My Ordinary Playlist of Extraordinary “To Live List” Sentiments

It’s here! It’s here! The second day of 2017 already has a different feel for me. I was hoping to catch the sunrise up at the beach this morning, but the weather gods thought differently. Instead, I sit here listening to the raindrops hit my windows, satisfied that fate had other plans for me.

After making my daily cup of peppermint coffee, I looked over my goals and my schedule for the week and the month. I then refined a few of the penciled-in daily tasks I will complete as I move towards making my future happen. I already was able to cross a few items off that I completed yesterday.

This is not my to-do list. Rather, it’s my To Live List.

That got me thinking…my To Live List needs a little more oomph, something that will help me stay positive and on the right path. Something to accompany it.

And there it is: My To Live List needs its own playlist.

I already had an idea of two songs to guide me this year, but two is not enough. I need a compilation of songs that are special to me: songs that hit MY chords of inspiration that are meaningful and exhilarating to my heart and my soul…songs that guide my journey and give me chills when I envision my future path, some of which actually make me tear up.

…ok, I’m a tad bit weepy here…shake it off, you’ve got this…Pardon this pause of being human…

Onward!

I would like to share with you the first 10 songs on my list, and explain why each song will be a part of every single day in 2017. On the surface, the songs might seem common and ordinary.

Nope. That’s the farthest from the truth.

My connection with each song, who now has a coveted and loved home on my Amazon music app, is very personal (yep, one way I put my Prime membership to work for me!). I carefully selected each song for a specific reason.

My goal in sharing these songs with you is not to “toot my own horn,” per se, but to hopefully inspire you to find the songs that will be the soundtrack to your 2017 life, songs which will make you come alive this year and fuel your passions as these songs fuel mine.

I present to you my Onward, Writer! My “To Live” Playlist.

img_0951Song 1: “Blackbird” by The Beatles. “Blackbird fly…Into the light of the dark black night…Blackbird singing in the dead of night…Take these broken wings and learn to fly…All your life…You were only waiting for this moment to arise…Yes, I have been waiting for this moment my entire life, and instead of waiting, now I am living and doing.

Song 2: “Gonna Fly Now” by the Rocky Orchestra. Hokey and stereotypical, but nonetheless important to me. There will be a moment later this year when I run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Instead of laughing, consider joining me! Let me know that you’re in and I’ll keep you posted about plans to make this happen!

Song 3: “Look Around” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This upbeat song is a reminder to take a look around every day to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. You might find me happily jumping around like my 2.75-year-old nephew while listening to this song.

Song 4: “Rey’s Theme” from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Star Wars fan. The character Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, is one of my heroes because she’s strong and brave. Even though she doesn’t know what path to follow at first and wants to stick around at home, life (and the Force) has other plans for her. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I look up to her a lot, despite being more than half her age.

Song 5: “Training Montage” by Vince DiCola from the Rocky IV soundtrack. No explanation for this one is needed.

Song 6: “The Jedi Steps and Finale” from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack. This one is hugely personal. Hugely! I cannot put into words the massive symbols and meaning this song has for me. Maybe someday, but not yet. You can read a blog post I wrote last January about that scene in the movie and some of my connections to it.

Song 7: “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Can’t stop the spirits when they need you…this life is more than just a read through… The spirits? Yes, especially SHE who is still guiding me. It’s time to LIVE as this is my one and only LIFE. Time to make my dreams come true!

Song 8: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. I am not a fan of Eminem at all. However, I think you’ll agree with me that this song is legendary, one that will put my ideas into action and give me the kick I might need at times.

Song 9: “The Longest Wave” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The wave is here, my friend. The wave is here, in more ways than one. Did I tell you I intend to learn to surf this year?

Song 10: “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. These lyrics are wrought with meaning for me and this part of my life’s journey: Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting…Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear…Here comes the sun, here comes the sun…And I say it’s all right…

wordThere are 93 other songs on the list, ones that I know will provide me with encouragement and guidance when I randomly shuffle the playlist. The universe is pretty good at selecting just the right song I need to hear at a particular time, and I wholeheartedly believe it still will guide me this year.

I’d love to hear what songs you have selected to be a part of your To Live Playlist for 2017! Please leave me a comment and tell me about one and what it means to you!

Until next time, 

Jill

 

My Theme for 2017

I don’t think I have ever looked forward to a new year with such excitement and anticipation before.  Man, am I full of over the moon silliness as I wait to greet 2017, just like I was as a child waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve!

I think the reason is the word, scratch that, theme I’ve adopted for the upcoming year. It’s personal and powerful. It’s invigorating and exciting. And I find it so overwhelmingly awesome that I created a logo for it (sidebar: The logo was a vision in my dream the other night. Seriously, another breadcrumb from the great beyond!).

Take a look, then read all about the symbolism contained in my theme and logo that will guide me through 2017:

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My SLOGAN for 2017: Onward, writer! I will march forth and write my novel and then some. I have created a personal writing schedule that is in harmony with my professional responsibilities and my health issues.  My goal is to finish my first novel draft by the end of Spring, then to use the summer to revise, edit, and hopefully find an agent or publishing house that might be interested in it, my first of many stories. I also have a vision/idea to emphasize the mantra that today is everything, but I need to focus first on completing my novel. My schedule and plan can be adapted as needed due to unforeseen circumstances, but I will not allow myself any excuses for not writing. It is, indeed, time to follow my dream and to march forward, pen in hand.

My ADVICE for 2017: Look around! I intend to take full stock in each and every moment, and to see what is both physically and symbolically present. I will continue to be open as life guides me through each day as I find the extraordinary in the ordinary. The song “Look Around” by Red Hot Chili Peppers will be the first song that I will listen to every morning, followed by Blackbird

The black bird with the pen is an allusion to the song Blackbird by The Beatles:

Blackbird fly Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
Yes, I have waited for this moment my entire life. It’s time, and I will write with enthusiasm, focus, and vigor.
The heart with the three icons represents my heart and soul:
  • The top left Triskelion, or Celtic triple spiral, is the symbol of my spirit guide as I still yearn for her guidance while I continue to be her light. Interesting fact: This is the first symbol that appeared in a dream/vision over a year ago, much like my theme’s logo. While in Ireland, I spotted it all over the place, even inside the tomb at Newgrange. Suffice it to say that this symbol, which is more than 3,000 years old, is significant on numerous levels (past-present-future, spirit-mind-body and more).
  • The two waves in the top right represent my goal of learning to surf in 2017. I have always wanted to learn how to surf, and 2017 will be the year I cross this off my bucket list. I have created a schedule and a plan to physically prepare my body with exercises and strategies for surfing each week until mid-summer when I plan to take private lessons. I do have some obstacles to overcome, such as hating my eyes to be wet and muscle stiffness from Lupus, but my desire to surf is stronger than these obstacles. I plan to document my experience through words and photos, and I don’t care if people laugh at me. My connection to the sea is strong, and I want to surf, dammit!
  • The heart inside the heart is a reminder to keep my soul and my heart happy and at the forefront of every decision. I will balance my priorities of living, learning, loving, laughing, writing, and teaching the lessons that need to be taught while keeping what matters most in perspective and in my heart.

Finally, the ghosted CLOCK FACE is a reminder about how quickly time is passing by. I will stop wasting time on things that do not make my soul or heart happy, or things that divert my focus from my true purpose. With this practice in place since mid-December, so far, so good.

I plan to hold myself accountable for all of my 2017 goals by setting firm intentions and reflecting upon my progress at least twice a month, if not more.

I want to sing and dance as the seconds tick towards 2017 while screaming my excitement from the rooftops!

Welcome, 2017! I’m so excited to meet you!

Onward, writer…let’s do this!

Until next time,

Jill

 

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 2/27/2016

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It is the last Saturday in February, and it’s sunny yet cold as I type today’s post. I am grateful that I have heat, shelter, and a nice cup of hot coffee to drink. It’s the little things I’m thankful for today, the things that are most often ignored or taken for granted.  No holes in my socks. The sun shining through the frosty window.  The little bird singing outside, despite the 23-degree temperature. It’s humbling to really sit back and think about all that I do have, when there are so many others who go without.  Most of all, I am thankful for today.

Without further ado, here are some interesting posts, pages, and sites I saw this week-it’s a hodge podge of topics, but some with a running theme.  Hoping your day brings you comfort and gratitude!

Scott Kelly’s Year in Space – NY Times Interactive and super-cool documentation of Kelly’s year at the ISS.  He’s returning home this week.

The Curious Bohemian – Suanne Elisabeth began walking from New York City to Miami in the fall, and has been documenting her journey.  She will reach Miami sometime this week.

Treasures of Ireland: Along the Banks of the River Shannon – Wanderlust-causing post by The Palladian Traveler

Victimized NJ Homeless Man Gets Surprise from NFL Team – An update to a local story about Ron Leggatt, a homeless man who was paid $5 to pour hot coffee on himself by a sub-human wanting to videotape it.  Following the aftermath and Ron’s journey since has shown me that despite the sub-humans who walk among us, there is still compassion, empathy, and kindness out there.  If you would like to join me in making a donation to Ron, this link will bring you to one of the two Go Fund Me campaigns set up for him.  Thank you.

How to Take the First Step – Great post by Vicki Cook, especially if you are feeling stuck

On Being the Duckie – by my treasured friend Mandi Bean, a fellow Duckie

“Ferris” Fest Set for May – Chicago festival celebrating the 30th Anniversary of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Where did those 30 years go?

The Solo Surf Trip: A Reflection of Life – I just love this

The Cast of “The Princess Bride,” 25 Years Later – As you wish.

Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience, Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body, and Spirit – it begins on March 21…sign up now!

And finally,

Somebody Should Do Something – I am that somebody and looking for something to do to help…perhaps you can, too, simply by donating to Ron’s Go Fund Me page.

Thank you for your kindness, your compassion, and for reading my post.

Jill

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 10/31/2015

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“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.” ~ Robert Brault

Hello and Happy Halloween! I am looking forward to seeing my niece and nephews in their costumes, and perhaps tagging along for some trick or treating. While this was another whirlwind of a week, I did manage to save more interesting and meaningful sites than normal for this week’s edition of Rainy Day clicks.

Become What You Believe: Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s new 21-day meditation experience is free and starts on Monday.

5 Days in Dublin: Vivienne McMaster’s recount of visiting Dublin.  Beautiful photographs and she’s one pretty awesome woman! Her inspiration has put me one step closer to returning to Dublin this summer.

Lady Gaga and the Life of Passion: NY Times op-ed piece that both creative people and fans of Lady Gaga will most likely enjoy.

Seven Things I Did to Reboot My Life: by the always sincere and honest Wil Wheaton

The Story of Marlins Man – yes, he’s still in the news, and I still love following his exciting life

It’s OK To Spend All Your Money on Traveling, Says Science: I agree with Science here

Life after Sandy: How the hurricane wiped out one of the great surf cultures of the Jersey Shore: A memoir about the legacy, influence, culture and history of Casino Pier

Choosing Kindness Will Get You Everywhere: I love this!

and finally,

Why We Are All Secretly Superheroes by Jeff Goins. A fitting way to end today’s entry. Happy halloween, superhero!

Until next time,

Jill

 

 

 

 

 

“Sea” My Gift from the Sea

I have been thoroughly enjoying summer and everything it has to offer.  Last week was a whirlwind of activity, seeing many new places and making memories with my friends and family.  After the busy week, I was longing for some solace, so I decided to watch the sunrise up at the beach.

On Sunday, August 2, 2015, I set my alarm for 5:10 am.  After quickly getting ready, I was at one of my favorite spots, Osborne Avenue Beach in Bay Head, NJ, by 5:30 am.  Sunrise wasn’t until 5:55 am, but I didn’t want to miss twilight’s opening act.

I walked down the platform to the sand, sat on one of the bulkheads, and took it all in.  The ever changing colors of the sky reflected in the ocean, on the homes, and on the sand.  At least 20 underwing moths flew in from over the ocean one at a time, many of which landed right on me.

Like a little kid, I get excited when the sun is approaching the horizon, and as it did, I was shouting “Here it comes!” in my head.  Two surfers entered the water right before the sun broke through, which made for some wonderful photos and mental memories.

There it was, the sun, and the start of another day here on Earth.  I took a deep breath and said, “Thank you for this day.”

As the sun’s height grew, I got up and began walking south in search of a sea shell or a piece of sea glass to remember my morning.  Whenever I go to the beach, I find a shell, write the date and beach location on it, and put it in my “nature’s memories” jar (note: my jar used to be known as my “shell memory jar,” but if I go to a non-beachy location, I’ve started doing the same thing with stones).

The ocean water was very warm and comfortable, and I walked along the edge where the wash surged onto the beach, letting my feet enjoy the remnants of the salt water waves.  The air was permeated with that wonderful salt-air scent, and I wish I could bottle up that smell, or make a candle with that exact scent because there’s nothing else in the world like it.  I drank it in, taking more than a few, deep breaths.

I paused for a moment and looked to the southeast horizon, thinking of those two Florida teens, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, who have been missing at sea since July 24, and hoped that they are still out there, alive and well, just waiting to be found.  I said a quiet prayer for their safe return, and continued walking.

There weren’t many shells on the beach, even at the highest point on the sand where the overnight tide had reached.  No shells and no sea glass, just a few pebbles and sand crabs. More underwing moths made their way landward, and again, a few landed right on me.  I don’t know where they came from, but my husband later told me he also had them on the boat when fishing Friday and Sunday.

After walking two blocks, I still did not have a souvenir.

Something finally caught my eye, something tumbling in the waves, and at first I thought it was a piece of red brick.  It is nothing new to find bricks, duct work, or pieces of shingle here and there, as parts of homes STILL wash up as a result of Superstorm Sandy, which was almost 3 years ago.  However, as I approached the item, I could see clearly that wasn’t a piece of brick.

I bent down to pick it up.  It was shaped like an arrowhead or a shield, about one inch long and 1/2 an inch wide, with no jagged edges.  The one side was very smooth, and when I turned it over, I gasped and was filled with what I can only describe as awe. On the back was a cross, or what to me looked like a cross. I held it tightly in my hand, overcome for a moment with emotion.

After posting a photo of what I found, someone commented that it was nothing more than a piece of tile, the back of it beveled so that the mortal will stick better (hence the cross shape), and obviously another piece of one of Sandy’s house victims.

However, I see it much differently.

It is my tile cross.  My gift from the sea.

And the message that immediately came to mind when I picked up and grasped my tile cross for the first time was this:  Have Faith.

Anybody can find a shell.  Anybody can find a piece of sea glass.

But I found my tile cross.  My gift from the sea.

That’s pretty profound.

Have faith.

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My Tile Cross…My Gift from the Sea