Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011

A coming to a close
a turning of the page
the past will always
inside of me
and yet
it doesn't have to
have a 
on me

life dances
a constant interaction
of the mystery 
of what is seen
with the 
mystery of 
what is unseen
a tapestry of moments

Let me be gentle
with the pages
already turned
Let me be open
to a new chapter of possibilities
Let me know the adventure
of a story 
not yet complete

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Bind My Life to Love......

one of my favourite prayers!
I  bind my life to Love
Merry Christmas everyone.

I bind my mind to Love
I bind my heart to Love
I bind my feet to the path that Love has for me        
I bind my life to Love

I bind my mind to Love
I bind my heart to Love
I open my hands to receive Love’s gifts
I bind my life to Love 

I bind my mind to Love
I bind my heart to Love
I open my life to let Love flow through
I bind my life to Love

Love speaks and says to me
Arise, and Come with me
Winter is over and gone
And the time for singing has come
Yes the time for singing has come

copyright 2009 Cathy AJ Hardy

Friday, December 23, 2011

ebb and flow and the deepening of roots

as I stand on the shore of change
I feel the ebb and flow
of the tides
the energy of
the ocean
moving towards me
washing over me
and then
I feel the sand sinking
my feet
the sucking of life
pulling away from me
as the water retreats
and I am left
on the shore
in pools of grief
letting go of what was familiar to me
and present to my unknown future
and I am reminded
of a time past
when I saw myself as a tree
and the beautiful gardener came
to me
with tender eyes
but an axe
in his hand
and he chopped
all my branches off
til I was only a stump
I was a stump for a long time
what was important on the outside
needed to be pruned
and little did I know
that roots needed time
to grow
deep down into the earth
so that my tree
could come
back to life.
And I was very surprised
one day
when I realized
I was growing again
new life
coming back
new branches being formed
and the tree was more solid than it had ever been
and the roots have continued to grow
and there has been
ebb and flow to my tree
times of growth,
times of deepening
times of fruit bearing
and times of letting the leaves fall

And now I must trust
these deep roots
that they are even deeper
than the ebb and flow
of the ocean waters
of life
that come close to me now

My humanity
longs for certainty
for predictability
for normalcy

My prayer for this season
is that my heart can stay open
to trusting
to loving
to resting
to being
in the midst of the ebb and flow
of my heart

and that I may embrace the moments that are full and wash over me with abundance
and that I may let the tears flow when the tides of emptiness and longing pull the waters
back again into the wide ocean

knowing that my roots are tapped into
streams of living water
and I will live.

Monday, December 19, 2011

let it be

let it be
words of Mary
saying yes to the
unexpected realities
of her life
saying yes
to knowing
she might be 
an outcast
even stoned
her yes
was not 
or weak
it was a powerful
what had been her dreams
for her life?
what had been her aspirations?

but in that unexpected hour
in the moment
of her life being changed
in direction

she said
let it be
let it be

letting go of what was
and allowing
a new reality 
let it be

living in the present moment
and shifting
let it be

letting go of of fear
and saying
yes to trust
let it be

allowing hope for a new
seeds of dreams
let it be

and as the Beatles sang it....
And when the night is cloudy 
there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, 

let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, 

Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, 

let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Sunday, December 18, 2011

tidings of comfort and joy


Two powerful words that form the basis of the chorus of a well-known Christmas carol.
This season, I have created new words for this old carol.......

here they are:

(sing to 'God rest ye merry gentlemen')

From all four corners of the earth
From land and sea and sky
From deepest depths of ocean
From mountain peaks on high  
A song of hope
A song of love
A song of peace is born
O Tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy  

For those whose song has ended
For those whose hearts have died
For those whose dreams are broken
For those who weep and sigh
A promise of
Redemption comes
A story of new life
O Tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Don’t let your hearts be troubled
And do not be afraid
Love overcomes all darkness
Love overcomes all shame
Let’s sing a song of freedom
Let’s sing a song of praise
O Tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O Tidings of comfort and joy

A song of hope igniting
A song of love is born
A song of peace fills all the earth
this glorious Christmas morn
A song of hope
A song of love
A song of peace is born
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

To the melody of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ .
Lyric changes by Cathy AJ Hardy 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the diminished chord and the journey of perfection

Today I was talking to my mom about her quilts.
And how they add to my home - filling two walls in particular with their art.
My mom said - but they are not perfect.
Ahh mom....
it is like the beautiful diminished chord I said.
A few years ago I had a wonderful music theory/history teacher.
When he spoke of the composers he spoke as if he knew them personally - he knew their music so well.  He shared with me his love of musical scores, love of musical patterns and many historical pieces of information I knew little about.
One day he shared with me about the diminished chord.
The diminished chord was one of my technical requirements with the Royal Conservatory of Canada, but I had never really understood its' roots.
If you take a major scale and build a chord on every single note of the scale, there is something called a perfect 5th that occurs on every single note - except one.  The 7th note of the scale.  Instead of a perfect 5th, you have what is called a flat 5th.
This was greatly disturbing in the past - because it didn't create a perfect pattern.  It became known as the devil's chord and was forbidden to be used in different time periods.
This devil's chord then became one of the hallmarks of the 'sound of jazz' - the flat 5th....and perhaps why jazz was called 'the devil's music'...
There is a certain amount of dissonance in this sound - one that creates a desires for resolution.
But I love the sound of this chord, this sound - and I use it in some of my compositions....
Whenever I am tempted to desire life to be 'perfect', I am reminded of  the diminished chord....
that instead of 'the devil's chord', it is really a chord of beauty -
the diminished chords of our lives
bring tension
bring dissonance
remind us that life is not about
being 'perfect'
but about
so much more.
If I am able to embrace
life and all it's imperfections -
maybe I will learn some grace in living
and perhaps maybe
I'll be able to receive the love of others in a deeper way
knowing that they are also
embracing me
and all of my imperfections
the diminished chord
in me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

more about beauty

  • There is a lot of beauty in the poem below written by Chelsea Reimer at the recent Silent Retreat I was leading  in November.  As she read her poetry out loud to us on the last day of the retreat, I was struck by her words and images.   Our culture runs away from sadness, from death, from waiting, from emptiness.  and in these words, she is inviting us to see the beauty in these very things.  And to perhaps not only 'see' the beauty but to rest in it.  To rest in our sadness, to rest in our waiting.  To embrace the dark shadowed parts of our lives as much as the light filled pockets.  And in doing so, we embrace the full picture of being human.                                                                                                  
    A Beauty.

    There is a beauty in sadness,
    A soft exhaling breath
    of something felt so deeply
    and as quietly as death.

    There is a beauty in waiting
    for joy to wander back,
    and watching as the day grows dim
    from yellow tones to black.

    There is a beauty in feeling
    what all creation knows,
    in letting life have ups and downs
    and walking through its woes.

    There is a beauty in knowing
    that night is just a hue,
    and that in depths of sadness
    my heart can rest in you.

    by Chelsea Reimer
    November, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

christmas season - hanging on and letting go

christmas season
marked by memories of years past
what we hope for
what we long for
what pains us
what yields joy
a time to hang on
a time to let go

hanging on
to treasured simple moments of the past
letting go
of disappointments
hanging on
to choosing love
letting go
of being bitter
hanging on
to continue to dream
letting go of the 'way it should be'
hanging on
to possibilities
letting go
of futile thinking
hanging on
to a spirit of generosity
letting go of isolation
hanging on
to child-like faith
letting go
of cynicism
hanging on
to beauty
letting go
of barrenness
hanging on
to faith, hope and love
letting go
of anything less

Sunday, December 04, 2011

story 2 from the song journey

another story from the song journey.....

Thirteen years ago, when I was 31 years old, I hit the depths of despair.  I guess everyone has their own story – what really constitutes loss for them.  My loss may not seem like much to you, but it is based on what I valued, what I treasured, what I had placed my hopes and dreams on.  And it got taken away.  However, unbeknownst to me at the time,  the loss held it’s own magical treasure which I have slowly unpacked year by year.
I had grown up with understanding that my life’s value revolved around the men in my life, my father and future husband.  I learned intrinsically to know their needs and desires and that service to them was where my identity was held.  My husband never desired this kind of value system, but I wasn’t even consciously aware that I held it and operated out of it.  It created all kinds of chaos for our marriage.
Instead of an equal partnership, I sought to make my husband more than he was and I subtly placed all kinds of pressures on him.  Not that he had not inspired me to do so as well!  When I first met him, he was a young man full of adventure before him, dreams yet to be realized and excitement for the future. I was excited to partner with him.
Life doesn’t always unfold as you believe it will when you are twenty.   One day my husband came to tell me he didn’t know if we could remain married.  Our joint faith of Christianity had become something he could no longer identify with and he needed room to change.  He didn’t know if he could remain with me, someone who still identified as a Christian, and he didn’t know if I would want to remain with him as one who could not.
In some ways, we were both in shock at this time.
Our wedding vows had been, ‘here we are Lord, send us’……putting our faith and the desire for service at the very epicenter of our relationship.  If the epicenter was no longer there – did we have anything left?
So began a desperate journey to find out.
What I had valued……was disappearing before me.
A time for weeping had begun.
I went for counseling.
It was expensive.  I had no money.
But I was desperate.  I needed help.
So, I kept going.
One day, my counselor asked me a question.  And it will ever be a moment that will remain with me.  It is a moment that time stood still and made my soul pause and also awaken.
In her beautiful southern drawl, if only you could hear me say this in person to give you the full effect…..she said, ‘now Cathy, what do you want?’
It was not a question I was expecting.  My thoughts were towards my marriage, my union, my utopia that was crashing.
And she brought me back to me.
What do I want?
What did you ask?
Not sure I know the answer to this question.
In fact, I am completely stumped by the question.  I have absolutely no idea what Cathy wants.  In fact, who the hell is Cathy?
I felt like a deer facing head-lights.
I had nothing to say and I couldn’t even think straight.

It may seem like a selfish question to ask, ‘what do you want?’.  However, I have come to believe that our most innate longings, our deepest human desires are connected with our purpose, our deepest meaning.  I do not believe it is ‘selfish’ to live into our calling, our purpose, our reason to live.  In fact, I believe it is where we tap into some incredible joy …for ourselves and for community.

So that day, 13 years ago, after the appointment I left…..and began the process of wandering and wondering.  What do I want?  I felt like I was thrown out of an airplane and landed in a foreign land and there was no path.  I just felt lost.

For two weeks I experienced a ‘not-knowing’.  A confusion – but an honest search accompanied this confusion.  Can I know?  Is it possible to know?  Where did Cathy go?  Who is this person?

And then it happened.  The moment.  I was walking along a street.  I mean these moments don’t happen during lightening storms or exotic times in the desert.  They are part of the very ordinary moments of my life.  But then these ordinary moments become the extraordinary, the supernatural, transformational, life-changing moments.
I was standing on the corner of North Decatur Road and Clairmont and pushing the button for the cross-walk.  And this ‘thing’ rose up from a place inside of me that was unfamiliar to me then. 
Sometimes I like to think of it as the kiss of the prince – it is what awakened me from my soul slumber.

‘I want to sing’.
This is what came bubbling  up like a small soap bubble that is utterly fragile from this unknown place.  I want to sing?
For those of you that know me now, you might think this is obvious, of course, Cathy sings.  But oh no, you did not know me then.
I was a wife. I was a mother. I was a piano teacher.  I did not sing.  That was the fluff of the hidden dreams of a 7 year old…the secret passions of a 16 year old…..the given-up longings of a young woman who already felt past her prime of her twenties.
Singing? Really?
As my mother would say, it sure wasn’t very ‘practical’.
Someone asks, what do you want?  And you say you want to sing?
It just sounds silly.
Or it did to me.
But there is something about being at that bottom place. When the realities of life are difficult and in some ways you feel you have already lost what is most precious to you. And there comes this awareness, what do I have to lose?  I’ve already lost.
I’m already on ground zero.
So, let me become awake to this longing…..let me pay attention.  Let me notice this fragile bubble of life that welled up from what I believe was a fragile soul.  A soul that had gone to sleep because there was no room for her to live.  A soul that had sacrificed itself for others to thrive but had lost knowing of it’s own value and worth.  A soul that was hidden in darkness. voiceless, formless and without color.

But that day, the soul awakened and sent a message up to my consciousness.  I will always be thankful that I had the courage at that point to listen to this fragile message. 
And that moment began the journey of my voice.  It became not only the voice to sing, but to express the cry, the beauty, the song of the soul.  It became the journey to sing to souls all around me and invite them to wake up also.  That moment began the journey beyond my personal crisis, and to rediscover why I am here on this planet.
And one of the reasons I am here is to sing.
And growing me in me now – 13 years later, is the longing to help others listen to the fragile voice within themselves.
Friend, what do you want?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Love Shines CD for Christmas

you can find the Love Shines CD here 
lower prices for Christmas for multiple sales
Here are some comments from people who have 
experienced the music on this album:

“Cathy Hardy’s ‘Love Shines’ CD filled with the presence of love entered my world at just the right time. Track 4 ‘Breathing Together’ almost took my breath away . . . well more accurately it brought tears of deep connection; the first time a song has done that in a long time! The whole CD is exceptionally beautiful”    Brian Doerksen

‘Cathy is deeply in tune with her humanity and present reality and her music comes from deep within.  Her voice is powerful and her songs are varied from soulful to fun.  Her message is real, human and for everyone.  Her lyrics call me to dance, to cry, to embrace and let go.  Cathy is a force to be reckoned with – I love her CD – it calls me to live freely and fully.’  Evy Klassen 

Hi Cathy.... The more I listen to your music the more it moves me. It is so relevant and so now. I just can not say enough about it. I can feel the Spirit rooted into every word, every phrase, every note. I feel so blessed to have seen you live and can\'t wait to do so again and this time take more friends!!! Thank you thank you thank you...your gift is assisting me to continue this walk towards Love and Light....

 "Fantastic! A great place for  concert, very intimate (Chilliwack Love shines concert Oct 2011). Really enjoyed myself and your music Cathy. In fact, I uploaded "Love Shines" from iTunes during the performance. I just love this CD. Listen to it all the time. 
Best of luck at the Gospel Music Awards!"

You move mountains with your gift of music!

By the way, your music has blessed me immensely, especially your last CD.  It came at a time in my life where it fell on me like a light mist, washing away doubt and disillusionment. 

Thank you for your hard work and gift.   

Thank you for your music.  My friend listened to "The Winter is Over" at just the right time and it gave her hope.  It was at the end of something she was struggling with.  And she knew after listening to that song, that her struggle was finished.

I'm soaking your new CD into the pores of my being. Cathy, it is amazing!
You are so vibrant and so alive throughout the songs........words, music.
Life, freedom and hope emanate from it.  It feeds my soul and.........
I love it

I've been listening to your new CD and am enjoying it. I find your voice to be so mature and expressive, and the musicianship and technical aspects of the CD excellent.

First i just wanted to say I attended your concert tonight and it was truly one of the very best concerts I have EVER been to. Your music speaks to my heart and is so healing