Reverb 11…Here we go Noorin! On Music.

It was with sadness that I discovered the ladies at Reverb would not be doing a 2011 blogstravaganza. So Noorin Fazal and myself decided to come up with our own prompts and run our very own little Reverb11. Here goes!

In the past year, think about an experience with music or sound that really moved you. Describe this experience; what makes it so memorable?

Music fuels me. Anyone who has spent enough time around me knows I can’t go for very long without humming a tune or singing along to whatever song is floating by. I often don’t even know I’m doing it – it’s a subconscious reaction to a medium that weaves around my thoughts and keeps my spirit moving. I wish I could say I was a better musician myself. I usually hit a few wrong notes along the way. But despite my lack of precision, I just can’t seem to turn off the musical switch inside me.

Recent forays into learning ‘how to play the guitar’ have left me with a newfound respect for those who can strum a song with their eyes closed and make magic happen with a few simple movements. So far, hand cramps and a lack of dexterity have kept me strumming the same few chords in the hopes that someday soon, I’ll be able to create some magic too.

One of the most incredible musical experiences I had this year was a John Butler Trio performance at the Squamish Live festival– an incredible display of guitar prowess, and a whole body revelation. Watching his fingers move across those six strings is like watching a new world take shape. Being there, in a massive crowd of people (with a few amazing friends) and feeling their rhythms take hold was more powerful than anything else I experienced that weekend. Needless to say, the John Butler Trio’s music was on repeat in my car for weeks  – incessant attempts to relive that feeling of heartfelt joy and wonder, surrounded by mountain peaks.

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Tea for thought.

I received an email from a wonderful friend of mine celebrating a change to cooler weather and the pleasures it brings – cozy sweaters, crackling fires, catching up on reading and most important of all, a mug of tea.

Tea has been uplifting for me as of late. Tea is there giving me a warm hug on these days of biblical downpour that make our west coast so welcoming. Tea has kept me healthy – those magical Echinacea brews that devour and destroy any wandering bug that might have the misfortune to approach me. Tea has made me happy – that sweet aftertaste of ambrosia that satisfies my rampant sweet tooth and leaves a tingle on my tongue. Tea has enlightened me. Thank you to the people at Yogi Teas for taking the time to impart your wisdom on the tag of every tea bag. A light shines through my morning when I read those small mantras of wisdom. Those common sense phrases that still make you feel like you’ve rediscovered yourself simply by savoring the words a second time.

Tea reminds me that fall had to come eventually, and that though it may be getting colder outside, we can keep our inner fires burning. Have you had a mug yet today?

Changes with seasons.

I’ve always loved autumn. At times I would have said it’s a season that speaks to me, the season that permeates my veins more than any other. The auburn shades of trees make my blood tingle, make my heart beat with excitement – for quieter times and chilly weather, crisp air that burns my lungs and invigorates my mind.

But this year, I can’t quite seem to embrace the change. With every turning leaf, my heart drops, my hands feel heavy. The fact that I even thought to write is a sign that the summer I was lost to, that I threw myself into full throttle, has woven it’s way into earlier sunsets. My addiction to summer, to the whirlwind of forgetting, of getting lost in a ray of sun and an easy patio, kept my mind on another plain.

Now the rains draw closer, the air grows colder. The songs seem outdated, the smells make me wistful. I try to see the beauty in it as I always do, but struggle to let go with ease and patience. We cannot stop the time, we cannot hold the season longer than it wishes to be held. Resistance brings only the fall of another leaf, dancing slowly past my ear, sharing it’s tune of another year passed.  And with it comes a resolve, an understanding that this is a time to plow on, to move beyond soft, warm complacency and find the sparkle that hides in every raindrop and coming flake of snow.

I may not be ready, but I know the change of season brings with it new inspiration and sweetness. Enjoy.

A Letter to the Earth on it’s Day.

Dear Earth,

I apologize for being out of touch for so long. You know how it is, life takes over and you just don’t have time to communicate. But I haven’t meant to neglect you. I don’t think any of us have. You have been incredibly patient with all of us.

I hear you’ve been feeling under the weather lately. Bad fever, congested, too many toxins in your system. I know how much that can hurt, and I want you to know that I feel your pain. I’m doing everything I can to try and heal all those sicknesses. There are a lot of us here, working together to try and change the way we do things, so that you can get well again. Because when you’re sick, we’re sick.

You’ve been such an incredible friend, Earth. Anytime I’m feeling blue, you’ve been there to support me. You always have time to listen, and you always share your positive energy with those who need it most. Everything we need for a good life, you’ve been generous enough to provide – fresh food, water, air, love. Your oceans, your mountains and your forests are an endless sense of inspiration and hope. There are moments when I am so taken aback by your beauty, I cannot even find words.

At the end of the day, Earth, you give me and my family, my community, so much more than we could ever give you in return. I only hope that we can all learn to respect your generosity and treat you as real friends should.

Yours in gratitude,

Helen

Transformation

Energy flows freely within and between us – we need only stop for a moment and focus inwards to feel that life and it’s ability to transform

I attended a yoga workshop led by ‘environmentalist’ Julia Butterfly Hill and yoga teacher Ryan at Yoga for the People in Gastown – a beautiful space with classes accessible to anyone, donations preferred. I listened rapt to Julia, a woman who has experienced much and stands as a role model to anyone who works for positive change in themselves and in the world.   For 738 days, Julia lived in the canopy of a giant redwood tree, raising awareness about the damage we were causing to our ancient forest, and creating forward movement on numerous environmental and social justice issues.

Today, she sat among us, sharing her ideas on transformation and growth. One idea in particular stood out for me – that transformation is continual, we are never finished, and it is never easy. As she joked, “People tell me they are jealous of my life. I tell them no, they are jealous of the results.” Life is not just a summary of outcomes. It is the process in all it’s heart-wrenching glory.

Think about a butterfly. To transform, a caterpillar must create it’s own cocoon, woven from within, and then liquefy completely in this shell. Yes, liquefy, disintegrate to the point where there is not one recognizable element of its former physical self, not even the head. And from this emerges an entirely different creature, which stops for a moment to dry off the last drops of the liquid it grew from, before flying off to begin life in a new form.

For us to transform, truly transform ourselves and our world, we need to be willing to do the work. We need to be able to give up and dissolve ourselves, and everything we thought we knew, everything we understood, those thoughts that we’ve been thinking and rethinking, the judgments on ourselves and others. Give up our old fears, the memories we cling to, the identity we see ourselves as ‘being’. Let go of the belief that we cannot make a difference. Most importantly, we need to give up the mind, as the butterfly needs to liquefy it’s own head – difficult, as we so often cling to our minds, our thoughts, the chatter that we allow ourselves to go through day in and day out. Give up that mind so it can transform. In other words…get out of your own way and let transformation occur. It won’t always be pretty, but it will be worth it, as you emerge with new wings that you can use to create ripples of change in your community and the lives of others.

A butterfly only makes this transformation once in it’s life – as humans, we are blessed with the ability to grow and learn continually, evolving with greater wisdom and understanding.

A Reverberation…What’s Blossoming?

What’s Blossoming?

Life blossoms just when you want to stay curled up in your little cocoon of earth.

When you think that everything you wanted has been torn away from you. That you just aren’t good enough, aren’t trying hard enough, aren’t doing what life needs you to do, remember….

That life is blossoming anyways.

Some blossoms unfold overnight, but others…

Take their time. A slow bloom. And sometimes they are rained down upon, sodden in the soil. But when the sun comes out again, they reach up to catch the rays. And continue their slow growth, moving forwards at their own pace.

Not someone else’s pace. Only the one they developed over centuries, the one nature intended for them.

Take your time. Bloom the way your heart tells you to. It might not be what you expected, but know that your bloom is exactly what it needs to be. And sometimes your beautiful vision of pink petals might be shattered, trod upon by some unknowing boot. That doesn’t mean your growth is over, only that those petals will, in time, come back more radiant than ever.

Maybe you are a lone daffodil in the middle of the field, holding your ground. Or maybe you are a small pink cherry blossom, surrounded by others with your vision, embracing your community. The world would be less beautiful if not for the variety of flowers that can grow in diverse and sometimes difficult conditions.

A new energy is blossoming, one that will allow us all to follow our own truths. An energy that will take us through our trials.

So don’t hide yourself under that pile of dirt that you think will keep you warm and safe. Push upwards.

Take a moment, to stop and smell the blossoms.

Today.

We are a generation of passionistas, of minds and hearts eager to make a difference, eager to make this world a better place. I hear John Mayer crooning that we’re ‘waiting on the world to change’, but I think we are doing more than waiting. We are pushing. We are screaming. We are writing and designing the lives we know are better, the systems we know can save us. We are not only imagining the planet as it could be – we are manifesting it, building it with our own hands. We have a vision, and we can express it to those who will listen – it is time to let the lost generation come forward. We will no longer be captive to stereotypes.

Tell us we don’t have enough experience. We hear it every day, at the hands of those who have taught us, those who have created the systems we live in. It seems that all the ‘experience’ of human history has only entrenched us deeper in our patterns of hatred, gluttony and apathy. Perhaps we don’t need ‘experience’, 10+ years of learning how things have been done up until now. Maybe, what we need, is a lack of experience. Maybe what we need is new ideas, concepts and passion that break free of old bonds. Bold innovations and imaginations that respectfully bid adieu to the handcuffs that have kept our hearts and minds bound.

We understand the great leaps that have been made by man kind – the screams of progress, the churning of the industrialization, the benefits of development and sanitation, yes. We desperately understand the suffering of others. No, we may not know what it is like to lose an entire family to AIDS or civil war, and yes, we have porcelain toilets and an abundance of food to eat. We are the lucky ones, but we do not take it for granted – we feel the earths pain, and our chests clench at the sight of our brothers and sisters in agony. Some days I watch the television in a grey foam of suffering, or tear the pages of the newspaper because I cannot stand what it is telling me. How, after all this time, can there still be so much suffering? And how can I, one person, change all of this? The helplessness is at times overwhelming. I can’t. But as a generation, as a concept, as a member of a resilient network, I can create change. Not just the change you hear in political speeches. Real change. Because I have waited long enough and I watch others squander the opportunity to rise up. We, the ‘lost generation’, the passionistas, want nothing more than to make our global home a healthier, more welcoming place. And isn’t that our right?

The earth is changing now, and us with it. I call out to you, world, to give us a chance. If you don’t, we will go it alone, but this is opportunity. This is a point in history, a crossing, where we can all come together, learn from one another and build foundations for the future we all envision. I shiver when I see what has been done to our planet and our people – so much has been squandered, so many hearts shattered and lives taken in the name of land, money, religion. Are any of those really valid reasons to take away life from person or planet? What went wrong here? I do not want anger to ruin us. Let friendship and acceptance shine among us instead, and let us ‘unexperienced’ folks, us idealists, share the beauty we see through the suffering.