PICTURE YOURSELF SURROUNDED BY ALL THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU:
WHO IS THERE AND HOW DOES IT FEEL?
This month I want to ask you to see what happens when you try to imagine something. I want you to imagine for just a moment that you are sitting at a table, and that you are surrounded by literally ALL of the people who love you – from your past, and from your present as well. What would it be like, to have all of those people together for a moment in time, gazing upon you, seeing you as they have seen you in your finest moments? Seeing you through the eyes of love? Who would be there at the table? How would it feel, for you, to try to take in all of that attention and love, at once?
So I tried to imagine: What WOULD it be like, to have everyone who loves me, present, there for me, circling me, sitting around a table? And what kind of a song might allow that moment to be experienced to its fullest depth and potential?
I imagined that a moment like that, at its best, COULD be breathtaking. And that, for myself anyway, those moments that are most amazing, and that I am able to experience most fully, are the moments in which I "catch it"--moments when I dare to truly STOP, hold still, and really allow myself to feel what is happening. And the best way to do that, I have found, is to become conscious of the breathing. To "wake up" into the moment. Through one breath.
So please consider learning about Gary, and how these lyrics grew out of who he is, and his connection with his equally inspiring wife. But, too, just as important, once you know the story - consider listening to the song and imagining that it is YOU surrounded by love and adoration. Because what we can imagine brings the seeds for what becomes possible.
When Gary was a very young man, just newly getting married, both of his inlaws died in a tragic auto accident. So as a newlywed, he and his then-wife took on the raising of her younger siblings, and then went on to raise a family of their own. Gary went on to become the Executive Director of a number of different non-profit organizations, including one that has become near and dear to my heart - the ALS Association, that works with Lou Gehrig's disease. I met Gary because years ago, he heard my song, "Bright Eyes" which I had composed for a family struggling with Lou Gehrig's disease. Gary was so completely blown away by meeting that family and by the impact their song had on him that he picked up the phone, called me in Boston, and asked right there on the spot if he could fly me out to Washington D.C. to perform the song at the Public Policy Convention, before the largest-ever gathering of ALS patients and their families. That's Gary for you: able to feel so deeply, able to act so immediately, from the heart, creative and innovative in his thinking, and extremely broad in the scope and impact of that which he undertakes. Performing for that audience (and that specific family, including the ALS dad who had worked with me to create that song for his own daughter) turned out to be one of the great highlights of my performing career. And Gary was the reason it all came to pass.
If that night was a highlight in my life, the night he just recently heard his song, "Take One Breath," encircled by friends and loved ones, and commissioned by his adoring wife, turned out to be a highlight of his life. Here's the note he sent me afterward. There are about eight thousand reasons why I love my job. But getting notes like this ranks way the heck up at the top of the list:
Well, last Saturday evening was the celebration of my 70th birthday but more importantly, the debut of your incredible song, Take One Breath!
To say the least, saying I was surprised, touched, stunned and amazed are just not enough adjectives to describe the depth of how your words and music hit me. I not only was crying… I was speechless - which is definitely a first for me!
Denise and you nailed me directly, describing through music and lyrics who I am, what I have strived to achieve in my life, and how much love I have surrounding me. I am truly a blessed man to have such a devoted loving wife, 2 loving daughters, 4 fun-loving grandchildren…and a remarkable songwriter who understands the importance of making a difference in people’s lives and does so every day.
Thanks so very much for your birthday gift which I will treasure the rest of my life.
With heartfelt thanks,
So here's to Gary: a man who brought out an astonishing turn of events in my life, and who was able to breathe deeply into one of the more amazing moments in his own. And here's to you, faithful reader. Perhaps you can hear me, this time around, singing directly, also, to you.
TAKE ONE BREATH
Take one breath
And look around you
See who surrounds you
And ask yourself
What it means to be seen
To be seen, to be seen
You have held the whole world up
From such a young, young age, and
You have launched a thousand balls
And kept them all up, and you still do today, and
You have touched so many lives
And made them stronger
You have touched so many lives
Filled with wonder
You are filled with wonder
So, take one breath
And look around you
Let love astound you
Let yourself know
What it means to feel seen
By all who love you,
But most especially
Because I see
Such a gift of grace
In your face
Such ability to reach
To deeper meaning
To deeper feeling
And oh, the way you’ve touched my life
It’s made me stronger
The love I feel for you inside
Calls me onward
Ever onward, Gary
And I find you
We all find you
So take one breath
And look around
© 2011 Anna Huckabee Tull, CustomCraftedSongs.com
Anna Huckabee Tull is an Award-Winning Singer Songwriter, a Psychologist and a Life Coach. She creates songs and videos on commission to help individuals mark meaningful transitions, passages, and moments of celebration. The song "Take One Breath" was recorded at Wellspring Sound in Acton, MA, with Eric Kilburn on acoustic guitar, and at Straight Up Music in Arlington, MA with Peter Zay on cello.