Monday, 29 February 2016

Healing hands. . . .

I never dreamed I could cry so hard
That ain't like a man
I could fly like a bird some days
Had a place where I could land 

There will be days where you will feel like your problems and issues will do more than threaten to overwhelm you, they could possibly kill you, if you let them.  We all have the capacity to fly and land on places for respite when we need to, but what happens when we start to tire when we fly?  What happens when we look around us while in mid flight and start to realise that there's nobody else flying alongside you?  Would you have the strength to carry on and do what you needed to do?

I could sworn we were all locked in
Ain't that what you said
I never knew it could hurt so bad
When the power of love is dead

I see the power of love embedded in how you care for someone, how you are able to express love and however you choose to define that love - being nice to somebody, being respectful, being able to embody all things nice and lovely that is the complete opposite of being unloving.   What do we do when we start to feel unloved?  What do we do what we come across situations and scenarios where the power of love is dead?  What can we do to remind others and ourselves about how we can choose to love others first, and use words that come from a place of love, to make people understand what you mean.  That requires a lot of practise to achieve though right?  It's always easier to lash out and not make a considered effort to be the best of yourself and not blame others for your shortcomings.

But giving into the nightmare
Ain't no cure for the pain
You gotta wade into the water
You gotta learn to live again

Those of us who are reluctant swimmers and even more against getting our feet wet, will find it hard to live again or even before you get a chance to live again, you're reluctant to face up to the realities of your current life situation.  So what do you do?  Waste your time worrying needlessly and endlessly about things that are not worth worrying about and worth stressing about because they are beyond your control, or because you have no influence over the people who control decisions that affect you?  People would think I'm appealing to their inner conspiracy theorist (ha!).

And reach out for her healing hands
Reach out for her healing hands
There's a light where darkness ends
Touch me now and let me see again
Rock me now in your gentle healing hands

I think the older I get the more conscious I am becoming and being aware of the power of words and how they can heal.  It's probably what I like the most about having this outlet when I talk about music and how it makes me feel.  I also come from a line of healers where I have accepted that more and more as being part of my living reality because now not only do words heal, but touch heals too. How do you reach out to people?  I think about how we communicate with people and how our words touch them, about how our hands touch them and whether we use our positions to heal or harm.

I never knew love like poison
That burned like a fire
All I ever wanted was a reason
To drown in your eyes

 I guess it's only natural for you to want to reach out to people that you see are the ones who heal you.  It's a difficult lesson to learn when you find yourself gravitating towards people who do not heal you but harm you.  What's the easiest way to find this out?  Sadly there isn't.  You are always placed in positions and situations where you must learn about yourself through the burning fires and poisonous love that may threaten to consume you.

I never knew sleep so restless
Empty arms so cold
That's not the way it's supposed to be
It ain't the spell that I was sold. . 

I've always been fascinated by the point of clarity when realisation dawns.  I think those epiphany moments occur much quicker for us once we start to embrace them as they first arrive.  Drown in the eyes of whoever you need, to make things right within yourself, but remember to start developing that for yourself, so check a mirror once in a while so that you become accustomed to what it means to drown in yourself and not rely on others.

I hope that you find the healing hands that can calm you and give you peace.
But I can't wait for the time when you are able to look down at your own hands and see the potential for self-healing that I can see :-)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fall in. . .

This blog post is dedicated to anyone who needs to "fall in" - doesn't matter how, just "fall in". . . 

Don't worry if we fall in love
We will never touch the ground
Don't worry if we fall in love
We will never touch the ground
Just fall into a dream

Have you ever been on the cusp of falling in love?  It's a weird and wonderful feeling but it also be quite scary at the same time.  There is a sense of vulnerability that comes with being able to lay your feelings bare with someone and either they respond in a similar way otherwise you feel so exposed that you retreat into yourself again.  Have you been in a dream like state before?  People were talking to you and you were daydreaming about something and it honestly felt like you had left your physical body and imagined yourself somewhere else with someone else?  It's a good thing to be able to fall in and out of a dream like state.  There's nothing wrong with it.

They say
If you die in a dream
You die in real life
Well I just died in your arms
Lost in your eyes
And I know this must be a dream
Cos I feel like I can fly 
To heaven

I've only just discovered Esperanza Spalding and this was the first song that I connected strongly with.  Have you ever had dreams where you have died?  You might find that you can't recall how many times you have been chased or died in someone's arms.  Depending on how good you are at remembering your dreams quite vividly, you may not make out the faces of people in your dreams or know for sure who they are.  Falling or flying are common activities that are found in dreams.  Not being able to feel the weight of your body, but instead being able to levitate or fly is definitely another sure sign that you are in a dream.  Do you dream what heaven must be like?  Even if you don't believe in heaven, but I think people imagine themselves to be in some place of their design that would encapsulate their idea of heaven.  

They say 
If you live in a dream
You're hopelessly lost
Well this ain't just any old dream
For our paths have crossed
And I may be hopelessly lost
But somehow
I've managed to find heaven

There will be paths that you cross with someone else and it may seem totally random and completely by chance but after a while you will see that your chance meeting has actually been predestined and you didn't even know it, you aren't meant to know it until you are meant to know.  Sounds airy fairy?  Maybe it does, but I think that I've been surrounded with a lot of people with like minds and similar life paths to not have this become a reality in some small part or some huge epiphany moment that stays with you forever.  Even if you met that in a previous life, and meet them again - it's only because your mutual crossing of paths is strong enough to continue through the ages.

And I won't worry
If we ever fall in love
We will never touch the ground
I don't worry if we fall in love
We will never touch the ground
Just fall into a dream

If we will never touch the ground, then I guess we must be hovering quite easily in the air, falling in love but never being able to feel anything solid again, not landing on a solid surface anymore anyway, because it's ok to be lost in each other for a while.  Isn't that what you like most about when you fall in?  That for a period of time, you become suspended in mid air, with someone who seems similar to you or who just seems like they know what life is like now, with you.  For the most part, it might not even need to be about the fall in, to be in love with someone, but the fall in may be more about the shift in mindset to allow yourself permission to want something else that makes you uncomfortable and causes you to be in demand by others.  Whether that's a healthy thing or not, but it's something that needs to happen in order for you to prepare for the next significant phase of your life.

Don't worry if we fall in love
We will never touch the ground
Don't worry if we fall in love
We will never touch the ground
Just fall into a dream. . . 

I hope that you allow yourself to fall in from time to time.  We spend too much of our lives being really cautious and afraid to try anything once.  Of course things will happen beyond your control, but life is only what we make of it and how we choose to live it.  I sometimes wonder if we got it all wrong?  The fact that maybe we've got it all backwards and in fact all the things that we are basing our lives on to live in, the stability and the social norms that we have become accustomed to - that in fact isn't the way we are meant to live - but instead we are meant to fall in. as many times as possible, wherever and however possible, because it is in the act of the fall in, that we become more attuned with what, who and why we fall in.  There is comfort isn't there knowing that we all fall in sometime, that we all fall in sometime.  So why not just fall into a dream. . . 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Autumn leaves. . .

This is my 600th blog post :-)

If you leave this time I fear that you'll be gone for good
So I hold on like leaves in fall to what is left
Said her father left her young and
He said he'll be back with the same tone that you just said you'll stay forever with

Have you tried to leave someone and you can't?  There might be extenuating circumstances behind why you can't leave, probably some really good reasons about what keeps you there, and then the other person makes it difficult for you to leave as well, because they're trying to save something that isn't worth saving or they are oblivious to what is actually going on in your life to let you go.

Oh, it seems that all the autumn leaves are falling (oh oh oh)
I feel like you're the only reason for it (oh)
All the things you do, all the things you do, all the things you do
All the things you do, all the things you do, all the things you do
It seems you're the only reason for it

When people start to think that the only reason that things change, for the better in one's life, is because of the influence that you bring, then it almost seems as if they have invested all of their time and energy into you.  It can be an extremely rewarding thing I guess, when people rely on your advice and thoughts because they trust you, they've followed advice that you might have given and the outcomes came out in their favour.  So it's only natural that people want to know about all the things you do, because they might perceive you to have the Midas touch, that all the things you do turn to gold because you must know something that they don't know.

I've been bleeding in your silence
I feel safer in your valiance
I hold on like leaves in fall to what is left
Before I sleep I talk to God
He must be mad at me, it's karma
I'm confused who I'll spend my forever with

Do you feel like you've been handed a raw deal?  That no matter what you have done, because you've done everything right and done things in the right way without having to stand on people or minimise them to get to where you are, you start to wonder whether holding on is the right thing to do, when everything seems to falling all around you.  Do we even get to know who we'll spend our forever with?  I thought I was going to spend forever with someone, but it wasn't meant to be, he died and all of the plans that I thought we had in place disappeared.  If there are people that bleed in your silence and feel safe in your valiance, you need to be able to support them, but you also need to let them know that you won't be around forever because you're not meant to be.  Everything and everyone has a natural end.  So we must be prepared to deal with people's absences in an ongoing daily basis.

Keep positivity in your heart and keep a noose from 'round your throat
And when you poke at it just know, man
The iceberg is a reflection of you when you re-new your vision
Just think if it had sunk the Titanic, the f*** it would do to a critic, my n****?. . . 

If we have done wrong, made silly mistakes, hurt others in ways that the media or public will never let you forget, have a serious think about not making those errors again.  You just need to think about what you need to do in order to rebuild your life, to think about how you can avoid those behaviours again and just live to your highest expectation of yourself, give more than you would be daring to take, because that is what this life is all about.  Autumn leaves serve as a reminder about the fact that seasons change and that we lose things or people in order to make way for new learning.

And if my ship go down tell me who will abort?
And they won't let me live even when remorse that I give
When it gon' rejoice and forgive, tell me how I stay positive
When they never see good in me
Even though I got hood in me
Don't mean he won't redeem me, Lord. . . 

It can be a lonely journey trying to prove to people that you are no longer what you used to be.  So what's the shortcut that you need to take to be able to hold your head up high again?  You need to focus on being able to let your actions and putting your newfound philosophies and ways of living into action, not so that people can believe that you have changed - but because you can prove to yourself that you have changed - for the better.

I hope that you can stay positive even when people can never see the good in you.
I hope that you can stay positive even when people always see the good in you and don't believe you can fall.

I hope that despite whatever journeys we find ourselves on, whatever pathways take us away from our goals, that is it meant to happen because there are things that we must learn in order to take us to where we are meant to be.  Nothing is ever wasted.  We might not understand why we can't grab hold of the autumn leaves that falls through our fingers, but you need to know that you aren't meant to catch those leaves.  You are meant to instead, think about how you cope when those autumn leaves fall through and help you to prepare to catch those autumn leaves when they are meant to be caught, because it's all tied up in all the things you do . . . 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

God only knows. . .

Darkness settles on the ground
Leaves the day stumbling blind
Coming to a quiet close
And maybe just in time
We've almost lost the heart to know
How to keep our best in mind
We've almost lost the heart to know
How to keep our best in mind

There can be times in your life where you will come to a crossroads or reach an indefinite or undefined space that seems unfamiliar to you.  We can often question and start to doubt how we feel about things, situations, people and more importantly ourselves.  How can we keep our best in mind?  What do you think about when it comes to improving yourself and being the best version of yourself for others, particularly when you are caught up in time moving ahead or on without you ready to claim yourself in those moments.

Time has turned an angry face
Throws a dark eye back to the sea
But what will pass for mercy now
We'll practice unforgivingly
As if might and will make it right
Or either one of us could make us free
As if might and will make it right
Or either one could make us free

Why does time look upon us with an angry face?  Did we not use our time constructively and treat time with the respect that it deserves?  Did we gloss over things in such a way that we forgot how to honour what we needed to do?  When you practice unforgivingly, does it come across as being callous and not as remorseful as it should be?  If might and will are not the right things that could make us free, what can we rely on?  Mercy can often be misconstrued, misinterpreted and actually seems to be the one that is practiced unforgivingly.  Is it important to be right all the time?  Is this the ultimate goal every time we have a conversations with someone?  That we want to be able to say that you were right all along?

Lovers laugh and cross this way
They're weaving out into the street
It seems we never were so young
Or it was never quite so sweet
But the world is always beautiful
When it's seen in full retreat
The worst of life looks beautiful
As it slips away in full retreat

It is almost an oversimplification of the worst kind if you judge yourself in comparison to lovers who laugh as they pass you by in the street.  When the worst of life offers you nothing but trouble, pain, angst, tears and fatigue - yet you can still notice that it looks beautiful - how do you train yourself to see this?  How do you weave like the lovers do in your life?  We must be observant and vigilant to notice all of the subtle details around us.

God only knows that we can do 
No more or less than he'll allow
Well, God only knows that we mean well
God only knows that we just don't know how
But I try to be your light in love
And pray that is enough for now
Well I try to be your light in love
And I'll pray that is enough for now

I hope that you understand how much you can be that light in love for someone.  It doesn't need to be necessarily in a romantic capacity either, I'm talking about being a light for someone whose world may seem to be cleverly cloaked in darkness.  How do you know that being a light in this way for someone is enough?   Can good intentions be enough anymore to make this kind of connection?  Knowing when something is sufficient and just right can be challenging.  We may think we know when things are enough, but trusting yourself in this unsafe space is what we need to do in order to be able to understand ourselves more, understand ourselves better, so that one day, we will know that is enough for now. . . 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Everyone's waiting. . .

This blog post is a tribute to Sophia Hawthorne
Rest in peace beautiful girl :-)

I know all the lines to say
The part I'm expected to play
But in the reflection I am worlds away

You were always very good at lines.  Being an actress meant that you had to learn a lot of lines so that you could portray a character through the words that you spoke, then intersperse some gestures and appropriate movements that linked those lines together.  I sometimes wondered how much of yourself you injected into those characters and whether those characters became that much more alive because of what you brought to those roles.

As I put my costume on
Eyelashes one by one
Been doing this so long I can tie the knot
Behind my back

Nobody can fault your professionalism.  You had a precociousness about you and a maturity that was all wrapped in one huge package.  It kind of made you untouchable in a way because you always seemed to fill a room every time you walked into it.  Even when the classroom was near crowded to capacity, but if you came late and entered the room, it was like the room wasn't alive until you entered it.  That's what you brought to a room - it wouldn't come to life without your presence, and a room seemed more beautiful because of your presence.

And everyone's waiting
But it's getting harder to hear what my heart is saying
Cos everyone's waiting

We were in a few classes together at high school but didn't travel in the same social circles.  This was because I was into music while you were into drama and school productions, even we had them, weren't as big as I guess they are now, these days. The whole school rejoiced when you landed the role of Juliet in Michael Hurst's production of Romeo and Juliet opposite Jeremy Brennan.  I have a photographic memory so I can still remember the photo that was taken of you both in the photo archives of my mind - you facing towards the reporter but looking off into the distance, while your Romeo, not the focus of the picture, looked at you but from a distance.  Even in that instance, he seemed to be waiting for you.

"Just swallow and breathe" she says
"Remember this ain't for you, it's for them
And all those painful lessons you've had to learn
You gotta use them now or never"

I think about the painful lessons I've had to learn, especially when you have to play a role for other people, rather than for yourself.  Did you ever feel that pressure too?  If you did, I never saw it.  I think we can become really skilful at hiding our true selves, not because we are deliberately being secretive, but because there are just some things that we keep close to our chests that we dare not disclose.  I think when the time comes to stop learning lessons, the greatest pain will be letting people know we no longer need to learn, but just be.

Cos everyone's waiting

But it's getting harder to hear
What my heart keeps saying
Turn it off, I wanna turn it all off

Do we follow what our hearts say?  If we allow ourselves to continually answer to everyone's expectations of ourselves, when do we get to entertain our expectations of ourselves?  There's something to be said about following your heart and trying to balance that with the weight of people's expectations on you.  Are we allowed to turn off their expectations?  When do we allow ourselves to answer the calls within our own hearts and live up to our own expectations?

When everyone's waiting
It makes it harder to hear what my heart keeps saying
Turn it off, I wanna turn it all off

When I reflect on your life and how you connect to me, I'm not sure if you know how much you have taught me.  Thinking about your life, it is common for people to start thinking about their own mortality, about what contributions to society and to the world that they can make before their time is through.  I think people need to start trusting their hearts more and tell more people about what is in their hearts.  Do you think we don't tell people what's in our hearts because we don't think they will understand us?  Do you think they won't understand us when we want to turn everything off in our lives and just stand still for a minute to catch our breath?  I wonder if things are harder to hear because we've forgotten how to hear.

But everyone's waiting
I hear that answers appear when you just stand still
But make it all, how do you make it all stop
When everyone's waiting?
Everyone's waiting. . . 

Thank you for all you have contributed to the world.
I am really grateful for the beauty of your craft that you shared.  The perceptions I held of you in our school days didn't change much as we entered adulthood.  Instead, I admired and celebrated your successes from afar, happy that you were sharing your immense gift of story telling and talent for connecting with others.

Even though our world will continue to turn without you, I acknowledge that you have made my world stop, even for a moment these past couple of days since hearing of your passing, to appreciate you and acknowledge how empty life will be without you.

I guess everyone will have to wait for you until they see you again.

Rest in peace Sophia.  Love and light be with you always.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Have you ever really loved a woman?. . .

To really love a woman, to understand her, you gotta know her deep inside 
Hear every thought, see every dream, and give her wings when she wants to fly
Then when you find yourself lyin' helpless in her arms
You know you really love a woman

Do you understand the woman in your life?  If you don't have a woman in your life, would you be able to understand her if you had her?  Being able to really listen to a woman, especially when you think that you're in love with her means that you are attuned to what she values and what she holds deep within her heart.  When I think about my friends and their relationships, it has been difficult and challenging for them to really have their partners attuned to them and valuing what they hold sacred, deep within their hearts.  When you need wings to fly, does your partner allow you the freedom to stretch your wings and not feel resentful towards you?

When you love a woman you tell her that she's really wanted
When you love a woman you tell her that she's the one
Cos she needs somebody to tell her that it's gonna last forever
So tell me have you ever really, really really ever loved a woman

I think some men or women who have a woman, aren't sure about how much to disclose to their partner, or at least are unaware of how much to communicate.  It is important to be able to give reassurance in a relationship, because we can often let things slide in our busy and hectic lives and lose sight of the people we should be cherishing and sharing our lives with.  You're probably thinking, but what if she needs constant reassurance?  Then I would say, well, why does she feel that way?  Is there something that makes her think that you won't last forever?  

To really love a woman, let her hold you, till you know how she needs to be touched
You've gotta breathe her, really taste her, till you can feel her in your blood
And when you can see your unborn children in her eyes
You know you really love a woman

This is one of the sexiest songs I've ever heard, and for me it comes down to this particular verse.  The depths of a love that you have for your woman when you can actually see your unborn children in her eyes - I've never heard or seen a line like that in a song since.  I mean Biggie Smalls does it not quite as eloquently with his famous line I see some ladies tonight who should be having my baby but hmmmm... somehow it doesn't sound quite as eloquent or romantic as the former.  I guess it also has a lot to do with the delivery of the line and the way that the melody hangs when this line is sung.

When you love a woman you tell her that she's really wanted
When you love a woman you tell her that she's the one
Cos she needs somebody to tell her that you'll always be together
So tell me have you ever really, really really ever loved a woman

I think for a woman to know that she is really, really being loved, she would need to be able to feel really, really wanted by her significant other, appreciating all that she does, all that she is for that love.  Do you think that fairytales and romance novels have a lot to answer for. giving us this false impression that we can be completely and totally loved by someone, even thought we know that we won't always be together, but it would be enough to be together as long as it counted. however time and space allowed for that connection to exist?  If you really, really really ever loved a woman, would that be evidenced in such ways that your love for her oozes out of everything that comes from you?  I sometimes wonder if there's such a thing as having too much love for someone, that it can be a dangerous thing for someone to really, really really love a woman. . .

You've got to give her some faith, hold her tight
A little tenderness, gotta treat her right
She will be there for you, takin' good care of you
You really gotta love your woman. . . 

I hope that you have conversations with your woman and maybe even make sure if she wants to be known as your woman.  I guess when it comes down to it, we all want to know where we belong and more importantly, who we feel we can belong to, belong with, and know why we belong with them.  I mean, that would be a surefire way for me to know if someone ever really loved a woman. . . 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Rise up. . .

This track is a song endorsement by +Shannon Vulu 

You can harbour some private pain and struggles that will never see the light of day, that will never surface or show on your face, in the conversations you say or the things you do.  Have you ever felt like if you allow something small, something that was initially insignificant, even ignored your gut instinct but you allowed those little things to add up and snowball into something that can threaten to overwhelm you or cause you constant stress - how do we cope with that?

You're broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can't find the fighter
But I see it you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

What are some ways in which we can develop our own self management skills, particularly when we need to be able to trust ourselves before relying on others?  It's that intrinsic or innate sense of self isn't it, that we must keep strong, that we must foster and focus on if we are going to trust in others.  
I've talked before in previous blog posts about being on a merry go round, where life may seem to spin us around so fast that we can't seem to make any headway to getting some relief, some physical respite and more importantly peace of mind from our deepest and darkest fears.

And I'll rise up, I'll rise up like the day
I'll rise up, I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up, and I'll do it a thousand times again
And I'll rise up, high like the waves
I'll rise up, in spite of the ache
I'll rise up, and I'll do it a thousand times again

The resilience that is required to rise up in any situation, must come from inside yourself.  But we all know that if you don't already possess the ability to be resilient. to rise up, then you must be able to surround yourself with people who have the skills and capabilities to lift you out of any situation that threatens to keep you down in the quicksand of life (but only if you let it).

When the silence isn't quiet
And it's feels like it's getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we'll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
We're gonna walk out
And move mountains
And I'll rise up, I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up, I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up, and I'll do it a thousand times again
For you. . . 

Rising up will be an inevitable part of who you are, much like the rising of a new day.  The wonderful opportunities that a new day brings includes the endless possibilities of not making your mistakes disappear or making a situation better - but in fact, just wiping the slate clean and starting from a new standpoint, re-evaluating how you will choose to live your life again, almost like hitting the reset or start over / start again button.  Take courage in your abilities to be able to move mountains.  It's really about inviting your own mindset to shift, believing in the impossible, especially when we live in a world that doesn't acknowledge how we are able to not only dream the impossible, but drop the prefix to make the impossible, possible.

All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
We will rise
We will rise
We'll rise, ohhh ohhh
We'll rise. . . 

I hope that you hold onto hope like I do, like I have, like I always will, because nothing is certain in this life, apart from all the things that threaten to take all the goodness out of it.  I hope that you will find people who will have enough hope not only for themselves, but just enough hope to give to you too, so that you can have hope for each other, have hope for all you love (even those you hate) and even have hope for strangers and people who wish you ill will, because as much as strangers might be friends that you haven't yet met, those people who wish you bad things, are the ones who need your hope the most.  It makes me smile to think that collectively if we all have hope, nothing can keep us down because we can all rise up. . . 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Dancing in the moonlight. . .

We get it almost every night
When that moon is big and bright
It's a supernatural delight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight

I remember this track when it was released.  I was at university (college) for the first time and I remember thinking it was a fun party song for people to dance to.  My friends would go to a milk bar (now called a lounge I believe) and put coins into a jukebox there and study while listening to music.  It's funny when I think about it now because it felt like it was important then to 'make a statement' by putting 'the right songs' on the jukebox.  It was pretty high stakes back then to publicly announce to people in such a way, what types of songs or genres your musical taste entailed.

Everybody here is out of sight
They don't bark and they don't bite
They keep things loose, they keep it tight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight

Of course while standing at the jukebox trying to select your songs, there would always be guys that would use the opportunity to approach you and try to make conversation.  This kind of effort on the part of the opposite sex was often lost on me because 1) I attended an all-girls high school so wasn't really clued up to the social cues of potential heterosexual mating rituals and 2) I was all about the music, so approach me at your peril when I was in serious connoisseur mode selecting the appropriate songs for the mood my friends and I were in to fit our social context.

Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody's feeling warm and bright
It's such a fine and natural sight
Everybody's dancing in the moonlight

Pretty soon I would hear this song pop up at all other social gatherings I attended with my friends and yes, as cliche as it might sound, you soon lost yourself in the music, lost yourself in the moon, because you gave yourself up to the moment of release, dancing with everybody else and having a good time.  I think as we get older, we lose sight of such moments, of such times as we grapple with adult responsibility and forgetting what it means to be warm and bright in a world that often greets us with cold and dull situations.

We like our fun and we never fight
You can't dance stay uptight
It's a supernatural delight
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

When was the last time you really danced?  I mean like really let yourself go, danced around the house in every single room, wearing-whatever-you-liked type of dancing?  I highly recommend that we dance in the moonlight as often as we can, with whomever we can, because pretty soon we may find ourselves in places and spaces where all we will have is the moonlight and nobody to share it with.

We get it on most every night 
And when that moon is big and bright
That's a supernatural delight
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight. . . 

I hope that you take opportunities to remember what moonlight feels like, and most importantly dancing in the moonlight with people who you value and who value you.  I think we can often forget the danger of not creating more moments of delight in our lives.  Why wait for other people to come along and create those moments for you?  You need to immerse yourself in new situations that cause you to feel uncomfortable as it will most likely lead you to people you will connect with and develop relationships that even though you struggle to comprehend it in its entirety now, but just fully appreciate and celebrate it for the supernatural delight that it is.  So here's to moments with you and dancing in the moonlight. . . 

Monday, 15 February 2016

Unashamed. . .

If I changed my mind, if I changed my faith
Every time a stop light signalled
Each time I made mistakes
I don't think that I would be where I am today
I live my life without regrets
What you see is
What you see is
What you see is what you get 
And I'm. . . 

I think it is important for people to remember that when they make mistakes, that they need to stop focusing so much on the mistakes but more so on the lesson they need to learn from the situation.  It takes a very long time to figure this out, because you might have to amass quite a few mistakes in your life, especially if they are the same mistakes that you keep making (someone not getting the hint fast enough to stop making said mistakes?) but once you realise what it is that you are meant to rectify, you will soon start to see your life take shape and in some direction.

Unashamed of the life I lead
Unashamed of the strength on my knees
Of choices I've made 
Of love that I've saved
Of the things I've done
My belief in the One
Unashamed of the words of my friends
I know who they are
They make mistakes, make amends
Follow my instincts, my star
On my sleeve I wear my heart 

Being unapologetic about how you choose to live your life is something that people will strive to achieve but rarely will in their lifetime.  I'm not saying that you need to exercise some level of arrogance, of self-entitlement that means you can skate through life without responsibility and accountability.  In fact, I'm saying that it's mostly about the idea that you don't need to worry too much about making mistakes at all, because we're not perfect people, we are meant to make mistakes and learn from them, not just recklessly make mistakes and think that we are invincible.  A friend kindly reminded me that nobody is invincible.  

Adding up my life, it totals all my dreams
I'm counting all my blessings
And the gifts I have received
Still there's always someone
Something to overcome
Took all my life to understand
That I am what I am, who I am

Blaming other people or other situations for things not going your way is a very easy and very human thing to do.  We do this because we are unwilling to take stock of what we did to ensure that we recognise what our thoughts and actions can lead to.  It's like watching a train wreck about to happen, and you know this because you see it coming, but it's in slow motion and you know you're helpless to stop it so you just sit there and can't help but watch the impact.  How many train wrecks have you caused?  How many train wrecks have you been a passenger on?

Do you wanna know how it goes?
Do you wanna control how I feel?
Do you wanna stay in my life?
Then listen here, and listen good
You got to get it, got to get it
Got to get it right, unashamed. . . 

I hope that you are able to surround yourself with people who will accept and celebrate you being unashamedly you.  Granted that it might take you a fair bit of time to sift through some different circles of friends and work in different environments before you are able to truly be yourself.  I think we need to be more careful about other people trying to control how we feel, trying to have power over our emotions, particularly where they don't belong.  Do you know when people are really listening to you?  When people really listen good to what you say?  You've got to get it, got to get it, got to get it right. . . 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Walk like a man. . .

This track is a song endorsement :-)

Ooo wee ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo wee
(wop wop wop wop)
Ooo wee ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo
Walk like a man

The song starts with a drum solo before the piercing sounds of the unmistakable vocal intro complete with hand claps lets you know you're listening to another Franki Valli and the Four Seasons classic.  The drums are used effectively as an interlude between each major section of the song.

Oh how you try to cut me down to size
By telling dirty lies to my friends
But my own father
Said give her up, don't bother
The world isn't coming to an end

When the honeymoon phase is over in a relationship, soon true colours start to surface.  Those colours might not necessarily be pretty ones either.  How do you deal with someone who you thought you once loved and starts acting out, trying to make your life difficult?  Your parents may give you some sage advice about how to deal with such a situation.  Letting go of someone to gain some perspective and peace of mind in your life may just be the ticket to restoring your faith in humanity.

He said walk like a man
Talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman's worth
Crawling on the earth
So walk like a man my son

I guess it would be easy to walk away from someone rather than choosing to stay and fight to be right, or to stay and fight to save the relationship.  I guess it's a funny thought to have seeing as it's Valentine's Day in Aotearoa.  If a father advises his son not to have jump through hoops or crawl on the earth for a woman, it makes me think about what a man should be willing to fight for to keep a woman?  Granted of course that she is a good woman, who speaks life into her man and makes him think about being the best version of himself possible.  I guess I can't stand women who insist that men pamper them so much and live in a world of entitlement when being in a relationship is a shared experience.

Fine eyed baby
I don't mean maybe
We're gonna get along somehow
Soon you'll be crying
On 'count of all your lying
Oh yeah, just look who's laughing now

That situation where when you argue and then you expose the other partner for what they're doing and how it makes you feel.  You might feel like exacting some revenge and want to put them in their place.  You've decided that you want to maintain the relationship so you try to find ways to get along, even if it means that you do need to exact that revenge - but I guess if you feel that you need to do that because that's the only way she will understand - that's totally plausible.  Why do people lie in relationships anyway?  Most of the time we try to protect ourselves from silly mistakes that we could have avoided if we had just made better choices.  Does it matter in the end who gets to laugh now?  What's the point of laughing at someone when you should be wanting to laugh with someone instead?

I'm gonna walk like a man
Fast as I can
Walk like a man from you
I'll tell the world
Forget about a girl
And walk like a man from you. . . 

I hope that when you decide that it's time to walk, to walk away from a relationship, that before you are able to walk like a man, that you figure out what type of man that you want to be.  You can't also let your previous bad experience with women tarnish what you share with other men, to ruin their expectations of love, that's just not fair, nor the right thing to do.  What lessons can we hope to learn from love and how will we choose to walk when we decide in that moment to walk like a man. . . 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Hey. . .

I have a couple of song requests or song endorsements that still need to see the light of day.  As of tonight there are 100 drafts of blog posts that I have yet to write.  Most of the time I write things in varying stages and complete them when I come across one that speaks to me more than all of the rest.  Today's song is one that was sent to me by a friend only this afternoon.  As a pianist I automatically fell in love with the haunting chord progressions, the interpretative style of the piano playing that tugs at the heart strings of my own heart, where the touch of the hands on the keys can infuse the feelings and emotions embodied in the lyrics and harmonies with such a complementary partnership that sings of love, resonates with love.

Hey, I know how it will end cause it's already been told

Happily after only happens in fairytales, daydreams or never
But I wished hard on the stars

The pianist explains to us at the beginning of the video about the universal intention of the song to explore all types of love and the connections that we have with people.  I am a firm believer of connections.  There are some occasions where you connect on such a deep level with people that you don't remember feeling that soul connection before.  Have you wished for deeper soul connections in this way?  You never think such soulmate connections happen.  I have written about this topic in previous blog posts (see Soulmate, Don't wake me up, Perfect, Ki te aroha. . . e ipo).

Now here you are (That's where you are)
Shining through the sky, light in my dark
Even stars burn out but you held the spark
Now here you are to stay (here in my heart you'll stay)

I guess when you connect with someone on a level that you can't explain the connection logically, you might think that it is divine intervention, and it probably is.  You won't be able to question how long the connection will last either, so just enjoy it while it lasts.  We are never meant to know about the brightness of the stars we come across in our lives, only except to remember that we connect with such people as they guide us through lessons that they are meant to teach us not about them, but about ourselves.  But there might the rare ones you come across that shine so bright in the sky, that never lose their spark, because they are waiting for your own brightness to reflect from within yourself to answer the spark from them.  Do you stay in the hearts of others even when you think you no longer need to be, or you no longer want to be?

Hey, it's true
You were made for me, and I you
Beyond cloud nine
Higher than high past the sky where I'll find
Not too far, in the stars

So what do you do to keep the sparks flying as you connect in the sky far beyond anybody else's reach?  What do you know to be true about what you are feeling with this connection?  You should be feeling that when people are made for you and you are made for them, that they may not necessarily come in the packages that you expect for them to come in.  They might come in the forms that you need them to come in to help you on your journey, and not necessarily in the form that the you want.  You can argue, well, the heart wants what the heart wants.  But I can counter argue and say well, the heart needs what the heart needs.  Are you a good enough listener to know what your heart needs?  What you need to be absorbing from your soulmate - in whatever shape or form that they come in?

Hey you are 
What I wished for when I saw that shooting star
Hey, hey now you are
All I wished on a star
Hey, now you are
All I wished on a star
Hey, hey now you are
All I wished on a star. . . 

The thing about shooting stars that they are fleeting.  But I find that I'm starting to come across more and more shooting stars in my life who linger longer than I thought they would and I think maybe it's either because they are meant to be there to teach me lessons I haven't learned yet, or I need to share something with them to help them move on.  Whatever the case may be, I know that wishes come true if you wish hard enough on stars.  I just think that your wishes convert those stars into shooting stars that find their way to you and leave imprints in your heart that you need to either hold onto or let go.  Until you make those decisions, I hope that you never stop wishing on stars, because hey you are, What I wished for when I saw that shooting star. . . 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

I am woman. . .

This track was the anthem for women in the 70s particularly during the time of women's liberation and being a young teenager in the 90s we were very much influenced by the 80s mantra of "girls can do anything."  I think sometimes we forget as women how much we bring to any situation and that all of the negative stereotypes that follow us around - that we get hysterical and over emotional at things that maybe require some heartfelt feelings of conviction, to use all opportunities to stamp out these ridiculous stereotypes.

I am woman hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend
'Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

If we gain new knowledge and come to know about the power that we have as women, of course it will be natural for men to feel threatened or want to minimise what we have achieved.  I'm not generalising all men though, because there are some men who celebrate the women in their lives.  I read somewhere about the fact that "strong women excite men but intimidate boys."  I truly believe this.

Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price 
But look how much I've gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)

There is a price that you pay for being strong.  For the most part, you might have had to deal with so many sacrifices in order to be strong, because of circumstances beyond your control, where other people might have forced you to take action and clean up their messes.  Isn't that what strong women do?  Push aside their own needs and desires to focus on fixing problems and looking after other people entrusted into their care.  The power of a strong woman comes from an infinite self-belief that doesn't allow room for self doubt, or self sabotage because she understands that nobody can stop her or block her from living her destiny.

You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to reach my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you deepened the conviction in my soul

The greatest determination that you can manifest to achieve your goals can stem from people who believe you can't achieve your goals.  A strong woman constantly proves her critics wrong and even when you've proven them wrong, they will try to throw more obstacles in your way.  The greatest teachers of how you will choose to live your life often are the best people who look out for you and your success, but are the ones who focus on plotting ways for your demise.  I find these people fascinating and more often than not, are unaware of the fact that I know their true intentions and motives.

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Strong women want to be able to share their strength with others in as many different places, not to show off that they are strong, but to let others know that they too can be strong if they choose it.  Strong women also understand that once they come into their own and learn how to be strong, that they are able to face up to any other future challenges by learning to increase their depth and capacity for strength, developing and cultivating super human strength that only comes enduring situations and crises that other people would've given up trying to solve and save others in.  Even when people try to back you into a corner and expect you to cower away in defeat, trust yourself and stand your ground, because once you find your inner strength and learn to recognise what your roar sounds like and you like the sound of it - you will have no qualms about using that roar when any situation calls.

I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman 
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman. . . 

I hope that every woman reading this believes in this mantra.
Because you are invincible and you are strong.
How do I know?  Because I am woman :-)

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Wonderful. . .

Did the world get a little bit colder
No wiser just a little bit older
So slow that we were bound to fall over, oh

We're probably never been so globally connected and been so aware of what's happening in the world than in our current lifetime.  Even as we age we may not necessarily make the right decisions for ourselves because things keep changing so fast, so suddenly that we always seem quite slow when we're trying to gauge our bearings when we are knocked off course.  The opening bars of this song leans itself towards the potential for a meditative state, with the haunting accompaniment of the arpeggiated electric guitar, the constant finger clicks and the shadows painted by the backing vocal harmony with the shimmering strings that also swell in waves of subtle crescendos.

Did the heart grow a little bit harder
Too much, too late, too far, too gone

We must be careful not to let our hearts harden when we come across difficult decisions when it comes to love, when it comes to a time in your life where you are faced with change, or you meet someone who can threaten to take your whole career pathway off course with some craziness you can't quite understand.  Our hearts can harden too easily when it seems like it can threatened to feel too much, to feel something when it is too late, to feel something that takes you too far, to feel something from someone who you know will be too gone in the scheme of your own life.

But wasn't it kind of wonderful
Wasn't it kind of wonderful, baby
Wasn't it kind of wonderful, wonderful

Wonderful moments of love that you once captured will remain with you as long as you keep them.  The kind of wonderful things, moments, people that we shared those wonderful things and moments with - can almost seem as if we look upon them as figments of our imagination, because that kind of wonderful isn't meant to happen in reality, but only in fairytale storybooks and movies where the hero always gets the heroine.  What kind of wonderful did you have?  What kind of wonderful do you want to be able to sustain?  What kind of wonderful has yet to happen to you?  It's exciting to think of the prospect.  To know that something or someone kind of wonderful is on the horizon.

You can trip, flick a switch negative
Break the circuit between us
But electricity lingers
In our fingers

You question when you come into contact with people - when sparks fly, and I'm not just talking about the energy or chemistry between people that comes with physical attraction, I'm talking about the connection of being drawn to people that you don't know, have never met before and somehow feel connected to.  How do you deal with electricity that lingers in your fingers from the circuit between you and someone like that?  You always wait and observe don't you.  Waiting for the perfect time when an opportunity will arise to address the elephant in the room, or in this case, the electricity in your fingers.  What happens to things that you touch after you have parted ways with this person?  Who knows if you even need to understand it.

Oh you can burn every fuse and refuse
Turn your positive minus
Electricity lingers
In our fingers

You will also try every opportunity to sabotage any other future situations because you think it will ruin what needs to never change.  What can be seen as a seemingly innocent turn of events has the potential to alter how you will interact with all other people who never feel electricity from you.  Will you burn every fuse and refuse?  Will you turn your positive minus?  Why must we continue to be negative about situations where that emotion has no place there?  We often allow negative emotions to occupy places that does not require it.

From here there's nothing but horizon
Near dawn I'm searching for the sunrise
Remember when you put the stars into my eyes, oh

I hope that you will understand that in our deepest and darkest pits of despair, we need to soak up the atmosphere of the vast horizon, the wide open spaces that we think must be filled; we just need to be comfortable with the resonance within our own voices when we scream out to break the silence.

I hope you get to see your sunrise someday.  Often we can be afraid to embrace what has been predestined for us to experience, because society teaches us to question everything that comes our way, we are meant to interrogate what is easily staring us in the face with no hidden agendas.  I hope that when the right opportunity comes along that you will be able to say for yourself without the slightest hesitation, reminiscing about your own something or someone kind of wonderful, remember when you put the stars into my eyes, oh. . . 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

What you don't do. . .

It's always funny when you're in a friendship, relationship, or you're starting out in a new friendship or relationship.  It's that part of the friendship/relationship, that phase where you're trying to figure who you are to each other, how much you mean to each other and what you will label yourselves, particularly when you are introducing them to your tight circle of friends.  Dating is a funny business isn't right?  It's the getting-to-know-someone stage, finding out your common likes and dislikes, taking a journey on the pathway of compatibility.  You start to keep a checklist in your mind about these common interests, the phrases they might say that irk the hell out of you but yet you still find them endearing all at the same time.  I guess you just need to be careful that you're not playing out a romanticised fantasy about the individual rather than really taking stock of what they're actually saying.

Heavy words, little lies
Telling everything but the truth, the truth
Three little words over time overheard and overused, used
No sweet nothing could ever be turned into something new
No grand gesture could ever be made to measure you

I don't know about you, but being lied to has got to be one of the worst things on my list that someone can do.  Some people will tend to show different versions of themselves to others because they feel that this is who they need to be in order to be accepted, well received, well liked.  I know it's easy to say, just be yourself and don't worry about what others say.  But I know some people who don't actually know who they are, can't keep track of who they are in front of different audiences.  This is probably why I don't spend too much time presenting different versions of myself because at my core, at my essence, I am the same person with strong values and beliefs about how I live my life.  Would someone uttering three little words change or challenge those values and beliefs?  I would investigate and interrogate what they think they would love about me.  You owe it to yourself to have a partner who knows what makes you tick, respects what makes you tick and loves you regardless.

I know what I got and I know where we're going
You don't need to show it, I already know it all
It's what you don't do, it's what you don't say
(It's what you don't do) I know you love me, I don't need proof
It's what you don't do, the games you don't play
(It's what you don't do) I know you love me, I don't need proof

People don't need to do things or say things to prove that they love you.  It's probably what I love most about this song; the fact that it talks about what doesn't need to be said or done - absence of proof is all the evidence you need to realise how much someone cares for you, the depths, the extent, the bandwidth of their wi-fi love for you.  I've never been one for games that are played in the game of love, but that doesn't mean I don't know the rules or I won't play if I'm challenged.  Have a think about the loved one in your life.  Do you expect them to constantly do things or say things to prove to you how much they love you?  I've been in relationships like that in the past.  It can be quite tiring and draining right?  If not the grand gesture, then a litany of little gestures may be what you demand.  You should be able to assess for yourself in your relationship if you can say the following: I know what I got and I know where we're going. . . 

I've been saving up my time so I could spend it all on you, on you
Oh, all I need is to see you smile; I've forgotten how to be blue, blue

Just being with someone who makes you smile should be enough.  Do you have that in your life?  It's funny isn't it?  Something as simple as that, just enjoying spending time with someone who makes your smile.  What's even funnier is that you might not even need to be in a relationship because you are already surrounded by people who save up all of their time to spend it all on you, people who make you smile, because your smile mirrors their's - helping you to forget about your own problems.

The closer we get, oh
The less we need to show

I hope that you will find the closeness with someone who will allow you the ability to be able to articulate what it means to not have to show. . . . anything.  Do you know people who don't do or say anything to prove their love or loyalty to you?  They are just being the best people that you need in order to bring out the best in you.  I guess the only people you need to show - is each other :-)

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Welcome back. . .

I was a fan of the show Welcome back Kotter, but only in reruns as I was a toddler when it was nearing the end of its four seasons on air.  The premise of a teacher working with the lowest ability class in the school was a great context for comedy and it reminded me often of my own episodes of similar themes when I was a music teacher but with mixed ability classes right across high school.

Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out
Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about
Well the names have all changed since you hung around
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around

It's the beginning of the school year in Aotearoa New Zealand.  The television screens have been saturated with back to school specials for parents and more toys than ever.  This song reminds me of teachers I used to know when I was teaching who wanted to leave the profession to pursue their passions or just wanted to leave behind the intense workload.  

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Back here where we need ya (back here where we need ya)

It's hard when you try to leave a place but you know you can't and there could be a whole host of reasons for why - timing isn't right, it doesn't feel like the right time to leave, better the devil you know than the devil you don't and just the lack of opportunities even that would even begin to whet your appetite for career adventures.  Think about the job that you are currently in right now - are you exactly where you need to be?  Do you feel like you're not being valued or you're not doing the work that you thought you signed up for?

Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've got him on the spot, welcome back

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back . . . 

I guess you could try to do something about your situation.  If you want to be able to avoid the usual pangs of angst that flood over you each time you approach the front doors of your workplace or if you work virtually, that feeling of dread when you connect with people online.  

We should be working in places where we are always made to feel welcome, somewhere where you are always happy to return to and come back to, a place that you always say you will never miss, but when you come back to it you think, ah yes. this is why I'm in this job, this is why I chose this career and why I can live my passion in this job. 

If you're nowhere near feeling satisfied, content, remotely welcomed in not just your job, but any other area of your life - get up and change it.  You have the power to do that, nobody else.  I know this life has restrictions and barriers, but we don't need to buy into it.  I'm living a much happier life without self imposed barriers and excuses that don't have any legs.  How are you going to play out your year?  New Year's resolutions, we should've welcomed in new attitudes that will sustain us throughout the entire year.  So think about the best that you have to offer, the best of you who you are, because that's the person I would like to see and welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. . . 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Written in the stars. . .

I am here to tell you we can never meet again
Simple really, isn't it, a word or two and then
A lifetime of not knowing, how or why or when
You think of me or speak of me or wonder what befell
That someone you once loved so long ago, so well

Do you often think about how you ended things in a relationship?  It can be traumatic for some people while for others it's just another ordinary day and they wake up the next morning as if nothing happened.  It is easy to reminisce about people from your past relationships when you are confronted with significant change that looms in your own life.  You tend to transport yourself back in time in an effort to reassure yourself that you've come a long way and to recognise how much you have grown, particularly when you have outgrown people and come across new people who can meet the challenges head on that you face.  I'm a firm believer in that - you are always bound to meet the right people at the right time who will take you into the next phase of where you need to be.

Never wonder what I'll feel as living shuffles by
You don't have to ask me and I need not reply
Every moment of my life from now until I die
I will think or dream of you and fail to understand
How a perfect love can be confounded out of hand

If we let ourselves, we can start to sink into the past and stay there for a while, trying to figure out what went wrong.  We believe that because we are older and have learned more of life's lessons that our current selves can help to fix the mistakes of our past.  But this is not the case.  We aren't meant to go back and fix those mistakes.  We were meant to make those mistakes with the people we made them with, so that we know not to make those same mistakes again.

Is it written in the stars
Are we paying for some crime
Is that all that we are good for?
Just a stretch in mortal time
Is this God's experiment
In which we have no say
In which we're given paradise
but only for a day

If you find yourself committing those same mistakes over and over again, it's because you haven't learned the life lessons you were meant to.  It's like when we were at school and the teacher forced us to go over the same problems over and over until we were able to solve them ourselves, without their help.  Once we become self sufficient we are able to pass on these problem solving skills to those who seek to elicit them from us.  Would you like to have known paradise if you were only going to know it for a day or not at all?  I think I would die happy knowing that I would have known paradise for a day rather than not at all.  I mean, I wouldn't know what it felt like on earth before I left it right?
Nothing can be altered, oh, there is nothing to decide
No escape, no change of heart, no any place to hide
You are all I'll ever want but this I am denyin'
Sometimes in my darkest thoughts I wish I never learned
What it is to be in love and have that love returned

I hope that if you love in this life and have it returned, only to have it snatched away, I would be glad that you would have known how that felt.  This is the case with mortal time - we only experience these fleeting moments on a temporal plane and we need not look at these days with regret or pain, but instead be grateful for those sepia tinted moments with people that were guided towards us, to show us exactly what we needed to learn at that time, to lead us to where we are today.  So don't dwell in the past so much that you forget to enjoy the present.  The future will take of itself if you take care of what you can control - the here and now.  I guess I've learned to slow down and reflect on what's important in my own life, prioritising connections and collaborations with people who feed my soul.  To some extent we don't have a say in what we are meant to live out only because what we are meant to have achieved in this life has been predetermined since the moment we were born.  I guess you could say it was written in the stars. . .