The Traveling Lovers: A Musical Poem and Song Lyric Mash Up!

looking on

I went from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma, Philadephia. Atlanta. LA.

Northern California where the girls are warm, so I could hear my sweet baby say.

“Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me. Town to get me movin’, keep me grovin’ with some energy. Won’t you take me to Funky Town?”

So we hit the road Jack and we’re not coming back, no more no more no more.

And all the roads that lead us there are winding. And all the lights that light our way are blinding.

Moats and boats and waterfalls, alleyways and payphone calls. I’ve been everywhere with you.

I can remember the fourth of July runnin’ through the backwood bare.

And your smile so warm, and your cheeks so soft. There was nothing for me but to love you, and the way you looked that night.

So how far down do you want to go? We could talk it out over a cup of joe, and you can look deep in my eyes like I was a supermodel.

Baby you’re a song, you make me want to roll my windows down and cruise.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white. And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

We’ll all float on okay. Just fly me to the moon.

– A musical poem

*I take no ownership of any of these song lyrics. Here is a list of songs (in order). Did you guess them correctly??

Steve Miller Band – Keep on Rockin’ Me Baby / Lipps Inc. – Funky Town / Ray Charles – Hit the Road Jack / Oasis – Wonderwall / Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Home / Credence Clearwater Revival – Born on the Bayou / Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight / The Refreshments – Banditos / Florida Georgia Line – Cruise / Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World  / Modest Mouse – Float On / Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon

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Live as a Wildflower, or Die as a Potted Plant: 5 Thoughts to Open Your Mind and Heart

For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. Bricks to all greenhouses! Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant! ~Edward Abbey

flower b&wK. Noel Photography

As humans, we want to explore and we want to grow! This can be achieved and mean something different to everyone. Everyone has their own idea of success and their own idea of what it means to be happy.

But “being happy” has become this ultimate achievement and then knocks us on our asses when we realize that we’re not. It’s because being happy is not the goal. Happiness comes and goes like every other emotion. The key is to become content. Contentment with your own range of emotions, your appearance of yourself and of those around you, and contentment with every aspect of your life.

Bliss is found in acceptance of self. Here are a few ideas that might open up your mind when it comes to the harder subjects of life.

1) Rejection sucks. There is no better way to say it. It does. Whether it’s a boyfriend/girlfriend, job, friend or other it can be hard to accept. We feel it as a personal attack on who we are. Open your mind! Realize that what others do to us is only a reflection of what they feel or want for themselves and try not to take things personally. See it as your freedom to finding what IS right for you. If you have to force acceptance from someone/something you are wasting your energy. It takes patient to get there, but don’t give up.

2) When it comes to love, nothing can be quite as bittersweet. Even if everything is going well it can be hard to balance who you are and who you are with them. No one can ever know you like you. I’ve had a boyfriend tell me that he knew me better than I knew myself. And I believed him…and then I lost myself and let him tell me who I was. So know that you control your own universe. And while we may be all essentially alone, having the right person by your side with a mutual respect for your own individualities can make that universe a little less lonely.

3) Forgiveness. When it’s the last thing on your mind, stop, and make it your first. It’s important to process your emotions and what you are feeling at that moment. But then quickly remember that you do not want to hang onto jealousy, rage, pain. Because if you hang on for too long, it becomes you. In the end other’s trespasses against us end up becoming our own trespasses against ourselves. When something is done to us that is perpetrated by another person that is the first wrong. When we relive that moment in our minds and emotions and let it control who we are that is of our own doing and we wrong ourselves. Forgiveness is a necessity for our own wellbeing.

4) Adventure is not just for the young. It is for the young at heart. We’ve all been stuck in a rut before and forgot that there is more to life than just work and when to pick the kids up from practice, to go and get the groceries, etc. We were not put on this planet for careers, for looking nice, or for the newest iPhone. We were put here to explore and to see how far we can push ourselves! So find, explore, do something! Push your own comfort zone, because if you don’t you’ll end up a potted plant depending on others to create your experiences.

5) Gratitude. It’s one of those things that can easily evade us in the worst of times. We need to be continually conscious of our own emotions and actions. If thoughts create action and action creates change remember to ask yourself “Is what I’m doing/thinking going to change this world for the better or worse?” Have you ever encountered a really rude or just negative person? Think of how that changed your own mood and then did you do anything worthwhile after that or did you just keep spreading negativity around? Now think of a time when someone did or said something nice to you. Was it easier to feel the intention to put something positive back into the world?

Our thoughts create who we are. Making the effort to appreciate what we have creates contentment. You can strive for bigger and better things (in fact don’t ever stop), but contentment can grow right along with it.

Empathy: Is It Even Still Alive In Southern California?

kindness

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Empathy is feeling and understanding another person’s emotions. It is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and being able to emphasize with their situation.

Southern California is teeming with homeless men, women and children. It’s hard not to miss them standing on street corners asking for change. Then again, sometimes it’s easy to miss them. They are the invisible, or at least the ones we wish were invisible. Why is it so hard to look them in the eye when your car is stopped at a red light and they are holding their signs up saying “God bless”, “Anything helps”? It’s a societal guilt. We don’t want to look too closely because we might feel something we strive not to feel. A sort of sadness. THEIR sadness, THEIR desperation.

Our current mindset in this modern age is that being happy is the end-all be-all of goals. We read articles on the Top 10 Ways to “Be Happy”, numb ourselves with mindless television, and compulsively buy when we feel upset or bored. So when we see something that makes us uncomfortable, we turn away because it will interfere with the illusion of a continual happiness. This is especially true in California because of the high number of homeless.

But I’m here to inform you, empathy is not dead in Southern California. It is hidden and not always expressed publically, but it’s still here. While walking around in Long Beach, I stumbled upon a delivery boy talking with a homeless man in an alley way. He introduced himself as Robert and appeared to be making small talk. I snapped a picture and passed by. That’s all I saw. Just a glimmer of humanity in an alley. Just someone talking on the same level to another person. A simple act. There are so many organizations and 5k runs to end hunger and homelessness, but we don’t have to interact with “them”. We don’t have to look them in the eye and ask “how are you doing today?” It’s easier to dehumanize than to see them as our brother, sister, daughter, son.

Our society has seemingly put value in narcissism since we are able to post everything and only what we want others to perceive of us on the internet. If we show others that we are happy then maybe we will actually BE happy. Empathy for others does more for our personal happiness than we could ever dream. Being able to connect with another human being’s pain and suffering shifts our perspective away from our own problems and broadens our view of the world. People shy away from suffering because they are afraid that they will take on that other person’s pain. In actuality, by lifting their burden we lift our own.

Everyone has scars. If we can find a way to embrace those emotional scars and share that burden with others, we realize that we are not alone. We are never alone.

One of the most profound things I’ve realized since moving to California is that becoming homeless can happen to anyone out here. Even myself. The next profound thing I realized is that I have a wonderful support system to fall back on and am extremely lucky to live the life I live and know the people I know. Many homeless are mental ill with no support system or endured an extreme situation that landed them in their current position. Even the ones that got there with drugs or crime might have endured traumas in their life that turned into bad choices. Feel gratitude for your life and try not to judge so harshly another person’s experiences.

Find courage to show your empathy and know that this kindness converts directly to the happiness you seek. The more love you show the world the more you feel it for and in yourself.