clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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Listening to your own wisdom

This month has brought a huge amount of energy to us Earthwalkers, both collectively and individually. For months now I have shared the collective experience on this blog. Tonight I would like to share a personal view.

Obviously Life isn’t always what it seems on the surface. It’s important, when given some breathing space, to take time to reflect on your life and relationships, in relation to how they brought you to Now. I have had opportunities to do this recently, and it has been helpful.

Dear Readers, perhaps some of you have also been looking back at events and periods of your life in order to understand how you have come to Now. What those experiences brought you, whether painful or joyful, were opportunities to grow and heal your soul. We often cannot understand it in the moment, and indeed some of those painful times hurt so much that all we really want is for them to be gone! Now! Forever! But, we still had to live through them, and coming out the other side we can again breathe, think, and gain understanding.

I think it’s very difficult not to have regrets about your life; what I might have chosen, had I not gone down that road, may have been much more wonderful and made me infinitely happier than the path I did choose. Then there’s the trap of guilt; had I chosen differently, I might have spared my loved ones a whole lot of pain and suffering. This is all speculation, and probably not a helpful way of thinking. After all, I chose what I chose, and my current life is the result of the cumulative effects.

I’ve had intense moments of sorrow lately about things that happened in my past. I believe they have come up again for review so I can heal and let go of them at ever deeper levels. We are really not consciously aware of how profoundly we hold our human experience: memory stored in our DNA from eons of time and vast experiences that we may only recall as a vague feeling of discomfort, anxiety, anger, or sorrow. As we continue to evolve into our multidimensional selves, we must let go of the old experiences of separation. How many times have we loved someone, only to be hurt by them? Or likewise, have hurt the very one we so passionately cared for?

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We may feel alone in the world, but in reality we are always connected with all life, both on Earth and in the starry realms.

Nothing we said or did can be taken back. The play has been performed, the actors all played their roles perfectly, and that show is done. More and more I see my life as a series of one acts, improvs and feature length films. I observe myself living my life a lot these days. Now I am riding the bus; now I am standing in the sun with these other people; now I am cooking; now I am dreaming about what happened years ago. It’s an odd feeling, like I am both in and out of my body, observing and being observed.

The events on the world stage this past month have caused great anxiety and also moments of great exhilaration within my soul. I’ve had moments of pure stillness, when I am certain that beneath all appearances to the contrary, we are fundamentally alright, we will be alright, and in fact, will enter a golden age at some point in the not too distant future. Then I have days when everything seems grey, dark and nearly hopeless, those moments when fear grips my soul so strongly that I have anxiety attacks. The fluctuations are crazy, like a lifeline; up and down, relentlessly.

Dear readers, I write these words to you all tonight in hopes that some of you may take them to heart. Those of you who are feeling similarly buoyant and despondent by turns, please know that you are not alone. Even if you feel like you must be going mad, or the only one who feels like that, you must know that there are far more of us walking upon the planet now than ever before. Together we are here to create a new world. It is time for the crumbling and destruction of the old paradigm for real: Here and Now, in all the countries and continents of Gaia. The old ways of controlling people, resources and economies no longer work. We are collectively awakening, en masse. So the struggle, or rather battle, for freedom is raging strongly at this time.

From this battleground, the fires are burning. Eventually they will smolder, and then there will be ashes. From those hard won ashes, the Phoenix will rise. It’s happened before, countless times throughout our planet’s history. And it will soon happen again. The battle of the human soul is both personal and collective. If you feel like you are in the middle of a battle of some kind or other, that is correct: You absolutely are. So take the time, as much as you can, to rest. To find stillness and peace within. The more peaceful and joyful our experience while in the midst of all the chaos, the more we can each contribute to the whole. I do not advocate drowning yourself in substances which make you oblivious, not at all. Rather, it’s all about becoming evermore conscious. But warriors need to step back from the battle, in order to replenish. Every day.

Thank you for all that you are doing to help the world, the animals, and nature. Everything counts; no matter how small, it matters not. What matters is that you are contributing to the good, the positive. Keep forgiving yourself and everyone else, and shining your light.

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On Jazz, vices, dreams, and peculiarities

If you like great jazz music, and you haven’t yet heard Enrico Pieranunzi, well then go to Youtube and familiarize yourself with this virtuoso of classic piano jazz. I just returned from an overnight in Copenhagen, where I, along with my husband and a couple of friends, had the intense pleasure of experiencing Pieranunzi playing piano, along with a superb bassist and excellent drummer, both from Denmark, Jesper Ludgaard and Jonas Johansen. Here is yet another little story from life for you, dear Readers.

We got to Montmartre jazz club in the center of Copenhagen at the appointed time to meet my husband’s friend, a very nice, big, Viking-looking man named Kurt who has kept his hair long and his sanity intact while living there his entire adult life. Our other friend, Søren, showed up five minutes before the music began, and when I inquired what had happened to make him late he simply smiled and said, “sometimes I get a bit lost and completely lose track of time,” so I smiled and nodded back, “oh, okay then, I’ll remember that about you for the future!” During the hour in between arriving and when the music started, the small club became full with patrons, the waiters buzzing around our table, which was right in the middle of the room. The stage was the entire back end of the room, with enough space for the piano, the drum kit and a place for the upright bass player to sit. The club probably held about 80 people maximum, so I could tell it was going to be a special night of music as soon as we sat down. My husband was uncomfortable at the table we had been given, and chose to go sit with his Viking friend on some chairs closest to the stage, in front of the drum kit and bassist. I was left behind (by my choice,) with a goblet of red wine, a delicious Italian dessert, and a bunch of mostly middle-aged Danish people.

The club got more and more crowded, the sound man made the final preparations, and then a man stood up and (in Danish of course,) introduced Enrico and his trio. They came out, bowed, sat down at their respective instruments, and then began to play. Within minutes, everyone in the room was silent, focused on the music. By the middle of the second piece, I was overtaken by the music’s spell, transported to another realm where there was simply piano, bass and drums woven together in an enchanting tapestry of melody, rhythm, percussion, and beautiful, intricate sounds. As all of you lovers of jazz music know, it is nearly impossible to put words to the experience of hearing it live. It simply has to be experienced to be understood. My body was swaying, my feet were tapping, my hands were playing along with the various melodies and underrhythms, my thoughts dwindling until after a while I was simply in the music totally. It was wonderful!

 Enrico Pieranunzi, being the consummate musician and graceful person that he is, played brilliantly and had the perfect combination of control and improvisation, allowing each player to have a turn at the lead. For two and a half hours, with about a twenty minute break in between sets, they played some of the best jazz music I have ever heard in my life. All the more so because I had no great expectations before the concert, I had simply said ‘yes’ to my husband’s insistent invitation that ‘shouldn’t we go to Copenhagen and see Enrico Pieranunzi? Wouldn’t you like to?” Besides, I really let myself enjoy the whole thing: being in an upscale jazz club in the middle of Copenhagen, drinking first red wine, then a glass of wonderful, cold beer in a tall pilsner glass, getting totally immersed in the wonderous music, and afterwards even indulging in smoking a cigarette, something I haven’t done for many years, but as long as I was somewhat drunk and had just heard some of the best music ever, I thought why not? Not only that, but along with the music, smoking and drinking, appeared a side of me rarely seen these days: my uninhibited self. I became witty, sharp and funny, enhanced by the vices in which I had indulged. After the show was over, it was still not even 11 o’clock, so the four of us began walking through the streets, passing all sorts of revelers in evening dress, many of them obviously already drunk . It was a festive time, fun and a little exciting for me, who leads an otherwise very quiet and uneventful life.

As we walked along, talking of this and that, I suddenly had a rush of wonder at the beautiful music we had all just experienced, and I said, mostly to my husband, “Now what did you think of that music, wasn’t it really great?” to which he replied, ‘Well, it was okay,” in a subdued voice. In a heartbeat I was suddenly overcome with disbelief. “Okay!?? Are you kidding? That was some of the greatest jazz music EVER, as good as Miles Davis caliber, and I know that even Miles himself would have thought so!” I replied passionately. We walked further along the street. “Did you think it was great, Kurt?’ I asked. “Yes, I did,” Kurt replied calmly. “And you, Søren? Did you like it?” “Yes, I thought it was very good, I even made up a whole story in my head while they were playing,” Søren answered. Then my husband said, “I was actually more in the mood for Wagner,” to which I was simply speechless. We walked along some more, as I struggled with my outrage over my husband’s comment. I felt as insulted as if I had been playing the music myself, had just poured out all of my skill and virtuosity and heart only to have it fall on only half-opened ears and heart. I felt suddenly deflated, like the fizz had gone out of the soda pop of my soul.

We eventually found a bar with an empty table outside and sat for a while, they had more beers and I a ginger ale, talked a little bit. Then, suddenly, the waiters were telling us we had to finish up, it was nearly midnight. When I asked why they were closing so early on a Friday night, one told me it was the law in Copenhagen, after 12:00 everybody had to drink inside, but they were open until 5 am. So much for that, so then the four of us walked all the way through town, up one long street and down another, for half an hour, until we finally got back to Kurt’s apartment on the west end of town. There we all drank tea and listened to a part of a Wagner CD that my husband had brought along with him. By then it was so late, and I was so tired that all of my earlier euphoria had left, I could only huddle in my chair with my mug of tea, and wait out the Wagner music and conversation until it was time to sleep.

Live music, when it is played by consummate players, has no equal. I guess the nearest experience which might compare is lovemaking when it is done by two people in love. Perhaps for some, meditation can also bring one to that state of near-perfect bliss, though that has not been the case for myself. But Music, ahhh, Music!! I am so grateful to Enrico Pieranunzi and his group for giving all of us in the room last night such a wonderful, healing gift through their beautiful, interesting, intricate music. All the more so because I had no expectations as to its magic before I came. While they played I could dream, I could feel on a plane that was not tied to the body, I flew, I left this earth altogether, I was among the stars in a place where there were no words, only music, purely, wonderfully, lovingly, freely, music.

I suppose I will never know why my husband, who had been so enthusiastic about getting the tickets and taking the trouble to go to Copenhagen to see these musicians performing, afterwards was not impressed, did not love it like I did, but instead felt he would rather enjoy a record of Richard Wagner. After my initial shock at his cavalier and lackluster response to the concert, today I simply felt sad and disappointed that he didn’t love it the way he had expected to, and as I had. And it was a reaffirmation about human nature, about the paradoxes and the ironies that we contain, the judgments that we make. I will never know how or why another person can miss something which, to me, is utterly wonderful, great, fantastic. And yet, I suppose that I miss all sorts of things that, to another person, are really amazing. Life on earth is a subtle undertaking, many many times. Easy to miss its beauty, its wonder, if you are too busy expecting or distracted by something else than what is right before you.

Last night I was as fully present to something beautiful as I have ever been. For those precious moments I am very grateful, and it is a memory I will carry with me for many years to come. Next life, I plan to come back as a musician, a very fine one. A pianist, or something like it, I think. That way I won’t have to rely on measly words to describe how I feel. I’ll just give it all over to the music.


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The Myth of Perfection

What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘perfect?’ Especially as regarding a human being? I suppose each person has their own idea of perfection and what it means, looks like, acts like, its qualities and nature. For myself, the word has connotations that inspire a knee-jerk reaction when I hear someone being described as ‘perfect.’ My skeptical side instantly appears and I suspect that whoever it is, no matter how wonderful they may appear, there is almost always another side to that human lurking somewhere in the shadows, the non-perfect side, which will sooner or later make itself shown. After all, we are all humans, aren’t we? By our very nature, to be human means to be imperfect. Or does it?

A vignette for you, dear Readers: My husband came home from his first philosophy class for teenagers, which he will be teaching for the next couple of months in another city to the north of here. He told me there were four students in the class; three girls and one boy. He paused a moment, then with a wistful look on his face, he informed me that “one girl in the class was, (here again he paused, and smiled ruefully) perfect.” I looked at him, and said, “uh huh,” waiting for the inevitable description of the perfect young girl-woman who had so captured his admiration. He could see that he had lost me in that moment, and could only finish by saying something about ‘what can you say about someone who loves Shakespeare and classical music,” but by then I had already returned to my blog post. You see, it was that word; it stopped me like a heavy door closing in my face. I did not want to hear about his ideal of perfection and grace in female form, my mind closed the instant he uttered the word, and the conversation was over nearly before it began. Okay then!

Why does that idea bother me so much, that someone walking about on the planet could actually be perfect, at least in someone else’s eyes? Have you, dear Readers, been acquainted with a human whom you could honestly say was Perfect? And if so, why? What makes a person have the qualities which constitute perfection? Woah, I think I have gotten in over my head on this one!

When I think back over all the various people I have been acquainted with over the years, a few people spring to mind who hover in the “perfection” category. My dad is one, but for perhaps obvious reasons: I basically adored my father and in my eyes, he could do no wrong. But that’s another story. The other people were women, and I’ll try to describe each one to find out what made them be practically perfect.

The first was a very nice lady I worked with once, she was my supervisor at my first-ever graphic design job. Her name was Michele. She was petite, slim, dark haired and nearly always smiling. She had a warm heart, great sense of humor, calm demeanor and endless patience for lesser humans, like me and some of the other people who worked there. (like the ridiculous man who was our boss, the owner.) Michele seemed to me to have a charmed life: she was married to a pilot, they had a wonderful home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado, two labrador retrievers who were very well-behaved, white carpet in their living room which they, amazingly, kept white, and when they were together, they seemed to have great fun and all sorts of adventures. I don’t know if I ever saw Michele be truly ruffled; when things got a bit harried there at the advertising agency she would simply start singing the song from Mister Rodgers’ neighborhood to keep us calm (it worked like a charm!) What was it about Michele that gave me the impression she was basically perfect? I think it was because she exuded a kind of impervious calm and peaceful energy, was always able to smile no matter what was happening, and seemed to have no real worries or troubles that were apparent. A charmed life she led.

Perfect person number 2 is a woman I know from the town in Wisconsin where I used to live. Her name is Prudence (well that’s a good start towards perfection right there.) This woman also carries the aura of perfection about her as she goes about her life: another smiler, friendly, peaceful, generous and kind to a fault: yes these two definitely have some things in common, including their home life. Prudence’s home life seems practically perfect: a beautiful, custom built home on top of a hill, a caring, loving husband to attend to her every need and whim, enough financial means to enjoy all the best that life has to offer with no worries, one nearly perfect son to love and make his parents proud, and the time and space to devote her life to creative and fulfilling endeavors day upon lovely day. My goodness, she really does seem perfect!

So there is the ideal of human perfection for this writer, embodied in the ideas of happiness, warmth, calm and peace, no ‘problems’ in their lives, just harmony, joy, creativity, adventures and leisure. Would you agree that a person who possesses all these qualities must be basically perfect?

My answer is both yes and no. I can see that this essay is completely subjective; many of you would have very different ideas of which qualities a perfect person would have to possess to classify for this title. Can people be perfect even if they have problems, obvious character flaws, do not smile often, get their rugs dirty? Or in my husband’s eyes, if they don’t love Shakespeare and classical music at age thirteen? What is perfection, really, and who cares? Does it even matter? Isn’t this very notion something old and outworn, outgrown like a snake’s skin, we simply don’t need it anymore? Or do we…

Dear Readers, I apologize for these meanderings tonight. The last thing I will share is what I think is far more important than being ‘Perfect.” And that is, to be interesting! I have some dear friends who taught me about the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi. As you may know, this concept is based on the idea that things, places, and yes, even people, are at their most beautiful and best when they are indeed not only not perfect, but when we learn to appreciate their imperfections and see their flaws as the very things which make them so interesting, so unique, so wonderous. This concept is of course known to all true artists of every stripe. Forget the ideal of perfection, embrace instead the cracks in the vase or the asymmetry of that face, or that quality in the person who sits next to you at breakfast each morning which drives you absolutely crazy, for it is those very things which endears them, makes them holy, gives them vitality and strength of character: it is the imperfections of life which give the depth and nuances, the color and vibrancy which are so…. perfect!!

Ahh, so, dear Readers, tonight’s ramblings came around in the end to the heart of the matter: the myth of perfection does have a basis in something important and real, and it is a real paradox. Now, would you agree with that definition of perfection?