Messages from music

I go through ‘phases’, for want of a better word, of hearing the same piece of music being played whenever I turn on the TV or radio, walk passed someone playing a music system, or someone driving passed me with their car stereo playing very loudly.

Recently, the song I heard everywhere was Katy Perry’s Firework, which to me screams of reaching your own potential – you have to make yourself shine first, as nobody else will. Yes, others may help you to shine brighter once you start to glow, but you have to set alight that initial spark. As daunting as it seems, it can be done.

The current song that is appearing everywhere to me is P!nk and Perfect. Quite a lot of the lyrics stand out to me:

The chorus, first of all, gives a boost to anyone’s confidence:

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than
Less than perfect

And then there is a whole lot of other lines that sound as though P!nk is singing directly to me…

You’re so mean
When you talk
About yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead
So complicated
Look how we all make it
Filled with so much hatred
Such a tired game
It’s enough
I’ve done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons
I’ve seen you do the same

Obviously, she isn’t singing the song for me. The lyrics, however, sound very familiar to me. Well, the old me. No, the old me and part of the current me, let me be honest! I have voices in my head that don’t like me. Voices that say I’m not worth it; I’m useless; I’m not as good as anyone else; and so on.

These voices, however, are nowhere near as strong as they used to be. I can see the good in me. I can see the potential I have in whatever I decide to do. And now, thanks to P!nk I can see that I’m not less than perfect.

Another song that is appearing more frequently than is normal is Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, with lines including:

Don’t hide yourself in regret,
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was Born This Way

And:

"There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are"
She said, "’Cause he made you perfect, babe”

If I am being honest, I’m a bit half-and-half about Lady Gaga. I think she has sung some really good songs, I’ve seen her interviewed on chat shows on TV, and she certainly is doing what she wants to do, but there is something about her that I just don’t get. It’s more than likely the fact that she is doing what she wants, but in a way that I probably wouldn’t do it. Still, she’s a good performer in my book, and she is getting herself some great publicity!

However, I can’t say that I don’t like her.

Together with Katy Perry and P!nk, she has provided some musical messages that can only make people feel good.

Well, they make me feel good anyway. Always start from within, and then pass it on!

I’m compiling a list of these songs that appear everywhere I am, and I’ll publish the list on New Year’s Eve this year! It will be good to look back on, and interesting to see if any of the songs are still following me around then! And, I’ll be writing from a different place myself too, if I allow myself to shine. Oh, and yes, I am planning to still be writing this blog on New Year’s Eve! Why not? I love it!

I feel good!

Intuition

This is what I wanted to write about for today’s post, but wanted to put some words together, rather clumsily, to try to show my thoughts for the earthquake and tsunami that affected Japan and other places today.

I don’t tend to act on my intuition very often. I probably do, but don’t notice it, but today I found myself acting solely on my intuition twice.

Firstly, I was in work and received a request to alter something that didn’t seem right to be altered. I checked with a colleague, and what I thought was correct, was correct. I updated my request with the reasons why I couldn’t do it, and explained to my boss that there would have been repercussions throughout the whole company if I had done it.

I needn’t have worried. In not doing it, there were still repercussions throughout the whole company. Almost every department updated the call log with reasons why I should do what was asked and why I shouldn’t.

I still believe that not doing what was asked was the correct option, and the log was taken out of my hands for the debate to continue until definite clarification was found. My intuition worked well for me then.

The second time I acted on my intuition, I was left doubting myself big time. Bernard (my inner nagging voice) had a whale of a time telling me that I’d let myself down with my actions, and I should really be ashamed of myself.

My car had had some work done on it this morning, and after I had collected my keys and paid for the work, I had to drive my car off the garage forecourt. Unfortunately, two cars were blocking me from driving forwards, so I had to back out, over the footpath on the main road, reverse onto the oncoming traffic and then drive away. As I was about to start, a woman approached my car, and asked me which way was I driving. I had never seen this woman before, and she wanted me to give her and her friend, who was standing some distance away from her, a lift along the road.

Her friend looked a little ‘sheepish’ if I’m being honest. Well, being judgmental is probably more like it. Something did not seem right. I was actually in shock to realise that I had agreed to give them the lift, but had the foresight to ask them to wait while I performed the manoeuvre of getting my car onto the road, before I would let them into my car. The woman who was standing away from her friend was now in the middle of the carriageway of the road, and the cars already on the road had to stop. One kind driver allowed me to back out into the road. I was about to pull in to the side of the road, when a very clear voice told me to drive. Things were not as they seemed, and I was not to stop. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw the two chasing after me as I drove off.

The reason why things didn’t seem right were:

a) the way how the two were separate from each other

b) the way how the other woman was dressed looked wrong

c) the fact that the woman asked for a lift to the launderette, which was literally about five hundred steps further along the road

d) the fact that I was asked to give them a lift to start off with, and

e) the way how the oddly dressed woman stood in the way of the oncoming traffic, her expression wasn’t right

So I drove. I didn’t pick them up. I felt terribly guilty about it, as I always say that I would love to be able to help people whenever I can, but in this case the person I was helping was me. The voice was clear. The feeling that if I had picked them up they had some kind of weapon on them was very strong. My self survival instincts kicked in big time.

Right or wrong? I don’t know. It feels right now, but it was a strange situation to be in.

Intuition is there for a reason, and I will make sure that I listen to it in the future.

Change

Is the World old? Does it need to change?
Does it say to itself “I need to rearrange”
With countrymen seeking new leaders
Some people still shouting “Feed us!”
Some armies fighting for ‘peace’
Some people demanding they ‘cease’
The world’s population divided
Yet togetherness is provided
As we all come together to shake
At the news of the latest earthquake

With today’s reminder of very recent times, I wanted to write a short post to reflect my thoughts of how the power of nature can literally change the world in a matter of seconds. Far more powerful than an act of ‘terrorism’ or ‘fight for freedom’ and far more devastating, globally speaking, yet people are affected by both. The natural disasters are not judgmental, they do not choose who to affect. The man-made situations are more targeted, although at times still indiscriminate, yet they still affect a lot of people.

At times, I wonder what the Earth thinks of the people who she allows to live upon her. We spend so much time squabbling amongst ourselves, arguing over money or oil, taking away precious land and changing the environment forever, polluting the atmosphere with chemicals, noise and other ‘un-natural things’, I wonder if the Earth thinks “Hang on a minute. I’m in charge here.” And she will make a point. A volcano eruption to stop us. A hurricane to make us look on in shock and horror. An earthquake to prove her power. A tsunami to affect each and every one of us.

I think that the Earth is trying to regain some kind of ‘balance’, shifting her tectonic plates around to make them more secure. As one moves, the next one must move in line to fit in, and then the next and so on. This will cause the surface to ripple, and we will feel the effects of this. We will see the effects of this. The Earth is older, wiser, bigger and better than all of us on the planet. She knows what she is doing, and she is just getting comfortable. We, on the other hand, live here by her invitation, and she can withdraw that offer at any time.

The power of the Earth, the power of nature, is far greater than the words I am able to use to describe it. Fascinating and frightening at the same time.

My heart goes out to anyone who has been affected by today’s devastating events. Even though I don’t live anywhere near Japan, or the pacific region, I have been affected by what I have seen on the news reports today, as I was by the tsunami in 2004.

Again, words fail me, but as much of this post is about the power of the Earth, it is also about the strength of the people who live on the planet. In writing this post, I’m sending thoughts of strength to those who need it most. Words on a screen don’t provide help and shelter for those who need it, but they do provide hope, and if nothing else, they show that I am thinking of you on this day.

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Exercise and me

I’m not what you would call an ideal candidate to appear on a TV show, if there actually is one, called ‘The World’s Greatest Exercise Role Model’. When you think of such a show you would imagine it featuring perfectly toned people with fantastic bodies, clothes, hair and smiles, together with a collection of ‘before’ photos.

I have plenty of ‘before’ photos. I think some of my recent photos are now ‘before’ photos too. In fact, every photo is a before photo if it makes you want to change something about yourself.

My body is constantly changing. I’m constantly changing for that matter. Every day is a new day, and I think I’d get pretty bored trying to keep myself in the WGERM body state to ensure that I stay on the show. And to be honest, I couldn’t do it. I may have the body of a Greek God, but my hair has a mind all of it’s own, and it decides on how good it wants me to look.

And some days, I don’t have the body of a Greek God.

Being part of the super-hero community, you’d think that a toned, muscular physique with a rippling six-pack and bulging sinews would be easy to maintain, but believe you me, it is hard work. As I’m not of the exercising mind-set, it is very easy to notice the odd stone or two creep on you when you least expect it. And once the extra weight is on, it takes a while to lose it without exercise.

I may not be of the exercising mind-set, but, when needs must, I have to do it. I visualise my body looking better for the exercise I am doing. I imagine my clothes fitting as they should, and not looking as though everything has shrunk in the wash. And I see people in my mind’s eye congratulating me on how great I look once I have lost that couple of pounds (…).

However, me and exercise are like arch-enemies. I try not to ‘do’ arch-enemies, and I try not to do exercise either. So already I’m competing with myself before I even begin. Do I want to stay the same, or do I want to look good?

After this tennis match has gone on for a while, I win and start exercising. I lose the weight. I look good. I get congratulated. My clothes fit perfectly. My hair behaves (it always does when you know you look good). And my muscles do their muscly thing.

It can be done if you put in the work; however this post isn’t about the exercises needed to look good, it is about the downfalls to avoid when exercising. They don’t tell you about these things when you see that ‘must buy’ product on the shopping channels to help you lose pounds in five days, or whatever. Oh no. And I’ve tried a few things over the years.

I don’t know if these items are still available, but they probably are. I call them ‘electrocution pads’ and that really is what they are. Little pads that you strap on to certain parts of your body, and you then run an electrical current through them. This current stimulates the muscles in your stomach, chest, arms, legs or wherever else you use them, so that they contract and relax. It feels as though they are doing something, especially if you have the power on too strong, but be careful using them. I had placed them too close together on my stomach and the contracting muscles caused my skin to pinch, and I was in agony. Also, I think the pads burned me because the power was too high. And I fell asleep wearing them. Needless to say I could hardly move the next day. Luckily they come with an automatic switch off after an hour or so, otherwise I don’t know how I’d have looked the next day. Use them if you must, but be warned… I don’t think I lost weight using these. The only pounds I lost were of the spending kind.

I bought myself one of those high-tension bending bars to build up my arms, shoulders and chest, because I thought that if they looked bigger, my stomach and waist would look smaller. No, that isn’t true. I thought that I would look like the man in the shorts in the photos on the poorly translated A4 exercise manual that came with the bendy bar. I followed the instructions to the letter. I was determined that by bending this bar, my waist size would be reduced by half of it’s size by the following week (Well, I’m a dreamer!). I finished work at 2.30 in the morning, dashed home, and started a-bending. Everyone else in the house were asleep, so I had to keep all of my breathing and grunting to an absolute minimum. I also had to stifle my scream as the bar slipped out of my left hand, whacked me under the chin as it careered across the room and smashed into my wardrobe. In my numbed state, I fell backwards, and knocked my TV set off it’s stand – but luckily, I managed to catch it before it fell – just as the bendy bar came back at me like a boomerang and clobbered me in the leg. Nobody heard a thing. I never used the bendy bar again afterwards. Well, never without wearing a pair of woollen gloves… nobody was ever going to see me doing that particular exercise.

I went to a gym a few times. I couldn’t use the equipment properly as I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but tried my best. I went to this gym with my cousin, so we could encourage each other along. Usually we just laughed at each other. You pull some funny faces when weight training! One day, I was using a device for strengthening the legs. I knew the position I had to get into for this exercise. I lay on my back, and brought my feet up onto a bar above me. I had to hold the weight with my feet, and then push the weight upwards again, and repeat for three lots of twenty pushes. I couldn’t do one push. The weight was too heavy, which resulted in my knees resting on either side of my head. Luckily, the weight machine was supported, so it wouldn’t have come completely down on me, but I was still stuck. Eventually I was helped out of the machine. I used it without weights after that. Well, once more anyway…

I joined a boxing gym as well when I was younger. I was too old to actually start boxing, but the exercise is good to help with losing weight. Only I was a bit overweight for the circuit training that was involved. And being in a hot, steamy gym with a whole host of boxers all running around the place, I was soon out of breath. I couldn’t keep up. In order to continue with that exercise, I needed to lose weight before I actually began! Still, I persevered, and felt some benefits.

The best exercise I find that helps me to lose weight is swimming. I love swimming, I love water. The weight literally drops off me as I really push myself when I go. I think that if you really enjoy doing something it isn’t a chore, and you can do it all the more.

It’s a pity that I don’t find losing weight as enjoyable during the process. The end result is fantastic. The compliments are a great boost to the ego. And the money you have to spend on thin clothes isn’t going to be mentioned. Not in this post anyway. But feeling good after it all is well worth it.

However, I’d really like to try to avoid the bruises and things… should I ever do it again, that is…

Nothing to share

I stand up here and sit down there,
I close my eyes, I do despair,
A topic I want, a post to share,
My mind is blank – there’s nothing there!
I look to the walls, and sit and stare,
I check the mirror, I check my hair,
(It’s looking good! I do declare,
The back is dark, the front is fair)
But my mind is blank, there’s nothing there
A topic I want, a post to share…
Please forgive me if I swear
Although I won’t, I’ll take great care,
I’ll pluck a subject from thin air
As my mind is blank, and nothing’s there
And I want a topic for a post to share.
It’s not the time to mention Molière,
And 1642, when he was there,
Or my friend Michelle, who was an au pair,
Nor Ramsey, my imaginary koala bear,
Or even the rising cost of any bus fare
…I don’t know why I put that there…
I need a subject, a topic to share
My mind is blank, there’s nothing there
This isn’t nice, it isn’t fair!
The post’s nearly done, and where oh where
Is the subject, the thread, of this castle in the air
Of a post written totally unaware
Without direction, or time to prepare
As my mind is blank, there’s nothing there…
I need to type a post to share
My thoughts, which could be anywhere
They’re not with me, upon this chair
I close my eyes, I do despair,
But, I’m sorry if you’ve read this far
My mind is blank, there’s nothing there
No post to share
I’m sorry. Please take care…
I’ll blame it on that solar flare,
Or the Census Questionnaire –
Which I’ve remembered is on a stair
And should be here, not over there…