Climb your mountain…

Climb your mountain

So, you have a dream. It stirs more and more every day. Your gut tells you so. It begins to consume your thinking, takes hold of your desire and burns within you a fire that urges you to pursue.

But it’s huge.

You think to yourself, nah, no way I’ll get to the top of that one…

People tell you you’re crazy.

But that knot in your stomach says ‘this is worth it

You don’t know why, you just know.

But how?

You feel totally out of your depth. Like there’s a fog around your sight and the direction has become unclear.

Climb.

You know that you’re going up. Just put one foot in front of the other and look at the ground in front of you. With each step, you take your focus off the entire mountain and just see the road before you…

So, what are you waiting for?

In love and honour,

Miriam

Be governed by rest…

Be governed by rest. Govern all you do from the mindset of rest, Shabbat shalom, my peace in you, through you and around you. When you govern your environment from this place, you affect the world around you.

My peace becomes your joy. My rest becomes your strength.

Choose to live outside of your circumstances. It’s as simple as choosing what to eat each day. You know good from bad. Simply make the choices as they are presented to you. There is no striving in making decisions.
Indecision comes from a place of anxiety and a fear of being left out, forgotten, and considered a failure. With each choice that seems insufficient or has a negative result, you will build a case against yourself and foster a mindset that insists you are unable to make choices.
Anxiety builds and this binds you, securing the enemy’s attempts to thwart you from making any progress and encourages you to continue going around and around the mountain (staying where it is familiar and safe territory), never finding the ‘right’ spot to move into new (unknown and possibly challenging) territory.

Choose the place of rest. It’s as simple as any mantra or self help internal dialogue.

‘I will choose to stay in the rest of my Father, to live from peace, to live in Shabbat Shalom. I choose to live from this place instead of from what is fragile and incomplete. I choose to let peace rule in my heart and not anxiety or fear.’

Each time you choose, you gain more ground. Simple. The world understands the power of self talk. So talk to your self. Talk to your emotions, your thinking, your spirit. There is no mystery here. It really is as easy as 1,2,3.

20121120-134223.jpg

Challenged by the day to day? What’s your response?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word response. The word simply means (amongst other definitions), a reaction to stimuli. Ha. It’s quite an interesting word too, because when we respond to something, when we react, it’s usually quite spontaneous and immediate.

I can think of so many times when I have ‘responded’ to a situation, a ‘stimulus’ and later thought of a hundred ways in which I could have ‘responded’ differently. But it’s too late then, isn’t it? Our words are out there, our reactions, our emotions, have been sent out and whether we like it or not, our ‘response’ has now become a frequency of sound that inadvertently hits those in it’s path…

Hmm…

Over the years, it has slowly dawned on me that I can actually choose my response to most circumstances, situations, challenges, etc, even those that would normally instigate a fly away reaction. How? Well, it’s finally occurred to me that my responses to stimuli are governed by what I believe about myself. Yep. Pretty simple…?

You see, how I view who I am, what I stand for, what I believe, how others view me, how approved of I am, etc, directly impacts the way in which I ‘spontaneously’ respond to stimuli. So if the stimuli is challenging, and my internal view of who I am is shaky, fragile, vulnerable and ultimately breakable, it’s not too hard to see why I might be reactive instead of calmly considering the mental and by default,the verbal path I am about to take.

So how do we govern this? Well, my personal experience has been one where I have had to make the choice to take a good hard look at ‘me’ on the inside. Do some diagnostics so to speak. Take the time to approach those ‘cobwebbed’ memories and clean house in my mind, my emotions, my thought processes, my points of view, etc.

It takes time. It is hard. And it can be painful. I won’t lie. But the results are extraordinary! Regardless of what your faith is, regardless of what you and I believe, we have the capacity as human beings, to internalise, to digest, to recalibrate our mental processes and therefore, establish new pathways to travel on when issues and challenges come our way. We have the ability to set that path in place and practice using it!!

I have a friend who, for about the past 5 years, has been dealing with ovarian cancer. Chemo – currently in the third round. This woman is not only indomitable, she’s beyond reason!! On the very rarest of occasions, I have seen her falter, but for the most part, this incredible woman speaks about her journey and shares the revelation that has kept her in such unbelievable peace.

She chooses to walk this journey from an altogether ‘other’ perspective. She chooses to allow joy, peace and love to govern her mood and her responses to her circumstances. I am sure that in the privacy of her home and relationships, she may allow herself the freedom to respond in other ways, but in her outward impact on the world around her, it is only an impact of love. She is a major inspiration for sure 🙂

I’m not saying it’s easy. Gosh, it’s such a battle. The mind is the place where we really can make a difference in how we approach the world around us and it’s no wonder that Romans 12:1 says to renew your mind. There is such great power in having a mind that chooses how it’s going to respond, how it’s going to control the reactions of the emotions, the will, the spirit and soul.

I hope that you find yourself in a place of choosing how to respond today, rather than being in a place controlled by the life around you. Be of good courage and choose. It’s worth the effort.

In love and honour,

Miriam

Signs of a good marriage by a teenage boy :)

Good day to y’all! Just a quick one today.

We were on the train coming back from a leisurely sojourn in the city with our teenage sons (16 and 13) and my Mum. We’d had a great time just hanging out, trawling through Paddy’s Markets and sampling amazing Asian foods and were all now ready to head back home. My hubby is a bit of a prankster and had both my hands locked in one of his (he has really big hands!) and was doing silly things such as tickling my knees. It’s a game he often plays with me and despite my best attempts, I usually end up stuck and unable to help myself and it all climaxes with fits of laughter.

Well today was no exception to the rule and we now had all 5 of us laughing. Fortunately the train carriage was not really full and so the chaos really didn’t affect anyone else!!!

Then the pearl of wisdom from Master 13.

‘You know when you’re parents are ok; you know a good marriage, when you have this – when you make each other laugh even after 18 years’

What a feeling. To have something so profound and uplifting declared over your marriage, your relationship, your life.

There is power in words.

Where Go’ed my Mojo?

Hm, the weather is sour. I’m sure that the sun has not even graced our boarders as yet and despite a decent sleep, I still feel dreary, unmotivated and distracted, despite the growing list of things I need to attend to on my planner beginning to spill into my consciousness!

So where did my Mojo go?

Do you have times like this? Easily distracted, restless, unfocused and with a care factor of around -2? What do you do to push yourself out of such a funk? Or, in fact, do you find that these things are just seasons and you pass through without much effort, coming out ‘the other side’ feeling bright and cheerful again?

I’ve touched on the topic before about learning to discern the days that are ok to just be flat and not feel the need to push or to work through the emotional lag but today I am wondering if in fact, the decision is not to ‘go with the flow’ but to push, to drag myself by the tail and knuckle down and DO SOMETHING!

You see, I’ve done the ‘living life by my emotions’ track. It’s not super effective. You tend to miss out on so much of the world around you when you let the flat days envelop time. And despite the highs being times where you might get a lot of creative activity happening, the focus is not as acute, the capacity to finish projects is weakened and so the effectiveness of those times is also depleted.

So where do you ensure the pendulum stops swinging? At what point do we stop that swing from side to side and find a balance where we are both able to manage the flat days as well as high days, and maintain a sense of productivity that ensures personal satisfaction?

My personal thought is that it is a case by case/person by person scenario. No two people are alike so why should we assume that we can create a 10 steps to this or that and expect it to fit all people and their profiles?

There is one thing I have found to be effective. And it’s something that regardless of race, economics, religious beliefs, political or financial standing, we all have power over.

We choose.

We choose our responses. We often might not be able to choose our circumstances or the outcomes of those circumstances, but we sure can choose our responses to those circumstances and outcomes. I am reminded of Corrie Ten Boom who was a survivor of WW2, a Dutch Christian woman who survived the camps and was renown amongst those with her for her calm, her poise, her capacity to respond in a way that stayed true to not only her beliefs, but her character. I am sure there were times where she just wanted to die. Just wanted to scream. Just wanted to rant and rage against the machine. But she made choices, daily, hourly, minute by minute, to stay true to her point of balance.

Corrie ten Boom, a woman of inspiration. If you’d like to know more about her phenomenal story, click the pic 🙂

If I was Corrie Ten Boom, I think I might not have had the sense of peace she carried. I would hope that I would but deep down, I am not convinced of having the same level of resilience as this woman and so many like her. My circumstances are so far removed from her reality (and not to mention the current realities of so many around the world facing dreadful circumstances), that I find it hard to see myself being so strong, so resolute.

But what I can do is think of her and compare her situation at that time, to my situation right here, right now, and give myself a fair little slap on the face for being complacent and apathetic. Because today, as it stands, there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of me achieving my goals, being focussed and motivated, being positive and proactive.

Nothing.

Ok, so metaphorical slap out of the way, reality check done, I have two choices. I can say to myself ‘cool, I have a great life and I should be more thankful that I am so free to choose how to spend my time’ and then go and waste the day watching telly or bumming around pretending to work on my laptop… or I can say the previous statement, get into my planner and scratch off some of those bothersome to do’s, choose how I am going to spend the rest of my day and replace the emotional flat tyre and get back on the road.

😀

So if you are feeling flat today, or any other day, make sure you do a bit of a self check. If you’re physical exhausted, your mind and body are communicating a desperate need to stop, to pause, to breathe, then do so! No one needs to run themselves to the ground!

But if, like me, today you find yourself without much reason to do the above, perhaps it’s time to dust off, get up and do what needs to be done. Mojo has a habit of returning when we push it ^_^

May all peace, joy, enthusiasm and strength be yours today,

Miriam

Influencing Cultural Tipping Points with our Words

Today, as I am sitting here, attempting to recoup my energy from a very hectic weekend, I had one of my new songs running through my mind and was thinking about the words. I felt that I got a little revelation about how we as song writers, regardless of what we are writing about, or who, are culture changers. Our words transform the world around us, albeit perhaps slowly, but it happens.

Think about these lines:

We will not be beaten
All we need is love
We are the champions, no room for losers cause we are the champions of the world
Imagine all the people, living life in peace?
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world

Lines like these are the lines we remember because they resonate with our core cultural identity. Yes of course these songs represent so much more than the one line, but what I see happening within the connection between songs and cultural shifts, is that there are always one or two lines that speak loudly and clearly what the song writer is trying to say.

Think about times of cultural unrest: song lines like the ones above have been a part of tipping the general mentality. How about ‘Flower Power’?. Now Lennon I am sure was not the only, or even the major influence in this time of cultural upheaval but his songs resonated with the people so much that they are now synonymous with that period of change.

So, my question is this: how do we as songwriters, in 2012 and beyond (so want to put a Toy Story reference here), be an active participant in changing our culture? Now I know that many would defend their culture readily so please do not think I am suggesting that your or my culture are inherently bad. That is not my intention.

My question is one that hopes to challenge and inspire you, motivate you to consider the words you present to the world. Even though I am also a composer, it’s the words that change the heart of the listener.

There’s a verse in the Bible that I really like and even if your views on spiritual things are different to mine, I am sure you can see the value in this:

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you God.

And these too:

Whatever is lovely, whatever’s is pure, whatever is of good, think on these things.

Words are the bedrock of our thinking.

Seriously.

If you grow up being told, with words, that you’re ugly and useless, it’s going to take quite a bit of effort to recalibrate your mindset.

If you meditate on, live and give out words that build, create, restore and resonate with others, you change the environment that you live in and ultimately impact the next generation that are influenced by you and your words.

So why do we as an intelligent, first world country, encourage song writers to come up with songs about sex, drugs, loose love, lawlessness, debauchery, gang involvement, malicious intent, and even murder and other acts of violence?

I do realise that songs like these can reflect the culture we may live in and mean no disrespect to those who are trying to make sense of the reality of our world. I also recognise that for many, music brings people together and strengthens community bonds, but please hear my heart.

We have a choice in how our words are going to bring people together.

Are our words going to resonate with a few, creating a clique within the community, silently forging a wall of discontent between cliques and ultimately becoming a part of shaping communities that feed on violence?

I know that music is not the only propellent but let’s be real. It contributes.

What makes these kinds if songs, in any way, viably enriching our community and ensuring a healthy cultural mindset? How do songs like these undergird the emerging identity of our youth?

I implore you to consider this: our words are going to be powerful, challenging, setting us up to either endorse what is good, what is right, what is just, or to stand up for…well…you know where I’m going with this.

My personal conviction is that we as song writers and even those of us who are bloggers, journalists, commentators, poets, fiction and even non fiction writers, have an obligation to our broader community and potentially the rest of the world, to create and endorse that which is worthy, wholesome, challenging, inspiring, educational, motivational, encouraging and hopefully, mindset shifting.

Stay with me here. I’m not pendulum swinging. I am not encouraging us to write candy floss and ear tickling stuff.

On the contrary, I challenge you to write in a way that pricks the conscience of the listener/reader. I cringe when I hear songs written that clearly fit a predictable, money spinning mould and that have no depth to them. I am sickened and disheartened at the immense talent that goes to waste performing songs like the rather infamous Ring My Bell and Locomotion (for us over 30) and the embarrassingly transparent ‘Call Me Maybe'(for you youngin’s). Sorry ladies, but you were and are so much more than that.

I know this post is long but my heart longs to see a culture that encourages, creates, develops and motivates and cannot sit back in my studio churning out songs and be oblivious to the culture I live in and want to change.

We have an opportunity to be a part of something deeper, something generational.

Are you with me?

Community spirit still exists :)

I walked past this on a building in our little community that had been ravaged by fire recently. I was struck by the kindness of a stranger and their offer of support to the people affected and how nice it was to see this kind of community spirit in action in our little neck of the woods.

Sometimes it’s easy to think that general kindness just doesn’t exist anymore, what with people walking past each other like the other does not exist (just incase that person might mug them/recall ‘stranger danger’ education) and most of us not knowing what to do let alone have the fortitude to stop and help a stranger in need (think blown tyre on the freeway might really be a kidnapping).

But when I saw this the other day, I was encouraged and inspired.

I was struck by the simplicity of the message but even more so, impressed that this person, who may or may not be a personal friend of the proprietors (I’m assuming perhaps he’s a customer?) was kind enough to leave his mobile number on the door as well.

This, his personal and private information, on a public wall, for all to see.

Anyone could prank call this guy if they really wanted to. There are people around who find that fun. Never quite worked that one out. But he left it anyway and what it says to me is this: this guy, who left his number and offer of support, was thinking of one thing and one thing only – someone else in need.

I love that. Just a simple few words on a fire ravaged building that offer support, concern, care and community spirit.

This is what makes my heart stir with joy.