Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Eat, Pray, Love… and read your email.

When you least expect it, a song — and an email — can change your life , in a way you just didn’t think possible.  4+ years ago, the Three Dog Night song “Shambala” was

Three Dog Night

Three Dog Night

sent to me in an email (by someone I adore — who still does not know what he did for me) and for some reason (truly, at that time there was no absolutely no rhyme or reason)… it touched a place in my heart I didn’t even know about.  A chain of simple events opened a door I wasn’t sure existed and even if it did, I certainly didn’t believe I had a key to the lock.

The night wasn’t terribly eventful prior to the opening of this email.  It had been a typical crazy-hot mid-August afternoon in the valley and I’d done something completely out of character, having taken myself to the movies earlier in the day to poach the air conditioning off the Regal Cinema people (still a very rare thing, because -– honest to Pete — I just feel like I’m “cheating” on someone, when I sit in a dark room being led through an unknown series of emotions. Oh, and buying popcorn or candy just makes it worse, treating myself to a treat like that).  The movie that day was “Eat, Pray, Love” and even though the film didn’t particularly resonate with me while watching it, I came home to find this song sitting in my emailbox with a rather innocuous message attached to it.  I listened… and the idea suddenly popped into my head that I (little ol’ me, myself & I) might really be the one in control of my destiny.  While that might not seem like such a big concept to some, it was completely baffling to me.  See, I grew up in a handful of homes where I was responsible for an awful lot of people.  After all, I was adopted as an infant to save a marriage – not that I was very successful (tough gig when you’re still in diapers).  Years went on and I eventually become the emotional tap-dancer at the center of the house, the one who could change moods in an attempt to keep the adults from killing one another (not an exaggeration, I assure you.  There are police records in Santa Clara County, CA to prove it).  By the time I was a teenager, I was living in a home where I was expected to be the buffer between two wildly successful (in business) people who really didn’t even like each other very much.  My unspoken job became one where I entertained one when the other couldn’t be bothered (until he/she was ready) for personal interaction.  Never at any point in time, in history, did it occur to me that my happiness or fulfillment could be on any dance card, much less my own.

So, this one August day in 2010 I return home from a late afternoon at the movies to open an email asking me to click on a link to a song I’d heard on and off since I was 11 years old.   The twang of the steel guitar and southern drawl asked the question, “How does your light shine?…” over and over again.  My light?  Well, I’d spent a lifetime using my light to illuminate the dark corners of the world around me, so that others could see.  Where I was going, didn’t really matter.

Or did it?

Somewhere around the fifth repeat, those I, IV and V chords rang in the headphones jammed in my ears, but finally the chorus rang out with that bright crescendo after the howling “Ah-hoooo!” asking “HOW?!…” and in that moment, for the first time ever (after hearing it five times in a row), did it occur to me that I might be the very person responsible to “wash away my pain” and “wash away my shame.”  Like a Petawatt laser beam, a flash lit up the corners of my mind: I was already surrounded by everyone who was helpful and kind (10 women friends immediately popped into my mind) and the idea that even thought I was surrounded by darkness (and there WAS darkness, let me tell you), there might be a greater light if I made the decision to take a different road.

Like magic, in three minutes and twenty-five seconds everything changed (okay, that’s a lie.  After hitting repeat about seven times, THEN everything changed… approximately one thousand four hundred and thirty-five seconds later).  The message of the film I’d seen — about eating, enjoyment and the search for balance — started to rattle around in the dark recesses of my brain and a strength I’d always known I had, but had forgotten or didn’t even know I could use for myself and my children rose up to the surface.  In that moment of that mid-August night I finally started to speak up for myself, made some changes and decided to walk in the light of a strange and foreign land I’d only heard about in lyrics sung by an American rock band named after indigenous Australians, who on cold nights explained they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground hugging a dingo, but on colder nights would sleep with two dogs and if the night was freezing, called it a “three dog night”.  I’d known cold.  Now, after embracing the lyrics of their song – I was searching for a light and warmth of my own.

To be fair, I still don’t really know what Three Dog Night was singing about in those lyrics of Texan songwriter B. W Stevenson.  I’ve been told that “Shambala” is a mythical place said to lie beyond the peaks of the Himalayas, where the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest, peeks above the clouds at over 29,000 feet.  Jeez, the highest I’ve ever been (courtesy of a ski lift and a deep down jacket) was about 7,000 feet in Lake Tahoe.  But, thanks to one email from one of the sweetest human beings I’ve ever know (as the lyrics say, “I can tell by the flowers in his eyes”) – my life was forever changed for the better.  It has taken time, but I have learned to climb higher and higher every single day – thanks to the “Ding!” of an email and words set to three simple chords.  If nothing else, it’s a good message to eat, pray, love and read your email.

xo – t.

“Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“People think that at the top there isn’t much room. They tend to think of it as an Everest. My message is that there is tons of room at the top.” – Margaret Thatcher

“Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?” – Maurice Freehill

“Keep your feet on the ground and your thoughts at lofty heights.” – Peace Pilgrim

Socks, E.

Leave a Reply