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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

GRIEF - It Takes Time

GRIEF - It Takes Time

I post regularly on Therapy Center Stage FB page ~

This post seemed to resonate with so many readers, so I decided to pass it on to my blog.

Grief walked into the office today. It's what happens when we are experiencing or have experienced a loss in our lives. Grief does not always come in response to death. Sometimes grief is about transitioning from one place in our lives to another. Giving up is a tremendously difficult task... we sometime go kicking and screaming into our grief and it's not always pretty... it can be frightening, too... People around us don't quite know what to say, what to do, how to help, and they sometimes distance from us just when we need them the most. Who takes care of our personal needs? Do Friends? Family? Our Spouse? Do our children? No... truthfully, we must work through (push through) our own struggles... we must TAKE CARE of our OWN personal needs, and yes, it is a LONELY task... but, when we stay the course and allow ourselves the sadness, we allow ourselves the necessary alone time with ourselves... then one day we feel better and we find light at the end of the tunnel. There is healing in our grief... don't be afraid... press on... push through... only YOU can do it and it takes COURAGE and TIME!

We ALL struggle.

I hope we can all take the time to work through the heartache and the storms. In our loneliness we CAN find healing. It's okay to take the time to grieve. When these life transitions come my way... I find solace and peace in music.

La - Ti - Do

Jeanne Williams
M.Ed., LPC (Psycotherapist)
MCM, (Music Specialist)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Get Out the Buckets... Life is a Journey!

Get Out the Buckets... Life is a Journey!

...and we all know, in life... there can be joy... there can be chaos... there can be laughter, there can be sorrow... but no matter the emotion... it WILL be INTENSIFIED!! Either way, the journey presents challenges because LIFE is that way... LIFE is...

Life is like driving a boat on the ocean...

Sometimes the waters are calm...

sometimes the waters are rough...

sometimes the boat nearly capsizes and threatens to throw us out into the deep, dark and scary waters...

sometimes the boat sits very still, anchored deep into the sand, giving a sense of safety and peace...

sometimes the rudder hits debris and does not lead us to the destination we are trying to reach...

sometimes we have to dock the boat, lift it up, roll up our sleeves and work diligently to repair it...

sometimes the boat fills with water, so we grab a bucket begin to hoist water out...

sometimes the other passengers abandon ship, leaving us all alone to chart or course...

sometimes the sun beats down, causing a sun-burn... so to avoid pain, we must protect...

sometimes we go out too far from shore, and deal with anxiety and uncertainty about finding dry land...

sometimes we have a great adventure, leaving us with wonderful memories and joyful days...

sometimes we enter shallow waters, though the vista is lovely, we must avoid getting stuck in sand...

sometimes we see glorious sunrises and sunsets, sparkling waters, and dolphins frolicking in the water...

sometimes we encounter heavy rains, thunder and lightening, and navigating is not easy...

sometimes we have only the lighthouse to guide our way when the fog gets too dense...

sometimes we have to avoid other vessels who are bearing down on us, getting to close for safety...

no matter what the course, no matter what the obstacles, no matter...

In LIFE...we always have the tremendous responsibility and marvelous joy of guiding and maintaining our OWN boat... we are refined by skillful life lessons... lessons learned through our hardships... and life is just like that... always an adventure with us driving the boat, dealing with God's given nature to make our journey more beautiful, interesting and challenging!

Oh, and one last musing on driving the boat of life...

sometimes the boat ride goes better with MUSIC ~ yep... coupled with beautiful sunsets and glistening waters... life can be pretty awesome at times! Grab your boat, find a peaceful water day, put on some music... brace for what the day may bring... and create a memory!

Embrace Life!

La ~ Ti ~ Do!


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Spinners of Truth

The Spinners of Truth... when someone creates a different history in their own psyche to override  "real" history - so they can cover their sins... hide their inadequacies....this is called posturing... I don't like posturing... Don't like it at all.  There must be a better way to handle relationships.

First of all, when people do this... spin the truth... it's pretty translucent... easily recognizable. As for me personally, I am so "on to" them. It's fairly simple to see through these untruths being spun...

Like when someone makes steep promises and they have no intentions of keeping them.
Or when someone is jealous, threatens, neglects, acts pretentious.
And when someone tells "non-truths" to protect their own agenda.
When we encounter the Backstabbers in our lives.

Some people believe their own lies... it's easier, I guess, than facing the fact that they may have made a mistake. And mind you, all people make mistakes and hurt others... whether intentionally or unintentionally, where there is a relationship, there will be hurt. This happens in all relationships, but  when someone "fake" apologizes for having hurt another.. and then goes on in the next sentence to posture in light of their own narcissistic narrative... well, I find that to be a disgusting trait.
They might say... "I'm truly sorry, so very sorry I hurt you... "
but, in the next sentence they will digress... "but, in all fairness to ME!! (do you hear the narcissistic "ME" rant?)  ... "in all fairness to ME... YOU blah, blah, blah" - the blaming narrative ignites!
Then  they begin to rattle off excuses that essentially place the blame back onto the person who was hurt... or make themselves feel better by inferring that "it wasn't that bad" or "it's not that big of a deal!"
This does NOT bring restitution for a wrongdoing. This inflames the wounded and cuts even deeper.

Like the backstabber...  you better beware! From the O 'Jays of the 70's ~ give a listen!

I work daily with hurting people... not the blamers... not the posturers... for those who blame others... the "truth spinners"... generally don't recognize they need counseling, because in their perception... relationship problems are usually somebody else's fault.  Blamers and backstabbers rarely seek therapy, for in therapy people are required to become "real"... expected to take a good look at themselves and discover who they truly are and focus on self-growth and healing.

I generally work with the victims... those kind people... the ones who ARE real... who live authentically and do not enjoy "emotional games"... they do not often even recognize "truth spinners" for who they really are. It is a pleasure to help these folks gain insight and skills for setting "boundaries"  and create "protection strategies" when dealing with unfair situations.

Janis Abrams Spring is a "forgiveness specialist" whom I follow. I've attended her seminars and frequently recommend her book, "How Can I Forgive You: The Courage to Forgive, The Freedom Not To," to my clients and my friends.  Her take on forgiveness is that it is easiest to forgive if someone has '''genuinely" brought restitution for the hurt and asked for forgiveness with no conditions or posturing. She maintains that forgiveness IS possible if NO restitution is offered by the victimizer, but she suggests that it becomes a much more difficult process that requires difficult emotional work from the victim.

In the end, we recognize that forgiveness is for the forgiver. We are responsible for our own decisions about freeing our hearts so that we do not carry anger and resentment forever.  It's my opinion that we have to be cautious when surrounding ourselves with individuals who are the "spinners of truth" or else we will forever be caught in a web of being hurt and having to work through this difficult forgiveness process.

There's that old saying... "surround yourself with happy people, and you will be happy!" Much truth lies in this statement. Happy people generally are not "truth spinners"... happy people tend to be genuine, have a peace in their own psyche that transfers to others in their midst.

To embrace pure happiness... avoid the "Spinners of Truth" - and for heaven's sake... do not trust or believe what they say just because they say it!

Such are my ramblings today...
La ~ Ti ~ Do!!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Colony Music - Sad to Lose this Music Legend

Colony Music

As I attempted to enter the doors of this great historical landmark, I stepped around a large tripod and camera, obviously set up to grasp a few final pics of the great icon, Colony Music. The man at the camera looked sheepishly toward me and said, "It's sad to see it go," to which I replied, "I feel your pain... this is where I've gone for music for the past couple of decades and now it's closing?" "Do you know why?" I asked.  "I heard the landlords are shutting it down... tripled the rent," he lamented.  To this I had no reply, only a mutually tearful eye contact with this stranger, 
one who shared my intense feelings of loss.

So I entered Colony Music for the last time.  It closed it's doors on the 15th of this September, 2012. I was there the first of September. As I walked through these heavy doors, my heart felt it heavy, too.  I carefully took in every sight and sound, trying to memorize it's place in the music world for all time. 

Colony Music was located on Broadway. It was just a couple of blocks from Times Square.  It has been there for over half a century, delivering sheet music to the masses. I have gone there EVERY time I've been in NYC - it's one of those places I cherished as an experience... not to be missed.  Now it will be forever gone.  It was not unusual to see some of the major broadway stars at Colony.  The staff was  been employed for a long, long time. They recounted countless visits to Colony Music from the great producers, musicians, and musical theatre people.

So I strolled through the sheet music and purchased way too much that day a few weeks ago. I talked with the salesmen on the floor. Some were sale folks I've visited with via phone for years and years... it's always been a cheerful interchange, working diligently to help me find the score no matter how difficult the task.

This personal touch will be sorely missed.  This is a pic of one of my favorites... he's been there for 15 years. He recounted his grief over the closing of Colony Music... indicating that the rent had gotten too high for them to carry on.  He was looking for jobs in the city doing what he loves best... helping people find sheet music... what a career! His smile speaks volumes for the cheerfulness of this place.

Here is one of the shelves of classical voice music. There were thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of selections at Colony Music. Stores like this are being replaced by internet music stores.
There are soon going to be no stores where we can go and browse on a Saturday afternoon.

Colony's shelves were filled with paraphernalia and musical do-dads, too... a.k.a. junk stuff... items which caught the attention of the shopper. The entire store looked like it belonged back in the 50's... nothing much changed from visit to visit. I love the authentic retro look!

Who knows how long this sign has been 
hanging outside the entrance to Colony Music!
Right there on Broadway!

Alas, a final look at the store. I feel a sense of sadness just writing this post. It was important for me to mark this passage in my blog. Times Square and Midtown has reshaped itself in the last decade. Disney moved into the center of the Big Apple, replacing many sites and institutions that needed replacing. Times Square is a family friendly place now, and that is a good thing. Most of the dismal, dark, crime infested institutions are now gone. But, too bad the real estate market has forced the closing of some of the positive places... such as Colony Music!

Goodbye to one of the classiest places on Broadway.
Goodbye to a store dedicated to sheet music of all kinds.
Goodbye to a New York City landmark.
Goodbye to you, Colony Music... and thanks for the memories!!

La ~ Ti ~ Do...


Friday, September 28, 2012

Running and Singing - Pride and Purpose

A Purposeful Pride

Today, I ran...  approximately four and a half miles, I think.  I planned on three, but as I turned the corner at about the 2 mile mark, I met up with a couple of multi-marathoners (these ladies are committed and have completed marathons in all 50 states!!)

...and so, NOT wanting to be humiliated... and NOT wanting to wimp out... I ran along with them, talked with them as I ran... pushing myself to stay with them for approximately a mile. Thankfully, I was already warmed up and could keep up. We weren't running extremely fast, but still, I was delighted to be able to jog along with these fine female runners.

As I turned toward home, I felt immensely grateful that my pride wouldn't let me give up... that pride which pushed me to do what I wouldn't normally have elected to do.. that I wouldn't normally have thought I could do... I was SO thankful that I did not entirely embarrass myself, for you see, I used to be a fairly fast runner... but, with the knee injury I have been off the trail for quite some time... and it's a long way back!

Life is funny.  Pride often gets a bad rap. I like to think that pride is an awfully good personality characteristic (when not taken too far) - it gives us incentive to do our best... to push ourselves harder for a nobel cause - it creates a sense of personal dignity as reward for our efforts. This proved true today on my morning run.

The same can be said of singing.  Lately, I have been rehearsing some fairly difficult music.  One  selection proposes a great challenge for me... the tessitura is extremely high and the passages consist of long phrases, each of which need to "float!"  (Bellezza della voce!) I'm quite sure I haven't been challenged this much vocally in many years... Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" requires full body strength, to say the least!

But, as I work on this terrific music, I have a deep incentive to do my best... to push myself harder for a noble cause - to feel the sense of personal dignity as reward for my effort. Once again, it's pride that pushes me and will not allow me to give up. And it's fun!

So I've been thinking that running and singing are very similar:

Each require mental toughness. 
Both present a physical challenge.
It's helpful to have some degree of talent for these two physical activities, but all can learn and improve.
Muscle tone and muscle memory are  developed in each.
Both enhance physical endurance over time.
Form is essential for either and will produce excellent results. 
For me... I need a good dose of protein before running or singing so that I'll have energy enough for the task.
Endorphins are released in the body, both during and after these two activities occur.
Each result in a grounded - centeredness of the mind, body, and spirit, which encourages relaxation and lowers anxiety.
When emotional pain wreaks havoc on our psyche, running and singing bring a physical release like none other!

... I could go on...  the similarities are vast! 

Running and singing deliver a purposeful kind of living. One that creates self-worth, authentic pride... it takes a lot of effort from us and in turn gives back a sense of completeness... of beauty.
So, great effort gives great reward! 

That's why I run. That's why I sing. 

That's all my ramblings for today!  I am thankful for the music and for the trail!

La ~ Ti ~ Do! (on some really high notes...)


Monday, September 17, 2012

Seashores, Sunsets and Serenity

I thought you might like
to see some different visuals from my
favorite coastal island...
Anna Maria Island!

It's a place where God paints the sky each and every day.

It's a place where God designs beautiful landscapes,
serene sounds, colorful palettes of turquoise blue
and sea foam green,
not to mention more colorful visuals than one can imagine!

Here are some vistas!

This one is sunrise... 
      taken by my daughter... it captures a quiet place.

No matter where you go...

Breathe ~ Sing ~ Take in all of God's creation...
and make this a day of appreciation and wonder!

La - Ti - Do!!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

You Don't Get HARMONY When Everybody SINGS the Same Note

I found this great quote... don't know who said it...

"You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note."

Well we all know that I love to sing...
I love solo singing and I love singing with others...

Having studied music, I recognize that I am a little more comfortable 
with singing, hearing, and enjoying 
dissonance than that of the average music lover.
In fact, music that has painfully simple harmonic structure,
rarely enters my singing or listening repertoire. 

Differences and dissonances,
when offered in highly developed music,
appeal to my sense of intrigue!
Yet, too much dissonance is unbearable!

There is a saying that in all pop music, three things are present:
1) songs are pitched in a range where most people speak and where 
most voices (men and women) can sing along
2) melodies consist of approximately only a 5 note range...
this apparently appeals to the masses, because these songs
become #1 hits day after day after day
3) rhythms are straight and only slightly syncopated...
simpler and more acceptable to most listeners!

***So here, I must interject ~ I do LOVE top 40's hits***
But, for me... 
and I think it's because of my musical background...
I, also like music that is a little more complicated...
different than the norm...
even dissonant, ornate, and rhythmically idiosyncratic!
(DLW likes to call this 'Music for Music Majors' *** 
this is when he pulls out his Sudoku at concerts... yikes!)

But, I realize that a more curious/complex harmonic sound 
transforms my soul,
moves me deeply beyond words...
provides emotional cleansing...
aligns my physical, emotional and spiritual self.
It is here where I find my most peaceful moments 
and feel God's presence.

I believe that our individual selves come together
in our beautiful world to offer vast dissonance of opinions,
ornate personalities, and different beating rhythms!

Songs sung with only one note would be boring to say the least... 
the more harmony, the more unique the sound.
So in life, does it not fit that to be harmonious,
we must also be different?

We simply aren't all the same.
That makes life a wonderful and harmonious venture!

Lately, I've heard or viewed more people speaking up with their 
differences. And that is probably a good thing.
But, it seems that some people do not make harmony with their
they instead voice their differences in displeasing ways.
And, unfortunately, 
some folks are not very nice about this ~ sometimes they personally attack others.
I am sure I, too, have committed this offense.

So back to music...when too many notes are clustered together in the 
same chord, we get extreme discord... not very pleasing
to the ear... chaotic and indigestible... 
most people would not purchase, sing or listen to this music...
The balance between 
a simple one note song vs. an extremely dissonant song
pleasant harmony!

*** "Sure on this Shining Night"***
has a glorious balance of harmonic grace
*this recording is from my daughter's Jr. year in Baylor A Cappella*

hear the soothing harmonies...
For me... Harmony = Tolerance
Tolerance is not one voice... 
Tolerance is not extreme discord...
Tolerance is the beautiful balance between the two. 
It includes many voices that speak in tune.
It includes kindness. 
It allows us to hold to our beliefs, and still care for each other's hearts at the same time... 
being careful with the hearts of our neighbors... 
those who think differently than us...
Thanks for listening to my ramblings...   La-Ti-Do!!   Have a musical day with harmonic overtones in surround sound! Jeanne