Thinking Too Hard, Once Again, About the Human Condition

For some reason, I woke up with the idea of “devotion” on my mind. According to the dictionary, it is defined as “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity or cause” and stems from the Latin word devovere, “to consecrate.”

It seems devotion ranges from simple appreciation to arduous worship, depending on where you look. A band can be devoted to their fans, and somewhat conversely, an individual can be devoutly devoted to the Virgin Mary. It is much like the word “love” in that there are worlds and worlds to be lived inside of when it comes to the full spectrum of “devotion.” But I would argue that “love” is the accumulated product from the constant process of connecting with another, whereas “devotion” does not necessarily accompany connection. Or does it become something else at that point entirely? A corrupted devotion? A perversion? Again, we have a full spectrum between quietly harboring love and stalking or harassment—but is not the harasser dedicated to their object, if in a misdirected way? I guess every human emotion has a dark underbelly we must be brave and lie prepared to continuously face. 

It’s not every day someone walks into your life and hits you right in the devotion. No prelude, no preamble, no sorcery necessary—just an individual who, for some reason, you unequivocally find yourself loving. What a beautiful, delicious, ancient thing, to let that breathe in the air with you. To accept it in whatever length of ephemerality it may come to possess in your being, to be grateful for it, to be inspired by it, to use it as fodder and energy and find the process of unlayering the absolute truth-ness of it.  

I’ve also been thinking about the process of maturing, and maturing my concepts of love, affection, connection, and devotion along with me. Are devotion and faith synonymous? Will everything always circle back around to faith?

Devotion begets devotion, though. That much I have concluded. Providing, of course, one or both parties aren’t wholeheartedly selfish, or self-absorbed, or self-involved. I have a lot of growing up to do on that front. I assume we all have room for improvement in this arena.

Brains are strange. Emotions are even stranger. Love is the thing which makes us grow, but we can only grow if we can receive. Devotion to an idea of someone is one thing, but receiving the wholeness of that person in every messy, frightening detail is another. There is so much work for me to do; and to do it, I must have faith in myself, beginning, middle, and end. And then double that faith in the perceived “other” as I receive them.

I can speculate, ruminate, verbosely gesticulate all day long, but the proof is in the doing. Every day is an opportunity to expand devotion towards light, to reach a shining consecration of human feeling which may end up occurring in a shadowy valley of the hellish subconscious…to be open to the twists and turns of the heart, rather than trying to map them before taking a step…to be truly devoted…

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Mantra Formation

Well, today I performed my song called “Le Prof” in front of the class. I was so nervous because it is essentially a gesture of love for the class itself and everyone in it, and I felt very vulnerable sharing it through song, which is so intimately connected to my emotional self. I am beginning to see how truly disconnected and hidden I am from my emotions. Music is, without a doubt, healing me. This is a reality I cannot ignore any longer and brush aside as an inconvenience. I now know it has to be my life, if I am going to learn how to love myself, love others, and to fully live. 

I think I am so caught up in planning my next move that I forget to just relax and be. I don’t really know how to fix this except meditation, meditation through prayer, meditation through repetition, meditation through practice. I need to find the zen in the practice, instead of resenting it and thinking it a waste of time.

This requires that I get serious about my time management ability…like, it’s time to actually use that lovely planner I bought myself in Salt Lake City. And when I give myself time to do a thing, I need to follow through and do the thing, not think about doing the thing, not procrastinate about doing the thing, not change my mind on a whim and do another thing…Do the Thing

Maybe that’s my new mantra. With love in my heart, I will do the thing. With a mind set on self-love and furthering of knowledge, I will do the thing. In an effort to be a better human being, I will do the thing. It’s all about doing the thing.

I feel so inspired by my classmates, all around. I feel incredibly blessed—I will remember this quarter at college for the rest of my life, that much I know. I don’t really know how I want to go forward with garnering intimacy, trust, friendship, borderline familial relations with everyone, but I feel the desire very strongly. But I suppose you can’t really be yourself while essentially wooing 25 different people…(And how can I be myself? DO THE THING.)I have so much love in my heart this afternoon and I don’t know how to feel it, to process it, to keep it warm and safe like a nightlight in the dark. I suppose this blogpost will have to do—that is until another song pops out. Do the thing. Do the thing. Do the thing.

“Le Prof”

mon coeur qui travaille,

il n’y a pas de soulagement.

j’apprends le langue de toi,

tous les jours, fidèlement

tu ne comprends pas le profondeur de mon amour

ne me quitte pas,

prend-toi mon coeur!

je suis romantique, romantique c’est vrais

j’ai seulement ces mots, du miel, et du lait

j’attends la douceur d’un amoureux qui sait

le monde dans mon esprit,

et me demande “Pourquoi c’est?”

les elèves qui aiment la musique et d’autres choses

les elèves qui aiment beaucoup le prof

le prof

les yeux, les yeux, les yeux

sont dangereux, les yeux, les yeux

Khalil Gibran Explains

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” -Khalil Gibran

One drop of love in a still pool creates immense ripples. We can be so nourished by simple observations. In some ways, these are more powerful than essays, or books. Hitting someone home with an expression of “I see you” can literally save lives.

So what’s the fucking deal with human connection? Why does it seem so hard to achieve in a way that feels genuine and true? What is “true” anyway? Sometimes I think “truth” is vulnerability—that as a human species, as much as we reject vulnerability, we also somehow value what it (generations’ worth of focus on wedding “virgins” to young men as a sign of prowess and worth) unabashedly, naively gives.

In some ways, wow, but I really identify with this. Everything about the way I choose to love feels raw, unabashed, and naïve. And that’s something I truly like about myself. Though, I do continually hear whispers which beckon me to a “darker” path, and force me to question whether I’ve truly reckoned with my power…

While I cannot answer those whispers articulately yet, I feel somewhere deep inside that I have a golden light capable of scourging those foul whispers from the face of my reality. Somewhere inside me exists a power so strong, and so pure, that I can wipe darkness from the face of my reality. Am I witch? Sometimes I truly believe so.

It is good to feel powerful. But it is not good to feel vengeful (though it is very, very human). We are discussing The Odyssey in class and (while I shamefully try and fail not to call it Oedipus) we make good headway in discussing light/dark, masculine/feminine, moral/amoral, divine/mortal…

We’ve had very open discussion so far, and I relish every moment of it. And while I similarly fall to the habit of critiquing my reality, I also fall into the trap of plucking at my split ends, and slowly, incrementally, increasingly telling myself I am not ok in the skin I’m in…this is kind of how I am approaching, with simultaneous love and compassion, The Odyssey.

I mean, I get why my teacher assigned it: it’s old as hell, it’s one of the earliest, primary examples we have of the “hero’s journey” especially as it relates to mythology and whatnot. She has taken care to stress, too, the importance of all that Homer doesn’t say. And while I admittedly find this quite intriguing at first, upon later inspection I almost find it dull—

Though this of course, is coming from a girl who has weighed heavily the benefits of “being” versus “saying”—

And frankly all I have that is compelling about Odysseus’ version of himself when recounting stories of his hero’s ballad is how lucky he was to encounter strong woman after strong woman who helped give him the release/way home he needed? Like must one be a woman be a virgin, a wife, a prophet, a witch, and a queen? Just let us fuckin’ help you! Jesus. And give a little god damn credit to the feminine in your songs, too, while you’re at it. Damn.

On that note, thank god I have friends to keep me on track, y’know? If not for them, I would wander like, so far, down the human recesses of the psyche. And that’s just pretty fuckin’ grizzly and gnarly, right? Like, why do I insist on going there?

I just have this feeling that something about me exudes a sort of perpetual learning, a sort of naivety bound towards perpetual heartbreak. I think this stems from wanting to love everyone, earnestly, borderline desperately. Which stems from wanting to be a sort of halfway house between someone and their honest desires. Which is not exactly a feminist concept, I am forced to reconcile. 

Speaking the fuck of things I have to reconcile, what is up with my adulation for the French language?  Is it the incomprehensively sexy sound it is to my ears—so resonant, so dissonant, so smooth, so indulgent—or is it another colonist lens, come to seed my awareness in nostalgia?

Most unfortunately, I don’t have a simple answer for this (though I do, in fact, have many more rants I could go on) and need to get some rest for tomorrow’s day.

Goodnight, all. Sweet dreams. Don’t trouble your head about social norms. All will be well if you are patient and kind.

N’est pas la France ici, Malheureusement

I am sitting on an uncomfortable couch waiting for class to start. I’ve been a little lax with the blogging lately, as I’ve been getting into too much fun!

It’s not raining today, and I couldn’t be happier about that fact. I ordered a chocolate croissant from the cafe and am pretending I’m in France as I sip my coffee. C’est bon. C’est très bon.

I wrote my first ever song in French the other day. It is painfully simple, but I did it!! I’m so proud. The emotion is true behind it, so that’s something. I can’t wait for it to continue to grow and evolve as I find how to voice it best.

I started reading a book last night examining the intersection of science and myth. It essentially proposes that the two are more connected and intertwined than we give them credit for. I am intrigued to see where the author roams as he attempts to tie this hypothesis into modern and ancient examples–if he might connect two seemingly opposing sides of a spectrum and help me to understand, just a little bit, the crazy chaos of the current mythos of our culture.

Class is going to start soon, so I need to hop on the proverbial plane back from “France.” We’ll see where the discussion takes us today–yesterday was spent listening to Gregorian chants and Tibetan droning designed to inspire kindness. Every day is an adventure weaving past to present, east to west.

“There is no East or West–it’s just a globe.” -Wu Man

blue eyes

they say idle hands are the devil’s playground

that idle mind, like fallow field, will 

Explode with nature’s chaos,

leading to eternal ruin?

how then, when I am still

how is it then that my mind tiptoes back to your eyes

Divinity-blue

when allowed to wander?

tide your truth to me, an ocean

for me to float upon, to slip

inside on starry summer evenings,

in only salty skin

and transcribed longing!

swelling pools of darkness and light:

every unimaginable shade between extremes

finds home in your iris,

rooting intricately into my heart 

like winter isn’t really coming

and dessert is on the menu

after all

I swing through pupils 

hungry, collecting

scraps with my compost eyes, waiting

for the rain of you

to release my earthen scent into the air around us

so we might sink a little deeper 

into this primordial mud

and rise, like we were only

just born

Today,

the first of our kin

to dance 

with God

Devendra Does Seattle

I got to see Devendra Banhart in concert tonight in Seattle at the Moore Theatre. He is an exquisitely goofy individual whose live performance is simultaneously precise and erratic. I loved watching his band explore the stage and explore sound together. Even when they performed old hits like “Baby,” it was clear there was a conscious effort to avoid sounding canned or too rehearsed. To be frank, it was some real fresh shit. I basically felt like I was sitting in on their band practice, not a performance. For a moment I couldn’t tell whether or not I should be annoyed that he was so blasé about the whole thing, but I ended up landing on thinking it was freakin’ awesome. 

In other news, this little old dog I’m watching has finally warmed up to me, after three solid days of constant one-on-one time. The first night I stayed over, she refused to sleep in the bed with me, as is her usual practice with her mom. But tonight, I came home late to her snoozing and tucked myself into bed and—lo and behold! In came trotting Miss Rosie, looking for a snuggle! I fist pumped the air and helped her onto the bed. 

Music was slathered all over my reality today. I played “Kathy’s Song” by Simon and Garfunkel no less than a thousand times today, experimenting with vocal phrasing, dynamics, etc. I’d like to figure out the guitar solo next, but one thing at a time…

Next on the list is either “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, or another Laura Marling song, though I am trying to break out of my default, Laura Marling cover mode…she’s just so damned good, I keep on crawling back. 

I’m wiped and have a full day of homework, cleaning, and the occasional song to sing. I will miss this sweet little dog and her semi-crotchety ways. Old dogs are really something special. 

Bustin’ Outta Ruts and I Feel Fine

Again it’s raining, but my thoughts are on music now.

I’ve been playing guitar and singing all day. My fingers are numb. My vocal cords are shot. I am so freakin’ happy. 

In class today, something clicked: I burst out of a musical plateau I’d been in for years. I’ve still got a long way to go with where I want to be with music theory, but I definitely leveled-up my vocal ability today, and all just because I changed my perspective on singing a little bit. Instead of focusing on hitting individual notes accurately, I turned my attention to accentuating musical phrasing and BAM! All of a sudden, I was getting a richer tambre, more dynamics, more overall power. It is truly amazing what a shift in perspective will yield. 

I also got invited to my first jam in ages and, while I mostly shied away from the proverbial spotlight, I could feel how much I was learning by focusing on matching pitches, improvising, and playing with chord shapes up and down the neck. It is incredibly beneficial to play with others; it just takes courage and a certain level of confidence, which I am slowly cultivating…

I feel very hopeful and inspired. But with that, it’s time for bed. 

Goodnight, world, and goodnight fellow musicians. Keep doing the thing—you’re making the world a better place! ❤

Anxiety Mythos ≠ My Odyssey

It’s raining today. 

I am stuffed to the brim with thoughts. There is no room inside me to receive anymore. I can only reflect, and push away. The ability to transform energy from dark to light seems unobtainable today. I don’t know why I am so deep inside myself, but I hope I can find some kind of means of finding my magic soon, like Circe left to herself on her island, slowly discovering the power of interacting with the earth around her, finding natural magic in her own two hands.

I am drinking kava tea and snuggling with a little old dog. The rain is coming down against the windows and I am swelling with water. This house might as well be a submarine. I am a nautical astronaut, pressed in on all sides by the vacuum of myself. I am full of brine and mystery, and my key is washed away. Some days it tides its way to me; today is not one of those days.

Everything is an intrusion today. My cup is full of saltwater. I am a goddess, trending towards monstrosity like Tiamat. There is a sea monster inside of me pressing against the back of my skull, bulging out of my eyelids, eating at the substance of my belly. How can I create when I embody destruction? How can I love when my heart is a tempest?

It is a poet’s nature to dramatize as they capture—this I know. But when it feels this sticky, what other way out is there but to write, and write what feels true?

There are good people, and good loving, and good dogs to be shared and honored and enjoyed. Tomorrow, dawn with her rose-red fingers will find me on my raft, floating towards the homeland in myself, braving moody Poseidon and praying to bright-eyed goddesses. There is birth inside me yet…this bad day is not my epic. This bad day is not my song.

Art, Music, and “Reality”

Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo! I just got done writing a six page paper on consensual reality as it relates to music and myth and I am WIPED. Boy howdy, I had fun though!

I lingered after class today to debate the time signature of a song I love and to discuss the potentiality of foreign life, whether that be extraterrestrial or terrestrial life which is simply unrecognizable to us (for example, what if rocks had sentience?! Cue the Star Trek references) and I am riding on an academic afterglow. 

Even though I am funemployed right now, I am crazy busy. I have dogsitting obligations, homework, catering projects, self-care, class projects which I am taking far beyond their intended scope…including initiating the process of understanding the rape kit test backlog in this country, beginning in my local county with local authorities. I don’t know yet how far I intend to take it, but in my wildest dreams it turns into a rabbithole which I turn into a lifelong mission. We’ll see what happens!

I hope to write some more poetry soon and make some more music. I wrote a song the other day which I’m not sure means anything, but it felt good to give birth to. Art is the best!!!

How has art informed your realty? How do you create? How does reality inform your art? Leave me a comment! Let’s collaborate!! J