Monday, October 10, 2016
According to Friedrich Nietzsche kindness and love are “the most curative herbs and agents in the human intercourse”. Take a moment and ingest that. How powerful are these words? Everybody has a heartbeat and everyone has a heart. We as humans get caught up in all the small things. We wake up, think of all the things we have to accomplish, and head out on our mission of daily tasks. We get in line and wait impatiently for our daily Starbucks, our bus ride, our standstill traffic. Walk into work with our tasks already backed up and hope we can get caught up before he head out for the day and zoom home. Then is the dinners, catching up with friends, kid time, pup walks, exercise, a few moments of downtime before bed time.
I grew up believing that most people are kind and good. I had a hard time believing that anyone had ill intentions. I feel that this type of philosophy kept me sane during stages of my early childhood. I see that my parents (all of them) did the things they did, right or wrong, based on good (albeit selfish in some cases) intentions. I have been told throughout my life that I am a too kind, give people around me too many chances, and that I need to learn to build a tougher skin. When I lived in Spokane and I had first come out I was told by a lot of the older gay men that I hung around that “you will learn to be bitter. Kindness gets you nowhere in this life except being walked on.” Well I say to life BRING IT ON!
I have waited years to become bitter. Still hasn’t happened. Trust me I have plenty of reasons to be bitter at this point in my life. The truth is that I have grown and changed. The human that I have become still believes that kindness is the way to peace and joy. I fall and sometimes I lose my kindness, like any human being, but I work hard to find kindness in any given situation that challenges me in life.
It is not easy in today’s world, one that binges on the negatives that society has to offer. One person pointing to another with blame on their tongue. It is easier to pass the buck. Easier to forget we are all fighting a battle inside our heads.
I read the “Art of Happiness” by his Highness the Dalai Lama about 10 years ago. The Dalai Lama was asked repeatedly how he was able to stay so calm, be happy and not get angry. He stated many times kindness and compassion were the key.
I know that I sometimes get criticized for my taste in music. I do know that some of the artists I listen to can lean towards the poppy end. But I make no excuses. Sometimes hearing Howard Jones sing about the positives in life are better than any angry album I listen to. His lyrics purvey a kindness at the core. He is practicing Buddhist and it shows through all his tunes. I, of course, have my angry N.I.N moments and that will never change. On the whole though, I am much more inclined to find the perky positives songs my favorites.
Kindness is hard. It takes practice and taking moments to appreciate what is around us and not perceived. The perceived outcomes can make any good hearted thoughts spin on their edge and smash you hard in the head. It is easier to be kind than unkind. The results get you further as well. In most cases people will recognize kindness with kindness. Being unkind comes with more repercussions. There is hate, anger, violence, pain, you get the idea.
I will continue to choose kindness as often as possible. It is part of my wiring. I hope when I day it will part of my contributions to the world.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
It’s true. I find it tedious and time consuming. I feel as if no one is reading any of the words I put out in the universe.
I started to write when I was around 9 years old. I had started public school after a couple formative years at St. Aloysius School. In the world of Private school I had a number of friends. I excelled in schooling. Then my family moved to a different part of the city. That meant a new school and public school at that.
I was bullied from the moment I walked in the doors of Westview Elementary. I was called nerdy (not a good thing at that time) for being smarter than most the kids. I was told I was odd, a sissy boy, strange. I needed an escape. I turned to music. From there writing took over.
Writing was always my escape.
I would sit down and write what I would call songs. I walked through the wooded area by our house alone and figured out the melodies of songs in my head to match the journal writings that I would emit from deep inside me. To this day I still think my first writing “A Bit of Wolf” was destined to be a #1 hit.
I would read about how to write the perfect lyrics. Finding anything at the library (these were pre internet days) I could on how song structure worked. Verse A-- Chorus -- Verse B – Chorus – Bridge – Chorus out was the most popular though. I would write about 10-12 “songs” and put them together as an album, I even created very crude drawings for a “cover”.
I truly never stopped writing, it has continued in many incarnations. In Jr High I started to write my first novel. It was a science fiction epic that I had so detailed out that I had designed ships, societies, and political structures. I remember Mrs. Berkey would help me after school to work on draft after draft. I look back at that and think how patient of a soul she was to have done that. The hours she spent on a story that never made it past the third chapter was pivotal in my development of art and the written word.
High school brought epic poems, inspired by the likes of Poe, Emily Dickinson, and of course Robert Smith of The Cure. I remember writing a piece I called “The Pool” that was dark and makes me wonder if it would have sent me to the principal’s office this day and age. It was nothing violent just very morose.
Then the world changed and a new form of writing came out: Blogging. The early days of blogging introduced me to the online world of writing and deep thoughts that I could share with people all around me. I was signed up to a site that I needed a code to called LiveJournal. It became a social network for writers. I met so many amazing people and am still friends with many of them still.
The advent of social networking took off and soon everyone was blogging. My words tapered and I kept writing in some aspect. As I grew so did my writing. I keep saying I will go back and read all those old journals and songs. I also feel I am not ready to look back at them yet. I know someday I will sit down and write more and more and get the words I have imbedded in me out. I have stories and I have thoughts.
Truth is, until recently, I did not think anyone would care to read them and then it hit me….Who Cares?
The more I write and create the better my soul feels. The more at piece I am. The more I learn about myself.
OK so maybe I do not hate journaling. I think that it is more I hate deep diving into my soul. But as the –poem The Blessed Unrest by Martha Graham goes:
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased
Truth is that…
I will never be pleased!!!!!!!
Monday, July 18, 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016
14 years ago I started a new tradition of picking a "SONG OF THE YEAR" for my birthday. The song is a vision of where I have been and a glimpse into where I am heading ... the past years have been: Precious Illusions - Alanis Morissette (2002) Good Enough - Darren Hayes (2003) Kinda Hard - Eric Himan (2004) Farewell to the Old Me - Dar Williams (2005) Whole- Casey Stratton (2006) Phoenix Rising - Dan Paul (2007) Lessons Learned - Carrie Underwood (2008) 32 Flavors - Ani DiFranco (2009) Coming around - Christopher Dallman (2010) Let the Rain - Sara Bareilles (2011) Stronger - Kelly Clarkson (2012) I'm Not Your Hero - Tegan & Sara (2013) Fall Asleep – Jars of Clay (2014) Elastic Heart – Sia (2015) So this year I debated stopping the tradition and then realized that is part of the growth process is to continue traditions. So in true Michael fashion I have chosen a song that truly encompasses me in general this year. This year I chose Madonna - Rebel Heart (2016) Upon listening to this song I felt I could relate. I have always done my own thing and it has led me down some unique twists and turns. In the past I have written about feeling like I do not fit in and I think that I have tried and failed and I have just moved forward. It has been a bumpy and often confusing world for me to navigate but I am very happy to know that I have taken a road less traveled on and I survived through the darkness.... So here is to another year and another track... "Rebel Heart" I lived my life like a masochist/ Hearing my father say: "Told you so, told you so./ Why can't you be like the other girls?"/ I said: "Oh no, that's not me and I don't think that it'll ever be." Thought I belong to a different tribe/ Walking alone never satisfied, satisfied/ Tried to fit in but it wasn't me,/ I said: "Oh no, I want more. That's not what I'm looking for." So I took the road less travelled by/ And I barely made it out alive/ Through the darkness somehow I survived/ Tough love - I knew it from the start/ Deep down in the depth of my rebel heart I've spent some time as a narcissist/ Hearing the other say: "Look at you, look at you/ Trying to be so provocative."/ I said: "Oh yeah, that was me./ All the things I did just to be seen." Outgrown my past and I've shed my skin/ Letting it go and I'll start again, start again/ Never look back, it's a waste of time/ I said: "Oh yeah, this is me/ And I'm right here where I wanna be." I said: "Hell yeah! This is me/ Right where I'm supposed to be" So I took the road less travelled by/ And I barely made it out alive/ Through the darkness somehow I survived/ Tough love - I knew it from the start/ Deep down in my rebel heart In my rebel heart