Archives for posts with tag: music

Monday dawned sunny and bright. I was fortunate to awake to the sound of waves lapping at the lakeshore and the sun peeking over the hill top.

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(sunset shot the night before)

There was already a lot of ugly and sadness I could have focussed on if I had let myself. And I admit the temptation to let it swallow me whole was palpable, but I put my big girl panties on, pulled up my positive pants, threw on a great pair of shoes, straightened my tiara and topped it off with bright lipstick and mascara! Well in truth, I took a deep breath, threw back the covers and made a CHOICE to CHOOSE beautiful; to see it, believe it and channel it. And I made that choice over and over when the temptation to doubt tapped me on the shoulder.

Later in the day the headline on my news feed about Manchester appeared.  Manchester – a place from far away that I’ve always associated with sports and music for some reason until that head line. The choice to see beautiful became even more difficult. My shoulders slumped, I just felt heavy.  I felt raw and numb all at once. I think a lot of us did.

Tuesday morning Huffington Post reported “explosion killed 22 people and injured 59, many of them teenagers.”  at an Ariana Grande concert. I witnessed the feelings come out through social media and in the news.

A friend posted, “Tears for those who just went to a concert. Tears for the world.”

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A cousin asked,

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And then I read my friend Michelle’s eloquent and heart felt Facebook post and am honoured that she gave me permission to share her words with you. When things happen which are impossible to make sense of, in the end all we really want to do is keep our precious treasures, those we love, safe.

Bubble wrap.
I need so much Bubble Wrap.

You know… The stuff you use to keep the things that are most precious to you, safe from harm. We wrap them up so they don’t get broken.

Bubble Wrap… Safe, dependable Bubble Wrap.

It may give one peace of mind, but there isn’t enough bubble wrap in the world on a day like today. On any kind of day in a world like the one we live in this day.

“Prayers for…”
“Our hearts and thoughts…”
“We stand with…”

These phrases are like labels now. Words we use to tape together the Bubble Wrap that we place around our hearts and minds to help keep us sane enough from locking our children in their rooms and nailing shut our windows and doors to keep out all the Bogeymen outside that lurk within a world that keeps getting smaller, from stealing their innocence, our naivete, and our collective sense of normalcy.

There is nothing normal about any of this. Even though this insanity is quickly seeming to become the norm. Padded rooms were once for the insane and yet, here I am, wishing I could wrap every precious being in my world in Bubble Wrap. How insane is that? And yet, Bubble Wrap was my first wish… My first “logical to me” thought while my heart screamed “Why?” and it’s echoes throbbed through my head.

Just as “There are no words…” is heard echoing thoughout the world.

But there are words…
“Please.” and “Stop.”

And there are so many echoes.

Because there will never, ever be enough Bubble Wrap.

©Michelle Laing Hoffman 2017

 

But until that plea is answered, in amongst the tragic and terrible burns the eternal flame of human kindness and compassion.

Huffington Post reported, “Public transport shut down, and taxis offered to give stranded people free rides home, while residents opened their homes to provide lodging.”

As the BBC noted, Then there are people like this young man who says “We can react in a lot of ways. We can react in anger. Or we can react by doing. This city is a community.”   The news outlets are capturing more than the devastation and carnage, they are capturing the humanity, compassion and resilience as well.

I think Grande summed it up for many of us with her tweet, “broken. from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I don’t have words.”

“When someone says, “There are no words,” it is there I will find them and we will meet in the silent language of grief.” Benjamin Allen

While I have no words left, I do have kindness and compassion, and with those I will continue to shine my light more brightly so the darkness has no place to grow.

Please.  Stop.

Shine Brightly.

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Awhile back I received a crowdfunding campaign message about a 2 cd album being created in support of Postcards For Peace. They are a group I’ve heard about before, I think they do really wonderful work so I checked it out and decided to contribute a little bit. That little bit got me the gift of  the cd and a postcard.

They arrived yesterday by post as promised, with a simple Thank You hand written on the flap of the envelope.

It came, as with most things really,  perfect timing. What better way to wind down the last few days of 2016, certainly in truth not my favourite year overall, and begin what I believe will be a phenomenally amazing 2017. How am I going to do that? By I’m holding onto a world of hope every minute of every day.

As I write I’m sitting here listening to We’ve Got It All by Peter James Millson and now Fiddle or a Gun by Oysterband just came on. The album is a beautiful complication of a somewhat eclectic group of artists coming together for peace. I like that idea. Breeze Redwine brought me to tears with her beautiful piece Courage. I can tell that as I listen to these beautiful heartfelt pieces, each will find a way to uniquely entwine themselves into my heart. There’s something about the cover art that just makes me want to smile and find a park to sit in for awhile. Maybe even write a post card or two… with a message for peace.

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Check it out at Postcards For Peace shopping page:

“In support of international charity Postcards For Peace, whose goal is to end discrimination and violence through education, twenty six incredible musicians have contributed songs to create a truly beautiful album.

The title, A World of Hope, comes from the lyrics to Jo Hamilton’s ‘There It Is’ (one of the first tracks contributed to the project) and it is a fitting name for an album that features 26 songs of war and peace, of hope and of love, of living life to the full, of not giving up and of having the courage to face adversity.

It includes acts that have truly earned the right to be called legends, Grammy award nominees, multiple BBC Folk Award winners, acts that have enjoyed chart success and artists that spend their lives travelling the world to get their music heard. From octogenarian Peggy Seeger to teenager Breeze Redwine, every single one of the artists has donated a track to this album because they want to help build a world in which people care for other human beings without discrimination, prejudice, violence and hate.”

Happy New Year everyone. We wish each and every one of you a most amazing 2017. No matter what it holds, or even what it doesn’t hold make it great because you can. See the beauty, live the kindness, be the change and most importantly – simply be you. Because you are truly amazing. Even if sometimes you don’t see it in yourself. Unique and human, each and every one of us and there is nothing more amazing, magical and miraculous than that. Be Flawsome embrace your flaw – know you are awesome no in spite of them, but because off them – today and everyday.

You Matter – Hope – Today and Everyday

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I am honoured to be a blogger as part of the Life Vest Inside organization founded by Orly Wahba. In short, we’re all about changing the world through living the kindness life style. This month I was fortunate enough to get a little more hands on experience putting together the monthly newsletter, The Kindness Flash with Orly and my fellow blog guru Soumya.

Unforeseen circumstances had each of us stepping a little further outside our comfort zone than usual, but minutes into our brainstorming session our confidence in our ability to pull it all together grew. During those first moments of our discussion it seemed obvious our theme for December 2016 would be Humility.

I’ve always liked the way CS Lewis defined humility as “not thinking less of oneself, but of thinking of oneself less.”

We found people had their own wonderful ways of describing the quality of humility, like Rodrigo Barbosa.

For me, humility is understanding that other people are just as much “people” as you are. That the fact that you are better than them at something only makes you better than them at something, not a better person. ~Rodrigo Barbosa

We didn’t have to look far to find stories about humility either. In November LVI held the 5th annual World Wide Dance For Kindness. One of my fellow LVI ambassadors and good friend, Jeff Kuske helped organize and danced with a group this year. I think every group has their own special story and Jeff shared theirs with Orly recently.

Jeff works with men suffering from various forms of addiction, but his ability to see beyond the addiction, to see the person, paved the way for a little love, a little kindness, a little laughter, and a whole lotta dancing.

Jeff says, “DFK2016 allowed these men to participate in an event that was bigger than themselves. It gave them the opportunity to do something for others, all of them strangers.” 

A couple of months ago I never would have cared about something like this. Thank you for showing me that I can make a positive difference in the world.  – New Beginning participant DFK2016

Read the entire letter here.

I would describe humility as helping wherever, however and whenever I can, knowing that helping others is really helping myself. We all grow and bloom

What does humility mean to you?

Check out the full 9th edition of The Kindness Flash here for all the great sections including The Kind Connection, Everyday Kindness, and more.

 

Interested in learning more about Dance For Kindness check out the promotional video for 2016

 

or the 2015 Dance For Kindness Montage

 

and the video that started it all way back in 2011 that now has over 25 million views

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Our hearts break for all the people who have experienced tragedy and there has been far too much to even begin to bear lately. The stories that we know and even the many stories that we don’t (since plenty of tragedy happens that isn’t quite tragic enough to make the front page), bring us to our knees today in grief and horror at what we as humans can do to each other for absolutely no reason. And I mean absolutely no reason. We can pretend there are reasons. We can choose to take sides, believe one is right, just and good while the other one is wrong, unjust and bad. But in reality it is truly unreasonable, and in honesty unfathomable, the lengths we achieve, to cause harm in the name of reason.

Instead, may tragedy serve to bring us closer together, treat each other with kind compassion as we continue to work tirelessly and fearlessly to make our world a better place in spite of the hatred and intolerance that rears it’s ugly head.

I only have to choose how events like these will affect me. Will I use them to feel defeated or use them to propel myself forward, to action, to making a difference?  The choice is mine. The choice is yours. We all need to choose, and choose wisely.

I will make sense of the senseless by my choices. I will not hate – I will love, I will not give up – I will persevere. I will soften my heart and I will simply strive to do all I can, where I am, all the time, every day.

IF WE WANT THERE TO BE PEACE IN THE WORLD, WE HAVE TO BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SOFTEN WHAT IS RIGID IN OUR HEARTS, TO FIND THE SOFT SPOT AND STAY WITH IT. WE HAVE TO HAVE THAT KIND OF COURAGE AND TAKE THAT KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY. THAT’S THE TRUE PRACTICE OF PEACE. – Pema Chodron from Practising Peace In Times Of War

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I hope yours is too.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I AM FREE

It’s taken me a long, long time to realize this.  And even longer to actually believe it.  And some days are harder than others.  But ….

 

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“But still, like air, I’ll Rise” – Maya Angelou

 

Yes, I am.

And I will remain free.

I realized there is only one thing that determines whether I am truly free or not.

My THOUGHTS and thereby,  what I BELIEVE.

It took a lot of realizing OTHER people were trapped in a “less than”, “shackled” mentality.  A lot of time spent trying to help them realize how awesome and important they are.  Convincing them they not only have hope but tonnes of unrealized potential.

And then, one day I looked in the mirror and I realized that I was carrying the same heavy burden as all those other people.

I saw their potential, their amazingly awesome greatness but I had been overlooking my own.  I had been overlooking what I can do, who I can be…. who I truly am.  ME!

And there is nothing wrong with me.  I am me.  Just the way I am supposed to be:

A beautifully wonderful masterpiece, and a work in progress all at once. And that is what I will always be, because that is exactly what we all are.  And what we are all supposed to be.

I realized it is time to embrace myself, my potential and all that I am.  No matter what other people think I am or who I am, my freedom comes from embracing me for who I am and learning to love myself just the way I am.

Broken, sometimes smashed to bits. Healed, sometimes with bold scars. A little wild and crazy.  A little bit of everything.  A wonderful eclectic mix of awesome.

 I am learning to live my life for me, because only then do I live my life well enough to be all I can be.  And only when I am all I can be, can I do what I am meant to do in this world.

Some people see it and allow me to shine easily.  Some people don’t understand me and try to change me to fit into their mold.  Some people stay, some people walk away.  Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes it hurts a lot. Sometimes doubt creeps in.  Sometimes a lot of doubt, almost too much doubt.  But every time that happens something else amazing eventually happens too. From somewhere there is always a message that arrives in some unexpected form that reminds me with complete certainty.

I AM A MASTERPIECE AND I AM FREE.   ALL I HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE.

It really is that simple, but as we all know simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Sometimes it’s hard work and takes time.  But I do guarantee, that when you come to the epiphany, you too will realize it is worth it.

You see, you really are already completely free.  You just have to realize it and believe it. And then you can feel it. And you will never want to feel any other way again.  You will cherish your freedom and you will do the work to keep it. You will become strong enough to walk tall and with purpose and you will wonder how you never realized you were already free before.

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oh rise and show your power (rise up rise up)

we’re dancing into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

spirits time has come

We want loving’ we want laughter again

we want heartbeat we want madness to end

we want dancin’ we wanna run in the streets

we want freedom to live in this peace

we want power we want to make it ok

want to be singin’ at the end of the day children

to breathe a new life we want freedom to love who we please *(rise up rise up)

oh rise and show your power(rise up rise up)

everybody dance into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

the spirits time has come

Talkin’ ’bout  the right time to be workin’ for peace

wantin’ all the tension in the world to ease

this tightrope’s gotta learn how to bend

we’re makin’ new plans gonna start it again

rise up now It’s time, it’s time, it’s time (rise up rise up)

(part lyrics – RISE UP by The Parachute Club, released 1981

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Last year David Durant from Under The Radar Live Sessions shared a song that quickly became a regular on my playlist.  It’s called New Year and is by the wonderfully talented UK artist Tiger Lilly  Her bio perfectly describes her as refreshing and bold. Her musical talents have created a piece that touches the heart and inspires the soul “cause this is gonna be a new year.”

Our wish for everyone is that you CHOOSE to make 2016 YOUR YEAR.

Your life is your own, live it.

Your story is your own, write it.

Your happiness is your own, create it.

Make the choice to step out of the shadows and into the light.

Make the choice to shine because you can.

Make the choice to see beautiful because you can.  

Make the choice to rise like air because you can.

Make the choice to be a life vest for someone because you can.

Make

The

Choice…

 

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New Year – Tiger Lilly

Everybody’s out tonight

Waiting for the fireworks at midnight

But I won’t see the stars, I won’t see the light

Cause I’ve been hiding in the shadows

Now I’m going to leave this year behind

And  we’ll sing together Auld Lang Syne

Ooo, Dry your eyes wipe your tears

Cause this is gonna be a new year

Dry your eyes, wipe your tears

Cause this is gonna be a new year

You’re not the only one

Who’s ever been afraid of fighting alone

For what they believe, for what they can see

Cause they’re hiding in the shadows just like you are

Now I’m going to leave this year behind

And  we’ll sing together Auld Lang Syne

Ooo, Dry your eyes wipe your tears

Cause this is gonna be a new year

Dry your eyes, wipe your tears

Cause this is gonna be a new year

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Now I’m going to leave this year behind

And  we’ll sing together Auld Lang Syne

Hope will keep us braver than we’ve ever known

Hold our head up and be stronger… hope will save us

Now I’m going to leave this year behind

And  we’ll sing together Auld Lang Syne

Ooo, Dry your eyes wipe your tears

Cause this is gonna be a new year….

All lyrics and music ©Tiger Lilly

Enjoy the official video from Tiger Lilly below.

 

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©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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What are you doing today?

Is it worth remembering?

It’s up to you and only you. Enjoy the power.

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©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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©BrooklandsRadio/T.James

Well happy Friday!  Came around rather quickly it seems.  I had a completely different blog planned today but I’ve changed my mind.  The original plan can wait, possibly indefinitely and in its place I want to introduce you to another Internet radio program!  Music is soothing and healing, uplifting and just fun to boogie to!  So it’s one of those things that Rise Like Air loves to celebrate and share.

The other day I was hungry Read the rest of this entry »

This post is so long overdue!  I’ve been promising a musical surprise and finally!  Here it is!  I’m pleased to present to you…. Drum roll please….

photo courtesy of J. Weston

photo courtesy of J. Weston

Joanna Weston!

Joanna is a singer, songwriter and musician originally from London, UK who is currently in Holland working on her new album with some incredible musicians.  She pairs her beautiful, clear voice along with haunting melodies creating a delicious listening experience.  Her songs are touched by more than one genre making each a new found treasure.   Her new album, titled “Inside Out” is due for release on April 5th! Read the rest of this entry »

anthem – noun 
  1. a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause.

I was listening to one of my favourite songs by Unsung Lilly called “Just Be”.   I was thinking that it was a wonderful anthem for girls and women of all ages.  Truthfully it’s an anthem for everyone, but especially girls and women.  It started me thinking about other songs that are empowering to people, especially girls and women.

Here’s my top 13 list, complete with links to videos.  I’d really like to hear what other songs you would add to this list.  Any you’d omit?  I’d also be interested to hear of any empowering songs for women from farther back in history.

Sorry if some of you have gotten multiple notifications about this blog.  It took me forever to get the Youtube videos to work right!  I still do not know what I did differently than the first dozen times or so.  So much for a “quick” blog, but that’s ok.    Finally…. in no particular order:

ok, I like the version by Maria Aragon so much that I’m posting it instead of the original from Lady Gaga
I hope that these 13 songs have had a rousing or uplifting effect and have set the tone for a fantastic day.
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