It’s a Sweet, Sweet Dream

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

(Photo: Me singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to my dolls.)

At a community event this weekend in Washington, DC, we were playing a word game when someone asked a question: “What does joy feel like in your body?” Everyone was answering the question with sensation descriptions, and I had answered something about joy always being a part of every moment in every day. As the question sharing came to an end, I felt a song bubbling up inside of me. I looked at my co-facilitator and broke out in song:

“I feel the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart,

I feel the joy, joy, joy joy, down in my heart, down in my heart today.”

My voice and the music filled the room, and I noticed how everyone began to smile. That is what music and singing is to me. It brings smiles and it uplifts. Singing has carried me through many life challenges, transitions and triumphs. Sometimes music begins with tears and sadness, but there is always a moment when I feel lighter, happier, more connected to my soul.

More musical memories:

There is a photo of my sister and me in lavender dresses with lavender ribbons. We were at my uncle and aunt’s wedding. They stood me up on the table and I sang, “I’ve been working on the railroad.” Singing out loud was fun. It was playful and connected people. I always loved it when people would join in or add a new song, too.

A transistor radio: The summer of 1969, Edina, Minnesota, and I was 12 years old. The backyard was my stage with a transistor radio with ear buds and a bikini. Mama Cass, Jackson 5, The Beatles, Archies, The Cowsills, Sly and the Family Stone, and Diana Ross. And so much more great music. I still bring my hand to my ear with a little Pony or Twist added in when I hear the music from that summer. It is deep in the cells of my body – freedom, personal power, and joy.

Musicals in high school were a blast: Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, and George M. From the chorus to lead roles, I belted out songs from the stage. Gotta dance and gotta sing!

Music gives me clues about life. Like the year I turned 59 and the songs Confident by Demi Lovato, and I’m a Grown Woman by Beyoncé were constantly playing in my head. As I was approaching 60, a new me wanted more freedom and expression! I claimed it with music.

Music is also my writing muse!

The year I downsized from an 11 room house to a 10 x 10 storage unit and sold my house to move from Maryland to California, I started every day with two songs. Looking for Space by John Denver gave me a space to cry. I grieved the ending of a dream I had with my husband who had died a few years earlier. I grieved the loss of every role, and every material thing I was releasing in the house. When I felt complete after about 30 minutes, I turned on Make it Mine by Jason Mraz. I felt my new life pulsing into the cells of my body. I stood up and sang the song loud. I danced. Then, I took action. What was I going to release today? The massage table on Craig’s List? The kitchen table that seated 12? Return the tents to the Girl Scout community? The songs gave me room to feel grief, and release and embrace joy.

Looking for Space by John Denver

On the road of experience, I’m trying to find my own way.
Sometimes I wish that I could fly away
When I think that I’m moving, suddenly things stand still
I’m afraid ’cause I think they always will
And I’m looking for space
And to find out who I am
And I’m looking to know and understand
It’s a sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I’m almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I’m deep in despair
Make it Mine by Jason Mraz
Wake up everyone
How can you sleep at a time like this
Unless the dreamer is the real you
Listen to your voice
The one that tells you to taste past the tip of your tongue
Leap and the net will appear
I don’t wanna wake before
The dream is over
I’m gonna make it mine
Yes I… I know it
I’m gonna make it mine
Yes I’ll make it all mine
And one more song memory. During the first few years in California, when I was finding my voice, writing, and starting Heal My Voice, I would go to Priscilla’s coffee shop on a Saturday night, sign on to Facebook and be the DJ for a few hours. Listening to music on YouTube, I would share a song every 15 minutes with Facebook land. “Hi, Facebook Friends. Playing DJ tonight. I see you, I feel you. Sending a song your way.” Such a simple, profound way to stay connected and send out love.
When I burst out in song, this weekend, in a community where I have a voice, but had never used my singing voice, the co-facilitator was surprised. “Wow, you can sing!”  Yes, I can and I do it because it fills me with joy!
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