I-N-D-I VIDUAL

Writing to this…

So there it is, up in the air, movements for the currency. I’m just a dude with mad problems or no problem at all, the why and the how – a fixated thing commingling with strength – a new face with armor for amour and what not. You see, I’m just a dude raised by that which makes me individual. I – N – D – I – vidual.

“Did you think too much today?”

“Yeah man, I did, shed a few tears as my car rolled through to see ya”

“What’s it mean?”

“Don’t know… I asked God in my note app for help, felt things pouring off me”

“You believe in God?!”

“I want to, I cry for God, I yearn to feel its universe take me over and set me free”

You see, we just people, without much true definable balances. We just people, fractions and experiences giving us the bumps and gold that we are ourselves asking for.

‘What do you want?”

“Want? Hmmm,..to feel this weight in something other than anger, to accept everything I cannot change, to punch a city block with my fist and watch it explode…to hug my cat outside for the first time. To stand up in a crowded space and yell “what are you really thinking?” I want a lot of things, but I already have so much of what I wanted the last time we spoke”

“Yeah its been a minute. What’s next if you don’t really want anything? You should def stand up and yell that sometime”

“I might…No clue really, maybe just some clearing for my head, for a day, maybe,… I need some new shoes fella, maybe a rich older women who will let me be a house cat”

You see, no matter what the differing languages or narratives that are fiction…Its all just a game. Others around us feed off our contemplation, life being life, an excitable risk but a hurtful immediacy for the ones living it. Although the very art of living it, means you are experiencing the major gift afforded to a human being – to know you’re alive means to feel being alive. To know you feel means you are being yourself…the rest is the rest, and the low frequencies of communications don’t stick, hell, they don’t even register a wave of any kind. So forget’m

“Are you down?”

“Yeah man, I’m down, exposed, and raw, ready to be vulnerable and tough, so I guess I’m not all the way as you said, down”

“Whatcha gonna do about it?”

“I’m going to put one foot in front of the other, and keep walking through doors dude, one day at a time”

“Ha, that sounds like a self help mantra”

“Right…I mean, everything out here is some form of “Self Help”, even the shit we do that doesn’t help, it all goes back to that place,  either way you swing it.”

“Good point”

You see, I’m a man who is still, but inside me is a current that gives, and loves, and works. Its the ocean, its the animal vibrations, the camp fire rumination, and the words I stutter when they make me nervous. And I get nervous, and I’m still here. Thats effort, that who is me, and me who is him – a complicated pulsing body of energy just waiting for the next story, in this book that has absolutely no dust on it, because its used, a favorite, A “I can’t put it down” top ten, favorite – existence, full bodied expression, a sun a moon, and the damn dirt to burry the bullshit. Don’t forget your shovel.

“You believe in Flow?”

“Like what…if it flows, then it goes?… yeah man, thats how I’m out here now, flow, or bye in all directions, but nervous, def nervous, or i was taught to be”

“How do you know though?”

“You don’t, its about listening to the awareness you’ve worked for up until now, and testing it, learning, failing, creating a remedy to improve”

“That seems like it could get too passive, or hell, even lonely”

“Well, as applied to being with girls or friends in gerneral, yeah man, it can be tricky, but you just feel it, you know, a sense of it, if its too hard, or nerve racking, then its just not happening…ha, I say that but its complicated, I’m open to all suggestions, I have no clue what you do once you step out of the philistine cage”

You see, the faces are planted in time I cannot reach anymore, no reasons, no rhymes, just bankrupt old news that fuels the epiphany curriculums for these new pathways. Give me an edge and I’ll  put it on a sword, place it into a stone, then watch it shoot out colors of imagination. Your storms are not negotiable. I am I-N-D-I VIDUAL, all the  thrills, highly original. Turn the page please.

“You ever regret things, surely you regret something, right?”

“Regret?, yeah man, I regret talking to you right now, no but for real…yeah, I regret things. I mean, I’m alive and thats gonna come with a lot of regret, a lot of contemplations, so much wonder about the “what if,” and the “should not”, but its too late for any of that. The regrets aren’t real, they don’t exist. I can be anyone I want to be, at any moment. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t feel for those situations I could regret. When we regret it means a part of ourselves is out in the world and that narrative we fear belongs to the mind of someone else, we fear those versions of ourselves that no longer belong to us, and will never be us again.”

“I think I know what you mean, like…opinion, or reputation?”

“Sure, or anything really, that moments you regret is frozen, and frankly they are gifts to others who need them to feel better about their regrets, we have to be the villain as much as we have to be the victim, or the hero, we owe debts for each”

“Now I’m lost”

“Good, because you’re too young not to be lost”

You see, its all moving and changing and circling back to a different you in this point in time. Nothing matters anymore but the next step forward, the ego is dead, so redundant in its exposure, its lack of care, its general sense of black hole dispositions, just dead. The prancing taps of your feet can pull you up from the grown swirl, then you can shoulder that shit, let it dip, push it with the hip, then brush it off with your newest versions, tighten up your fancy for the next episode in what is sure to be a regret or a win, or the story you feed yourself for your future. We just change, nothing more. We just are now, nothing more. Next phase please.

“Good seeing you man”

Yeah, it was, thanks for letting me express things, I needed it today buddy”

“Don’t thank me, Its fun to see you passionate about something” 

“I love ya”

“Love you too”

“No matter what”

 

 

Temple

The two drink hangover is a new phenomenon in my experience. For once I opted to leave early, take the exit to ensure a quality nights sleep before my early morning class the next day. In the past I would allow the moment to pass by me, knowing I should leave  but opting for curiosity – a continuation to explore what the night might bring.

The evening was relaxed –  I needed the drink and chat to come down from a five hour round trip car ride through the mountains of North Carolina, then back home to Tennessee – a perfect day for a drive. I met a couple of friends I haven’t seen in over a year at Public House. I bonded with her last summer, and felt our time together could bring more than it had  – energy not living up to its full potential – deeper friends. They are both good people, working tirelessly to figure out there love dynamic – what they are, want, or need. We chewed on relationships, I gave my verbal dance of opinion, felt a bit over cooked after the exchange but a text today made me realize I was over thinking it. When I get around people in public spaces my hands and arms get active – I begin to feel like a magician whose trying too hard to sound smart. And I’m trying to figure out my own head space for love. The times shared felt good though  – a safe space with untamed energy bubbling underneath potent honesty.

Earlier in the day I took my sons to a Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) where we sat with friends listening to music, and a sermon. I sat next to an elder, not sure if thats what to call him. He translated the sermon in my right ear, and the lyrical themes from the two musicians who came in from Chattanooga. He is a kind man, gracious in his delivery – understanding I had no real clue what was taking place. Other than a few political science and religious courses in college, I didn’t have much to latch onto for what was taking place – I was disarmed in my pride around ignorance. I asked him where he was from, he had a puzzled look on his face. He said “I am from here, came here in 95” “But I was born in India”. Being the person I am, for a moment I felt bad, like I had offended him – but once I reminded myself that it was ok to ask that question, it was ok to not know anything about the Temple. In this mind set I was able to see it from unfettered eyes.  Everyone treated us like family, hugging my children as their own.

When you enter the Gurdwara (residence of the guru)  you take off your shoes and cover your head to show respect. My sons never questioned it, just followed my lead. After the sermon, large bowels with prasad (similar to cookie dough) were passed around – a blessed food received with cupped hands as a gift from God. We had three helpings, and others shared more with us – my kids loved it. After the sermon we all walked downstairs to eat together. The food was dynamic, enriching, and whole, not vegan but vegetarian – potatoes, rice, garbanzo beans, and other things.

All together we were at the Temple for five hours. In the past three months I have been to three different kinds of Sunday worship – Universalist, Christian, and Sikhism. I’m looking for it, ready to engage in a self that has deeper meaning, one that will vacate the notions of singularity – the hope that through God, or the universe, my intent as a human being will find a true sense of the word love. Going inward toward discipline feels better than continuing the wild notions of nothing.

Holiday Music

Ah, so I forgot about holiday music while shopping. The one thing you can’t predict when needing a few things for Thanksgiving – the damn music piping through the house system. This holiday season I am single, lighter, the good kind of edgy, but still a tough swallow.  My kids live in another state, and my family has had some real health scares,  so when I have to quickly hop into the pots and pans section because the tears are about to come – I get kind of pissed about it, but let it be, then experience it. I owe myself that moment. With that said, I would love to shop somewhere that played nothing, or something upbeat without words, easy on the minor waves…maybe some free jazz that’s so free its quiet?  Jazz is the shelter from getting all tangled up in too much of my own raw emotion. My oldest son was with me as I took a moment in the kitchen goods section, I saw a pale green sauce pan out of the corner of my eye that looked cool. We stopped in the middle of the isle – I forced myself to listen to the void like feeling these old classics were putting out. The tears began their dance right behind my eyes, like a small fleet ready to nose dive over the falls  – a cascade of memory, confusion, and relief. But they never came. My body felt the way you do when you cry, but no tears. Such an odd reaction, almost if my head is not in sync with my heart. I’ve mentioned on here before how I think the two of them need couples counseling. Leaving the store I started laughing…

“You know its sad holiday music when you’re on the verge of a break down in the pots and pans section”

I’m going to try and live every moment fully, every damn feeling that comes I’m jumping headfirst, not really every feeling but I won’t be running to booze, or some mask like response…bring it and bring it so hard I cry in a store. And I ask for it knowing I’ll get up from it, becoming the next chapter of my existence. Plus, isn’t that the point of living? Emotion, feeling, and expression is LIFE?  And lets not forget my favorite parts – recording new material, painting a new canvas, dancing, and of course putting it all down in words. Emotion + Risk + Truth = Creativity

“Emotional waves are small gifts and we should honor each one of them”

Today is day two of my sons weeklong visit. Having them home is wonderful, it makes me feel whole – a reminder that I have a family and I will always be Dad to them. Its not easy, much of the time you spend in your own day-to-day life is trying not to remember how much time you had with them just a couple years ago. Not to say I want to forget that time, I just need to accept its over, and move on in this new phase of life.  Have I got use to not waking up with them every morning? No. But you deal with it – not because you feel great, but you can’t do much about it, other than make it work no matter how complicated or difficult. So you go to the park with them on a sunny day in November, run around like a child, go down the slides, hide behind plastic walls, be a kid, be with them, be a pirate and make weird noises, feel the crisp air, feel the love, be present as if you’ll never be again. That’s the area I’ve been working on since my divorce was final last August – to just be happy with what you have rather than sad about what you don’t. Yeah, that’s more or less the point of life I think – the mode we’re all trying to reach.

I do think we can wish and pray for a greater experience. We can work out the kinks, sending good things in the world with our behavior. I try to…even in the darkest of moments – the voice in my head is a constant reminder when I’m being mean or ungrateful, or just impatient (I hate that one) even if it’s only in my mind. It’s annoying when you just want to be one of those people that seem to have no feelings. I know deep down they feel things (some don’t at all) but acting in your life is a solid tool to hide from pain. I think I can act, just never learned how not to say what I feel, even if makes me look foolish, or weak. Somewhere along the way I figured the only strength I was interested in was expression in the form of “self” honesty, whatever it is, holding it in feels too damn awful. It’ll get you into some thick chats about things that are uncomfortable. The question you have to ask yourself is, who gets to decide what’s ok to say or not to say…society in its current form?

Nope.

 

 

 

Chicago, Day 4

IMG_0983.JPG

 

We have arrived to the last full day in this Windy City. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end it. In a few hours we will break bread with friends, a proper pot luck with creative types, families and Billie on the turntable. My friend is making two different pots of chili. One for the carnivores and one for the veggie heads. I’ll eat both. Some of the folx coming through I haven’t seen in a couple years. I’m looking forward to seeing these gals. They are kind, accepting, and just damn good people. I only want to be around those that get my weirdness, those that are complicated and dynamic enough to embrace their own level of weird. The best kind of people to know.

Last night was another late one. We got to smartbar around 12:30, guest list. As soon as we walked in the atmosphere was like Godzilla came up from underground and brought the edges into full view. If you’ve never been to a true “techno” party you might freak out a bit. Or think the devil had a birthday. It’s easy to think that. Once you let go of the borders put in place for society you start to get it though. It’s a ritual, being there says something about who you are. DJ Nobu plays some hard shit, sprinkled with drawn out psychedelic tones that flip your wig if you’re not mindful. I got lost in the sea of people and overdone smoke machine antics. Only complaint I had, way too much smoke machine dude. But it’s a vibe for the night. Old fashion rave culture done abundantly. I dig it. I said to one of my friends, “this fits my mood almost perfectly”. I’m in a spot these days, it’ll pass but dancing to hard techno is exactly what I needed, to be a freak in a pool of freaks. Plus, the desires of others radiating towards me was intense. I was stalked by a couple people, met a few others. I’m a tall dude wearing black so at times I look like I’m a bouncer or part of the team putting on the show. It’s funny, but a few dance shimmies’ and you’re in the community. I got down like I always do. I saw one of the most beautiful people I’ve seen in a long time. He was younger, short blonde hair, hoop earrings, just a pretty person. We walked by one another and made sharp eye contact, quick but deep. I felt love in that fluttering moment, or lust, who knows, it felt good. There were a few others I watched a bit, a beautiful black queen with short hair. Eyes like diamonds, subtle style, sexy – a woman. We exchanged glances several times. But I’m off the market. A self imposed hiatus from outside energy in my personal space – closed for remodeling. Right now I’m gonna love me, and make love to that space. I know how I like it. Throughout life we are required if vigilant to recharge ourselves. Its imperative to gain control of your set, create a new narrative for your growing self.

We came back to the crib, sipped a brew, played some hip-hop then crashed. Before we went to club everyone came to the house I’m crashing at, we drank wine, talked shit, took turns spinning house and techno. It was classic times. We dipped for some dinner at a soul food place a few short blocks away. I had the shrimp and grits, and then traded a bit for some fried chicken, the grub was fire. Period.

Walking in the cold air really saved my ass for the night. Blood flow, movement in the cold is a cure for just about anything dragging you down from no sleep. I’ve been quite mild in the intake this weekend.

I’d like to just get all gushy right now about how much I love my friends. Brothers – Twenty years and counting. You can’t ask for anything better. Nothing changes but each growing their own way, beautiful, intelligent, creative, and hilarious. We each bring a little different vibe to the group – Too soft, too hard, too goofy, too emotional. We all grown up now, kids, marriages, mortgages, big boy jobs, broke as fuck hustles. Personalities thick in opinions, culture – always some new knowledge being brought out. Everyone shares and looks out for one another. No drama, no bullshit…cuttin loose, hanging out. Then we do it again when we do. No pressure.

Friends, real ones. I love them.

Fire Starter

I read once in all that’s wonderful about life, love is the greatest force you’ll experience. Something like, to not cast your love is to choose not to live. This isn’t just romantic love, this is every kind of love that exists. This is being kind to a stranger or telling a friend you love them.

Lying on my back in the water I felt her. And before that when I was hiking I felt her there too. When I go to the store to grab coffee my body walks as if she is around. I smell her all the time. This is the truth inside me, pure and honest, vulnerable and willing. I’m open to feeling all that I need to experience even in the stages beyond my control. Even when I’ve accepted I can’t do anything with these occurrences but feel them and enjoy it. I could push it further and make myself into a wreck furthering a new type of memory in rejection. But what is rejection? Or, I can just own what I feel, believe in it, and live. Time isn’t a friend to anyone unless it’s used to heal, and in that healing create progress. Right? Of course it’s helped me in all the things stewing that need healing this past year. But even in this part of time this one person is hanging on inside me, vibrating my senses, and making me feel like a child whose curling his toes with anticipation he might run into her. I can’t figure it out. Why does it still dazzle my feathers? I love it.  It tells me I believe in life and open to receive everything without certainty. No limits, no “self” to block what needs to birth new. Just standing in the wind and loving the ones I love.

I feel alive and having the inability to move on from someone isn’t a curse, it’s a gift. When I see her, or more so, sense her, it truly feels like nature. It’s as if I have plugged into the trees and grounded my skin with blood to the soil. All of this beauty from a few short months with another human being I barely know. How is that not worth expressing?  This one person made me feel a sense of awakening and if only I could have let go of myself (then) to grasp how she would impact my existence fully, who knows…love isn’t without its complications. I’m not a fool in this space. I’m just wacky and weird enough to tell you my truth.

Your friends will tell you to move on, “she’s just one person in a sea of others”. It’s really good advice if you care for someone and you want them to feel better. But this isn’t about moving on or feeling better. I feel like an open field lit with the sun. When you taste something you like that becomes your taste. When you hear a song you love that becomes your song. Once you allow this expression to get underneath the thick layer of yourself that protects the fragility in your center, it’s over for moving on. There is no moving on, because we’re talking about your individual self letting go to the feeling to become the next level of your life, it has to come with you. Sure it loosens up its grip on your day so you forget a little, we all forget at times. You have plenty of moments doing other things. And in one second, a simple walking through a door or turning down a street, a natural fragrance comes through and you pick her back up in yourself, and feel her. That’s the place all the poets and artists who sing about love come from. That’s the place we all come from if we allow ourselves.

There’s no words or advice that will wipe away this feeling. There’s no religion or philosophy strong enough to erase or challenge it either. I’m writing this to express how human beings can impact each other. How we meet people and their impressions can be lasting. They can improve us. Even if we don’t get a chance to keep dancing with them.

I use to say, I’m not the biggest fan of people (I thought it sounded cool), but I’m seeing the light in how they can surprise me if I’m willing and ready. I love the idea of “no expectations” but it’s quite complicated to apply in practice. Our minds are a walking vessel of life, it’s wrapped up, communicating to our brains. It makes us crazy and finds us doing things we don’t understand. Love is the most maddening and breath-taking emotion, such a complicated veil of colors. I’m strong enough to feel love without it being invited to place it somewhere. I say cast it all for as long as you can. And do it for yourself, because that might be a solid way to experience your life.

Truth is I was afraid of my own love, probably hers too. I was so scared it would be seen that I panicked. In doing so I might have missed some bright times and a special bond with an individual I could have truly been able to let go, and really be seen with. Maybe I have to realize this so the next time I can be ready/

When I went to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival this year (Movement Festival) I tried to dance my way out of it. I sweat so hard and moved my body so differently, with the small hope I could erase it, or leave it in a nest somewhere I would forget in myself. It didn’t work. Turns out,  It was the love making me dance. And in that I lie down and let it wash over me for real. I’m not afraid of it anymore, no more fear in feeling or casting expression. It’s the most natural thing our instinct engages us to do but we’ve been saturated on subconscious algorithms of how to be in the world. What’s proper, or right, what’s normal, and accepted? I say let’s be freaks about our expression. Cast it all in one big open flame, those who stop will see and hang out, those that don’t, nothing we can do about it. But it’s still going to be fire, and it’ll represent the fullest version of ourselves. It’ll be the “you” that reacts before all the bullshit hesitations and persona filter stuff, a work in progress for all human beings.

It’s so hard to get there but when we do, I bet the small window that’s been painted shut for so many years will start to crack. You’ll step through that opening, new and ready for the world. At least I hope that’s what will happen. I’ll let you know on here. Its hopeful but hope feels good, right? Of course there’s the reality of getting hurt, but in that pain all it says is that you are living your own life. The loss, pain, and rejection, are a part of living. So keep at it.

What I’ve experienced regarding love could be the gateway into some type of truthful existence, a mechanism to burst through societal stasis, and become that feeling as an expressive, bold, entity. A magnitude of power and vulnerability so great, you destroy all that is placid in you so willingness and life become realized, and only then peace becomes reality. This isn’t just romantic love, this is how I love my brother or how I feel when I reach out to help someone, tell a fellow creative how much I enjoyed their work, or telling someone I’m proud of them.

My whole existence flourishes when I’m bold enough to set my bullshit aside, and cast the good feels in all of me. I won’t stop loving for anyone, but I’ll respect the avenues, and places it’s not welcome, and accepted. Hopefully one living example can change one fluid circumstance. Either way, I believe in life, and I see love as a fire starter for all that matters in the world. 

 I’ve expressed on here the “idea” that I live as an artist to create experience for my work, using a muse. That “love” might be a mechanism to create, and maybe it’s not love at all. It’s fascinating to ponder these possibilities. I would only ever express these thoughts from a trusting space. The fact I would relay them in an open format says a lot to me about who I am. Has my music, and writing been influenced by these feelings? Absolutely. But I would lay both down for love. It isn’t for using experience to better my work. I can only hope that both love and creativity will flourish together, making me better so I can cast that onto the world in whatever way the moment is telling me to. A creative needs life to experience, no doubt about it, and a life needs creativity. I’ve arrived at a place that transcends any formula that tells me why I love, or how it impacts my work. Both can be alive in me without short-changing the other, or making one more important. Together, they create a symbiotic foundation, forming a community of thought and emotions. It’s wild, but pure, and honest. I love for love, and I create art to understand how to feel love in its raw form, to be open to accepting it, and then giving it back in all walks of my life. I respect love, in many ways its “godlike” for me.

So far, I have randomly laughed and cried (with joy) more in the last six months than I can recall anytime before. I’m awake to live. And I’m going to keep living. This love movement isn’t for eagerness or rushing to find it. When you’re open to yourself, love finds a way to show up. I’m grateful the few times mine has, I’ve realized it, owned it, and casted it. I’m also grateful that those who know me, understand me, and are similarly open to these experiences. It’s only a few (in my life), but those few are bright and bold, real individuals and sponges for the world who inspire me to keep going. They allow me the space to learn and express. They offer up a special canvas and allow me to toss on my visions for the immediacy of now. Am I crazy? In the sense that I’m wildly excited for life and love, absolutely.