I Guess We’ll Have To See

Hello, friends!

I have been giving the concept of a heaven some thought recently and I am still on the fence on it. All the Christians talk about it being a place of rest, but I don’t see the point of a resting place where I’m surrounded by only people of my same faith. In the past, I have been far more in favor of something where our souls take on a different form of energy rather than being transported to a resting place. The only place I run into a snag with that is when I think about never seeing my dad again, or never being able to hold my husband when both of us eventually pass. He wants to poke me, that is what he is looking forward to. If there were any other workaround to that that held some shred of proof of possibility, I would go for that. I suppose there isn’t much tangible proof for a heaven, either, so we’re in this eternal spot of “oh, guess we’ll have to see”. I’m an impatient person, so this bothers me. I want my answers and I wanted them yesterday.

I bring this up because the artist Avicii is (posthumously) releasing a new album called Tim. I was confused because I thought he had died back in 2018, and that appeared to still hold true. The thing that really got me thinking was that they had turned his website into a vibrant memory board where people from around the world can post messages about the memories they had with him and his music. This got me thinking about my aspirations for my soul – to do enough good to be remembered fondly on Earth without much care for heavenly things.

As with the Avicii memory board, I have seen many signs pointing to the restful side of the quandary I’ve been facing, the side where I will get to see the people I love again. I have this one aunt that I have felt connected to since I first saw an image of her. Her name is Florence and it is believed that she died of the Spanish flu before 1920. I saw a picture of her and it was like there was an understanding between us that we knew each other at some point and will see each other again. Even if there is no heaven in the traditional sense, I hope we come into contact with one another again somehow. I believe that she is a guardian angel of mine. After reading about how she threw parties in her hometown newspaper, I have no doubt that she does it well.

This is Florence.

I have heard several of my Mormon friends talk about those who are dying being greeted by those they love who have preceded them in death. Some would also call these beings angels. That’s something I have never seen personally, but have felt. As my dad was in his last days, I felt presences that weren’t physically there. None of them ever made a move to speak or touch any of us. If anything, it was a feeling of comfort that we weren’t alone as we held my dad’s hand and sang to him. If that’s heaven, I wouldn’t mind that.

There are times I feel close to the more afterlife-related areas of God and the Universe, like with the examples of Aunt Florence and my dad. I also meet people whom I feel I have known before this life, and I know that if there are to be future lifetimes, there are a few people I’m damn near certain I will find again and again. My husband and my best friend Lindsey are some examples of this. I also know that I have more people to meet. There is a purpose to everything and God is everywhere. That keeps me going when there’s hardly anything left. I don’t always remember that perfectly, but just because I don’t remember it doesn’t make it untrue.

Do you have any thoughts on heaven? Let me know in the comments!

-Mago

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Off the Mic

Hello, friends!

I have a confession to make.

I am not a very good listener. I like to talk more than I like to listen and wait for my turn to talk rather than processing what the other person has to say and offer.

This prevents me from gaining a lot of  wisdom that I could have captured more easily had I listened. This goes for all things. Spiritual things have to hit me like a freight train in order for me to even notice them, making a still, small voice out of the question for me. I miss out on a lot of good insights in group discussions because I’m waiting to prove my point. I don’t pay attention to nature or my surroundings because my head is in the clouds constantly. I’m not grounded in “reality”, I have no patience for it, and as such I miss the magic of the everyday.

My dad didn’t miss the magic of the everyday, he reveled in it. One of my favorite things he said was that after he prayed, he had to stop talking, take his thumb off the mic and listen. A lot of the time, there would be an answer there somewhere in his thoughts or in his surroundings. This reminds me of something that happened in 2017.

I was at an Al-Anon (the organization for families of alcoholics) meeting place waiting for the meeting to begin. I was an hour early and I started missing my dad and crying and praying. As I was praying, I saw a cat appear out of some bushes, climb up on the bench where I was sitting, and sleep next to me.


This is the cat, and to this day I don’t know his or her name. Regardless of this, this cat was the blessing I needed in that moment. I took my thumb off the mic and I listened. The universe spoke.

I’m not here to say that I should be completely silent all the time, but when the time comes, I should not check out and instead be present. A lot of the time, my own mental noise drowns out a message quicker than the noise around me. I need to work on quieting my mind and being here. It’s not easy being here, and sometimes it’s easier to just check out, especially if it’s a hard conversation. But I think the hard conversations are the ones that need presence the most. This ties into my forgetfulness, I think. If I were more present, I’d remember more.

I’m not a failure for forgetting things, I must keep telling myself. I’m where I am now, and I must keep going. I haven’t come this far just to stop. Someday I will look back on the journey I have taken and think to myself, “that’s a long path, but it was so worth it. I have learned so much. I have been though hard times, but I have risen above what was expected of me, both by myself and by others. I am unapologetically myself. Nobody can take that from me.”

I thank the universe and God for bringing me to where I am. I am here in this moment, in this meditative time. I am a channel for goodness and hope. I am a child of God and the universe, and I am worthy of a seat at the table. Time to take my thumb off the mic and listen.

Love,

Meg

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All I See Are Explosions Anyway

Hello, friends!!

Lately it’s been like an archaeological dig in my brain. If you’ve been following the blog at all, you’ll find that there have been many discoveries made in the last few days. It’s been an awesome experience, but there are still some things to be desired.

I pray a lot in my own way, and sometimes people think I do it wrong. I have problems praying aloud and instead carry prayers like feelings close to my heart soundlessly. It’s kind of like meditation mixed with prayer, and it helps me a lot. It may be “the wrong way” to pray, but I am firmly of the belief that people can pray however they want so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or other people. There is a time and place for praying aloud and a time and place for praying silently. I’m in the time for praying silently right now.

My friend Laurie talks a lot about there being seasons for things. It was a bit odd to hear that language at first, but now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. There was a time and a season where I was a Mormon girl, there was a time and a season when I was an agnostic, there was a time an a season when I identified as male. This is a growing and harvesting season. This is a season of freedom.

The title of this post comes from none other than a poem I wrote that talked about my old school in Maryland. There was a line in there that talked about the only true semblance of prayer I had in those days was when I looked through a telescope and all I saw were explosions of galaxies anyway, not any kind of real answer. In those days, it was hard to be close to God and the universe. I was going through a lot.

Returning to the topic of seasons, there are seasons when I am not close to God and the universe. It’s totally fair and valid if you aren’t close to them right now, in the future, or ever. Your journey is yours, not mine, your best friend’s, or that neighbor down the road that demands an expectation from you and doesn’t deserve one. There will days when you see in perfect clarity, there will be others when all you will see are explosions. You are loved constantly and eternally. That is the great constant.

As I go deeper into this digging phase, this season, the more I learn. Having a seat at the table means more to me than just having an equal chance at life as everyone else. It means being given the same gift of hope and the capacity to dream, be validated, and live fully, not just exist.

I remember bursting into tears at Maryland college after seeing a sign saying “no one deserves just a friendship of utility.” It was advertising a workshop on how to be a good friend. The school was dedicated to the study of philosophy, and a friendship of utility in the texts was a friendship for a purpose, not just for friendship’s sake, not so different from using someone. I was hurting and felt broken and wanted my friends to save me. Not surprisingly, the more desperate I became, the more they pulled away. I was wanting as much of a friendship of utility as that sign was warning against. Nobody could save me but me in the end. It took believing in myself to even feel saved. Nothing, not even believing in God or the universe, would make me feel secure until I started this journey to believe in myself. I may have been broken, but nobody but me could fix me.

My aunt always quotes the safety demonstrations at the beginnings of airplane flights when they say “you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting with someone else’s, even if it’s your kids needing help.” My aunt is a wise woman, and there’s much truth in that. There are a lot of ways one can seek truth. You can try and find truth in books, friends, God. A lot of them are ways you can try and avoid who you are. You can believe in and put trust in anything you want, but if it doesn’t help you trust yourself in a deep and lasting way, perhaps it’s not worth pursuing long term. Faith and relationships should give you inner peace and help pass that peace to others, not spread you thin. It’s difficult to help others when you yourself are breaking inside. That’s not to say that you don’t need others to help you get to where you’re peaceful; I’m far from it and I am constantly being filled by the people around me. But I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without realizing I had it in myself to be where I am now. Because I have people who are willing to be in my life as I transform and encourage that transformation, I am able to become me and who I am meant to be in this moment. I’m beginning to believe in myself and have faith in that seat at that table. I see more than an explosion in things now, myself included.

After all of this, how can I believe in myself, you may ask?

I try not to pretend to know others’ lives, only my own. So here’s what has worked for me.

I’m learning in my life about what I call the great constant – that I am loved at all times, no matter how much I feel I have failed or fallen short.

I am also learning about what I am worth as a human being and child of the universe.

Put those together and I find that I am worth indescribable amounts and so are you. You are given a seat at the universe’s table simply because you are here and you are existing, experiencing this crazy thing called Living. You are loved regardless of where you have come from, who you are, and what you have done.

It takes work and a lot of faith. What really helps is to think back on what I have learned when I’m faced with a setback or a personal failure and present myself with mercy instead of condemnation. Because I know I am worthy and loved, I am allowed to continue trying. Just because I make mistakes doesn’t mean I am a permanent failure. The aftermath of a mistake is an opportunity for improvement, to strive to do better next time and the times after that.

I believe that the moment you start to present yourself with mercy in failure is when you start to believe in yourself. From there, your self talk begins to change and you will work towards being able to see that you are loved in infinite ways and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ll never be perfect, and there is always something new to learn. That’s something that also takes learning. Thank you for learning with me.

Love,

Meg

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The Great Constant


Hello!

Today is a new day, even though it is a bit young for me. I woke up at 12:30 PM and am kind of regretting my life decisions. So I have camped out in a super hip coffee shop and am just enjoying life for now.

There’s something I don’t think about often but am thinking about now. I don’t usually like getting out of bed nowadays unless there’s something that’s making me leap out of bed at 6 AM. That’s usually a lesson, to be honest. I like getting up at 6 AM, but there’s not been much getting me awake and alive. I am quick to blame that on my surroundings and lack of events in my life, but I honestly am not feeling super motivated internally and that is why it’s harder to get up and move, I think.

I’m not feeling depressed, is the weird thing. I am perfectly happy when I get up, I just feel unmotivated, like there’s not much to look forward to in that moment. In other words, I think that my reason why I’m doing things, why I am living and not just surviving, why I am happy, even, isn’t big enough. I have big dreams, but I don’t honestly believe in myself enough for them to motivate me. It’s not that they’re small, it’s my lack of faith in myself.

It’s funny that I feel this way, especially after I have discovered that I have a seat at the universe’s table and have a voice. I should be living this discovery, right? How can I use my voice? How could I possibly be bored with my life?

I find during these “boring” days that I overlook the little things that make me happy and make waking up worthwhile. One of my favorite little things is when my roommate leaves fresh coffee grounds in the coffee machine to be made in the morning. It saves me a step and I am always thankful for it.

I’ve got coffee in hand and I’m thankful for that, too. I used to make long lists of what I was thankful for in a day, and that got me through the final stages of my husband’s and my long-distance phase. I nearly filled up a journal with these thoughts. I keep thinking that I should do them again, but never get around to it. I make note of the bigger little things, but I need to actually write them down and properly thank God and the universe for these little gifts.

I was reading a book called Captivating, which is a Christian book. One of the chapters spoke about God-as-lover and elaborated more on how God shows people love in small (and big) things, like a gorgeous sunset, or for me, the entire state of Alaska. I see God a lot in nature and in the people I meet. I definitely need to do better at recognizing that facet of God.

It’s interesting to me that I generally learn about God and the universe one little bit at a time in the times when I need that facet. I didn’t believe in a God who could personally love me until I started thinking a lot about the process and practice of gratitude. When I started to take note of these things, my perspective shifted. YES, I was loved! Yes, I was protected! It made so much sense.

One of the things I struggle with in my journey with God and universe is that some things need to be taken on faith and that I don’t have to understand everything. I think of my journey with happiness, for example – a lot of the time I am happy and I don’t know why. I don’t always need a reason to have happiness as my default state. It just is sometimes, and that is that. I am a child of God, I am a child of the universe, their love is constant and a given. I am carried on their shoulders. So are you.

“Meg! What does it mean to be carried on the shoulders of God and the universe?” you might be asking.

Well, it means different things to different people. For me, it’s kind of like standing on the shoulders of giants, you can see more than an ordinary being. But it also bears a connotation of a child being carried on a parent’s shoulders. I am supported and seen, is what it means to me. I am loved.

Knowing I am loved is a powerful thing. Knowing that God and the universe watch over me and guide my path as I listen is a wonderful feeling. They are everywhere. I miss my dad, but he is always watching, too, but in a different way than he could when he was here in this plane. I don’t entirely know what the purpose was in him dying, but I know he was needed elsewhere. Some have said that he gave my husband the nudge he needed to talk to me again so that our journey could begin. That would make a lot of sense seeing how similar they are. I know my dad loves me. I know my husband loves me. I know that my husband came back into my life at the exact right time. God and the universe, in their infinite wisdom, knew what to do. I will always be mistaken in thinking that my life is boring.

I am needed and I am in need. It’s strange to think that we are never truly static, there is always something changing, constantly putting us in need of help or in a position to help others. We receive gifts and are gifts to others.

I have said it before and will say it again, we are given what we need in the times that we need it. We are loved spiritually, that is the great constant. Nothing we can say or do will change that, it was so from the beginning and will always be. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are given an equal chance and a seat at the table. Be seated! The meal is coming.

Love,

Meg

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On Your Parade

I’m sitting here on the couch and it’s raining.

I remember in Texas there was a terrible drought the summer before I really got to know my husband, the summer of 2011. My friend Amy was spending the night in the middle of it and I remember dying laughing because a guy texted her asking when she thought it was going to rain again and Amy replied, “on your parade.” We were fourteen and we thought that was pretty damn funny. It didn’t rain again for several months and we were one day shy of breaking the record for most consecutive days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in one day. We were on track to beat it when a rain shower hit and cooled things off to 70 degrees on the very last day necessary. Whether that was on that unfortunate fellow’s parade or not, we may never know.

Sometimes things happen like that. I think I’m so close to something, yet I’m so very far away. Sometimes the drought is broken and I should have been hoping for that, yet I was hoping for the wrong thing. The universe has a way of correcting my course. The things I want aren’t always the things I need, and I know that.

There have been many things I have wanted that would have compromised my happiness in the long term – bad relationships, sour friendships, things that would have been good options but not the best ones, etc.. The universe/God knows what’s best for me and everyone else around me, and I’m thankful for that. Sometimes my world needs readjusting.

I’m a horribly impatient person, and I think the lesson I am being taught over and over is to have patience. One of my favorite quotes, oddly enough, is about patience. It’s from a poem by Rumi, “Craftsmanship and Emptiness”:

“Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates that you haven’t been patient.”

Rumi

I’m impatient in nearly every sense – if something isn’t happening my way, I get very anxious and on edge. There’s a reason I show up an hour early to everything – you don’t have to be stuck in traffic and nervous if you’re already there and nervous! I have a very, very strong tendency to dominate conversations, I’m an awful listener. I rely on brute force to do nearly everything in my life, and it’s only half worked. I get what I want, but only after bridges are burned and tears are shed. I have never been observant or even really logical in my doings, and that has been costly, especially lately. I’m not less of a person for needing to work on patience; this is a project, not a permanent failure.

It’s going to be a learning process for me because all of the things I’ve been discovering at once are piling up and not falling into place immediately like I would like for them to (see: impatience!). I have a lot to process and parse, and it’s a bit overwhelming to keep track of it all. It’s not that the rules are changing constantly, I’m in a new headspace and there are new rules because of it. I can’t come screaming into a shop and buy all the things I want because I’m happy and I have a fear of missing out, for example, I have to bide my time and wait until it’s actually wise to buy the things I want. This goes back to the point on brute force. It also goes back to fear.

As I have been saying a lot lately, I’m afraid of a lot. I’m afraid nothing will come of my life, I’m afraid that I’ll be stuck in sadness again, I’m afraid that my projects won’t ever get accomplished, I’m afraid that I’ll never be able to make any kind of lasting life changes to become a better person. It all comes down to one thing, really – fear of failure. I’m afraid to be left out, so I barge into every conversation. I’m afraid of being forgotten, so I want a lot of attention. I am afraid of being disliked, so I try and ultimately fail at muting myself. The failing is the interesting part. Is failing so bad? I rarely get embarrassed, what am I so afraid of?

I’m insecure. It’s the same inner bully that drove me before rearing its ugly head. It’s the part of me that would have me deny the seat I have at the table, to shrink into obscurity and be forgotten. It’s a strange clashing – the wanting to be forgotten and the fear of it. It’s easier to be forgotten, isn’t it? It’s easier to never take a stand, to never use my voice. It’s easier to give up. It’s easier to plunge into despair and be sad all the time. It’s easier to live beneath the shadow of death than to rise out from under it. The inner bully wants me to give up, to be insecure, to render myself unable to sit at the table. It’s the one that feeds me lies, says I am nothing.

It’s wrong.

There is such a thing as failure, but it’s not an ultimate defeat. I will be judged, especially by those who don’t understand. Unless I’m truly in the wrong, that sounds like their problem. There will be humiliating times. There will be times of loss and of sorrow. But those times are not the end. If the world will have you believe your life is over, it’s wrong. As long as you’re alive, you have hope and a potential. You have a place at the table. Do not let anyone tell you differently.

I’m still working on my own fear and impatience. I’m scared of many things that I haven’t even encountered yet. I’m worried about things that are irrational, especially those that are irrational. It’s going to be a long and hard road. It will be so worth it, though! If it rains on your parade, it’s not over. Sometimes it’s just the drought breaking.

Love,

Meg

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Candy for trees

I believe it was 2012 when we were gathered around the dinner table and someone made the comment that rain is like candy for trees.

That phrase has stuck with me through the years. I immediately added it to my list of potential band names and made the occasional instrumental track with candyfortrees as the band name on my mom’s iPad. Here’s one:

I had been listening to too much of the xx and the Naked and Famous at the time. I love that song to this day. Here’s another:

I put the name on the back burner in order to do things under my own name for a bit. I tried my hand at composing again a few more times, but I was lost without the iPad and the composition program I was using. I just couldn’t seem to do melodies well enough. I stuck to writing melodies with my voice over chords with not much additional instrumentation.

I recorded eight albums in this manner, all of which have been released in some way, most via my Bandcamp page. One time I wrote a song called “Saginaw” with my composition program, named for the town in which my future husband was living close to. It takes the cake for the most angsty song I have ever written, given the circumstances and mood I was in. I was bashing myself for feeling affection, which is angst if I’ve ever seen it.

All was well in the end, and I’ve recently started writing scores again for actual instruments to play under the Candy for Trees name. One of them on the first extended play is “Saginaw” itself.

This really struck a chord with me:

The opening chord of “Saginaw”.

I amuse myself.

Saginaw is piano only, but the later parts of the EP lead me to believe that if I were a god, I would be a troublemaker. Here’s page one of Feud in C# Major, part two:

Part Two, page 1.

The working title of this piece was “Cluster 2”, which I later changed to the full Feud title. It’s written in C sharp in 7/4 time. My husband looked the sheet music over, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “it’s not that difficult”. He later listened to the full piece and called it “enjoyable”. That makes me happy.

More tomorrow, including a sneak peek at my art diary…

Until next post,

Meg

Synchronicity

My friend called me wise yesterday.

We had been on a call and I told her that I was hungry, so she almost commanded me to go eat. I listened. She would later tell me that as soon as we hung up, her supervisor called and she went on an adventure, for lack of a better word, and seemed to have had a very good time. I didn’t understand why that was wise, but if I had to guess, I think it was because I listened to her. I didn’t intend for there to be any kind of wisdom there, but I suppose by listening, I allowed for it.

I’m a firm believer that there is a plan for everything. A lot of times I have no idea what path my actions will take me down, but I do know that there are certain points – meeting a friend, moving someplace – where a grand plan is more apparent. Others, like being told to end a phone call because I’m hungry and sad, are less obvious, but equally as powerful.

I’ve been seeking to make a change for good recently, and what I seek has also been seeking me. That’s evident now. My Nana calls these moments where everything lines up “synchronicities”, and I’m getting better at noticing them. There are simple actions I take sometimes that cause powerful things to happen.

One snowy night, I was at a birthday party in Rexburg, Idaho, and I was not having a good time. I left early, driving through the snow as carefully as I could. That care didn’t stop me from almost colliding with two other students as I parked. I suck at parking. Everyone was okay, and I recognized one of them, a friend of mine I had made a few weeks back but hadn’t seen in a little while. The other was someone I had never met before. The three of us got to talking, and by the time I left Rexburg, I had gained two true friends who had saved my life a few times. They taught me how to trust again after my last awful relationship, and I am so thankful for them.

One of my strong beliefs is that we’re given the things and people we need in the time we need them. My husband arrived exactly when he needed to, for I needed him when I didn’t yet know it.

He’s taught me so much about how to love and how to be a better human. Marriage is a fun thing, but also very difficult at times. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not super great at working as a team, but I’m learning. It’s like sticking two rocks in a tumbling machine. The rocks lose their jagged edges if all goes well and both become shiny and smooth. That’s our goal.

And all because of a synchronicity.

I’m thankful for God’s (or your own Higher Power’s) wisdom. It’s infinite. They know how to guide our lives and know us better than we know ourselves, and know what’s best for us. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the synchronicities that have led me here.

Until next post,

Meg