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You Are My Sunshine Click Here To Comment!

I'm having fun preparing some playlists / CDs for my party on Sunday. I know, I know, there is supposed to be live music – and there will be. But the musicians need a break too … and people might want to listen to something more danceable than we can produce with guitars, bongos and mandolins.

Not surprsingly, I'm also tossing in a few nostalgia pieces. I have 45 years of a severe music obsession to cover off, after all.

In the period of time between living in residence @ my college, post-break-up, and moving into the light-filled condo I now live in, I lived in a basement apartment in East York. Two rooms, 400 sq. ft., no windows to speak of. It was pretty bleak, really. I tried to make the best of it but any depressive tendencies I may have already possessed were pretty much given full rein in that dark little place. Especially in the two winters I spent there.

One Saturday evening, I remember driving home and listening to Finkleman's 45's. Crazy Danny Finkleman played these rare nostalgia pieces, as well as more popular stuff, from the 50's and 60's, mostly. And he'd rant on about a variety of things between songs. On this particular night, I was feeling particularly low and hoped that Danny would have something to cheer me up. He did – a relatively rare recording of Ray Charles doing You Are My Sunshine.

I was hooked. I've had it in my collection since then and just hearing the opening chords and first few lines can pick me up, for some reason. The song itself isn't an especially happy one, but it seems to work some kind of magic on me.

Sunshine on Sunday has been promised me … I've added this song to the playlist as insurance … a talisman of good things – past, present and future.

You Are My Sunshine
Ray Charles

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Put It In The Sun 3 comments

An ex of mine's grandfather was a doctor. Or at least, that is how I remember it. When at a loss addressing some problem, my ex's mother was taught to "put it in the sun". Thus, this was also my ex's counsel. Some wound not healing? Put it in the sun. Stains not coming out of clothes? Put 'em in the sun. Ear ache? Put it in the sun. Can't get the lid off a jar? Put it in the sun …

I have often wondered about this, especially since we are in the era of UVA/UVB rays and associated melanomas. Being as we are in Canada, and sun is at a premium, this bit of advice also must have a seasonal aspect to it. Nonetheless, I think there is a subtextural wisdom here that I will get to momentarily.

It is funny what we remember from our exes. I know that there are little bits from every person I've been close to that travel with me, either literally or figuratively, and this bit is one of my favs from this particular ex. I happen to know that, from me, she carries with her the folk "wisdom", or myth, that if cows are lying down in the field, then it is going to rain. I don't think this is as useful as "put it in the sun".

I awoke this morning a bit out of sorts. It was non-specific, one of those moods in which one cannot say "because of x, I now feel y". But I felt vaguely disappointed and dissatisfied … things not moving fast enough, feeling like I haven't done enough, situations not unfolding with either the speed or outcomes that I'd hoped for, or planned for.

Following both my Sunday morning proclivities, and my ex's advice, I put it in the sun for a while. Made coffee, bought a newspaper, took my dog to our favourite park, and sat in the sun, sipping excellent java while poking through the paper. My dog snuffled through leaves, greeted her friends, and also sat blinking in the sun. Maybe she needed re-charging, too. The sun feels so good on the skin after a long winter. I felt 100% better after putting it (me) in the sun.

Here is what I think "put it in the sun" really means:

There isn't a magic pill, or a perfect solution, or an exact linear path that each person can follow to find their Nirvana. Life is about finding the unique process that leads to the outcomes you desire. Sure, sometimes there are windfalls and lucky breaks, but mostly there is continuous hard work or, one hopes, smart work. Lots of it. It is more important to do the right things repeatedly, to incorporate the most beneficial behaviours, to find a routine that works, than to look for instant gratification, or instant success, or that one magic "thing" that will make one's dreams come true.  Sometimes you have to just do the right things and then measure one's progress in small steps. Look for small ways to improve. Keep one's eye on the long term. "Putting it in the sun" means giving it time and space to happen. Remember that patience and hard work wins out over instant gratification.

There are are many elements in my life that are pointing me towards this particular lesson right now. Weight loss, for example, isn't something that comes easily, but it is coming steadily over time. As I've noted before, it isn't linear and, in some cases, it isn't even logical. With attention and the right adaptations in behaviours, a few additions to the routine … it is happening. Similarly, a few runs at circuit training isn't going to give me that killer bod that I have in mind, but it will get me a little bit closer. 

One of the most important "needs" that I was seeking to meet when I moved back to Toronto was to find a sense of community. A sense of belonging, being part of something. I felt pretty depressed, to be honest, for several years after the break-up that led me back here. Disappointed that this sense of belonging that I so very much wanted to have fulfilled was eluding me. Well, guess what? I have it now, sometimes in spades. It took so long to evolve, but it was a matter of joining the right groups, following my instincts, making the right friends, choosing the right "family". I made mistakes along the way, some of them quite dramatic. But now, I'm feeling like I've found "my people" within this chaotic urban environment. I think this sense of having landed really started to be present for me about two years ago. Meaning that it took five years to happen. Not overnight, by any means.

Put it in the sun. Leave it there a while.

By some measures, my business is growing every week. I'm trying to do this organically, to allow myself enough leeway to try things and find out what I enjoy, what energizes me, and what I can leave behind. This takes time and will not happen overnight. I'm doing the right things and getting good responses … I need to remember to put it in the sun, too.  (Note to self: I've only been truly "self-employed" for 11-12 weeks. Get a grip. Put it in the sun. Leave it there a while.)

I'm taking a similar approach to dating / relationships. Stay open, stay busy, meet people. Have a good time. Don't push it. Put it in the sun. Leave it there a while.

Speaking of which, the sun has just broken through some clouds … looks like my dog and I need to get back out there in it.

Maybe you should, too. 🙂

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