Now we’re exploring the passionate grit, the capacious caverns of instinctive emotion, the burrows of past and future pain manifested into seemingly meaningless tones and frequencies. Cumulatively this is my heart and soul, my desire, my wildfire. Here I am vulnerable; a feeling that is increasingly becoming familiar and comfortable.
I share with you another cover. The strikingly beautiful Braille from Regina Spektor’s debut album 11:11. After a particularly defeating day I sat down at my piano and recorded this on my cellphone. I hope you have time give it a listen.
“Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings become beginnings.”
Tao Te Ching – 16th verse
2013 was a dirt path winding, barely visible, crooked through the woods. Step by step I ventured further into fragile self-awareness and awe drenched mindfulness. I tore my way past difficult terrain and stood broad even after my feet caught hold of sycamore roots. I dodged the falling flecks of granite and leering boulders; obstructions sent to lead me astray. I climbed until I reached the inevitable descent. I hit rock bottom to soak my feet in the icy stream and continued onward. I reached each peak with fiery grace and fury. Stopping in the earthly silence to meditate on my travel.
When I reflect on the year behind I see mountains; I see a scared little girl trapped inside her own delusions. I see her reach out from swelling, unforgiving mother nature and latch on to therapeutic creativity. I see someone who found the glitter in the black. Who grasped the opportunity to rebuild from ashes and lit herself like the phoenix. She has created beginnings from endings. She is an enigma.
I wrote this song after a long bike ride. I had outlined a snazzy piano riff earlier that day and believed it could sustain an entire song. So I poured myself a glass of wine, snuggled down into the piano bench, and developed what eventually evolved into “Platform.”
I needed to write this to let go of the last few flecks of heartbreak. I needed to write it to avenge my own personal injustices of love maintained; to plant some glimmer in the rubble left behind. As the title suggests “Platform” is about raising someone up. Lifting them and supporting them while they walk all over you. Metaphors.
There was a time when I joined a scooter gang. Three members total. We would dress colorfully and patrol the streets of my hometown after the sun had gone down and the restaurants closed for the night. Manual means of transportation only; nothing with electricity or motors. I wore a cookie monster backpack. We would ride our way to the gas station to buy a honey flavored Phillies. Outside we sat on the curb and passed around the cigar. After one puff realized we didn’t particularly enjoy the taste of honey, or the taste of cigar. Streets were rated and categorized by their smoothness and difficulty. Life still seemed effortless; seemed neat and filled with possibilities. I felt invincible.
There was a time I started a “professional” jump rope crew.
There was a time I joined a pyramid scheme.
Life still has time for me; still has time for possibilities.
*** Painted flower pot made using this technique. Made with ceramic pot, masking tape, and acrylic paint. ***
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you will never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
Sometimes I “people watch” when I’m waiting. In lines at the supermarket or inside the plastic cages built at bus stops. I imagine their life in flashes. A memory of a college party, an explosive breakup, the birth of their daughter, sledding down a slope on a picnic table, and the resulted pain of broken bones. I like to imagine their sorrows and their happiness. Their ups and downs.
It exercises my empathy and broadens my perspective. It reminds me that we are all carrying the weight of the world; the baggage of our past. The world I live in is woven by my unique experiences. Every world is different. Every world is important.
Whatever it is you want to do in life, someone else did it before you. Truly original thought is not found in the world we live in.
It is important to know what came before us, what was done before. We can learn from the mistakes others have made, giving us time focus on our own mistakes.
Mistakes are beautiful. Without mistakes we do not progress. We do not propel ourselves towards ultimate possibilities. We do not leave our comfort zone. We do not evolve.
Even if every idea bottled up inside your imagination has already existed, that idea is original to you. You are original, and you are able. Do not fear your ideas, they are incredible.