Tag Archives: learning

Getting It!

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Getting It!

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. Carl Jung

Kira is finally beginning to get it. We have been in rehearsals and last night was the first night we had gone all the way through 1/2 our set list. I don’t think my daughter realized how much work is involved in playing music live. She was totally unprepared for the amount of time we have to spend in rehearsals, the amount of time involved in learning new songs and new chords and chord progressions. I don’t think she was aware of the dedication you have to have to play in front of a group of people that you have never seen before and that has never seen you. She’s finally beginning to understand why you have to spend so much time perfecting songs so that you don’t go on stage and blow it. I think she’s finally beginning to understand why we go over the same song 10, 20, 30 times, whatever it takes until you know the song better than you know yourself, until it becomes a part of you, ingrained in you. When I told her last night that we had 5 songs left she sighed, but before she knew it we had gone through all 5 songs and we were done. She couldn’t believe how fast it had gone. I think she finally realized why we have to learn so many songs, because it takes a lot of material to cover 3 hours worth of music. Especially when you are only two people with guitars. She’s moving at an amazing rate, I just wish I could have gotten her dedication and attention sooner, she’d be a lot further along, but I think we’re going to be ok. This is her first live performance, ever, and I am so happy to be the one to experience it with her!

A Higher Level of Musical Existentialism

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A Higher Level of Musical Existentialism

You know what’s with jazz? It’s basic, like the most. A lot of cats, musicians, get with it up to a point, but they never really dig it, understand….Crazy, because understand doesn’t cover it. Dig is the only way I know how to say it. There’s more of it up here, Lodi digs, I think I do. Swift had a style, technique, but he wasn’t creative. He could never dig the original sounds. That’s why he stole them….Sounds, music, riffs. Maybe a guys got a right to pick a pocket or steal a safe, I make no judgments, but swing with somebody else’s talent, and that’s what Swift did. My music, Lodi’s music, anybody who had it…. Streetcar Jones from Peter Gunn.

This is a very cool quote from an episode of Peter Gunn called Streetcar Jones. I can relate to what he’s saying. It’s true of all music. As musicians we are forever borrowing riffs from other players, expanding on them until they become something of our own style, they become our own riffs. If you learn someone else’s riffs and never learn to expand and make them something new, something uniquely your own, you never grow. Music should be a constant growing experience, you should always learn something new, something you never knew about the core of being a musician. Music should be static, not stagnant, ever expanding and increasing with time and space.  

Peacock Presence

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Peacock Presence

For some reason I keep running into peacocks. It seems that every time I turn around some image of a peacock is crossing my path. It started a few days ago when I won a peacock necklace. Then when I went shopping at The World Market I ran into a peacock ring that I just had to have. Later that same night I went shopping for a journal for my daughter and guess what? You guessed it, I found her a journal that had peacock feathers imprinted on it. These are just a few of the instances, everywhere I go I keep seeing peacocks, peacock feathers and representations of peacocks. I think Buddha is trying to tell me something, and I think it is something very positive in relation to my sobriety. I’m still trying to understand the significance and since it seems to be a recurring theme in my life I’m quite certain there is an underlying positive message. Not so very long ago I kept running into crows, not just a couple, not even just a few, but whole murders of crows, and at that time I was in a very dark place. I never take messages from nature for granted and I firmly believe that the peacock message is meant for me to gain some better understanding of the nature of my new found state in my path to nirvana. 

From “The wheel of Sharp Weapons”, written by Dharmaraksita

In jungles of poisonous plants strut the peacocks,

Through medicine gardens of beauty lie near.

The masses of peacocks do not find gardens pleasant,

But thrive on the essence of poisonous plants,

In similar fashion the brave bodhisattvas

Remain in the jungle of worlds concern.

No matter how joyful this world pleasure garden,

These brave ones are never attracted to pleasures,

But thrive in the jungle of suffering and pain.


 The Symbolism of peacocks in Buddhism

 In buddhism they symbolize wisdom.

Peacocks are said to have the ability of eating poisonous plants without being affected by them. Because of that, they are synonimous with the great bodhisattvas. A bodhisattva is able to take delusions as the path toward liberation and transform the poisonous mind of ignorance, desire and hatred [moha, raga, dvesa] into the thought of enlightenment or bodhicitta, which opens colourfully like the peacocks’ tail. 

The mind of the sentient beings in this world is like a thick forest of desire and hatred. The pleasures and material possessions are like a beautiful medicinal garden. The brave-minded bodhisattvas, because of having realised the shortcomings of samsara, are not atracted to samsaric pleasures, just as the peacocks are not attracted to medicinal plants. The bodhisattvas, having the attitude of wishing only to work for sentient beings and not desiring any happiness for themselves, can utilise the poisonous thoughts of ignorance, desire, hatred and so forth in order to accomplish the works for sentient beings.

By eating poison, the peacocks’ body becomes healthy and beautiful. He is adorned with five feathers on the head, which symbolize the five paths of the boddhisattva and the attainment of the five Buddha families. They have beautiful colours, like blue, red, green and please other beings just by being seen. Similarly, any body who sees a bodhisattva receives great happiness in his mind. The peacock’s eating habits of eating poisonous plants do not cause harm to other beings. Similarly the bodhisattvas don’t give the slightest harm to any other sentient beings. By eating poison the colours of his feathers become bright and his body healthy. Similarly, by taking all problems and suffering upon themselves, the bodhisattvas quickly purify the mental blocks and develop their mind quickly, attaining higher and higher realization. Particularly peacocks symbolize the transmutting of desire into the path of liberation. Therefore, they are the vehicle of Buddha amitabha, who represents desire and attachment transmuted into the Wisdom of Discriminating Awareness.

Back To School

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Back To School

“If you get up one more time than you fall, you will make it through.” -Chinese Proverb

I am finally making an effort to return to college after a long hiatus. It feels really good to me to finally be getting back to the books to finish a degree that I should have had a long time ago. Being back in school I am reminded of the work that is involved and I am reminded of how hard I have to work. I have done very well in school in the past and now I only hope that I haven’t been away from academia so long that I have forgotten how to study, how to write proper papers and how to put the extra effort out there. Sometimes it feels a little overwhelming! I am reminded of the time I went tubing behind a boat and nearly drowned, but I finally let go of the inner tube and was alright. School can be a little like that, I just need to relax and let go a little and it will come to me.

The Value of True Friendship

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The Value of True Friendship

  • “Thus nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendship.” - Cicero

In my life I have met a lot of good people and I have been fortunate to make a great many friends. Through the years, as I have grown, I have discovered that my truest friends, the people I hold and treasure closest to my heart, can be counted on both hands. Some have been lovers and I cherish those friendships because we were able to share something special without losing sight of the shore, we stayed true to our course and have stayed friends through these long years. Although we may no longer share that intimacy we share a knowledge that is even deeper.  I have found, recently, that there is one friend I kept at bay…little knowing that all along he knew the deepest part of my core. It was only when I rediscovered that friendship that I came to realize what a very special person he is. He seems to know me better than I even know myself…is able to help me express those fears that are deepest inside of me and help me to raise them to the surface to be examined in a light where they can be seen. It’s a level of intimacy in a friendship that is so precious. A true friend is one that helps you face your deepest fears and stands beside you all the way.

A Love of Learning

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A Love of Learning

“I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.” Bruce Lee

I love to learn! I find myself always searching out new information on the things I am passionate about, whether it be music, art, animals,nature or the people I know and those I have just met. The fact of the matter is this: you can NEVER have enough knowledge and once you think you know everything about a subject you have stopped growing as a person. There are so many things in this world to learn about, after 25 years I am still learning how to strum a guitar correctly. In 41 years I am still learning how to create new sounds with my voice, better and stronger sounds that give more meaning to the song. In 41 years I am still learning who I am as a person and what it means to be human. Next to music learning is my first love and I will always be a seeker for the understanding of the nature and beauty of the world around me.