A heartbeat. A catching breath. A note in a song. That is all the time it takes for memories to come flooding back. If those memories are for good, a smile can creep across your face. If those memories cause you to falter, however, they have no place in your current situation.
I can’t walk through life facing backwards
I have tried
I tried more than once to just make sure
And I was denied the future I’d been searching for
But I spun around and hurt no more
Jason Mraz, Living in the Moment
From the moment I realized it was time to move forward from my marriage, I found self-imposed hurdles at almost every turn. My thoughts were my own worst enemy, creating doubt in my ability to flourish on my own. I was not happy where I was. My situation was severely messed up, yet I didn’t know how life could be any different.
I struggled to define myself outside of my marriage, but doubt, anger, and bitterness crept in and destroyed any glimpse of a positive thought. At the time I was preparing for Fall Finals in law school; a feat that is not to be understated. But focus escaped me because my inner voice was screaming out.
Who was I? Why did school matter? What if he was right? How would I live my life without him by my side? Why was this so complicated? Where would I be in a year, five, ten? What if I never found love again? But this wasn’t love, was it? My mind raced with fear and my studying was effected by my lack of focus. But the days and weeks continued to tick away, leaving me no choice but to find an anchor.
I turned to music. Music had been such a huge part of my life before him, but had been all but squeezed out of my world. Rarely did I listen to music, dance, or sing anymore. But he wasn’t home, so I turned to YouTube. At the time, my favorite song on the radio was I’m Yours, by Jason Mraz. I referred to it as my “happy song.” It was light and happy and made me smile. But, more importantly, it spoke to me.
Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you’re free
Look into your heart and you’ll find the sky is yours
So please don’t please don’t please don’t
There’s no need to complicate
‘Cause our time is short
This, oh this, this is our fate
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
What was my fate? Could he have a point that if I just dreamed it, opened up myself to it, that I could be free? The thought gave me tingles down my spine and breathed a quiet hope in my heart.
And so the journey began of exploring this new artist whose song I loved so much. I spent hours listening to his playlists. His songs played while I studied, while I typed papers, and as I drifted off to sleep. And so much of what he said touched my heart and gave me hope. Not just hope that I could be free, but hope that I could be the me I was supposed to be. These lessons continued well into my healing journey and they made so much sense to me.
From how I felt about my relationship, my love for my husband versus the pain I felt around him:
Hey, what a beautiful mess this is
It’s like picking up trash in dresses
Well it kind of hurts when the kind of words you write
Kind of turn themselves into knives
And don’t mind my nerve you can call it fiction
Cause I like being submerged in your contradictions dear
Cause here we are, here we are
A Beautiful Mess – Jason Mraz
To how I felt about my reactions and their effects on me, and wondering if I was alone:
Hey love, where you going to?
You’re not sleeping anymore, you’re just trying to
Stay love, where you running to?
Awful happens all the time, don’t let it kill you
Hey Love – Jason Mraz
To how I wanted to viewed as a woman, how I wished to be treated:
Sometimes the world can make you feel
You’re not welcome anymore
And you beat yourself up
You let yourself get mad
And in those times when you stop lovin’
That woman I adore
You could relax
Because, babe, I got your back
I got you
The Woman I Love – Jason Mraz
And how I believed life should be, even if I didn’t quite know how to have that life for myself yet.
Rejoice to use your voice, and give wings to any old choice
Whatever you’re choosing right now, it’s right where where you are
You don’t need a vacation when there’s nothing to escape from
Send your vibration and your undulation to the highest it can go
And trust me, hear me
If it makes you wanna sing
Just sing it
Everything is Sound – Jason Mraz
And the list could go on and on. I’ve learned so much in my journey, but one very important truth is that we must follow our hearts and our own path. If it resonates with you, it deserves to be explored, as it might very well be the direction you are to take. And as you follow that path to finding your own true self, there is no looking back. It will happen, no doubt, but know that each time it does, you are only slowing your own healing and not allowing yourself to move forward.
Music to me is healing, and finding the story that describes and encourages your heart is a gift. When we share, using the talents we are given, we are not only growing personally, but we are reaching others. I’m forever grateful that Jason Mraz used his gift of words and music to share these messages. I’m sure he didn’t know that a woman struggling through domestic violence and low self-worth would gain strength from his words. But I did, and I have him to thank, in part, for getting me to where I am today.
Keep your eyes forward, my loves. Life is beautiful. Don’t let those bad memories take away your peace.