ROUND 11: Conversation In The Dressing Room…

Soul takes a first step

Ego – What are you doing?

Soul – Taking a first step?

Ego – To where?

Soul – The next right place.

Ego – What if you’re wrong?

Soul – I am never wrong. Anyways, there’s no such thing as wrong.

Ego – Yeah…it’s what happens when you fail. What if you fail?

Soul – Again, just something you made up long ago. No such thing.

Ego – What if you starve and are left alone to die, in a forest, that’s on fire, with hurricanes blowing and snow…and dinosaurs!!!

Soul – Seriously?

Ego – I like my job.

Soul – I can see that.

Ego – Ahem…Everything is scary …you can’t do it…you’re not enough…you won’t make it…everythign is scary…you can’t do it…

Soul – Nice try. You are getting ahead of yourself (A-Head…get it? !)  I’m, not there yet…I can only be here. Right now.

Ego – How?

Soul – Like this. (………)

Ego – It’s too quiet

Soul – It’s how I can hear myself – otherwise all I would hear is your incessant chatter.

Ego – You won’t succeed.  How will you find what you need?  – you won’t have enough.

Soul – Yes I will. I always have. Something will come up.

Ego – What if it doesn’t.

Soul – It always does. I just have take the time to see it.

Ego – You don’t have eyes.

Soul – Yes I do

Ego – Where? I’ve never seen you with eyes.

Soul – That’s cause you can’t see.

EGo – I see very well!

Soul – If you could see … we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Ego – I see.

Soul – No, you don’t.

Silence

~Namaste~

ON MAKING CHANGES…

Times of Change

How do you know when it’s time to make a change in your life?  How do you know if it’s the right change in the right direction?  What are some of the drastic changes you have had to make in your life? What was the motivation behind the changes?   How are the changes you make different as you get older?  Are you aware of the truth behind the motivation for the choices you make?

It’s time to make a change in your life when what you are doing is not longer working for you. What does “working for you mean”? This is a very individual thing.  I would however say that, to really understand personal needs, Maslow’s Hierarchy can be of great help:

In this pyramid Maslow ascribes certain labels to the stages of human personal development – a list of ascending needs, beginning with the basics of food and shelter, all the way up five stages to “self-actualization”, the place you get to when you begin to look for the deep inner meaning in life – when your exterior/ physical needs feel fully secured.

Let me premise by saying, humans generally don’t like change. whether we bring it on ourselves or it comes round the bend and takes us by surprise, we spend the majority of our time resisting the effects of change.  We live in denial. Even though the one thing we are absolutely guaranteed each day is that things will change; people will change situations, your body, the planet, your relationships – we persist in resisting.  We seem often overwhelmed an unprepared for it, as though it just snuck in through the back door and smacked us on the head.

I am not suggesting that you live your life in a diligently prepared manner – where I live we call that paranoia.  But you can come to the knowledge and understanding that not only will change happen, but you are able to both withstand it, survive it, become even greater and grander BECAUSE of it, and flow with whatever it requires of us. We have within us, as of yet untapped inner resources which can propel us to greater and greater awareness as to how handle the inevitable shifts in our lives.  I want to tell you now that there is nothing you need to learn, and nothing I can teach you about this. You already know this inside. I have nothing new anyways, to enable you to handle change and manifest whatever you want in your life.  You have been given everything you need already.  Your job in life is to figure out how to listen.  Pay attention to your inner voices that manifest the reality you live right now.

I always thought the concept of manifesting was really bogus.  How can someone manifest anything in their life – wouldn’t everyone be driving around in sports cars, living in gigantic houses if we could all do that? Wouldn’t poverty be eliminated and war abolished in favour of a perfect planet?  No, for me,  manifesting was for the rich and famous, who could manifest their dollars into empty dreams come true.  They weren’t for ordinary people like me who were trying to find some deep inner meaning and cohesion in my life.

But then I discovered what manifesting truly means – it means becoming starkly aware of your inner drive – the thing that moves you forward that brings you energy, that gives you inspiration and that lights up your world. It is the thing that makes you lose your sense of time when you are deeply embroiled in it, and it is the idea that motivates the next ten.

Manifesting occurs when the intention I hold inside of my own mind and heart is deeply aligned with the best interest of the universe. In other words, if you are following your “destiny” you will discover a path of least resistance, which brings you, one step at a time, to the path in which you can be of highest service and purpose in your life.  Now, this doesn’t mean that your path, if it is in the best interest of your life and all those around you, is necessarily the easy one, nor is it always the least painful one.  Our paths in life are scattered with challenges and bridges that make us stronger and more capable for the next hurdle to overcome.  It’s like we are building up a psychic muscle with each new sorrow and challenge.  The sooner we understand the benefit in the things we believe cause us trouble pain or strife, the more readily able we will be to move along our path.

A word on destiny:  we do not have one destiny. I believe “there are many roads to Rome”, and that ultimately, the place where we find our highest calling and we are able to be of service in some way to our lives and the lives of others, is as individual as each person.  How you get there and how it feels for you will entirely depend on what you are trying to learn about yourself.

My experiences in motherhood helped me better understand this process.  I had three biological children and four step children, who were all raised together as one family.  When my birth children were babies, I remember thinking at times, when they were sick or I suffered from lack of sleep, that I didn’t know how I would handle it getting any more difficult. I was pushing myself past limits of patience, worry and personal neglect that I had never experienced. And yet, as they grew older and stronger, we faced more and more challenges together as a family – even more difficult than the sleepless night, and I survived. Not only did I survive, but by the time they became teenagers, I remembered fondly the sleepless nights of infanthood – as I relived sleepless nights, but now for a different reason. Over the years, I realized that there were many times when I was so overwhelmed by the love and desire I had to give them the best life, that I learned to turn things that felt out of my control over to a greater power – the same power that guides our intuitive thoughts to the creative places within our hearts that put us on the road to purpose.

It’s the same voice that shows you how beautiful the world is. The same voice that comforts you when things seems completely out of control. Over time, you lose this need for control and even understanding.  You adopt an “it is what it is” attitude– and let things unwind with less and less interference.   The more you practice this the more you see that in some way, you will always be guided and cared for in your choices.   You will become more of an observer of your life, than a director or captain.  You will deveklop faith that in walking across the river, the next stone will appear upon your path.

Your changes and choices will come because the universe moves forward, with or without us.  If we do not make a conscious choice towards change, I assure you the universe ill remove what is standing in the way of your spiritual progress, and will remove it for you.

Choices made with the motivation of fear or avoidance, moving away from something (fear of confrontation ) have little energy behind them.  Choices made with creation and newness in mind; carry a greater energy for sustaining themselves.   Being honest with yourself about why you are making the choices you are making, is paramount to personal happiness.  If not, its like running through a forest with a blindfold on, and I guratee you will hit many trees.  Understanding your personal truth, with no judgement (put the gavel dowbn…it is what it is!) is the most empowering action you can take.  It is the mechanism that removes the blindfold, allows you to stand still and see all of the trees in the forest.

Surprise! This is the kind of change no one really appreciates. It’s the change you didn’t ask for, but fell upon you.  Death, divorce, getting fired, losing your house – these are chaos change. The shift in your reality, the sudden death of something you knew somewhere was no longer serving purpose, but you didn’t know how not to have it in your life.  Then, when it was no longer there…you found you had resources within yourself that you would not have otherwise become acquainted with.  Every day can bring new surprises. Being aware of your ability to handle whatever comes your way – can make for stronger more self assured decision making. Dance like no one is looking!

Sometimes it’s a change you are looking at; maybe a change of relationship, job, friends, hobby.  These are conscious decisions. You have time to process the potential moves you will make, the hazards and even the preparation for making changes.  The rule of following the energy that gives and avoiding the energies that take is good advice.  Life can entirely change in such a positive way when we consciously go to what gives us energy and avoid what takes it.

I sometimes work with women who have suffered from sexual abuse in their lives. In a recent meeting of minds, we were discussing how we broke out of these entrapments.  Each one of us, although the stories differed greatly, had a similar chapter ending on that porti8no of our lives.  There was a point where a decision was made, not by our physical minds, which had spent so much time preventing us from standing up for ourselves in the first place. The decision came from an interior mind – an inner knowing – as to just how, when and where to handle and end the abuse occurring to us.  It was a soul-choice over which no human mind would have any power.

When the soul decides to act upon something that is vital for its continued progress, it simply will.  This came as a great relief to us.  We suddenly saw that we had a lot less to worry about then we thought.  We saw how much we were powerless over and then even more brilliantly, we saw EXACTLY where our power DID come from. The REAL power: the extraordinary power of change and choice that resides within you.

The key to successful change within anyone’s life, is developing a knowledge of what that “soul voice” sounds like, and learning to trust your instinct, your gut, the inside voice that is the true calling of your soul.

It won’t be easy.  Some days you will question your direction, not to mention your sanity.  But, in the end, I guarantee you that following that ‘still small voice” to the place where you are your greatest most grandest version of yourself…will never disappoint your sense of adventure and fulfillment.

~Namaste~

 

THE WAY OF STONES

THE WAY OF STONES

peaceful-river-pebble-rocks-waterThe Creator of us All,

Is a great river,

And you are one of a million billion stones

Dropped in,

To roll and tumble,

Together and apart.

 The river will move you at Her will,

Guiding and protecting.

But you will resist…

For that is the way of stone.

You begin rough and edgy,

Fused to the tension of the heartstrings

And Attached to the mountain,

Rooted and Unmoving.

But the Universe will have her way!

And grief and fear will chisel at you,

Spurring you on to change,LittleRiver

Until you can do nothing else,

But let go and be

Torn free

Only hang precariously

From one precipice

To another.

Until suddenly

 You are propelled into the flow!

Released by the All that is everything

That which loves you most.

But we forget – For that too is the way of the stone…

Rocked by circumstance and suffering,

Each impacting your solid self,

You cannot help but resist!

Forgive.

In time,

Resistance is diminished.

One by one,

The solid heavy pieces of yourself,

The ones you thought you really needed,

Crumble easily away.

In this only – there is no choice.

Sometimes quickly – Sometimes slowly,

You become stranded at times,

Cornered by other stones.

Until you see that they are not your way,

And you finally surrender to the call of the river.

Now your edges have beveled away,

And you are LIGHT!

You begin to maneuver with ease,

Wallowing in your new found freedom,

And in a final CRACK!

You shudder and open,

 A tiny pebble now reduced to

The Truth.

An ethereal sparkle – perfect and unhindered,

You are moved gently onto the shore,

Only to find yourself

Snuggled sweetly beneath the foot of a small child

Building castles in the sky.

And there – your soul is released

Into the All that you are.

~Namaste~

Josee Brault

MAJOR LESSONS IN BLUES

jo rialto 1My recent performance at the illustrious Femmes en Blues III in Montreal taught me some grand lessons for which I will be eternally grateful!  I’ll share them with you in the hopes that you won’t make the same mistakes I made.

First I have to begin by making a terrible admission to you:

I never really liked the blues.

It’s boring. Standard. Repetitive.

Right?

Wrong.

The music I chose for the event was selected admittedly haphazardly. Every song to me, up to thAT point, sounded like one of only four songs which represented to blues in my head.  Each song only differed by changing lyrics and cadence so I paid little regard to any of the real complexity of the songs.  I threw the general choices out to my Facebook friends and followers and a few good suggestions came back. I had to pick four in total, so for the final two remaining,  I really had no idea what to choose. I looked mainly for what sounded like ”standard blues” to me – like”Ball and Chain” by Janis (everyone “expected me” to do a Janis) and “Hound Dog” (easy…right?) originally by Big Mama Thornton, and crucified later by Elvis.

The F.E.B. festival is created by some very talented and professional women. An all female band, we only had one rehearsal prior to the show and everyone was expected to learn their songs on their own.  I went into the rehearsal thinking (there was my FIRST mistake!) that I could “wing” these songs./ They’re just blues after all. I was so very very wrong on so many levels.

I came home after getting my ass kicked in rehearsal, and sat down to do some real work. When I began to learn Big Mama’s “Hound Dog”, I realized I was faced with a song that was intuitively complex. I had paid no mind to the intricate and off set patterns of vocal and guitar entry and exit. I had sung everything in a 4×4 (my entire life??), but then later realized that most of the earlier foundation blues was extremely complex because it had not followed what we established later in the 50;s and 60s as a very predictable pattern of music.  I discovered we have dumbed down our music over time!  Sadly we have often have lost the real passionate feel of the intuitive offset patterned blues. As I was learning this lesson, my fingers accidentally touched a YouTube video for “Ball and Chain”, the last concert given by Big Mama Thornton in 1984.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSAOHwQhPcQ

In the video, we see a very old Mama. She puts out her cigarette, sits down, looks carefully at the audience as though she is sitting at a table about to tell a frank and frightening tale. It looked so intimate,  except that she was looking out at a sea of thousands of faces. She announces she is going to do a tune “in my own way”, and so begins “Ball and Chain”. A rebuke to Janis Joplin’s interpretation of her music in the 60′s. I had a rough history with this song.  Firstly, many people because of my rough voice and my big red hair, feel Janis when I sing, so I almost feel a pressure of doing her songs, although I don’t relate to her as an artist or singer at all.  I was at first doing Ball and Chain, which I had plucked quickly and mindlessly off the internet. I listened to the beginning, it sounded like a standard three chord blues and I just threw it into the mix, only later taking the time to really listen to the whole thing and discovered that in actuality it was  Janis screaming a horrendous lament for 8 minutes and seven seconds.  Recorded live just a few months before Janis overdosed, it was truly an anthem of misery. I couldn’t do it.

I quickly got in touch with the organiser of the event, apologising for pulling a song after the deadline, but I explained there was just NO WAY I could do this song.  I remembered this as I watched Big Mama Thornton focus her eyes, clearly in the past, and tell some man how she felt about his “hanging around her neck – like a ball and chain”…wow. I was blown off my chair. Her face twisted, her eyes rolled back in her head and her wide smile shone like a diamond in the blue light of the stage. It was magical.  This was a level of blues so honest and so completely visceral it entirely changed her appearance. She became at once beautiful and awesome…bigger than life.  I watched her eyes transform, and I saw her energy move the band through the ins and outs of the story. My heart-felt full, my eyes had tears and I realized that at that moment…I GOT the blues. I felt it, I knew it…and I was humbled. How could I have taken such a vastly important song as ‘Hound Dog” (which contrary to Elvis’s meek interpretation is not at all about a dog at all), and sung it with such a lack of respect! I could clearly feel Big Mama beside me, poke me with her elbow and say “girl…if you is gonna sing my songs, you better do ‘em right!”. “Yes Ma’am”, I replied silently and reverently. Oh boy. That night being called up on stage to perform my songs at The Femmes en Blues, I was not surprised by the feeling of calm and companionship I felt with this wise elder. She had stayed with me the whole week I diligently learned my songs.  I stepped up to the plate alright…but not alone.    Nothing that is as fabulous as what happened that night could ever be done alone.  Only grace, and the help of a friendly guiding hand, can bring you to this kind of experience. Here’s to hoping you all get the blues!

~Peace~

Australia’s Aboriginal children – The world’s highest suicide rate

Important! Our children shouold not be killing themselves!~

Lateral Love

February 27th, 2013

Photo - Brian Cassey

Photo – Brian Cassey

2012’s total spend on Aboriginal communities reached $25 billion yet Australia’s Aboriginal youth suicide rates remain high – cruelly disproportionate to the rest of the Australian population.

This horror is played out the world over for Indigenous peoples but Australia’s Aboriginal peoples are at the top of this tragic list.

In 2011 the United Nations State of Indigenous Peoples report found that the World’s Indigenous peoples made up one-third of the world’s poorest peoples.

Some of the reports alarming statistics include, “In the United States, a Native American is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population. In Australia, an Indigenous child can expect to die 20 years earlier than his non-native compatriot. The life expectancy gap is also 20 years in Nepal, while in Guatemala it is 13 years and…

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ROUND 9: A NOTE FROM SOUL

A NOTE FROM SOUL: sun_light_energy

I have been struggling for years with the idea of what God is, but tonight, and not ironically, I found God in Big Mamma Thornton and the blues.  So, I really don’t know what your idea of a Higher Being is, I’m pretty sure we all generally believe in something yours sure can;t be any stranger than Big Mama Thornton. God is our pure creative instinct. It feels separate and apart from us only because religion has interceded as a unnecessary middleman in our divine relationship. So, my version of God includes a bunch of religions that i found appealing, philosophies and beliefs. Even some rituals which can make me feel like I am being more actively connected to my spiritual life.  I don’t know what to call that “creative being” that made us and everything, but I do believe one of those exists.  Not separate and apart from us, but very much inside of us, and equally accessible when we choose to remember we have access to it.

This pure divine energy in us can best be used in creative pursuits.  We humans are creating machines! We create cities, countries, people, technology, science. We create cultural norms, beliefs systems, and entire patterns of illusions that we have all agreed to live by, mostly to our detriment.

Everyone at some point asks who they are and what their purpose is in life.  I really don’t find the answers so difficult. We are all each other, and we are here to learn ourselves and then take our highest creative talent and use it for good in the world. That’s it.  Sounds impossible, but Star trek has been right about lots of things, so I am hoping Old Gene was n track with his future Utopian Society, which enabled New Generation to have an entire world of people who studied and didn’t need money.  Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?  It shouldn’t though, should it?  We can’t achieve what we cannot even imagine.  SO, if we can IMAGINE Utopia, then we can move towards it with global conscious effort.

I say let’s shoot high. Stop focusing on the symptoms, like our crappy doctor’s do, and focus on the BIG PICTURE, which is that the world needs a quick and dramatic overhaul. Either we do it, or I guarantee you She will.  At any rate, the more we perfect our skills in communicating with each other, as we do here in blog land, the better off we are in all areas.  I find people get away with allot less these days, and that is a comfort.  It means we are forming a global consciousness, a sort of planetary cultural belief system. This will really make all the population spill over much easier to integrate and absorb into hosting cultures, simply because they have prior knowledge through the internet.

The fact is we all have a deep inner knowledge of exactly who it is we are.  It is our quest to define it falsely that has led to each and every one of our most brutal moments in evolutionary history.  From a micro or macro cosmic view, everything from personal ego to global religion, to greed – people are at war to gain a definition of themselves. Palestine, the jews – this fight won’t end until defining themselves by their religion is understood to be extremely self limiting. We are born to be creative beings – by labelling ourselves, we definitively narrow the definition of experiences we are willing to have.

But, the fact is, we are all given a creative talent, some spark of passion for something, that when we undertake this activity, we are transported; we feel at peace, out mind is quiet and whatever we come out with at the end it always feel like time well spent.  I feel like this when I sing, or play guitar, paint, sketch or write even.  This is our inner creative being.  It is the highest expression can undertake to bring to the world.  Each person in the world should feel free to explore in freedom and peace and joy, no matter who they are or where they live.  But we all KNOW this at a very fundamental level.  It’s not like the world is full of BAD people, there are very good people as well. So, why, if there are 7 billion of us, can;t we make it so that everyone has what they need, so that children get an education and sick people see a doctor? Why is this simple stuff so difficult?

It’s difficult, in part. because of “who” people think they are.  The wealthy hold their riches like in an eagles talon, while those who have known suffering or lack, more freely give of their material goods and themselves.  The fact is, suffering is the best route to understanding compassion.  The Buddhists have it. 🙂

I am optimistic.  I believe that the technology which has been emerging will bridge the gap and create fellowship and understanding, maybe not in our lifetimes, but eventually, people will no longer be able to focus on differences and ignore the fact that we are ALL THE SAME.

~Peace~world

ROUND 9 UPDATE: EGO is biding his time, quietly taking notes like an undercover reporter hiding in the back-alley of my mind.