Saturday, April 7, 2012

Evolution is a 4 letter word

"In Love. Such heavy handed words. Such a supposedly "light and wonderful" feeling. So much damned weight. So many factors to consider. It's pretty difficult to admit to something that gets so easily stuck in my throat like a bone and fattens my tongue like a severe allergic reaction. It is something that i never thought I'd be able to truly say to another or feel much a part of. Not even sure if i can and perhaps i never will. I tried that once and it didn't work out. I spent half the time waiting for the foundations to crumble. 
So i swerve and get mildly uncomfortable, wanting to pull back and lock up the doors to my heart while whispering the combination into your ear really fast and only once, for even in this i hardly even have the faith of a lousy mustard seed." --N. Pike June 2007

 The word 'love' has been rattling around in my dome a lot as of late. It's not that the feeling is a new concept for me by any means and in fact I'm pretty certain that I have a lot of love to share and have for many years now, despite all former appearances. But recently it has started to mean more to me. The feeling of love has begun to take on new tastes and textures. My capacity to give and to receive love has reached new levels and quality. Suddenly there is more substance and I am experiencing it more consistently in my day to day life and in my intimate relationships. My thoughts and decisions are more rooted in love instead of fear and I am glad for this. I think it suits me far better than the crunchy coat of sarcasm and bitterness I had been wearing for far too long.
 I've made no secret of the recent changes in my lifestyle. Among those changes comes a daily meditation practice that i guess was long overdue because my body and mind took to it like strong adhesive glue. Almost two months on and I now look forward to that 20-40 minutes that i offer myself for breath and reflection. It has become a part of my daily spiritual practice and though the results may vary, I truly enjoy the boost of energy it gives and how it has quite effectively kick started a massive rewiring of my emotional thought patterns. I'm watching judgements arise yet they aren't so hardened with attachment. I'll experience a jolt of reaction to something, however big or small, and yet the clinging to my idea of it is becoming softer and in fact the reaction itself is substantially less aggressive because I'm not giving it as much power or holding on to it for so long. I am giving my grinding teeth and furrowed brow a much needed break and I'll tell you what man, It feels fantastic! It feels like freedom. In a way I guess that is precisely what the gurus and spiritual masters are talking about when they speak of liberation. Because even at this early juncture where I am still taking baby steps in a journey that is infinite, I am seeing how much more space there is for the stuff that really matters. Like patience, respect, hope, faith....and love.
Now, this is no hippy trip I'm taking you on. I'm not hanging up my raunchy humor or scathing tongue for eternally gazing at the heavens. But I'm certainly well on my way to giving up the fear and loathing. That's a tired game and it's not doing anyone a shred of good. Besides, I'm finding much more enjoyment in calming the fuck down and replacing negative emotions with the more life affirming stuff. It certainly gets me more easily through the day and I'm just not so stuck anymore. Life is still the same weird trip and bad crap is inevitably going to go down but I'm finding it easier now to avoid getting caught up in the details, and even if i do it's getting easier to step away from them. 
My heart is open and I am more in love.
This is a blessing I will never let go of again because as i get older I realize that life really is too short for this pouty, angry, judgement ridden, medicating the pain away nonsense.
While I'm still here I'd like to give, receive and express as much love as i can. 
Even if it never made a difference to anyone else, I'd have left this bag of bones knowing that I'd given my heart in everything. 
That's really all there is.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Observations from a water drinking gig attendee

 The tall svelte raven-like creature I saw on the bus is also here, sitting in the corner alone, face lighting up every minute and a half from the cool steely-blue glow of her iPhone. She madly checks into her life in text messages sent and received as a means of escaping from the reality of being here at this show all alone. She's Ill at ease like a lot of others, nursing drinks with one hand and gesturing with the other. 
Already people are stumbling around glassy eyed and the show hasn't even begun yet. Hell, the room isn't even half full yet.
This is going to be an interesting night.
 We're all posturing and itching to be/not to be seen in this scene of life, no matter how tough or weak looking, no matter how well dressed or sloppy, no matter how drunk and brave or sober and awkward, we're all united on this tiny rotating crust and we all secretly wish we could stand alone, together. I nurse my third glass of ice water and try to maintain an air of confidence as i peer around the growing crowd, listening to snippets of conversation and watching the actors play their parts in the big game of gig attending.
This is shaping up to be an interesting night.
 I'm not drinking like the rest of them. I'm not stoned like some of them. My energy is even keeled and I'm feeling quite happy about it. This is still a novelty, this being sober at events thing and i admit that it's still a bit strange. I feel like everyone knows. You know, like when you're stoned or something and you feel like everyone can tell? That's kind of where I'm at right now. But it's okay. My eyes are wide open, taking in more than I can remember ever having taken in before.
I spot the svelte Raven as she slams back a can of PBR and looks around. She looks like she wonders if anyone can see her, if anyone knows that she's alone. I know. I'm alone too. Kinda itchy isn't it?
We all try to maintain the decorum of cool, even though we're all just nerds in disguise. Some proudly wear their colors, some don't. Some will pull it off and some just won't.
It's looking like a revealing night.
 The red overhead house lights reflect off this ginger beardo dudes pallid skin, giving him a ghostly eerie sheen. He has bags under his eyes and he looks like he's been soaking in a puddle of milk for a week, but he has a nice smile and the girl he's chatting up seems to like him okay. Maybe he's dead and that's attractive to her because maybe todays ladies totally dig a dead guy. All i can think of is how well a zombie would do in a mosh pit.
A tarty blond with a pretty face and skinny legs that don't look strong enough to support her upper half tosses back a beer that she's probably too young to be drinking in world record time. She stumbles back a bit as if hit by a strong gust of wind and her eyes go out of focus, but she's a trooper and regains her footing. I've watched her and her buddy circuit the room, stopping to stand briefly next to guys they think are cute and then they run off giggling to get more beer.
Meaty jean jacket kids hit their Cariboo hard like it owes them rent money and then they get into mock fights with their pals. Hard rock wrestling matches that only alcohol can fuel are ways these fellows pass the time before the music starts. Girlfriends hover in circles, chattering and eyeing up other groups of girlfriends and talk about how they wish their men would spend as much time wrestling them as they did with their rock and roll buddies. Beer gets spilled and dander gets raised but it all washes away with a bad joke and some boisterous laughter.
For some this is going to be another one of those nights.
 The Ramones are on the house speakers and it's way too loud, or maybe i just hate the Ramones. Yeah, I think that's the problem. But it's not like I'm going to ask them to turn it down. The crowd gets thicker. It's almost show time. More drinking. More noise. More things to watch. I am at a gig for the first time while sober and while I may be near to being the 'odd man out' I take heart that this is going to be a well recollected and healthy night.
 Incredibly heavy music is followed by ears ringing, booze replenishing and glazed eyed milling around pockets of folks engaged in the various intricacies of conversation. Drunken friends old and new bond over shared tastes in alcohol, career and musical choices. Numbers and plans are promised, some soon forgotten and others even tossed away in disinterest. 
In the toilet a sweat drenched skid next to me sways as he's pissing and i pray that he keeps his spray to himself. These urinals are gross enough and i don't need stranger pee on me unless I've paid for it. Later after the show I see him half walking/half jogging diagonally toward his home in the east side where he will crash hard into bed, and where his night will wash partly away into a blur of mucky colors like paint thinner thrown onto a brightly colored canvas. 
I've been there a few times and I don't envy him for a second.
I'm grateful that I'm no longer keen on having one of those kinds of nights.
 It's midnight, I am naturally sleepy and I kind of can't wait to get back home to my woman. She's the intoxication I need right now but there is still a headliner act on stage and I have a job to do and I'm glad that I'll be able to do it well. 
This band is much friendlier to the ears. The other band was cool as well, but this guitar heavy emotive rock has united the crowd in a more positive way. The room is solidly packed with a sold out crowd and the temperature is much higher in here than it is out there. I keep a comfortable distance from the thick of the throng but stay within enough to really feel it. There are bodies surfing the crowd every couple of minutes and beer is flying everywhere. A communal joint is passed amongst a bunch of people in front of me and I catch a faint whiff. It's nice and a whiff is all i need. I enjoy watching the dude in front of me get more animated as a result of his long steady draw from this joint that has somehow made an arc to near the front of the room and almost back towards where i am again. I always appreciated a well rolled joint that seemed to last forever. To my right and downwind is the skinny tarty blond who's being well jostled around by the heaving crowd but still holding her own and having fun. She's a funny dancer and i bless her, wishing her a safe rest of the night. Near the front and side of stage is tall cool raven-child looking stone faced and disinterested. She checks her phone. I wonder why she's even here but then i bless her her and hope that next time her friends manage to show up. Ginger beard ends up riding on top of the crowd and loses his toque in the mass. But he doesn't seem to mind. After all he is a zombie with a nice smile and the world is full of toques. All around me are drunk and happy people united in the name of music that is powerful and thrumming a steady rhythm in my heart. Those guitar tones are awfully pretty and we all know it. 
 I take my leave as the last chords are ending. I don't feel like fighting my through the hundreds strong mad dash out the door. I'm ready to head home to familiar territory and to begin processing an experience i will later write about for a local publication. With peace and contentment in my heart and clarity in my brain I begin the walk to the bus stop, happy to have been in this room full of strangers who gave me things to ponder and observe, thankful for the power of music that, as always, has restored my faith and love for artistic expression. Thankful for eyes with which to see people enjoying, thankful for ears in which to hear it all, thankful for another day and many more to come. 
Thankful for an interesting and revealing night.