Archive for June, 2010

“it’s just good music…

06/25/2010

…if you can feel it in your soul.”

One of the best quotes from a country song. Ever. (ten points to the person who can name the song/artist)

There’s something about music that enlivens us. That inspires us. That energizes us the way no Red Bull or 5-hour ever could. That takes us to a level unattainable by mere words. Granted, poetry can have that effect, but that’s a little different vein of thought with which fewer identify. But for music…

You take a few simple words, and you make the rhyme absurd. Then strum a few basic chords for the best results incurred.

The burning, the yearning, that swells up your soul. The churning, the turning, your heart losing control.

How’s that for poetry? Hot damn I should be the friggin’ poet laureate.

Whether your taste buds prefer heavy metal, classic rock, bluegrass, reggae, R & B or any other music genre one can only hope to classify, music inspires any number of emotions that change from one second to the next. It’s a roller coaster ride minus the metal and brawn needed to build it.

the best show…

…I’ve ever been to was at the Agora in Cleveland – headlined by New Found Glory, with Something Corporate and Finch. Finch was the second band to come on and they put on a live performance that will forever be burned into my brain. Not because of the awesome music blaring from the speakers; rather it was because you literally could not stand up straight during the performance. The pit in front of the stage was  overflowing. We were drenched in sweat – not just our own but each other’s, as well. We were black and blue from mosh pits. We were screaming the words at the top of our lungs, our voices joined in one collective uproar of emotion and spittle. And it. Was. Glorious.

One moment you were in a rage, engulfed in a mosh pit where some musclehead just shoved you across the circle, the next moment you’re trading smiles with the cute punk girl you’re pressed up against in the maddening chaos, and after that you’re screaming the lyrics and losing your voice amid hundreds of other faded t-shirts, studded belts and tight bluejeans.

the only way to find yourself…

…is to lose yourself. Music provides a way to do just that. No thoughts. Just action. Just your body moving with the rhythm of the beat. It’s an elevated state of existence where your mind just seems to be vibrating in ecstasy, operating outside of the terrestrial world surrounding it. You focus on nothing, while realizing everything – a form of meditation.

Live wild, live free.

And turn the radio up.

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a new tattoo

06/17/2010

I’ve always hated birthdays. They seem like just another ritual to be endured. Another year older. Another year closer to death. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

But then I had what some might call a revelation – that may be too strong a word, but we’re gonna run with this one. This revelation came to me while I was soaping up in the shower the other week (some people sing in the shower – I have revelations). We treat birthdays like this: “Well shit, I’m another year older.” Unless, of course, it’s a birthday with a milestone:

16 – I can drive!

18 – I’m a legal adult! (but still can’t drink…)

19 – I can drink and gamble in Canada, eh

21 – I can drink! (even though I may have already died for my country)

25 – My insurance rates go down…hopefully

Yep, that’s it. After that, you just get older. And what’s exciting about that?

We’ve lost the meaning of birthdays. We celebrate a birthday because…well, just because. It’s ingrained in our culture and we don’t know any other way. You tell people “Happy Birthday” even though there’s not necessarily anything in particular to be happy about. It’s just their day. You buy them drinks, you buy them way more shots than any human was meant to imbibe in a given night and you sing Meat Loaf at the top of your lungs while trying to avoid getting your shorts pulled down around your ankles. In the words of 2pac: that’s just the way it is.

Birthdays should be a celebration of life. Of the life we’ve lived thus far and the life we’re going to live as we move inexorably toward a shallow grave. A celebration of the air you’re breathing, of the work you do, of the friends you’ve made, of the loves you’ve lost, of anything and everything that makes life so beautifully chaotic.

It’s only human to find ways to divide up time. Whether it be seven days in a week, 52 weeks in a year, or maybe we’re talking epochs and eras. Regardless, we do it so we can quantify time. This should inherently carry with it a time for reflection, for internal study. Let your birthday be your marker. Screw New Year’s and the resolutions that come with. That carries no significance for us aside from the fact that it’s an excuse to kick back and party.

if death comes today

30 minutes after the operation...still a little bloody

if death comes today

Thus, after my own period of internal reflection, I came to the decision that I wanted to celebrate this birthday with a new tattoo (number two). It’s on my forearm and says “if death comes today.”

The banner folds over the “if” too far, the t in “death” kind of looks like a c, and the two words “comes today” are too close together….and I absolutely love it. I told myself going into this that if there was anything about the tattoo I didn’t like that I would just roll with it. My body isn’t perfect (granted, that’s debatable), so why should any permanent addition I get to it be totally free of imperfection? Imperfection is perfection, an inherent contradiction that rings true, methinks.

And look at it this way: if I’ve accomplished anything with this new tattoo, I have successfully made my impending death ironic.

i hate doing laundry

06/11/2010

I hate doing laundry.

If I could do anything else with my life but laundry, I would. It’s my ‘necessary evil.’

I mean, if I didn’t hfranks red hotave to do laundry, I’d have time to ponder the more important questions in life…like, is there anything that Frank’s Red Hot does not go good with? Or is there such a thing as a bad Thin Mint?thin mint

…………………………………………………………..

But the thing of it is, is that there will always be laundry. There will always be that steady maintenance of your life, something you don’t want to do but have to in order to continue to reasonably function as a sane human being.

balance

There’s something to abiding by various norms of society that ensures a certain equilibrium, allowing us to stay balanced and centered. There’s definitely a need for extreme swings to the left or right to shake us out of the ordinary, but if we ever want to achieve a higher state of being, a higher level of awareness, we must come back to our center. If a pendulum swings too far one way, it will inevitably swing back just as far the other way. Balance.

I want to hike the Appalachian Trail – nearly 2,200 miles of an unadulterated natural trail run. That’s pretty extreme and definitely one of my life goals now…but at some point along that trail I’ll have to wash my underwear, lest I come down with something nasty. So, I’ll head to the nearest babbling brook, whip out ma bar soap and scrub-a-dub-dub. It’s my necessary evil.

We can’t tap into the vast well that is our own internal energy without a centered, balanced state of mind. Doing laundry, as much as I may not like it, helps to maintain that balance.

What’s your laundry?

shackles

06/02/2010

a.k.a. see you in hell: part II

If you have not already, click here to read the “see you in hell” blog post. It’s essentially the introduction to this one.

This is what it all boils down to: we’re shackled to a fear of death.

In an effort to delay this inevitability as much as possible, we extend our lifespans as much as possible. We force ourselves to live longer merely out of a fear of dying. We let ourselves become physically handicapped, utterly fragile beings – to the point where we need someone to care for us in order to survive. Is that really a way to live?

but this is why…

…we destroy the earth. This is why we build huge machines that spew harmful substances in the air and spill countless gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. This is why we cut down rain forests, pour sewage into rivers and just steamroll nature with abandon – because nature can kill us, and that scares us. So we create a controlled environment that allows us the chance to live longer, “fuller” lives.

Nature is balance, and we’ve unbalanced everything.

Because if someone gets bitten by a rattlesnake or a brown recluse spider, it’s a tragedy. It was too soon for that person to die. If someone drowns in a river or falls off a cliff, more safety precautions must be made and enforced. New initiatives must be launched to avoid “premature” deaths. We’re burying ourselves in legality and paperwork, running the cogs of the machine into the ground, in a futile effort of self-preservation. We’re burying the very thing that makes us human in an effort to be as immortal as possible. In essence, we’re hiding from death.

suffering

We’re deathly afraid of the most natural thing in the world – pun very intended. Death has to be natural for a reason, right? So it can’t be that bad. Sure, getting there may stink sometimes. It hurts a bit for most people. But what’s life without pain? What’s life without hurt? It’s unrealistic. Life is suffering. And instead of embracing that suffering and striving toward something greater than ourselves, we resist it. All in the name of convenience and longevity. All in the name of masked fear.

If we can come to grips with the fact – and I mean truly come to grips, realize it every waking moment – with the fact that we will die…if we can utterly eradicate our fear of what’s beyond the realm of our own petty lives – maybe we can separate ourselves from this cycle of destruction at which we humans are so adept.

step by step

Step 1: Live simply.

Step 2: Eradicate your fear of death. (I will provide methods in future posts – you have to employ them, plus find your own way to cope with your mortality)

Step 3: I think 1 and 2 are enough for now.

Only when we eradicate our fear of death can we ever truly be unshackled.