A Poem about Getting Old, No Pills, Being a Busker (aka Street Performer)

A poem I wrote:  I am a coward because other poems I write are not revealing my deep fears etc. but this one does.  It is about my fear of being seen as an old, crazy lady who has never succeeded who keeps telling everyone she is a singersinger/songwriter.

It is also about busking – becoming a street performer…Recently I have decided the best way to launch my songwriter/guitarist career at age 58 is on the street – in San Francisco and other places.  Since trying to play in clubs etc seems so labor intensive – the calls, the being ignored,  the few gigs that pay so little…it just seems easier to show up, wheel in my battery operated amp and microphone, and sing my heart out…not sure if I can make any money this way but for now i have a loving spouse who is willing to fund my art adventure – although he is getting impatient since I have been earning zero and we need the money…

So here goes – my poem to express how I think I am a crazy old nut for trying to be a “songwriter” and how I also think that by not writing about this exact fear, I will not be a good songwriter.

Old and Unsuccessful

Bumps on my hips

Lumps in my breast

to forget to be old

I’m doing my best

To keep writing songs

That live to be sung

To live for the next

I write another one

I’m plodding along

in my dorky fashion

ploddings ok

it begets passion

I read the New Yorker

for inspiration

of poets past

and our crumbling nation

and hold court on the street

to whomever will listen

polish my words

out here ’til they glisten

Sick of hearing

it’s not for sissies

yes I’m older

than Ulysses

Dream of someday

re-living my past

The man that got away

returning at last

Confessing his love

I was right all along

It must be true

Cause I’m singing this song

and you’ll hear as I do

it proves one thing

I’m crazy as hell

I feel that sting

It’s hard to bare

but easier still

than closing up shop

going back on the pills

(note:  I was going to correct the spelling of “bare” but it seems fitting to leave it grammatically wrong for obvious reasons?)

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.

Taking Care of Each Other for Valentine’s and Every Day

cut cats in love

So is it just too much to ask that we save the world? It IS a lot…

Reading Pema Chodron this day before Valentines day the book opened to a page on the “Second Commitment–Taking Care of One Another”…And the chapter called “Beyond Our Comfort Zone”…

From the Book “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change”

“…if we long to alleviate suffering, what can we do?  For one thing, we can invite everybody and open the door to them all, but open the door only briefly at first.    We open it only for as long as we’re currently able to and give ourselves permission not to close it when we become too uncomfortable.  However, our aspiration  is always to open the door again and …keep it open for a few seconds longer than the time before.   The results may be surprising.  In opening the door gradually, not tying to  throw it open all at once, we get used to the shaky feeling …(of) people we can’t quite handle coming to the party.   Rather than thinking, I have to open the door completely or I’m not doing it right, we start with the intention to keep opening that door , and  bit by bit, we tap into a reservoir of inner strength and courage that we never knew we had…intention to take off our mask, to face our fears….I once asked Dzigar Kongtrul about this….yes, I still have those feelings, but they don’t catch me.  He is, it seems, NO LONGER AFRAID OF FEAR.  

Those raw feelings  can even inspire us to action.  When asked if he had any regrets, the Dali Lama said he felt responsible for the death of an elderly monk that came to him for guidance.   When asked how he had dealt with that feeling of regret, how he had gotten rid of it, he said he didn’t get rid of it.  It’s still there, but it no longer drags him down.  It has motivated him to keep working to benefit people in every way he can.”

Love and being in a relationship is not the sexy thing Hollywood leads us to believe… but it can be so much more, and better, than the Hollywood version.

Taking care of someone is not so…sexy.  They are sick, they are mentally ill (at times) and you just have to hang in there….but they are not ALWAYS sick or ALWAYS messed up in the head…so hang in there.  it is better than throwing them away and starting all over again …and you know, if you are younger you may think there is one perfect one and just try to find a better model, but they are all broken and damaged so you better just work on the one ya got.  Happy Valentines day.