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Posts tagged ‘music’

Catching up with Technology a Tune at a Time

Technology, a Tune, and the Gym

When I first joined a gym, music was delivered via a portable CD player and corded headphones. It wasn’t optimal as you had to be careful not to jostle the player or the CD would skip.

Over he years, I’ve evolved from the CD player to a variety of MP3 players, and finally to Pandora on my iPhone. Typically a little behind the times, I finally ditched the cord stuffed down my shirt and into the pocket with my phone and graduated to cordless Bluetooth headphones.

The first time I used them I asked myself “what took you so long?”. Not only is it easier to work out without having to worry about where the cord is hanging, but the sound quality and noise cancellation, even from an inexpensive set is light years beyond the standard set that comes with the phone.

Sure, I have to remember to charge the things, but my kleptomania cat, Pyewacket has made that easier. He can’t steal them if they’re plugged in. Granted, I’ve spoiled his fun a little, but he’s yet to run out of things to steal off my desk, dresser, and nightstand. He might have to be a bit more creative these days though.

Music for Focus

Music is and always has been a huge part of my life, though not so much making it as listening or moving to it. I typically have it playing in the background while I work. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing, editing, or doing accounting work. I need the music to keep me focused.

At the gym, it helps keep me focused, but also acts as a deterrent to other people there. With the plugs in my ears, they’re less likely to try and engage me in conversation. I know that sounds bitchy, but I consider my gym time to be much like my daily meditations and walks. It’s me time I don’t care to share with anyone.

What I mean is, I use my gym time to connect with myself. Maybe not in the same way as when I walk or meditate. While working out I have to pay attention to what machine or set of free weights I’m using, how many reps and sets I’ve done, and ensuring I’m using the right muscles. Sure, there are spaces of time between sets and when I switch stations, but often I use them to work on a piece of my writing.

Sometimes it’s a new blog post, others, it’s a tricky part in one of my books that didn’t want to flow properly. The combination of music in my ears and pushing my body to its limits is often a boost to my creative side, though don’t ask me why.

 A Late Bloomer to the Value of Music

Unlike my daughters, I didn’t discover how much music could help me focus until I was an adult. Then again, I didn’t have all the options available today, or even in the last 20 years for taking my music with me. Even the days of the Walkman or portable CD player involved dragging a couple of CD’s or tapes with me unless I wanted to listen to the same thing over and over.

Once I was able to connect to a music site like Pandora or Spotify, it not only simplified how I obtained my music, but gave me variety that wasn’t available with a tape or CD, without having to download music onto my own device.

Ultimately I realized I worked better with music whether in my home office or someone else’s. I was fortunate to have a private office in my last job where I could play music through my computer as long as I kept the volume at a reasonable level.

Music for Productivity

It’s funny though. Now that I am in a home office where there’s no one around to Created with Canvadisturb, I still find keeping the music at a low volume is most conducive to productivity. I’ve learned it isn’t really about the volume, or drowning anything out. It’s about having background noise so I can focus on what I need to do for longer stretches of time before getting twitchy and needing outside stimulus.

By the time my daughters came along with some of the same mental monkeys playing havoc with their concentration, I’d learned background music was the solution, and made sure they had access to it while they studied or worked.

As much as I hate housework, it’s a lot easier to get it done with Blood, Sweat, and Tears or Chicago playing in my ears and drowning out the vacuum! If it makes something I dislike doing tolerable, imagine what it’s doing for the ones I love to do. I know my writing sessions are longer with music playing in the background. I can stay put long enough to set up a month’s worth of Medium posts, bopping along to the Beatles, or another band from the 60’s and 70’s.

The Right Background Music for the Task at Hand

https://www.flickr.com/photos/willfolsom/7094471059/in/photolist-bNV25x-77UPSv-9tPRui-hY52Y-5RfP97-8iBJzZ-ffSKCZ-89DTEp-8MafAw-89DSMe-89H9JG-7fSeqV-dTPXDT-89H8x1-hQZfKq-89H7TY-89DT2i-89Hai7-63Qh4E-pnSKC-89H88L-vRpUr-89DUdH-89DTLt-9oEVmR-2w7XP-7gdck-5SNtVn-gtXnSa-aq8Vdg-5jK3c7-5FXzrT-9cNBdK-7iEieU-oK2nBU-7EKFFz-qz7Go-26Ys1Bk-5oFzFx-6upwHg-5uHBB8-6djGap-9NsAVB-2HW8-ohgAFe-7EKFAc-4BwGJp-29aXGWZ-nM4w1N-4gzvmcYou might think it’s nostalgia that caused me to set up both a “Blood, Sweat and Tears” station and a “Simon and Garfunkel” station on my Pandora account. The truth is, their music continues to inspire and uplift me today. Perhaps it’s the poetry in the lyrics, or the way you can hear each instrument and voice adding it’s piece to the song.

Perhaps it’s words I can relate to. But I don’t try to analyze or explain it beyond saying I like what I like.

What I know for sure is having the tunes playing in my ears is responsible for keeping me going to the gym 3 times a week, for helping me schedule a month’s worth of posts on Medium in advance, and for days when I write 2 blog posts, or several thousand words on one of my books. It clearly works for me, so I’m not about to mess with a good thing.

A Word for the Ones Who Prefer Silence

I’m aware some people work best in complete silence, and I respect that. We are, after all, unique unto ourselves. I can say working in complete silence, except on rare occasions drives me bonkers. In fact, when it is completely silent in my office, I’m usually talking a blue streak to myself or the cats, just to break the silence.

There is one place I’ve found I work best without music, but if I’m honest, there’s music, just not from a mechanical or electronic source. Every morning, I take about a 20-minute walk. I leave my headphones home, and though I carry my phone in case of emergency, it remains in my pocket, a silent weight reminding me I can get help if I need it (though thankfully, it’s unlikely).

Sounds of the Neighborhood are Their Own Music

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/8225835927/in/photolist-dwTyrn-a3ks33-9mvXys-6ja1gb-9yrH2G-nDdzvx-XUYUcB-5mVAik-aGc4QM-rcaJkB-te2rAP-a7Uq98-3dzbhp-GAf1t-n7eEii-SdF6ND-NpW4QT-Nn4EE7-Q1PXro-6GmuAj-Nb8fd-aGc4LK-5rvjUB-9G5iLz-dViNns-47qcTR-8gCJx7-53s2we-8Amcx2-651TAL-e3ogb6-3Sf9H3-23Jx66D-4beknX-477UHP-Nb8cA-61cxQD-7htzF3-e3tWNL-58nCxm-e3ogk4-27FNZKJ-9NHU1S-i23hC-8Rg5Yu-5tzpF9-CvzijW-Ck2RtR-28aTBt3-MweagTInstead, I have either the cacophony of my own thoughts keeping me company, or better still, birdsong. There’s also the whoosh and whirr of people in their cars heading for work, school, or errands when I’m walking along one of the main streets, and the barking of the neighbors’ dogs as they announce the presence of someone disturbing their morning nap, or alerting their owner to a possible intruder.

Occasionally, I’ll encounter other people enjoying the quiet time in the morning when most people have already gone off to work or school. The heat of the day hasn’t yet driven them inside but it’s early for kids to be running around in the park, their laughter a cheerful counterpoint to the chirping and barking.

I love listening to the sounds of the day in the few minutes I’m out walking. I’ve even made a game of trying to get out early enough so I’ll be through the park before a train blasts through, wheels clacking on the rails and whistle piercing the air to warn people to keep the intersection clear while it passes. Even this is me time when I’m free to think my thoughts or not, move my body and get it primed for the day ahead, and practice “Being” instead of “Doing”.

Your Turn to Weigh In

What works for you when you’re diving into the day’s tasks? Do you get the chores out of the way first so you can do the things you later? Do you mix them up? Do you work in silence or does music play a major part in your productivity? If so, do you like it loud and raucous? Soft and dreamy? Jazzy? A mix? How do you get your engine primed and operating at peak performance? You are unique, so what works for you should be as well. Please share in the comments.

Gratitude Infiltrates Everything I Do

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for music (guess that one would be obvious from the post), and how delivery has become simpler over the years.
  2. I’m grateful for me time when I can do or not, but mostly be.
  3. I’m grateful for the technology that gives me choices, variety, and simplification.
  4. I’m grateful for the productivity I enjoy when I have music to motivate me.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, productivity, joy, friendship, dancing, kitty love, a stress-free life, music, incentives, opportunities, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Nostalgia in the Air

Drifting on a Wave of Nostalgia

Birthdays make me nostalgic. When another draws near, I seem to spend time revisiting memories, holding some close, releasing others. I listen to music from my younger days—songs that bring back simpler times.

I’ve created a couple of stations on Pandora which let me travel back in time, and let go of the things that stress me out;  things that bring on migraines when I forget to let go. I use the more upbeat “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” station when I’m active; cooking, working out at the gym, walking. But when I want to float on those waves of nostalgia, or find inspiration for my writing, I always turn to my “Simon and Garfunkel” station.

Whether it’s Peter Paul and Mary’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” or something more upbeat, I sing along, or simply drift on the waves of music as familiar as my breath. Though I may not have a voice that will move masses, I find joy in singing along to the tunes that defined my youth.

Music for the Ages

If you ask me, the music of the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s is timeless, both for the words and the melodies. Even my daughters’ generation embraced the music of the Eagles, and Santana, as well as Queen, making it their own. The lyrics  from those years still have meaning—still move me and made me feel. I think they always will.

What they can’t do is bring back a time when my mom and I weren’t at odds over something. They can’t help me remember a time when we weren’t fighting, and when I ever felt good enough. It makes me sad those years didn’t come until after she was gone; that I didn’t learn to appreciate her or feel compassion until long after she’d left me. Or that I didn’t learn to accept and appreciate myself.

Remembering Old Feelings So I Can Let Them Go

https://www.flickr.com/photos/60740813@N04/34504735502/in/photolist-Uz4MJN-7H8hqz-r2covS-8wbGLH-8wcEVv-8weaum-8wcFMc-r2c6ww-r2iYrg-qmL3eU-8w9Dpr-r2jtjr-riJFWH-8wcT7A-8wcK8r-8wbRuV-8wcj84-8wanQx-8waPPT-8w9c4V-8w97ek-r2j3iV-riCAji-8w8skp-r2cTQq-8wfuwo-8waMUv-8wfDJJ-8wdgXY-qZq9cM-8wd2u3-8wfVzw-8wbq15-8w8bJP-8w9Wdc-8wcQdR-riF3r5-riJvW2-8wbTSq-r2cNH1-8wc6wN-r2d6wG-8wcM6o-r2jiHn-8wdexo-riJBiz-8bQ1eC-8wfeYo-riJJHV-8w9YqrFeelings of abandonment began long ago, when my sister was born. Maybe she truly was an easier child, or maybe my mom had just learned a few things about being a wife and mother. Either way, I became secondary. Though I’ve come a long way in the last few years, the songs make me remember the hurts still haven’t completely healed.

Songs like “Puff the Magic Dragon” still make me want to cry. Somehow, I feel the things I’ve lost more strongly when I hear it, probably because my first memories are listening to it when I was young enough to feel less abandoned and more loved. Before I believed I’d never be good enough; at least for my parents. Even so, the song made me cry from the first time I heard it. The reasons may have changed since then, but the tears still fall.

Opening My Heart and Mind and Recognizing My True Value

I listen to the songs from a different perspective now. I’ve lived through a lot—https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqjoys and sorrows, wins and losses. I’ve torn down walls I spent nearly a lifetime building, reinventing myself without masks or pretenses. Another birthday reminds me how far I’ve come. And I’m not done yet; not by a long shot.

I was never my mother’s child. By the time I was 10 or 11, I’d stopped trying. I spent years trying to be my father’s child, but failed there too, though I didn’t really accept my failure until recently. That’s when I realized the failure wasn’t really mine.

My dad wanted a son, but my mom didn’t give him one. Instead, his first born was clumsy, awkward, and unable to conform with any of his expectations. I wasn’t good at sports, nor particularly interested in working with my hands except to build sets for theater productions.

I loved to read and write, neither of which were of interest to him. I got my love of reading from my mom. The only thing I shared with my dad was a fierce independence. Right or wrong, I had to do things myself and spent a lot of years feeling like a failure.

Taking the Painful Lessons and Leaving the Pain

Now I can appreciate how much I learned, not only from my failures, but from my inability to fit in, even with my own family. Watching my mother struggle for acceptance from her own family, I didn’t realize I was, in my own way following her example. I tried to be what my dad expected, never realizing it was a lost cause. Worse, I never noticed how often he ridiculed and shamed me; how often he dismissed my efforts.

Somehow, it made me stronger, though it also made me shut down to love and affection. Unconsciously I realized I’d never really get the love and attention I craved from my family, and for years, believed it meant I wouldn’t get it from anyone. But times change. I learned some life lessons, and the biggest was I didn’t need to make anyone happy but me.

Breaking Free of Family Patterns and Finding Happiness

My family didn’t understand me because I was different from the start. But I finally learned I didn’t have to gauge my success or my worthiness by their expectations, or their inability to love me the way I deserve to be loved. The lack wasn’t in me at all. They did the best they could with what they, themselves had been taught. It wasn’t their fault I knew deep down I wanted and needed more.

My family holds on to old pain, to grudges, to anger. I never understood it, and never shared their need to, in essence, allow others to live rent-free in my head for years; even generations. Where they held onto pain, I learned to forgive. Where they had expectations, I learned to accept. Where their idea of love was criticism and abuse, I’ve learned love is building up and supporting the people you care about.

The songs might me sad. They might make me nostalgic. But they don’t make me wish I could go back and do things differently. They remind me of how far I’ve come.

Old Patterns May be Standing in the Way of Your Success

Are old memories and patterns weighing you down? Do you feel like you have to do it all instead of asking for help? You’re not less worthy because you recognize you can’t do it all. In fact, you’re more, because you realize you need to free yourself to do the things you’re best at. Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Something to Be Grateful for Every Day

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for memories, both pleasant and not.
  2. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, even if I had to learn a lot of them painfully.
  3. I’m grateful for the gifts my parents gave me. In the beginning, it was strength, but in time, I’ve learned compassion too.
  4. I’m grateful I’ve finally learned I don’t need to be something I’m not in order to fit in. I’m perfect just the way I am. I needed to be me before I’d find those who accepted the real, honest me and not some fruitless attempt to be anything else.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, joy, acceptance, friendship, inspiration, motivation, words that flow as freely as a waterfall after a storm, feelings I can now allow to come forth without judgement or shame, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

January 6, 2015 Music: It really is everywhere

You can find music in the most extraordinary places…

It’s easy to recognize the music in birdsong or a train whistle; a fire truck siren or a doorbell. But if you listen…really, really listen, it’s in everything

When the wind is whipping through the trees howling out it’s melancholy song of life ended too soon or lost loves or loneliness, then finds that almost imperceptible crack in your carefully built house and the howl becomes a slightly more joyful whistle. When your cat curls up on your lap and begins to purr contentedly (or in my case when a second one joins in and you really hear the highs and lows in their throaty voices). When the water zings out of the shower head to plip plop on the floor of the tub, singing a merry tune as the droplets dance to music of their own making. When fresh vegetables hit the oil sizzling in the bottom of a wok, their voices higher or lower, louder or softer depending on the density of the vegetable.

These sounds, this music is what I’ve become incredibly attuned to lately. I’m hearing something beyond just the sounds. There’s a melody which runs through our lives, through our world, which usually goes unnoticed.

Don’t just stop and smell the roses. Also, stop and hear the music!

In our world of fast cars, faster computers, electronic everything, I believe we lose sight of the simple wonders all around us, patiently waiting for us to tune back in. I’m sure we noticed them as children, but like the baby in Mary Poppin’s who grew up and could no longer speak to the birds, we’ve simply forgotten. It’s time to reverse the process.

Start with something easy.

When the wind howls, moans and whistles, listen. Try to hear the melody in it’s song. When sirens pass nearby, listen to the rise and fall, the melding of voices as each vehicle’s siren makes a slightly different sound. Stop and enjoy the sound of birds chattering back and forth, mocking the cats in the window or cursing the one who raided their nest.

When you hear the easy ones without effort, push yourself.

When you’ve retrained yourself to hear the obvious songs around you, push a little harder. Hear the music in the water pulsing out of the shower head and dancing in the tub. Explore the different tones the vegetables make as they hit the hot oil or listen to the meat and vegetables sizzling as you prepare chili or pasta sauce. Tune into the cadence of a helicopter or a diesel engine as it idles.

Now that you’re hearing the music all around you, what do you do with it?

I know, it’s all well and fine to hear the music in everything, but we can’t just stand around listening, right? Of course not! Once you can hear it again, you need to rebalance yourself, tune back into that rhythm and follow it…be that rhythm; be that music! If we could all tune back in, I’m convinced that there would be no more wars; no more abuse; no more mistreatment of Mother Earth and in it’s place, love and respect because, no matter what our beliefs, we would be in harmony. Harmony brings acceptance, even appreciation of our differences because without harmony, we would just be a single note, alone and uninteresting.

If you ask me, Barry Manilow had it right all along while being way ahead of his time.

One of my favorite Barry Manilow songs of all time, maybe favorite song period of all time was “One Voice”. I never really knew why, but it always made me feel joyful. I realize now that it also makes me feel connected to everyone and everything; every person, every animal, every freaking blade of grass and every rock! I realize now that the connection is the music in everything around us and the music inside of us. But more, it is our ability to recognize that music if we just retrain ourselves so we remember that wonder we had as a child but were taught to ignore. It’s still there! Pull it out. Examine it. Feel it. Own it.

If a single voice sings its song loudly and confidently, but nobody listens, will the song be wasted?

Frankly, I don’t think it’s possible for even the smallest song, the weakest melody to go unnoticed by someone. We just need to get away from all of our electronics long enough to hear those tunes without amplification, without dubs and remixes, but in their purest, most elemental form, because when we do, our own voices will join in harmony of their own accord. There will be no thought to whether we’re on key or sound right. We’ll simply do what we’re meant to do: blend with the music and add our voice to the fundamental, elemental, universal song.

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have been shown the reason I’ve been hearing the music in everything.
2. I am grateful that I have a place to share the things I learn.
3. I am grateful for the loving energy I’m feeling after writing this post and listing to “One Voice”.
4. I am grateful for, and humbled by my part in the harmony of the Universe.
5. I am grateful for abundance: harmony, cooperation, love, music, joy, friendship, peace, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

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