“Shake it!” The power of having your own personal “Theme Song” and other useful tricks

Howdy!  I wanted to circle back with everyone and pick up where I left off in the last posting.  I had planned on doing this sooner but was, once again, reminded that it’s not all up to me!  A startling epiphany, I know.  Shortly after I did the New Year posting, we got busy transferring all of the original posts from the old site onto our new home at alyssaphillipsinc.com.  That said, the behind the scenes hiatus, while necessary, took me away from this for a bit.  And you know what?  I missed you guys!  So thanks for hanging with me as I get this all set up and going.  It’s been fun, challenging and very, very clarifying.

So back to where we left off…  When I last left you we were talking about having a personal mantra.  Not one in another language that you’re not quite sure how to pronounce or what it means or you repeat to yourself in the lotus position on a pillow in a dark, quiet room.  There are people far wiser in such things that can help you with that if you’re interested.  What I was talking about is a kind of “theme” saying for yourself.  Something to remind you of what your trying to move towards.  Although the intention is everything, seeing and thinking it over and over seems to sear it into the magical, automatic layer of our mind, the subconscious.  The subconscious is a powerful, Divine thing and a trick I read about a while back was to write your saying on a card and put it in your wallet.  That way you have an easy, built-in system that’s not just one more thing to add to your already too long ‘To Do’ list.  Mine is on the back of a business card I had made that has “Something beautiful is happening…™” printed on the back of it.  At the time, the creation of the card was yet another act of faith.  I dared myself to put ‘Writer’ as the title under my name.  At the time all I had written were the posts.  I didn’t have anything published, a website and was still piecing myself back together from the not-so-fun roller coaster ride I had been on.   And yet I thought, “What the heck.”  I knew from the first leg of my journey that the first step is always just to step out, to claim it before it’s there and start taking steps towards it in the unseen.  So every time I check out at the grocery store, pick up the dry cleaning or buy a coffee,  it’s the first thing I see.  And for me, that saying reminds me of what I’m doing and why.  It reminds me of the miracle we witnessed and how I got here.  And it reminds me of my other core mantra, that I want everyone I come in contact with to be better for having known me in someway, big or small, and my latest one that I mentioned in the last posting…”We are what we have the courage to become”.  So I smile.  My shoulders relax.  My mind stops spinning off to the next twelve things I “need” to do.  I feel more powerful, centered and sure.  And I think “Oh yeah…”  In less than 10 seconds, with little to no work on my part, all that happens almost automatically every time I just open my wallet to pay for something.  I have several other tricks like that too but this one is one of my favorites because it’s so easy and it actually makes me look forward to running errands and paying for things!

Moving on to the the idea of having a personal “Theme Song” I mentioned last time…  For awhile now I’ve had songs at different points that seem to speak to me by encapsulating a phase or message I’m working towards.  Sometimes it’s just one line that seems to jump out and I think “That’s it!”  and other times it’s the overall message or beat of it that grabs me.  I never go out of my way to find them.  Now, more than ever, things like that seem to find me.  God speaks in many mysterious, amazing ways and as silly or convenient as it may seem if you’ve ever experienced the simple knowing that something is more than it appears, as I referenced in my post about the card I recently “received” from my younger sister  who had died over a decade earlier, you see the truths illuminated from the unseen everywhere.  God speaks all the time, in big and small ways, if we are willing to be open and listen, then we see and understand in new ways.  The only trick is we can’t use the same eyes, ears and mind that we’ve been using.  We must be willing to surrender those for something much stronger and potent and dare to lean into the magic of the unseen where all true power resides.  Thereby, we step over the line into something larger than ourselves, by faith first, to show us the way, believing and then knowing that we have more help than we ever could imagine, if we will only ask.  Anyway, another subject for another time…

I guess the theme song thing started for me during my period of confinement, aka “house arrest”, when I wasn’t allowed to leave the house for the better part of a year during and after the two bone marrow transplants.   Knowing this was coming, I had readied myself by choosing to see it as a time to figure things out.  In my mind I envisioned a pause button being pressed and a cocoon of sorts created and set the intention of emerging brand new.  When some might have seen it as a time to be passed by oodles of movies and magazines, I chose to get to work and begin again.  But, as you can imagine, eight months is a long time to not have any interaction with the outside world and remain inwardly focused.  At the time I feel it was what I was called to do but there were days (OK, even strings of days) when, despite my best efforts, there seemed to be some sticky film of darkness had descended down and attached itself to me that I couldn’t seem to shake off.  I remember being in the kitchen one day in particular and feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the shadow that had covered me.  Like a dark, heavy shroud, it seemed to contain all the “bigness” of what had happened, the “Mt Everest” I’d been called to climb, the odds stacked against me and the magnitude of the primordial fear had been triggered by my life literally hanging in the balance of it all.  It seemed too much, too big, too heavy a burden to bare.   Was it the hormones…again, months of being cooped up, the after shocks of being in fight or flight mode for over a year or skirting the edge of death long enough to look it squarely in the eyes and just narrowly escaping its grasp? A combination of all of these things?  I didn’t know but I was tired of trying to figure it all out.  As I stood there that day I’d had enough of the navel gazing, of the “what ifs” and I heard a loud “NO!” in my head.  I’d had enough and I knew I needed to pull myself out of it.  I had to turn it around.  I had sat with it long enough, it was time to start walking out of it, time to start emerging from the cocoon…even if I still couldn’t leave the house.  So I did the only thing I knew to do.  I couldn’t get in the car and go to the park (being in nature always centers me). I wasn’t allowed to drive during that time either and even if I had I couldn’t go anywhere for risk of infection.  So I turned on the stereo and blasted some booty music and just started dancing around the house.  At first it seemed forced.  After all, you can’t fool yourself.  I knew what I was trying to do and it felt contrived but I didn’t know what else to do.  I only knew I had to do something, anything, to shake it off.  But pretty soon, within minutes, I felt a shift inside me and the dark goo just seemed to fall away.  I was smiling, laughing, even if just at myself.  Out of a desperate, maybe even pathetic, attempt to turn things around,  I’d stumbled onto something that I still use today when I start to get frustrated, anxious or the clouds just won’t seem to part.

So that was the beginning and not long after that I started to realize that certain songs seemed to jump out that would remind me, like the card I mentioned above, of the direction I wanted to head.  For instance, one of the first songs was John Meyer’s live version of “Free Fallin’”.  One section in particular spoke to me where I was at the time.  “I wanna free fall out into nothin’.  I’m gonna leave this world for awhile.”  I knew I was being called to step out into the unseen in order to come out on the other side of this and I had certainly left the world for awhile due to my required confinement.  I would picture myself with my arms stretched out and jumping off “out into nothin’” with a big smile on my face, trusting by faith the unseen to catch me and show me where it was calling me to go.

Later that Spring, not long after I was released back out into the world again, it was “A Brand New Day” by Joshua Radin that spoke to the shift I had felt within:

“It’s a brand new day

The sun is shinning

It’s a brand new day

For the first time

In such a long, long time

I know

I’ll be ok

Most kinds of stories

Save the best part for last

Most stories have a hero who finds

You make your past your past

Ya, you make your past your past

It’s a brand new day

The sun is shinning

It’s a brand new day

For the first time

In such a long, long time

I know

I’ll be ok

This cycle never ends

You gotta fall in order to mend

And it’s a brand new day

It’s a brand new day

For the first time

In such a long, long time

I know

I’ll be ok”

It seemed to sum up how I felt.  It was a new day and something big had shifted inside me during all those months of wrestling with what had happened.  I had chosen to move past the fear and believe, no, know I that would be OK.

And there were other tunes along the way, but you get the idea.  My most recent is by far my most cheesy and therefore one of my favorites.  I’ve come to believe that the cheesier and sillier the song the better because it gets you up if you’re down or just gets you up higher from where you are.  Silliness does that.  Infusing fun into not-fun places shifts it.  So my latest comes from the end of a movie Neil and I watched a month or so ago.  It was the remake of “The Karate Kid” with Will Smith’s cute and talented son, Jaden.  Maybe it’s a throwback from my youth but I’ve basically resorted to watching mostly kids’ movies now because, quite frankly, a lot of the ones made for adults these days I find down right disturbing.  Anyway, I’m not going to do myself any favors here in trying to look cool by telling you that the theme song from that movie, “Never Say Never” by Justin Bieber featuring Jaden Smith, is my latest theme song.  I think I’m probably old enough to be their mother but it’s what the song says and the catchy, albeit cheesy, little beat that makes me want to shake my tail feathers that placed it on my “Theme Song” list.  It is, after all, about overcoming adversity.  Here goes:

“You see, I never thought that I could walk through fire

I never thought that I could take a burn

I never had the strength to take it higher

Until I reached the point of no return

And there’s just no turnin’ back

When your heart’s under attack

Gonna give everything I have

It’s my destiny

I will never say never

I will fight ‘til forever

Whenever you knock me down

I will not stay on the ground

Pick it up, pick it up

Pick it up, pick it up

And never say never

I never thought that I could feel this power

I never thought that I could feel this free

I’m strong enough to climb the highest tower

And I’m fast enough to run across the sea

‘Cuz there’s just no turnin’ back

When your heart’s under attack

Gonna give everything I have

‘Cuz this is my destiny

I will never say never…”

Oh my gosh, it’s even cheesier on paper!  Oh well.  It makes me smile and gives me a little dose of “go get ‘em”, so I’m OK with it.  The point is, pick something that gets you stirred up on the inside.  It could be a throwback from when you were in high school, a classic that stands the test of time or, like me, one of the cheesiest songs on the radio right now.

Well, now that I’ve succeeded in looking  super uncool, consider it a permission slip to do the same.  Pick a song that lights you up in some way and listen to it as needed for a boost.  The key is to pick it now so you have it ready when you need it.  So here’s to “shaking it” and turning things around!

Monique's sweet son and my nephew, Ryan

Actually, I just got back from a quick trip up to D.C. for my nephew’s baptism and I have to tell you that after observing my 15 month old nephew, I was reminded of how innate this very thing is for us…music and dancing, that is.  Not even walking yet, he seems to innately know this.  It’s funny, several of my girl friends all had little boys within a few weeks of my sister Monique having Ryan and all of them have decidedly chosen not to walk yet, preferring to “scoot” instead.  Apparently stubbornness in males starts early :).  Oh, I know, low blow…  I’m kidding of course.  Anyway, not even walking yet, he stood at the coffee table, holding on to the edge and shake his little pamper-padded-tush while rocking out to the “Wiggles” or some other baby tune (can you tell I’m not a mom?) totally content in unabashedly shakin’ his money maker while looking up at me like “Pretty good, huh?!”  I swear, I was waiting for him to wink at me.  Non-verbal and non-bipedal yet, he knew exactly what to do when a song he liked came on.  And you know what?  It gave him great joy to do it.  That’s in all of us, we adults just have to dust it off and discard the notion that we have to be so serious all the time.  Ahhh, the wonder of babies.  It may be hard to remember now but there was a time when your toes were the most fascinating thing in the world, lights were a marvel in and of themselves to stare at and contemplate with pure awe and the whole world was one adventure after another to be explored.  We all still have some of that in us, too.

Well, to wrap it up, there’s lots of exciting stuff going on here at “API”.  As we move into Spring and the stirrings of nature can start to be felt in the background, the rumbling of the unseen preparing to burst forth anew once again so, too, will the seeds of my unseen labors begin to sprout forth from the soil they have been so lovingly tended in.  I’m looking forward to sharing it with you and seeing where God takes us next!  In the meantime, enjoy the coming days as Spring makes it’s approach and stay tuned ‘cause we’re getting ready to spring off, too!  Something beautiful is happening…™!

Until then,

Love harder and Live bolder™,

Alyssa

*Oh, and feel free to send the link to the blog around to those you think it might help, it’s why we went to the trouble of moving them all over :).

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5 Comments

  1. Carolyn Reedy
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Alyssa,
    I had no idea you were going through all this. You are amazing.
    I was a patient of Dr Lawrence back in 2001 and we went through many things together. You gave me my only tatoo….our secret..hehe.

    I was diganoised with breat cancer for the 2nd time in Aug 2010, it has mestestazied to my bones, spine and liver. I am undergoing chemo and have had radiation.

    You are a true inspiration and I am looking forward to reading your book and blogs.
    And yes I belive in miracles!!!
    Keep smiling.
    Carolyn Reedy

  2. Yte
    Posted February 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    This is my inspirational song – and I think I know someone in your household that also likes it!!!
    People always ask me
    “Son what does it take
    To reach out and touch your dreams?”
    To them I always say

    Are you hungry?
    Are you thirsty?
    Is it a fire that burns you up inside?
    How bad do you want it?
    How bad do you need it?
    Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming
    With that one thing on your mind?
    How bad do you want it?
    How bad do you need it?
    Cause if you want it all
    You’ve got to lay it all out on the line

    I get to make my living
    Doing what I love
    Every night I give my heart and soul
    Sometimes that ain’t enough
    But brother, if you’re like me
    Lookin’ down that road
    Be careful of that wild wind, son
    Sometimes it don’t let go

    Can you feel it?
    Can you taste it?
    Can you hear it ohhh knocking at your door?
    How bad do you want it?
    How bad do you need it?
    Are you eatin’, sleepin’, dreamin’
    With that one thing on your mind?
    How bad do you want it?
    How bad do you need it?
    Cause if you want it all
    You’ve got to lay it all out on the line (that’s right)

    There’s always a price you pay no matter what you do
    If you’re gonna climb that mountain to the top
    It always comes down to

    How bad do you want it?
    How bad do you need it?
    Are you eatin’, sleepin’, dreamin’
    With that one thing on your mind?
    How bad do you want it?
    How bad do you need it?
    Cause if you want it all
    You’ve got to lay it all out on the line

    • Posted April 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Awesome! Love it and see why you do! XOXO

  3. Joan
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I am speechless……GOD has been with you and your loved ones. I battled osteosarcoma when I was six years old and at eleven the tumor came to my left lungs and I had to repeat chemo and radiation……Cancer left me with a shorter arm which I now view as my trophy. I have been in remission for years and I am thankful to be alive. Alyssa I pray that the good lord continues to bless you and you continue to empower all those that are battling this disease to continue to FIGHT, stay strong and god bless always.

    Joan

    • Posted April 10, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Yippie for your remission!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Each day is a celebration indeed. Bless you my friend.

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