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.

Six Ways To Begin Again

I have to begin again on my blog so I found this great list of things about that very subject, written by Collin McCarty, and a song by one of my favorite jazz singers; although not an exact match for the topic, his voice is worth a listen…

1.  Begin to see yourself as you were when you were the strongest and happiest you’ve ever been.

2.   Begin to remember what worked for you (and what worked against you), try to capture the magic again

3.  Begin to remember how natural it was as a child – to live a lifetime each day.

4.  Begin to forget the baggage you have carried with you for years:  the problems that don’t matter anymore, the tears that cried themselves away, and the worries that are going to wash away on the shore of tomorrow’s new beginning.

5. Tomorrow tells us it will be here every new day of our lives; and if we will be wise, we will turn away from the problems of the past, and give the future–and ourselves–a change to become the best of friends.

6.  Sometimes all it takes is a wish in your heart to let yourself…begin again.

What has worked for you when you decided to begin again? I hope you’ll share in the comments.  Happy Holidays,

Love,

Trella

 

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!

 

Every moment we walk on a beautiful path, if we don’t lose our way

imagesBelow are some words from another post. I gratefully acknowledge the New Earth Heartbeat for posting this most invaluable writing. You can read the entire post via the link below, but I copied some parts below that I wanted to discuss.

http://newearthpulse.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/being-the-boss/

I am moved by the words from that post stating that if we cannot admit we are Buddha then we don’t understand Buddha nature. This means to me allowing Buddha to be, versus trying to explain or prove something about it. No one can get another to use this teaching that does not already have the propensity to do so. That is not to say it is worthless to write and speak about it—for there are many who DO have the propensity, and YOUR WORDS may be just what the doctor ordered to allow them to know and be Buddha nature, to stop seeking to understand, and to know that they already know

And if we seek to understand it, we cannot understand it. This phrase empowers me to tap into what is already there, the part that we all have that is one with nature and with all humanity, that knows what to do, that is always the boss. Focusing on this, I realize that I am the boss, because Buddha nature is the boss, someone far more capable than the ego part of me, someone I surrender to, trust completely to love and be kind to me and everyone else. That is the only way Buddha can be – loving, kind, wise, always able to protect us from losing our way. Buddha nature shows us what to do next, and how to do it, right here and right now—how to eliminate stress, to commit to the next thing–brushing your teeth or painting a glorious work of art, or making a call to set a doctor’s appointment—all those tasks are equal, when done with Buddha nature, all those tasks bring peace and are equally important. There is a way to do each of those diverse things that will bring about loving kindness in yourself today and in everyone you encounter today.

Another part of the post that struck a chord in me is “this means you should not lose your way”….

Today I will not lose my way, even though I did five minutes ago or yesterday or last year or 20 years ago, today I no longer need to lose my way, nothing else matters. If you are lost and you’ve been through many errors, failures, tragedies, and so on—if you have done wrong, or wrong has been done to you…why would you want to continue to be in that mess when you can be Buddha the one that will no longer lose his or her way?

The music of today is in the spirit of knowing that in me is a place beyond consciousness where music and art live in the most beautiful and effortless forms, and from that place things I thought were too hard suddenly become easy, or the process of breaking them down and learning them becomes a basic and joyful labor of love, leading to the level of musicianship infused with love that I aspire to…This process holds for whatever art or job or family rising or relationship making you are doing today.

 

“…When we ask what Buddha nature is, it vanishes; but when we just practice zazen, we have full understanding of it.”

“…So what Buddha meant by Buddha nature was to be there as he was, beyond the realm of consciousness.”

“…Buddha nature is our original nature; we have it before we practice zazen and before we acknowledge it in terms of consciousness.”

“If you want to understand it, you cannot understand it. When you give up trying to understand it, true understanding is always there.”

“…if you are under the idea of doing or not doing zazen, or if you cannot admit that you are Buddha, then you understand neither Buddha nature nor zazen.”

“Wherever we go, we should not lose this way of life. That is called ‘being Buddha,’ or ‘being the boss.’”

“Wherever you go you should be the master of your surroundings. This means you should not lose your way.”

All Blues by Miles Davis- Guitar Version..Transcending the Pain of Life

Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue made me feel jazz and love it – the kind of blues (no pun intended) that I like that is, and I don’t like it all .. I think folks who say they don’t like it have heard a KIND that they don’t like and have yet to hear something so mellow and spiritual as tunes like All Blues, or Round Midnight ..I hope that is true.

Today is a lovely day as the birds feed out on the balcony.  I will return today to the deepest place in my heart and be fully present in all I do, guitar, washing clothes…all of it.  Anything and everything I do is a good time to feel the ecstasy of being fully present with nature, not censoring or judging anything that you feel or think, but instead letting the buddha within you address each and every thing that comes up and offer you comfort – allow you to no longer hide anything from yourself..In realeasing all that is being submerging the knack for full joy like a child returns once again and you are home, above all the pain – personal and worldwide, – breakups, death, was, Ebola, racial divides…can all be there and yet you may have joy, passion, ecstasy, even the feeling of the first time you fell in love–only better because this doesn’t rely on anther person to love you, it is within you-you are both the lover and the lovee- this sounds impossible but it is in fact very possible.

Jazzin’ the Day Away

I am posting a jazz guitarist video today to start my day of practice off right.  The arpeggios are getting easier all the time and I think if I can break the sound barrier so to speak, that place at which most people would quit because they don’t see how any of the drills will make them able to play actual improvised jazz, or even to take the songs they currently know and play them in a much more enjoyable arrangement..

So, yes, in spite of all the lack of proof that it will work, I will practice on in despair, like a mountain climber that knows that even if they reach the top they will most likely not make it down again due to hazards of nature…

That sounds so drama-queen-ish but it is how it feels to work and work for hours on one song and then play it and realize it does not sound good yet…

But I will go on because part of me knows that the day will come, in a month, a year, or 2 years, or more, when I will play well, when each song will be up to par, when I will have the gigs, respect from my fellow musicians, and most importantly, when I will use my new guitar skills to compose songs that I feel will make a difference – will help one or more people to learn, gain a new insight or be free of some mental anguish, due to the message and love in the song that I sing.

I don’t mean that I will be a star or that my video  will go viral, just that the ones who do hear my music will benefit from it.

This is almost like going back to a time when live performers were everywhere, before they had computers, TV, or even radio.

The world I want to live respects  songwriters and musicians of dedication, not because they are famous or because the are “trending” on social media, but because their music is glorious, like a beautiful painting by a master painter.

So enough of my rant, here is a video to inspire and entertain you and me:

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.

From a favorite of mine, Blaise Pascal

time heals grief

This Blaise Pascal quote seems simple, and not all that earthshaking at first, but breaking it down, I find that pain of loss, grief, is from mourning that fact that you are no longer the same and vainly trying to be–like a baby insisting on getting their own way–like you were before the person died.

When I read this quote I was renewed, freed of grief for that instant I understood its deeper ramifications.

 

To know that I am in fact no longer the same person, gives me the joy of accepting who I am in the present.  It empowers me to know that there is only the present.  Humans trying to make something stick –trying to make life like a painting that never changes–is what causes the suffering and grief.

Flowing as a LIVE person empowers and mitigates the suffering.  Being in a painting or old photo is only pain and despair, and it is a lie because it isn’t real–you aren’t a real person when you try to pretend that painting or photo of a vision of some sort of perfect life, a fairy tale life, will sustain you.

I need to know that my loved ones who’ve gone would not want me to cling to old photos, that they were once vital in the here and now, loving life, not fixated to a false fairy tale of a life…and they want me to be vital too.  They want more for me than they had.  They want me to live in what they only glimpsed could be–a life fully empowered, with full capacity for joy, success, inner peace and love within my family and my community.

These things I have shared allow me to let go, yet keep the memories and learnings of the person and the past.

Maybe this post will help one of you who also suffers because your life isn’t the fairy tale you hoped for, or thought it should be–a picture painted (probably in childhood) on your psyche–a picture that never was and never can be real.

A picture that your mommy and daddy would be pleased to know you have flown beyond.

 

 

HOW WILL I GET THROUGH TODAY WITHOUT GIVING IN TO DEPRESSION?

Each day there is that pull, to just sit in the chair and stare at videos on you tube or tv, eat all day even though I am not hungry, and just quit my jazz guitar adventure….but this blog is helping me to commit to something greater.  Each day i have to be aware that the habit of just becoming a depressed blob is there, and I have to read, write  meditate (NOT medicate), take a walk…do anything I can to rally myself to be on my own side, to not pretend that I don’t exist…

To me, depression is a feeling like you don’t exist, and yet you are here…the pain that, yes, you ARE here and you must accept yourself.

How do you accept yourself, love yourself, show yourself the loving kindness you would to a friend or a child?  There, I have begun to turn it around…

I imagine a kid on Christmas, a child…the child in me…what right do I have to deny her the chance to live, to have fun, to hurl off the fetters of depression and low self esteem and just declare “I AM HERE, YOU BETTER NOT FUCK ME OVER TODAY YOU BITCH”

Maybe that is me talking to the bad person my mom sometimes was to me, the mom that wished i would just disappear –the “uncaring mom” that now lives in my head.. that thinks i am too much trouble to have around…

BUT THERE ALSO THE LOVING MOM..the one in my head, and the one my mom was before we become disconnected from each other.

That is the mom I will have with me today, the one that loves me and wants me to succeed, to love playing jazz guitar, to eat in a healthy and tasty way, and to get exercise in the outdoors–by the way, studies have shown that exercise is as effective as anti depressants at countering depression!!!!

YEP it is time to LIVE my life, play jazz music, and try to be part of the solution for me and others like me, that artists  the sensitive ones…here is to all of you my fellow bloggers!

Here is a fav jazz player, Herb Ellis, so free in his playing…now THAT is something that washes away your depression! learning to play jazz guitar…(or _____ – insert whatever works for you, something that demands you be in the PRESENT!)