The only sane response (blog)

photoHear me out. Love doesn’t seem like the answer right now, I know. I’m outraged. I’m disgusted. I’m sad but, mostly, I’m angry. This is always my reaction to sudden emotional or physical pain. I have a temper and when something strikes me painfully, my first urge is to seek and destroy that which has caused me pain. Call it survival mode. It’s on. And, I can justify it all day long. People would understand, sympathize and even encourage it because they are angry too.

But, it’s insanity. Temporary insanity because we know from experience that, when it’s over, we’ll find that retaliation will not cure the world and anger serves only itself.

Here we are together in this world where, somewhere, children are being taught to fight in wars, women are being raped, people are threatened with nuclear annihilation and another bomb goes off…and another…for no valid f*cking reason because there could never possibly be one. And, our hearts are broken again. Sudden pain. I’m in survival mode again.

I come from a family of runners. We love to run. We enjoy training together, sharing the experiences and encouraging one another. I’ve run two marathons and several halfs and plan to continue. Runners are awesome people (if I do say so myself) who challenge themselves to reach beyond their pain, to do better than they did last time around, to improve continuously. I can’t imagine a heart so devoid of compassion, with such lasting hatred, that would plot to kill people at a race at the moment of accomplishment over their own struggles. I can’t imagine it anywhere… in any circumstance.  That’s an insanity I can not speak to.

What I can speak to is my response in the face of that insanity. My hope is that justice be served and healing come quickly but that my only action in response will be to LOVE MORE and to do it like a runner; better than I did before, challenging myself to reach beyond the pain and care for, forgive, help, encourage, smile, hug, hold dear, make amends, show gratitude, serve, smile, have compassion and improving continuously.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

In response to violence in the world (blog)

In response to violence in the world, the most meaningful change we can make is in how we treat each other when in conflict.

Like so many, I had trouble sleeping last night. I was sorting through thoughts of yesterday’s tragedy that hit closer to home than any of the other senseless tragedies taking place all over the world today, searching for meaning as I do, needing to write but not having the words. It was a night of asking questions and waiting for my heart to answer. 

Everywhere, millions upon millions of dollars are spent with the purpose of convincing people on one side of an issue to fear and despise people on the other. Everything is “war” these days from the smallest personal argument to actual combat across the globe. World leaders speak of peace but vilify enemies to justify the violence and we follow suit here at home. And, whether it’s intentional deception or a natural response to true fear, the result is the same: loss, despair and even more fear with which to justify more violence. 

Here we go in response to this tragedy. One side will want more guns for protection, the other more laws. Both sides forget that no gun and no law will change the heart of a killer. What can possibly? Only love. Only love in all it’s forms. Compassion. Forgiveness. Empathy. Honesty. Trust. Courage. Humility. What’s beautiful in this world is how naturally inclined our children are towards these things. What’s senseless is how we teach them to be afraid, angry, unforgiving, cold and callous to face a “grown up” reality. Our children are a rainforest of pure love and answers to the worlds problems and we lose them, in so many ways, to the violence we accept and unwittingly encourage.

When someone is hurting or in pain, we respond with loving action. When someone causes hurt or pain, we fight or fly for our own protection. This is natural. But, look around and notice that we’ve built all our industries, governments and societies under the banner of fight or fly and do both until we’re so disoriented that only love could possibly save us. What would happen if we started there instead. 

There is no memorial fitting but the one in our hearts that calls us to act with love in every situation towards every. single. one. 

The beloved is everyone -Rumi

-LM

 

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Meditation: where there is darkness, sadness, hopelessness, wickedness and hatred, let me be love. 

(Note: Meditation has brought me great peace over the past year. I’ve begun to post a daily meditation intention on my twitter account. If you care to follow me there, I’m at @lauramariemusic. Meditate however you please whether repetition of the intention, silence, breath work, prayer or quiet reflection. 5-10min a day to start makes a difference) 

 

Blog: We don’t know how or why

We rise. 

We survive. We continue. We reinvent ourselves. We’re reborn. Some unseen force pulls us from the past into the present. We’re alive. We have hope for the future. We believe. We rise. 

 

 

Lunatic Moon

There’s a whole and perfect heart inside your chest 
And it’s beating with the love that it’s confessed 
Echoes through your hallowed halls right into mine 
As it’s sounding out the steps of the divine

I will follow through the night though may never catch the sight 
Of what’s hidden by the light of a lunatic moon 

There’s a true and holy thought inside your head 
It is heard before the words are even said 
Ringing off the temple walls just like a bell 
Sounds a symphony inside this prison cell

Could be the sweetest, most sincere music loud and clear 
But it’s the silence that I hear on a lunatic moon

See how the tide is rising now 
The undertow can bring us down 
We are pulled but we don’t know how or why 
We rise

There’s a pure but ancient place inside your soul 
Where it’s safe and far beyond the moon’s control 
Let the music there surround you like a shroud 
Until you find the words to sing your song out loud

Though the sweetest sound of all will be harmony that calls 
From the shadows that will fall on a lunatic moon

See how the tide is rising now 
The undertow can bring us down 
We are pulled but we don’t know how or why

We rise, we rise 
Under a lunatic moon, under a lunatic moon 
Under a lunatic moon, under a lunatic moon

 

 

Why I hated Sheryl Crow (blog)

Competition. The word used to literally make me throw up. I swam competitively in high school. Well, not that competitively. I could never stomach the pressure of having to win. I hated the way it made me feel and the way people seemed to think it normal and good and healthy that my self worth should hinge on wether or not I was “better” than the person next to me (I never was). But, I wanted to belong so, I suffered through the “competition” and not being “better than” made me feel worthless. Eventually, that worthlessness turned to frustration and anger and I began to see competitors as enemies. That’s where I still kind of was when I became a musician. Anyone who wasn’t with me was against me and anyone who was doing what I wish I could do but couldn’t deserved my complete contempt. It’s why I hated Sheryl Crow. She covered Led Zeppelin’s D’yer Mak’er and ruined it for me. That’s what I WANTED TO DO!!!!!! 🙂 Nevermind that she was famous and I was nobody. It sickened me. There were other perceived “competitors” over the years but, I also started searching for truth, happiness and release from fears that had followed me all my life. Somewhere along the way I realized that music was a gift, songwriting was my refuge. My love for it was pure and the love that came through it was sacred. I didn’t want ego to touch it. I began to avoid competition and anyone who sparked even the smallest competitive spirit within me. Anytime I was put into a competitive situation I tried to transform it, release the ego from it, let go of any need to feel “better than” or simply walk away. What songwriting means to me is too important to reduce it to sport…a crapshoot for your soul? No way. Eventually, I began to seek out and surround myself with musicians who felt like I did, who did it for the pure joy or the absolute need to express something beautiful, wonderful, good and true, who channeled love. I found people I could learn from who would teach me how to do what I wanted to do better. Not better than anyone else. Better than I’d ever done it before. The best that I could according to my own sense of beauty and truth. No one else’s. Don’t get me wrong. I love to feel accepted. I have great respect for audiences and love praise and acknowledgment. But, praise and acknowledgement are not sufficient reasons to do what I do in the way that I do it. They don’t fuel the passion. And, I simply don’t have it in me to try to win favor. Its exhausting. I don’t see the point in trying to convince people I’m something that I’m not. I can’t and won’t manipulate an audience however big or small. What I am is what you get. I’m not any younger, smarter, better or more beautiful than the next person but, hopefully, I’m as authentic and real as I can be. I don’t know how other people think but, when someone is real and authentic I find them to be more beautiful than beautiful, more sexy than sexy, more everything than anything. If I’m ever that then, cool. Let me just make it clear to any other musician I’ve offended in my honest attempt to be not only a musician but, an artist trying to communicate as much truth and beauty as possible into this lovely but chaotic world: you are never the barometer by which I judge my own ability or worth. You are you. I am me. If you were ever down I’d lift you up but I can’t do anything for someone who needs to see me beneath them. P.S. I love you Sheryl Crow

On what you do and don’t believe

I want to share something extremely personal. It’s a quote from my mother.

A little background: My mother has a double masters in pastoral theology and social work. She has a heart for service to the community. She has friends from all walks of life and raised me, by example, to have an open mind and heart. Both my parent’s raised me to stand up for what I believe in. The circumstances of my life have given me a unique perspective (as unique as anyone else’s) and have led me towards advocacy for many causes including but not limited to peace, AIDS awareness, child sex-trafficking awareness and support for victims, minority issues and the issues of the LGBT community. 

Here’s the quote. It’s not a complete quote but it’s what I’ll share with you:

“…it’s difficult being part of a community where your beliefs differ – but isn’t that what a community is all about? Just like family – we love them no matter what – but we don’t always agree. Just be kind and continue to listen…”

I wanted to share it because I think it applies to not just being part of the community she and I were discussing but for participation in all communities. It applies to being part of a family, a neighborhood, a church, a city, a state, a country and the human race. 

There will always be difficulties because there will always be differences. This should not discourage you from taking part. Don’t be afraid to be around people who think, act, or live differently than you do. It will challenge you beyond your own experience. And, doing so with an open mind and heart will increase the potential for two wonderful things to happen in your life: finding what is truest to your heart so that you may live by it and removing beliefs that are unhealthy and limit your potential as a human being.  

This is why I chose a church community. Heck, that’s why I chose a marriage. Though, I don’t think either relationship would last if I wasn’t encouraged by both to think for myself and come to my own understanding. Relationships that don’t encourage you to think for yourself shouldn’t last. You can’t live by someone else’s belief system if it contradicts what is truest to your own. 

So, do I always agree with everything? No. But, I’m very grateful to be in a marriage and in a church that leaves room for my diferences and doesn’t turn me away because of them. I’m also grateful for what I have learned and what has changed in my own life for having allowed someone to challenge me. We are not islands unto ourselves. Like it or not, as humans we are a community. Our country and our world need room for differences. The potential is everywhere for us to live as one. 

Be kind.

Continue to listen.

Love them no matter what.  – LM

 

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Here’s a rough demo of a song I wrote a while back. I think it kinda of says what I mean.

 

Valentine Shmalentine: Be Love

He was a martyr. One of many that we don’t celebrate on this day. That’s all I know about St. Valentine. But, not all I know about love.

It doesn’t really bother me that this has become some sort of crazy superficial holiday that celebrates the idea that we should hold one person as special enough to be worthy of our love. It doesn’t bother me but, that’s not what I believe. I believe love should be shared universaly in as many expressions as possible. We should live for love. We should be love….in all our actions, words, thoughts, etc.

Am I love? Yes. Am I perfect in my expression? No. But it’s my intention. An intention I have to remind myself of when that annoying person comes my way, my children do something that bothers me or that politician or pundit says something I don’t agree with. 

So, if this is going to be a day that celebrates love, let it be a day of intention to love as perfectly as I can. Let me be love in situations that call for love. And, all situations call for love. Let me be patient with people in traffic. Let me be kind in my thoughts to that person who has been driving me crazy. Let me look beyond what annoys me, what disturbs me…let me leave some space for whatever love brings my way. 

 

 

I was going to post a new video but the song wasn’t appropriate for this day. I’ll do that on Monday now that my computer is fixed. ❤

 

 -LM

 

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi

 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

 

We cannot give what we do not have: We cannot bring peace to the world if we ourselves are not peaceful. We cannot bring love to the world if we ourselves are not loving. Our true gift to ourselves and others lies not in what we have but in who we are. – Marianne Williamson