Archive | The importance of holidays RSS feed for this section

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 52: How 52 Weeks Became 156 Weeks

22 Jun

image001

Looking Back to July 2012:  Three years ago, I made a journey from Calgary to Comox.  It was a leap of faith and one where I had very little idea about what lay ahead.  I decided to write about my journey and experiences and began with this one 156 weeks ago:  https://adventureahead.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/52-weeks-begins-now-moving-to-comox/  I was both excited and scared to make my way out West to live out a dream of being by the ocean and in amidst the rain forests on Vancouver Island.  Despite some nerves in doing so, I felt oddly sure of myself moving ahead.  I knew deep inside of me that there was a reason for going.  I felt a readiness to leave Calgary, and an even greater belief that where I was going was where I needed to be.  I was confident that I would meet new people, and explore new opportunities in my career.  Most importantly, I felt that I would meet someone who would be like-minded in his passion for the outdoors.  I hoped that together we would find ourselves together in the woods.

In many ways, as I review my blog entries over the last three years that were intended to be written over the course of one year, I realize that I have filled a lifetime into three years.  There really was very little time to sit down and write about it.  At one point, I began writing a novel entitled Coast to Coast Calling. My experiences were stranger than fiction, but fiction-worthy, never-the-less.  My blog entries have helped to inspire some of that writing, and it has been a helpful process as I attempted to make sense of my experiences in my new homes on both Pender Island and the Comox Valley.

Dreams Do Come True:  Perhaps I moved to the Comox Valley with such conviction (and naivete) because I was intended to meet my partner Chris.  He has been both an inspiration to me and someone who challenges me to be my best.  He has afforded me the belief that there is a purpose in the life experiences that we have had to date.  All of my life seems to have led me to this place where my vantage from Pender looked out onto the Crawford homestead on Saltspring Island (without knowing it), and from where he looked many times onto Pender Island to see my neck of the woods (again without knowing it).  And from there, our tales collide.  We have learned that our ancestors come from the County of Tyrone, and that we have many similarities that have afforded us to land in the same spot in exactly the same time based on our families journeys to Canada, and then our respective journeys to the islands.   https://adventureahead.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/pressed-52-weeks-begin-now-week-forty-eight-what-happens-when-god-answers/

We both express daily how fortunate we are to have found each other.  I feel very fortunate to know that someone who is so expressive, and responsive to me as a person, can actually exist.  Every day is a new adventure now that we are learning to live together in the same home.  We have big plans ahead of us.  We have stories that we want to share with each other and our grandchildren to come.  However, before those grandchildren come (from my son, or his three sons), we have some things we want to do, accomplish and experience around the world.

New Blog Site:  As a result, we hope to share some of these adventures (and misadventures) with our friends and potential blog followers on the following site that is still in its infancy:  https://stretchingcomfortzones.wordpress.com/

We hope to see you on our new blog post.  I will continue to write, and Chris is hoping to share some of our pictures from our experiences together.  We both feel that it is important to map out our journey in advance, during and after our experiences so that we can also savor every aspect of each new trail we encounter, and each trip we have the good fortune to share together in Canada and abroad.

Thank you for reading my blog entries so far, and I hope that you will feel inspired to share your feedback, input and ideas with us as we move ahead together.

Advertisements

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 26: What I Learned in Italy

30 Mar

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 26: What I Learned in Italy.

IMG_6300

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 26: What I Learned in Italy

It seems that I always learn many things when I travel. Here are some of the things that I found important to me on my recent trip Italy to Florence, Sienna, Cinque Terra (all five villages) and Genova, from March 15 to 29th, 2014. I was particularly open on this trip to new ideas because my life was in transition before I arrived. Therefore, my head, heart and spirit were listening for information that would help me consider the next steps in my life. Travelling always provides answers to me when I have questions in my life.

Language Keeps Us Connected: It struck me on this trip, more than at any other time, that languages are all very similar in the end. If you really listen, it all makes sense. Although I relied on my Italian language guide periodically, I learned that if I paid attention I could decipher the messages. In most cases, English and French helped. In other cases, it was just exchanging words, expressions, gestures, anything, and then we found some common ground. I could hear the similarities between Spanish, French and Italian, and at times, English words. It was powerful to consider how we are all really speaking the same language through some etymological connections. The non-verbal language is still the most powerful of all the communication systems. The inflection, gestures and eye contact we share with each other is truly all of the information that we really need to understand each other’s thoughts and feelings. The smaller details require words, and when this is necessary, we find them.

Bells Remind Us to Pray: I was moved by the bells that rang from all of the church, cathedral and bell towers wherever I went in Italy. I could hear them when I was climbing the trails of the Cinque Terra, or when I was sipping wine in the Chianti vineyards. Their gentle timbre sang out to me throughout my holiday. They rang first thing in the morning, calling people to mass, and awakening me gently from my sleep. They rang in the middle of the day, calling people back to pray, or to celebrate someone’s special occasion, like a wedding or other special occasion. They rang in the evening, and sometimes later at night. They rang for funerals, and sometimes they just seemed to ring for no reason at all. Whenever the bells rang, they stopped me from doing what I was doing, and I considered them for a few minutes. They call for us to pray and think of a higher power that connects us as a whole people.

Good Food is Everything: These people take food very seriously. The discreet details about the quality of the ingredients, how they are pulled together in complement of each other, and then there is a taste exaltation later in the evening when everyone has time to come together and share in the daily festival of eating. People eat together here. Food is not just a means to and end, rather, it is a time to gather and exchange what is happening in people’s lives, and to celebrate the food with each other. The food was rich and intoxicating. Granted, my body is not designed for wheat, dairy and eggs, but I found that by embracing the experience, I found a new appreciation of the culture. I lived out the expression, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

None of my food experiences will match the taste sensations of my own homemade fresh pasta in first ever Italian cooking class. As well, my favourite spaghetti vongole in white wine sauce, Florentine pizza, pistachio gelato or tiramasu held a close second place. Unfortunately, despite my rigorous exercise of hiking mountains and ascending and descending numerous stairs, I still managed to gain weight while in Italy. Therefore, portion control, or some modification of the Italian diet would be required if I lived in Italy. However, I think that I can take some of the joy of cooking and eating back to Canada, regardless of my food sensitivities and while still staying at a reasonable weight. I just need to try different recipes that might bring just as much joy to the food experience. I think the key is simply to slow down, take time to find healthy and good quality ingredients, while creating the time to relish cooking and eating them together.

Communicate Openly: People communicate very openly in Italy. I found people hugging and kissing in public places. Rapid conversations over important topics happened all around me. Arguments, and animated ones, seemed to happen anywhere and at any time. People seemed comfortable letting out their feelings regardless of the content or context. Unlike the festering land mines or the nuclear bombs of some of the emotional arguments that I have observed at home in my Canadian culture, there was just a general outpouring of feelings in Italy. In all of the ones I observied, there was no time to wonder what might happen in them because they were over before they began. By the time there was much contemplation, the outburst had vanished like a freak weather squall that hit me while hiking up in the Cinque Terra trails. The rain came, and then the sun came out to dry me off. I found it refreshing to see people communicating so overtly, and it reminded me that it is healthy to say out loud what we really feel without fear of repercussion, hard feelings or grudges. That’s amore!

Climbing Stairs is Rewarding: This is a country of stairs. Everywhere you go, you have to climb up or down stairs in order to make your way around the towns and cities, and, as well, to go between buildings. It is truly inspiring to see very old people making their way so capably where I would have thought the obstacles of the stairs would be prohibitive of the elderly. Instead, the stairs simply serve as part of the daily exercise, and might explain the long life span of the average Italian citizen. Where we do everything to avoid stairs in Canada with escalators, elevators and electric walkways, Italy makes no such concessions. If you want to get around, you have to embrace the stairs. Some of them are wide and shallow, or deep and steep, or crooked and uneven. In general, your legs get a good work out, and you have to stop periodically to catch your breath. It always feels good to get to the top, like I felt when I made it to the top of the mountain in Monterosso, and looked down over the five villages of the Cinque Terra trail. It was a rewarding triumph to manage it…and yet, I had to then climb down the daunting 1000 or so stairs to get back into town. As well, climbing 467 stairs to the top of the Duomo in Florence made me appreciate staying in health so that I can travel into my retirement years.

My concern has always been that places like Italy might be too demanding when I get into my 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (and beyond). Perhaps this is not a bucket list place. However, perhaps the key is to stay in better shape at home so that these trips are manageable all of the way through my lifetime.

52 Weeks Being Now: Week 25: Happy Endings

25 Mar

1781455_10152373020356383_1331996233_o

Don’t Tell Me The Ending: How many times has someone told you about a good movie, and you put your hand up and begged them to stop because you didn’t want them to ruin the ending? You simply didn’t want to know until you read the book or watched the movie yourself.

However, why are we then so compelled to know the outcomes of our everyday lives in such rigid and fixed detail? Consider how much time we actually spend in our lives to assure that we do know what the endings will be in our day-to-day, week-to-week, and year-to-year lives. We create plans and regimented schedules at work and for our personal lives that help us anticipate and in some ways guarantee our lives in multiple ways. This organization is seen to be purposeful, and also helps us to be less anxious over unknown outcomes. As we all know, uncertainty can be anxiety provoking. Therefore, we know what will happen to us first thing in the morning, at noon and at 3:00 PM, and then, as well, in the evening. We know where we will go to bed, and are pretty assured that we will awake in the morning at a set time, and will likely repeat much of our previous day, all over again.

How often do we approach fortune tellers asking to know what is going to happen to us. This mysterious, unknown Future both intrigues and disturbs us because we don’t really know what life will deal us or our loved ones. We cocoon ourselves in our daily tasks so that we don’t have to look at the truth of the randomness of the universe in the eye. We attach ourselves to domesticated routines to help us pretend that we can determine our destinies in love, business, finances and other. Why not? If we just do A, B and C, then D will happen. Right? Some people coordinate their lives so carefully, that there is no room for “error”, in their minds. They become quite disappointed or surprised when things don’t happen exactly as they expect that they are supposed to happen. However, life unfolds as it intends to manifest itself, and we sometimes need to be reminded of how little control we truly have over it.

Letting Go: Perhaps we need to embrace this “unknowing” with greater inner abandonment. Just as when we are watching the movie, we don’t want to know the ending until the end, so should we sometimes give things up to chance in the living of our lives. By allowing space in our day for life to breath into us what could or should or might happen, we can allow ourselves some connection to that which pulls at our souls. Perhaps we don’t know where we will eat dinner. Perhaps we sit down in a restaurant with someone new and have a conversation about something else that we might not have considered before. On the weekends, we might allow our time to be flexible, and do things based on how we feel at the time. Perhaps we push ourselves out of our comfort zones and travel or hike or bike somewhere we have never been and invite along new people that push us to think about topics differently. Maybe we travel by ourselves so that we can be truly open to what is just around the corner, and to meet new people that might ask us to think about life in new and exciting ways. Maybe we take time to read literature that we might not normally read, or write letters or emails to people to whom we have been meaning to write. At work, we try new things, or ask for different opportunities. Perhaps we do nothing at all and just meditate so that we have time to breathe deeply. In other words: What compels us to do, think and be things in new and unpredictable ways where we don’t know what the ending will be?

Happy Endings: And what if I told you that everything is going to be okay. You will meet the person that you are meant to be with? You will be secure in your future until you pass away. You will have grandchildren. You will publish your book. Would you then let go of needing to carefully orchestrate your life in an effort to assure that this will, in fact, be the outcome? Now all you have to do is live for the moment because you don’t have to worry about the outcomes. You can just live and enjoy each moment that you encounter. Everything else will take care of itself naturally and through the natural course of things intended by the universe. Perhaps the endings will not be exactly what you were expecting, but maybe that is better. Expectations just have a way of upsetting us anyway. I suggest that you wait to read the book of your life until you get to the end. Enjoy it. Wait to be surprised, and enjoy the unexpected, instead of feeling anxious about it. I will meet you somewhere along your journey of happy endings.

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Twenty: Buying a Ticket

22 Jul

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Twenty: Buying a Ticket.

photo (6)

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Twenty: Buying a Ticket

Being specific: Elizabeth Gilbert writes so eloquently in her book Eat Pray Love (2006) about being specific about what you want when you are seeking outwards into the universe:

Of course God already knows what I need. The question is—do I know? Casting yourself at God’s feet in helpless desperation is all well and good—heaven knows, I’ve done it myself plenty of times—but ultimately you’re likely to get more out of the experience if you can take some action on your end. There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint—please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and say in weary disgust, “My son—please, please, please…buy a ticket.” (Gilbert, 2006, p. 176)

I think we are often very general about what it is we are seeking. We tend to know that we want to feel healthy, happy and secure. We know when we experience joy and when we are not content in what we are doing. However, we are not always really clear about why things are positive or negative for us. I believe that finding some clarity for myself might improve the quality of my perspective and the success in achieving what works for me.

Sending out the wrong messages: We are often a bit more specific about what we don’t want. I know that of late, I have been pretty clear about what I do not like in life about people, lifestyle, and about society in general. If I am really honest with myself, I am learning that I have definite aversions to things, and I steer clear, giving a wide berth to these unpleasant things or people, very much like I used to do when approaching the skunks that would come up from the neighborhood park. Sometimes, I will go as far as getting up and walking in the other direction when negative things I do not like come up, saying to myself, “I do not need this right now”. However, when we pontificate about what we don’t want, we send energy into the universe about where it is we are “stuck”. I say stuck because things don’t tend to bother us if we are free of what it represents to us. As a result, the universe keeps sending us that energy as if to say, “Well, this is what you keep talking to us about, so I am just adding to the conversation.”

For example, I cannot stand the sound of electronics buzzing away, or distracting people. It represents to me noise, laziness and pop-culture gone wild with stimulation overload. In my childhood, I watched television passively suck up and waste much of my family’s time, and as a result I learned to stay clear and be selective of my screen time. I encouraged the same of my son who vehemently objected when I would impose electronic limits on him. Therefore, when I now meet people who watch sports all day on the television, or talk at length about their recent gaming escapades, I put two-and-two together and assume that they buy into those negative electronic attributes that I associate with recreational technology use. I step back from having relationships with people who can quickly list of their top twenty television or computer programs. With this being said, I do admire technology when used constructively and optimally in the educational or work place. I guess, to sum this up, people who even talk to me about recreational technology don’t have a hope of connecting with me, especially if they are trying to date me.

Buying a ticket: However, I long for something “else”—something off the “grid”, and yet I am not really specific about it, likely because I don’t truly know what it looks like. I have become a bit better in my 40’s about being clear about my intentions by designing some vision boards, or setting goals and ironically, many of these goals have come true. However, I have never really articulated what I “want” in detail for fear of seeming demanding, or greedy. God (or that special life force we call God–God in the spiritual sense of the collective energy around and within us) has bigger fish to fry than my less important requests. It was refreshing to read Gilbert’s Chapter 9 about petitioning God as she obviously felt similarly and her friend’s candid response was refreshing:

I don’t like asking, “Will you change this or that thing in my life that’s difficult for me?” Because—who know?—God might want me to be facing that particular challenge for a reason. Instead, I feel more comfortable praying for the courage to face whatever occurs in my life with equanimity, no matter how things turn out…”Where did you get the idea you aren’t allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe, Liz. You’re a constituent—you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known. So put your opinion out there. Make your case. Believe me—it will at least be taken into consideration”. (Gilbert, 2006, p. 32)

So, I need to “buy the ticket” for the ride I really want to go on. However, now comes the bigger question, “Which ride is right for me, or which lottery do I want to win?” Life doesn’t present many second chances, although I am finding that it actually does give us some “re-do’s” unlike what the great philosophers profess about not being able to go back. We can stop and turn around and try again where we make the opportunity to do so. However, that turning around takes incredible willpower and fortitude, so it is sometimes best to be intentional and get it right the first time around.

Being clear: What do our minds, hearts and souls long for? I know that mine are getting clearer. I know that I want to learn about the world, but not so broadly that it is overwhelming. I want to learn how people find peace in themselves. What are people doing to be happy? What do they eat, seek and create to be the best that they can be? These questions will likely lead me to churches, spiritual rituals and celebrations, and, as well, fine art that demonstrates how people unearth their most important selves (sacred and secular). Therefore, I need to be open and clear about how I do it so I can reciprocate in this discovery process as I travel and grow. As a result, I need friends (or as Gilbert would say, “champions”) who are exceedingly strong and capable of this type of journey, and have set themselves up already to do this type of self-reflection and exploration alongside me.

It is interesting that my son is a sociology major. I think we have been talking about people for a long time together as he grew up. I envy him his post-secondary studies learning about societies around the world. I miss school, but school is second-hand learning that inspires us to get out and see things first hand and begin making positive first and second order changes in our local and global communities. I have been in school long enough. I am now ready to do my learning first hand and viscerally touch the things and places; smell the aromas and taste the food that inspire people to be happy and healthy. My new experiences in the Comox Valley have taught me that we all live differently, and we are all spiritually seeking “something” even when we do not know it. The key is to be clear about it, and in the next few weeks, I hope to map out exactly what I hope to petition from the universe.

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Sixteen: The Purple Hostel

2 Feb

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Sixteen: The Purple Hostel.

solo pic

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Sixteen: The Purple Hostel

Am I on the Right Path? Most of us have had those times in our lives where we had to make distinct choices between opening door number one or door number two. We sometimes even chose door number three. We then wonder, “Was it the right decision?” Then when we are further down our path and we hit a point of what we perceive to be no return, we wonder, “Is this as good as it gets?” Typically, people are not always satisfied with their present course. We are always passively or actively seeking a better route, calculating what might be just a little bit nicer, easier, faster, more exciting, etc. We are so busy speculating on whether we should be where we are, being single, a parent, married, separated, committed, un-committed, and other, that we tread uncertainly on our path. We don’t take long confident strides on the ground we are on. Instead, we ruminate, perseverate, and second-guess the course we have chosen, and walk tentatively. In doing so, we do not find our rhythm, our groove, and happiness in the moments of our experience.

What if this is as good as it gets? What if right now is all we will ever have? Imagine that. If this thought is unnerving, and causes a sense of regret, then it is time to reconsider everything.

Choices: Many times in life I have made choices. I have a job where I have to make 1000 decisions a day, and hope that most of them lead myself or other people in positive directions. I have also made personal choices, some with too much calculation, and some with too much impulsivity, but I have made these choices never-the-less. The things that I have regretted most, in retrospect, were those experiences that were truly out of my control. I regretted not being able to influence the outcome more. They were, in fact, non-choices. As for those things I could influence, it has turned out remarkably well — by my own standards. This is because I have decided that it has turned out well. Someone else looking in might think otherwise, examining me as that chick who ran to BC and lives with her cats (weird). Others might think, “Wow, she ran away to paradise and lives with her cats” (enviously). Either way, I now live in Comox with my cats, and the choice has led me to the next choice that is just around the corner. In the meantime, I am enjoying my moments here.

South Carolina: One year, I remember closing my eyes and pointed to somewhere in the USA that I thought would be a good get-away on a small budget. I knew very little about the good old USA, so any place seemed like a good idea, provided that it was warmer than Calgary at that time of year. I landed on the decision to go to Charleston, South Carolina. I found a ticket online. I booked a room in a hostel in a location that appeared close to the downtown, and a month later, I landed with my suitcase in front of a wild looking old purple building on the edge of a seedy part of town. I was a little nervous. I was led up creaky stairs to a small room (again purple), and lay down exhausted on an old, but comfortable bed on some relatively clean linen.

I slept for two days. I was a single mother who worked full time, and I was finally on holidays with the luxury of having some time to myself. I think that the owner thought I had gone upstairs and died, and I could feel uneasiness about my absence in the common room downstairs. However, I chose not to care, as sleep seemed more important to me than anything else. I slept through loud music, parties downstairs and a whole host of big city outside sounds like sirens and men fighting. I finally emerged from a dead sleep on Day Three, and came down the stairs and said hello to a group of strangers that looked up at me and smiled.

They were mostly fellows from all over the world. They all had the most amazing personalities and over the next couple of days in between our independent explorations of a very historical city loaded with American history, we got to know each other. Every morning, I had someone making me breakfast, or offering to go out with me somewhere to explore the East Coast together. I connected with these people in unique ways that would never have happened in a five star hotel. Sitting together on ratty old chairs eating our Kraft dinner and drinking our whiskey seemed to be the right friendship tonic.

This choice to visit Charleston led to a series of events that stand out in my memory as one of my best holidays. I felt the water of the Atlantic on that side of the continent for the first time. I ate alligator. I learned about slavery. I grew a little bit more as a person as I grasped the reality of vivid racial discrimination.

Had I ruminated on and researched my choice to go to Charleston or even that hostel a little bit more, I might have talked myself into something a little bit safer. Instead, I was a little bit careless and a little bit intuitive, and found myself in the middle of a city that has a strong character, and an even more powerful spirit than I could have imagined. I was not insulated from it. I was in the center of it because I chose to be.

My Next Journey: In a week, I go to San Francisco. I go to a conference on creative thinking, and learn about brain-based research. http://www.learningandthebrain.com/brochures/Feb%20SF%20Brochure2013-ASHA.pdf I have volunteered to have an MRI of my body to better understand how the body and mind work as we visit one of the best neuro-science laboratories in North America. What will I learn? What will happen as a result of this one decision to attend this conference? Who might I meet? What might putting this on my resume gain me? What will I enjoy most about the experience itself? I won’t know until I get there, so it is best to not speculate too much. It will unfold the way it is supposed to. I just made the decision to go. The impetus is the critical part. Living it out with a positive attitude is the next most important step.

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” ~Attributed to both Edwin Markham and Pythagoras

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Six: What is My Ground Bass?

3 Sep

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Six: What is My Ground Bass?

52 Weeks Being Now:  Week Six:  What is My Ground Bass?

Background:  The Passacaglia Within:   I find when things get complicated; I often revert to musical analogy to make sense of my thinking.  Perhaps this is because music was part of my upbringing, and I believe that its style and composition resemble the way that we operate in real life which is why we are so kindred to music in everything that we do.  A passacaglia, for example, is a type of music that is built over a ground bass.  This ostinated bass line of approximately 10 to 20 notes repeats over and over throughout the duration of the composition.  A good example is Pachelbel’s Canon  (You Tube version) that we all know so very well.  Slowly as the piece unfolds, there are multiple soprano, alto and tenor voices and variations that unfold over the bass line.  The bass line is important because it sets the key and establishes the bass note of the chord progressions that can go over top of it. This particular example is a peaceful version of the idea that I hope to explain further.

What is My Ground Bass Line?  As I talk to people, both new and familiar, I realize lately that we are all playing a theme and variations over our own bass lines.  Our bass-lines get more pronounced with age, if we have not actively changed them.  Pachelbel’s Canon works very well as it is in a major key, and allows for many chord progressions that are uplifting and thought-provoking.  It does not grow tiring (unless, of course, you listen to it too often).  I would refer to its ground bass as one of “hope” and “optimism”.  This might explain why so many people (including myself, 21 years ago) have used this particular canon for our wedding processionals.

Although we all have the ability to have multiple themes and variations in our lives, we do have the tendency to have one dominant bass line that grounds us to our life path.  It is like our key message, or essential essence.  It stays with us unconsciously until we consciously decide to change the track.  Again, it sets the key and determines the harmonic progressions over which we operate our lives.  Sometimes, I learn very clearly what people have as their core ostinato, as I listen to our conversations.  Sometimes they are positive and say uplifting things, and this is why we like to be around these people as their music warms our heart:  

  • I think that good things are happening
  • I want to help people
  • I like who I am
  • I am at peace with whatever comes my way
  • I care about my family
  • I want to make good things happen in the world
  • The world is a good place to be

Sometimes, the repeated bass lines in our lives are not as positive, and it is more difficult to understand.  The melody falls flat.  It is boring and repetitive and grates on the listener’s ears:

  • I am running out of time (biological clock)
  • I do not like my role in life (parent, wife, husband, career, single person, married person, other)
  • I do not like myself
  • I need to make money to prove my worth
  • I am afraid of what is happening in the world
  • I do not think I am worth being around
  • I have failed at things, and am unlikely to be successful
  • I wish I were somewhere else

The music unravels quickly and the minor and dissonant message loses its musicality.  A fine musician can pick out the message of each composer’s bass lines pretty quickly.  Intuitively, we all can if we put on our metaphorical headphones around each other, and really listen.

Being in Tune:  I don’t know why this idea of comparing our lives to Passacaglias came up for me today.   All I know is that lately, I am reading pretty clearly what people’s dominant bass lines are that come through what they are saying, their body language or what they are not saying at all.  In my efforts to have a fresh start, I am sensitive to what people are telling me.  As well, I am listening to myself and trying to understand what my own ground bass is, and what it is telling people about me in return.  I think I am finding it is best to stay in “The Key of Shelley” (to borrow a title by CBC).  (I have always thought I worked best in the key of E flat major, but who can really say.)   Most importantly, I am accepting that it is okay to not want to continually listen to everyone’s music where it is not musical to me.  We are entitled to our preferences, and where I am an eclectic listener and appreciate all music, I tend to return to the music that inspires me.

Pachelbel’s Canon:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOA-2hl1Vbc

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Six: What is My Ground Bass?

3 Sep

52 Weeks Being Now:  Week Six:  What is My Ground Bass?

Background:  The Passacaglia Within:   I find when things get complicated; I often revert to musical analogy to make sense of my thinking.  Perhaps this is because music was part of my upbringing, and I believe that its style and composition resemble the way that we operate in real life which is why we are so kindred to music in everything that we do.  A passacaglia, for example, is a type of music that is built over a ground bass.  This ostinated bass line of approximately 10 to 20 notes repeats over and over throughout the duration of the composition.  A good example is Pachelbel’s Canon  (You Tube version) that we all know so very well.  Slowly as the piece unfolds, there are multiple soprano, alto and tenor voices and variations that unfold over the bass line.  The bass line is important because it sets the key and establishes the bass note of the chord progressions that can go over top of it. This particular example is a peaceful version of the idea that I hope to explain further.

What is My Ground Bass Line?  As I talk to people, both new and familiar, I realize lately that we are all playing a theme and variations over our own bass lines.  Our bass-lines get more pronounced with age, if we have not actively changed them.  Pachelbel’s Canon works very well as it is in a major key, and allows for many chord progressions that are uplifting and thought-provoking.  It does not grow tiring (unless, of course, you listen to it too often).  I would refer to its ground bass as one of “hope” and “optimism”.  This might explain why so many people (including myself, 21 years ago) have used this particular canon for our wedding processionals.

Although we all have the ability to have multiple themes and variations in our lives, we do have the tendency to have one dominant bass line that grounds us to our life path.  It is like our key message, or essential essence.  It stays with us unconsciously until we consciously decide to change the track.  Again, it sets the key and determines the harmonic progressions over which we operate our lives.  Sometimes, I learn very clearly what people have as their core ostinato, as I listen to our conversations.  Sometimes they are positive and say uplifting things, and this is why we like to be around these people as their music warms our heart:  

  • I think that good things are happening
  • I want to help people
  • I like who I am
  • I am at peace with whatever comes my way
  • I care about my family
  • I want to make good things happen in the world
  • The world is a good place to be

Sometimes, the repeated bass lines in our lives are not as positive, and it is more difficult to understand.  The melody falls flat.  It is boring and repetitive and grates on the listener’s ears:

  • I am running out of time (biological clock)
  • I do not like my role in life (parent, wife, husband, career, single person, married person, other)
  • I do not like myself
  • I need to make money to prove my worth
  • I am afraid of what is happening in the world
  • I do not think I am worth being around
  • I have failed at things, and am unlikely to be successful
  • I wish I were somewhere else

The music unravels quickly and the minor and dissonant message loses its musicality.  A fine musician can pick out the message of each composer’s bass lines pretty quickly.  Intuitively, we all can if we put on our metaphorical headphones around each other, and really listen.

Being in Tune:  I don’t know why this idea of comparing our lives to Passacaglias came up for me today.   All I know is that lately, I am reading pretty clearly what people’s dominant bass lines are that come through what they are saying, their body language or what they are not saying at all.  In my efforts to have a fresh start, I am sensitive to what people are telling me.  As well, I am listening to myself and trying to understand what my own ground bass is, and what it is telling people about me in return.  I think I am finding it is best to stay in “The Key of Shelley” (to borrow a title by CBC).  (I have always thought I worked best in the key of E flat major, but who can really say.)   Most importantly, I am accepting that it is okay to not want to continually listen to everyone’s music where it is not musical to me.  We are entitled to our preferences, and where I am an eclectic listener and appreciate all music, I tend to return to the music that inspires me.

Pachelbel’s Canon:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOA-2hl1Vbc