Over and Over Again

Becoming involved in recent months in a seemingly “normal” relationship lends sharp contrast to some in my past.  In retrospect I now can easily see I have had a penchant to allow some women into my life who were what Julia Cameron called “Crazymakers” in her book “The Artist’s Way”.  She wrote Crazymakers are those personalities that create storm centers. They are often charismatic, frequently charming, highly inventive and powerfully persuasive. Crazymakers create dramas–but seldom where they belong.

Crazymakers are addicted to drama and when there is none around, the will create some, usually at someone else’s expense.  The closer you are to a crazymaker the more frequent and intense the commotion of the “drama-storms” will be.

How a Crazymaker operates is obvious, but usually not seen for what it is.  For example, having a partner who is always late getting ready to go out at first seems only to be a bad habit.  However, looking a little deeper at how absolutely consistent this happens it is easier to spot the crazymaking of the behavior.  No matter what, Crazymakers will always make you late and think little of it.  In some weird way this always-late practice seems to give them some sense of importance and control.

Another trait that a person involved with a Crazymaker will run into is the complete lack of respect for another’s schedule.  It did not matter to such a person if I was at work and 15 minutes before a hugely important meeting.  The Crazymaker would call and just push that fact aside and begin to unload or launch a tirade.  Being narcissistic in nature they just can’t see how their ill timed behavior is inappropriate.

Crazymakers are devilishly charming.  Do you know anyone who has been stopped for speeding a dozen times but never got a ticket?  There’s a good chance this charmer is a Crazymaker.  At the surface they are almost always  incredibly interesting and appealing.

Crazymakers believe they are somehow unique and different than others. They expect special treatment and make demands in absolute terms putting themselves ahead of others.  Telling another person what that person “will” and “will not do” is a common trait.

Crazymakers have little respect for boundaries and have some notion that rules and boundaries don’t apply to them.  In their self perceived specialness they are mostly blind to other’s needs.  I could be deeply involved in a work project I brought home and be completely derailed beginning with a question like “I know you said you had to focus on your work thing, but I can I ask you one little question?”  Seems innocent enough, but rarely turned out that way.

Crazymakers are the type of people with a thousand ideas, often including some good ones.  They are also the ones who never get much past starting on them, if they even get that far.  Something will always happen they can blame that prevented them from moving forward.  They finish almost nothing they begin.  And they begin only a few things.  Mostly they just talk and daydream.

Crazymakers hate order and thrive on chaos.  Given time one can make any given situation a hurricane of disorder.  Sometimes this is done to bring attention to them self.  At other times it is to take attention off others and toward them.  Often sorry later, this sort of person does not learn from their past behavior and regularly repeats it.

Crazymakers are expert blamers.  Nothing is ever their fault.  Even the things they do will gets reassigned elsewhere as they explain why their actions have little to do with them and all to do with someone else.  In their mind you  made them to it!

I say all that to simply say, I am grateful to be able to now usually spot Crazymakers and put up an effective personal boundary against them.  I learned the hard way.  By keeping Crazymakers out of my life, an amazing thing begins to happen:  clarity!  Now no longer on the drama rollercoaster it is much easier to see a “normal” person when they come into my path.  I am very grateful.

Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

A Little Richer These Days

In recent times I made a remark similar to “when it comes to relationships I think I am up to about age 16 now”.  In the majority of settings of my life I am a mature and successful man, but in affairs of the heart I am just now starting to get the hang of it.  Hang of what?  Answer: ingredients that a make up a good relationship with a woman. 

The following comes from an on line article titled “Differences Between Men and Women” at http://www.relationship-institute.com/freearticles_detail.cfm?article_ID=151 


  • Women value love, communication, beauty and relationships.
  • A woman’s sense of self is defined through their feelings and the quality of their relationships. They spend much time supporting, nurturing and helping each other. They experience fulfillment through sharing and relating.
  • Personal expression, in clothes and feelings, is very important. Communication is important. Talking, sharing and relating are how a woman feels good about herself.
  • For women, offering help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength; it is a sign of caring to give support.
  • Women are very concerned about issues relating to physical attractiveness; changes in this area can be as difficult for women as changes in a man’s financial status.
  • When men are preoccupied with work or money, women interpret it as rejection. 


  • A man’s sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results, through success and accomplishment. Achieve goals and prove his competence and feel good about him self.
  • For men, doing things by themselves is a symbol of efficiency, power and competence.
  • In general, men are more interested in objects and things rather than people and feelings.
  • Men rarely talk about their problems unless they are seeking “expert” advice; asking for help when you can do something yourself is a sign of weakness.
  • Men are more aggressive than women; more combative and territorial.
  • Men’s self esteem is more career-related.
  • Men feel devastated by failure and financial setbacks; they tend to obsess about money much more than women
  • Men hate to ask for information because it shows they are a failure. 

At a glance it appears women may got the better end of that deal!  In a general sense all that is listed rings with at least some truth for me.     

I far from a person who can offer lots of sage wisdom about relationships based on successful experience, but one thing I have learned for certain:  Generally, women want to be listened to and men are frequently terrible listeners.  Women often don’t tell a man a problem to try to get a man to fix it.  Whether in a relationship or in the working environment often a women just wants a man to hear what she has got to say.  Advice and help will get asked for if she wants needs it.  It took me a long time to understand I was not expected to always offer advice and possible solutions.  All I needed to do was pay attention and listen.   Seems so simple.  (It is!  Just do it!)

As has been hinted at in days past I have begun a relationship that I have much hope for.  The pace is slow and unhurried as we simply enjoy each other’s company and come to know one other.  I am thankful to not feel rushed or in a hurry and to feel like a hopeful teenage again.  Getting to know someone slowly is something I am enjoying a great deal.   It’s been months now and my life feels a little richer these days… I am very grateful!

Take a chance and never let go.
Risk everything… lose nothing.
Don’t worry about anything anymore.
Cry in the rain and speak up loud.
Say what you want and love who you want.
Be yourself and not what people want to see
Never blame anyone if you get hurt
Because you took the risk and you decided
Who was worth the while.

Like the Misty Rains…

Sometimes precise explanation, clear reasoning and crisp logic have little advice to lend.  When thought can be put aside or at least ignored to a large extent, the best way forward is almost always to be found in my heart, gut, intuition, spirit or whatever that gentle awareness that lives in my chest is.  Feeling can often light the path forward much better than thinking.  And so like a blind man, touching walls to find a doorway it is with feeling I move forward today… to be able to do that I am humbly and profoundly grateful. 

Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river. 
Malagasy Proverb

Letting Go

For much of my life I was one of those men women need to be a bit wary of. I don’t believe I was ever a truly bad guy, well not too bad anyway. Rather I was driven by unresolved childhood insecurity, abandonment and abuse that created a compulsion and need to get women to come closer and be interested in me. Underneath, at least on my part, there was frequently a sexual tinge to my interactions with many women. Nothing is offered here as an excuse, but rather as an explanation. I hold myself responsible for all my actions. Bad behavior is bad behavior no matter how explainable the motivation.

I truly am different now. Maybe different is not the correct word since I know such things used to go on and the memory of it all is still in me. A better way of stating my more recent attitude and behavior is I have grown up and matured.  No longer do I carry within a mind that operates like that of a hormonal male teenager on the make most all the time. FINALLY, it is possible for me to just be a friend to a woman. Hallelujah!

This way of being has allowed me to make a few real friendships with women. Through these relationships I am gaining a new understanding of myself and specifically the female gender. I am learning! Previously I allowed sexual involvement to stunt or destroy what could have been caring friendships. I regret those losses. “No more” is my strong and sincere intention and promise to my self. When neither is on the “prowl” and a man and woman can openly be themselves it is not just educational, but endearing and downright fun!

Within the last six months P. and me met and over time have become friends like what is possible between a brother and sister. This sort of a friendship is new for me and something I am very grateful for. Of a sort she has become a good teacher even though I don’t believe that is her intention or that she is even aware of it. Last evening P. and I grabbed dinner together. We ran out of time long before we ran out of words and we laughed our asses off (no wonder they stopped seating people close around us).

Several times when I have seen P. I have given her a book and last night she came bearing a gift for me: the heart you see pictured at the top. She knows the hell I have put myself through in my past and how shattered my heart became. P. also knows a special woman has come into my life that has rekindled the brightness of my heart and ignited a spark within. How wonderful it is to have a “sis” who is encouraging and understands my heart is like the one in the photo: shattered but reassembled, whole again, but fragile. Her gift told me without words she was saying everything from “be careful” to “I am glad for you” and from “I see the spark in you when you talk about K.” to “I will kick her ass if she hurts you”.

How wonderfully blessed I am to be able to let the past go so I can embrace the present. I am grateful for the wisdom and ability that age and experience has brought me to where I can have a friend and “sister” like P. Further, I am humbly thankful for the condition today of my heart that allows someone special like K. to come close. For both women and other female friends I am grateful for their presence in my life without the ability to put that gratitude into exact words except to say “thank you;  thank you very much”.

Letting Go
To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring;
It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off…
It’s the realization that I can’t control another…
To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
To let go is not to be protective,
it is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.
Author Unknown

“Three Good Things”

Once upon a time I believed achieving happiness was the purpose of my life.  Experience has since taught the pursuit of happiness actually leads to a good deal of unhappiness.  My vantage point of today tells me happiness is actually a consequence of a very different pursuit in life – the pursuit of the evolution of my ability to love myself and others.

In days past my pursuit of happiness has included many different, but unsuccessful approaches including:

1. The pursuit of momentary pleasure drove me for a long while during the time when I believed happiness was the same as pleasure.  It took empty experience over decades to teach me that sex is not happiness nor is sex love.

2. The pursuit of money, the control it gives and the things money can buy was a catalyst for achievement for much of my adult life.  I thought having then what I did not have as a child would fill in some missing parts within.  Once I had an over abundance I found I felt more hallow than even before.

3.  I realize now my pursuit of happiness included a burning need to be valued as a human being by others.  My childhood environment provided almost none of that reinforcement and instead I felt a need to impress others, to be admired and thought well of.  In that thinking my happiness was attached to what others thought as I attempted to get love, attention and admiration in an impossible way.

Today the fact rings true within that true happiness is not the result of DOING, but of a way of BEING. Rather than being a result of the momentary pleasures or money or even other people, it is the result of my intention to evolve daily as a loving human being.

As a further aid in my positive evolution I am cultivating a new habit.  Each morning I focus on what I am grateful for and ask myself “what three good things happened yesterday”.  This practice comes directly from the book “Flourish” by Martin Seligman whose work I admire and has found a great help to me personally.

Anytime I focus on what I am thankful for and get away from what I wish were different, my life experience improves.  And the more I do that, the greater and more lasting the improvement is. “What three good things” is a simple method of redirecting attention towards positive thoughts and away from negative thinking. It works wonders for me.

We human beings evolved spending much more time thinking about negative experiences and possibilities than positive ones. That’s what kept us safe in the wild and from becoming some animal’s lunch.  Starting when we lived in caves the instinct was strong to spend a lot of time thinking about what could go wrong and how to avoid it.  Once upon a time there was an evolutionary advantage to this dominant way of thinking, but for modern humans this negative bias is a source of a lot of anxiety, depression, and general lack of wellbeing.  Luckily, by re-directing my thoughts intentionally towards positive events, I have found I can do a lot to correct this negative bias.

Dr. Deborah Barnett, Ph.D. writes the “3 Good Things” exercise, also known as the “3 Blessings” exercise, is a great Positive Psychology technique that has been well tested. It has been shown to increase well-being and decrease depression and anxiety. Martin Seligman, Ph.D., conducted a study using this exercise. The results were that 94% of very depressed people became less depressed and 92% became happier in 15 days. Furthermore, the results lasted for at least 6 months.

“The good things” is simple to do.  Each morning soon after I first get up I pick out 3 things that went well the previous day (many prefer to do this in the evening at the end of the day).  In just a few words I write down three events or experiences that went well and why they went well or what felt good about the experiences. I’ve learned what I choose does not have to be spectacular or dramatic.  Something as simple as being grateful for the sweet strawberries at dinner, appreciating a cool, misty morning or a call from a good friend the night before are good examples of simple, but meaningful reasons for me to be grateful.

Growing my awareness of gratitude has been a profound life-changer.  Always I felt I was thankful, but looking back now I realize before I spent 90% or more of my time focused on what needed to be improved, what needed to change, what I needed to be wary of, what had gone wrong or what might go wrong.  While I can’t say the percentage has reversed to be vastly all gratitude, there is balance now.  My life today contains at least as much thankfulness and well-being as it does worry and anxiety.  I am grateful for my gratitude!

If you don’t get everything you want,
think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want
Oscar Wilde

Free download of “3 good things” log page show in image at top.  No strings attached.

No Guarantees, No Time Outs, No Second Chances.

My Mother imparted very little wisdom to me in my growing up years.  A person can’t give their children what they don’t have themself.  Mostly I learned from her what not to do.  I know she meant no harm, but the legacy she helped to create for me made adulthood challenging at times (OK, truthfully… hell at times).  Forgiveness was hers from me long ago.  I bear no ill-will or anger toward her today, but even after all this time I wish to have nothing to do with my Mother (nor does 3 of 4 of my siblings).  One of the best self-care moves a person can make is to sometimes keep another out of their life.

When I was sixteen years old I do remember one jewel of wisdom my Mother shared with me.  The time was my first real heartbreak and I was sitting on the living room couch crying a little but trying to hold it back so no one would notice.  My Mother walked through the room, saw something was up and asked what was going on.  I told her my girlfriend had broken my heart and did not want to be with me any more.  Her reply was something like “there will be lots of girls in your life until you find the one you are able to give your whole heart to.  It’s a process of elimination.  You’ll have to go through the ones that hurt you and aren’t a good fit in order to find a girl deserving of your whole heart”.

I am confident she was not thinking I would be in my 50’s, single and still waiting for the experience of giving my whole heart to someone.  There have been a few women who loved me and were deserving of my whole heart, but I was unable to give it.  In recent years I have done well dealing with my “stuff”.   Being healthier mentally and shaking off most of the childhood crap has opened up to the world to me as never before.  My chances are getting better each day such a thing as giving my whole heart to someone can yet happen for me in this life time. 

What brought all this up in my thoughts was a passage I came across that most often has the author noted as “anonymous” but sometimes the thoughts are attributed to Matti Nykanen, a ski jumper from Finland who won several Olympic medals in the 80’s.  No matter who wrote it, there is raw truth and deep wisdom to be found in the following seven sentences.   

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let us down, probably will.

You’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts.

You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by.

So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt.

Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances.

You just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts.

Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all; live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.

Had someone asked if I was being true to these thoughts twenty years ago, I would have said “Yes”.  From the perspective of today I know such a statement would have been delusional.  While I can’t speak for anyone but me, I know for certain my 20’s, 30’s and my 40’s were fraught with misapprehension.  That’s the thing about delusion… it can only exist if one can’t see it.  Here at 50-something I don’t pretend to have shaken the foggy filters off completely, but I do have much better clarity than ever before.  Truly I am the most ready for what life brings.  I am grateful to be standing in the doorway of the life I have waited for!

It’s not who you are that holds you back,
it’s who you think you’re not.  

When We Have Practiced Good Actions…

One reason that has made change in my life so challenging is explained in part by what psychologists say is the primary response to thinking of change: FEAR. In a book called “This year I will…”, Andy Ryan, an expert in collaborative thinking, spelled out why change is difficult: Whenever we initiate change, even a positive one, we activate fear in our emotional brain…If the fear is big enough, the fight-or-flight response will go off and we’ll run from what we’re trying to do.

Described by psychologist A. J. Schuler, some fears that get in the way of change are :
The risk of change seems greater than the risk of standing still.
We feel connected to other people who identify with the old way.
We lack role models for the new activity
We fear failure
We feel overwhelmed
Our self-image is threatened
We are reluctant to learn something new

In Andy Ryan’s book she (yes, “Andy” is a she) says the first step toward successful change is NOT to try to kill off old habits because once those ruts of procedure are worn into our psyche, they’re there buried deep. She says the first step is instead to deliberately ingrain new habits to create parallel roadways that we can use to bypass those old paths. Instead of thinking “I can’t change” the trick is to instill a new habit that in time can be used to overcome the old habit. That makes sense to me.

Those who study such things say the more we instill new habits, the more creative we become in stepping outside our comfort zone in all ways. I have personal proof of that through my new habit of getting up much earlier than I ever have (on average about 5:30am now). That tweak on my lifestyle has caused a wave of subtle changes I did not expect. For example, I find now I am more social, especially on weekends. Where I used to sleep late and often just be lazy and hang out at home alone, I now spend a lot more weekend time with people I care about.  Some weekend extra snooze time still exists, but I am up now around 7am on Saturday and Sunday replacing my 10am or later previous rising time.

Another point psychologists make is that lots of small changes are more likely to be successful than trying to make one large change. There is a Japanese concept called “Kaizen” or “change for the better” that has been used in business for over 50 years. The word originated from the Japanese words “kai” which means “change” or “to correct” and “zen” which means “good”. The premise of Kaizen is small changes consistently over time create major change for the better. Do the little things well and the big ones will show up in time.

An example of Kaizen being used successfully is how my earlier waking time became established. Had one evening I set my alarm for the next morning to get up ninety minutes earlier I doubt I would have gotten up at the new time even one morning. When I began trying to establish the new time to rise and shine, I did so in 10 to 15 minute increments which I stuck to for a week or two. I went to bed a little earlier and woke a little sooner. When I felt mostly comfortable with  a new time, I did the same thing again to change my habit a little more. It took over two months for my 5:30am rising time to become a comfortable new habit. Had I not approached instilling this new habit in steps, I would have quickly given up and you’d not likely be reading this blog today.

Today I am grateful for the small change of finding time to write this blog that has resulted in me now doing it every day for over half a year. In that time I have established new rising and bed times, become more social and through the associated sense of accomplishment I am more content than before. WOW! I want more of this change stuff.

When we have practiced good actions awhile they become easy;
When they are easy we take pleasure in them;
When they please us we do them frequently;
And then, by frequency of act they grow into habit.

First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your habits or they will conquer you. Rob Gilbert

The Jewel is in the Lotus

One of the lessons of wisdom my years have taught me is “you find what you go looking for”. Looking back from a perspective of today it is relatively easy to see the times I proved true something Buddha said: “The mind is everything. What you think you become”. It’s impossible for me to get on that trail of thought without some regret, but there is also delight for the knowing of the wisdom within. How I look at things is by far the biggest element in the quality of my existence that I have control of.

Here’s an illustration that helps to show how people see things has great control over conclusions. Imagine you have a corkboard attached to a wall, a box of tacks and a candle. You have been challenged with arranging the materials (all three and only those three materials) in a way that allows the candle to burn without dripping wax on the floor. Think about that for a moment and see what you come up with.

Some inventive people may come up with a number of solutions, but I missed a very simple one due to my previous use of these items being mentally etched in my mind. The uncomplicated answer is to dump the tacks out of the box, use a few of them to affix the box to the bulletin board and then put the candle on the box. The box will support the candle and catch wax that drips. From experience I saw the tack box as only a container. Only with the presented solution was I able to see it differently as an item to support the candle.

With the best of intentions frequently my expectation of how things are supposed to be colors the outcome. When you look at the rough sketch at the top of today’s entry, what do you see? Please take a look and see what jumps into your head.

Now if I tell you it’s a simple line drawing of a large cleaning woman on her knees washing a floor can you see that?

Now completely forget what I suggested the drawing represents and focus only on other solutions. Is what I suggested gone? For me and most other people the answer is “no”. The planted thought won’t completely go away and is a hindrance to coming up with other answers. We mostly see what we have been conditioned to see.

When my son was a little boy he loved “The Wizard of Oz” and watched it over and over and over, which meant I too saw all or parts of it many times. Only after much repetition did I “see” some of the message of the movie. Dorothy found a Scarecrow who thought he had no brains, a Lion who believed he had no courage and a tin man who was convinced he had no heart. At one point watching the movie for the 100th time with my son it hit me. The one who always figured out how to get them out of trouble was the Scarecrow. It was the Lion who always tried first to protect them. It was the tin man that kept rusting up from tears coming from his heart. What each sought was within them. They just could not see it.

A Buddhist phrase often used as a mantra is “Om Mani Padme Om” which does not have a direct English translation, but the core meaning is “the jewel is in the lotus”. The “jewel” (what you seek) “is in the lotus (you). The way I see the world is a result of my attitude, beliefs and conditioning. While not easy, changing my life for the better is simple. When a specific attitude, belief or my conditioning stands in my way I can find a different attitude, adapt my beliefs and condition myself in new ways. Life changing stuff! I am deeply grateful for this knowledge and wisdom!

As we think, so we become
The thought manifests as the word,
The word manifests as the deed,
The deed develops into habit,
And habit hardens in character,
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love,
Born out of concern for all beings…
As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become
Buddha (from the Dhammapada)

You Want The Truth?

Just below are borrowed words I found on-line by an unknown author.  Line by line it rings real and true for me.  I am in a period of renewal:  a time of joy, understanding and change.  I can feel myself maturing and growing as the seasons change from Fall to Winter.  I am well.  I am content.  I am happy.  I am grateful!

You want the truth?
Well, here it is.
Eventually, you forget it all.
First, you forget everything you learned;
the dates of wars and Pythagorean theorem.
You especially forget everything you didn’t really learn,
but just memorized the night before.
You forget the names of all but one or two of your favorite teachers;
and eventually you forget those, too.
You forget your junior year class schedule and where you used to sit,
and your best friend’s home phone number
and the lyrics to that song you must have played a million times.
And eventually, but slowly, you forget your humiliations –
even the ones that seemed indelible just fade away.
You forget who was cool and who was not,
who was pretty, smart, athletic, and not.
Who went to a good college,
who threw the best parties,
who had the most friends –
you forget all of them.
Even the ones you said you loved,
and the ones you actually did.
They’re the last to go.
And once you’ve forgotten enough,
you love someone else.
You replace the old friends with new ones.
You replace the old knowledge with new knowledge.
You replace what was with what is.
And one day you’ll look back at this time in your life
and wonder why you were so miserable.
You’ll ask yourself why you let certain things get to you,
why you let people get to you.
You won’t even be able to name the people whose opinions currently mean everything.
The truth is that everyone forgets,
and everyone is forgotten,
everyone replaces and
everyone is replaced.
It’s unavoidable.

 I chose intentionally to write today’s installment of “Good Morning Gratitude” at the end of the day instead of the beginning.  I am in a period of awakenings and finding my inner compass again that has been misplaced for such a long time.  The old is being shed.  The new is being embraced. My weekend has been wonderfully rich and today especially so.  Time with people I care about filled Saturday and Sunday, both beautifully sunny and cool days.  My awareness of affection for my friends and everything around me has been heightened the last two days.  Why?  There is a spark of love in my heart and that is the filter I am seeing the world through.  I am very grateful….  

I have a simple philosophy: 
Fill what’s empty. 
Empty what’s full. 
Scratch where it itches. 
Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Whimsical to Imagine

Last night I spent several hours listening to records. That’s right I said “records” meaning “LP’s”, “vinyl”, “albums”, etc. Remember those? I am not stuck in the past and exhibit that by my large CD collection and several thousand digital downloads. On my iPhone lives around a thousand songs that travel around with me all the time. However, there’s just something special, warm and personally reminiscent about the sound that comes from my LP collection of around 3,500 LP’s.

Music matters to me far more than television or movies and even a little more than books. That is saying a lot since reading is a highly favorite way to spend my time. Some of the music I love best is poetry set to music. Last night while listening to James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Prince, The Beatles and Concrete Blonde I looked through a couple of my poetry books. The notion struck me of wondering how some of the old poems might sound set to music that matched their meter and rhyme. I can almost hear the melody of poems like:

“The Years” by Sara Teasdale 1884 – 1933
Tonight I close my eyes and see
A strange procession passing me–
The years before I saw your face
Go by me with wishful grace
They pass, the sensitive shy years,
As one who strives to dance, half blind with tears
The years went by and never knew
That each one brought me nearer to you;
Their path was narrow and apart
And yet it led me to your heart–
Oh sensitive shy years, oh lonely years,
That strove to sing with voices drowned in tears.

Kisses Kept Are Waster by Edmund Vance Cooke (1866-1932)
Kisses kept are wasted;
Love is to be tasted.
There are some you love, I know;
Be not loathe to tell them so.
Lips go dry and eyes grow wet
Waiting to be warmly met.
Keep them not in waiting yet;
Kisses kept are wasted.”

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet 1612-1672
If ever two were one then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife were happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Of all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor aught but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere
That when we live not more, we may live ever.

It’s whimsical to imagine such old poetic work having a modern musical score. Yet when I read some of it, there is a melody about the poems that is just out of reach of my ears. That phenomenon is one of the things I love most about well written rhyming poetry. While I appreciate works that don’t rhyme, like Whitman, I just can’t hold any of it to the high level of esteem I feel for even metered, rhyming work.

This morning I am thankful for all the music I love that has been a soundtrack for my life. In like kind, there is deep gratitude within for the words of the poets that stir my soul and heart so much I imagine music set behind them.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. 
Berthold Auerbach