T.R.I.B.E.

I’ve spent my whole life thus far wondering what I was supposed to be doing. As a kid it seemed so black and white. Happy or sad. Right and wrong. Loneliness or togetherness. Acceptance or rejection. Yet personally filled with a sense of mystery, majesty, beauty, imagination. Coupled with a sense of fear, questions, doubts and confusion.

I was  told that I was gifted, and the gift was music, and that I had “musical intelligence” first and foremost and above any of my other intelligences. I do agree even still to this day that my musical intelligence far outweighs any other intelligences I may possess, relatively speaking. But why? What could music really do to change the world? How could playing the cello really help anyone? It sometimes felt like it was just a form of entertainment, predominantly for the affluent and the elite. It felt like not many folks really dug classical music unless they, too, were on stage playing it, or had some other association to it. On countless occasions, truth be told, even I got really fidgety at concerts of classical music unless I was on stage, or unless it was mind-blowing. I never made peace with the fact that cello alone would not save the world. I knew that people like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were changing the world,one song at a time,  so I took a page from their books and started “rebelliously” writing songs to my mother’s dismay. I wanted this to be my gift, along side of my cello prowess.

I wanted to say something. Something more than just an interpretation of the beautiful dots on a page, as I understood that those classical masterpieces were many times politically charged, spiritually inspired, and unmistakably life changing and poignant during the periods they were being written, just as Dylan’s words and songs were. Not that I thought of myself as anything close to those geniuses, but I still wanted to voice something relevant to the world as it stands, in my own humble musical and textual expression, as those masters had in their own way.

So as I grew up, and made many mistakes (nothing to do with the music I was making, but from my glaringly obvious more underdeveloped intelligences), and I became superficially worldly, I lost that hope I felt as a young person. I somewhere lost the vision. I thought the dream had just been a childhood fantasy, with no relevance or place in a grown up world. And I became complacent, dismayed, apathetic, despondent. I felt even less able to do anything that might help anyone, as through my trials, felt I could barely help myself, so what could I possibly offer to anyone else? I wasn’t getting answers to the problems of the world, I was getting more questions, and contributing to the problems of the world. That was a sad realisation, but it was not accurate. It was honest, as far as I could understand. I was seeing reality as it is, as where I had failed, as to my mistakes, and my lacklustre.

I would catch glimpses of my part in the story, but had no idea how this weakened sight could contribute anything to anyone. I was humbled to the point of despair. I was paralysed in fear of never being remembered, never really contributing anything of value to the world. Yet I called it hunger for fame, fortune, recognition, yet I really only wanted to be loved, and heard, and seen. But it was too scary to let anyone see me, because who I was could not be seen. If you saw me, in my vulnerability, then you might have rejected me. You may not have liked what you saw. So it was easier to show you what I thought you wanted to see, only perpetuating the isolation and separation that is born from insincerity and hiding behind veils. As long as I looked a certain way, did nice things for people, and was a relatively good person, than I must have been a success. But that was not true.

My motives were all wrong. The motivation for achievement and the value I put of my life was directly measured by how you saw me. This is the definition of Hell on Earth, and between a giant rock and a very hard place. The weight of the world I created was far to heavy to continue to hold, so I landed in a heap on a very hard and cold surface of a futile feeling existence.
That was the problem, I was only scraping the surface, and only existing, not living. I was so busy trying to convince you that I was ok, that I hadn’t looked at whether I was or not. I clearly wasn’t.
Then a shift happened. As I called them often, epiphanies…. Now I tend to call them “rememberings“, because I think I did always have a sense of what the point of it all was. I remembered I had felt alive as a child. In wonderment, in awe. Not understanding everything, but being teachable and hungry for life’s beauties and magnificence. Able to see clearly with a trusting heart. I could see that as I “grew up”, and I had experienced real pains and struggles, that I had built giant walls around my heart to survive. I chose to numb out, and forget. I closed shop on epiphanies, I had stopped remembering, until I remembered, again….. and whew…
Shift happens…. and is still happening…. and will always keep happening. I think it is for all of us. As I allowed myself to recall that bewilderment of my childhood, I started to see that you, too, while you were growing up, may have started closing shop on your “remembering” too.

So, as we felt apart from, as opposed to feeling a part of, we were all in the same boat. We all grew up, and hardened our hearts, and forgot to trust, as the risk was too great. When we openly shared about these experiences together, and saw that we are all have suffered  at different times, and that we all just wanted to reunite with our tribe, and make a difference in this world, we learned that we could trust each other. So we decided to take a leap of faith and reclaim our tribe.

My tribe is your tribe.
My tribe is humanity.

I now remember that I am a part of the bigger story, I am seeing how my gifts can reach the whole tribe, and through song, and through cello, and through words and through our children. And your gifts will too. Not EITHER/ OR, but AND.

T: Trust, Togetherness, Truth, Teaching
R: Relationship, Respect, Reuniting, Right Action
I: Inspiration, Integration, Involvement, Imagination
B: Brotherhood, Belonging, Being, Bringing
E: Empathy, Evolving, Empowering, Enjoying!

Here we are now… A part of our T.R.I.B.E.

I Don’t Talk Politics Or Religion…Or Do I?

Politics, Religion, War, Poverty, Injustice, Greed, Apathy, Abuse, Corruption, Closed-mindedness, Fear, Consumerism, Wastefulness, Separation, Denial, Suicide.

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Maurice Sendak’s Classic, Where The Wild Things Are

Those words reflect a sad view of the human condition. What has this world come to? What have humans evolved into? Wilder beasts than the scariest of stories.

“The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another.”

To summarise Maurice Sendak’s wonderful classic story, Max’s mother thought Max was being a naughty boy. After going to bed without his supper, Max found himself in a dream like state, where he witnessed wilder beasts than himself, and at some point after teeth gnashing and terrible roars from the Wild Things, with great courage, he asked them to “Be Still!” Max became respected as the most Wild Thing of all. He became the King of the Wild Things. Yet, this sense of purpose was not what he truly wanted in his deepest heart. He only wanted to be accepted, and had the realisation that  his yearning for acceptance was not born out of respect from intimidation and fear, but out of pure, unconditional love. “Max, the King of all Wild Things was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”

All of those words at the top of the page represent the human condition of not feeling loveable enough, not being good enough, not feeling a part of anything, not feeling important enough, therefore leading us to places and beliefs and ways of life that only lead us to the exact state of being that we don’t want, and that we abhor in others, and ourselves, like Max.

If I read that top list of characteristics, I get a nasty feeling in my gut. Surely I am not like that. Surely I am the exception to this malady of humankind. In some ways, perhaps. I don’t start wars, I try not to be greedy, I am aware of what I’m purchasing at the shops, I recycle, I try to self evaluate so that I am not in denial, I am kind to others, and I help old ladies in the shops if they can’t reach something or read a label on a soup can. So, I’m all good, right?

I stay away from politics, and I believe in God, but from a spiritual centred place, not in a “rules and regulations thou shalt not” kinda way. Yet I feel that I am meant to speak about these things that I apparently have nothing in common with.

Mainly, I don’t want you to think badly of me, because I really care about what you think. I don’t want to be judged, because, believe me, I learned a long time ago how to judge you. I was taught early on how to stand in a position of defence … Yet I say I am not a believer in War. So how come I have placed myself in the middle of a war, just by caring too much what you think of me? Obviously this is an individualistic, singular perspective of the internal war, the internal battlefield,  as opposed to the “big time blow ’em up” war involving countries, or even the world at large. What’s the difference?

Is there a difference in the wars we create, and the battles we personally face on a daily basis, and the world’s act of war?

Because I care so much about what you think of me, it can tear me up inside, it can lead to other ailments besides a defensive stance, it can lead to the biggest of all human dilemma, FEAR.

Fear is what drives all of these conditions. Politics thrives on instilling fear into the public at large, making false promises to keep us safe from the bad guys, pointing out who the bad guys are, meaning that we are somehow the good guys. Who gets to decide that? Again, we are judging a whole people from a black and white perspective of good and bad, right and wrong, just because they live somewhere else, and wear different clothes, and build different temples or mosques or churches. So there we are, involved in politics, judging the world based on some fundamental beliefs systems that make us right, and them wrong.
Old School Organised Religion (O.S.O.R. I just made that up!)  has given God a really bad rap over the years as well, because of the authoritarian perspective of separation, of alienation, of original sin (as if we are all bad inherently, and just have to try to become less bad. This is a really flawed theory I think, and only feeds the sickness of the soul we grow to have from our separation from our fellows), of bad and good, and mainly because of the reflection many pose as doing God’s work, in the name of God, as they kill anyone who is not agreeing with them. That is not an act of God, that is an act of man, of MAN IN FEAR.
I am not a politician, and I am not a preacher, and I am not a war monger, but I am a human being. I get to play whatever role in this tragedy, or comedy or masterpiece that I choose… That depends on me. I don’t want to try to get into the politics of the world, I don’t want to try to begin to talk about religion, but I do feel that I can talk about the human condition, because I do qualify for that. As we all do.
So, I am guilty of having greed, I can get into thinking of myself too much, and I can lose focus on the important things when I get wrapped up in what I want, and what I don’t have. We know that the world is still suffering greatly with millions of people in need of basic life essentials and it’s easy to remove this from our awareness when we get busy in our lives, and like a horse with blinders, we sometimes only see whats in our own back yard. The first step for change from where I sit today, is to see that the greed of one culture, is creating and perpetuating the poverty of another. That does not sound “fair” to me, as equal lives on this globe, we all deserve the basic human rights of food and water. So, I get to think about that, and feel that, and see what responsibility I have in all of it.Then I get to act accordingly.
When I can see that we are all the “same” in that we are all unique, individually beautiful creations, then I feel more able to see you, and be able to help you. We are all a part of the tribe of humanity. When I get out of myself and stop focusing on whether or not you are judging me, as I judge you judging me, then I can get in a place of complete love with you. I can feel the connection we share, the life that we both bring, and then can have fascination by the different views you may have to mine. It’s refreshing, and often illuminating and life altering.

So I choose to be open-minded, I choose to be empathic, I choose to be compassionate, I choose to be giving, I choose to be caring, I choose to be proactive, I choose to be a warrior for light and love, justice and equality.

I don’t want to commit slow soul suicide, which is death in itself. I want to make a difference in this world. I want to help this planet be a little better and brighter because of me. I am writing this as all of us. The “I” in this story is Us. Together, united, healing the planet in one smile, one step, one decision, one surrender at a time.

The Need To Belong- Romantic to World-Centric Perspectives

We need one another… and that’s a beautiful thing.

IMG_0899We are part of our tribe.

Our tribe begins with our closest few and extends to all Humanity, perhaps even further. It starts from the one on one relations, and grows exponentially in our tribal and universal connections.

There is nothing wrong with needing each other. As Psychologist Aaron Ben-Zeev states clearly in his article from a romantic partnership perspective” A sense of belongingness is crucial to our well-being.”

There is no inherent “weakness” in needing someone, or asking for help.

Over the last few decades I have been in a few conversations where women would be sharing their need to be fiercely independent, not reliant on men, strong enough without any help, extremely self-sufficient and ALONE. This has never seemed to me as a very inclusive approach to liberating anything or anyone. Being “liberated” in this way only bred more separateness, more isolation, and less connectedness.I don’t think this was what was meant to happen from the Women’s Liberation Movement of the late 60’s- 70’s, but it has grown to include throwing away basal instincts of women and men alike, which is that we do actually NEED each other! Obviously being self-sufficient is a great quality to have, and liberation from oppression if one is truly “oppressed” is vital.  I know that the WLM had some strong points and aims based on the societal gender roles of the times, but some extremists seem to misuse the title of liberation as a way of separatismKen Wilbur really discusses this issue at great length, and is incredibly clear and detailed about oppression of women AND men historically and presently.

I do see much value in being confident and independent, as it is important for personal growth and self understanding, but it doesn’t mean that one needs to separate from others, we all qualify for and have earned the human right to connect!

As humans, we thrive communally, and wither without each other. There are many things we mutually need from each other, as we all have our important and unique roles on this evolving planet. No matter how small we are individually, the collective consciousness knows no bounds.IMG_0900

 

We, as a society, are evolving through our collective consciousness, as well as our individual consciousness. One cannot exist without the other.

(The term Collective Consciousness was credited to Emile Durkheim at the end of the 19th Century: ” The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or creative consciousness.”—Emile Durkheim Kenneth Allan; Kenneth D. Allan (2 November 2005). Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World. Pine Forge Press. p. 108.)

When we understand the connection between our individual self and that of the collective, we gain a broader understanding of each other, and are able to have much deeper compassion and empathy for one another. This explains the communal need and respect that we share with our fellows.

This interdependence (the dependence between things, i.e. plants and animals) is not to be confused with co-dependency (excessive emotional or psychological dependency on another, usually due to a mental illness or addiction.) Co-dependency is birthed out of  the natural instinct of need and belonging, but is blown out of proportion because of addictions or other issues. This can be worked through and put back in balance through counselling and other support networks. (Explaining Co-dependency)

I need you, you need me, and we all long to connect and share on intimate levels.IMG_0879

Physically we all need touch.

(studies have been done on infants/ children in orphanages that had all their basal needs met excluding touch, resulting in illness and even a shrinking of brain tissue (hippocampus)- and higher infant mortality rates than in children who did receive regular physical contact.)

Emotionally, we all want to feel safe, heard, and appreciated.

Mentally, we thrive by sharing knowledge, learning, growing and evolving together.

Spiritually/Creatively, we thrive on exploring our individual heightened experiences and ways to articulate/communicate these together, resulting in fellowship and continued bonding.

Integrating our need for each other, integrating our collective consciousness with our individuation, and integrating our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits will inevitably offer us closer intimate connections, higher understanding and mutuality, and deeper personal growth in the never-ending evolution of humanity.

Bottom line, We want to belong.