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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Let it Go: Unlocking Your Frozen Emotions with Music

William R Brooksher, Photographer

 'If you had to choose just one song to sustain you with happy memories for an eternity, what would that song be?'
Music and Happy Memories

This morning I woke up thinking about what music I would put on my list of lifetime favorites when I came across a TED discussion group with the question, 'If you had to choose just one song to sustain you with happy memories for an eternity, what would that song be?'

Having just watched an incredibly moving documentary on Netflix the night before--'Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory'--in which social worker Dan Cohen demonstrates the extraordinary and amazingly immediate effects of music in unlocking memory and emotions in patients with Alzheimer's, this was the very question on my mind. 

The documentary had me contemplating what music I would want on my playlist if by chance in the future I was locked for all eternity in a soul-killing Alzheimer's hell. After witnessing how music awakened the soul within those stuck without memories I knew I would want my children to help me unlock my emotions and memory through my music should this be my fate.

Frozen Heart--artist unknown

Unlocking Frozen Emotions

But as I began to listen to some of my favorite music this morning, I immediately felt something shake free in myself. Having recently experienced the loss of loved ones, I have been locked up and shut away within myself. I thought I was really thawing out but I discovered I had a way to go as the music moved me.

Sometimes life challenges and transitions lead us to numb our emotions and freeze our hearts. As we strive to be strong and survive the more difficult changes we often shut ourselves off from others and separate from our emotions. When we're ready to let go and unlock our frozen emotions we need a way to reconnect to others. Music offers us an excellent bridge back to the core of our fully functioning selves.

I realized if music has the ability to awaken memories and exuberant emotions in people with Alzheimer's, it can help us through the other times when we close off against life.  

'Why wait to apply the musical salve when we can apply it to heal our frozen hearts and numbed emotions today?'
Hearts Overflowing by Susan J Meyerott

What Music Is on Your Playlist?

I took advantage of the favorite music choices provided by others in the TED discussion group to start me on my own list--and began adding from there. I offer the start of my list to you to get you started.  I would love to hear what YOUR favorites are too. 

'What music would awaken your warm memories and exuberant emotions?'

Sunshine on my Shoulders
Annie's Song
Mr Tambourine Man
Singing in the Rain
This Land is Your Land
Fly Me to the Moon
Blowin' in the Wind
Louis Armstrong's It's a Wonderful World
Time of your Life
Amazing Grace
Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Somewhere over the Rainbow
You Raise me Up
Stand by Me
Wednesday Morning, 3 am
Brazillian Music
Brazil 66--Night and Day
The Power of One Soundtrack 
Canon in D by Pachabel
Handel's Hallelujah Chorus 

I never tire of hearing Susan Boyle in her debut performance. What an inspiration!
I Dreamed a Dream sung by Susan Boyle 

This one was offered up by someone in the group. Do yourself a favorite and listen to is incredible! 
"O Magnum Mysterium" by Morton Lauridsen
King's College Choir (Oxford)  Dec. 24th, 2009 choral performance: 

Thank you to Phil MacNeill, Director at PRMAC Consulting and Research for posting the question 'If you had to choose just one song to sustain you with happy memories for an eternity, what would that song be?' on the TED LinkedIn discussion group.

Check out  Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory on Netflix or go to link:

Heart Art by Susan J Meyerott

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Tribute to the Bee Charmer

My Father--The Bee Charmer
'Seeing only what is fair, sipping only what is sweet--leave the chaff, and take the wheat.' Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'The Humble-Bee'

The Humble Bee

Our father, 'Daddy' passed away September 4th, 2014. Like Emerson's 'humble-bee' he graced us with his humble yet dynamic presence for 98 years. 

Despite his powerful work persona--leading research in high energy physics and working with the Atomic Energy Commission and on the Manhattan Project--at home, he presented a quiet, unassuming image in his torn 20-year old flannel shirts, grease stained pants and straw hat with the front cut open 'for proper aeration'. 

When he arrived home from work he'd transition from his 'Roland Edward Meyerott' role to his 'Daddy/Rollie' role by changing his impeccable suits for his casual clothes and going straight out to spend time by himself tending the organic garden, animals and bees. I loved to greet him when he came home so I could check his pockets for brewer's yeast tablets.

The Bee Charmer

One of his many roles was that of the family Bee Charmer--he was the keeper of bees, collector of honey, and nurturer of the family hive. He kept beehives humming for 60 plus years, and his own family hive humming for 98 years.  

As a 'systems-thinker' Daddy had his system for everything. Perhaps that's why he admired and kept bees. Beehives can house 60,000 bees, collect 66 lbs of pollen a year, and are the model of system and organization. 

Raising Worker Bees

Perhaps Daddy modeled his own family hive on the beehive: 

'Honeybees represent a highly organized society, with various bees having very specific roles during their lifetime: e.g., nurses, guards, grocers, housekeepers, construction workers, royal attendants, undertakers, foragers, etc.'

He wanted a large 'hive' and certainly made sure his worker bees were kept busy and organized. 

The Bee Charmer taught us to be worker bees--industrious beings who make the world a sweeter place for others through our personal magic, diligence and dedication to the hive.

Growing up I didn't give much thought to how intimately bee culture was woven into our family's language and experience, but it was always present. 

Today in honor of the passing of our Bee Charmer, Daddy, I am sharing with you the collection of bee memories created by YOU that make me stop and think about 'our father who art now in heaven' (with his queen bee) that helped our hive keep humming and thriving. 

Please keep sending me your BEE related pictures, photos and memories. 

'Bee on Clover' photography by Sean Royce

Bee Happy--Bee Free--Bee Sweet

Memory: Do you remember as kids, when we walked into the kitchen or hot house, we'd see a fresh batch of honeycomb in a colander separating the honey from the comb? We'd walk by, break off a piece of honey-filled comb to pop into our mouth and let the sweetness of clover honey melt in our mouth. 

Memory: Do you remember when we weren't allowed to use sugar or syrup when we could use honey? I grew up taking bees and the honey they produced for granted because it was so plentiful in our home.

'Men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. But the bee gathers its materials from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.' Leonardo Da Vinci

The Queen Bee, Moo
'His labor is a chant, His idleness a tune; Oh, for a bee's experience of clovers and of noon!' Emily Dickinson

 Honey--Sweet as can be!

Mind Your Own Beeswax!

Emma forgot and was stung on the nose.

'To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee.' William H Walton

Oh Bee-Have
Ain't Mis-Bee Hiving

'There is no bee without the sting; cleverness consists in gathering the honey nevertheless.' Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Bee Still

'What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.' Pericles

Just Bee

'The holiest of all holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart: The secret anniversaries of the heart.' Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Burned Out? Small Changes Make Big Difference

'If you do what you've always done you'll always get what you always got.' Henry Ford

Small Changes--The Secret to Regaining Your Balance

Feeling burned out by work, relationships or life? Want to regain that sense of balance and fire in your belly? It all begins with a single small change. 

Seemingly insignificant changes in your environment, perceptions or actions can alter the course of events and re-balance the power in relationships. By making small changes you create different results.

Where to Start

Burnout is especially problematic for service-oriented, heart-felt people who freely give of themselves without restraint--those of you who are the caregivers in relationships and hard-working, enthusiastic contributors in the workplace. 

Too much of a good thing--caring deeply and always being accessible--can quickly turn those strengths into weaknesses, and your unbridled enthusiasm into resentment when you fail to give it a rest.

If you are a caregiver by nature, start by looking for little ways to shore up your boundaries by compartmentalizing your work and life, and disconnecting from others daily. 

Think about it:

  • Are you always connected to work and people through your computer, I-phone or other devices? 
  • Do you check your work email when you leave the office?
  • Are you always available to work or others--taking phone calls or checking messages when out with others or throughout the night with your phone turned on by your bed (and text messages pinging on arrival)? 
  • Do you make yourself available to work when you leave for vacation?
  • Are you the first one in the office and the last one to leave?

Turning OFF in an ON Culture

Living in an always ON culture creates a fertile ground for burnout. Without appropriate boundaries you'll never get away from the overwhelming expectations of the outside world.

When you're always on-call  to others you fail to provide yourself moments of soul-saving, off-line silence letting you sit with your private thoughts and disengage from the unspoken expectations or needs of others.

To begin putting balance back in your life try altering the perception you need to stay constantly 'connected', then unplug from one activity that's keeping you 'always on'.

Choose One Small Change

  • Turn your phone off at a set time before you go to bed. 
  • If you just can't resist turning your phone back on when you leave it by your bed, put your phone in a location that makes it too much work to get out of bed to check it...preferably in a different room.
  • Separate your work email from your personal email. 
  • Do not check work messages at home.
  • Turn off the computer in the evening and on weekends.
  • Do something different. If you are home in the evening and just can't resist checking your computer or phone for messages, take a book or journal out to a coffee house. Leave your phone home.
  • If you tend to stay home waiting for that person to call, make plans with someone else--just get out of the house.
  • Leave work at a predetermined earlier time for one week. Let others know you will leave at that time.

For Relationship Burnout Seek Silence and Separation

Where is the OFF button for establishing appropriate boundaries in your personal relationships? What do you do when you're burned out trying to make a relationship work? 

If the harder you try to fix a relationship, the worse you make it: 

Stop. Pull Back. Do nothing. Do something else. Spend time with someone else.

Try seeking silence and separation so you can hear yourself think--and set appropriate boundaries according to the spoken rules of the relationship.

Sometimes you don't need to talk more to solve a difference or problem. You need to put it down, separate, and create open space for everyone to breath and think.

But what do you do when someone you're interested in romantically says  "I just want to be friends", then proceeds to text you well after 11 pm or wants to get together at 10 pm? 

While you may want to push the limits of the relationship, you will only burn yourself out by accepting the 'we're just friends' while still acting as if you are more than that. 

To maintain balance in your relationship (and leave the door open to the possibility of a love relationship developing) you need to set appropriate 'friend' boundaries by working off the spoken 'friend' rule.

Friends spend time in the daylight and early evening. Lovers spend time late into the night.

When you play by the 'friend rule' you take the 'I only want to be friends' person at his/her word and you relate like friends--without allowing the other person to inappropriately invade your life like an intimate--you don't date; you don't take phone calls or text messages after 10 pm; you spend daytime and early evening time together, not late night time together--and you freely date other people and talk about it. 

Do not allow other people complete run of your life by allowing them to act on both the spoken and unspoken rules. Whatever the spoken rules are those are the ones you play by--not by what you think is really going on (the unspoken rules).

Silence IS Golden

Bounce back from feeling burned out--seek silence and re-establish boundaries by changing one small thing. What adjustment will you make to regain your balance?

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.