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You cannot read and listen to this post and not be transported…perhaps inward to your own inspiration. David@davidkanigan.com continues to amaze and delight…thank you!

Live & Learn

“Do not believe those who try to persuade you that composition is only a cold exercise of the intellect. The only music capable of moving and touching us is that which flows from the depths of a composer’s soul when he is stirred by inspiration. There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavouring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.

A few days ago I told you I was working every day without any real inspiration. Had I given way to my…

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anxiety, discretion, friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

A Shocking Admission

I suppose it’s time that I tell you a long-held secret about me.  It will certainly surprise you;  perhaps you will feel that I have duped you for these past seven months.  I’m truly sorry, but it was something I needed to do.  Now that I am coming forward with this admission, I can only hope you’ll understand.

I am a super hero.

If I could lower my head in shame for having withheld this from you for so long, I would – but then I couldn’t see the screen and would make too many typing errors.  By day, I am a completely unassuming woman, hardly distinguishable from any other woman of a certain age.  In this persona my height serves me well,  for often I can go practically unseen (unless of course someone trips over me).  The Sirs rest comfortably – the house is filled with that mellow glow associated with abundant calm.  I walk gently through life – thankful, secure and full of granola.

As the sun begins its descent in the western sky, my synapses begin to fire with a fervency that is hard to control and my breathing accelerates.  I feel my heart pumping with the  intensity that Olive Oyl used to have when she would see Popeye (yes, I’m dating myself – but work with me).  My thoughts begin to race as if they were competing in a track and field event.  Yes, it is time.  As the moon rises, I become

 I use the nighttime to obsess and worry issues and potential issues to death.  If there are no problems to be slain with my powerful concern, I will create some.  After all, I consider it my duty to keep my little circle of friends and family safe from disconcerting  ‘what ifs’ and ‘could bes’.  I leap from one outcome to the next, determining options and exit strategies, potential routes to happiness and/or obstacles to success.  Have a terrible boss?  I’ll worry that one for you.  Are you feeling flu-ish?  Don’t fret – I’ll jump to pneumonia and back with the expectation that by the time I return you will be feeling much better.  Kids plucking your very last nerve?  Fear not, I can go from worst case diagnoses to kids just being irritating,  before you can say “Mimi, put the DSM-IV down”.  As you can imagine, these midnight meanderings are exhausting.  I am probably the only person who is happy that Daylight Savings Time is over, because the sun rises earlier – shortening my super hero work schedule.   Now you know why I post so early in the morning – it’s my way of capping off another fretful night of slaying imaginary scenarios and plotting the capture of one too many unpleasant outcomes.

As the sun comes up I return to my leggings and sweatshirt, take the Sirs out to commiserate with a tree or two and look up at the sky.  And I become the person you have come to know.  The person who literally thanks God everyday for the gift of the morning.  The person who can’t yet meditate but can take up a small, easy space in this world and delight in doing so.  The one who believes that miracles happen all the time if you keep your eyes open, so why the heck am I worrying anyway?  At the end of the day, we are all contradictions in terms – super hero and every-man/woman;  Broadway star and bathroom lounge lizard; successful professional and frightened sham;  Big Kahuna and one who wipes out before even reaching the wave.

“To be alive, to be able to see, to walk, to have houses, music, paintings – it’s all a miracle.  I have adopted the technique of living life from miracle to miracle.” — Arthur Rubenstein

 

friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

It’s A Muse-thing

Sunday at Camp Karma is lazy – and I have every intention of staying true to form this morning.  I look forward to the Sunday Times with my second cup of coffee,  weekend crossword puzzles in The Washington Post and The New York Times.  Comfort food and cozy naps.  Glimpses of the Animal Planet (arguably one of my favorite channels) when the remote control is left unattended.   Well, let’s rewind the tape – at least for a little while. I will return to my sloth-like Sunday shortly (by the way, if you have never seen a baby sloth…truly adorable, and they have the most endearing smiles..damn, I did it again…another ‘look a chicken’ moment).

One of the most common puzzle clues references a muse – and the answer is almost always  ‘Erato’.  A muse – a source of inspiration, most typically the font of ideas that fuels creative efforts.  Erato was one of nine sisters – the offspring of Mnemosyne and Zeus.  My hunch is that they were probably known around the neighborhood as the girls that every mother wanted to keep her kids away from – because after a certain point, kids don’t need a lot of inspiration to get into creative mischief.  And besides, nine daughters had to be enough entertainment for one family – especially if they spent their time inspiring each other and fighting for time in the bathroom.  Not a lot of testosterone coursing through that house (although Zeus certainly held his own in that area, no pun intended).

(Here’s a picture of the nine sisters – can you imagine, they wouldn’t even pose for a family snapshot?  Someone had to ‘carve’ them from memory because they weren’t speaking to each other)

Ah, the sibling rivalry!  It has to be pretty hard on the ego to see your sister routinely associated with creativity, passion and inspiration.  Clio got a nod every now and then, but can you name the other seven without checking Wikipedia?  How does that play into your self-esteem?  To have a house in a gated community, have famous parents and all the accoutrements of celebrity and still know that  the only reason anyone wants to sit next to you in homeroom is because you’re related to the most popular girl in the zip code?  I don’t know – sounds pretty uninspiring in my book.  Growing up is tough enough – I feel badly for these girls.

I realize too that for me,  inspiration is found in the words of many who happen to read this post.  The stories of our days, the hours of endless question and the occasional ‘aha’ moments that propel us forward.  The open heart and the unthinking words – all inspiration.  Phenomenal sunrises and relentless clouds;  disequilibrium and exquisite balance; doors that slam shut with one finger still stuck in the jamb and the smell of fresh air as an unseen window yawns opens.  The music of each day and the construction of dreams at night.  Perhaps the murmurings of the heart.  Perhaps Erato felt like her hands were full every once in awhile (and don’t think she didn’t use that argument as a reason to get a better make of car upon graduating  Mt. Olympus High School), but I for one have had better luck just noticing life.

“You don’t have a soul.

You are a soul.

You have a body.” —- C.S. Lewis

discretion, friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness

Saying ‘Yes’ – Though I Really Don’t Know

Midlife – Julie Cadwallader-Staub

This is as far as the light

of my understanding

has carried me:

an October morning

a canoe built by hand

a quiet current

above me the trees are

green and golden

against a cloudy sky

below me the river responds

with perfect reflection

a hundred feet deep

a hundred feet high.

To take a cup of this river

to drink its purple and gray

its golden and green

to see

a bend in the river up ahead

and still

say

yes.

If there is anything that the last few days has taught us, it’s that we can be awed, humbled, frightened, moved and bested.  We can be rendered powerless and exhibit mind-boggling levels of strength and determination.

I can’t help but notice how simply exhausted the trees look.  Everything but their trunks looks bowed and submissive.  I feel like they need the winter.  They need the rest.  As impressively as they stand, as they cradle the birds (who were having an absolute flight fest yesterday as they celebrated the end of the storm and were just heading in droves over to each other’s houses to catch up on the neighborhood news), as they release their leaves, I can feel them sigh.  It’s enough.  Just a little break, a time to be fallow.  It sounds silly – I look at them and my eyes fill.

I had the misfortune of hearing an Ann Coulter sound byte where she was opining about the presidential campaign in the States, and defended her use of the word  ‘retard’ as a descriptive.  My shoulders sagged, my head bent and my breath caught.  Really?  Please don’t lecture me on the finer points of free speech.  I’m tired.  I’ve wearied of the season – the glaring examples of ugliness, the mean-spirited back-and-forth that in my view diminishes any substance to drivel.   Name calling – on Facebook, Twitter – are we done yet?  I am interested and intrigued by opinions other than my own, but honestly I don’t do offensive posturing well.  You lost me with your first epithet, your first invective.  I’m done.  I need the arrival of the fallow season.

I try (emphasis on ‘try’)  to ask myself a few questions before I open my mouth (unless I’m singing of course) – “Is it honest?”  “Is it true?”  “Is it kind?”  Would that these would be the rules that govern our more incendiary social conversations.   Of course I realize that there are many who prefer the in-your-face discussion, voices raised, opinions morphing into facts – bet they don’t like me very much.  I will not engage.

And so the day moves inexorably into its morning, and the sun is still hesitating to make an appearance.  As the clouds cast shadows on the remaining golds and reds and yellows above me, I honor the insistent posture of the trees.  I stand with the people who have lost so much and still rise with some belief and inner conviction that there will be a new season.  And though I am not sure why, I too say ‘yes’.