Hope

Some say hope is for the fainthearted 

a four letter word with little bone to its back

not a ladder you climb as though you could aspire

to climb into heaven on its rungs…

only to have the winds rattle your nerve

and you slip and fall

deep down into the abyss 

like an angel without wings,

with only a heart that beats 

and skin that tears

and eyes that can see

the wastelands 

and all the harbingers of death,

and yet hope was never a thing

but the light of your presence

and everything you are

rippling through this world

like gossamer silk,

duality is the world 

painted in colour 

and you a character

in this rich tapestry,

toying with the notions,

half truths and desperate lies

between the sands and the sea

the mountains and the valleys

deep with thirst

and pulsing with love,

life and destruction.

Sand

Abstract music, myth and Taoism and some ending thoughts on cultural appropriation| entry #2

Its been about 3 weeks since I last wrote anything on this. Well… I had the most fascinating lesson today (edit: two days ago). We segued between Catholicism/christianity… gnostic christianity… patriarchy… because we’d been talking about Debussy and the asiatic influence in his music and the world expo that exposed the sounds of the Gamelan to him, to which my tutor was certain that Debussy wouldn’t have produced the music he did, without the influence of the East. My comment was, ‘right time, right place’, and his reply involved ‘the hand of god’… to which I asked if he believed in god. To which his reply was incredibly interesting… and our conversation slipped away, but the impression left with me was that he didn’t and he did and he leaned towards the former whilst assimilating the latter.

We touched on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring… and again… its allusion to pre-christianity in Russia… It hadn’t occurred to me that Russia was like old Britain, pagan before christianity took over. More information over at wiki here. My tutor picked out the intervals in the opening melody and said Stravinsky’s aim with the opening melody was to evoke otherness because it was music harkening to pagan ritual meant to depict the sacrifice of the virgin – meaning she dances herself to death, as a way to celebrate? welcome? honour? Spring. Virgin in pre-christian traditions meant a woman powerful unto herself and for some reason I still feel like something is missing here.

His thoughts for me, after asking what I was doing modally in my piece, was to suggest I consider trying out an octatonic scale (diminished scale).

Two tutorials ago, we chatted about myth and one of the challenges he set forth was to bring the journey of departure and return, into my music, and this brought up a conversation on identity and personal/cultural histories. His and surprisingly, mine. Honestly I couldn’t figure out how to do it with the first piece and I liked it the way it was so I went away to think about it and came back with the assumption that he meant departure and return as in the often cited concept of tension and release in composition to which his comment was in short that I wasn’t thinking laterally enough about it, or perhaps just too literally. But it also led me to try and explore the mythologies of my culture, or rather the culture that belonged to my ancestors.

Nevertheless, when I draw on personal experience, I feel as though the myth most recently prominent to my life has been that of Persephone and Hades… but following that thread further back in history to the ancient Sumerians… there is the myth of Inanna entering the Underworld ruled by her sister Ereshkigal to retrieve her husband. These myths seem dualistic and are stories on the surface, yet hide the themes offered in plain sight by Taoism: integration, yin/yang, polarity, interdependence. Taoism encompasses more than what I have articulated but here I am picking out what I see that is similar. I don’t feel like the Way, cited in Taoism, offers integration as much as it is, the integrated whole. And that… the quality of being, is emphasised even when in action…

Well… I’ve definitely taken a left turn somewhere here. So… when I started writing my second piece… I listened to a bunch of Guqin recordings and remembered once upon a time in my childhood that I had wanted to learn one of these and presently discovered that I loved the meditative quality the instrument could bring. That the music could suggest a kind of stillness. But I also loved cultural appropriation when I saw it tastefully done… honestly… the more I get into this discussion… the more I realise, how much of my own youth was dominated by innocent cultural appropriation.

We see it as negative in light of ignorance… but outside of commercial exploitation, I think it suggests a desire to try out and try on different identities… and when cultural borders begin to dissolve… its inevitable this happens. I wonder if there is a link between this identity exploration and the hero’s journey suggested by Joseph Campbell in that many of us engage with the former to some extent during our adolescent years, whether haphazardly, innocently or offensively, because the initiatory quality of the latter has been lost in modern day societies.

Hmm. In any case, in my music journey, other elements are coming to the fore that are more personally important to me… such as an exploration of harmony, than specifically the sounds that belong to my cultural history… perhaps at this point in time, though I am very much enjoying the process of discovery.

On that note, I wrote most of this post listening to lighthearted piano jazz. 😀

Sand

Goal?

What is my goal here? Who am I writing for? Why am I sharing?

To be honest, I don’t know. There are differing impulses. I like this quote,

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.

Joan Didion

A part of me simply likes the process of watching words form. To write the insights that come, all the whimsy, the moody and the existential. It’s like a cherry. It’s the cherry for me. I’m obsessional. Actually. The more I observe myself, the more I realise this. All suffering and insecurity is created from attachment. It’s very Buddhist. And intellectual.

And I felt that today.

I wrote it down.

And I wondered… that’s new. Even though the words hadn’t changed. They were changed for me. I let go.

Like triggers being beautiful because they’re an opportunity to work on what’s coming up.

It’s easy to say that and think they make total sense. And in the middle of the triggers… I’m gone. You know? Like… this spiral has a hold of you and you’re just on the ride.

Like someone saying, you are not your thoughts or your beliefs. Observe them.

It makes total sense. And then in the middle of being hijacked by a rogue thought or sabotaging belief… you’re totally on the rollercoaster.

I’ve been there so many times and didn’t even realise I was on the ride. Like having a dream and not realising you’re dreaming unless you’re a lucid dreamer.

Sometimes the thoughts overlap each other before they have time to fade into the echos of my mind. A bunch of synapses firing.

And me.

Taking the neural pathways with the deepest grooves. Until I realise I can choose my thoughts.

Why don’t you try loving the parts of yourself that you’re repressing? Love the chaos and the darkness. Love the ferocious. Love the parts of you that are self-sabotaging and negative. Love all those parts. Especially, love your messiness, your judgements, your destructiveness. Love her. Love her wild. Love yourself wild… Love with your entire being

and hold nothing back.

You are the one living this life. You are the one in this drama called life, playing the roles you’re playing.

You get it?

I understand the intellectual realm that a thought exists in… before I understand it on the emotional, in my body.

That’s where the change happens.

Here’s a poem that emerged from a totally different poem:

over there in the temple of flowers,

the leaves whip by in the wind

and soar into the tipped outline of feathered wings

they do this every day,

somewhat cheekily as they tickle by your ears

and ask,

are you my tree?

Ideas looking for a home

Some time later as I come back to it… I’m like oh.

It’s not that the curtains are a melancholic blue because the person is depressed and meticulously picked the blue curtains to symbolise that. Although, there is something moody and poetic about it, the poetics are better when actively cultivating communication with the unconscious. It’s that the unconscious communicates its desires, anyway.

It’s that depression is asking for attention. For your love. To see, why you are being choked softly to death whilst living and breathing in this body of yours.

It’s that depression gets your attention. Sadly, we don’t know what to do with it. We don’t know how to make it ‘go away’. We don’t know how to open the lid to the can of worms, enter the labyrinth… what metaphor have you… eat from the apple tree of Eden. Does that one even work? Maybe we need to re-claim our birthright to knowledge. That suffering is part of the human condition. That we’ll all experience suffering if we’re human, even if we’re not – animals feel pain too – that suffering can be experienced by every living creature.

Do animals instinctively live in the present? The what is? The now? Maybe they have something to teach us.

If we were flying with the geese on their migratory journey, we’d be in awe, at their intelligence. So much that it gives me goosebumps, at how their compassion for each other is intrinsically wired into their intelligence. On another level, I can take it out of this realm of feeling… channel a little Darwinism and suggest, that is how they survive. Evolutionarily speaking, this is required for their survival.

But with the former perspective, maybe we’d be humbled. With the latter, we have not questioned our dominance over the Earth and the natural world.

With the former maybe we’d be more curious about what education is and what it teaches. Maybe we’d be more curious on learning how to accept every single emotion and thought that arises in our being without insisting on the right or wrongness of any of them. Maybe we’d have a level of respect and awe for this world and every creature in it… on a deeper life and death level.

The paradigm would shift.

In reference to the previous post I made, Why I don’t have a god, I would have to add, god is not outside of ourselves and neither is satan.

Sand

Sometimes I still do this

Find fault outside of me. But then I would contradict myself. And now, sometimes, I’ll find that I catch these thoughts and ask why. I’ll find, I can love the part of me that easily spins into judgement, to love the part of me that is judging because who I’m really judging, is within me. The judge and the judged. I judge someone because I see an aspect of them that I’ve repressed in my own psyche. An aspect of myself that also, is dying for love. To be seen. Acknowledged.

The world is a mirror, a projection and its always been easy, to be the projector and to see other people’s projections, than it is, to open the lid and re-wire all the programming I no longer want. But that desire outstrips all of my old fears and I am determined.

Now… when judgement shows up, I have the patience to sit with it, to examine it, ask where it came from and love this part of me as well. It’s a work in progress. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that other people’s opinions, aka. judgements are no longer my business… but if, at any point, those opinions get a rise out of me, it’s because some part of me, is agreeing with them. That there’s a part of me that isn’t secure, that is getting triggered. The only quality my judgements are reflecting has nothing to do with the person who triggered something insecure within me, but entirely, what is asking for attention, within me.

Sand