Thursday, May 29, 2014

I wonder

The other day, before my retail shift, I looked at my nails and saw a ragged edge.

I thought, I should file that.

I thought, I don't really have time to do my nails.

I went to the store.

That afternoon, helping a customer, my nail snagged a piece of clothing.  She had to go get a different item, and it turned out to be a different color.

I  really do wonder, still, what else did that event affect?  Did she wear a different outfit one night?  Did it make her more or less out going?  Was she angry deep down because I ruined the one she really wanted?  Was it a major turning point in her life?  Does she even remember that moment?  That choice?  That event?

Obviously, it was a huge moment for me.  So was I "just" a catalyst?  Or did it change nothing in her life and everything in mine?

I wonder.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Enlightenment is Awesome - "Pick a Little"

What is it about gossip?  About talking?  About telling the story and, more importantly, making our opinions known?  Are we, as Piers Anthony postulates, simply a machine to sort out the chaos of the universe?  Is the reason we search for the meaning of life, for the reason to live, because that is our purpose?  To find the meaning of that elusive molecule, life?  And the talking, the story telling, the drama and the emotions and the chemistry and the happy and the sad…  all of that is a way of analyzing?

Every creative thing, as far as I can tell, is a form of communication, telling a story, evoking an emotion.  Our histories are driven by emotion.  Our hopes for the future are all based on our emotion.  Heck, my life's goal is to be happy as is possible for me - totally emotion.

I have been writing and writing about how acceptance as the key to happiness, yes?  And I have been striving to live in an almost detached fashion, pleasing only myself, letting only my opinions and my judgments of myself be the truth of my life.  And one of those opinions is the annoyance with gossip, with talking about others.  With the need to fill the space with noise, noise, noise.  (There's a song from Alanis Morisette in which there is a few seconds of silence.  She prefaces it with, "Here, can you handle this?")  And so, it has been my goal to remove myself from the talking about others.  Partly, because the talking passes judgment, and mostly because it's really none of my business, nor the business of anyone else.  If someone wants to share parts of their life with someone else, they are welcome to do so.  But it's not my truth to pass others' words along.  Unless, of course, I am discussing how it impacted me.  And often I try to paraphrase.

So today, people are talking about some things that have happened to change their world and the latest reasons for the change.  And I find all these opinions swelling up inside me.  Whoosh.  Smash.  Wave after wave after wave!  And I so badly want to call someone so I can spill these opinions out into the universe, so my point of view can be expressed, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with me.  My opinion wasn't even asked!  Nor was assistance requested.  I am simply the recipient of news.

But the urge to talk to someone!  To share this news, to find an opinion that matches mine, that validates it!  It's a bit relentless. 

So I have to wonder, as Candace Bushnell might say, what is it about the story telling?  Why are we driven to talk, to communicate, to make much of?  Why does it fill a void?

Or does it really fill that void?  Is there something else that belongs there, some connection or input we're desperately trying to replace?  Is gossip, drama, creativity, like intercourse - a striving to reach that moment of pure bliss where we are no longer in and of ourselves alone, the place where we are existentially fulfilled?

I hope you have a great day!


* the title comes from the title of a song in "The Music Man."

Monday, May 26, 2014


I learned something interesting today. The "burden" of telling a story extends to my singing.

One of the truths I've been practicing has been to stop the drama!  Decisions are decisions. Choices are choices. And life moves on. Events are either more or less personal as I want them to be.  I give them importance, or not, as I desire and thus, they affect me with as much impact (or as little) as I desire.

It turns out my singing is the same.

It has been years since I've had formal voice training.  I took lessons for a while after Up With People, but for a variety of reasons, some of which I am willing to admit to, I quit singing.  I lost the training and conditioning  Eventually I lost all the mental information. Belt vs classical vs legit. Alto mezzo, soprano.  Tremolo, glissade, treble, staff, coda, repeat. Rest.

And yes, my breathing is all out of whack.

I currently work on three different types of breathing. 

There's deep breathing for meditation & calming purposes. A proper deep breath fills the lungs all the way to the stomach.

There's inhaling, supporting so one can blast the sound out into the back of beyond. And sustaining, of course, for that final awe - inspiring note.

And then there's the holding in your stomach and still keep yourself conscious, breathing.

I have no idea how to maintain all 3 types of breathing.

Heck. I have a difficult time remembering to breathe at all!  I find myself holding my breath, for reasons unknown, as if it were a limited commodity.  Then I expel it forcefully in a whisper.  This does not work at all well for singing.

I try to take it great gulps of air, but then I have no support or control with the actual notes. I move the muscles in a remembered fashion, but there's no result, like I'm still in neutral when I think I'm in fourth gear. (Or drive for you automatic auto peoples.)

So my practice this week will consist of allowing my breath to come thru. The higher the note, the breathier. 
And subsequently…  concurrently?...  also…  Relax while singing. I'm just talking on a specific note.

Let go of that illusionary concept, control.  And quit making it so complicated!

Like the rest of life these days, perhaps, striving for the drama of the singing instead of letting it just. be. singing.

Which is similar to the writing process for me.  When I strain for the story, the idea or the thread of thought, I seem to expend more effort than my production is worth. But when I relax & just write --  dare I Say -- the truth of the moment,  I have much more success.  Though I'll admit to having no idea how this is going to work. There's going to be a lot of practice required.

 At least I have the awareness, though, that my preaching has far outstripped my practice. Time to review a few of my truths. In speaking, in singing, in writing, in life, there's no need to make it complicated.  Accept it for what it is. Let it BE.  Enjoy it. And the breath will come.

I hope you have a great day!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

A dark and stormy night

It is a dark and stormy night.  And if another word is said, it's going to be a dark, stormy and deadly night.

I realize I am responsible for this situation I find myself in.  The dark and the storm are all inside my head.  But that makes it no less frustrating.

I have tried writing about peace.  Or about packs.  Or even just write a short story.  And nothing flows.  Because the outside influences do not play well with inside streaming.

I am the one allowing myself to feel irritated.  Peaceless.  Packless.  And definitely storyless.

There is no use and no sense in railing against the outside influences.  They are who and what they are.  They have as much right to be whatever they are as I have the right to be whatever I am.  Whoever.  Whomever?  The trick is in learning to adapt.  So let's find the real root of the problem.

I am annoyed because this is the third or fourth week in a row where I will be posting a last minute post to my blog.   I am not proud of this, even if this posts turns out well.  I like the process of writing it all out, then refining it.  It helps me learn what I am learning, and express what I am trying to express.  Coherently.  But once more I found myself staring at the calendar notification with nothing to show for my week of blog babbling.  And I have been jotting down ideas!

Today I at least tried to catch the wave on some of the feelings of the waiting ideas.  I will give myself kudos for that.  Especially since one of the posts is about inner peace…  how peace is supposed to come from releasing the resistance to outside irritations and letting them filter through harmlessly.

Yeah.  I'm gonna have to keep working on that.

But the posting process is also about practice, isn't it?  So far, my attempts to get something I feel is post worthy written before the deadline have been unproductive.  So it's time to change when & how I do the writing.

Does it have to do with  my perceptions of others' perceptions?  It's okay to "work" at writing when I’m alone.  But it's so hard to justify writing as "work" when others are present.  This is a perception I myself need to practice.  But perhaps if I actually produce things when I write, then I will feel like it is work - in the good and fulfilling sense of the word.

Rather like practicing my vocal exercises.  Today was my first official practice at home, and I could just imagine the thoughts in neighbors' heads.  They probably weren't even home!  And I haven't heard them talk, so who's to say how much they can hear of my singing?  But still, the auto-critic is quite happy to sit on my shoulder and point out how embarrassing their opinions might be.   And while I firmly believe their opinions are none of my business, still it helped to practice with earphones.  After a while, I will gain enough confidence to put the vocal lessons on the speaker and actually listen to my voice ring through the room AND out the open window!  La!

Similarly, it's time to find a way that works with my writing, so that my work actually produces some writing.  Currently (as in right now) that way seems to be writing when no one else is present.

I can do other things when others are present, like my 'Rithmatic.  All that paper and pens and calculators and beeps make it seem very official and respectable work.  And when outside influence start getting loud, I can slip on the headphones and the music won't influence my train of thought.  That's the beauty of numbers.

And when all is quiet on my front, I can write.  I can start my days with my worlds and ideas and philosophical thoughts.  Rather like  meditation, yes?  It seems almost self-indulgent, to play with my writing before I do the Rithmatic.  Or the Retail.

Yup, perception is queen.

So, still working it out.  Step by step.  Moment by moment.  Adjusting each thing as we go along.  And yay to me for continuing in the forward motion.

In fact, yay to all of us who are continuing forward.  Who adjust and adapt, who bob and weave, who acknowledge that one way doesn't work and so we try another way.  And another.  And another.

Because let's face it.  Murder and mayhem may seem like marvelous ideas in the middle of the dark and stormy night.  (Not to mention great story fodder.)  But in the light of the new day, I'd much rather look back at pages of writing, and feelings of productiveness, than have to worry about explaining the mess on my carpet to a jury of my peers. 

I hope you have a great day!