I have been away from WordPress blogging and commenting lately, more so than usual, only briefly scanning blogs I follow, but not always or infrequently commenting. As the popular slogan goes these last several months, “unprecedented times,” the unprecedented part is profoundly and painfully true thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The times part is so true as well, as there seems to be little of it for personal hobbies, pleasures, and R&R down-time, e.g. blogging, commenting, or simply finding 1-hour of quiet-time. I am also quite annoyed with WordPress seemingly introducing every year a “newer better version” of the Editor. As if I am free to learn new software programming features like I work full-time for WordPress, this constant frequent changes or complete overhauls rub me a bloody chapped ass! I’ve loosed a fury of expletives at my computer screen so much the last 2-weeks my neighbors are ready to dial the police.
Despite these “unprecedented times” and WordPress incessantly changing their Editors to draft/write new blogs, I jump on here to quickly share a short, romantically moving, classic and soothing Shakespeare Sonnet. I hope it touches you as much as it does me. There is no other modern, renown, multiple Oscar-nominated actor that can recite Shakespeare any better than the late Peter O’Toole. None in my opinion.
I recommend listening to the YouTube clip of O’Toole’s heart-rending oral rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 with your eyes closed. This allows one to imagine every vowel, every eloquent word and rhythm O’Toole seems to effortlessly capture and float upon your ears like a warm whisper.
If you would prefer to read this exquisite Sonnet, I give you the fourteen lines here:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date; Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st; Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
For all of you, do not forget what makes us uniquely beautifully and brilliantly human with each other.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
The state of meditation is a powerful vessel. A connected state-of-mind and body to dimensional existence is about as meaningful a life as a person can reach; an altered or altering consciousness. But a person cannot reach that point solo. We also need the right surroundings. (line break)
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Growing up I loved playing my drum-set. In our downstairs playroom I had my 15-piece drum kit setup along with our band’s Peavey amps. Plugged-in to those Peavey amps was my stereo. Through my stereo I played the songs from epic rock-metal bands with more epic – so I thought – drummers. And within moments of beating the skins, high-hat, bass drum, and cymbals…I was there. Much of the sessions I would reach a heart-rate and drive that I could barely hold my sticks from the perspiration. I eventually had to place a fan on top of my bass drum to help cool my frenzied journey. I would reach such a vibrational rhythmic state of meditation that I can only describe as fluid between here and there. My sense of place and time, aside from the rhythm and beat, was lost; oblivious to anything in the house or outside it. It was there that my expression, my place in the moment and in the world, was most creative and most lucid. It was – and to this day as well – my way of belonging.
The years from 1990 to 1995 were the most devastating and most life-changing years of my life. Here’s a summary: My father committed suicide, my girlfriend-turned-fiancé abandoned me and our 2-year relationship without a single verbalized explanation, I was arrested by law-enforcement, I walked out of my wonderful psych-hospital job-career and out of my half-completed master’s program at my seminary, my daughter was born, a 5-month marriage ended, and I moved back to my hometown. Often during those years I sought the solace in the one place I knew I could find it. One song I’d play over and over and over, and behind my drums I’d play along…let go of my nagging thoughts and find my place of belonging. It was the only song, music, and lyrics that would make sense to me where I could find my father and my daughter, both of whom were no longer with me.
I have since learned that finding the place of belonging is sometimes very difficult, even tragic. But having survived it all, I have discovered just how powerful the state-of-belonging and connecting can impact not just a life, my life, but life around us. This is how I’ve equated it in my mind. As the lyrics of the song go…
If you open your mind[and soul]…You won’t rely on open eyes to see
My painful and beautiful journey would not have been possible if I had not had three critical travel-items: my parents and extended family, a creative growth-model of education taught by my father supported by my mother, and then finally love. These three integral parts must continue with us into adulthood. They must evolveand growin order to best manage in life the inevitable change and unexpected plot-twists!
If you have those three flexing growing components in your life – each illustrated mathematically by dividing 100 into 3 parts – the number cannot be emptied but goes on and on ad infinitum. For me, Fibonacci’s Sequence, or Golden Ratio, would be the counter-part, if you comprehend my wackiness.
The three parts each need more than just the mind or cerebral cortex. They need feelings. They need the freedom of fluid creative passion! Nature and the Universe (Multiverse) already create then modify, refine, then create more and so on like the Golden Ratio. Human DNA, generation to generation, does the same thing. As highly intelligent feeling beings, we have the passions to ignite life. If fortunate enough to have loving, nurturing yet non-oppressive parents and family, then we are given the early tools to ignite a significant belonging life…not just for ourselves, but equipped to provide a general blueprint for others too!
If this parental-family environment is taughtthroughout the primary and secondary schooling – in other words explained via the table below – empowering the child and adolescent, then the state of belonging can be perpetuated outside of self.
Assuming you are allowed how to think rather than told what to think, then a once very successful American icon spoke these words of enormous spiritual-cerebral wisdom to take on your journey:
“Whether you think you can or you think you cannot – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
If a young mind and heart are constantly denied the means to freely express, create, and recreate, learn and relearn for an eventual greater good, passing on a new fluid blueprint, then it would seem ironically, one becomes entrapped in the past. That is most unnatural. Ford recognized the power of self-actualization learned through and from our environment. In other words, there is a connection between us and everything around us. But there is more Henry – another force that is just as fluid.
Ford’s imparted partial-truth cannot be fully owned without the sticky fuel of feelings and love-ingredients to energize it. There are some things that can’t be taught. They must be realized. Though it had a compass rose, I was given my blank map. The natural aether in the lucid state of vibrant rhythmic meditation is an individual journey…for me discovered during my youth, rediscovered in my darkest hours, and now openly shared in wisdom and passion. It is my primal home away from “home,” where I truly belong.
I swim in it regularly.
Live Well * Love Much * Laugh Often * Learn Always
I love music and I love to dance. I am an eighth generation Texan and probably the 14th or 15th generation of dancers in my family descending from my paternal grandmother’s side. Dancing and music runs deep in our blood and being a drummer all my life the dance floor was certainly my destiny. My soul naturally gravitates toward the rhythm of harmonic melodic sound and firmly attaches itself, sometimes to the euphoric point of exhaustion. Then, and rarely any other time, I connect to our Universe with familial bonds beating in various intuitive circadian ways. The music takes over my body and my body follows its direction. Mmmm, I vibrate within and I am home.
My home away from home
Watching me dance, one friend described it as a Shaman summoning the gods of Life. That may be a most appropriate description because the “high”, if I may call it that, reaches primal tribal depths. Yet I think it goes beyond just the show of being in a night club. Actually for me it goes deeper.
A tribal connection thrives in open free expression and it means the difference between existential loneliness and the tranquility of belonging. I experience this every time I am with certain close friends at Panoptikon…my personal dance among my tribal dancers where I feel heard, understood, embraced, and open communication exists. When I am among my tribe when I feel welcomed and embraced, I count myself lucky because I know how rare this “high” is in a society constantly going and competing.
2424 Swiss Ave, Dallas, TX 75204
Even though surprises arise in the process of free expression, or the dance, it is always worth the effort. In less intimate relationships, expressing ourselves honestly is essential to our sense of home. But we are not always home. Whether inside our tribe or in foreign lands, articulate communication requires forethought; otherwise we risk blundering about like the proverbial bull in a china closet. However, too much forethought can cause us to pad or dilute our words or dance, so much that we are grossly superficial or confusing the matter further. Honest articulation, expression, dance are the critical principles among your tribe and there are many methods of doing this; none of them especially right or wrong.
When you communicate or express yourself honestly and boldly with your tribe, you also open paths to discovering more tribal dancers unique to your persona and purpose. These recognizable souls can fall into your life from your own journey and initiative, or they can find you and lead you to new connection. In any circumstance, if you feel disjointed then it is time to push your envelope, your limits. Get out of your comfort-zone! Fear stifles, courage fulfills.
From one of my favorite books by a fellow drummer:
Drumming At the Edge Of Magic – A Journey Into the Spirit of Percussion by Mickey Hart
Here is the mystery: If the rhythm is right, if the translation between inner mood and the drum membrane are perfect, then you know it instantly. “Ah, this goes with my body tempo, this connects how I feel today, how fast my heart is beating, what my thoughts are, what my hands feel like.”
When the rhythm is right you feel it with all your senses, every corner of your soul and being. You don’t fight it, but instead allow yourself to be propelled and consumed by its insistent yet familiar feeling. All sense of the present moment disappears, the normal categories of time become meaningless.
We live on a planet of rhythm and time. A planet that completes its cycle around the sun every 365 days, with a moon that cycles around us every 28 days, and we rotate around our own axis every 24 hours. These cosmic cycles and our bodily ones, all connected to the circadian dance of day and night. The mystery of rhythm and time found for a moment in the soul’s drum. When it is right, you feel it with all your senses, every thread of your being. It is the ‘sweet spot’ of connection.
I have found that for me vocal-trance, future-pop or synth-pop, and industrial-metal carry me away dancing. A lot of the time I am completely oblivious to my surroundings. If you’re wondering if this journey is in part or entirely a result of alcohol or drugs, you are incorrect. Because of my family heritage in dancing, and my intuitive drum, I have no fears or hangups being in the center of the floor and letting my beast out.
Most of the time I am out there to the point of exhaustion if my particular beats go on and on; I can’t seem to stop. And why would I? Medical science has shown that getting your heart-rate up for just 30 minutes a day is equal to one anti-depressant pill. I dance for at least 4 hours, sometimes 5 with just brief breaks to breath. It is the best natural high I know other than the zone I reach playing the drums. Well, actually I guess there is one other….the birth of my two children! HAH! No, to be fully transparent it was also the process leading up to my two children and those other similar moments. 😉
Find your tribe, find your dance, and you find a home where you belong.