Monday, March 17, 2008

Mantra Monday: Mix It Up.

I've noticed I talk a lot about being stuck in holding patterns, like a needle in the grooves of a vinyl record, a long lost vestige of possibly a simpler time. I still remember playing my New Kids on the Block record and thinking that the Mathematician and the Artist were sooo cooool when they bought our first family cd-player after our cat broke the arm on our record player. Today, we don't even have to commit to buying an entire album, we can just pick a song here and there, thanks to the miracles of iTunes.

The result, the songs which end up on the radio begin to find their way on to our iPods and nothing more. When was the last time you dug deep into the tracks of an album to discover a something new? Or looked back and into your cd collection and discovered something new? There's really so much out there that it's easy to let those on the outside dictate what we listen to, where we go, what we see, and who we are.

When I last was in RI I came across my stash of mix tapes - it was like rediscovering those favorite kicking around shoes that become buried under the bed. You know, those 90 or 110 minute musical manifestos where as teens we wanted to share some really cool tunes with our friends, express our angst, or profess our love (or at least that we liked someone). Listening to those (yes, I still have a cassette player Walkman and a cassette deck in my 96 Volvo) brings back a flood of memories and spurred me on to open my cd wallets that have been collecting dust.

Honestly, there's some stuff I won't admit that I own (I've already admitted that I listened to New Kids on the Block) but I do have some pretty cool stuff lurking in there (for example: Jabe's album Outback County Vampire*). Like with anything, finding the cool stuff, involves patience, a willingness to dig deep, and peel back the layers.

What's the coolest thing buried deep in your collection?

So it's 11:30 on a Monday night and I'm starting a MixCd.
The title? In Progress.

Catch ya'll on the flip side.

*Thanks Lady Apollo. :)

UPDATE: According to a member of Bauhaus, the reason we're limited to 80 minutes in today's CD savvy world is thanks to the Sony execs who based CD-R capacity on Beethoven's 5th. Interesting. But I have to ask why Beethoven? Why not Bach or Shostakovitch?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Class #108*

What makes a great teacher? This answer varies for us all.

For me, in high school and college it was the teachers who pushed my edge intellectually and artistically. At the time I thought it was them challenging me and the class. Today, I realized it wasn't that at all - it was that they guided me to a place where I could look with complete honesty at my work and who I am. In those classes I never aimed to please the teacher, I was there for me.

After college or further degrees we go out into the world and settle into our jobs and life and we can become complacent and numb - not because we're hit with unabashed monotony, but because we make it monotonous. We forget to honestly look at ourselves. I'm not talking about goals or what we do on a daily basis or what life has previously presented to us, but where we are within the present in mind, body, and soul.

At least this is very true for me.

After practice at Salt Pond today, I found myself lingering longer than usual. We had spent a lot of time in class working on float forward, handstand and
crow and side crow - needless to say I got in a lot of tumbling and road kill imitation practice (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). As I headed out the door, I paused, turned and walked back up to the studio "looking to know what I have to do to float from crow to chaturanga dandasana and not tumble out of crow." The instructor totally called my bluff. What I had in fact returned for was help in defining some mental blocks. For someone on the outside, to ask me those questions in a manner I or others haven't asked in a long time - to offer a fresh perspective. I think I started this last Sunday, but definitely gained some more clarity after today's practice and even more after a couple great conversations with the Mathematician and the Artist.

The great teachers are our parents, our friends, our instructors, and our professors. These are the individuals that can lead to us to possibly the greatest teacher of all - Ourselves.

You just have to be willing to listen.

108 is one of those numbers that is mathematically really cool and plays a major role in Eastern spirituality. Was it serendipity that my 108th class was today?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mantra Monday: Back to Basics.

So, in the month of February I was trying to balance everything, move forward while carrying the past and becoming this vision of who I want to be and all I want to do.

For one, I had this desire to create and fabricate this fantastic jewelry design I've had in my mind since 2004. All I ended up doing was spinning my wheels and changing my design five times over the last four weeks. I still have yet to cut into my silver. Secondly, I have so desperately wanted to be able to stand on my own from Urdhava Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose) that I completely lost my Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) during a recent retreat up to RI. I became frustrated to the point that I couldn't stop thinking about it on my return home after class. Like the wheels on the Mathematician's green Volvo station wagon, the wheels in my mind kept on spinning and spinning...hadn't I gone up to RI to get a break, reconnect with the basics?

Then I came down with my yearly bout of bronchitis. Staying couped up in my apartment for 5 full days, drinking tisanes, reading, watching Disney dvds and sleeping.

This was the pause I needed. No work. No yoga. No jewelery. I was able to reconnect with my center and take stock.

This was the first time, in a long time, that I had the opportunity to looks at myself with a level of honesty that I haven't in a long time. At some point, I realized that all I need to be concerned about are the basics.

Learning again, this is really all about the process.

That process?

It takes time.