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On Becoming A Songwriter

 

Reposted from Barefoot Music Group.

 

“I’ll Shy Away”(new song) by Toni & Phil

 

 

 

 

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The Little Things

” Above all else it is about leaving a mark that I existed. I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a great purpose and that is why I make works of art.”~ Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Today I know that life itself is a work of art, one in which we all have a great purpose in. We create art in our life on a daily basis. You are your own masterpiece.
I have been duly conscientious for the need to try to remain mindful of today, of the “now” in my life. It is not a new belief concept for me, but it requires patience and focus. My patience is being tested lately.
This has made me forgetful and helped me lose my focus on just the here and now, and enjoy just what I have now.
I am realizing that to also be grateful for the things I don’t think about as often would go a long way to the gentle reminders I need to remain in the now. To NOT get caught up in the problems of yesterday, the worries of tomorrow. Instead, being mindful of all things significant in my life. Better than snapping a rubber band against ones wrist.
Don’t ask. Just trust me.
I ask myself what about the little things? The things in my life I take for granted, What are those little things that serve to be reminders for me. And why are they significant if they are such little things?
There are things I take for granted and that if my life was suddenly spun to another world and I was left without the things I am use to where would I be?
I am a grateful person usually by nature. I believe in gratitude and expressing thanks. I am often aware of feeling grateful for the obvious gifts in life. Gifts like my Faith,  my Hopes, my Dreams, on being loving, on being loved, on peacefulness and contentment. These are the things happiness can be built on it is true. I am thankful each morning and night for these gifts. And for those in my life who are my gifts.
Yet there are those small, seemingly unimportant things in my life I would not want to be without. They are significant to my style of homespun happiness.
There are a few others in my life I’d like to be more aware of how significant they are to me in a mindful way. Making a point of being grateful for the “small things” and not taking advantage of or assuming they will always be there.
Just a few honorable mentions from my world in no particular order of value:
Cyberspace: 
For one immediate stand out I look no further than the very keyboard I type this on. And the magic of the Internet I don’t even pretend to understand. Ironically for a lady who is not a fan of technology it has become an important form of communication for me. I know what it is like  to be without though even for just a couple of days.  I’ll not take it for granted, instead I will be mindful of the gifts it brings to my life each day.
Journaling. 
I am grateful I can journal, and feel good about the cathartic expression as well as the personal growth I gain from my introspective reflections.
Seneca, the Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman and  dramatist, suggested the idea of  “self observation” by making a daily self-inventory of ourselves;  by asking as we bring our day and evening to a close the questions of yourself. His suggested questions work for me.
  • What bad habit have you cured today?
  • What fault have you resisted?
  • In what respect are you better?
This ritual of asking and answering for that day’s behavior & actions helps me to be reminded of the times when I am not living as graciously as I could. I am able to sort out the day’s events and process any feelings through my journaling.  Tomorrow is a new day, start anew.
Cloth Napkins
 I know.. I know…. threw you for a loop there did I?
Cloth napkins are an indulgence I feel good about. I rarely use kitchen paper products, specifically paper napkins or paper towels. I usually have both in my home but prefer cloth napkins and cloth hand towels. It feels like a luxury with every meal to use a cloth napkin that I adore. I’m an extremely texture oriented person and am not a fan of the feel of paper napkins.
I am most grateful for being able to use cloth napkins.
 My Neighborhood:
One of the things I know I take advantage of and am rarely mindful of is when my neighborhood is quiet. There are times when I just want the solitude and false misconception that I am all alone in my ‘hood. That the absolute quiet means that everyone has left for the day. (weekends in the Summer) and I have this whole world to myself. This is my favorite time to walk about in the Hood and meet the neighbors pets, look at the gardens, especially in winter, most have some architectural designs that I admire and are only visible when the foliage has gone into hibernation.
Water & Music
 I love a hot shower/bath with music at the same time. Candles are optional.
There is a restorative calm that seeps into every muscles, tendons, and my body’s entire collection of connective tissue. I am magically transformed from the moment of stepping into the hot & fragranced water and the first few chords of someone like Snowy White’s Blues guitar and voice starts to fill the room.
I am in heaven on earth then.
Yet I take it for granted and never give a thought to having the clean abundant hot water nor my Bose stereo that I can move about the house at will.
I am most grateful for the soul grabbing love of friends who know what music moves me and sends it along my way. Never forget those who give the gift of a song.
I know that you cannot create happiness out of just anything  It takes creativity
I am able to touch my own oneness because of these small things in my life that are very significant to me.
They help create this masterpiece I call my life..

I’ll Shy Away by Toni Helser & Phil Kearney

Sometimes people come into our lives and with them they bring priceless gifts.

This is the case when Phil Kearney came into my life, his music struck me first and I became a fan, then we became friends. Phil has made a lifelong dream come true for me in turning my words into a song. I really don’t have adequate words to express my gratitude and fondness for Phil, he turned the “becoming a songwriter” into one of the most positive life changing experiences of my life. I’d even go as far and say Phil helped bring me to a point of full circle. Priceless!

Through the whole process of writing, recording, and final mixing Phil allowed me the privilege of being along for the journey of his process. I’ve learned so much while often just simply being in awe.

I’m in awe still Phil. Thank YOU!!

……and Phil…I’m even more of a fan.

 

 

 

Published on Oct 17, 2017

 

“I’ll Shy Away”Music by Phil Kearney
Lyrics by Toni HelserSo this is it, this is my lightship
where my sense is regained
Here’s where I find a kinship
Penetrating the atmosphere with it’s frailtySpiraling and cascading
into vulnerability
Words that flow with ease
Into fairytales of ecstasy

I’ll shy away
from all the tears
No longer chained to shame

I’ll shy away
taking risk where they belong

No need to lie
no need to pretend
that I’m okay
I’m okay

It was all part of the denial
but there’s grace in my face now
No longer quietly afraid
Singing “this is no charade,
this serenity…”

Casting out the shadows
of all that I buried
Showing the scars
like some battered little thing

I’ll shy away
from all the tears
No longer chained to shame

I’ll shy away
taking risk where they belong

No need to lie
no need to pretend
that I’m okay
I’m okay

Light glimpsing softly
Shadows celebrate with the sunshine
shifting brilliance in all that’s divine.

 

 

 

As The Wind & Rain Shape Their Night

 

 

The ocean tide comes rolling in

While there’s not a soul to be seen

And so it begins

The gentle waves turn the tide into a violent sea

Are you ready?

Are you hunkered down again?

 

From a quiet gentle breeze that wouldn’t disturb the bees

It soon turns to gusts that topple the trees

Still the feathered weather and escape its clutch

But the people and their homes not so much

The wind gathers up into clouds of dust

shutters will squeak, hinges that creak and houses will bust

With an intensity of energy they’ll all take flight

while the bright sun becomes just a diminished light

Furious gales build as people take shelter

property takes to the sky while folks just hang on tight

………as the wind and rain shape their night

 

 

©ttaylor2017

 

Here I Go Again

I see the world turning in my sheets, and once again I cannot sleep.

Losing ground in a fight I’m meant to keep.

Fighting to stay on point over many mountains and turning tides.

Forgetting the panic that sets me aside, forgetting the fear that I cannot hide.

Walking down the streets of choices, catching a glance at second chances

Here I go again

Knee-jerk reactions, not finding that safe place to tend to my self.

Searching the stars to ride through the storms should be my wealth

Yet the galaxies leave me empty, there I’m left alone.

Remembering all the rights proved so wrong, I know it’s what I’ve blown

My mind is muddy, my heart is heavy. Does it show?

Here I go again

Reaching for that second chance, one that’s honest, one that’s real

Screaming at the top of my voice don’t give me reason,

just give me choice, for reason is just another season.

Making same mistakes, a troubled reflection I feel

What good is hindsight? Will I ever win the fight?

Here I go again.

Losing now all that was never lost , chances painfully taken away.

Something in this fight has lost its worth,

leaving in its place my hollow rebirth

It threatens in the night and defies the day

My quest for whole just empty promises kept at bay

And…. here I go….again.

 

(Note: Thank you to singer-songwriters Miss Yvonne Jay, and to Bobby Lindstrom for encouraging and supporting me with this piece)

©ttaylor2017

Remain Present

Through all these times

I wondered about:

the wounds of my soul, all the mistakes, and all of the miracles.

Through the tears through the laughter along the wayside.

I obsessed I sighed.

And then

I began

to let it all go. finally letting go  and returning to the silence.

Over and over.

For it heals my soul.

I am certain this is not news to anyone that trying to live a philosophy or concept you believe in 100% can still be trying. For instance just the day to day logistics can try to get in the way, and old habits are hard to break even when you want to.

Some say Being Mindful of the Moment is just an expression, I disagree. It’s true I believe, mindful is a verb.

I often use to find myself feeling needy of knowing what tomorrow would bring. Today I know this is a feeling I do not have to react to, it is not my need to know what tomorrow will bring. Because in all honesty my future is not where I want to be. I want to be mindful of just this moment. I want to be fully present in the here and now.

But because often with that needing to know I could also make myself wicked crazy waiting for the answers.

I could.

I did.

For some time.

It has only been in the last decade of my life that the realization and wisdom came to me that fretting over what tomorrow or even hours from now will bring serves no rational purpose. Least of all it does not serves me. I’ve researched, studied, observed, absorbed, and experimented with ways to help myself remain mindful of “Staying in the Moment.” I needed some lessons, teachings, and even  some magic tricks that would help me remember to be mindful. It is too easy to fall back into old habits, old ways of thinking, even when we are trying to change our thinking to grow and enhance our life’s journey

Once I had some logistics in place, some ‘teachings’ I could grasp which allow me now to be gently reminded to remain in this moment; fostered by practicing these lessons daily.

First three and most important teachings:

1. Practice Self-Love.

2. Practice Self-Compassion

3. Practice Self-Forgiveness

Practicing even one of these teachings helped me remain grounded, to retain a balance in my small world in the beginning.  I say go slow. It was quite remarkable how when I chose just one teaching that seemed like magic in that it helped decrease my level of predilection for wanting (read need) to know what the future is going to bring. Just one practice.

How do we remain in the moment, to stay mindful of the here and the now? It’s the only space of time that matters. This time.. right now

In the spirit of this blog I’d like to share the teachings that work for me. My wish is that you are able to take something away, and please be welcome to leave something behind in your comment.

  • Personal – I wear or carry “totems” (an Native North American term) sometimes also referred to as prayer beads, worry stones, or even amulets. My affinity for doing so came from my youth. I found great comfort in a “smoothed by time” river rock in the shape of a flat heart.  I found beautiful comfort in holding its warm stone between my forefinger and thumb, or in the closed palm of my hand. I loved the connection with earth as a girl, I treasure it now as an adult woman.

  • On Mediation: I prefer to mediate regularly; typically it is once every day for at least 15-20 minutes. I found it is that regular practice of meditation that really starts to shape my mind and the way it works. I have heard that this has been backed up by the latest brain studies. I find it easier to maintain focus, have that stillness of mind I am looking for. Being mindful is becoming my norm.

  • Journaling: This is probably not a surprise to those of you who know a bit about me. Keeping a daily journal of my goals and my accomplishments while articulating (what I like to think are wise thoughts) into my way of living can be remarkably effective. Absolutely it’s a habit that requires practice. A lot of practice. Journaling at night when I can’t sleep and reviewing in the morning helps keep these teachings alive throughout the day.
  • Reminder Notes: By placing inspirational/motivational notes, and self-affirmations around my small world (as done even on this post) these become helpful reminders for staying grounded and not getting distracted. This can be favorite quote, important concept, notes from loved ones,  or even a short narrative or a poem. A personal favorite are two prayers sent from a very good friend who is one of my spiritual mentors.
  •  Mind-fullness Alarms:  I loved this teaching especially when I began my quest of mindfulness. Although I don’t do this as a norm anymore; setting alarms to go off at regular intervals throughout the day can be a very effective teaching to help kick-start good mindful habits. This is especially helpful when marathon writing by the way. Having that reminder alarm helps me to get out of my head for a time with regularity.  

It is also important I believe to note of what to be mindful of. Buddhists refer to this as the Right Thought and Right View. 

 Things that consume us during the day, like anger, fear, worry, or frustration, comes from unwise or misguided perspectives. Having a wider & more open mind to other perspectives than our own is a big help. I heard once about a very effective practice of referring to the issues of certain circumstances in our life as “third-world problems”. This is short-hand for a reminder that while dealing with issues we think are monumental, we might instead be mindful that there are people in our world who don’t have access to enough to eat.

It is all about perspectives.

And how we think.

 Can this kind of daily practice of mindfulness achieve a state of bliss In The Moment?

For thousands of years, practitioners have reported greater happiness and tranquility when we are able to stay In The Moment’ 

 So….I think… I shall stay right here in this moment….this here and now – and absorb it for all its worth. 

And this moment in time? 

Priceless!

 

©ttaylor2017 (original version 2013)