Thursday, December 4, 2014

Digging Deep

I am an emotional wreck today.
Do you ever have those days where you are so overcome with "feelings" that you can hardly stand it?
And this time, I am not referring to "stressed out, depressed, 'I am losing it, and about to have a breakdown' feelings."
I am talking about being an emotional wreck because you are so overwhelmed with the beauty of something.
Tis the season of planning Christmas music for me.
I have a couple of my diva girlfriends from college coming to sing at one of the Christmas Eve Masses with me this I have been hunting down 4-part women's music for us.  
(Finding 4-part women's arrangements is a daunting task...who knew?!)
Anyway...I went to the site I typically find most of my music at, and I searched through every Christmas Choral arrangement there was....listed alphabetically.
I ordered a few pieces as I went along....but when I finally hit the "W's".... time stopped.
On this site, you can view the music, and listen to a recording of it.
15 seconds in...I was sobbing.
I should have was written by one of my favorite arrangers.
This guy takes traditional carols (or songs/hymns) that are typically up-tempo, and he slows them down and turns them into these lush, gorgeous arrangements, filled with unexpected harmonies (with lots of suspensions and dissonance, which I LOVE!) and text painting.  
It would sort of be like taking a Sousa march and turning it into a Debussy Suite or Nocturne.

So, I ordered copies, and downloaded a copy as well...because I had to have it. 
I played through it a few times...and continued to sob.  
It is THAT beautiful.
Then, I decided to torture myself further, and listen to some killer arrangements of other Christmas carols on youtube....(Pentatonix, etc.) because that was a good way to regain my composure, and create that "football player in training" look my mascara had accomplished. 
(I DO have to leave the house today...hence the reason for bothering with make-up.)
I pondered for a moment about all of this.
Why do I do this to myself?
It's almost as though I enjoy this kind of self torture.
And then it hit me.
I do!  Because it reminds me that I have a heart...and a soul!
I mean, seriously....I am guessing that those ISIS jerks have never been moved to tears over a piece of music.
And I'm guessing that any #$%&*#& who hurts poor defenseless animals or kids ever watches those sweet videos on Facebook that give people like us renewed faith in humanity.
Maybe that is what all of the heartless, cruel buttheads of the world are missing.
Exposure to good music.
The ability to appreciate beauty.
A heart that is open to feeling...and that is moved by witnessing the good in others.
I am curious.  
What is it that moves you?
I think that most of us are probably moved by those human interest stories.
And I would venture a guess that most of us have also been moved by a piece of music also.  
But what about the music moves you?
I know that it isn't the same for everyone, because I have seen videos with headings that say "Just watching this makes me tear up every time!  SO beautiful!"
And then I watch it.
And I tear up....because it is so NOT beautiful.
In my opinion, of course.
But this is GOOD!
This is what makes us all special and unique.
This is what allows all genres of music and art to exist.
We are not supposed to all like the same thing.
And it is good that I think some people are completely out of their minds for some of the stuff they think is beautiful! ;)

I made myself really think about it.  What is it about music that can just rip my heart right out of me.
It is so many things. It is the subtlety.  The nuances.
The unexpected chord progression that takes a piece to a place I didn't see coming...but once it starts to move in that direction, I grab ahold, and feel every fiber of my being saying "YES!!  This is exactly where it needed to go....YES!!"
It's the rub, the discord that sustains....twisting and it grows....until it finally resolves in glorious it echoes and hangs in the air.
It is each note, perfectly in tune, and the harmonies that literally grab ahold of something inside of me...and won't let go.  It takes me outside of myself, and pulls me into the middle of the sound....completely wraps my mind and soul in complete oneness with the resonance, the vibrations, the swells, the space between the music..the brief moments of silence where we catch our breath, only to once again be taken up on another wave of glorious rapture.
This is what beautiful music does to me.

How could anyone who experiences such ecstasy and joy ever reduce themselves to feelings of cruelty or hate?
Wouldn't it be interesting to know if the people in the world who 
live lives of darkness and evil were simply deprived of beauty and music.
If they were never allowed or encouraged to open their souls and FEEL.
If they were never given a chance to experience love and compassion as a child.
I have always felt so much compassion toward animals and people...especially those who were struggling in life, or the less fortunate. 
I have been called "too emotional" as if it were a bad thing.
You often hear that women shouldn't be in leadership roles, or political roles, or, God forbid, the day a women is elected President, because we are too emotional.
Let me refer once again to those animal and child abusers, or terrorists, or the ISIS #$(*&(*#...etc.
I would consider all of these "types" to have NO emotion.
I think I will stick with "too emotional," thank you very much.

I will admit that these emotions of mine do get the best of me sometimes.
Let's just say there are things that I am very passionate about...(aka; stubborn as hell) and my ability to stay level headed is challenged.
As I get older, I am finding that the things that seem to stir up the "wrath of Beth" are changing.
It used to be a lot less controlled.  My insecurity took over, and I constantly felt like the world and everyone in it was out to get me.
Now, I don't worry about the trivial things.  If anyone has a problem with me...they need to address it with me.  If they aren't capable of discussing it face to face, then it's not worth my time or energy to worry about.

I find that this is what feeds that fiery emotional reaction in me.  When people expect to be coddled and assume that you are a mind reader....and they get upset when you don't fulfill their expectations.  However, it is impossible to do so, because they never bother to communicate what their needs or wants actually are.
More and more I am blown away by the number of adults that seem to live in their own little bubble, and never step back and look at the bigger picture.  
This is very common in the music world.  Working with a group of people is always an interesting dynamic.  I always find it quite baffling how I can be working with a group for months to prepare for an event, and then a week or two before the event occurs, someone will finally start to show up to rehearsal, and act like I need to cater to them, because they don't know what's going on.
Umm....sorry folks.  That ship has sailed!

I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day about how we have changed over the years.  The twenty years of our friendship has seen A LOT of changes...and I would say that we are much happier with who we are now.
It feels good to not be holding on to old anger and pain.  It feels good to no longer worry or care about what other people think about us.

We also talked about how we approach things differently.
For me, I have made huge changes in how I prepare for things.  I used to love that crazy adrenaline rush of doing everything at the last minute.  I also never really worried if I wasn't completely prepared when it came to a performance situation.  (I quite frequently have dreams that I am in a show, but never went to any of the rehearsals, so I have no idea what my lines are or what the blocking is...and it's opening night.  Obviously my subconscious is telling me NOT to do that!  I wake up totally stressed out!)
I now feel the need to be completely prepared for whatever I have coming up.
I don't want to leave anything to chance, and I want to feel good about everything I why risk it?

I have also learned that leaving things to the last minute turns me into a complete and utter psycho bitch...and no one needs to deal with that either.
~ is what I think....
Take the time to really FEEL.
What is it that really moves you?  What grabs ahold of you from the inside, and won't let you go?  What turns you inside out...and takes your heart in the process?
Whatever that need to immerse yourself in it!
Then, take all of those FEELINGS....(the good ones!) you know...the ones that make you feel like you are in love with the world....take those and just spread them everywhere!  Throw it in the faces of all of the non-feeling crabby-patties out there....don't give them the chance to stink up our happy land.
We need to teach everyone how to spread this goodness....this kindness....this compassion....spread it everywhere.
Set that example.  Don't let the eye rollers and the whisperers, and the meanies and the "I'm too cool for you" jerks dissuade you.
They have always been the ones that intimidated me....but I just keep reminding myself....the reason they act like such idiots is because they are 
SO SELF CONSCIOUS themselves, and so uncomfortable in their own skin.
Show them how to FEEL.
Show them how to be KIND and COMPASSIONATE.
Show them how to LOVE.

And, whenever someone tries to take that bliss that you found inside yourself....through your music or your art or your animals or whatever it was...when they try to take that beautiful feeling just take yourself right back to your place of happiness.
You figure out where that is....and make it YOURS.
And anytime you feel your happiness run to that place, and fill yourself back up....because there is no end to your supply.
It just keeps growing...which enables you to continue to keep spreading it all around.
This world is falling apart.
People have forgotten how to interact.
Community has become just a word.
It is all about "me" rather than "we."
It can only get better if people want to make it better.
I'm ready to try.


  1. swoon...i so get that from music, and wandering in the woods, and trail running....

  2. <3 that Heidi!!
    Running.....hmmm....if I could somehow figure out how to feel bliss from some activity that involves getting off my butt. This shall be my new conquest. After today...I would get great bliss from sleeping. ;)