Hey yall, It’s Tuesday. The Earth turned into the Sun again today. The clouds parted so that we may feel the warmth of that Sun too. For those things and more, I am hella grateful. Please see the passage below. I am re-reading this little book called Practicing Peace and it speaks to every ounce of what is happening in the world right now and how we can all choose to evolve through these times. Pema on Racial Injustice
Dedication: To everyone. All the people. All the animals. All the plants. All the Spirits.
Quote: Practicing Peace by Pema Chödrön. “War begins when we harden our hearts, and we harden them easily— in minor ways and then in quite serious, major ways, such as hatred and prejudice—whenever we feel uncomfortable. It’s so sad, really, because our motivation in hardening our hearts is to find some kind of ease, some kind of freedom from the distress that we’re feeling. Someone once gave me a poem with a line in it that offers a good definition of peace: “softening what is rigid in our hearts.” We can talk about ending war and we can march for ending war, we can do everything in our power, but war is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
What happens is a chain reaction, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t know what I’m talking about. Something occurs—it can be as small as a mosquito buzzing—and you tighten. If it’s more than a mosquito—or maybe a mosquito is enough for you—something starts to shut down in you, and the next thing you know, imperceptibly the chain reaction of misery begins: we begin to fan the grievance with our thoughts. These thoughts become the fuel that ignites war. War could be that you smash that little teensy-weensy mosquito. But I’m also talking about war within the family, war at the office, war on the streets, and also war between nations, war in the world.
We often complain about other people’s fundamentalism. But whenever we harden our hearts, what is going on with us? There’s an uneasiness and then a tightening, a shutting down, and then the next thing we know, the chain reaction begins and we become very righteous about our right to kill the mosquito or yell at the person in the car or whatever it might be. We ourselves become fundamentalists, which is to say we become very self-righteous about our personal point of view.
…The next time you get angry, check out your righteous indignation, check out your fundamentalism that supports your hatred of this person, because this one really is bad—this politician, that leader, those heads of big companies. Or maybe it’s rage at an individual who has harmed you personally or harmed your loved ones. A fundamentalist mind is a mind that has become rigid. First the heart closes, then the mind becomes hardened into a view, then you can justify your hatred of another human being because of what they represent and what they say and do.
…If you look back at history or you look at any place in the world where religious groups or ethnic groups or racial groups or political groups are killing each other, or families have been feuding for years and years, you can see—because you’re not particularly invested in that particular argument— that there will never be peace until somebody softens what is rigid in their heart. So it’s necessary to take a big perspective on your own righteousness and your own fundamentalism when it begins to kick in and you think your own aggression and prejudice are reasonable.
I try to practice what I preach; I’m not always that good at it but I really do try. The other night, I was getting hard-hearted, closed-minded, and fundamentalist about somebody else, and I remembered this expression that you can never hate somebody if you stand in their shoes. I was angry at him because he was holding such a rigid view. In that instant I was able to put myself in his shoes and I realized, “I’m just as riled up and self-righteous and closed minded about this as he is. We’re in exactly the same place!” And I saw that the more I held on to my view, the more polarized we would become, and the more we’d be just mirror images of one another—two people with closed minds and hard hearts who both think they’re right, screaming at each other. It changed for me when I saw it from his side, and I was able to see my own aggression and ridiculousness.
If you could have a bird’s-eye perspective on the Earth and could look down at all the conflicts that are happening, all you’d see are two sides of a story where both sides think they’re right. So the solutions have to come from a change of heart, from softening what is rigid in our hearts and minds.”
Song: I Want To Be Here – by Neko Case, here’s the video Bruce and I played for today with this song, recorded by my awesome roommate, Andrea. InstaVideoSongPost
The excerpt from above means a lot to me. I wish I could somehow transfer this sentiment of softening our hearts to every human on this planet. Some people know this already, but some people don’t and would never agree… so we’d have to sneak it in while they were sleeping. We could send a little whisper of Love into their ears via magic fairy dust or something they couldn’t successfully shake out or wash off in the morning. I don’t have much to say that Pema didn’t already about all that’s happening out there in the world. I wish everyone rest and a calm heartbeat. I wish everyone food in their bellies and enough resources to provide for what they need. I wish for marginalized people to have some peace of mind and heart. I wish those in power would use it for the betterment of society instead of to its detriment. I wish for people’s hearts to soften and to feel what it is that could truly save this world, Love. (and 6 feet of temporary personal space…) Goodnight y’all.
The room is filled with restaurant sounds; the cutlery is clicking on plates and bowls. Autumn Leaves is coming from the trombone, piano, upright bass and drums. How lovely.
Dedication: Today is dedicated not to a person, but to the priceless concept of forgiveness. Without it, we remain cold and buried in our own asses. With it, we become softer and compassionate toward and acknowledging of others’ simultaneous struggles in this world. Thank you forgiveness. Thank you to those of us who forgive easily. Thank you to those of us who know we need to work on it. …and bless you to those of us who struggle with forgiveness.
Quote: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain
Song: This song reminds me of riding in the backseat of my grandparents’ car on one of our thousands of Sunday drives, as we meandered in and around rural North Carolina, listening to classic country music, the “Country Gold” cassette tape set.
It has been a few weeks since an official newsletter and if you watch my weekly video series, you can find out why. So much has happened since the end of 2019! It was a roller-coaster of a year! As I was answering a journal prompt about last year during my morning writing, it became clear that 2019 was packed with physical, emotional, intellectual challenges and feats. I had major ankle surgery and was laid up in bed for 12 weeks. My new job teaching started in January last year, the whole year of creating curriculum and learning how to teach adults in real life was demanding and in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy it. (Thankfully this year, I feel a bit different and am excited about the prospect of continuing. That surprised me.) Many things were left behind: some relationships, my lack of boundaries and fear of others’ judgments. Surely, the latter two of the three aforementioned castaways will crop up from time to time in cyclical lessons, yes. However, each time growth will emerge and lessons will help to create a better human up in here. We learned why my digestive system was torn apart for years (of course stress will hurt anyone’s stomach) – I’m allergic to beef and beef products, gluten and other hooved animals! We also learned that I have an insane amount of allergies! WTF?! Glad to know more about myself now, so I can take care. I plan to heal and end the allergies and grow back the cartilage which was damaged in my ankle surgery; I know these things can be done.
A part of my childhood was left behind as well. The child within who operated out of fear and scarcity has become known to me. I have a serious desire to feel security and my motivations in attempt to obtain that security were unmasked. I no longer feel the need to look to others (my grandparents specifically) to provide the shelter and protection, something I desperately once needed and am eternally grateful. Adios 2019! Enter stage left and right the new decade with a new abode, new music, new understandings, and new relationships (with others and with myself.).
The album is trudging along. It is a struggle to make time when I am working two jobs. Rest assured, it will be finished sometime soon! I was thinking by the end of January… but I truly don’t know right now. Still aiming for late June for the party. If it happens, wonderful. If it doesn’t, that’ll be fine too.
happy new year y’all, may you find peace and for those under fire, you are in my prayers
Upcoming Shows: Sunday, High Point 2pm-5pm https://facebook.com/events/s/eliqqn-ii-portraits-of-gavin-g/2306691406283389/?ti=icl
Next week, Friday, January 24th – I’ll be playing with Tim Smith at Special Treats on Weaver Dairy Rd in Carrboro! 6-10pm! Come out and get some candy! Ear candy too!
Lately in pictures:
I am making a promise to myself right now.
I will always protect you Anita. I will look out for your best interests and remove you from harmful, hurtful situations. I will never allow anyone to abuse you in any way. I will do my best to recognize quickly if that is happening. I will always validate your feelings. They are legitimate and worthy of consideration, even when everyone else chooses to ignore them or forgets them altogether. I will ask you how you feel and what you think about any given situation, but especially hard situations. I will give you time to consider them and space to come to your conclusions without pressure. I’ll give you all the time you need to pray, journal, and seek answers. When you have found them, I will honor them and be proud of you for the work you’ve done of searching your own soul for your own truth. I will light a candle for your resilience and support you in your decisions and love you unconditionally. I will understand that you are doing your best and that your best will not look the same in all situations.
Lastly, I will remember that it is OK if you change your mind and be open to learning what caused you to do so. You deserve all these things, as does everyone else. However, I will always remember only *I* can provide *YOU* with these things, no one else. I cannot provide for everyone and I am only obligated to you to act in your best interests. Your well-being and safety must come first. I will always believe you, trust. I will always take nurturing care of you.
You deserve love and a safe home to which you can return at any time, I will give that to you. Especially at Christmas, if you need to return home, I will take you home.
I love you,
I never knew I’d ever know
A soul who shone like the sun on fresh snow
A sparkle, some darkness, some light,
a shimmer in the eye of a mother doe
Memories of you I’ve always known
Don’t know what to make of this newborn revelation
Down inside it shakes a growing infatuation
Haunts of a recognition, a relation, a soul reflection and negotiation
I want to see you
my heart’s intuition
Don’t want to miss you
my dreams’ imagination
My old-time fears from being here before
Caution to stay back, don’t reveal much more
It’s been in my nature to hide behind castle walls
Scared you’ll love me
then I’ll not know what to do at all…
#AlAnon #SoulMates #Poetry #Magic #Memories
Daaaaaaaaaaaaang it’s been awhile!
Quote: Turns out… I’m not set up for traditional meditation, even the STARS say so. After YEARS of learning about it, researching it, and feeling bad I wouldn’t make time for it, stick to it, and thinking I was failing hard, in therapy this week, we explored why. Turns out… childhood sexual abuse survivors have an especially hard time doing traditional meditation. Oh good, I’m off the hook for quieting the mind… At first I was pissed but another lesson this week: acceptance and celebration of who and where I am in life right now is called for! I can take baby steps toward other types of focusing activities – WALKING once this ankle heals, drawing, song-writing, poetry, arts of all kinds. Good thing I like doing all those things. 🙂 Even the stars are validating of late.
“Thank you Universe, more please.” – http://www.ChristineClifton.com
Song: Eddie Vedder (aka *melt* incarnate) – Better Days https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUYzQ_6xhU4 Lyrics included because they’re perfect.
Dedication: This week is dedicated to all the people in my life who have helped me after this surgery. It was a blow for which I did not plan adequately. Had no idea how painful, tiring and aggravating getting around without the use of one of my feet. Dang. So to you my grandparents, Christine, Bruce, Maggie May… Crystal, Els, Deborah, Michelle for all that food, and all you out there who’ve been so helpful and rad, I send you my greatest thanks and humble gratitude. Asking for what you need is hard af. Allowing yourself to be taken care of.. that’s hard. Learning this lesson is an ongoing process and I’m grateful for that too.
Weeeeeellllllll the past several weeks have been nutso! As per my dedication for this year, ankle surgery happened two weeks ago, tomorrow. The summer semester of Critical Thinking has begun and I’m teaching online only. A blessing in disguise since I’m laid up and can’t bear weight on my ankle for several weeks. Last week, singing at the Kraken was a huge honor and has sparked some lovely ideas about how the lead-up to the album release. My Democracy Matters organizing is over for the school year as of the 15th of May. We start back in the Fall when the students return. Saxy Tarot is now up and running! I’ve been reading Tarot for a long time privately, however I’ve been called to make a business out of it to help fund my music career! Feels totally in alignment with this new self-acceptance and my obsession with the occult (astrology, Tarot, Numerology, candles, witchery in general…) I hope that it takes off! Readings will also now be available online. Schedule yours now to support the upcoming album! https://www.schedulicity.com/scheduling/STRFQ6
#LivingQueryoftheWeek – How is your work or career in alignment with your innermost values and desires? I’m beginning to feel the connection by incorporating things I would have been shameful about growing up. Southern Baptists frown upon such things… Thank goodness that’s not the church I go to. Ha.Ha.Ha….
Y’all have a lovely week. I’ll be in bed doing bed yoga so my ass doesn’t stay numb for 23 hours straight… Looking forward to singing and playing out again soon!
May 28 – 9pm Weekly online song debut series
June 4 – 9pm Weekly online song debut series
June 15 – 7-10 One-Hit Wonders All-Star Show @ The Kraken
June 18 – 9pm Weekly online song debut series
June 25 – 9pm Weekly online song debut series
June 28 – 7-9pm Show at the Eddy Pub w/Bruce Horvath
June 29 – 8-10 Show at Hyperion Bar/Lounge, Mebane, NC w/Bruce Horvath
Last few weeks in pictures: