Listen first, then listen again, then some more, and then decide to be quiet

10858497_10153095268990850_7376995795256107858_nAll my life my mom used to say “you need to learn to listen”, at which time I became royally offended and hated my mom and thought she was the enemy.

In a way she was– judgmental and negative, but she was right about my needing to listen.

Not sure to what, but after she passed I found out how important listening was.  Listening to something besides my relentless  self recriminations .

Virtually anything I listen to (or read, for in the act of reading I am speaking the author’s words in my head) is better than what I call Ms. Bad-Sad–that default feeling/thought/voice track in my head and heart.

That is because the original dysfunctional messages are there for time immemorial – no matter how much I know about enlightenment, NLP, Jungian approaches, and dozens of other tools for transcending a mentally ill family mind-set.

This bad sad mind track is only harmful if it goes unnoticed.  And once noticed it is only bad if I try to deny or argue with it or mask it over with “positive thinking”.  It is most beneficial when I accept it for what it is and is not:

What it is  – old messages and attitudes from a mentally ill upbringing.

What it is not – the deciding factor in who I am, how I feel, or what I can achieve.

But it is there, period.  It is possible to befriend and peacefully co-exist with Ms. Bad-Sad, provided I  start of every single day listening to things that quiet her:

Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen–

–to songs, meditations, books on tape, written materials, and people when available,  that are evolved, kind, accepting, and affirming of my pure desire and deservedness of love, fun, and high self-regard.

Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen…

to the love within me, my need for love, and my capacity to be, give and receive love.

This goes against my resident crepe hanger voice – since human loving kindness and love between people was declared (albeit silently by actions and attitudes) nonexistent by my mentally ill family, unless in the framework of traditional religion.

Listen – to my inner wise self, hidden beneath the daily barrage – my solid and ageless self, aligned with  all the love and motivation in the entire universe

So today, I begin, late but I do begin, by listening, quietly, silently… to loving, kind, self-accepting messages, letting them soak into me.

Right now I hear a book on tape called Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks.  Tomorrow I will play Shakti Gawain’s guided visualizations.  It can be anything, as long as the message is allowed to exist in the deep recesses of the mind/heart/soul.  That is why you writers and artists out there need to keep producing, because there can never be too many life-affirming loving and kind books, poems, songs, stories, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, t-shirts, art and craft gizmos…the more there are, the more they will outweigh the hateful, superstitious, false, fear based, or apathetic books, articles, shows and songs out there.

Every morning I will read,  play, and especially sing messages that give me the choice,  all over again, to declare I am not Ms Bad-Sad–she is just a roommate, and that I deserve a good life, success, friends and fun.

Why “Never Talk To Strangers” is a wrong-headed idea

I heard a public service announcement on my public radio station today, the jist of which was be sure to tell your children to never talk to strangers.

Wait!  What???

Since most of the people a child sees any given day (if they live in a metro area) would be people they have never met, that means they are being taught to go around purposely ignoring and treating as threatening almost every other human being they see in the course of their day.

We need to teach children that there is that one nut that will hurt or abduct you.   But what about teaching them SKILLS….

the SKILLS they need to relate to people, meet new people, and navigate each encounter?

I agree in general that CHILDREN don’t need to talk to strangers, but their PARENTS definitely should.  But I typically observe that the parents avoid contact with strangers too, because they are trying to model the behavior they want from their children–and in the process, adults all over the country are ignoring, treating as dangerous. the very people that could become friends, spouses, leads to new jobs or business (if self employed)…  This is complete lunacy!

Parents are the role models.  So what if they model street wise behavior…and model the idea—to use an old cliche–that “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”

Parents can model common streetwise intelligence–how to determine if any given person is safe to talk to:   things like, where is this occurring –a dark alley or a safe place?  And is the person acting appropriately, making eye contact (but not too much) and so on..

What I see are young parents completely isolated from others in a hostile (not) world, ensconcing their children in their apron strings…

…  Both adults and children need the street wise skills to make their way in the world;  skills that are a complete enigma because of this ludicrous blanket admonition of “never talk to strangers”.

So, show your kids HOW to relate to each stranger in a smart fashion, let them begin to practice talking to strangers while you are present, and as they get older, armed with streetwise-ness, encourage them to go out alone with that old cliche:

“A stranger is (might be) just a friend you haven’t met yet.”

Thank You for considering this important concept.  Have a friendly day.

Trella

Words that kill, words that heal, that make a new earth

LOLcat - I Must Go

Words matter…i realized today that words are my passion.

words my mom’s cousin Fletcher Kneble got to be a best selling author using

words that heal

words that kill

words and pictures that were put forth to the public, that angered some insane psychopaths who then killed a lot of people

Words matter, pictures matter, music matters. What is put out via any media outlet MATTERS.

I have been feeling like my life is a bust, since i am over half a century old and have done nothing that really has helped to heal the pain of the human race or make anything better or offer up any solutions to the myriad strife and suffering.

but today i decided to be passionate about making a difference —-and how?

With the words, the words… the words that i offer up…

the words that i write, speak , sing, share on line, or in person or in a magazine or a book or with my family, neighbors, store clerks

WORDS MATTER. i love words and what they can do, they CHANGE the world,…make it better or make it worse…

they have to be considered carefully, p[preferably with love and healing as their aim… and humor absolutely,…

humor in words is one of the best teachers and healers there is or ever will be
I don’ follow news but my heart is hurt so much, at anyone dying , being killed.

it hurts for the killed and the killers and all the relatives and friends, this is a state of deep sorrow for the human race… as was 9 11 and the other acts of terror.
it means we choose and use our words with purpose, with love, knowing that our words have POWER ….they MOTIVATE people do do things, bad things or good things; but words are the foundation of who we are, they are what we have that other species (for the most part) don’t have…
we are the ones who with our words can re-make the entire human race into something better, a human race without war, without hate, without fear….

we can COMMUNICATE with scared and sick people to help them, to comfort them, and sometimes to appease them to make sure they don’t hurt or kill anyone (or at least take it as our duty to be aware of hate and fear inside people who are very sick, that can lead to killing. To be aware that what we do can reduce and eventually eliminate the fear and hate.

that is certainly a reason for me to live, for anyone to live, maybe it is the ONLY reason anyone is on earth at all, to SOLVE these problems… not to futilely seek pleasure, buy things, make gobs of money to hoard…

to be a voice. A VOICE that may appease or heal one or one million who fear and hate, to be a force that is the light that illuminates the dark….

if you think of light,….it doesn’t need to fight or argue with dark…cause anywhere there is light it just magically removes the darkness… merely by existing…no force needed, simply allow the light to be , to be.

The light.

The light.

The light

…the light. Allow it to simply be..,.

Excited at first? Has your plan to blog daily lost it’s dazzle?

Yesterday I posted for the first time in a long time, and I don’t know why or how, but my whole day went better.  I recall how it was when I started; I thought “this blog will be my positive start to each day, a way to listen to the loving voices in me and defuse the doubting, depressed ones.”  Then alas, I fell off the trolley.,..but as in my post from yesterday, I now simply BEGIN AGAIN.

Because it works, it feels good…no need to analyze or justify, if something keeps you working on your goals, frees you from negative monkey mind, just keep doing it for Gods’ sake!

What does it take to get you (i. e. me)  in your own corner, rooting for yourself?  You (I) root for others and would never think of saying, “so…you find blogging a great benefit…oh well, don’t bother, you’re too busy, you don’t have anything to say…”

…and yet that kind of self talk is what kept me away from blogging.

One of my favorite parts about this blog is when I post a jazz video.  Then when I begin practicing guitar I have a vivid sound and picture of why I am putting in all this effort on drills and such…Today’s video is by  jazz guitar icon Grant Green, with a great band backing him up.

For me, it is imperative that I watch role models doing things that I aspires to.  Rather than compare myself and feel I have fallen short, I love hearing the great jazz, it ignites my desire to play the best I can, to allow myself to picture the gigs I plan to get, and picture them going fantastically, and the venues inviting me to come and play all the time, for a decent amount of money or other compensation.

You see, just writing that makes it seem possible, not a distant pipe dream…it makes me wanna up my guitar practice to 7 a day..not hard at all.

I hope my story helps you to start blogging again if you have drifted away like me.

We all need love to thrive, artists, waitresses, CEOs, clerks at Home Depot, the Homeless, the Mentally Ill…

dogRaincoatThis picture really speaks volumes about love shared between a human and an animal, and that is a good start, but we also need love between human beings, everywhere we go:

We cannot depend solely on our family—sometimes, even though they love us, the soul craves something more, something to move us, inspire passion (sexual or otherwise).

Today I crave love, perhaps excitement…and here I am attempting to practice – but my music comes from love, no love-no music!

It is a vicious cycle:

I keep myself home to practice many hours per day, but in being alone so much with the guitar just sitting there, love dwindles away.

Just admitting the need for love, my soul begins to heal.  I realize I can purposefully go into my lovely community and share smiles and love with the people I am drawn to.  I try to sneak out of that task, hoping some fantasy of the perfect love is all I need…TRUTH:  I, like you, need many sources of love, or as we said back in the 70s, strokes.  We now have “Meet Up”, thank God, because it offers so many great ways to connect.  My best friends are ones I met via Meet Up.

SO, as to love:

..I need it…or I shall die…that’s all for now…bye bye

PS – If you go to Home Depot , or any other shop, smile and ask an employee “How are you doing?”  Then stop and listen while they respond.  If possible, make a comment that could just be the thing they needed in their present predicament. It will bring a bit of love to their soul!

 

The ocean shows me one-ness: This is what I think of while enjoying the waves, sky, sand, birds, plants, cliffs…

The ocean is so vast.  The vastness of all that is–being so huge as it is– does not mean that we are insignificant (i.e. so tiny in comparison to the vast infinity that we don’t matter). Instead, it gives us HUGE significance, to know that in the infinite cosmos, we are the only ones (that we have seen so far) with water, love, flowers, dogs…it means we “hit the jackpot”.

…and we are not in some desolate place with no trees, no dogs, no cats, no sex, no water, no LIFE…. We are the only ones with LIFE and our human habit is– instead of appreciating all this–to suffer by hating people, being scared, thinking every moment about past pain, or fear of pain we may feel in the future, and WE MISS OUR PERFECT HUMAN STATE OF ALIVENESS IN WHICH THERE IS NO SUFFERING. There is no suffering in the here and now. The suffering in only from

  1. Remembering and feeling pain about the past,  or judging and finding fault with the past (I didn’t do good enough, they didn’t respect me…), or from thinking the past was so magic and great and now life sucks in comparison.
  2. Thinking of the future –worrying about it, or doing things (work, paying penance etc.) that we believe will give us happiness at some later time, thinking there is no way to have happiness without doing all these other things first.

We can notice  how vast “all that is” is, and notice that we won the statistically impossible – like that one in a million who get to be a movie star – We won Earth.

Earth is the “movie star” among all the planets and the infinite cosmos, and we have this amazing place–a dream come true of delicious food,fresh fruit,  breathing,  seeing colors, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing/making great music, laughter, the sound of one another’s voices articulating the beauty of being human, and yet we hang around smack dab in the middle of this heaven we call earth, at this amazing miraculous event called life, and we hate, fear, worry, and conjure up awful versions of what is around us, rather than concentrating on the  999 percent that is all solid gold.

Instead of,  “let’s go enjoy it”—oh no, we can’t do that, first we have to spend a thousand years hating each other because we have different ideas about how it all got here, arguing about god, no god, evolution, intelligent design…..

We  are like a ship or vessel of life forms/humans, that was lost,  got tossed about, and landed in PARADISE – the BEST PLACE with the greatest capacity to feel love, joy, ecstasy, sublime peace and tranquility; to live in the affirmation of the tremendous dignity and sanctity of our own and all other sentient beings lives.  And somehow we as a species got confused, and in our attitudes a glitch came about, the glitch of anger, stress, low self-esteem, fear and confusion and inability to BE HUMAN—and inability to BE in the present moment. We got caught up in a negative loop that goes round and round of;  they are better, I want their car, money, attractive husband, etc,  or I am better, how dare they have part of my stuff (i.e. expect me to pay taxes).

So now what can be done?

How can humans appreciate all the cosmos/life/earth/nature / each other?

By being here and now, by feeling and learning from and releasing traumas, death of loved ones, and old grudges and regrets.

By acknowledging (as explained in the great book, The Tao of Physics), the past, present and future is all right now, not linear. We CAN be in the present:  there is no need for encumbrance from past.  And there is no need to fear the future, or engage in excessive preparation for the future.  Notice people like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh , many others – joyful in the present.  It is humanly possible to be that way, not based on money or material success, but on noticing our breathing, and living mindfully.

We can embrace the concept that we are the ones that hit the jackpot of life, of nature, of living in this place so well suited to us. We can respect the nature, our part and place in it.  We can ALLOW ourselves to be/feel who we really are, human animals connected with the one-ness of all that is. We can use our intellect to direct us to the feeling place of peace and love and kindness, transcending prior (and current) approaches based on fear, hatred, closing off between groups in various places on earth and closing off between one person and another.

We act like it’s not ok to function as we were designed to function – to pee, poop , have sex –things we all do and pretend we don’t (well SOME of those things)– and we pretend people don’t die, and become sad when they do.  We pretend we can control life, when actually we are here to roll with it–the weather, the change of seasons, the always evolving, living, dying and living and dying of people/plants/animals.

We pretend we are immortal, and thus go for decades and decades without enjoying or feeling happy in life…to perhaps take a 2 week vacation in which we are supposed to get the reward of 20 years of not really being alive while we work at a job that has no meaning, that isn’t using our talents.  Or we  convince ourselves that  “If only I work the next 20 years, or until retirement, at a job that I force myself to go to,  and sacrifice all present enjoyment, I will have lots of money, or the perfect spouse or house, and then I can be happy.”

We pretend we don’t die:  Thus, we often disregard the present moment, acting like it doesn’t matter, imagining that it will matter some other time–tomorrow, or this weekend, or at the holiday break.  Think of a party that we are all invited to, called life, we know that the party is happening, but we don’t go.  We say we will go later. Alternatively, think like a little child who has not yet removed himself from living in the moment.  Someone comes and says lets go see the sights, play, laugh, roll in the grass, stare up into the sky, the kid goes.  He does not say “I can do that later” or I am holding out for a better party later, or the cool people won’t be there so I don’t want to go, or, that party won’t last forever so it isn’t any good.

We can stop pretending that some people are not human, and have compassion for all life, human and other, and build systems that reflect that, systems that foster the state in which we can frequently  EXPERIENCE the ECSTASY of being alive.  Feel our breath, the fresh air on our skin, a breeze caressing our skin when we walk outside in the morning, the lovely laughter of children playing, and cease our habit and systems that wall off our lives into buildings, cities, in which each person is expected to hoard items they “buy” after selling their time at a “job” that is not intrinsic to who they are. We can allow our planet and its humans to blossom out in the intrinsic thing that is who they are.

We can make art and design things that will help the planet heal, find ways to solve problems like garbage floating in the ocean and homelessness…. And base our economy on only things that help heal ourselves and the planet, exchange goods and services that help all, ceasing to run the world using economies that  harm millions while benefiting 10 or 20 wealthy people that own some big corporations.

I’ll Send All My Loving, to You

Yes, it’s a Beatles song…not a very good time for me, since i played yesterday at a coffee house and was pretty miserable about the many mistakes I made in my songs.

So I figured the best thing to do is send love to YOU.  That, is, you, who are reading this.

Why would i do that?  It is better than withholding love, or spreading hate..  After living over half a century I finally just learned what happens when you withhold your love..

If you have a falling out, or a “neutral” relationship with someone in your family or even a former friend or the like, and that person dies…you will be in a lot of emotional turmoil if you never attempt to repair that rift.  That happened to me.

My mother who recently passed was not close to me as an adult.  As a child, I worshiped the ground she walked on, but as the years went by, she–a devout Christian–began to proselytize more and more:  a big turn off to me since I am a Zen kinda person who thinks that much religion divides and causes war.

So, as a result of this I did not show love to her.  Not that I was mean, but in the last few decades it was “How are you..Fine…ok bye” (typical phone conversation).

Now in that most wise hindsight, here is what I could have done, which I call “the loving way” to deal with people who you have a rift with .

I could have said “I respect your religion and I want to love you, I DO love you, you were a great mom when i was a little girl, and I have amazing memories of the wonderful magic you brought into my life, but now it feels like we are cut off emotionally from each other.  I don’t want that.  I would like it if you would accept that I have different views, and if you would accept ME as i am, i.e. a “non-believer” then I think our rift could be healed.”

I am not sure exactly what would be said…it doesn’t really matter.  The point is, I could have said ANYTHING, and it would have been better than her dying without me ever saying that it hurt to be cut off from each other, It would have been better to just cry with her, to talk to her about how hard it was to have an SOB for a husband, to tell her that I always felt she was so much better than me, what with her exercising every day and always eating small portions.

So, the take away from this is, it you have a rift with someone, especially a parent, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  You will be so much better off after they die, you will have a memory of them that will rest in peace, rather than a memory that is full of anguish and guilt.

Jus’sayin’

Can Physics end War and Hate?

From the Elegant Universe by Brian Green

“Imagine that George, who is wearing a spacesuit with a flashing light, is floating in the absolute darkness of completely empty space, far away from any planets…From George’s perspective he is completely stationary, engulfed in the uniform, still blackness of the cosmos. Off in the distance George catches sight of a tiny, green flashing light that appears to be coming closer and closer. Finally it gets close enough for George to see that the light is attached to a spacesuit of another space-dweller, Gracie, who is floating by.  She waves as she passes by, as does George, and she recedes in the distance.  This story can be told with equal validity from Gracie’s perspective.  It begins in the same manner with Gracie completely alone in the immense still darkness of outer space.  Off in the distance, Gracie sees a red flashing light, which appears to be coming closer and closer. Finally it gets close enough for Gracie to see that it is attached to the spacesuit of another being, George, who is slowly floating by. He waves as he passes, as does Gracie, and he recedes into the distance.

The two stories describe one and the same situation from two distinct but equally valid points of view.  Each observer feels stationary and perceives the other as moving.  Each perspective is understandable and justifiable.  As there is symmetry between the two space-dwellers, there is, on quite fundamental grounds, no way of saying one perspective is “right’ and the other “wrong”.  Each perspective has an equal claim to the truth.”

People insist they are right because they are.  But they also insist the other guy is wrong, when s/he is ALSO right.   Merely because they are only relying on (and stacking absolute rightness in) THEIR sense of things–what they know in every core of their being is the TRUTH.

They are not allowing that there is more to “right” or “truth” than just what they can observe and comprehend with their primary senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell, and in their current state of knowledge,  awareness, education.

This is why people hate.  They hate someone who would call untrue what they KNOW is one-million percent true.They hate because they think the other is calling them a liar, and the other person hates right back, for the exact same reason.

Perhaps a mere physics lesson could end war, repair bad marriages and make parents and teens able to live under the same roof in relative calm.

Not pursuing your passion is a form of self-abuse…

passionIsn’t it?  You have that passion…think back:  When you were about 6 or 7 what did you get engrossed in?  What could you do for hours and not even notice the time passing? Then life happened and you had to earn a living, have kids and all.  But here and now is a fresh new chapter in your life, in which to pursue your passion; are you not in anguish if you don’t do it?  And isn’t  that anguish–from denying your passion–a form of self-abuse?  That is, aren’t you the one deciding to deny yourself the pursuit of your passion? Further, if you are abusive to yourself when practicing or pursuing your talent, critiquing every line, every note, every move of the foot, isn’t that self-abuse? When you chide yourself for not practicing your art, ask yourself this:

Am I avoiding my art practice  because I can’t stand another session of cruelty inflicted on me from my inner critic?

I found out why I never wanted to practice, when I realized what I was saying in my head, and sometimes out loud, was so counterproductive and downright abusive, cruel and sadistic. I thought about some bad boss or parent who treats a person like this, and then says, “What is the matter with you? Why are you so lazy?” I don’t approve of those people, yet I was being just like that to myself. NO MORE !!! When I stopped it, I increased practice time from 0 to 3 hours.  When I not only stopped being cruel, but started being kind and loving and gentle to myself when practicing, and caring  for myself as one would a little child playing with a new discovery/instrument/color crayons… I increased the time to 6 hours a day.  Now I can keep going indefinitely.  My plan is to play 6 hours a day for the next 600 days and see how my jazz riffs and improvisation are at that point.  THEN let that critic try and tell me I suck at jazz guitar.  HA! The silver lining in playing music or doing other arts is that you find out that cruel person is in there, and you cannot allow it anymore. If you did not do your art, that person would be in your head being cruel all the time —you would not notice the damage being caused. The art is the vehicle that necessitates you becoming the person you want to be, the kind of person you would admire, respect and cherish. When you decide to create beauty and meaning with your art, you have an automatic inner therapist/coach who helps you to release the baggage, low self-esteem, and soar with your talents…

The following is an excerpt from “Unstuck” by Jane Ann Staw which discusses this issue. This book is great for those faced with writer’s block and similar afflictions:

(When afflicted with writer’s block), “to write is self-punishment, each word a weapon that will be used against you.  Understanding this danger, you can begin to see that it’s not because you write best to deadline, or because you are discouraged, that you cannot sit down to write. It is because writing exposes you to a barrage of your own insults and criticism. Knowing, even unconsciously that we are setting ourselves up as targets for such abuse we…” (would be crazy if we DIDN’T avoid writing).

How to Shut Up (while not suppressing) your inner Critic.

 

You cannot suppress this voice/person/belief system that lives in your head.

You will only make it stronger.  You must come up to it and say,

“Hello, what is your opinion about my (music/writing/clothing/weight…)” and let it/her/him reply.

Then kindly say, thank you for sharing that, now I need to get back to what I do best, writing/playing/being joyful…

This person will lose the desire to bug you when you stop taking the bait.  Just like an external person.  If you are polite but do not let them jerk your chain they will get bored and stop their negative chatter about everything and anything.

The magazine “Real Simple” suggests some tips for controlling your inner critic:

  1. Pluck the weeds – when you have a thought, decide, is this a weed that needs to be plucked so my lovely garden can continue to flourish?  Focus on the thoughts that are beautiful blooms.  You can only focus on and embrace one thing at a time- by the time you immerse your feelings into the astounding  beauty of what your eyes and your heart behold, the weed/critic will have forgotten the point it was trying to make
  2. Rewire your brain – every thought we have paves a neural pathway, making it easier to have the same response over and over again. When the path is taken millions of times, it gets on auto-pilot.  Be aware of this, for example, every time I work on a new jazz technique the critic assures me I am too stoopid to play jazz – so I will recognize this, and take note of things I have mastered that I originally thought I never could.  At first this counter-thought will seem like a lie, I am just fooling myself, but just go along with it, and the next time the critic on auto pilot returns, insert that same response:  “Look at what I have accomplished that proves your criticism is wrong”.  Each time you do this, the new and self-loving neural pathway will get bigger, to the point that you will replace the critic with the warm,  loving supportive inner you that treasures each effort you make to excel at your dream of being a jazz guitarist/author/dancer/painter…or ______ (insert whatever is your passion.