JUDY’S COURSE – DOOR TO MY HEART

My passion is to offer comfort though my stories and songs. My Insight Timer Course DOOR TO MY HEART is a wonderful opportunity for me to share my experiences and offer hope of healing. This course is available for free by clicking the image below:On Insight Timer, I have five tracks that are medleys of the songs for this course. They are free and I share more about the tracks when you click on the images:


 

DOOR TO MY HEART COURSE OUTLINE

 Lesson 1 – “YOU WERE THERE”

The lyrics to my song “You Were There” helped me confront the fear I had of losing my mother. I wrote this song while she was still alive as a tribute to her. She didn’t want to hear my song at first because it implied her death. I remember how my mother suffered terribly with the loss of her own mother. But for me, facing these fears gave me comfort and gradual acceptance.

“You Were There” describes devotion. My parents were there for me and I will always be grateful for that. At the end of their lives, I was there for them. Can you find devotion in your life? Is there someone in your life that you can devote yourself to? Whether it’s a family member, a friend, a passion, or a beloved pet, those treasured connections will fill your heart with gratitude and love.

 Lesson 2 – “NEVER GONE AWAY”

My lyrics to “Never Gone Away” were written when I faced saying goodbye to a good friend who was leaving on an extended trip. My song didn’t focus upon grief, but helped me to address my loss by filling the emptiness left behind with something positive. I am comforted when I recall all the beautiful aspects that remain. Even after our goodbye, that sense of connection has given me strength and eased my pain. Sometimes when I close my eyes, I can still picture us holding hands. But I had to let go and remind myself of the many ways I was touched. Are you able to remember the ways someone has touched you in your life?

My loved ones continue to touch me. “When you’ve left you’ll still be with me, in all the songs I’ll long to play” is an original lyric line from 1980 that is amazingly prophetic. After my son Jason died, I was certain I’d never sing again. Happily, it turns out I was wrong, as he lives on in my music and songs.

Lesson 3 –  “WITH ME”

I composed “With Me,” shortly after my father died. I deeply missed his support because I had decided to end my marriage of 31 years and live on my own for the first time in my life. I knew my father understood, as I had shared this with him while he was on his deathbed.

From that point on, I wanted to live an authentic life before any more time went by. At the age of 50, I was entering scary and unfamiliar territory. My song gave me courage – I really wasn’t sure what would happen or where I was going. But I was certain of my father’s love and that became my light in the darkness. Is there a way in your life that you could find that light? Love has been my guide and self-love has propelled me forward. So despite the uncertainty expressed in my song, I had confidence I would make it through that dark time in my life. Music definitely shines a light, which inspires me to believe that God is with me, too.

Lesson 4 – THE DOOR

I wrote my lyrics for “The Door” while I struggled with telling my husband I wanted to divorce. Going through the door was not just about the end of my marriage. It was also the beginning of facing a new life without support from my parents. I was truly on my own, filled with both fear and excitement. A door is a powerful metaphor for embracing change. In order to conquer my fear, I envisioned myself embarking on a new and wonderful phase in my life.

Doorways lead in and they also lead out. Are there doorways in your life that you are willing to peek through? Even if you’re not quite ready to take that step over the threshold, I encourage you to visualize that you will be okay. I believe that if you nurture that new focus and believe in yourself, you will have a magic carpet to rest upon. Self-worth is the foundation for making choices to improve any situation in life. The empowerment I gained by changing my destiny is something I continue to celebrate every day.

Lesson 5 – NO WORDS

My song “No Words” is a love song to all of my children and a “rainbow baby” song. A rainbow baby is a child that comes into a family after one has died. Having another child after my loss was not a replacement, but a way for me to express my aching love and reaffirm life.

There was a time when there were no words to describe the loss of my child. But I’m grateful that I went from “no words” to finding words; this helped me release so much of my heartache. In your life are you able to express your feelings? It doesn’t necessarily have to be by writing – it could be art, music, or any other creative outlet your heart connects with.

I look at all of the years I plodded through grief, as if being in the darkness of a cocoon. I had no idea that one day I might emerge with my grief transformed. At the beginning of my grief journey, I wondered if I would ever heal from grief. Eventually, I found my answer.

Lesson 6 – WONDER WHY

My song “Wonder Why” feels bold with a question to God. Why is there horrible suffering in the world? I have observed that grief either overturns or strengthens a person’s faith in God. I had doubts about God’s existence, and after my son died I was in a state of anguish and wanted answers.

Initially, my questioning was personal and eventually, I worked toward accepting my circumstances. Although I started out despairing over my own personal suffering, I grew to discover deeper compassion as a result of my grief experiences. If you are angry and doubtful, your feelings are valid and understandable. I vividly remember feeling that way, and my lyrics express those sentiments. But I also thought my beliefs would never change, and gradually they did. I learned that it was possible for life experiences to shift my beliefs.

I don’t believe that God is doing things to hurt me or anyone else. I prefer to imagine instead that God was crying alongside of me during my struggles. I also feel that Jason and my angels are there with me; their love and guidance surround my heart if I am open to it.

Lesson 7 – CRYSTAL OCEANS

I composed my song “Crystal Oceans” as a young girl fantasizing about romantic possibilities. Of all the songs I wrote as a teenager, this one was certainly the most joyous.

Crystal Oceans ends with the line “the moment you let me in your heart.” But many years later, I recognized that this was the moment when I allowed music back into my heart after years of grief. When I first pulled my guitar out of its dusty case, I had hardly played for decades. I was an overwhelmed with the endless responsibilities of being a caregiver for my family. I never envisioned where my guitar would lead me, that my life would completely change after that moment. Is there a way you could see a different story for your life?

Maybe it is time for you to picture a new beginning. There was a time when I felt that most of my life was over and I had nothing to look forward to. But my music healed me; whenever I heard the sweet notes of Crystal Oceans, I was completely uplifted. I pictured myself sailing freely into a new life. It turned out that life wasn’t over for me; it was just beginning.

Lesson 8 – ALABASTER SEASHELL

I wrote the verses to my song “Alabaster Seashell” when I was 17. I loved seashells and kept jars of them in my bedroom. This song was originally based upon the story of a boyfriend giving me a seashell in my teens. I imagined that one day I would reminisce over that treasured memento. Over three decades later, I finished my song. The boy in the story that found the alabaster seashell was my deceased son, Jason. He became my inspiration to finish this song as I remembered a beautiful day with him at the beach.

A seashell is a touching metaphor for something beautiful that is left behind once the creature is gone. If you’re dealing with a difficult loss, I hope you can access comforting memories. Initially, that isn’t easy to do. But replacing painful images with uplifting ones made a huge difference to my life.

Alabaster Seashell is about seeing life as an opportunity to create treasured memories with our loved ones. Instead of anticipating loss, I appreciate each day as a precious gift to remember. I try to make every day special, because that’s how treasured moments happen.

Lesson 9 – MORE THAN YOU KNOW

I wrote my song “More Than You Know” at the age of 19, when a close friend was drifting away from me. Over a decade later, my lyrics became applicable to the grief I endured after my son Jason died. I revised the lyrics and read them at his funeral.

The lyric line “I thought that you were mine,” was an assumption that has led me to heartbreak. I was forced to accept the harsh reality that no one can ever belong to me. Instead, I held onto what I cherished with all the love in my heart as I let them go. At the beginning when my mother had dementia, I was bereft at the loss of the sharp woman she used to be. It was awful watching my father suffer and wish for death. I was depressed receiving reports about the disabilities my children struggled with. Letting go in all of those situations wasn’t easy, but my love carried me through. I also turned that love into compassion and forgiveness. I couldn’t continue to blame myself for not being able to save Jason.

With healing, every day is precious for me. Even during stressful times, I try to find beauty in small moments. Is there a way in your life, you can see beyond your stress and discover miracles?

Lesson 10 – IN EVERY SMILE

My song “In Every Smile” begins with the line: “One day I’ll be gone.” With my lyrics, I am speaking to my children – letting them know that I don’t want them to suffer with my passing. Ironically, even though I wrote it for them, I feel my parents and Jason hugging me with every word.

The last line of “In Every Smile” is: I’m not really gone, when my love lives on. When I can make a difference, I feel like my love is “living on.” After my parents died, I was able to understand how their love living on played out in my life. There are incredible lessons to be gained from acknowledging mortality. It is the foundation for making each day count – and to make a difference by positively impacting others, especially those we care about.

Delving into my life experiences through the framework of song lyrics has definitely expanded my heart. Opening the door to my heart not only allowed me to find support, but also to reflect and gain wisdom by forging deeper human connections. I lived a zombie-like existence for decades until I began to open up to write and share about my life. The door to my heart opened with vulnerability and authenticity. I close my course by asking: “How can you open the door to your own heart?”

Click on the these images for stories, lyrics, and performances of the “Door to My Heart” songs:

YOU WERE THERE

CRYSTAL OCEANS

IN EVERY SMILE

ALABASTER SEASHELL

THE DOOR

NEVER GONE AWAY

NO WORDS

WONDER WHY

WITH ME

MORE THAN YOU KNOW