Self-love: 4 Songs That Make Me Smile

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember good things in your life.

Through my last depression, I realized something. When I’m on the way down or depressed, I don’t listen to music as much. I will put NPR on the radio in the car, watch TV shows at home, but rarely turn the radio to a music station or Pandora on the computer.

When I’m feeling better is the time when I go back to music, which means I tend to like upbeat stuff.

I almost titled this: 4 songs to make you smile. But, I don’t know if they’ll make you smile. I can only say that they make ME happy. I do believe that music can help shape our emotions, give us focus, make us feel better (or worse – there are songs that evoke anger and pain, too).

I’m often scared to talk about what I like in music. My tastes are usually a bit behind the times, and all over the musical map. I tend to like quite a bit pop stuff, which used to mean some of my friends would make fun of me when they were into alternative and underground. I eventually developed a taste for a lot of alternative stuff, but usually 3-5 years behind my friends.

Now, I tend to not care too much what others think, but I still sometimes feel like I have to justify my tastes. I know, intellectually, that is ridiculous, but sometimes old feelings creep up on me.

1. Pop  – Pink – Try

When I first started to hear this song on the radio, I would turn it off almost immediately, because the music sounded sad.
A couple months ago, C forced me to watch this video of Pink’s performance at the AMAs. 
First of all, totally love Pink. She’s unapologetically strong and individualistic, but also compassionate and kind: everything I love in a female role model.

Watching her do this modern dance interpretation of her song was amazing. I was blown away by her strength and grace and for the first time actually listened to the song.

The chorus really speaks to me.

Where there is desire,
There is gonna be a flame.
Where there is a flame,
Someone’s bound to get burned.
But just because it burns,
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die.
You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.

For a long time now, I’ve been able to keep getting up when it has to do with survival needs. But I have pushed a lot of people away.

Lately, a particular person has been reminding me that I need to do this with relationships, too: open myself up again, allow the possibility of being hurt. The song says that even if you are hurt, it won’t be fatal, and then you can try again. And something about the flame mentioned here is reminiscent of a time long ago. 🙂

2. Electronica/goth-rock – The Cruxshadows – Indivisible

Itunes calls this band “electronica” and Pandora classifies it as “goth-rock”. I don’t really care. 🙂 I was looking for new music and someone on FB suggested this band. This was the first song that jumped out at me. My itunes tells me this is the most listened to song on my computer and iPod at the moment. (Their song Valkyrie from the same album is almost as played).

And call it courage, overcoming the fear
to conquer first the demons inside.
That when the madness descends on our dreams
we have the strength to keep them alive
The purpose of one becomes the purpose of all
A phalanx made from what we believe.
A ghost or an angel, a wish or a prayer,
Just open your eyes, your heart, your mind
and BREATHE. 

3. Pop? – Gotye – I Feel Better

Gotye hit the charts this past summer with “Somebody That I used to Know“. I like the song, even though it was way overplayed for a few months. But it is a break up song, with a lot of sadness and bitter-sweetness in it.
But this song, from the same album is even better. It reminds me of some upbeat 70s/early 80s stuff.

I’m having a hard time picking just a snippet of this one; I like almost every lyric, so I’ll just put the first part here; but listen to the whole thing. Something about it kind of reminds me of “I can see clearly now“.

There was a time I was down, down
I didn’t know what to do.
I was just stumbling around, around
Thinking things could not improve.
I couldn’t look on the bright side
Of anything at all.
That’s when you gave me a call!
And I feel better, better, better than before!
I feel better, better!
Now I’m not down anymore!

That sounds like someone who has been depressed and found a way out of it. In some ways I don’t like that it takes another person to get him out of it. But there’s nothing in the song that says this was definitely a romantic attachment that made everything better. It could be a good friend, an old friend, or an estranged family member that helped him find his way back.

4. Chant – Om Gam Ganapatye Namaha

I like chants, all kinds of chants. Somewhere I have a CD of Gregorian chants. I have some tapes and CDs of Pagan chants. And Buddhist and Hindu Chants have always fascinated me.

There’s something .  . .  soothing about repeating syllables in a musical manner. C, on the other hand, can’t stand them. She’s been very frustrated when I listen to 20-30 minutes of “Om Mani Padme Hum”. 🙂

My friend Trudy  reminded me of this one earlier this week.

It calls upon the God Ganesh (or Ganesha).

Ganesh had his head cut off and replaced with an elephant head.

He is known as one who removes obstacles (because an elephant can move anything out of his/her way!), facilitates success (you’ll often see small altars to him in businesses), and is also very playful.

In the brass sculpture here, he is dancing on top of a small mouse – his usual ride! And if the image of a fat guy with an elephant head riding a mouse doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what would. 🙂

From Vishal International

From the website Humanity Healing (click on the link for more info on Ganesh).

Om gam ganapataye namaha!
A very loose translation might be:
Om = Salutations! Everyone wake up!
Gam = The secret power sound of Ganesh. It is his “seed syllable” or bija mantra.
Ganapataye = Another name of Ganesh, the breaker of obstacles.
Namaha = Yo! Ganesh! You da God!

What about you?

What songs never fail to make you smile? What songs speak to what you’re going through right now? I’d love for you to share in the comments or on the Facebook page

Changing thought patterns

I’ve been working on this for years, how to change the negative tapes in my head that say:

I’ll never amount to anything.
If you’re so smart, why aren’t you more  ___________ 
What the fuck are you doing with your life?
I can’t do anything right.
I’m too disorganized to do anything the “right” way.
No one likes me.

And on and on and on and on. 

I know that these thought patterns are destructive, and they only feed depression.

I know the origin of most of them; they have the same voice in my head. 

I used to think it was completely programming I had as a child, but now I’m not so sure. Because C grew up with a LOT of positive reinforcement. I never said those things to her. And yet, somewhere around age 14/15, these started coming out of her mouth – her own internal programming brought these same words up, including body/beauty image issues.

Maybe there is a biological component to these thinking patterns.

But can we change them?

M recently accused me of being an optimist, which is pretty funny if you’ve only known me in the last ten years, but he knew me long ago, when I was very optimistic about everything. 

I did ask my friend sync if he thought I was an optimist. His response:

You are more so than you think.

You generally do think you can accomplish various things, although when push comes to shove you often need to be pushed and shoved.

You can make it RIGHT UP to an important point, then you kinda freak out about it and try to talk yourself into thinking you can’t do it.


Hmm. 
I’ve been running that around in my mind for the last week or so, since the conversation. And he’s right. 
I still can’t believe that I totally choked on the finish line of my credential. 
I blurred out my name, but there it is, framed and hung on the wall.
After taking 7 years to finish my B.A., after an intense year of working and tutoring while taking grad school classes, after a horrendous semester of student teaching, including surgery in the middle of it (and only missing 4 days of teaching for it), I choked on the finish line. The list of what I had to do to complete the process was ONE freaking paper (and I had until June to do it), two of these stupid things called Teaching Performance Assessments (and the groundwork is all done), a CPR class (I used to teach it, for fuck’s sake). 
That’s it.
Everything else was done.
I was only doing about 5 hours of contract work a week, and a little tutoring between January and June.
I had time to work on it.
But I didn’t.
Self-sabotage at its best. I seem to be an expert in that.
I could have been actually teaching this year, instead of worried about how I’m going to pay the bills now that unemployment has run its course.
But I have been making a conscious effort to work on changing thought patterns ever since J called last May
Another imaginary intermaweb friend, Monday’s Child, posted on my recent happiness post about her step-mother’s philosophy:

Happiness is a decision.
She taught me that happiness isn’t something that is *caused* by anything. It’s a deliberate decision you make, moment by moment if necessary.


Which falls right in line with a wallpaper image I got from Goddess Leonie (yeah, I know I’m talking about her a lot – I get fixated on things, ok?)






At first, this was the only one I downloaded, but now I have all of them, plus a few pictures I thought were beautiful, and a couple of random things, like this mandala I colored a long time ago. They rotate as my desktop background every 15 minutes.


Last year at this time, if the computer was on, I would have always had a browser open and would not even see my wallpaper. But the longer the “Joy is an Option” poster was up, the more I closed the browser and just left the computer on. I usually set the laptop up on a shelf right across from my comfy chair [“nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”] and I now leave it open so when I glance over I see an inspiring message or just a pretty picture.

I really think that the Joy poster is at least partly responsible for finally flipping my mood around.

So, I am really getting into the affirmations this year. And I’ve even decided to go ahead and do a Vision Board. I’ve never actually done one before. I understand the psychology of it – it’s not really magick, per se, but it keeps certain things happening in your head to help you recognize and bring about your goals. I guess I just thought I was  . . . above? needing something like that. 

I bought this pretty (and cheap) poster board with clouds on it, and I’m ready to get started. . . 

As an aside – What sparked this post was a conversation on Facebook. I wanted to talk about how another of my internet friends today reposted one of my “inspirational” reposts on Facebook. When one of his friends said, “I did not expect this from you,” his response was that he was trying to make changes in his life, to wit, to become “less of a dick.” He also said, “I cannot explain how much better my attitude is about everything after just a few months of reprogramming.” If RJ can change his attitude about things, with a little “reprogramming,” maybe I can, too?