Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

04 January 2006

"Oh, Promise Me"

This is a classic wedding song, from 1890, and I was all set to learn it by heart, to begin on my new career as a wedding singer. And this song does not grab me in the least. I sang it through a few times in the morning, and then a few times later in the afternoon, hoping that it just needed to sink it a bit. Nope. Still don't like it. I guess I'll stick with the Starbucks/Pottery Barn/Barnes & Noble back up plan.

The last couple of days I've been revisting the idea of being unable to relax. On Christmas day my husband and daughter sat and watched 'The Polar Express'. I cleaned the bathrooms. They did need to be cleaned, and I cleaned them in a very relaxed way, and I didn't mind, but I was unable to sit still all the same. Someone pointed out that maybe relaxing was not the thing for me, maybe I needed to keep moving in some way. And there is a great satifaction for me in movement, in accomplishing things, going from task to task. When the pace is not frantic but energerized, when the flow of activity is effortless, it's fabulous.

But lately I've been experiencing a bit too much brain freeze. I find myself unable to concentrate on things, wandering from task to task, unable to focus. Suddenly depressed, unable to shake it. Or feeling as if my brain is just full, that I have no time to process everything in my head. I'm eating my lessons, but there is only partial digestion going on, partial mindfulness, partial joy and awareness. I feel all sorts of little tensions in my body, small earth tremors everywhere. Things are not moving through my consciousness freely.

I've been craving journal writing, and yoga, and dance. (And chocolate.) Writing in my journal is where I've traditionally very much emptied out my head. Yoga grounds me, gets me back in touch with my breath and center. And dance does all of these things at once.

But the trick is figuring out where to put any of these. I'm still running, still working, still actually finishing up Christmas presents, since I haven't seen my family yet, still doing housework and looking after my daughter. Ok, also still obsessively loading music onto my iPod, but I need one useful vice, right?

Having no time is really only an excuse, though. There's never time for anything, if I choose to look at things in that light. When something needs to be done, I need to just do it. The time will open for it, just as the time in my life will fill like a vacuum with all sorts of tasks and necessary things if I let that happen. Making the time to do something vaguely new or importantly risky or shamefully needful can feel like molding slime: it's a slippery task. I just need to close my eyes and push away, this slime responds to my will as if a wall is creating the necessary boundary, but it will slip through the cracks if I let my focus slip. I don't mind a little goo on the floor, mind you, as long as I have the space I need.

Metaphors are so mixed today, but there's certainly a joy in that. Because here's another thought I've had: the way to solve this, or part of the solution, is to let out the wacky side of me. Blow off my steam, polka my truth, bleat and howl and chortle my way to bliss. Yeah, baby. Oh yeah. I am the love muppet of joy.


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