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Title: Leaning into the Sharp Points Address: http://switchyardmusic.com/blog.htm Author: Rachel From: University Heights Blogging since: March 2007 Post Date: March 9, 2007

Post Title: The Death of a Dream Music has always been my one great love. I never fantasized about marriage or kids. My daydreams were always limited to visions of rock stardom and large amounts of wealth. I believed my band and I would write sweeping, epic masterpieces and tour the world performing them. I would have a giant house and buy giant houses for every member of my family. I would meet fascinating people, and they would find me fascinating. I would become that elusive, magical thing that I heard in every piece of music I loved. From the age of eight, that was the only thing my heart desired. In retrospect, it's possible to see how the dream was lost from the beginning. For one thing, I didn't even like my own music. (My mom did, which seemed enough.) For another, I hate performing live. I have the worst stage fright known to man. What kind of masochist wants to be a rock star when they hate being the center of attention? When I break it down, what was it exactly that I wanted?

Growing up, I was obsessed with the radio. My clock radio/cassette recorder and I spent many long hours together, me waiting breathlessly with my finger on the "record" button so I could capture my favorite song when it played. When the song did finally enter my ears, I was transfixed and elated -- I felt joined with something much bigger than myself. It was this feeling that drove me to dream so hard, not the love of performing. I wanted to become that feeling, for it to be permanently fixed in my heart and mind. Believing anything outside of myself would make this possible was perhaps my first mistake.

When it finally dawned on me that my life-long dream of becoming a famous songwriter was not going to come to fruition, I went to bed. Not for the night, but for three weeks. I was heartbroken.

Later on I would tell my therapist that I equated music with God. Somewhere in my eight-year-old mind, I connected my musical heroes with that great mysterious power. Call it God or divinity or whatever, but that is what I was pining for all along. I think this is true of everyone. Whether your prevailing desire is love, success, money, or fame, the underlying hunger is to be deeply connected with something. Instead of the trappings of fame and fortune, I have managed to gain some wisdom. And if wisdom leads me to a greater peace and happiness, then absolutely nothing has been lost.

Post Date: March 8, 2007

Post Title: Mission to the Void My boyfriend and I recently broke up. We lived together in a big, beautiful house on a corner and near a park. Together we rescued a puppy, got ourselves a propane grill, and enjoyed many hours of pay-per-view movies on his big-screen TV. We shared all the comforts of life for four years. Ultimately, we agreed that we were mismatched. It was the usual things -- I'm a bad housekeeper, he is a Republican, I am a dreamer, he is a realist, etc. So we called it quits. He bought a house and moved out. The dog and I stayed in the big, empty rental we shared until I found a tiny condo to live in.

The day I picked up the last of our debris and left the house empty was a hard day. I stood in the kitchen, staring at the dust balls of our shared life, and cried. Not just a few tears, but all of them. I cried the way people cry at funerals, until my eyes were swollen and my head ached.

I cried because I couldn't watch Oprah on his big-screen TV, because my dog would no longer have a yard, because there was no one to ask, "What's for dinner?" and because I missed him. During moments like that, I find it impossible to remember exactly why we broke up. I tried to conjure up the feeling of irritation I got when he was being annoying, but all I could feel was loss.

I once read that if you can conquer loneliness, you can conquer anything. As I unpack my belongings and try to squeeze them into my tiny condo, I begin to understand my mission. The object of this mission is to become friends with that awful, aching feeling of being alone.

People stay in bad relationships for years to avoid this feeling. It's like staring into a dark and endless abyss. You look into your own future and all you can see is a lifetime of Saturday nights reading and people telling you to "join a club."

I told a friend recently that I wanted to fall in love -- with myself, so that I would never need another person to make me happy. That isn't going to happen. I'm never going to get over my desire to connect with other humans. But I can stop averting my eyes every time I feel empty. I can look directly into the void and see what it is I've been hiding from all these years.

Here, with life stripped of all familiar distractions, is a beautiful opportunity to look into the face of the void, and make it a place of refuge. It's a chance to be comfortable in silence and know myself. I suspect that was the mission all along.

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