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maggie and sir paul…

i put on my paul mccartney concert dvd today while we were cleaning up the house.  as i mentioned before, i’m going to see him in concert tomorrow night with my friend, and then me, my husband and kids are going to see him monday night…so we’ve been listening to a lot of his music…which has added to the joy and excitement around here.  maggie has really been enjoying it, which doesn’t surprise me.  she LOVES music.

when i came back into the living room after being in the kitchen cleaning for a while, this is what i saw:

maggie playing the guitar with paul mccartney…that’s my girl.

let it be…

i have wanted to see paul mccartney in concert since i was 4 or 5 years old. i am going to see him for the first time this sunday night at wrigley field with my friend diana…then on monday i’m going to go again with my husband and our two kids.  their first concert ever, paul mccartney…not bad.   i’m so happy we are able to take them.  i am over the moon excited about seeing him.   i am sure i will try to write a post about it afterwards, what it means to me…i’m not sure if i’ll be able to put it into words…but for now, i wanted to share some of paul mccartney’s words with you.

this is from the book “the right words at the right time”.   marlo thomas asked various people to “reach back into your life and search for that moment when words made all the difference”…then she put the responses in a book.   here is what paul mccartney wrote in answer to her request.

“I was going through a really difficult time around the autumn of 1968.  It was late in the Beatles’ career and we had begun making a new album, a follow-up to the white album.  As a group we were starting to have problems.   I think I was sensing that the Beatles were breaking up, so I was staying up too late at night, drinking, doing drugs, clubbing, the way a lot of people were at the time.   I was really living hard and playing hard.

The other guys were all living out in the country with their partners, but I was still a bachelor in london with my own house in St. John’s Wood.   And that was kind of at the back of my mind also, that maybe it was about time I found someone, because it was before I got together with Linda.

So, I was exhausted!   Some nights I’d go to bed and my head would just flop on the pillow; and when I’d wake up I’d have difficulty pulling it off, thinking, “good job I woke up just then or I might have suffocated.”

Then one night, somewhere between deep sleep and insomnia, I had the most comforting dream about my mother, who had died when I was only fourteen.   She had been a nurse, my mum, and very hardworking, because she wanted the best for us.   We weren’t a well-off family-we didn’t have a car, we just about had a television-so both of my parents went out to work, and Mum contributed a good half to the family income.   At night when she came home, she would cook, so we didn’t have a lot of time with each other.   But she was just a very comforting presence in my life.   And when she died, one of the difficulties I had, as the years went by, was that I couldn’t recall her face so easily.   That’s how it is for everyone, I think.   As each day goes by, you just can’t bring their faces into your mind; you have to use photographs and reminders like that.

So in this dream twelve years later, my mother appeared, and there was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes; and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly, “Let it be.”

It was lovely.   I woke up with a great feeling.   It was really like she had visited me at this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out.

So, being a musician, I went right over to the piano and started writing a song: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me”….Mary was my mother’s name…”Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be.”   It didn’t take long.  I wrote the main body of it in one go, then the subsequent verses developed from there: “When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.”

I thought it was special, so I played it to the guys and ’round a lot of people, and later it also became the title of the album, because it had so much value to me, and because it just seemed definitive, those three little syllables.   Plus, when something happens like that, as if by magic, I think it has a resonance that other people notice too.

Not very long after the dream, I got together with Linda, which was the saving of me.   And it was if my mum had sent her, you could almost say.   The song is also one of the first things Linda and I ever did together musically.   We went over to Abbey Road Studios one day, where the recording sessions were in place.   I lived nearby and often used to just drop in when I knew an engineer would be there and do little bits on my own.   And I just thought, “Oh, it would be good to try harmony on this.”   But I had a high harmony in mind, too high for me, and although Linda wasn’t a professional singer, I’d heard her sing around the house and knew she could hold a note and sing that high.   So she tried it, and it worked and it stayed on the record.   You can hear it to this day.

These days, the song has became almost like a hymn.    We sang it at Linda’s memorial service. and after September 11, the radio played it a lot, which made it the obvious choice for me to sing when I did the benefit concert in New York City.   Even before September 11, people used to lean out of cars and trucks and say, “Yo, Paul, let it be.”

So those words are really very special to me, because not only did my mum come to me in a dream and reassure me with them at a very difficult time in my life-and sure enough, things did get better after that-but also, in putting them into a song and recording it with the Beatles, it became a reassuring, healing statement for other people too.”

-Paul McCartney

“And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.”

love wins…

my friend forwarded me an email this morning titled “The Happiest Gay Marriage Photo You will Ever See”.   here is the picture they are referring to:

and i would have to agree…that is the happiest gay marriage photo i have ever seen.  looking at these beautiful women expressing their joy made me tear up.  and i thought, that is the happiest marriage photo i have ever seen…period.  gay or not gay, i’ve never seen such joy in a marriage picture.

i could go on and on about how marriage is a right we all should have, how being gay is not immoral…in fact it’s a natural occurring human characteristic.  some of us are born blond, some of us are born brunette…some of us are born gay, some of us are born straight.  about how people should stop using jesus’ name…or anyone else’s…to spread such hatred and small minded ridiculousness.  about how none of us are better than the other of us.  about how we should all aspire to feel such love…the love we see in this picture above.  this is what some people are trying to stop…this joy…this love.  about how love will always eventually win….but instead, i’m just going to post this slideshow below and hope each and every one of you one day experiences what they are feeling.

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i never watch the news anymore, for a whole variety of reasons, the most prominent being that i don’t want to be exposed to the barrage of negativity.  but the night before last i fell asleep on the couch while i was watching something on tv, and woke up to the news of what happened in norway.

don’t get me wrong, i know when something “big” happens in the world.  someone will tell me and then i choose whether to read about it or not.  i usually choose not to.   i made a different choice yesterday and read all about the shooting…looked at pictures and obviously, it was horrifying.

as i took in all this information, i found myself feeling like i had been sheltering myself from a truth…the truth that people are really monsters.  this idea disturbed me.  i am not one to hide my head in the sand.  i have a positive outlook on life because it is what i truly believe, not because i am a pollyanna.  i feel i have come to the conclusions i have based on facts and my experiences, which at times have not been pretty.  still, the truth has remained the same for me…that people are inherently good.

but yesterday as i digested all this horror, i considered the fact that i just might be wrong about that.  that, in fact, people are horrible and will do atrocious things to one another.

then i came across this picture.

this is a picture of a passerby comforting a victim of the bombing in oslo.  one person comforting another.  a stranger who stopped to help.

from what i read, it seems that the authorities think the bombing and the shootings were carried out by one person…just one.  and i began to think about the contrast of one person, what one person can do…what one person is capable of.  one person.

it might be true that one person is responsible for these horrific acts.  if so, we can see that one person can kill many, many people in a short period of time.  one person can hurt so many…just one person…they can cause so much pain and hurt.

but conversely, what affect does just one person have “for good”?  we see one small example in the picture above of one person and what they choose to do with their power in the world…and often we don’t ever see the good that people do or the powerful effects that these acts have.

is the person who hurts more powerful then the person who helps?  i would argue no.  certainly violence, confusion and hatred are much louder forces, but they are temporary.  compassion, understanding and love are much stronger for that is who we truly are.

the horrific acts of violence go so much against our true nature, which is inherently good, that they have a huge impact on us.  they shock us into a distorted way of thinking.  i have been guilty of this distortion also.  i have been guilty of only looking at the horror that one person can do, vs. the healing another can do.

can one person do things that are so inhumane, that they are beyond comprehension to the rest of us?  yes.  but i will ask you…how many people don’t do such things?  if it’s true that one person is responsible for the attacks in norway, how many people didn’t kill people in norway the other day?  how many people ran to help those who were hurt after the attacks?  the ratio is really staggering if you think about it.

this can be said in pretty much any act of violence.  most of us are peaceful.  many more people run to help others vs. trying to hurt them.  it is our true nature to be peaceful..to reach out and support each other…to love…to connect.   sometimes in nature, including humans, things go wrong…we don’t get what we need, or we are born with a mental illness.  this leaves us confused and disconnected from our true nature.  but these few people who are lost and sick, they don’t represent the masses.  to extrapolate that on to the human race is quite illogical actually, but that doesn’t stop us from jumping to the incorrect conclusion that people are monsters when we see the horrors that someone is capable of.

when you think of what we all are capable of doing to each other, how much we can hurt each other, but almost none of us do…can’t you see how “good” we really are?  yes, i’m talking to you.

so i’ve been sitting here trying to write a blog for a couple of hours.  it’s not working.

i have only written a post when i felt moved to, when an idea came to me that i wanted to write about…to try to convey here.  i have had a couple of those ideas recently, but when i sit down to write, it’s not working.

which leaves me with a question…or two.  should i wait to write until it seems to “work” better for me?  or should i write the ideas out now, regardless of how poorly i feel i am able to express them at the moment?  i’m not sure.  so i have decided to just write some of the thoughts i have had here and call it a night.

-i saved a plant today and it blew my mind.

-i feel like i can see the bigger picture of my life and who i am now.  i never completely lose sight of that anymore.  the result being, when something happens that upsets me or hurts me…i process it very quickly and am pulled right back to seeing the bigger picture…to peace.  i think this is a miracle…seriously.   it feels like a force much greater then me…and that’s profoundly comforting.

-i am super grateful for so much right now and have never been happier.

-i had a great talk with some guy at trader joe’s tonight.  his name tag said “thom 2.0” so i told him how i am “mahra 2.0”, although it would probably be about 2.8 now or higher.  he felt the same way about himself.  i asked him if he has seen the avett brothers, and of course he has.  and he is getting his masters degree in something i couldn’t understand.  i told him when he told me his major it sounded like i was listening to charlie brown’s teacher.  people are pretty kick ass.

-i saw my friend/intuitive healer not long ago.  she is psychic/intuitive.  she told me i need to “get out of my huge head and into my heart”.  very true…and i have been.

-my husband and i are newly addicted to “true blood” and stay up too late every night watching it.  we are on season two now.  awwww sookie sookie.

-i’m glad that when i was little and felt that life had to get better then it was, i was right.

maggie loves the tilt-a-whirl.  she isn’t tall enough to go on alone, so when we go the amusement park, I go on it with her.

for most of the ride, she is happy, smiling…squealing little 4 year old cheers of joy.  not much scares her, except that one part.  you know, the part on the tilt-a-whirl where the g-forces get the better of you and you feel like you are being pinned against the back of the seat and your stomach is being pushed up into your throat?  and you spin and spin. the car whips around for what feels like forever and i feel like i can’t take it anymore.

when that part comes maggie puts her head into my chest and closes her eyes.  i keep my arm around her and my face near hers.  i want more then anything to stop the ride right there…get her off.  i don’t want her to be afraid.  but i know i can’t, it’s all part of this ride she loves and keeps wanting to go on.  the only thing i can do is make sure she knows that she will get through it.  i keep telling her “this part will be over soon…this part will be over soon.”  and then it is.   every time it happens like that…just when i feel i can’t take that part anymore, the ride slows down.

i thought of that part of the tilt-a-whirl the other night.  i inadvertently read something on the computer that really brought up some deep pain for me…grief.  it was kind of surprising to me.   i haven’t felt that way in a while, and i’m really grateful about that.

i think one of the things that makes pain hard to handle is that on some level we think we’ll never feel better.  i have a pretty high pain threshold, but in the midst of deep pain, if i’m really honest with myself, a part of me fears i will feel this way forever.  that fear makes it all worse for me.

yet every time i have felt pain, it has left me.  i have learned that if i fight it, it stays longer.  i have learned if i suppress it, it comes back later in ways i might not even recognize.  i have learned to let it flow.  when i feel it without judgement, it flows through me, it doesn’t get stuck in all my thoughts and beliefs. this whole process happens pretty quickly now…quicker then it ever has.  it just flows…and i know, with all my heart, that no matter how bad i feel, to just hold on because this part will be over soon.

answered prayers…

not long ago i read the book “going bovine” by libba bray.  it’s a brilliant book about a sixteen year old boy named cameron who has mad cow disease.  while cameron is dying of mad cow disease, he goes on these crazy adventures, perhaps in his mind, trying to find a cure.  he encounters all sorts of interesting characters and has all sorts of surreal experiences.

throughout his adventure, he is aided by a punk rock angel named dulcie.  she shows up every now and again to give him clues…to help him out a bit along the way.  dulcie explains to cameron about ‘the wishing tree’.  she tells him that it is a tree that grants wishes.  the branches are filled with people’s wishes. cameron questions her…wondering how everyone’s wishes could be granted no matter what.  this is dulcie’s reply:

“Well, you have to know what to wish for.  Take this one.”  She plucks a wish from high on a branch.  “I wish I were famous. Okay, first question: Why does this person want to be famous?  To be worshiped?  Adored?  To get noticed? To make gobs and gobs of money?  You have to look inside the wish and find the heart.  So maybe what this person really wants, the heart of it, is to find somebody who adores her.  She goes out to wherever it is people go to become famous and just gets knocked down and out and around like a pinball flipper.  And one day, as she’s walking on the beach totally bummed, this person comes along, and to him, she’s a rock star.  He adores her, and with him, she feels adored, famous.  In a roundabout way, she’s gotten what she really wanted.  Wish granted.”

to me, that is how prayer works.  in this way, i do believe that all prayers are answered.  i don’t believe in a god in the sky making arbitrary decisions based on how hard you pray or whether you do x, y, and z.  why would god do that?  why would god heal one baby and not another?  why would god want to punish us?  i don’t think god does or would.  i think this is a very human idea.  and humans are flawed…wounded…myself included.

when i was a child, i prayed often…even though i wasn’t raised to believe in god.  our family wasn’t religious.  we never went to church.  my parents only saw the hypocrisy of religion.  i see that too, but i have always felt very connected spiritually.  it is something i have thought about and experienced for as long as i can remember…even as a small child.  as this small child, when i prayed…i never ever prayed for something concrete.  this made no sense to me.  why would god grant me a barbie and not the poor girl down the street?  i only prayed for peace and strength.  as i got older, i added understanding.   and now, i feel like i have all those things, although i can forget that i have them at times.

i think to pray, we have to open ourselves up to the power of the universe…or god, whichever word you feel comfortable using.  and this power is for all of us…for all of our higher goods.  i think prayer, or setting your intention, is just making the space for the thing you desire.   but just like in the book, i think people often don’t know what they are really praying for…i don’t think people often realize what is at the heart of their prayer or wish.   christopher reeve could have prayed 24 hours a day to be able to reverse the damage to his body that his accident caused.  i don’t believe any amount of praying would have done that for him.  but it seems to me, that he found peace…his truth.  i think that is at the heart of many prayers.

if someone is losing their house because of a bad financial situation, isn’t the heart of their prayer to feel safe?  to be taken care of?  is it really about a house?  we believe all too often that something outside ourselves will make us happy…and i think that usually we are mistaken.  it can feel good to connect and share things with others, to walk the path with someone, but the peace really comes from within us…we just make the mistake of thinking the thing outside of ourselves is what gave us the peace.  don’t get me wrong…we need each other.  we need connection…but we can’t get our self worth or peace from another person or thing.

time after time in my life i have thought i wanted or needed one thing, only to be heart broken or disappointed when i couldn’t have what i felt i needed.  i can’t remember a time that this didn’t turn out to be a lesson for me…i can’t remember a time that i didn’t get what was at the heart of my wish.  sometimes it takes longer then we want it to.  but i do believe in this way…all of our prayers are answered.  we just need to stay open…go with the flow of life.  make room for the answers and they will come.