My happiness revolution evolved from the wisdom and poetry of lyrics, an unexpected rhythm, the beauty of a sustained note. Music has been the “One friend, to get me through the day. One friend, that never goes away. Only one friend to understand, and never let me down.” (Keb Mo)  As I moved into my first apartment at age 19, I had to choose between purchasing a sofa or badass hi-fi system.  I sat on the floor and savored Carlos Santana’s, sublime spirituality, “Open your eyes, let it begin with me. Brand new day, fresh new way to live.” This moment of choice was turning toward a simple life of engaging with the elements of life that brought me meaning. The gorgeous harmony of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young encouraged me to continue to pursue a life of synchronicity and balance.  “You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.  And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.”

The musical tracks of my life were not as succinct, as I danced through many relationships.  I discovered that while Cat Stevens was “looking for a hard headed woman” most of the men I dated were not that emotionally aware.  More often than not, “I stayed awake for hours again last night.  Searching for a reason to keep up the fight. I’ve made choices I don’t regret, I’ve got problems I don’t get.” (Great Big Sea) My naïve, but always well-intended attempts to “help” a die-hard rocker find nuance and wonder in the musical paintings of Pat Metheney usually ended on a sour note.   Joni Mitchell was always empathic when I felt “I’m so hard to handle, I’m selfish and I’m sad.  Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby that I ever had. I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”  Relationships have been a double album for me, I didn’t love all of the songs, but as with so much in life, the cost was small in comparison to the wisdom gained.  “Every long lost dream led me to where you are.  Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars, pointing me on my way into your loving arms.  This much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road, that led me straight to you”.  Rascal Flats

Finding my purpose initially was fraught with distortion. Imagine, two tunes playing simultaneously in my head.  Jackson Browne was pragmatic,  “I’m going to be a happy idiot, and struggle for the legal tender.” Wasn’t this supposed to happen as an adult?  The “happy” part was seductive, but the final chord “idiot” sounded like the adverse screech of a turntable needle recklessly dragged across an album. I ended a financially lucrative, intellectually paralyzing career in business. I found myself considering the idealism of Noah and the Whale,  “If you are (what you love), and you do (what you love) I will always be the sun and moon to you,  and if you share (with your heart) yeah, you give (with your heart) What you share with the world is what it keeps of you.”  My decision to listen to this quiet, gently played piece has become my personal swan song.  It was a tuning fork in the road that provided me the precious possibility, Julia Fordam (and I believe most of us) desire, “I want to fit perfectly inside my skin.” 

As a musician (I use that term very loosely when referring to my ability), I discovered this magical moment, after hours and hours of agonizing practice when things click, become clear and start to flow. My toes were right here, right now, hanging over the edge, on the precipice of the place where the concepts became the notes, the notes the bars, the bars, the measures, the measures, a unique song.  As a result of getting lost in the music, I began to find my true self.  The scary and profound suggestion from Pink to “Close your eyes and trust it, just trust it? Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air? Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care?”  No worries, I didn’t “Ride shotgun down the Avalanche” (Shawn Colvin) my beat is more measured.

The Indigo Girls guided me through the uncharted path of becoming human, “I’m trying to tell you something about my life, maybe give me insight between black and white.  The best thing you’ve ever done for me, Is to help me take my life less seriously, it’s only life after all.”  I began accepting (and even experience times of appreciating) my human-ness, in all its flawed, incongruent beauty.  Chicago gave me the perspective to view two sides of a single reality, both within myself and with others.

Terry:  “When it’s time to function as a feeling human being, will your Bachelor of Arts help you get by?”

Peter: “I hope to study further, a few more years or so. I also hope to keep a steady high.”

Terry: “Will you try to change things, use the power that you have, the power of a million new ideas?”

Peter: “What is this power you speak of and this need for things to change? I always thought that everything was fine.” 

Perhaps my most profound lesson in human-ness came from Big Head Todd and the Monsters, “She took my hand, said to me, “Let me let you in on a secret.  You’ve already got all the love you’re needing, in your heart, in your mind, in your imagination, you’ve already got all the love you’re needing. ”  What an extraordinary way to engage with the world, with an awareness that WE are the composer, conductor, musician and audience of our life. We are whole and complete in our song.  This gave me the courage to end or limit unhealthy relationships, knowing that, “Gonna face my fears holding back my tears for you, I know you’ll be alright, but now it’s my time to grow.”  (Phat Phunktion) It reinforced in me that although our voices may harmonize for a time, when we move on to sing solo we can independently create a beautiful sound.

In the ever-expanding sound track that is my life, The Police help me stay grounded and embrace my own spirituality (while thriving in the Bible Belt.) “Where does the answer lie, living from day-to-day. If it’s something we can’t buy, there must be another way.  We are spirits in the material world.” Recently Eminem and Rhianna, unexpectedly offer me a brilliant new way to explain a complex concept from Acceptance Commitment Therapy,  “I’m friend’s with the monster that’s under my bed. Get along with the voices inside of my head.”  Grey-Eyed Glances really GET the helpless I sometimes feel in therapy when people are hurting, struggling, trying to find their own happiness revolution.  They reinforce the importance of staying in the moment, listening to understand,  “It’s very hard to sit and watch you now.  It’s very hard to know you’re on your own.  It’s very hard to move through unfamiliar worlds I’ve never known.  It’s not enough to make some sense of it. It’s not enough to even comprehend.  It’s not about the life we’ve left behind, or the life that leaves us spinning in the end.”

My happiness revolution echo’s in the beautiful people I work with and for, with my beloved friends and family. The pulse of music matches the beat of my heart. It is always there, listening, hearing and learning.  The Staple Singers inspire me during the morning drive to my office “I know a place, ain’t nobody crying.”  Earth, Wind and Fire help me wind down on my drive home (and ALWAYS evoke a chicken-skin response,) “You will find peace of mind, if you look way down in your heart and soul.  Don’t hesitate ’cause the world seems cold.  Stay young at heart ’cause you’re never (never, never, ..) old at heart.” I share of myself with the mix tapes and CD’s that I lovingly compile for those that could either benefit from a different perspective or recognize that they are not alone.  These tracks sing to the soul, conveying more in a 50-minute hour, than I ever could. Musical happiness inspired the noon dance in my office to Nelly, Maroon 5 or the Talking Heads. Music unconsciously led me to my husband, Yoram.  We often end our evening sitting in front of our melded Badass hi-fi system. We chose our home in part, due to the available space for our speakers. The evening ends listening to our favorite Pandora stations, our passionate dialogue, “ok,  we’ll turn-in after this one….no, no, no, wait….I love this one too, just one more…..” (Laurie and Yoram)

My heart overflows with gratitude for the music of my life.  It guided me through rocky terrain, dark, unmarked paths and fast super highways to a place of well-being, inner peace and profound happiness.  While I continue to dance to my own beat, I send out heart-felt thank you to all of the tunes that encouraged, empathized and educated along my happiness revolution. Natalie Merchant expresses it best, “I want to thank you for so many gifts you gave, with love and tenderness. I want to thank you.  I want to thank you for your generosity, the love and the honesty that you gave me. I want to thank you, show my gratitude, my love and my respect for you.  I want to thank you.”