Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The lessons I have learned from Taylor Hicks' book --- Heart Full of Soul.
There are a lot of inspirational and useful lessons that are contained inside this great book. The stories of rejection, loss, heartbreak and low moments are in abundance in almost every page. But it also unfailingly encourages determination, love, forgiveness, self-discovery and spirituality that seemed to make Taylor Hicks, the Joel Osteen of the Entertainment industry. He has succeeded in inspiring countless of people through his use of simple but exquisitely well written words.
After reading that book, I pretty much read about my life, by golly almost every single chapter pertains to me! Although I have a different background, different breed, different circumstances in life, but all the same lessons --- "HE WHO HAS NOT TASTED THE BITTER, DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE SWEET."
Taylor Hicks --- is survivor and a great one at it. We all read and heard what he had gone through and we all did a collective, "Ohhhs, ahhhs!" Taylor Hicks opened up his life to us even though we know that he wants to keep some things in his life, private (or whatever's left of it.) Aside from satisfying the Soul Patrol's need to know everything about him, he is hoping for us to take lessons from his stories and get inspired by them.
So, what could I write or talk about that had not been discussed by others before? I am going to try not to divulge too much into Taylor's triumph over his life since we all have read it (I hope, if not go buy the book, www.amazon.com) and we felt that we somehow, already know. Forgive me if I talk about the life lessons I have learned from Taylor Hicks' story. All I know is if Taylor Hicks is willing to share his ups and downs, I can share a little about mine, and the lessons I have learned and maybe, just maybe, my own journey can teach someone something about themselves. I'm sure you'll find that my life has similarities with yours.
When I was younger, I had often mistakenly thought that when you are rich, you are happy and that's what drives people everyday. Or better yet, when almost all people know your name that you will never feel ignored. And that if you are rich and famous, you are invulnerable to all the pain and miseries of life. But it's pretty obvious that you have to be able to endure all of life's trials and survive them in order to face another surge that will continously come for as long as you are still living.
We all learned that we need to pursue our dreams, and that we can't give up, or there are a million "Nos" to one single "Yes." Tell me how many times in your life did this happen to you? How many times did you have to deal with everyday frustrations? How many hours did you spend standing in line waiting for something and not getting what you want? How many times have you wished that you have it all? How many times did you want your life to be close to perfect? How many times did you question God for your ordinary existence?
I know that for me, these things happen several times in one day. My everyday living seems to be always about forgiving myself --- for letting out a cuss word when my one year old child attempts to flush a DVD down the toilet and runs away amused. Or when I feel frustrated at everybody including myself because I choose to skip doing dishes for the night so I can host a cellcert. Ahh, those important things that only a Soul Patroller can understand! On a serious note, I have also learned not to give up so fast on MYSELF, to try and try harder until I succeed, that there is no word like "can't." I take that lesson so close to my heart because it is so much better than living without a dream. Just because I am happily married (some days) with beautiful (but not so perfect) children doesn't mean, I cannot dream. I also learned that when you treat people the way you want to be treated, it is a better world. The Golden rule, what a rule! Remember everyone of us has six degrees of separation, just ask Kevin Bacon. And it's important to treat each other right, because you'll never know who knows whom.
A lot can happen in one's life everyday. Our lives are borrowed, and we should make the most of it and do what you love. It is so sad to hear about people's tragedies everyday, and when I examine my own self, I think about what I'm lacking in certain areas of my life. Yes, I get too busy looking for something I DON'T have and totally miss what I DO have. Most of the time, I think of material things, but I realized that it's not that important anymore when you find one of your family members is sick...you just want them to feel better. Money is helpful, but it does not keep you from being sick! I also know that when you learn to accept what you cannot change you are better off. If you can't change people or situations, changing your way of thinking is a great alternative, and more peaceful if I may add. Also, recognizing that there is a bigger entity than us, even bigger than Taylor Hicks, something beyond our own understanding that has given us the oppurtunities to live is worth the mention.
So by putting all these lessons together, by living through the mistakes (over and over again..) and learning, I have a great understanding that all of this only boils down to one most important thing: taking care of one's SOUL. Feed your SOUL. The soul drives our minds and bodies. It drives us to do better things for ourselves, it drives us to do good for others, it drives us to attempt to leave a remarkable achievement in our lives. How then do we take care of our souls? That is completely up to you. I have mentioned mine on the above paragraph.
We may never become famous like Taylor Hicks, but I am convinced that my mark is how I have chosen to live and love ---- and how my experiences in life, good, bad ugly, have molded me. I can honestly say that I am living such a sweet life, (oh what a neat life... Paul Davis' Sweet Life ) because I have gone through the wringer, and I feel like I have survived it. I know there are more trials and tribulations to come and I am ready for them, at least I can say that for now.
So it is with great pride for me to say that I have a HEART FULL OF SOUL that will keep on keeping on. And that right there is my own story, not Taylor Hicks', but mine.
And with that thought, I will leave you with these song lyrics:
Van Morrison's There'll Be Days Like This
When it's not always raining there'll be days like this
When there's no one complaining there'll be days like this
When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch
Well my mama told me there'll be days like this
When you don't need to worry there'll be days like this
When no one's in a hurry there'll be days like this
When you don't get betrayed by that old Judas kiss
Oh my mama told me there'll be days like this
When you don't need an answer there'll be days like this
When you don't meet a chancer there'll be days like this
When all the parts of the puzzle start to look like they fit
Then I must remember there'll be days like this
When everyone is up front and they're not playing tricks
When you don't have no freeloaders out to get their kicks
When it's nobody's business the way that you wanna live
I just have to remember there'll be days like this
When no one steps on my dreams there'll be days like this
When people understand what I mean there'll be days like this
When you ring out the changes of how everything is
Well my mama told me there'll be days like this.
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A member of The Official Soul Patrol contacted me a couple of weeks ago and requested that I give her words of inspiration. While I was honored that this person thought I could provide such inspiration, I wondered how I would be able to actually do that. This person was feeling a bit lost, caught in the crossroads of life. So was I so maybe I would be able to say something that might inspire us both. The following are excerpts of the correspondence that went back and forth over the next several days.
From the TOSP member:
Anyway, there it is. My mom's not feeling well. My husband would rather I would never have got involved with the Soul Patrol, my friends tell me to be careful, I can't really get too involved financially or even time wise...so why am I here?
The answer is simple my spirit has been lightened by TOSP and Taylor Hicks' music but I am finding it more and more difficult to do anything but visit, make a few comments, and vote...and then I feel guilty about letting everyone down by not doing more. I do try to vote every day so that Taylor's name will always be out there as it will without my help. He and his music are sensational as is the band he has put together!
So here I am at a crossroads. Do I walk away completely from something that is solely for me and brings me joy even though I can't give of myself and my time as I would like to?...or do I press on as I always have and know that God will watch over me? Perhaps my friend's death has something to do with this...perhaps I am overburdened right now... I don't know what it is...all I know is TOSP has become such a wonderfully happy part of my life, I hate the thought of giving it up...but sometimes it seems the best solution for now...at least for awhile but then once again...there goes my dream. Perhaps I am just not meant to be a writer...
My initial response:
So how do I inspire you? Your letter reminded me of something I get in emails from time to time: people come into our lives for just a season or more, some come in and others go out, and it's later on that we come to understand the purpose. While that's not the direct quote, it is the essence of its meaning.
TOSP, for many of us, is like that. It's a place to get lost in for a little bit, to dream, to share, and to laugh. It may be about the music, it may be about the man, but what really matters is that we come for our own reason, selfish or otherwise, to lose ourselves for a bit and "let out hair down".
I've seen so many people come and go over the past year, leaving for whatever reason or losing privileges on the board for not adhering to the policies of the board. Some had really good things to say; other seemed to start trouble. And the trolls were always around, but not quite as obvious as they are now.
I get suspicious when someone posts something that seems out of character for Taylor Hicks and then continue to talk about it as if they have first hand knowledge. Something similar to the Splash stuff! That is kind of sickening in my opinion, and I have to confess, I have read a lot of the posts there when the Hawaii pictures first surfaced. After all, Taylor is single, likes women, and is capable of making those kinds of assessments himself. Can you imagine having 1,000 mothers? That's what Taylor has if he hasn't already realized that! Pity the poor woman he marries – 1,000 mother-in-laws that you at least don't have to have over for dinner any time soon!
Hopefully by now you are laughing and saying to yourself, yes, she's definitely loosing it if she hasn't already lost it, but she is making some good points.
Stick around the boards. We need level headed fans that can help keep the really crazy ones at least on a shorter leash. As for the trolls, they will continue to come. So keep face! Keep posting when you have time. Visit when it's convenient. Spend time with your family. And continue to seek God's guidance. I can tell you this, He does listen, and if we are quiet enough, we too, will hear His response. It might not be what we want or expected, but it will be what's best for us.
I've learned over the past year that prayers really are answered. I had prayed over and over for the same opportunity, but what I was expecting never came. Then one day I realized the opportunity really had happened and I was doing exactly what I had prayed for, just in a different form! Taylor's Angels was the answer to my prayers, what I originally wanted is no longer all that important. Had my prayer been answered in the manner I wanted, I wouldn't be an Angel today, nor would I have become the person I have. God does answer prayers, so long as we are willing to wait, step back and let God take the lead and guide us. I know, it's much easier said than done. And I still try to take control sometimes! I'm human after all!
Thank you for enjoying and supporting Taylor's Angels. Support comes in so many ways - kind words, a nice write up, donation of tickets, or just a simple "Thank you". We can't do what we do without the Soul Patrol and now promoters are starting to help. It's great to see what we have been able to do. And that's what really counts in the end. If we are going to use Taylor Hicks name, we have to make sure we do so in a positive light!
So keep up what you are doing! And by the way, losing a close friend is never easy. I lost a good friend, my ex-husband and both of my parents in about 13 months. My parents actually passed away 9 weeks to the day apart. That was not an easy time. But I've learned to put even that in perspective.
Response from TOSP Member:
I agree with everything you say. You are a "dear heart". Of that I have no doubt. I shall continue to pray for guidance but I like you really do believe God always knows best and truthfully does answer our prayers in what is best for us.
I do believe that if we give our trust to God He will guide us in the right direction for us. I tend not to ask God for too much but rather to thank Him for all that He has already given. When you put you life and faith truly in the Lord life kind of unfolds as it should. My friend always says," If you follow the ways of the Lord, life is really quite simple...it is we humans who make it so difficult." Simple but true.
That doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't do our part as well, after all He did put us here for a reason. Perhaps, it's searching for that reason that is sometimes the most perplexing. We are human and that is the good part...we are allowed to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.
I guess life is a lot like prayer made up with all kinds of emotions...we seek inspiration, we pray for guidance, we ask for God's help, we say thank you for being alive...and I am a firm believer in "We often ask things of God and he does answer...the answer is NO. Smile."
I also believe the best things in life are free - love, kindness, a smile, nature, family and friends...no particular order just working all together in harmony. Truly we all have such joy in our lives already. (If only the rest of the world would appreciate that. Smile.)
As you can tell, I am a person who thinks with her heart and then her head. I guess that's why I like to think things out so much...a gentle soul am I.
The Last Word:
As I reflect back over the days of our exchange, I still tear up reading and re-reading the messages. Had I inspired a soul in need of inspiration? Or had I been inspired just by responding? I don’t have the answer. But at this point, I’m inspired. Inspired to continue working with Taylor’s Angels, inspired to support Taylor Hicks and his music, inspired to donate a few more tickets to those who can’t afford them, inspired to continue writing, inspired to continue just doing what I do, whatever that is, however I get it done.
What I do have to give to you is this, words I live by, mottos perhaps, but none the less the way I get by each day:
* Treat others as you want to be treated with love, respect and kindness.
* Get your act together; this too, shall pass.
* Life has a way of putting all things in perspective.
* When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
* When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
* If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
* Live life. Love More. Laugh Often.
* When in doubt, pray. When you have the answers, pray. When you are happy, pray. When you are sad, pray. When you have a need, pray. When you are thankful, pray. Pray for any reason, anytime, any where.