Time To Think

Time To Think

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Music and the path to synchronicity

I find as I remove unnecessary noise from my life, I am able to make time for things that nurture my soul and make me feel alive. I enjoyed one such opportunity last weekend, when my husband and I attended a performance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, appearing with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Jazz Orchestra. For about 90 minutes, I watched and listened in awe as strings, woodwinds, brass, percussions and keyboards rendered their sounds in perfect synchronicity. It was extraordinary experience.

The performance reminded me of how, if we commit ourselves to working together to make a difference in the world, we can create something beautiful. No man is an island. I have come to understand that the world is not fix-determined, rather dynamic and interconnected and full of living qualities. As I began to open myself to this paradigm, I see the open quality of the universe, waiting for us to engage and transform it.

This realization became increasingly apparent as I savored the mellifluous orchestral music. The gathering together of people in the orchestra hall, is symbolic of we the people, as human beings, coming together to explore a future that is full of possibilities. I watched the conductor, direct a repertoire from Baroque to new music, to Ellington. It was then, I realized that the chords of music and nature are inseparable, and that as human beings, we gather to unfold our destiny.

During those moments sitting in the orchestra balcony, I became acutely aware of my ability and the gift I have been given for altering my relationship with the future. As the music yielded its harmonious sound, I was in the moment, alive and aware. When one begins to listen to the inner voice that helps us, our journey unfolds into something beautiful.

I am living…

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ten Pages A Day

I found myself watching too much cable TV these past few weeks. One day, I caught myself transfixed to the flat screen, trying to keep up with talking heads discussing Washington political maneuvers, observing political panelists and commentators lamenting, and attempting to foretell events, as if anyone is able predict the next breaking news these days.

What I’ve noticed about myself after tuning is, are the feelings of anxiousness and pessimism I tend to hang on to, for hours after I have clicked off my remote. I’ve become discombobulated by my own opinions about who should go, who should stay, who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, how embarrassed I am, how proud I am, disgusted I am, sad I am, shocked, provoked, and on and on.

I’ve decided to go back to a practice I started about a month ago to order my world, and manage what I allow to occupy space in my head. I call it Ten Pages A Day. I’ve committed to reading from six knowledge areas to help me avoid the dizziness of thoughts and things out of my control. Every day I read ten pages from each book ­­––to educate me about America’s history, a book to help me think, mostly philosophical reading, a book to inspire me, a book to help me be a better writer, a juicy novel (sometimes this gets more than ten-pager attention), and ten pages from the Bible to nurture my soul and spirit.

I noticed that by adopting this practice, I have better conversations, sleep relatively peaceful, I gain new found optimism, I am more mindful, a little smarter, and acquire the energy I need to concentrate on those things which matter. One of which is working on my own novel. Besides, I can make up as much stuff in those pages as I want, without worrying about the made-up stuff coming out of Washington.

Musing off…

Monday, January 30, 2017

Teach me thy way, Lord; I will walk in thy truth.

I was met with some challenges at work last week that threw me off my game, so to speak. If you work in corporate America for any period of time, or even if you are just living your life, you are bound to be faced with situations where you might feel put upon, disenfranchised, and sometimes even bullied by the powers that be. That was me last week.

I spent way too much time in the following days, feeling like a victim. It took me a couple of days to work things out in my head, and get over my emotions. I finally reached the point of trying to make sense of my situation.

While reading The Book of Joy, I came across a passage citing Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and his advice regarding “diminishing frustration.” His words reminded me that there a very few lives that just move smoothly from beginning to end. Every challenge, every obstacle we face, has its purposes. In the following quote, the Archbishop speaks about the process of refinement.

What is it that needs to be refined? Our almost natural response is, When I’m hit, I hit back. When you have been refined, you want to find out what it is that impelled this other one to do what he did. And so, you put yourself in the shoes of the other. So, it is almost an axiom that generosity of spirit seems to require that one will have had setbacks to remove the dross.
… there are things that force you off course, and you have to come back.

Which brings me to the lesson. I had to come back to the truth. I asked God to help me seek the truth in every situation, to give me the mind of a learner, to help me avoid pretense. I wear a bracelet that serves as a daily reminder of this petition. Be careful what you ask for, often getting to the truth involves some suffering.

Getting to the truth, requires that I not be so self-regarding, too much of the latter is the impetus of frustration. The lesson is not contingent on my agreement, but more about how I emerge after the test; mature not mad, calm not cynical, stronger not spastic, and wiser not wounded. Not embittered but ennobled.

These trials are part of the curriculum of life. As the saying goes, get over yourself.