  crying through the entire story.
Twice.
(It is a darling 16 minute story so worth watching)
I didn’t know why or where the tears were coming from. I can be a fairly emotional person I admit, but tears at the drop of an animated video? Tears blurring my vision when a friend shared how paralyzed he is musically because of grief?  I must be crying for his loss.
I thought.
 There were more tears. At every turn today I found myself weepy. The video only was the break in the dam of feelings. There was a disconnect I couldn’t attach to. What was happening emotionally to me?  I don’t cry over nothing.
  I said to myself;  “Self, you know maybe it is just the season and not feeling 100%.”
So many people struggle this time of year and feel disjointed,  they feel disconnected.
There was simply a feeling of being lost that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Like Pine must have felt.

Later while finally sending my daughter a song I’d discovered last week I heard at least a dozen times it was never from the perspective that I heard  today. 
A connection to the tear drops  for me was made through lyrics. 
If you know anything about me you will know that I use music in my life to communicate, to process, and sometimes to navigate life. It’s who I always have been.
Sending my daughter a song is not at all an unusual thing. We share a similar taste in a lot of music, and it’s especially true regarding Beth Hart‘s music. Her lyrics, her style, they are significantly important to both of us.
I will link the pertinent song for convenience:   http://youtu.be/s-h7O0JYLu4
Listening to the song again I heard it from the perspective of a daughter for the first time. I knew then right away what my tearful day was about.
I miss my mom. Simple as that.
My Mom: Penny Taylor  (18 yrs old)mom
In sharing my feelings with my youngest daughter who I was sending the song I told her that ‘mom’s’ typically are the one person in our lives who really do love us no matter what or who we are. It had finally hit me, finally it occurred to me that this is what my loss was about. No matter what choices I made in my life my mom always supported me. I always felt loved by my mom even when maybe I didn’t deserve to be. That unconditional love that only a mother can give.
How awesome that my emotions were mixed between those for my daughter, and those for my mom.
I think this might be part of my life’s full-circle.
©ttaylor2013