Thursday, June 19, 2014

Striving for Happy

Softly it Whispers by Sarah McTernen
Truth be told, I am an agnostic at best.  Raised in the Christian church under many different banners, I left when I was seventeen because it no longer felt like home.  I had lost that solace and nothing has yet to draw me back to chapel.  I learned what I could from the Christian faith, the Catholic Church, that form of organized religion, that set of guidelines and rules.  I remember them and I do not discard them, I expect my kids to know the Bible stories, and will one day encourage them to read the Bible itself, but in my search for meaning and for peace, I have moved on.  Most of my moving on has involved yoga and Buddhism, though I do not bath completely in those waters.  They too are a bit too full of strong currents and cavernous pits.  No matter where you go, the human mind will take you off on a tangent, and if you are following another’s mind, who knows where you will end up.   I believe in the individual as well as the collective, because without fingers, what good is the hand.

When I started with Yoga eleven years ago, I was turned onto a show called Inhale on the Oxygen network.  It was yoga without pomp and circumstance.  I respected that.  It was an easy beginning lesson.  I still enjoy the lively 45 minute workout today on my DVD converted from a VHS recorded in 2003: bad audio, blurry, grainy video and all.  It would be nice if someone would put a few episodes on a modern DVD or two, but after waiting over ten years, I am pretty sure that isn’t going to happen.

While checking to see if there was a DVD a number of years ago, I ran across a book by Steve Ross.  Along with four or so other books ranging in topics from physics in The Violinist's Thumb to everybody dies in George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones , the business of art in The Artist's Guide and ADD in The ADD Myth (No, I haven’t finished it yet. Stop judging me.), I have been perusing Steve Ross’ Happy Yoga .  I love how accessible he makes the knowledge and how simple he makes the practice.  There is no judging, no reprimanding, just reminders that we are the source of our own happiness, not the world, not our lovers, not our job; just us individually.  Yes, we are part of the world, but we cannot change the world.  The only thing that we can change is ourselves.  It is through these changes, through choosing to be happy and calm instead of striving and wanting that we find peace.  The book gives “7 reasons why there’s nothing to worry about” and I am only up to the second one, though I have skimmed the others.  I plan on finishing it, just like the other four books listed above. It will just take me some time.  I like the concept of being happy. I am not good at the practice of it, but I like the concept. Maybe I can get back into Yoga as well.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah McTernen

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yearning for Song

I was talking with my dad earlier today and he made a comment that he was saddened when I gave up music because it was something I had a passion for.  Why did I give up music?  I don’t know that I did it intentionally.  Life happened.  The thing was, I never thought that anyone else cared.  I thought that it was always something that I loved that everybody else rolled their eyes at.  Driving home I remember a friend of mine’s dad who once asked me some years after high school if I had kept singing and I said that I sung lullabies to my kid but that was it.  He seemed let down that I was no longer singing.  I didn’t remember ever singing in front of him.  I always assumed he was thinking of someone else.
Music was a part of my life from the time that I was in early elementary school until I left high school.  No matter what travesties life set before me, there was always music…and the written word but that is another subject all together.  I was in school choirs and after-school choirs.  I sung on street corners with fellow vocalists, but always knew my voice was just okay.  Not measuring up for a spot in the elite choir in my high school, confirmed my suspicions.   I sung at a local open mic night, preformed for solo ensemble, and tried to work with fellow musicians. I was always brushed off.  Maybe I missed opportunities because I was uncertain or misunderstood someone.  Most of the time I just assumed I wasn’t talented or “cool” enough.  I was never the party girl type.
The last few years has brought a deep yearning for music.  Somewhere deep inside me I feel a hole that can only be filled with sorrowful wails and groovy beats, guitar riffs and violin solos.  I turned the volume up to eleven and try to immerse myself in the undulating waves of musical vibrations.  It is not enough.  I miss singing and being around people who exude music.  I still feel like an interloper.  So I will just turn the music up real loud and sing in the car and to my children at night, hoping that is enough to quell the weary yearn inside.
An old friend of mine use to say that if no one knew she was there, if no one knew what she did, she didn’t exist, not in their world, and that bothered her.  I think I understand what she was saying a little more now.  I still feel like what I do is not important to anyone but me.  No one needs what I do. I am just here, making noise and that is not enough. 
Sarah McTernen