in dreams and imaginary scenes
there would be stars, always stars
always the sky
by the rivers of moss and stone
pass the dunes
the wild grass tombs
light and shadow
of wings, and bones
in dreams of those solitary lands
you are mine
and I am yours
until the tangled roots of our hands and heart
into the night
ballad for a Jedi II
the trees have wavered
echos of distant seas
beneath green and alchemical stones
you are not here
you were never here
when the wind quiets
and the moons have fallen low
those melancholy stars
to the transfigured night
no one saw us
no one saw us before the sea
no one saw us
pass the trees
no one heard us
or your laughter in my hair
no place for Chance
in this midsummer light
when evening descends
in the end
there is no place
what is broken
will eventually disappear
in pieces, shards and ash
until only the space
for the next
or the invisible seeds
of different dreams
is something we do
and try to comprehend
that is what many of us do
instead of living just living
like trees, the earth, or bears
ask our selves
how is it that life
is this way or that
missing this one or another
what is to be done?
is something we fear
some of the time
when all we need
is to breath
is what we do
yet try to decipher
almost all of the time
instead of dying simply dying
like flowers, dragonflies, the wolf
stars, rivers, and love
we ask the world
what is to be done?
living and dying
is what we do
all of the time
in silence, in splendor
the Onça wakes
hunts and waits
beneath all the stars
you can hear its call
far into the darkness
to play or not to play
What is real?
how much of one’s own projections influence or alter’s one’s perception of reality?
we are all the sum of our own experiences, dreams, hopes and fears.
what is real to one may be false to another,
what is happiness to one may be a disaster to another
in a world full of misunderstandings, mis-trust and misconceptions
music, art, poetry and literature at its best becomes more and more essential, we create the way we are, regardless of our physical exterior, male, female, young, aged, balanced, soul injured, dreamers, extroverts or introverts…
the best artists are those who are able to share their inner most voices, without fear, without greed, without reservation, without shame.
sharing with each other and with the world one’s most honest and the most beautiful visions, the result may be impressive, disturbing, powerful and inspiring. What ever it is one has to give, as long as it is sincere and exquisite, one would have given one’s best to life.
and that, would be authentic,
much needed and welcomed in a world of too many artificialities and false truths.
The word Solitude in Chinese is made up of two characters,
孤 独 Gu Du
Gu is mostly applied to suggest loneliness; to describe children without parents; elderly without heirs, individuals who had lost their life mates…etc. Yet it was once used by Kings and Sovereigns of the ancient times when referring to them selves: This Lonely One, to remind those around that his position has no equal, no partnerships and no companions.
Du was originally used to describe wolves or wild canines who are so fierce that they can not live in groups, but had to roam the wild on their own, due to their combative nature.
In time it came to mean Unique, Singular, Exceptional, above and beyond all competition and comparison.
To be alone does not have to be a negative or pessimistic state.
it all depends on who you are on the inside.
some animals can not survive when separated from their herd or pack, others thrive when living alone on their chosen territory.
It all depends on their nature. And the same is true for human beings.
Some require the security and companionship of their own kind to survive, moving in groups, bond by kinship, by fear of predators, by the instinct of needing each other, needing protectors to take on the responsibility that one is too afraid or too weak to assume.
Then there are those who needs the open space and silence, the solitary hunters, who requires no protection in numbers nor guidance from elders, those who seek out the unknown on their own, facing nature, fear, hunger, death, conquest and peace in their own way…
Even in today’s society of great crowds and the hyper active ( to the point of hysteria) connectability between humans, some experiences remain singular, to be lived through by the individual alone,
Dreams, for example, one can not share that experiences with anyone else no matter how close the tie or relationship, one can speak about it, tell it and describe it, but one lives through it all on their own.
When dreaming, we are all artists, because the source is obscure, unknown, enchanting, beautiful and often powerful. When creating Art, Music, Poetry, Literature…etc. the same mesmerizing and un-explainable source rises to offer ideas, inspirations, images and emotions.
The artists who are able to translate and transcribe these feelings would have successfully created something unique, a piece of the divine and the wild. And this, can only arrive in the landscape of one’s own chosen solitude.
The oldest existing book in China is the 易经
Yi Jing or I Ching: The Book of Changes
literally: the Manual of Mutations.
Its origines dates back to 3000 years BCE, by the time of the Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BCE), the text was already well established as a classic. The earliest manuscript in existence dates from the Warring Period (476-221 BCE), and has remained one of the most ancient cultural heritage to the Chinese civilization, inspiring and influencing the very foundations of our culture and philosophy.
nearly 5000 years ago, the ancient Chinese have concluded by observing the natural cycles in nature, that CHANGE, is the only consistent element in life, the mutation or metamorphose of all things is the one fundamental rule in our reality.
yet today still so many of us are afraid of Change, we still fear the unknown, fear of losing what we believe we possess, fear of having to adapt and adjust to meet new realities, new circumstances and the necessary transformation of the self in order to incorporate such changes.
yet in truth, nothing stays the same, not the self, not the world, not our emotions, our perceptions and projections, everything is constantly moving and altering, though we may not wish to notice or accept this
when there is growth, there will also be decline, where there is life, there will also be death, it is true for all living things, it is also true for ideas, feelings, impressions and understandings
in music, we never play the same things twice, even if we are performing the same partition, the Chaconne or the Titan has never been played the same way, not even by the same artists,
because each moment is unique, because we are alive and the art we create and produce reflects our ever changing nature, even if we are not always aware or welcome this truth
to fear Change, is to fear life, to reject Change is to deny our selves the possibility of real growth and potential for further development. Would a tree or a wild animal deny their own nature and resist growth? Change is to be celebrated, as it is the basis of life, and the evidence that we are fully alive.
erasing statues of shadows
sound of water somewhere near
there were stars
arriving all at once
shattering siege of light
casting their giant net
onto a darkened and trembling earth
the same questions
il cielo solitario
in winter the fields stretched even further
green and earth, the blurry purple of distant woods,
those skies. low and available
trees are cleaner
clarified slenderness across light and darkness
gestures of longing, invitation, perfection and rejection
dreams are closer now
bringing with them packages of what was not
and what should have been
where did it go
that one token of eternity
symbol of early fantasies
of false and misplaced confidence
or was it only the innocence of need
of hunger original that can never be replaced or quenched
black and white birds with cobalt wings
turned their heads and listened
those shimmering pieces of years and loss
gathering in one single hand
silver seeds of stars and trees
yet to be born
but not for long
The lord of the South Sea was called Shu (Brief), the lord of the North Sea was called Hu (Sudden), and the lord of the Center was called Hun-tun (Chaos).
Brief and Sudden from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Chaos, and Chaos treated them very generously. One day, Brief and Sudden discussed how they could repay Chao’s kindness. “All men,” they said, “have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Chaos alone doesn’t have any at all. Let’s try to bore some holes in him!”
Every day they pierced an hole, and on the seventh day Chaos died.
sometimes, out of kindness, love, and sympathy, one may wish to help another being, by offering what one believes to be good gifts: advice, action, material, alteration of cirumstances, intervention and prevention…etc.
motivated by kindness and generosity, but these gifts are not always welcomed or suitable, the result does not always bring postive improvement to those whom one had wished to aid. Good intentions and sincerety does not always result in satisfaction and peace for all, sometimes the best action is non-action, following the natural way of things, as each of us have our own landscape to explore and create over time
then there are those who demand from Others certain sacrifices, to fulfill their own lack of security, to serve their own ambition and other selfish needs. These individuals will use all the tools they posses to aquire the enslavement of others whose talents, resources, and intelligence are superior.
Such individuals will use their own body, and anything else they can amass to entrap and possess others in order to serve their own goals. These are the blackmailers, petty thieves, parasites, and hijackers of Lives, profiting the kindness, compassion, trust, and generosity of others as a weapon to ambush those who were kind enough to offer friendship, love, and respect which they do not deserve
instead of learning from those with openness of mind, of heart, and spirit, these sordid individuals will try to cut off the wings from those who are truly free. Using harassment, guilt trip, sabotage, vulgar threats, and all other manner of ignoble tactics to chain up and drag down the free spirits into caves of toxic darkness, so that their own emptiness may feel less hopeless. Instead of nurturing and promoting growth, they strangle and pollute all that is free and beautiful out of fear and jealousy.
I would prefer to die like Chaos at the friendly hands of Brief and Sudden, whose action was motivated by kindness, though completely mis-guided, than to succomb to dishonorable individuals driven by envy and the fear of light.
The true adversary of beauty are those who can not allow it to flourish in its nature and liberty. When facing such a despicable enemy, this is a battle I will always be ready to engage till the end of time
more than 30 years ago, Inspector Callahan spit out those words looking down the barrel of his Smith & Wesson model 29, and every impressed spectator sighed with a feeling of the world was made well again.
that is why many of us go to the movies, there is always an answer or solution at the end of two hours, no matter how complex the plot nor how impossible the task.
now days, looking at the news or even one’s private e mails are another matter. All around there is fear, anger, sordidness, disaster. War, terror, diseases, hunger, injustice, misery and hopelessness, with no solution in sight.
the Day can be Made in other ways
the act of MAKING implies we have a choice.
Making Music, Making Art, Making Peace ( or War), Making Friends ( or foes), Making a story, Making love, Making compliments ( or insults), Making a Sandwich, Making an effort to help ( or destroy), Making a violin ( or a cello), Making paper ( or ink), Making a fire, Making progress, Making discoveries, Making jokes, Making mistakes, Making dreams, Making tea…etc
one can MAKE a lot!
the question is what and how you are going to make this day?
choose delight, beauty, sharing creativity, harmony and wonder
or embrace anguish, paranoia, dominated by fear and hate
one can choose to make our day, our night, our life in so many different ways
what will you choose on this day?
Yesterday I saw a drawing of Winnie the Pooh walking hand in hand with Piglet.
Piglet asks: What day is it?
Winnie the Pooh answers: it’s today.
Piglet says: oh good! it’s my favorite day!
indeed, why should today not be the favorite day, everyday?
We usually have a collection of favorite and memorable Yesterdays, yet those days started out as Todays: open, ready and full of possibilities
In Chinese, the word Today, litteraly means :
今天 the sky of the present Or 今日 the sun of now
and the words for Tomorrow can be translated as:
明天 the Luminous Sky
or the Sky of Sun and Moon…
A lot of potential…illuminated by both the light of the sun and moon…
the ancient Chinese have endowed each tomorrow with such glorious, gracious attributes. My ancestors must have had much optimisim for what has yet to come, having ultimate faith in what the next day would bring forth
sometimes a simple message can evoke much thought and contemplation, truths and illuminations are not only to be found in masterpieces, but also simple and basic gestures. A word, an image, a voice, a color, a sound, a memory, a wisp of an idea…
recently I received a rather curious piece of fan mail, using a mis-spelled pseudonym of a famous suicidal spouse of a famous suicidal writer, the person had sent to me a collection of motivational quotes à la Hallmark. Including pieces of wisdom spanning from Shakespeare to Steve Jobs, with Mandela, Paulo Coelho and Bob Marley in between. A bit odd but quaint combination of sages, all that was missing was the Dalai Lama, Gandhi and Yoda. Or Winnie the Pooh, who was also very wise, despite the fact of being a stuffed bear.
Enlightenment can come through the voices of Zhuang Zi, Johann Sebastian, Rabindranath or Carl Gustav. It can also arrive from the words and actions of Sun Wu Kong, Goldmund, Tristan and Piglet.
( I am feeling inspired now to make my own list of gurus)
Like many others on this planet, I have a special reverence for Master Yoda, who had a very unique and piercing way of seeing and explaining things:
“To be Jedi is to face the truth, and choose.
Give off light, or darkness. Be the candle, or the night.”
While the light is essential, sometimes, we also need the night…without which, we would not recognize the light.
November 20th was the Universal Children’s Day, it also marked the 26th anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
for all of us who have worked in humanitarian efforts in helping children in need, this is both a celebration and a reminder that much work needs to be done, globally, in far corners of the world where conflict, disease, poverty and natural disasters continues to threaten the well being of children from all nationalities, as well as children who are closer to home, who may be suffering from different kinds of trauma.
Just because a child has a home, physically healthy parents; access to education and health care does not mean he or she is protected from mental, physical and emotional abuse. Often in the hands of the parents or adults whose role is to nurture and protect them.
It is very harsh to witness scenes of children escaping from war zones, orphaned by conflict, disease and poverty, these children are of course a priority to those who are ready and willing to offer aid in any and every way. It is no less disturbing to observe children in our own first world communities who are subject to the manipulations and abuses from their own parents.
As a child training to become a professional musician, I have seen many ‘stage parents’ driven by their own hunger for fame and success, pushing their offspring beyond what is considered healthy and balanced learning process, creating negative environments where the children must ‘earn’ the support and comfort of the parents through excellence in their studies.
My own upbringing did not escape such pressures, which in my own experience, did not serve as a positive motivation, on the contrary, it alienated me from the parent whose ambition I was responsible to fulfill, as well as creating a confusing relationship towards music.
Fortunately, most of us survive this challenging period and eventually find our way towards a happy career.
But having lived through years of being used as an ‘instrument’ to realize someone else’s goals, I have learned to recognize similar dysfunction in other parent-child relationships, indeed, many friends and colleagues share the same experiences, friends who are professional athletes have told very similar tales of childhood being a mix of thrill and enormous pressure from parents who ‘need’ the child to succeed in order to achieve their own personal glory, or material gain.
Is it right to use one’s child to further one’s own ambition?
Is it acceptable to manipulate one’s own children to arrive at one’s own fulfillment? Does the child have a right to a happy, balanced and nurturing upbringing where only his or her own well being is the objective? Or is every child at the mercy of their parents or principle caregiver?
It is certainly heart breaking to witness children living in war torn countries, refugee camps, extreme poverty and hostile society…it is equally disturbing to observe children being utilized by the adults who are responsible for their welfare: Children being used to obtain monetary advantages, social status, financial security, emotional blackmail…etc. In such instances, the child’s own needs for a well balanced and positive environment are not respected, their ‘primarily purpose’ is to facilitate selfish needs of the parental figure, individuals who do not care about the toxic and negative effects such behavior would have on the child and how it may contribute to it’s long term development.
Those of us donating our time, funding, expertise and energy to help children in dire circumstances in the Middle East, Africa, Asia…etc, Providing Shelter, Water, Health care, Education…We must continue our efforts.
But let us not forget some of the children in our own society, whose well-being, future emotional and psychological balance is at risk, only because they had the misfortune of being born to unfit parents who care more about themselves than their own children. It is not so evident how we may reach out to rescue these children, but we must try.
My own childhood was filled with certain obstacles and challenges, as often the case with children who are up-rooted at a young age, as well as being a child-musician being trained towards a professional career, where the ambition of the parent often obscured the real emotional needs and well being of the child. But I was very fortunate to have met a true mentor at a young age, who offered the kind of guidance and support I did not receive at home. My master not only taught us music, the violin, but also many essentials about life and the Self which contributed to many young musician’s well being and future success as human beings and as artists. He was the perfect parent that many of us needed but did not have, even though, at the time, he had not yet had any children of his own. To give birth to a child is certainly a challenge, but to successfully nurture a healthy and well balanced human being is a real masterpiece.
And sometimes the key benefactor parental figure is not the biological parent. (anyone familiar with Martial Arts traditions understand this!)
A child’s future is humanity’s future. There are so many ways to help, everyone can make a positive difference.
quai de la loire iv
quiet songs of water
to the slender bones of trees
you kept the windows open
until each solitary night
waiting in the shadow of trees
when the moon breaks and shatters through the clouds
must go on
and on and on and on
An ancient poetic expression first appearing in the Song and Yuan Dynasties, nearly one thousand years ago…
Cloud of leisure, Cranes of wild
the poet created a beautiful image to describe the ultimate freedom
Roaming at liberty like a cloud with no particular destination, accompanied by the wild cranes, open sky, open land, open water, and open mind
in a world and an era addicted to instantaneous results and satisfaction, one hears much noise without the chance to really listen, one speaks of countless things without the time to fully comprehend, one glances through unlimited information without true knowledge, one searches for happiness without any idea what it really means
it is an era of possesion,
obsessive, oppressive, frustrating, fearful, anguished, lost,
so many of us believes we must own to be truly fulfilled, as if gaining possession of goods, of control, of specific persons would lead to peace and guarantee safety
this frenzied quest for possession only generates more fear, more panic, more hunger and more sadness
driven mad with greed, the greed for power, for money, for what we believe to be love…in the end, there is nothing but fear, fear of losing what we believe we have gained, fear of never possessing what we believe we must obtain, fear of the endless emptiness that is within our selves, fear of the solitude which is the source of strength, but only to those who are unafraid of the dark, unafraid of silence, and the necessary loneliness that comes before true understanding of the Self, and eventually, Life
the most important difference between a true artist and a non artistic soul is the fact that the artists continue to seek within oneself, that infinite wildness which is echoed also in nature, whereas the anti-artist will perpetually attempt to flee their own nature, trying to hide and obtain protection away from the truly magnificent, which is potentially within each being, if one is not afraid to look and listen.
Tortured and sordid are the reality of those unable and un-willing to comprehend that real peace comes from being able to face one self, alone, in the mirror, in the dreams and in the world. And authentic happiness has no monetary price nor does it come with the chaining up of another individual.
true freedom has no walls nor roofs,
clouds of leisure, cranes of wild
in an infinitely open sky
luminosity, shadow, the sun, moons, stars, and all that is in between
all living things are surrounded by these authentic contrasts
every day, every night
It is what we see, hear, and feel,
enhanced and echoed, in our deep and wild world of dreams, the subconcious, ancient memories, primal fears, and eternal hopes.
many are afraid to look at the totality of what this life has to offer
selecting only the safe, the pleasant, the pleasing, and denying the existence of its opposite.
but the shadow is there
the darkness, the night, silence, solitude
and the serenity of having recognized the perpetual change in all things
even if one refuses to see, to hear, to touch, and to embrace
the truth of the night,
the truth of ones own beautiful and terrifying labyrinth
will always be there
those who cling
onto what can not be captured
to face what must be understood
will surely be confronted again and again
if I do not dare to face the shadows
I shall never understand the light
clutching on to the edge of cliffs
I will never know the taste of flight
those who hide
behind a mask of fear and bitterness
unable to let go
of what must be freed
will always be shackled to their own cage
you who can not see the beauty in solitude and silence
will never know the peace that comes
from knowing what is behind the door you dare not open and recognize
there are those who do dare
further and further
towards the depth of their own wilderness and inferno
in the darkness
embracing the gifts of sorrow, of lost, of doubt, and emptiness
listening for truth
for the absolute beauty and luminosity
that can only be found
within our very own shadows
lately there has been much discussion on depression, as an illness, as a growing challenge that is affecting more and more people. Those who are suffering not only will do damage to themselves, they will in turn also affect others. If happiness is contagious, hopelessness and devastation also passes easily from one to another. Healthy people who witness loved ones suffering will also bear the effect of their anguish, especially if they feel un-able to help.
Then there are those who purposely poison the lives of others, due to their own lack of inner balance, these are the worst kind of sadness, because not only do they not recognize their own illness, they try to contaminate others in order to not feel alone in their own suffering. Instead of seeking help towards becoming mentally healthy, they purposely drag others down, in an act of communal drowning, or total immersion in a state of toxic trap.
Instead of actively and courageously working towards finding balance and peace, they become expert hijackers of healthy lives of others, purposely sabotaging joy and liberty because they themselves are not able to achieve those kind of happiness.
fortunately for me, in my personal environment there is no one who is going through the debilitating effects of depression, we all have our challenges and difficult moments, but the general attitude towards life is one of optimism and confidence.
yet I have witnessed several people dear to me being victim to the most deplorable act of emotional blackmail which have effectively poisoned their well being. Their kindness and trust were used against them in the most dishonorable way, by parasitical individuals who specializes in the hijacking of healthy lives.
what can we do to defend our selves and our friends from such aggressors? Though often coated within seemingly delicate and vulnerable exteriors, as pity and compassion is often the favorite weapon they use to infiltrate their targeted victims: by appearing in need of aid, generating a sense of altrusim and galantry in generous and kind individuals…
there is nothing more sorrowful to my eyes, than to see free and joyful souls being forcefully captured, chained and entrapped against their will, against their nature. These kind of violence are no less harmful than physical damage, though often it goes on un-noticed, the perpetrators un-punished, even though their crime is as great as the physically destruction of another individual.
yet there is no point sinking to the same level of vulgarity of such toxic individuals, leeches, parasites, destroyer of wings and dreams. To combat such insidious aggression, the best resistence is to rise above, way above, beyond the grasp of such lowly creatures.
The opposite of sadness and pain is not happiness, but Vitality.
a vibrant life force that propels and encourages us to go forth, towards tomorrow, no matter what has happened yesterday
the struggles and obstacles of today may still be around tomorrow, or even the days after, yet if we remain vital, vigorous, and vivacious, the future will certainly be vibrant, and victorious
you are at the door
let me out
for I have things to do
afternoon extends its liquid arms
you are back
calling at the window
let me in
dusk invades all trees and shadows
you are awake
stealth and impatience
soon to night
upon my tangled tresses
you are sitting at my feet
waiting to be loved
and the dark
For Kiddy Bagheera
the waves are calling
beyond the walls
storm of wind
these solitary landscapes
to the drumming
and the blossoming