How a man on the Spectrum learns to live

Posts tagged ‘Jason Mraz’

Random Bliss

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Sometimes, you find random bliss in the most unlikely places. That recently happened when I was on DeviantArt and read the latest journal entry of an artist I follow. This woman who calls herself PixelKitties is known among some artists and pop culture geeks for being skilled with drawing and crafts, and possessing a very witty sense of humor. What was different about this journal entry was the candor, honesty, and thought-provoking words that left me speechless.

I don’t have time, inclination or the patience to tell other people what to do or how to live their lives. Policing my own self is a full time job. I don’t want to be anyone else’s moral gendarme. All I want is to be a good person and treat others with the same respect, understanding and kindness that I want to be treated with.

I don’t deal in stereotypes or broad generalizations or beating people over the head with the cudgel of my own personal beliefs. I have faced pain and suffering and discrimination and hurt and heartache in my life-just the same as anyone. I’ve done good things and bad, brave and cowardly, honorable and self-serving. I have been there, just the same as you. And because of that, more than anything else in this world, I believe in empathy and understanding, never condemnation. My past mistakes- and they are multitude- is today’s lesson and tomorrow’s regret. I dare not judge or begrudge others for their missteps along the way.” (May 22, 2014)

Reading these words was like reading my innermost feelings. I felt a sense of grace, as if God and the Universe were showing me that I wasn’t the only one who was felt this way in their core; a reminder that I’m not alone in believing in the best of humanity. I remembered to stand in the truth of my own flaws and mistakes, and remembered that even when I was bullied, I chose to rise above the role of victim. This is important for anyone, not just someone on the Autism Spectrum. I feel like we all need to be reminded that we are not alone in our hopes and dreams. Even on days when we feel secure, a friendly and unexpected reminder can bring us extra joy and contentment. Even the simplest of words can become a gift of unexpected grace and random bliss.

Read the short, but sweet journal entry here at DeviantArt: PixelKitties’ Journal Entry

Today’s musical inspiration is favorite of mine and it’s how I feel right now: Live High by Jason Mraz

Just Be Honest With Me

-Jason Mraz

“Music is the weapon in the war against unhappiness”-Jason Mraz

You know something? When I can’t find the right words to express how I feel, I just look in my library of music and I usually find what I need.  The music of Jason Mraz has helped me on more than one occasion and his song “Be Honest” is no exception.  Truth be told, the last time I was in a relationship I was thrust into an environment that was discouraging to my being authentic.  I ignored the warning signs and began lying to others and even worse: lying to my girlfriend and myself.

I was in and among people who wouldn’t allow me to curse, rage, disagree, or even voice a differing opinion if it was my own!  Looking back on it now, I was guilty of giving away my power.  After two years, the last conversation between my ex-girlfriend and myself turned into a back-and-forth purging of pent-up pain and frustration that ended with our break-up.  I know that I based that relationship on deceit and half-truths borne out of a strong desire to be loved by one woman no matter what.  I realized that I need to be authentic at all times to have a strong relationship; that’s why “Be Honest” really strikes a chord with me.

With a resonant blend of acoustic guitar and vibraphone, the song begins with intimacy and emotion.  “Ok go, go hang your heart on any tree.  You can make yourself available to anybody, ’cause every livin’ person knows you are a prize!  Whichever way you go I’ll be easy to find, I don’t ask for much, just be honest with me.  I don’t ask for much: Be Honest…”  Here, Jason is saying to his girl that she needs to put her heart into whatever she does in life.  She’s special in some way to everybody that she meets and he knows that his time with her is not exclusive.  The feeling is accentuated by the simple request of honesty that is asked.  I feel like this is the early stages of the relationship where boundaries and agreements are made; only time will tell if they will be honored, but I know I’d do my best to honor those agreements and learn from the experience; it’s in my nature.

With the second verse, I feel that a bond of trust is being built.  “Think of this song as a promise you can do what you want.  If you decide you wanna move into a new stage, deleting me from pages in your mission statement…my love is unconditional, make no mistake.  I don’t ask for much, just be honest with me.  I don’t ask for much, just be honest with me”.  Basically I would be saying “Honey, I don’t want to hold you back from life.  If you really want to keep certain things to yourself that’s all right with me.  Just remember…I love you, and I’ll always be here for you.  All I ask is that you not be afraid to come to me when you need to.  I know you’d do the same for me; I believe in us.”  I long for the day when I can say that to a woman; real love is more than physical attraction.  Knowing how to bring out the best in your partner is what I believe keeps it alive.

When Jason gets to the bridge, he harmonizes with a woman named Inara George.  I can hear two lovers singing in perfect harmony about what true, fulfilling love does to their souls.  They enjoy each other’s company and hold each other up with shared kindness.  It’s a feeling I hope to share someday with a special woman.  “Who we are, when love is what it wants to be, we are free, and we are, having the best day ever by far.  Being treated to the light, like a superstar”.

In the final verse before the ending, it says that I’m willing to give her the space to figure out what role I play in her life.  I’m not asking her to give up her inner self because I love her just the way she is and I feel connected to her when we’re both open and honest.  When we start out a relationship that way, it starts with friendship.  If it becomes more romantic, then we’ll have fallen in love with our best friends.  That is something I know I’ll be eternally grateful for when it happens.  “I can hold space while you see what your heart has to say about me.  There’s no dotted line to sign away your freedom, I’ll acknowledge you for what you do to keep strong.  I’ll always stand beside you, don’t get me wrong, I don’t ask for much, just be honest with me.  I don’t ask for much, just be honest with me.  I don’t ask for much, just be honest with me”.

The ending line is a moment of bliss and contentment shared by me and her.  We’ve found ourselves in each other’s company and couldn’t be more thankful for being alive.  “Who we are when love is what it wants to be, we are free, and we are having the best day ever by far.  Yes we are…”

“Be Honest” is a song that has kept my hope and dream of love alive and inspiring.  I don’t know when I’ll meet the woman who fulfills me and lifts me up, but I’m grateful for music that gives a voice to my desires.  As long I have music, I have hope.  As long as I have hope, I will do my best to live fully and authentically, and that’s the honest truth!

Listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TCnqAUODB4

I Won’t Give Up

Ready to Live!

Ready to Live!

You know something?  There’s a reason why Jason Mraz is one of my favorite musicians of all time.  For me, he’s written some of my most favorite songs.  One of them is a hit that’s been a fixture on the radio for a year and a half now.  Off of his latest album: “Love is a Four Letter Word” it’s the beautifully written “I Won’t Give Up.”  The title alone draws me in with its positive feel, and the lyrics reignite the hopes and desires I have with regard to life and love.  Even though I haven’t been with a woman since ending my last relationship more than four years ago, I know that I have so much to offer the right one.

Living with Autism, I’ve dealt with challenges in my life, and there’s going to be days that will bring up negative feelings.  However, I’ve learned to let go of past regrets and remember all the strides I’ve made in showing the world what I can be.  I know I’ve got a lot to live for and there’s so much that’s on my bucket list that I can’t afford to stop living with so much to create and offer people who are on and off the Spectrum.

As the song opens, I imagine what I’m telling my dream girl when we make that magical connection.  “When I look into your eyes…it’s like watching the night sky…or a beautiful sunrise.  Well, there’s so much they hold.”  This means that all I need to do is look into her eyes and see her interminable spirit and the limitless blessings that God and the Universe have for us.  “And just like them old stars…I see that you’ve come so far…to be right where you are.  How old is your soul?”  I also acknowledge the work that she has done to become the person that I’m attracted to and that I value the effort she’s made.  I then tell her my honest answer as to where we stand with each other.

Well, I won’t give up on us, even if the skies get rough.  I’m giving you all my love…I’m still looking up”.  One of the most important things I’ve learned is to be attentive to a woman without being needy or smothering.  The second verse tells her that I am more that willing step back when she needs to be alone, but I will always be nearby with a warm embrace and open ears to listen to what she needs to say.  When this happens, I’ll remind her that even the best of us have setbacks both large and small, but there’s always a lesson to be learned when they’ve passed and we’ll hold on to each other to get through them because we trust each other.  “And when you’re needing your space…to do some navigating…I’ll be here patiently waiting to see what you find.  ‘Cause even the stars they burn…some even fall to the earth.  We’ve got a lot to learn; God knows we’re worth it…No, I won’t give up!”

The bridge of the song says so many lyrical things that it gives me strength to be trusting.  I don’t know how or when it will happen, but I hope for the best.  I know that our trust and friendship will be solid because they are the strongest things to base a relationship on.  Now that I think about it, doesn’t the word “intimacy” sound like the words “into me, see”?  That can’t be a coincidence!  “I don’t want to be someone who walks away so easily, I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make.  Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use the tools and gifts we’ve got, yeah, we’ve got a lot a stake!  And in the end, you’re still my friend at least we did intend for us to work, we didn’t break, we didn’t burn.  We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in.  I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am!”

When the chorus repeats for the last time, my heart is fully engaged.  The words ring true for me and say what I feel about life and love.  No matter how long it takes, I will find the right woman because I was meant to share my authentic self with her.  I’ve come a long way since I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome because knowledge really is power, and the world has learned a lot, as have I.  Gone are the days when I lived under a label because today I embrace being on the Autism Spectrum, body and soul.

In the future there will be good and bad times and everything in between, but as long as I remember who I am today, I’ll be able to face whatever happens.  I look forward to the day when I walk down that path with the woman I was meant to be with.  As long as I have music to speak to me, I’ll have the power to give a voice to my feelings.  When that happens, I’ll feel them, deal with them as needed, and go on from there.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come; I’ve got farther to go, but I’m glad that I can share my journey with the world.

“I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up, still looking up.

Well, I won’t give up on us
God knows I’m tough enough
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up.”

See the music video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1-4u9W-bns

“Live High, Live Mighty”

"Glory God, Oh, God is peeking through the blinds."-Jason Mraz

“God is peeking through the blinds.”-Jason Mraz

In my last post, I mentioned my definition of “music therapy”.  I said that “any song that can bring out what I feel inside is special to me”.  After posting, I listened to other songs and remembered another, more recently released song that strengthens my hope for our potential as a human race.  Three years ago I purchased the album “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things” by Jason Mraz.  I had heard a few of his songs on the radio before, but this was my chance to hear what else he had written.  One song that resonated with me was entitled “Live High”; after hearing it once, I listened to it over and over again so that I could understand every nuance, note, and word.

I’ve always appreciated Jason Mraz’ harmonies and poetic lyrics.  His sincerity and hope for the world also resonate with my feelings that the human race is more than what it is now.  I feel like humans are creatures who have come a long way, but still have a long way to go to reach that full potential.  Jason really believes that as well, and that feeling is summed up in the lyrics to “Live High”.

“I try to picture a girl…through a looking-glass…and see her as a carbon atom, see her eyes and stare back at them.  See that girl as her own new world…though her home is on the surface, she is still a universe”.  At first you think Jason is simply getting metaphysical with the story “Alice in Wonderland”, but I feel like he’s talking about how he greets a woman with an open mind and his undivided attention.  I relate to this because it took a long time for me to clear my head of the self-centered fog of Asperger’s Syndrome so that I could learn how to listen and pay attention to people.  It wasn’t easy, and it’s not even easy for “neuro-typical” people to do, but I continue to learn and grow.

“Glory God, oh God is peeking through the blinds.  Are we all here standing naked, taking guesses at the actual date and time?  Oh my, justifying reasons why is an absolutely insane resolution to live by”.  I love how this refers to the morning sunlight as an “Eye of God” that shines on humanity and asks if people are actually trying to quantify the experience and put it into a box of narrow, limited thinking.  The fact that humans spend so much time trying to put God and the Universe into their own “boxes” is the definition of insanity to Jason.  This means that people will do something over and over again and expect a different result every time!

In all honesty, I’ve learned to take secondhand beliefs with a grain of salt.  This was because I knew that I had to develop my own code of living in order to have a sense of personal freedom and identity.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll listen to what people have to say.  If I happen to disagree or find myself incompatible with a person, there’s nothing wrong with it; I just learned something that didn’t work for me.  When it comes to shifting my outlook, the chorus lifts my mood every time it repeats: “Live high, live mighty, live righteously.  Takin’ it easy.  Live high, live mighty, live righteously”.

I try to picture the man to always have an open hand.  See him as a giving tree, see him as matter; matter of fact he’s not a beast, no.  No, not the devil either, always a good deed doer.  Well, its laughter that we’re making after all”.  To me, God, or “the Man” as some people say, is always around us.  All of creation is the result of divine possibilities that are immeasurable.  Saying that God is a primal entity and/or existing in opposition to a great evil entity is the human habit of keeping things separate or in the realm of opposites with no room in between.  I’ve experienced too many things in life to live in a world of absolutes; they exist only because people give them power.  I’ve learned to put my focus on the internal connection of all things and remember that when bad things happen, “this too, shall pass”.

We can try to define life through the filters of philosophies, religions, and systems, but it’s impossible to do so completely.  These words remind me of that fact: “The call of the wild is still in order nationwide.  In the order of the primates all our politics are too late.  Oh my, the congregation in my mind is this assembly singing of gratitude and practicing their lovin’ for you”.  Here I am reminded that humanity is more alike than different.  I also find peace when I reconnect with my sense of gratitude and my awareness of being alive.

When Jason adds a bridge to the second repeat of the chorus, I feel a sense of empowerment.  “Sing it out, and just take it easy and celebrate the malleable reality.  Because nothing is ever as it seems, yeah this life is but a dream”.  After years of soul-searching, I’ve learned that I’m not a victim of circumstance; I simply wasn’t aware of the fact that I could change the world by changing myself.  Nothing is ever really certain in life, it’s ephemeral.  There’s really no “reality”, only perception; it is through our choices that we create our realities.

In the last repeat of the chorus, Jason brings home his message with a heartfelt allusion to one of my favorite feel-good spirituals.  “Live high, live mighty, live righteously…takin’ it easy.  Live high, live mighty, live righteously, just takin’ it easy!  Well I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on the spirit.  Just takin’ it easy, livin’ high, live mighty, oh, live righteously…just take it easy”.

Every time I listen to this song, I’m brought back to a better mood and my outlook becomes more positive.  I can’t imagine living without music like this; it has kept me strolling through life to my own rhythm.  When I wrote this, I felt as though I was finally putting an important part of me out into the world.  Have you ever felt so uplifted by a song that you felt like you could fly?  That’s what “Live High” does to me; what songs have that power in your life?

Watch Jason Mraz sing “Live High” during his “Beautiful Mess” concert tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iV1ul76uqw&list=UUwAMvTsUmdmMNttgOpS1Jjg&index=11