LET THE SUNSHINE IN
For those in the know, my Aunt once a week challenges me to write a poem, not just to encourage my creative side, or to give me inspiration for blogs but also as a way of therapy and to come to terms with being a “survivor” of not just having breast cancer, but also depression arising from an abusive marriage, and to be able to move forward more positively to find the person inside of me that I want to be. I have always said that my blog has been of huge therapeutic importance to me and scientist have proven that by keeping a journal, or these days a blog, opening up and expressing your feelings is another way of facing and coping with life’s anxiety and stresses. It doesn’t matter if your journal is just personal to you (and I did keep one for a year I ran from my marriage and through my depression), how you do it, or whether it is made public. If my blog also brings comfort, starts a debate, educates, inspires, brings a smile and thoughtfulness (even to just a few) then that is a good thing too!
“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.” Frank Lane
So this week my blog is about sunshine and I have shared my weekly poem later on in the blog. When considering how I would write the poem I realised that there are so many different metaphors as to what sunshine means to each one of us. For me it’s that special feeling when you feel the first warmth of the sun on your face, the healing rays and the light and energy the sunshine gives out uplifting my spirits and enveloping my heart with love.
“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” Mahatma Gandhi
Now that I have moved to a second floor flat, with a balcony on the Southside, I have never felt the sun so welcome for such a long time. After living in a house that was quite dark just having light to brighten up my day has made a huge difference. I can now just sit in my lounge soaking up the healing rays of the sun through the window, observing the heavens from sunrise to sunset to a starry night. I open up my balcony doors to a fresh warm breeze and I have noticed just how much more hopeful, calm and happy I am (even if I still shout at my sun to help me keep the place tidy!).
I know I need to be careful of being in the sun due to my radiation treatment (and generally it’s not a good idea for anyone to be out in the sun too much), just spending a little time outside when the sun is shining, with most people feeling cheery, calms my nerves and lift my spirits.
“A sunrise or sunset can be ablaze with brilliance and arouse all the passion, all the yearning, in the, soul of the beholder.” ― Mary Balogh, A Summer to Remember
We have had strange weather here in the UK recently, a heat wave at the end of February beginning of March, dreary days in May and April and the wettest June on record! So it is very noticeable how much happier everyone is when the sun shine is shining.
There’s a reason for this. Our bodies need sunlight in the same way it needs food, water and exercise. The sun is a person's most crucial source of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a host of physical ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, allergies, Alzheimer's, obesity, and depression. Also in addition to the noticeable lift it gives your mood, it also helps lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, improves your immunity, regulates your weight, and reverses symptoms of many chronic diseases.
The field of science that studies the effect of weather on our health is called human biometeorology. Vitamin D is the best natural antidepressant you can have and sunlight increases the chemical called serotonin which is a neurotransmitter in your brain which levels can have a profound effect on your mood. Scientists have also linked that depression coincides with a dearth of sunlight to the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep. When sunlight fades, some of us produce copious amounts of melatonin, contributing to the drowsy; out-of-sorts feeling that can plague us on winter days
A half hour walk around the block during the sunniest hours of the day just might be a more effective and less harmful than prescriptive medication for depression!
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.” Walt Whitman
Of course having too much sunlight can also have a detrimental effect, causes not only premature skin aging and sun spots, but also: skin cancer (which is on the rise due to amount we sunbathe). However, the right amount of sun exposure is good for you.
We’ve been told to avoid sunshine… keep indoors during peak sun hours… cover yourself with sunscreen if you go outside… wear long-sleeved shirts, hats and sunglasses even when it’s not sunny… and limit your direct contact with the sun’s rays - but this is not always the right thing to do. Although protein and genetic tissue are damaged each time your skin burns, putting you at greater risk for skin cancer, clinical evidence shows that sunlight in moderation may also prevent 17 different kinds of cancer! It is actually more dangerous to avoid sun exposure completely and the benefits of sun exposure will far outweigh the possible dangers. Independent scientific research has shown that if you live in a sunny climate, or if you live in a not-so-sunny climate but expose yourself to sun, then your increased production of vitamin D due to UVB radiation will help lower risk of a host of debilitating and fatal diseases.
So don't be afraid of going out in the sun ... enjoy the sunshine soak up its healing rays, lighten up your mood and let those happy hormones flourish. Just remember everything in moderation and avoid getting sunburn!
“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine”. Anthony J. D'Angelo
When starting to write my poem on the radio came on the song “I can see clearly now” and the sentiment it expressed closely matched how I was feeling at that time; so I based my poem around this and to add extra complexity(!) around other sunshine songs as well. Adding music to the mix gives a different dimension to the poem and I think a kind of uplifting atmosphere – just as I found poetry, short stories (couldn’t focus on a book in its entirely), films and art an inspiration and comfort during my cancer treatment the same goes for music.
I am not sure if the poem actually works with the sunshine songs, whether it adds value to the written feelings that flow from me - but there again I am only just developing my poetry and this is an experiment - you can’t be fearful to experiment with life now and again. I am sure there is a quote somewhere about experimenting with life!
The Sunshine songs I chose are very mixed , rock, pop, disco, classical, some oldies and some newer songs, some we all know and others you may not know, and some are remixes of very popular songs – but each song resonated with me either through memories, the lyrics, atmosphere or the energising uplifting beat. Not everyone will like the songs on the playlist although there is something there for everyone!
My brilliant son created me a You Tube Channel - as well as designing the background on it as well and also updated my blog page so I can add necessary links etc and generally made it look much more inviting than before! This has meant that I have been able to create a playlist for anyone else who would wish to listen to the songs mentioned in the poem. I have also listed the playlist after each verse.
I hope you enjoy!
It’s gonna to be a bright (bright) sun-shiny day
I can see clearly now - acoustic cover
A ray of light in the night sky rising above the horizon and the sun blazes forth
“I can see clearly now the rain has gone. I can see all obstacles in my way “
“Sunshine”, “Welcome Sunshine”
“Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, it’s gonna be a bright (bright) sun-shiny day.”
Spears of fire in their fury welcome in a new day, a new dawn, a new start
Darkness infusing with golden light spreading warmth surrounding the cold fear around my heart
“Sunshine”, “The Sun is shining”
Whispers the south winds, wiping the sleep from my eyes, wake up, wake up my head I raise
“Here comes the sun”, “Good day sunshine,”
The grey clouds have gone, and a smile bubbles up and I look at the skies and pray with silent praise
“Let the Sunshine in” let it be “Everyday Sunshine”
(Play list: Sunshine - Ambient - Soundtrack - John Murphy, Force & Jack Speed Feat. Lisa Abbott - Welcome (to the sunshine), Avicii & David Guetta - Sunshine (Seif Festival Remix), Bob Marley - Sun is Shining (Brand Blank Remix), The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun , The Beatles - Good Day Sunshine, Let the Sunshine In (Hair), Fishbone - Everyday Sunshine)
Sunshine touches my troubled mind, a golden thread of warmth happiness entwining my soul
“I think I can make it now, the pain is gone, all of the bad feelings have disappeared” (far way)
It’s been a “Cold day in the Sun”, “Away from the Sunshine”
“Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for, It’s gonna be a bright (bright) sun-shiny day.”
Laughter in the sun lightens my mood, calming the thoughts of the struggle and worries ahead
Have been so weary, so weary frustrated and lost, lacking the energy to get up from my bed
“Invisible Sun”, “Distant Sun”, travelling down the “Sunshine Road “,
Such a long time in the shadows of creeping illness, the greyness of a depressive mind
From” Sunny Hills”, I’m “Waiting for the Sun” “take me to where the Sun is shining”
Long time seeking the healing golden rays, with all the enthusiasm of life and joy to find
Oh to hear the “Sound of Sunshine” again, singing in my heart the “Sunshine Song “
(Play list: Foo Fighters - Cold Day In The Sun, Automatic Eye - Away From Sunshine, INVISIBLE SUN-The Police, Distant Sun by Crowded House, Owen Campbell - Sunshine Road, Bobby Caldwell - Sunny Hills, Waiting For The Sun - The Angels With Dave Gleeson, Take Me Where The Sun Is Shining – COLESKE, Michael Franti & Spearhead - Sound of Sunshine, Jason Mraz - Sunshine Song)
As the sunshine breaks through stormy weather, brightening the dreariness of my world
“Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies, Look straight ahead, nothing but blue skies”
Ever “chasing the sunshine with a “pocketful of sunshine,”
“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way “ (no more lies)
The sorrowing burdens slip away and what is past is in the past, what has been unsaid locked away
Life expanding, opening up fresh challenges and possibilities excitement in each and new bright day
“With Sunshine on My Shoulders” I am going “to soak up the Sun”
A new confidence, strength and energy rising from the ashes of a kindling fire
Nothing will “Steal my Sunshine away”, “when the Sunshine Comes”
Now time to rest, time to recover, time to recoup, not losing my balance on life’s high wire
On these “Sunny Days”, I will “keep on the sunny” side of life
(Play list: The Wanted - Chasing The Sun, Take me away (a pocket full of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow-Soak Up The Sun, Steal My Sunshine- Len, When the Sunshine Comes (Instrumental) - Kero One, Sabrina Starke - Sunny Days, Keep On The Sunny Side - The Whites)
Whatever now comes my way I have the strength to stand alone and survive
“I can see clearly now the rain has gone. I can see all obstacles in my way”
“Behind the sun “- “I make my own sunshine”
“Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, it’s gonna be a bright (bright) sun-shiny day”
I gaze out of my window I see children at play hear the laughter, the songbirds sing
I look up into the calming blue sky, and thank god for the love in me these things bring
“We are children of the Sun”, and” life is beautiful”, ” life is wonderful”
I still have a life’s magical story to unfold, and grateful that it can still be told
And while we have “Season in the Sun” please “Don’t let the Sun go down on me”
I am thankful now that healing has begun and in my heart the Sunshine I now hold
It’s a “brand new day”, a “lovely day” and “I’m walking on sunshine”
(Play List:- Behind The Sun by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alyssa Bonagura - I make my own Sunshine, Feeder - Children of the Sun, Vega 4 - Life Is Beautiful, Life Is Wonderful - Jason Mraz, Seasons in the Sun – Westlife, Don't let the sun go down on me-Elton John, Brand New Day by Joshua Radin, Lovely (88 Sunshine mix) remixed by BE – Bill Withers, Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves, Mashup Germany - Bright Sunshiny Day Jimmy Cliff)
“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower”. Hans Christian Andersen
I also wanted to mention, that it is not just the sunshine that has an effect on our moods, I also love the comforting sound of the pitter-patter of rain while I am sleeping, the exhilaration of watching lightening and storm rage outside while I am snug inside, walking on a windy beach watching the waves crashing, sitting near a cosy fire while it is cold outside, and the wondrous beauty of each individual snow flake
“For the man sound of body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather; every day has its beauty” George Gissing
The British are famous for their moaning and complaining about our changeable weather – and this can be mostly seen during Wimbledon! But it is something that bonds us together; a conversation opener and I often moan and complain along with everyone else - although I do laugh at myself afterwards thinking about the conversations I have with regard to the weather!
“Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while” Kin Hubbard
I thought I would add another poem to end of my blog and it is really inspired about letters in newspapers, global warming and conversations on the bus!
Oh why is the weather not always better?
Dear Sir, I just had to write …
Everyone is saying “We are fed up with all this rain” going round with a gloomy face, “I don’t care if we are in drought, and we prayed for the rain, but now it’s time for the sunshine to come and stay out”. We look at the rain down our window panes and wonder if we can get our washing dry, water pouring out of gutters, swelling drains and rivers rising high. But the kids are all out there with their umbrellas splashing in puddles glorying in getting wet - but still it isn’t enough we all use water too much, demand outstrips supply and this is all we are going to get.
And now the sun is here and having beautiful days, we complain it’s too hot, so humid, suffering sun-burn and like it not – we long for the shade of a breezy wind to cool down - or we suffer from hay fever sneezes and wheezes going out with a frown. Warm sweaty nights trouble sleeping, bugs and mosquitos buzzing and creeping. But the kids are all out in paddling pools, water guns at the ready longing for the beach, and those with solar panels rub their hands in glee their heating and electricity harnessing nature has been breached.
Dear Sir I just had to write ….
Wrong leaves on the line, trains running late - commuters all frustrated and fraught. Wind whipped up in raging storm weak sunshine rays are caught. “Where has the summer gone?” we all complain “it went by far too quick”. Why do the clocks have to go back we yearly debate yet enjoying that hour’s lie in, it gets on my wick? But the children are kicking up the leaves feeding the squirrels and whirling round and round like small whirlwinds. And far out to sea - or the blot on the landscape - whizz of the propellers of wind farms spins.
“Why aren’t we ever ready for the snow and everything just stops?” we ask. Dark freezing nights and the boilers stop working, pavements are slippery roads unsalted as the temperature drops. We’re scared to go out in hats, scarves and boots as our breath warms the air. Potholes, floods, black ice and accidents - what a nightmare. But the kids are outside building snowmen, sledging and laughing looking forward to the excitement of Christmas. Power cuts are looming, and we feel despair at the energy we use, and the exorbitant costs of turning up the gas.
Dear Madam, in response ….
The British weather is a source of conversation where ever we go, but we are lucky in our preservation as other countries in the world show. We don’t have extremes of freezing and boiling, of tsunamis and hurricanes spoiling, of hunger and earthquakes, disease and death and we should thank our fortune of our little isle with every breath. Our children can play, grow and be natured in relative wealth. But we shouldn’t take for granted our responsibility that we are given for our world and its health.
Dear Sir and Madam
Look around you are you blind, can’t you see the flowers growing in their glory, the lush green of the grass the songbirds musings as they frit and flow – the freshness after the rain as the sun starts to shine and our smiles begin to show. The wondrous colours of autumn oh what a gift, the beauty of snow as the seasons begin to shift. And although we are saying “What strange weather we are having - the seasons don’t seem right its cold when it should warm, rain when it should be dry”, the weather is giving us a fright. Is it global warming and we aren’t looking after our planet and is it time that we begin to care more? No one seems to agree which way we should go, reduce our carbon footprint, and recycle, nuclear power or natural energy - but it’s something we certainly can’t ignore.
“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.” Irish Blessings quotes
“Whatever your weather, let the sunshine in bringing happiness to the shadows of your heart and soul” Belinda Federl (aka me!)