Archive for September, 2010
This is a time of year I often evaluate aspects of my life. Some do it at Gregorian New Year; others in the Spring…to me, the fall is the best time, the time of the Autumnal New Year. I can look at what I’ve “harvested” over the past few months; evaluate what I want to tuck away for the winter (Don’t chuckle; though I live in the Sonoran Desert, we DO get winter. Or what passes for winter, here, anyway)
Another reason to evaluate in the fall is that it’s a tradition for part of my family. Although I wasn’t raised with this holiday; some of my family members celebrate the Jewish New Year; and I observe my own version of Yom Kippur in a September. I think the fact that I was not brought up in that particular religion makes me more able, objectively, to appreciate some of the ceremonies it has. I have a lot of religious baggage from the religious upbringing I did have; and am still reconciling myself with what was passed to me as truth.
Some random things I’m looking to let go of:
Hair! I’m sure I won’t really do this; but my hair has been bugging me lately. I’m sorely tempted to shave it all off. I’ve always been “into” my hair; it’s sort of long for who I am, and it gets into everything. During the long hot summer we’ve been having here, it’s particularly annoying. I know the more obvious solution is to just cut it short! But I can’t! That would be so un-me. I’d rather just cut it all off, if I’m going to change it…but then I’m afraid I’ll look like an melon or, worse, TweedleDum! (TweedleDee wouldn’t be as bad!) So, I’ll probably, as I usually do, just let it grow another inch while I ponder…
Papers! Seriously, is there any reason to keep old bills around any more? They are all accessible and stored online from every institution. I act as if I’m about to be subject to a tax audit of the last 78 years (!) and I’ll be one of those people that rolls in 24 carts of materials to be examined. In looking to clean out and simplify certain aspects of my life; both out of desire and necessity, I’m gingerly going through these old records and shredding away! I hope I feel better afterward.
People! Do you ever see people as baggage? Is that a rude thing to ask? Some of the people who have been in my life don’t quite fit anymore, while others are changing roles or adding to them. This is natural evolution in most cases; but we humans tend to hold on even as we evolve, sometimes. I’ve heard it said that if a relationship isn’t serving you, let it go! Much like you would and old vacuum cleaner that blows dusty air out instead of sucks it in. Some of my relationships are work-related, and I’ve noticed that, in most cases, when the working relationship ends, very often the personal one does too. Most of them need the glue of the common interest and activity to hold them together. There are exceptions, of course. It’s perfectly possible—and I have done—to find a long-term friend in these circumstances, but as I look back, I realize that, out of all the people I felt were extremely important in my day-to-day existence, only a handful have stayed in touch with me, or I with them. I am more guilty of this than most, I think. If someone calls, months after a project, and wants to have lunch, I’ll think “Why?” I may go ahead and have the lunch, but in these cases I’ll feel tongue-tied and awkward, and say things like “So, how’s your life been since we finished producing that art project 1000 balloons as Representative of Modern Angst?”
Thoughts! Here are things—and I have heard it said many times that “thoughts are things”–that are a bit harder to deal with, even more so than people. People will eventually go away if I ignore them long enough (I know I sound unsociable, and I sort of am!, but I only do that with people I want to go away), but thoughts! what can one do about thoughts? Really, for me anyway, there are only two ways to clear up the unwanted kind. One is to replace them with better-feeling thoughts, and make some new memories. After some practice, these will become my thoughts. It doesn’t do a lot of good to dwell on the unpleasant ones without some form of relief. This can be anything from vigorous exercise to energy techniques, but best for me is to imagine the kinds of thoughts I’d like to have!—Not to sound too Pollyanna-ish…
English! By this I specifically mean the English language used in sacred choral music. A lot of people in the western world play in orchestras or sing in choruses. I have done both for many years. In the “classical” tradition (misnamed, but that’s another post) most—by no means all, but most—of the vocal music consists of interpretations of western Christian liturgy. Many people can just sing those right along for years, regardless of their background or beliefs. In one of the choral groups I work with, there are a surprising number of spiritual persuasions and non-persuasions. I will confess that, for me, it is increasingly difficult to repeat phrases that have no place in my belief system. I could just continue to “suck it up” as I have been doing for years. After all, choral directors and coaches often tell us that part of our “job” singing this music is to be actors, to “sell” it. I do see this as important if accepting a role in a play (and I WAS a missionary, for the Save-A-Soul Mission, in the musical Guys and Dolls–ironic, huh?) but, there are a variety of roles in plays, whereas in traditional western classical music, there is mostly this adulterated religious expression. When these works are sung in Latin or German or French, I at least get some distance from them, even though I still know what every word says. I can more easily step into a “role” if I’m not using the language I speak and think in.
Ideas! You’d think this would have been covered in “Thoughts”, above, but ideas are different from thoughts. An idea is: “Hey maybe I’ll become a circus clown! That’s just what I’ve been needing to spice up my life!” or, “I’ve noticed that when I go into rooms painted Chartreuse I feel peppier! I think I’m going to paint my whole house Chartreuse!” (I never said “ideas” were necessarily “good” or “helpful”.) They are Proclamations rather than mere Thoughts. All of us have probably thought of a product or two from time to time that *does* seem to be a good idea. Some of them languish away on the back burner, while others are brought to the forefront. So I’m ready to let go of the not-as-good ones.
Fix-it Projects! My house seems to need a lot of work at the moment, some of which I can do myself, some not; some of which costs a fair amount of money, and some not. Everything from replacing the carpets to fixing the leak in the garage seems to need doing. The kitchen could use some work. The bathrooms scare me a little. But how to prioritize? Should I do the things that cost the least and that I can do myself first? Or should I make a list of things from most to least urgent and work my way down as best I can? I’m a bit unmotivated and disheartened, but if I want to leave this house for greener pastures, these things must be done. Even if I don’t…I deserve a nice place to live, don’t I? I’ve just thought of a third way to do my list, which brings me finally to…
Lists! I have a love/hate relationship with lists. When I travel, I obsess about them. I put everything I want to pack on a list, from underwear to nail clippers. After all, I’m traveling all the way to…California!, a primitive land where I’m sure they don’t have things like toothpaste, should I forget it, nor could I possibly borrow it from my native Californian sister, whom I will visit–backwards creature that she is! She probably scrubs her teeth with backyard sand! …And then there’s the other kind of list: “Things To Do”. I like to make these lists, but I rarely do what’s on them. My streak of rebelliousness comes out when I’m told to do something, even when I’m the one telling. I don’t really want to “Do” anything. I do often do things, but I’d rather just “Be”. Perhaps I should make a “To Be” list! Yes! I’ll put that on my list of things To Do.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 6 so far )
Another “Art Month” post here; this time a reference to an earlier post about a rather extraordinary relationship I’ve established. The “update” part of this update is: Recently the organization I mention int he original post started up rehearsals again after being off for the summer. I have no idea what Amy did all summer; she didn’t discuss it with me. When she walked into the room on that first night, though, an amazing thing happened. She allowed me to hug her! I never had done in the years we have known each other. A few years ago, when she told me her mother had just died, I patted her shoulder, and she recoiled as if my hand were a hot poker. So I have kept my distance. But, the group is a huggy crowd–at least after not having seen each other for a while–and I’d already exchanged a few with other members. When I saw Amy, I just spontaneously began to put my arm around her, and she hugged me back. It was quick, and hesitant, but it did indeed take place.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Continuing on the “Art Month” Theme, I include here a Prose Poem I wrote a while back. The “You” I am addressing is that entity called “Life”
You don’t know what I hear
when you tell me things.
I want you uncensored, and yet…
there are ways I am not like you.
And in those ways that you are—
I imagine myself.
It’s not in my character;
you don’t mean it to be this way;
it is I who am not in synch.
I’ve always felt queer and out of place,
even within the out-of-place culture.
I just go along as best I can
without wanting to conform.
It has brought me peace
I am not worldly like you.
You say as I am out there
with my trip firmly placed
like to have chosen
from among those on offer;
but they never were; not to me.
My way was not to sample, only taste.
To know that I don’t fit this world of yours
Hurts Me in Small Ways.
Getting a bit of a late start, but I’m inspired by National Blog Posting Month’s theme for September. NaBloPoMo seeks to inspire bloggers with themes and writing prompts so that they will post every day for a month on one particular theme. I signed up one month, and I think I lasted four days. I don’t really want to feel obligated to post every SINGLE day (see “Blogging without Obligation” badge to your right) nor be restricted to just one theme when I might have a lot to say on other issues. I thought it might be a good exercise to see if my topics could fit within the context of the NaBloPoMo theme, as I have been inspired by specific assignments before. It was not enough motivation to get me to post every day!
In September, though, the theme is “Art”, a topic I feel some passion for, so I thought I’d contribute just a few towards it. Besides, I like the logo for September; Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
For my first “Art Post” of the month, I want to direct the reader’s attention to my favorite post on the topic I have ever posted, because it paints a portrait of my interest.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
This is the third time I have posted something on the anniversary of September 11, 2001. On this occasion, the ninth anniversary of the event, I feel a little numb. It’s not that I don’t care anymore; I do. It’s just that after all these years, things don’t seem to have changed for the better.
I still remember the flags popping out all over, within a day or two of the attacks. And, while I’m not a nationalist, the feeling of unity, supported by many other countries, was hard to ignore.
There were many emotions: deep hurt; anger; fear…but amongst them, a ray of hope.
The first year I posted about the events of September 11, 2001, I wrote of a very special event which took place on the first anniversary of the day that changed things. This, the Rolling Requiem, remains one of my cherished memories. There is talk of reviving this event next year, on the 10th anniversary. If that does take place, I will participate. After that, I would love the world to (although we’ll never forget) to move on; put the energy into something new. My first and best post on 9/11 is here.
I’m curious about what I’ll be posting in this spot next year, on this date.
Peace; Namaste; Salaam; ShalomRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )