Saturday, June 30, 2012

Reigniting the School Girl Crush for Music

Perhaps this is something that happens as we get older.

I am admittedly in my definitive mid-thirties. It is less and less, seemingly, that I find full albums that I become completely enamoured of and attached to like I did when I was in my teens. It's rare that I even get to listen to an album fully, let alone hear it more than once or twice. Often, I'll remember a song but not the artist, which is a turn from who I was in my teens. Back then, it seems I had to know everything about the artists I liked.
I'm thinking of this because I chose The Cure's Album Disintegration (1989) in my Spotify list just a bit ago. Everytime I listen to the album, I remember being 16 or 17, dancing around to the tape that had been recorded for me by a fellow co-worker at my very first job. "Here," she said excitedly, "I love this and think you will, too."
I did love the tape as well as the other tapes she recorded for me. Sonic Youth's Goo, and Depeche Mode's Violator along with The Cure's album quickly became some of my favorite and most listened to music. I would turn the volume up dangerously loud when my parents and brothers were not at home and dance around the living room, feeling that I could ride on the music. I became obsessed just as I might have with a serious school girl crush. Robert Smith and the lushness of his music, Sonic Youth's course tones and experimentation, and the sensualness of Dave Gahan's baritone voice were features that I had never experienced before.
I grew up listening to my parents' music, like most of us do. It was good stuff. The Gap Band, Parliament, Marvin Gaye, Cameo, and Sheila E are some of the groups and artists that come readily to mind. We listened to the radio, as well. George Micheal, Madonna, Prince, Dr. Dre, and whatever other pop, rap, R&B, and Soul was playing at the time, permeated my consciousness.
I suppose at about that time, I was starving for something new. That is the time, afterall that we've begun forming our own views about the world and our own tastes. I just hope that I don't become stuck in an age when I am certain that there is so much wonderfulness happening in the world of music. It's time to be just as hungry again, to find new favorites that my heart and musical ear just won't let go of.

***originally published at Yahoo Voices.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Sama Veda: An Entry Point and or/Anchor to my Studies of Naad Yoga (The Yoga of Sound) and Sound Therapy Generally

I told myself I would not attend any more schooling for a grip of time after finishing up my studies in massage therapy at the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado (MTIC) but of course, I was only kidding myself. The very night of graduation, I attended one of a series of classes concerning goddesses of Vedic literature and shortly thereafter, I signed a contract for an introduction course at Shiva Mandir's Center for Vedic Studies.

I wasn't completely sure of what I was doing. I am obviously interested in healing arts. I've completed my massage therapy course and in 2006 I completed a yoga teacher training at Samadhi Center for Yoga. Somewhere in the last little while, I briefly studied with a Barefoot Doctors' Program (with the Tai Chi Project) and I have (hopefully emphatically) communicated my interest in sound therapy studies through The Denver Center for Oriental Medicine. I am very interested in Indian culture and spirituality and have been studying it on my own for years now along with other bits from many cultures, native and far.

I have even more interests than that! These are interests that apparently I cannot or will not give up. I am a singer (who hasn't had a regular gig since 2006 because of school, work and multiple moves but who intends to still write, perform, and seek out music), a writer (who has published in some small publications, print and internet, and who has won some small awards and scholarships), and I have an interest in linguistics, words, communication, and poetry. I began my college career with a full tuition waiver for music (Jazz Studies) and finished my bachelor's degree in writing and linguistics (minor). I did not pursue (though I may pursue it later) an MFA in creative writing because I felt that it would put these interests further on the back burner and of course, most of the MFAs that I could have obtained a teacher's assistanceship and stipend for felt limiting.

It's funny how we come full circle, sometimes. I was interested in music therapy only fleetingly in high school (I thought I was going to become a great jazz singer...and I may still do some of that) and the programs I looked at then (which were sparse) seemed very limited. As you can see, limitation is not okay with me.

The last time I tried to complete a degree in music (probably around 2009), I knew that my goal was to do a final project that involved music and sound therapy. I was very excited about the project and even had a wonderful adviser who lent what became the bulk of a bibliography towards these studies. She also gave me many names, numbers, and resources to this goal. I still have these things and hope that they will contribute to my studies and career (if this is what is indeed occurring, the development of a career) and I have been collecting other names and resources along the way.

So the point of this post? I attended a meditation retreat a few short weeks ago via the Vedic Studies Course mentioned above. I already had come across readings and teachers (such as the Sanskrit for Yogis course created and taught by Dr. Katy Poole) which spoke to the power and resonance contained in Sanskrit (and really, all sound, all language). During the retreat, this information was reiterated but also enhanced by the note that the Sama Veda is a whole book of knowledge about melody or sound. I was excited immediately because here is a study tool that touches on so many of my interests. Further, if I can, studying this portion of the Vedas could provide an anchor and starting point for me to stem off of which does not stray too far away from the studies I have immersed myself in to date. Further, Sama Veda seems to hook together the interests that before seemed so disparate and scattered.

I am not sure if I am taking a course far too overwhelming but I have already sent out a couple of inquiries about the study. My excitement for learning has been renewed and I am more sure of myself that I have chosen the right path for myself, even if the lack of certifications or degrees in certain subjects make me seem subpar, not serious, or simply unworthy of expertise.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Here's Something Fun -- The Copy-Change (or imitation) Poem and a Boff

One of the prompts that keeps coming up in poetry classes is the copy-change, or imitation poem. I've seen the exercise again and again since probably the third grade. Essentially, you choose a poem and use it as the skeleton for a new poem that you create. For more information about this prompt or method, check out this link

I generally don't like the exercise (despite its value, which I agree can assist in teaching how poems can work in a bit of a training wheels kind of way). I tend to either make a joke out of the copy-change or redraft the copy change to make my own poem. Tonight I wanted to share one of the jokes and perhaps at another time, I will share one of the redraftings. Below follows my copy change poem from a 2006 poetry class after Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken. I hope the poem evokes a few chuckles. =)

The Pee Not Taken: A Parody that Will
Surely Send Frost to Haunt Me From His Grave

Two seconds before my gates unleash,
And sorry I didn't take a pee
Before my leaving, I clench my teeth
And look down the path far's I can see
Where I might crouch by a bush to pee;

Then hold my nethers, as best I can,
And walking perhaps slowly is best,
Because I'd hate to wet my clutching hands;
Though hands soaked can't match soaking pants
And stained legs, dreading the sodding rest,

Both pants, hands in danger of the leak
Unleashed over leaves finally.
Oh, that I dread my neighbor's toilet seat!
Although my house is just up the street
I doubt I can make it successfully.

My neighbor will remind with a scoff
Someday ages and ages hence:
How I stubbornly ran out and off--
I became the man in this boff,
And sorrowfully ruined my pants.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Letting Go and What Serves Us: A Dialogue on the Clarification of Action and Terms

love gun found on Broadway/Denver
photo by Tameca L Coleman.

I need clarification if anyone here is willing to help. I may ask people specifically, via private mail. I may not. I may just continue to read and ruminate on my own, commit these thoughts to my private journals, and forget that I want to talk with others about this very thing. Any comments or feedback is very much appreciated.

I am really confused about all this talk about living in the present moment/letting go of the past because I wonder if sometimes doing that for some people, means not feeling responsible or taking responsibility for the things we may have done in the past that either were not within the guidelines of our own code of ethics or integrity or perhaps those things that hurt others as they were re/actions out of what ails us.

I don't mean to say that we should hold on to those things but we should surely learn from them, take heed of the mistakes so that hopefully they are not done and done again, and forgive ourselves properly instead of just detaching from it all, living in the present moment because the past is already done. . . .

Is this New Age recklessness or irresponsibility under the guise of something better? Certainly, I'm missing something but there just seems to be so much detaching. . . .detaching, detaching, and looking for those things that only serve us (really all of it serves because it's the lessons inherent in all, isn't it (?)) which for some reason feels to me like a sort of numbing where only pleasure is sought. Am I not seeing this correctly? Is my filter off? Seriously, I want to hear others' thoughts about this.

I wonder too, if we're always letting go of people, letting them take care of themselves, even if they do not have the tools because maybe their presence "does not serve us" or doesn't make us happy anymore does more harm than good.

...and then if we don't have the tools to help those who don't have tools. . . . I get that part and don't know what to do about that either. I hope that I can move beyond ignoring those who need a little something more than a snub or cold shoulder.

I see so many people walking around wounded to a point of despair and I know I have been to those points as well and luckily I have had some sort of support to guide me through. Luckily, I had the sense to ask sometimes (not all the time). Not everyone has the support or the sense (and that's not meant to say that they are stupid but that perhaps they are flooded by what ails them and so therefore don't even know if they can ask or how).

I guess I just keep thinking I can do something about it and I keep looking for others who want to do something about it, too. And I am talking about the implementation of tools here, empowerment, not saving, not shouldering the weight of what ails the whole of the wailing parts of the world.