In case anyone knows of musicians in the Boston area, I’m putting together a band…
Bodhisattva Big Band and we’re looking for musicians and performers in the Boston area.
The idea is to have tribal/healing/entertaining/globally awesome music and performance that will be similar to a drum circle but will incorporate whatever musicians come our way. We’re seeking drums like djembes, bongos, tablas etc., anybody who wants to shake a rattle, bang a gong, rock some castanets, play some didgeridoo, flute, violin, ouds an so on. Also, anyone who wants to free their bodies by dancing, moving, and singing.
Rehearsals will be structured but informal and we will do covers like Beatles, Marley, Peter Gabriel but will also create our own music as well.
We are energy beings and we’re filled with electrical vibrations which in turn means that we have plenty of positive and negative ions coursing through our body systems. In a more philosophical sense, we have positive and negative emotional and spiritual energy. We can either invite the good energy into our lives or attract the dark stuff. While it’s not always our decision whether darkness enters our lives, we can choose how we cope with it and how to shield ourselves. Yup, it’s all around but you don’t have to give into it.
Cultivating the positive energy takes work and determination. Ironically, it’s easier to give in and be cynical and pessimistic about how difficult life is and be overwhelmed by the negatives of life. Once you do this, you set up a pattern of inviting in adverse energy into your life which includes negative people.
Personally, I like to work hard and everyday, I ponder how fortunate I am to be healthy and surrounded by love. I put up a shield when I feel like any dark souls are trying to draw my energy. If my depression comes a knockin’, I put in extra effort to stay in the light and have my friends and/or family around. when my dark nights visit me. Of course, I also try to meditate more too.
We have choices about our energetics and the more we get the positive ions flowing, the more we’ll attract the same.
I like to surround myself with the positive energy of nature. The banyan trees in Florida always rejuvenate me..
Many people are living their lives expecting to eventually enter the gates of heaven, paradise or reach Nirvana but only some of them realize that these places already exist in our worlds. Now I’m not saying that there isn’t some beautiful place at the end of our lives that we arrive at but I’m still a skeptical about it. What I’m saying is that there is so much more paradise in our lives that can lie outside of our everyday awareness. I find mine in simple moments like meditating, hiking, eating a grand meal, swimming or just being with people who I love.
It’s really easy to find simple Nirvana in your lives. You just have to open your awareness and you’ll find them more and more.
The painful thing is that when we buy into disapproval, we are practicing disapproval. When we buy into harshness, we are practicing harshness. The more we do it, the stronger these qualities become. How sad it is that we become so expert at causing harm to ourselves and others. The trick then is to practice gentleness and letting go. We can learn to meet whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal.
- Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times
As I may have mentioned before, I have a chronic condition that I’ve contended with for over half of my life. It’s called bipolar disorder and I try to look at less as a disease and more as a difficult neurotransmitter challenge. The biggest question I get from people who are unfamiliar with the condition is: “Aren’t we all bipolar?”. To some degree, yes. In this bloody complex and oft times difficult world, it’s hard not to get beaten down by all the stresses out there and in turn get cranked up when things are going splendidly. Sure, it’s easy to get depressed about the state of world affairs but to flip around and hit a manic high tends to be much less common.
For those of you not familiar with mania or hypomania, just imagine downing 10 cups of coffee, having your birthday as a kid and the excitement that ensues the night before knowing that you’re going to have a slew of presents and cake. When I was a kid, insomnia would hit me the night before but it was only temporary. Now multiply this feeling by weeks or sometimes months without an obvious precipitating event, toss in some insomnia and constant exuberance and voila, you have one of my hypomanic periods of my life.
My hypomania can be really fun for a while. I tend to be the life of all the parties that I attend and a social dragonfly wherever I go. Basically, I’m on happy fire and I don’t want anything to bring me down off of it (though my family would have otherwise). I tend to call them at odd hours but for my brother in Spain, calling him at 3am my time is late morning for him so he find’s it entertaining but clearly knows that I’ve entered the hypomania zone. I’ve learned not to torture my mom in the early morning but when I call her during the day and blather on incessantly about my life plans, some grandiose and others somewhat realistic, she stays calm and bears with me.
The big downside to the power of the hypomania is that when my insomnia starts to catch up, I can get irritable and easily agitated by small things. I also tend to drive a bit recklessly and want to drink more and spend money that I don’t have. There isn’t any relaxation with the hypomanic state and my stress levels can be tipped towards anxiety and constant tension even when I’m happy and high on life. (to be continued)
Every day, I think about the fragility of my life and those around me that I love. I cherish every moment of contact with my family and friends whether it’s a Facebook chat, an email, phone call or best of all spending old-fashioned, 3-D moments in realtime with them. Truly, I don’t sweat the small stuff with people that I love and I only surround myself with people who can enrich my life. I can no longer make time for the psychic drainers.
I have no doubt that the more we focus on the impermanence in our worlds, the happier we can be. If we can help to convey this to people who do stress and suffer more than they should, we can in turn make this world a better place. So, I challenge you dear readers to spread the word. Help people realize that life is difficult but once you can shift your perspectives and live the impermanent dream we’ll all be better off.
one of the ultimate free souls. photo from store in Sarasota.
For many years as a kid and young adult, I kept my differences hidden in the proverbial closet. I followed a different drummer (mostly metal skin bashers) and pursued activities like ghost hunting in my friends’ old Victorian houses, keeping a worm farm, drawing weapons of war and superheroes, reading plenty of sci-fi, horror books and comics and being a KISSaholic. Not much has changed except that my illustrations are more creative, I burnt out on sci-fi book and comics and my musical tastes have expanded greatly.
When I finally got to American University, I started to become more comfortable with exposing my uniqueness. I made more friends who were also of the same ilk an we reveled in our differentness. As a psych major, I was a minority amongst the many international studies and political science majors. I worked at the school newspaper as a music and movie writer covering metal and extreme music shows and reviewing horror and sci-fi movies with the occasional drama thrown in for good measure.
Now, as a Buddhist with a general love of open spirituality and an artist and musician, I’m still in the minority and I’m happy about it. I realize that being a unique person has opened up many opportunities for me and enabled me to meet so many great people who are also free spirits.
So to all you dear readers out there, I say to you find what makes you different and revel in that. We are all unique but sometimes it takes more effort to get out of the comfort zones that can bind us. Pursue the activities that make you feel liberated. Spend time with the other free spirits out there. Meet new and interesting people. And, if you’re already doing this keep moving forward and help those who need to be liberated from the shackles of society.
I posted before about a theoretical neurotransmitter that I made-up. I know what you’re thinking, “Paul, you’re not a neuroscientist and you don’t know anything about finding neurotransmitters in the brain!”. True, I’m not but I like to play one on the internet.
But not-so-seriously, I’ve changed the name of my new “discovery” to laffamine. The more you indulge in comedy and humor in your life, the more you’ll increase the rate of laffamine flow in your brain.
Check out Jim Gaffigan and see if you can up your laffamine…