Cheryl Melody’s Newsletter Excerpts
Life’s Wisdoms and Personal Perceptions
Life’s Wisdoms Newsletter-My Mom: An Inspirational Story for All Ages and Stages
I share this quick story with you in order to inspire you to keep on going. Discover new parts of yourself. Don’t permanently label yourself ever. You never know what will unfold for you or a loved one. Keep hope that even if you are stagnant right now, even if you are ill, between careers, stressed, depressed, old, middle age or young, in a job that may not fit you, have no time to explore who you are, too busy or not busy enough, don’t love what you are doing, — or even if you love what you are doing now-whatever stage and age you are in…IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF DISCOVERING NEW LAYERS OF YOURSELF!! Open to the unknown, and trust that there is more ahead.
My mother’s story is a story of hope and inspiration for all of us. She is in her 90’s, living independently while continuing to uncover gifted parts of herself that she never knew existed. She is a survivor of breast cancer, and a champion of the challenges and opportunities that has showered her long life. A year ago she began to experiment with poetry writing, and on May 4th, 2012, under the love, creativity and conducting of Carol Reikchard, my mother was the featured artist of the Colchester (Vermont) Community Chorus Concert. She had been a member for 25 years, but had stopped going. However, much to her own surprise, her journey wasn’t over, and still evolves.
Two hundred people came, and a Standing Ovation followed. She read with the speaking voice of a 25 year old, and glowed. Everyone was filled with joy, and everyone was filled with HOPE. Hope for their own lives, and hope for what is possible.
This is not about the Arts. It is about you never giving up on yourself or on anyone else. It is about finding the small still seeds that lie within you, and whispering, “Grow, grow.” We are all sunflowers ready to unfold at the right time. All you have to do is open yourself up to the mystery and unknown parts of life. Thank you, Mom!
Life’s Wisdoms Newsletter-What I Learned from a 4 year old: Love is in the Details
Life’s Wisdoms Newsletter-My Inner 5 Year Old on the First Day of School-Reflections
I had to laugh at myself last week as I was carefully choosing my first day of school outfit. Some things never change. Yet. I may be older than 5 years old now, and I may be a kids music teacher/performer, but I am still that young girl that gets so excited when the school year is starting! Whom will I meet, what should I wear, will I find the rooms okay, will I do okay, will it be the same joy as last year-these are just some of the questions that swirl around in my sleepless nights before.
In fact, I don’t know if my body, mind and spirit can ever be okay with not going to school in September. Many of my friends have retired and are comfortable with the process. They were ready. I am not. I guess I am a weird one, setting a different path up that isn’t the typical norm.
I can’t imagine a day of not teaching, dreaming, composing, performing, writing and being in the thick of actively sharing all of what I can offer as a result of my years of experience. I am sure at the right time, if there will ever be a right time for my personality, I will look forward to that open spaciousness of time that some of my friends now have, but all I know for sure is that this year is not the right time for me.
It is a time to continue blossoming, sharing my wisdom and personality, and receiving the lightness and spark that children and music for children brings out within my own spirit. Truth be told, I am even thinking of other careers to embrace after this one! And so…here’s to another wonderful year of unexpected surprises, learnings, teachings, sharings and joy!
Here’s to wonderful new beginnings, and even if you are not a teacher choosing his/her outfit for the first days of school, we are in a new season of hope, love and embracing new wisdoms and new people. Let’s all support each other and offer unconditional love for our self and each other.
Life’s Wisdoms Newsletter-Being Fully Open and Present Moment by Moment: Benefits and Challenges
It is vital to be connected with others by being fully present. My definition of “being present” is to own a mind and heart that is quiet, flexible and open, completely focused on the other person. I say to myself: Be here right now.
In doing this, I am able to hear and receive the thoughts and feelings of the other person on a different level, and it is a rare and magical gift to the interpersonal exchange. If I can suspend my judgments, ego and constant brain chattering, the gifts for emotional connections are unlimited!
Professionally: When I teach and perform kids music, I have created my plan and structure, BUT if I keep to the agenda rigidly, I will miss my creative unexpected moments as well as spontaneous human reactions and connections. The unplanned moments can be exhilarating and exciting.
Family and Friends: I seem to do better at this aspect professionally than with family and friends. I wonder if I am giving my family and friends my full attention and presence as well? Am I as flexible and fully present? Am I as open and willing to shift, hear, transform and understand their views? Do I listen to those close to me with an open mind and heart, or am I defensive and emotionally charged? I believe that I have work to do in this area. When I am too caught up in my own agendas, and when I am feeling judgmental, emotionally off balance, and filled with a thousand projects and to-do lists, I wonder how much I miss emotionally in my interpersonal connections in this part of my life?
Intention: I want to be able to honor those close to me more fully, and encourage myself to be more fully present moment to moment with everyone I meet.
True Story: My music class had ended, and the children were lining up at the door to leave. One 5 year old child asked me if she could sing me a song. “It’s long, but I’ll try to make it shorter,” she said with intensity and sincerity.
I was exhausted. I really just wanted to pack up and go home. I didn’t want to hear a long song, but her determination swayed me to stand still, shift my mind and heart, and listen. I also felt wary and nervous—what is she going to sing? It’s not on my agenda. Will it be “okay” for the other children to hear? What if I don’t know it? Shouldn’t I know everything as a teacher?
In fact, I did not know the song, yet I received quite a gift personally. As I began to listen to the words and the heartfelt way Tanya delivered the teenage song, Firework, I began to feel transformed. Slowly I began to get “inside the words,” and found that they uplifted, inspired and transformed ME, and in that moment I felt as if the children taught me much more than I had taught them.
The song’s message reminded me that each of us has the light within us, and even if times are tough, there is joy around the corner, and possibility and hope around the next bend. Thank you sweet child. If I had said “maybe next time,” look what I would have missed by not being present and flexible! It was a precious moment, never to come again…and another life lesson for me.
Question for the reader: What are specific examples in your life in the benefits, joys and challenges by being fully present personally and professionally? Let’s inspire each other. I would love to hear from you, and publish your thoughts! —
Life’s Wisdoms Newsletter-Teaching Love
I believe that every day is a day with opportunities for loving ourselves and each other, but Valentine’s Day puts a microscope on the intention to love just a little more than yesterday. This year I am approaching my work of joy a little differently than the last 30+ years. I am putting even more of who I am as a whole person into everything I do, sharing more of myself in order to raise children’s consciousness in knowing how to BE the essence of love. I am happy to say it’s working!
Life’s Wisdoms Newsletter-LOVE! Out of the Mouths of Babes:
1. There is a 4 year old boy in one of my classes who used to sit under a table and misbehave during music. Now he is sitting with the rest of the children with full eye contact on me, a gentle smile, and last Wednesday as we began to sing our welcoming song of love, he asked: “Cheryl Melody, are we SPREADING THE LOVE now?”
3. THE POWER OF NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION: I passed a cloth globe around the circle while teaching my “One Planet” song: “We’re all 1 people, all 1 nation, all 1 planet, together we can live.” Each time the children heard the number “1” in the song, they passed the globe to the child next to them, while looking at their peer with kind eyes and a smile, using the power of nonverbal communication. When a child looked at the globe INSTEAD of the person next to them, I would have them repeat the exercise, honoring the nonverbal communication cues. The difference was powerful. The children noticed it, the teachers felt it, and I wound up thinking about how important it is for allof us to emanate LOVE by noticing each other with kind eyes and a gentle smile.
Life’s Wisdoms Newsletter-Success: A New Definition
Should success be defined in terms of salary and accumulated wealth only? If so, I have failed miserably. Yet if I ignore society’s definition, I am finding a new sense of peace around the word success. Here are a few examples of newly defined success in my own professional and personal life:
- As a mother whose children are grown, I can see that within their own different stages in life they still need me, and I try hard to listen, hear and guide when needed. The process of parenting is forever, and my version of success isn’t in doing this parenting role perfectly any longer. Now I have the wisdom of that impossibility. Parenting is in being present, gently encouraging and helping, all the while letting go in order for them to learn their own lessons in the school of life. I think that act of truly letting go while still being there for them requires the art of emotional balance, and when I have accomplished this balance in moments of my life, I have created sustainable success.
- I had finished teaching my music classes at a nursery school–packed up, ready to go. As I zipped up my roller bag, a loving teacher appeared in the room holding a screaming baby. She surprised me by asking: “Cheryl Melody, can you sing to him in your beautifully soothing voice and see if he will calm down? It’s his first day, and he won’t stop crying.” The request was SO deeply touching. I began to sing an original lullaby as I looked in the child’s sad eyes. Purposefully, I tried to send the healing vibrations of music into his little soul, and magically he stopped crying, and was calm, peaceful and transformed. In a precious moment, I felt the miraculous power of music within a priceless feeling of success.
- Some of my classes consist of special needs children. The special needs teacher warned me that she may need to take a particular child out of class if his behavior became overly disruptive. I thanked her for her sensitivity, and began to teach a musical activity to the group. Soon I scanned the room for a child that I thought was ready to be encouraged to be the leader of this song. Suddenly my eyes locked on this same special needs child, but he had shifted to a focused sparkle in his eyes and a delighted smirk. It was a positive and new behavior that I hadn’t seen previously. I asked him if he would like to lead the song. He nodded excitedly, stood right up and walked toward me. He led the song perfectly from start to finish and at the end, all the children yelled “BRAVO!”–AND he took a bow!I felt success for this child, and giddy delight from this amazingly successful teaching/learning moment.
YOUR IDEAS ON SUCCESS PUBLISHED IN NEXT POST… What is YOUR definition of success in your personal and/or professional life? I’d love to hear from you-were there moments in your life that were giddy, priceless, magical moments of success? I would love to publish your definition and life’s examples! Let’s inspire each other! Please feel free to share, and write me at email@example.com.
Today…Hum a little hum, like Winnie the Pooh says to do. It will energize you, relax you, and actually massage you from inside-out. Any tune will do, a familiar one or a made up one, but it is actually part of honoring your voice and that energy center, allowing your energy to rev up, exercise our vocal muscle and feel a sense of joy and wellness…all through Winnie the Pooh’s advise. Thanks Winnie!
From a Reader:
Dear Cheryl, In spite of the heavy rain today, once again you have brought sunshine.
You seem to instinctively know just when to send the perfect message my way…and I suspect to many others as well. My work setting is in the midst of change, and as we know change can come as a gentle breeze or a strong wind…so change is not the issue, but how it’s presented/handled/ and received can make a huge difference.
Todays message on kids music and creativity reminds me to affirm the gifts we have, not to lose sight of our strengths, and to always trust in ourselves. You say it so much better and I thank you. —–Barbara
Subject: Creativity-A Unique Perspective: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs075/1102343288863/archive/1108095935603.html
Subject: Time Out for Adults: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs075/1102343288863/archive/1107649489984.html
(c) All Rights Reserved Please request permission to copy any portion of my newsletters, and please provide full credit of my name and website. Thank you.