Saturday, June 25, 2011

Starry Starry Night

I have been hemming and hawing over starting this piece for almost two weeks now. Nothing was grabbing me. Nothing started my brain swirling; nothing wrenched my heart enough to get me going. Some times I wonder if I'll ever grab hold of my muse again and make her tell me a story I can write down for you. I guess I always expect instant gratification. I always expect the bulb over my head to glow bright enough to completely illumine what I need to write about. The problem is it takes a while for my eyes to adjust to the light to be able to peer into the nooks and crannies where all the best stuff is. Don't know why I fret so. Something always happens to remind my muse to whisper in my ear.

As I was on my way home from work Monday I could see police cruisers with their lights flashing from a good mile away. I figured it was an accident or a speeder pulled over. I put my seatbelt on. Oops. As I got closer I realized they were right in front of my building. Even closer and I can see that its not one or two cruisers. There's a mess of police cars strewn across the parking lots and lawns of my building and the one next door. I can't park in my normal spot due to all the official vehicles. As I make my way to my room I can see people talking and peering around the corner if the building. I take a peek and see police tape and an ambulance and official type people. I turn and ask some one what happened.

Some one shot himself.

We mill around a bit. Some few peek around the corner to try and glimpse tragedy. See if they can some how identify the person.

The ambulance leaves. Its lights flashing but the sirens silent. Somehow not a good sign.

I don't know who he was. I've never known anyone who has taken their own life. I'm sorry if you have ever felt that sting. Or still feel it.

In a way the identity doesn't matter. I'm not being mean, really. This place and the one next door aren't places one would ever plan your life around ending up. They're places that foster anonymity. They are places to watch your laundry lest you come up a pair of socks or a shirt short of your original load. Some life circumstance has led each and every one of us to this place. Some of us know things will be better. Others lose sight of the joy that is life.

See, but, that's the thing. We need to experience life. When we hold on to ego, when we name and classify every experience attaching it to something in the past; we lose our sense of identity with the universe. We must experience every moment and live it. Every laugh and every tear. It means we're alive. No where else will you feel rain falling on you, the winter wind nip your nose, pride in your child or sadness or grief or joy or anything except here and now. I can think of no better thing than being alive here and now. Every moment is bliss. Every moment you're alive.

Heavy stuff.

Oh, I know. Easier said than done, right? Yes, probably. Wouldn't you rather feel that way every day though than after oh, I don't know, a car accident or a health scare or something?

Google suicide warning signs or depression warning signs. Someone you know may very well need somebody to recognize the signs. Please.

For any Warren fans out there; Enjoy every sandwich.

Ok, 'nuff of me.

Keep your stick on the ice.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Across the Universe

I sent some one an email the other day. Just a short note.

The end.

Well, sorta.

It was maybe two days later when I received one in return. I almost didn't open it. It was a forwarded message. You know, joke of the day kinda stuff. I'm sure you know at least one person whose seemingly sole purpose is to forward whatever lands in their in-box. I just don't use email like that. Mostly if someone I know forwards something, it's gonna be good. I have asked a few different people to take me off of their list. I just don't need what turn out to be mostly a waste of time. In fact that was my first thought. "Gotta tell him to take me off".

My thumb paused good and long. Hovering. Waiting for my brain to tell it swipe the touch screen and delete the email.

"Eh", I thought, "Let's see what kind of stuff he sends".

I opened it.

Not only did I open it, I'm gonna make you read it. Oh, I know, you are welcome to skip it if you'd like. If you read this blog though, I'm sure you'll like the email.

. . . Something To Think About . . .


In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw
money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

I won't make you read much more, but I had to get you to think about this.

There is something beautiful in every one and everything. All you have to do is take the time to notice. Yes, one must look pretty deeply sometimes to find that beauty; I bet though that history's most nefarious characters started out just like you and me. All pink and fresh and crying and whatnot.

The world truly is an amazing place. Take the time to look for beauty in unexpected places. Be ready for unexpected beauty. Be mindful about it. Make that your intention. Throw your intention to across the universe.

I'm pullin' for ya.