Damien Rice.

Damien

His deeply soulful and passionate voice has been a part of my every day for the past 15 years. Last night, I had the special honor of seeing and hearing him perform in person. He stood alone with his acoustic guitar and piano in a beautiful, dimly lit, intimate church in downtown Los Angeles. I sat and took in every single second of the evening, his presence and his profoundly expressive and emotional music.

I intensely connect with my being and all that awakens and inspires me, through music. I always have. When I came to the realization at a very young age that I was misunderstood and the possibility of anyone getting me seemed hopeless, I discovered my love and need for music and writing. When I witness someone sincerely and wholeheartedly communicating and expressing themselves through their chosen medium, I am affected in ways I wish I could explain. Damien Rice has always been such a powerful catalyst in provoking my introspection and penetrating sequestered places within my spirit.

I’ve longed to play piano my whole life. I am now learning and playing daily with my son. The sound of music in our home enlivens my soul and reminds me that it is never too late to fulfill a desire. We should never be too busy to actualize something we truly enjoy. Something which fulfills us and expands the limitations we set upon ourselves and the boundaries we consciously or unconsciously stand behind.

Many things came up for me last night as I experienced the compelling force that is, Damien Rice. His lyrics are so raw, so poignant and so revealing. Each word, each strum of the guitar, each and every touch on the keys of the piano, consumed me.

In each word and each shift of the inflection in his voice, I felt his essence, his pain, his warmth, his sincerity, his yearning. It is through that expressiveness that I am able to look deeper within myself and allow for discovery and clarity through the unravelment.

His willingness and ability to expose his heart and vulnerability as he does, genuinely touches and moves me. He is very comfortable in his skin and he speaks his truth through his music. Intensely. Openly. Lustfully. He isn’t trying to fit in or be anyone other than himself and his authenticity consoles me.

I felt pure love in that space. I gazed at him and the faces of all those enraptured and I felt connected and united and infinite. All at once.

We were sitting in the center just a few rows from the front and there was one guy who would occasionally stand up in the aisle and dance his heart out. I truly felt the overwhelming fervor flowing through him which prompted him to jump up without inhibition, without self consciousness and with the spirited and fearless courage to do what felt wonderful and necessary. For him. In that moment. His physical expression from the intensity of the music was a manifestation of what I knew everyone else was feeling inside. He was free and I so enjoyed being an observer.

During the show, I was reminded how thankful I am to be raising my boys with the encouragement and support to express themselves authentically and without suppression or inhibition. It reminded me to live my life fully and to believe I am capable of all I wish for. I am deserving. I am enough. It also reminded me not to allow other’s thoughts, opinions and judgements hold me back. Ever.

During the last song, Damien asked people to come up and join him in singing Volcano as a group. I watched everyone quickly approach the stage and I wanted to go also but hesitated. A few seconds later, I stepped up a little closer and took in the united and powerful energy created in those moments. It was awe-inspiring.

When the song ended and the lights came on, I was standing next to who I believed was the dancing man. I looked at him and asked if he was the guy dancing in the aisle. His face was filled with fear and what seemed like embarrassment for a moment. He bashfully and hesitantly said, “Yes.” I replied with, “You’re awesome.” He wasn’t sure if I was making fun of him at first but I know he wanted to believe I was sincere. He said that everyone was telling him to sit down and they were laughing at him. I told him that he moved me and powerfully contributed to the show and my experience. I told him to continue dancing and not to ever let anyone take that away from him. He gave me a long and tight hug and thanked me.

It was a special moment. I saw in him what I see in so many of us. Fortunately for him, he hasn’t allowed other’s opinions to stop him. Thankfully, the overwhelming need and strong desire to feel that music through dance was stronger than the fear of what other’s were thinking and whispering. I completely respect full self-expression.

I’ve also always related to the sadness, longing and depth of soul-searching many musicians I’ve known, possess. As I listen to my husband play his guitar and compose beautiful and meaningful songs, I feel so fortunate to be a witness to his creativity and articulation. He is teaching our four year old son to play. The passion and appreciation for music around here uplifts me each day.

Thank you, Damien Rice for touching me deeply with your beautiful gift and for having the courage to stand before others with an open, passionate heart and an honest soul. Rootless Tree is one of my very favorite songs ever. I always feel every single emotion conveyed through your delivery. The fact that you ended it with ‘I Love You’ last night, took my breath away.

We all want to be heard and understood. Through your music, I hear you. Through your voice, I hear my own and I thank you.

One day soon, we will see you again and we will gratefully and warmly revel in your transcendent performance and gracious presence.

Until then…

“Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.” ~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton

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The Happiness of Pursuit

clouds

I’m not a movie critic although sometimes, when I’m deeply moved by a film, I wish I was. My husband and I took our boys the other day to see the delightful, Hector and the Search For Happiness.  

The sweet woman giving us our tickets was a bit taken back when she saw how young our boys were and wondered why they were about to see this film and not a kid’s movie. She kindly and gently said, “They may not get the subtleties.” She obviously doesn’t know our boys. 

I must say how proud I am to witness their attentiveness, comprehension and interest in such mature, thought-provoking and enlightening films. When they saw the preview of a man traveling around the globe in search of happiness they both exclaimed their desire to see it and you wouldn’t believe the questions they asked during and after. They are such curious individuals  and so in touch with themselves and this wonderful gift of being. 

We enjoyed the film very much and I’m always affected by any verbal, written or otherwise expressed work of inspiration and insight into one’s journey through this life.  

I don’t usually read or care for reviews because like anything, I believe we need to experience things for ourselves and form our own opinions. Someone’s opinion regarding this film, however, did capture my attention and inspired me to share on this subject. 

To briefly sum up his thoughts, he described this film as a depiction of a middle aged man who prefers to live in fantasy and who chases an unattainable ideal across the globe only to realize this figment of happiness is a creation of his own feelings of cowardice and insecurity.

He also went on about Ego and Narcissism and why would anyone be interested in a man, with means, who traveled to other continents in search of happiness. He wasn’t only searching for his. He wanted to figure out how to make others happy as well.

This, along with one of the featured messages in the movie, got me thinking. The quote, which is so simple, yet so important… 

“Listening is Loving.”

I really sat with that thought all day, along with this critic’s interpretation of Ego as it pertains to expressing interest or a need to search deeper and why that makes someone vainglorious and self-important.  

I couldn’t disagree more.  

In fact, it’s this very opinion that sometimes holds me back from expressing myself. I sometimes wonder if and why anyone would care what I have to say. I wonder why my opinion matters. I believe we all have something to say and we all want someone to hear us. Using our voice and expressing what we are searching for, what we stand for or otherwise, does not make us narcissistic. 

From birth, perhaps before, I believe the first thing we all wished for, was to be heard. When we cried as babies, we weren’t crying to manipulate, we were crying because we needed something. When those cries and calls for attention went unnoticed and unanswered, we possibly retreated and found the answers within ourselves and have spent our lives wondering if anyone ever truly listens or hears us.  

Listening is Loving. When I want or need to speak, sometimes I don’t need a solution, I don’t need you to judge and I don’t need an answer. If you can listen and just hear what I am saying, you may help me find the answer within myself. You may discover something about yourself within my truth. 

We are all searching for something. If we aren’t searching, we aren’t growing. We will never know everything about ourselves or this life. We will never have all the answers.  

The preview of this film inspired me from the moment Christopher Plummer narrated these words…

“How many of us can recall that Childhood Moment 

When we experienced Happiness

As a State of Being

When Everything in Our World 

Was All Right”

Happiness.  As a state of Being.  

Not just something to present to the world via social media so it appears that you are happy. I’m speaking of True Happiness. Where capturing the moment didn’t matter because that feeling was so pure and that moment was ours. No one needed to understand it and no one needed to witness it. 

I could go on and on about the ways in which I’m inspired by people in real life, books and films. The people who go far beyond what is comfortable. The people who bravely walk through fear even though they have rational and irrational reasons to be afraid. People who choose their own paths and don’t follow the masses. People who JUMP. People who Truly Love. People who unselfishly and unconditionally help others. People who truly Live.  

Lastly, at the end of this film, Christopher Plummer was experimenting with a brain scanning technology on two subjects and placed them in a room with a wired device on their heads. 

Before they walked in, he told them to go to the places where they recalled feeling Happy, Sad and Scared. In any order. I won’t reveal too much about the film but I will tell you this.

We experience all of these emotions, simultaneously. It is the complex, yet beautiful combination of these feelings that pushes us beyond our limitations. As I get older, I embrace my happiness, my sadness and my fear.  I let them guide me to places I never thought possible. I let them sit within and circulate around as I evolve a little more in each moment.  

I am in search of happiness and peace also. For my children. For my Family. For you. For humankind.  

As Hector was about to depart on his soul searching expedition, his girlfriend wholeheartedly proclaimed, “If you’re going to do this, Do it Totally.”

Yes, this is how I believe we should do everything. Totally. This is how we will continue to feel alive despite the forces constantly telling us we’re dying.  

Mark Twain once said something which I’ve always appreciated. 

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

You were already born so if you haven’t figured out why yet, this will be my wish for you. 

Thank you for listening.  I feel loved and heard when you do.

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