Category Archives: Wonder

Elul and the Hero’s Journey

Promise yourself that you will remember who you are and not marginalize yourself within circumstance.  There is prosperity within our wake as we push into and become absolved within our own stream.
 
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”
Joseph Campbell/ Reflections on the Art of Living
The Hero's Journey

For many years at this time of year, Julia and I would be heading to California to see our community and help lead High Holiday services.  The Jewish High Holidays are called the days of Awe because they are an opportunity to return to our truest being, and enter once again into a state of wonder where we can see the world with fresh eyes.  It is also a time of internal inventory, forgiveness and making amends.

The month before these days of Awe is called Elul, it is a time of preparation and study. Yesterday, I started my preparation by clearing the accumulated sea of weeds that had taken over our backyard.

Thích Nhất Hạnh was once asked why he spent so much time gardening when people enjoyed his poems so much.  He said, I garden like this, so I can write poems like that.

After the yard was clear, I rehearsed and then sat with a stack of books to gather wisdom to weave into the services that I will gratefully get to lead for my family this year. In the midst of this gleaning, Julia and I had dinner and watched a movie called Still Life.

The day before, we had allowed ourselves to see Kubo, and the Two Strings, which is still in the theater. My friend Emmet insisted that, “masterpiece is an understatement,” when describing this film.

kubo-main_0

In contemplating both films, (which I highly recommend) as I went back to my preparations, I realized they offered me as much as the clearing of the weeds, studying and rehearsing. These films in opposite ways demonstrated the Hero’s Journey.  Kubo, was among the finest examples of this mythical cycle I have seen.  Joseph Campbell is smiling from beyond. It utilized artistic and cutting edge animation, magic, storytelling and high action to bring the hero to the brink and back and have him return with a valuable gift that allowed his village to expand within themselves.

It may, as Emmet predicts, win an Oscar, or it may go under the radar. Still Life, will most certainly go under most people’s radar.  It was not animated, it was minimalistic.  It did not utilize magic or high action. It was sparse, gracefully slow and so beautiful. It was not the film  we thought it was going to be. If it had been, we would have thought it was quaint and forgotten it.

It was profound.

The hero of Still Life, is a solitary man who brings dignity to those who die alone. He looks for family and friends and if none can be found, he researches and writes their eulogies, selects their music and attends their funerals.  He stands as a witness to their lives and upholds the beauty they held.

Still-Life-2

We can become so used to our need to be entertained, to fill in the spaces, it is refreshing to return to the grandeur of subtlety. We are being showered with gifts all around us every day that call us back to being.

I went back to my pile of books after the movie and Ram Dass had this to say to me:

“…You study the scriptures, you study with teachers, you read books, you collect knowledge.  None of that is wisdom, it is merely the vehicle that’s going to help you get there.  As we move toward wisdom, we move on a path from intellect to intuition, from knowing we know about something, to an intuitive sense of our interconnectedness with everything. Intuitive wisdom is an appreciation of something through becoming one with it.”

Whatever your Elul or journey is, may you return with something greater than yourself that you can share with the rest of us.

Stream of Light 9-23-14 / Sweet Can Productions & The Levins World Folk Ensemble present: My Friend Hafiz

There are moments and days in our lives that we recognize as almost perfect.  Beautiful heavenly days.  While you can not hold onto them, you can draw from them and recall the serenity they provide to bring this moment into sharper focus.  Being grateful and recognizing what is sublime in our lives opens the door to more of the same.  There are always things within us that we can be grateful for.  By being in the state of conscious gratitude, not only do we recognize what is around us but we generate things to be grateful for and illuminate them for those around us.
_______________________________
“In the artistic community, we always talk about the transformative power of theater, music, and art, but I got to witness it first hand on the deepest level this weekend. Last night, a woman rushed down to Kerri Kresinski and me, and said, “That’s it. You did it. I’m going to quit my job. Life is too short to be miserable.” Ira Scott Levin said this show was the most important thing he’d ever done in his life. 
It seems like every show I’m in, becomes a part of the fabric of my being. What a marvelous piece to weave into my soul.” –
Natasha Kaluza
 
We were on the move again yesterday and today I can finally sit and reflect on what occurred this weekend.  We had a full week of rehearsals and only got everyone all in the same room to fully run our production of My Friend Hafiz by Sweet Can Productions with The Levins World Folk Ensemble on Thursday night. On Friday night as we opened, I stood there playing the songs and cried.
Somethings embrace synergy to such a high level that what emerges has always existed and always will.   I talk about time being spherical a lot, but it occurred to me that the reason the songs had come through and that we had recorded the album was for this very performance.  As the weekend progressed, we honed the show and the circle of musicians and the circle of circus performers  overlapped and spiraled up.  The thrust of the standing ovations was not just because the performers were so incredibly talented and that the clowns were so funny and that dances were so perfectly matched to bring the music and poetry forward but I believe the essence of what Hafiz achieved in his being somehow spilled over in a lighthearted pageantry of beauty and “benevolent thought, benevolent sound, benevolent movement around and around!”
Tomorrow is the Jewish New Year -may the circular nature of everything within you and around you be Sweet so that you know you Can shine out in the way you hope to.

 

Fireflies, salt, water, sound and Dandelion Wine

Last night as I was taking out the trash, the fireflies reminded me it was a sweet summer night.  The darkness was filled with flashing pinpoints of light that drew forth the holiest of words from me, the ‘Wow’ that removes years and time, bridges childhood to now and reconnects us to wonder.  I stood outside and watched them silently as the lightning flashed softly through the trees, noticing the seeming pattern the fireflies created as if it were a natural Fibonacci sequence or a morse code.

I had been thinking of sharing two videos showing how frequency affects physical matter and the relationship between vibration and manifestation, (In the salt experiment, the higher the frequency the more complex and beautiful the geometric patterns become*) and here I was standing in the garden being taken back to summer nights at the top of my tree in the backyard, back to reading to Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine where he is out in nature and realizes he is alive:

“I’m really alive! he thought. I never knew it before, or if I did I don’t remember!…” “The world, like a great iris of an even more gigantic eye, which has also just opened and stretched out to encompass everything, stared back at him.” ― Ray Bradbury,                                                    Dandelion Wine Quotes by Ray Bradbury

Stepping outside is one of the surest ways of being able to step inside.

 Here are the two videos I wanted to share with you.  They are amazing and give me faith in the tickling creativity that winks in the darkness:

*-Salt and Sound: http://youtu.be/rf3rfTMvyHQ

Amazing Water and sound experiment: http://youtu.be/uENITui5_jU

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”  –Nikola Tesla

May you have a full experience unexpectedly.