Perfume

When you walk down the street and see a very attractive, dressed up lady walking by, and as she passes the smell of her perfume is so sweet and attractive – do you breathe it in or do you stop your inhale and hold you breath for a moment knowing that the smells of fresh air and everyday life are sweet enough?

When you see a delicious looking juicy burger, meal or sweets advertised on a billboard or in a shop window do you run to the window and salivate over it while wondering if you have enough cash to splurge?  Or do you look away knowing that those adverts just mean to grab your attention and sell you something?

If you hear a lovely singing voice do you stop and think, “wow, that’s so amazing!  They are so talented I wish I could sing like that.”  Or do you appreciate it but know that your own voice is neither better nor worse same as the cat’s meow or cow’s moo.

nuoc-hoa-1_xadzav

I like to live a plain life.  I avoid movies that are too emotional, scents that are too alluring, food that is too decadent and women that are too beautiful.  The plain and simple truth of the hours passing in the day, the wind blowing by and the general careless persistence of life help to keep my space balanced.  Things that are extreme, even if they are dolled up as something desirable, only excite your system and throw you off balance. I would rather not experience any massive highs but keep things moving along at their standard pace.

I intend to listen to the silence between the sounds of the world no matter how many other sounds are coming at me.

Men are, women are

Men are strength and love.

Women are warmth and love.

fire_and_water_by_gorilla_ink

Women are water.  Men are fire.  Yin Yang.  How does it all fit together?  How can it find harmony?  What is the whole we are a part of?

Well I’m not completely sure about the women part but this morning an idea came to me that simplified the entire male female dynamic.  If we can remove our standards and ideals and see how situations occur we stand a chance at seeing the compatibility and similarities we share.

It’s a good thing to believe men are love.  Men are sometimes misinterpreted because they try to use strength in the wrong situation, wrong time, or wrong way.  Men are incredibly strong not just physically but the way of being of a somewhat developed man often includes strength.  This can be as discipline, confidence, directness, goal achieving or willingness to try.  The goal of these ‘strength’ attributes is to achieve more love.

Women have something men don’t.  They have a certain loveliness and warmth.  They use this to achieve more love.  I don’t really understand women or how this attribute works but it can be seen in their physical beauty, their flirty way of being, their receptivity, supportiveness, kindness, and nurturing qualities.

Now, see how when one side can’t understand the other that a man could be bitter about women as manipulative and a woman could be warded off by a man’s aggressiveness.  Really they are just both trying to get the same thing:  love.

So this post is about trying to simplify the way men/women are perceived as a part of the same whole with two diametric ways of moving energy.  If a man and a woman can learn to work together and understand each other, to be generous and extend good will, patience, and security, then they can see that strength and warmth are actually the perfect compliments for one another.

Guys, appreciate the warmth you get from a woman as her ultimate gift.  You are lucky when a woman shows you warmth.  Ladies, appreciate when a man expresses something with strength.  It means he wants to achieve love.  Its just that these are the only ways these two sexes know how.  Drop your standards and ideals about what they should be doing or not doing.  Recognise their efforts to connect with you.

What are your principles and values?  If you drop your shoulds and should nots then you are freed to make choices of action rather than reactions or vindicated sentences.  If I could drop any part of my personality it would be my tendency to be vindictive.  Once these things are gone, your principles and values will be free to direct your action.  So if your principle is love and your value is space then you can realise a woman will give you attention when she wants to.  If she doesn’t, she doesn’t and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Relevant to anyone out there dating.  Same for women, if a man is texting you it’s because he likes you.  If he isn’t he isn’t.

 

Love, an epiphany

I just recently moved to Hong Kong for an exciting new job.  Lucky me – I get to help start an instrumental music program at an innovative international school.  It has been a fantastic experience thus far and what’s more is that I get to live in Hong Kong where I can experience new food, language, and culture.  I love the city, it’s great transit, and the loads of things to do.

One main reason I chose this place is because here it is not weird to be seen doing tai chi or any qigong in public spaces.  In fact when renting my flat, my top non-negotiable was that it was very near the largest park in HK; Victoria Park.  It’s awesome!  I found a great sifu (Chinese for teacher/master) to study Dong style tai chi. I got a fancy new radio with alarm and have been using it to get up at 4:30AM daily to go practice tai chi in the park in the moonlight as the sun rises until 6:15AM.  I’m not alone either.  There are dozens of other folks out in the park this time of day doing tai chi or qigong. So in this morning’s practice I had an epiphany; such is the result of a good tai chi practice. I learned more about what love is.

It’s true that everyone will let you down.  In fact, any partner you pick will have things you really like about them – that’s why you chose them.  But to be sure every partner will also have moments of disappointing you in a big way.  It’s unavoidable.  It’s human.  Hopefully it’s not too extreme but I’m talking about some big nasty stuff.

It’s kind of a funny joke – you choose to love someone and you know that they are eventually, in some capacity, going to send you bad vibes.  Maybe by cheating or being abusive but hopefully something less upsetting like just being rude or demanding.  But because you chose to love this person you are acknowledging and accepting that you will put up with the unpleasantness. You choose to accept their bad.

Usually when I love someone I’m totally into it until they show me a side I dislike.  But now I see, you agree to accept those sides when you decide to love them.  So, in my case, I’ll need to pick better next time so I get someone with less extreme dark sides but even when she disappoints or upsets me I’ll need to let it slide and approach it with a “well I knew that was going to happen” attitude and not let it end the relationship because they failed to be perfect.

To love someone really means acknowledging and accepting their worst sides.  Be wise and get to know who you are dealing with – try to see their absolute worst side before you commit to loving them.  I do think there are some dark sides that are not acceptable for my taste.  Regardless, think of it as a funny joke.  Loving someone doesn’t mean good feelings.  Perhaps just the opposite loving someone means dealing with all their badness.  She/he will always let you down.

love psycho

A funny thing about animal instinct

I heard this the other day over a casual dinner with a good and wise friend.  It really knocked me out, really blew my mind.  I can only paraphrase but her idea was that in most cases your animal instinct helps you.  It helps you to avoid dangerous situations EXCEPT in the case of physical attraction.  Think about the truth of that and the painful almost comical irony.

Your animal instinct serves to protect you in all (most) areas except physical attraction in which case it does the exact opposite of help protect you.  Wow.  There it is. Biological racket much?

Trap

In every area your animal instinct helps protect you except in fidelity.  Your biology encourages you to take action towards hook-ups.  It does not encourage you to stop, turn around, say no.  and it affects EVERYONE, you, your girlfriend, your ex’s, your spouse, everyone.

Why?  I guess it could be the fact that sex is needed for reproduction and your biology doesn’t care about or honor fidelity or exclusive relationships?  What does it want – for everyone to get pregnant all the time?  I don’t understand this situation.  Or at least I have a racket about it.  Don’t particularly like knowing that I’ve been cheated on or that ex’s are being with new people or that no matter what my partner will be experiencing others hitting on her, others wanting to be with her and she will have those urges with people aside from me as well.

My wise friend also said something positive when I complained about the desperation of this situation.  Responding to my whining about my partner will always be receiving offers from other men, my friend said that my partner can say “no.”  Again, mind blown.  I just keep coming back to the same beginning:  don’t pick someone who cheats or who isn’t ready to be in a committed relationship.  Unfortunately the hole in that strategy is that many will claim that they are but…

So what does it take to be a human who is choosing to rise above their animal instinct to mate with anyone of the opposite sex?  What are the signs?  What to look for?

 

 

 

 

The Last Song You Hear

If there were a song that you could listen to, never heard it before, in fact no one can really tell you what it sounds like because no one knows, and at the conclusion of the song your life was over, would you listen to it?  I would.  I realize how odd that sounds but I can’t imagine a better way I’d want to go than that.  This deal wouldn’t be a joke, it would be an actual song with lots having gone into it.  In other words, whatever mystical force offered this to you isn’t trying to trick you.  It’s just a song that at the end of it you die.  Would you listen?

death_by_music_2116565

I would want to know what it sounds like.  Is this the sound of death?  My own death?  My own life?  Would it be custom tailored for each person or is there possible a song that is so powerful, so wise, so cathartic that anyone who hears it would stop living in this world.  Does that peak your interest?  It floors mine.

Some composers must have been trying to get close.  Beethoven string quartet no. 15, 3rd movement comes to mind.  If you haven’t heard that check here and read up on the story behind this movement in particular.  He thought he was going to die:

“Die, die my darlin'” by the Misfits, “Transatlanticism” by DCFC…I won’t continue to list but in so many genres composers write about death.  Not just death but include or point to the cathartic release from this life in a song.  Seems like a good goal to pursue.  As a composer I’d love to write this song.

I know it sounds suicidal but if I were offered the song I would listen without looking back.  So much passion in music.  I know this as someone who has written, recorded, performed, conducted, rehearsed, adored, hated, loved, made a soundtrack to my life and anything else you can do to music.  What does release sound like for you?  What would ultimate release sound like for you?  If you heard it – would you then die?

Experience vs. Acquisition

What am I doing with my life?  Can you answer that?  What kind of answers do you think you might hear to that question?

“getting a degree” “raising a family” “working until retirement”  “paying off my house”

Well those are all good and I’d like to contemplate the concept of generational differences in what life is all about.  A very bright scholar was talking to me the other day about acquisition in the baby boomer generation.  The baby boomer’s would be likely to give the aforementioned answers.  They were a generation taught or devised of their own experience the values of acquiring things.  College degree, career, house mortgage, lawn, climb the ladder, family, retirement.  Many of our parents are from this baby boom generation where acquisition is the priority of life.

generations

Now I was born in the 80’s.  My generation is not so concerned with owning cars, houses or retirement plans.  I, for example, have been in the same career or adjacent career field for 14 years however I have not kept with the same employer for more than 2 years. I own my own business.   I got one master’s degree and then I got another one.  I work freelance in a variety of music related fields.  I sold my car.  I’ve traveled the world, taken jobs just for the experience, tried everything once, and now live across the world from where I grew up.  What am I here for?  I’m here to experience things.  I will not hold onto a broken relationship – it was the lessons learned that were the gift of the relationship not the other person or the idea of us.  I wasn’t trying to acquire someone else.  Jobs offer insight into lifestyles but I’ve never wanted to stay in the jobs – just to gain the insight and experience.  For example, I’ve done over 15 national and global touring jobs, living on busses and hotel rooms.  It was never my intention to stay a nomad or make my life on the road permanent.  But I did it, grin and bear, for the experience.  I wasn’t trying to acquire a permanent position.

Now, as I’m advancing in age I am seeing the benefit of sedimentation.  In other words, slowing down a little and allowing all of my life experiences to congeal.  I’ve stirred up a whole whirlwind of information and insight through my experiences that I need now to allow to settle so that I can become a more stable, solid and realized person which will allow me to have influence and effect in my life.  What is my life?

At this point, I’m realizing that my life is about who and what surrounds me daily.  Long distance anything is over.  To sediment and become a fixed figure allows others passing by to see and recognize me, so feel secure and observe me, to be influenced, taught or interact with me as they wish.  Like big mountain as opposed to the wind.  I believe this is the progression of life for my generation.

I wonder what the newer generations lives will look like?  I can’t imagine they will be even more adventurous and experience orientated than mine ..!  What would that look like…not firming up in one place until they are mid 40’s?  Could be…perhaps the nuclear family is disappearing and our population issue will start to slow down.  More humans learning about themselves and the world, less just defaulting to breeding as a priority.

I wonder what the ultimate point of it all is… to see hundreds of years into the future how they live their lives…

 

Deception

Deception is a part of nature.  It is an everyday, naturally occurring part of life.  Look at how animals use their fur and coat to blend into surroundings.  Look at the lizards who can change their colors.   The female ducks are brown looking, the male ducks are colorful.  Some animals use these traits to blend in and protect themselves, some to blend in and attack prey easier.  Either way, deception is natural.

deception

Don’t forget, we have an animal biology as well.  Naturally, humans are deceivers.  It is important to acknowledge this in yourself.  Deception is a principle of the world just like gravity or structure.  You deceive others and vice versa.

Perhaps this doesn’t have to be a total downer of a post.  Some deception may be used to cover up things that would appear much worse than they are.  Unfortunately, deception never works out in the context of relationships.  This is why affairs don’t work out and cheating doesn’t work out.  In a relationship there can’t be any deception from the beginning and yet deception is a naturally occurring phenomena.  So how do we ensure that we aren’t sabotaging our relationship?  And how can we trust anyone knowing that it is part of their nature to deceive?

Understanding the intention behind a relationship can help.  Is this relationship just made to pass the time or out of desperation?  Is the primary intention self-serving?  If that’s the case you better watch out.  Try to remove yourself quickly and quietly.  Sometimes getting out of a relationship requires days or weeks of mental pre-paving so that when the tear finally occurs you aren’t left bleeding out.  You may be dating a low quality person, one who has made their intentions clear to you and it doesn’t have anything to do with you or the “us.”  You might be with someone who deceives others about your relationship and deceives you.  You would be in real trouble at this point.  Yet as you begin to separate yourself you become a guilty party in deception.

Look around you, deception IS everywhere.  It is in your nature and everyone you meet’s nature.  How can we cope with this?  Communication is a great start.  If the person you want to clear things up with can’t communicate then they are saying they would rather choose lies than honesty.  You have to turn away from this – you can’t change them and although truthfulness is obviously the better choice for you they may have hidden something so horrendous that for them, the lie is better than the truth.

Ugly isn’t it?  Yet it is part of nature.  So you must accept it.  Take ownership of your contribution and try to clarify your intentions before you move about in this world.  Good luck.

Stay On the Beat but Don’t Rush

I was fortunate enough to have a handful of lessons and days spent with, in my opinion, the greatest trumpet player in the world;  Carl Saunders.  Not only is he an amazing technical bebop player but his tone is bluesy and personal, his range has no limits high or low, and his lines flow endlessly from tasty lick to tasty lick across the complete range of the horn in a one breath phrase longer than expected.  In short, he’s jaw dropping.  See for yourself:

Of course, he could also scat, sing, compose hundreds of tunes, play drums, bass and piano extremely well.  He is truly an extremely talented person.  In my time with him he gave me lots of honest feedback and very wise tips.  I’ve always thought that 70 year olds have the best advice.  They’ve really lived, accomplished much, proven their hold here, and are carefree enough to pass on their honest stories and lessons.

One of my favorite quotes of his was “stay on the beat but don’t rush.”  He was speaking musically but I interpreted this also metaphorically.  It’s about life.  Pay attention to where you are, consciously be aware and stay on the beat – in the moment – but don’t rush.  Don’t get ahead of yourself, don’t overthink or over do anything, just be where you are.

Musical time is also one of those things that gets better with age because it has to do with time itself!  Someone older who has been through many lessons and learned about what stays the same through the changes and the years will have better musical time than a beginning piano student.  Sure, this is because of their difference in experience, training and development but also their experience and understanding of time.  Or the fact that those 3 things take place over time.  So time improves as one gains more experience with time or simply has lived more life.

As CS used to end phone conversations, “stay on the beat, but don’t rush.” 🙂

Are You Going to Make the Change?

Why do you need to stay with something?  Is your dedication appropriate?  Why are you holding on to things that hurt or haven’t been panning out or haven’t been manifesting in the way you expect?  Here’s the thing; it may not be enough to just “let it go.”  You will actually need to change.  Look: life moves forward.  If you need proof just look at how yourself and others bodies are advancing in age and thus changing how they look.  Life is ALL about change.  In fact, that is what the Tai Chi symbol represents at the top of this blog.  The question is:  When you are hitting your head against something will you have the courage the CHANGE?

change

Let’s look at what change really means.  For starters, it does not mean taking a thought and saying, “OK, I won’t think that anymore,” or “I’ll adjust that thought or avoid that one or,” etc.  Change requires action to be real.  In fact, everything requires action to be real.  Intention is where you set your course of action but the actual result is where life happens.  Make the change.  That thing you are holding on to…a career, a relationship, a mentor, a belief, a job, a car, etc… it is actually holding you back.  You have to make a change.  Don’t be afraid.  In the making the change you are allowing for something much better to enter into your life.

Change is hard and scary at first but totally worth it in the end.  And when you’ve made a change and progress down that path for a while, great! but it will probably eventually be time for another change.  You will always be changing or rather, you should always need to be changing.  Don’t get stuck.  Change!!  You will still be there.  As you change you get a chance to drop some of your negative or non-helpful beliefs and add or emphasize more positive beliefs.  Optimism is really the ultimate goal for state of mind.  No matter how glorious something seems if it is making you feel something other than positive you must change, not just think, “ok I’ll let it go”…but change!  Now we are back to intention.  Keep your intention to feel optimistic and good, keep that above all other attachments, and you will keep changing for the better.

Intention leads the energy leads the action.  So your action is what needs to manifest.  You may be scared, you may think you are missing something but let’s be honest:  that thing you are holding onto is not working out!  That’s all you need to know. You should only be pursuing what is working out for you.  Always move on, keep moving on.  When you find the “right fits” they will be moving on with you and together you can progress towards better and better feelings.

You can’t change anyone.  You can influence people to an extent. You can’t alter the past.  When your dedication to something is not working out…job, person, relationship, dream, career, ideals, goals…then change them.  It was never your dream to have a dream that isn’t coming true was it?  So change the dream.  It was never your goal to have a goal that just isn’t happening.  The relationship you want is not one that you need to keep chasing around.  Let them go by changing.  Don’t be afraid, it’s natural, but better is beyond this!

It’s Not So Bad to Be Cheated

This topic sucks and may strike a nerve.  It was a huge push button topic for me for a long time.  However, the only real way to deal with the uncomfortable subject of being cheated on is to accept that it happened and it’s not really such a big deal.  Seems crazy right?  The fact is, it happens all the time.  People of a certain level will always be plotting to leave you and move on to the more convenient or exciting thing.  The way to circumvent this is to not attract people on that level or below.  Unfortunately, that can be hard to do as most humans don’t try to evolve or stay evolved and biology is a tricky persuasive racket.  It is not about being judgmental.  It is about being someone, yourself, who is trustworthy.

trustworthy

People can operate at a level of only violence and sex – many people actually do go here for their intimate relationships.  That’s called an animal level or biological level.  Above that people can operate on a social level – they’ll care about their reputation, appearances, what their peers think.  Both of those levels are not trustworthy.  They lack benevolent intention and integrity.

Integrity means your actions and words are integrated into one direction.  Always trust someones actions and do not trust their words.  You cannot trust words.  Trust actions.  Someone who says they’ll do things but doesn’t do them does not have integrity and cannot be trusted.  Don’t be a fool and trust something that isn’t trustworthy.  That is asking for trouble.

If a person can get beyond social mind they will have still far to go and a difficult journey through the harsh realities and triviality of life and growth before they can operate from a level of spirit or world wide love.  This is where you’ll find benevolent and trustworthy people.

So, think of all the people you know, how many have risen above animal and social levels?  How many have done the work along the journey of maturity, growth and spirituality?  Probably very few let’s be honest.  So that is how many people are trustworthy – very few.  Growth is not an easy journey, in fact it is excruciating at times.  Unless someone REALLY wants to evolve and grow they will not do it because it just takes too much work!

Therefore, if you get cheated, it is not such a bad thing.  The cheater simply doesn’t know better.  They can’t act better.  She only knows how to cheat on all her boyfriends and you were no exception.  If you could look back perhaps you saw it coming.  You after all are the one who chose her.  So, learn a lesson – that’s not a bad thing, it’s a great thing!!  Most people will cheat and if you aren’t deliberately choosing based on honest criteria you’ll get cheated on.  But again, the only way to really rise above it is to, yourself, change.  You have to be a trustworthy person, you have to have integrity and benevolence from the get go.  If you can become this and stay this then you will simply not attract those operating at less trustworthy levels.  Why would a trustworthy woman choose to be with a not trustworthy man?  So you see, you’ll only find a trustworthy mate by being one yourself.  If you work on achieving this, you’ve done more than most, though you still need to be discerning about who you choose to trust.  Be careful, look where you are stepping.