Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wandering in The Post-Love Wasteland; Epilogue.

As 2009 comes to a conclusion, I once again, and for the final time, address the end of the ‘60s.

Forty years ago, life was tumultuous and yet as seen from today’s perspective, it seemed simpler. Of course, I was much younger and to a person in the height of middle age, adolescent life always seems simpler.

I cannot stress enough that perspective is also important. I know many people who look back on their adolescence with loathing and treasure their middle years.

However, for me the life I had forty years ago was wonderful. Looking back upon it, I see what my parents meant when they told me I was living the best years of my life.

Real life began to seep in soon after that. In 1970, U.S. soldiers opened fire on a group of Viet Nam war protesters at Kent State University in Ohio, killing four. Neil Young was so angered by this news that he wrote “Ohio” to mark the occasion and express his rage.

It was in the ‘70s that I also began to lose friends and school mates to accidents... car accidents, drowning, and a couple of unexplained deaths left us all shaken. My father’s passing in 1976 at the age of fifty four was a major shock to me and the marriages and divorces most of my friends experienced brought the reality of adult life to the fore.

We’ve all grown; experienced joy and suffering, had triumphs and failures, gains and losses. In the end we will no doubt find that our generation is structurally no different than any other generation at any other time in history. From my own perspective, that step where I sat in 1967 when I heard the declaration labeling it “The Summer of Love” was rebuilt and now faces another direction. Sitting there doesn’t feel the same facing the street instead of the yard. The trees are now much taller, blocking my view of the buildings that remain; many of the older ones having been torn down in the years that have passed. In fact the step, along with the house it is attached to will soon be on the market to be sold. After many years as a struggling and sometimes successful musician, I am once again working a day job, and getting up in the morning is so completely opposite to going to bed then.

Yet, I do not despair, for I have learned SO much along the way and what I have learned is far more valuable than the childhood life that I can select to remember only in the fondest and best ways. I have chosen to not remember easily the angst of adolescence or the not so great experiences of my early adult life. In the same way, in years to come, the difficulties I experience today will soften and I will remember these days fondly as I compare the perceived difficulties of being a senior citizen with the relative ease of middle age.

~Still Wandering....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wandering in Social Networks.

Sometimes, as I wait for my ride to the office, I have random thoughts that seem to come from nowhere. Occasionally these thoughts go somewhere that seems to make sense. Such is the case of my Friday morning musings.

One of my duties at work is to maintain the company's Twitter site. (For those of you who use twitter, we're loscabossticks) I have frequently wondered exactly what Twitter was and how it could help our business. After all,drummers don't go on Twitter to buy sticks, nor do they get listings of the retailers or manufacturers there.

For years there have been "Social Networking Sites;" Hi-5, My Space, Facebook... They seemed to me to be all silly and a sort of waste of time. But as I stood in the cool morning air Friday morning, something else became apparent to me. They're online hugs!

We've all become so wrapped up in our work schedules, our families, the distance we all live from our friends, and our fear of being outside our homes, that online social networking sites have become our preferred method of staying in touch.

I myself have many friends I no longer see because I have moved since I last saw them, but I've reconnected with them through Facebook. In some cases, I've communicated with a friend through Facebook more than I did when we lived in the same town.

The most important fact though, is that we manage to stay in touch. Occasionally, we manage to get together in person and have a coffee or take a bike ride together.

While it's preferable to meet face to face, and share friendship in person, if that's unavailable, take advantage of the technology and share some online hugs with the people you care about.

Hugs everyone!

~Still Wandering...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wandering Along

Much has happened since my last post. I have been working full time at Los Cabos Drumsticks since the 7th of September. This has all been a great deal of adjustment on so many levels... Besides the new job, there are new hours, (I start work at 8:00 A.M. As a musician, I used to go to bed at 3:30 - 4:00 A.M.) a new address, new lifestyle, and new shopping habits. It has left me with less time with which to do certain things like maintain this blog. Monday night, I was frustrated and angry with all the things I felt I had to accomplish before I went to bed. But here it is Wednesday and some (most) of those things are still undone, and no one has died or been badly mutilated as a result. So the things of great importance are not so important in the end.

In the weeks since I have moved to Fredericton, I have had many ideas for blog entries, and today, I can think of none of them. That is not to say that they weren't important or meaningful, but to say that I seem to have reached a level of contentment where I don't seem to have to say anything about anything. I do not look forward to the cold weather we will soon be experiencing, but being here, closer to my family will more than compensate for any discomfort I may be forced to endure.

~Still Wandering...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wandering Into a New Experience

For several weeks now I have been distracted, preoccupied, and suffering….

Recently, I have been working part time for a Drumstick manufacturing firm, Los Cabos Drumsticks of New Brunswick Canada. I have been writing press releases and product descriptions as well as feature articles on some of the artists since May, but management have decided I will be able to do more if I am in the facility full time. Once negotiations began and were in progress my suffering began. The relative uncertainty left me nervous, anxious and stressed for about three weeks.

It wasn’t really the possibility of moving that caused this suffering. It wasn’t the prospect of a new job. It wasn’t even the thought of looking for an apartment and all that is involved in that.

No, what caused my suffering was my EXPECTATIONS!

It began with curiosity… IF I get this job, where can I live? Kijiji produced hundreds of possibilities; many of which were VERY suitable. As I explored further, I began to think I should apply (since most have online application forms) before the best ones were taken up by University students. Yet, I dared not apply in case I was accepted and had no job (at least nothing definite) to back it up. So, in my mind, I created attachment to outcome. It suddenly became VERY important that I be near the phone in case my prospective employer called with the news I was waiting to hear. Then I became attached to THAT outcome too! Before long, I had created several attachments to which I clung tenaciously! “If only I knew for certain…” I’d say to a friend. I began having nightmares that woke me in the night. My sleep interrupted, my mind began playing tricks on me and I became even more attached to the desired outcome.

And on the morning of July 30 2009, I got the phone call I had been so attached to. I start work on September 7th.

Did my anxiety and stress cause the job to materialize? I doubt it. Was my attachment to outcome in any helpful or useful? Not at all! What changed when my employer called? Was it my address? No, not yet… Was it my financial status? Again, not yet…. What changed was my THOUGHTS!

The Buddha said that all suffering is created by our thinking and this month I have proven that to be true. My thoughts created the conditions for doubt, fear, anxiety, and stress to exist. A simple phone call created the conditions for doubt, fear, anxiety, and stress to disappear! And all that changed, really, were my thoughts.

The human mind is an amazing bit of technology… Make sure that when you use it, you use it correctly… This is the meaning of “Right mindfulness” as taught by the Buddha in the Noble Eightfold Path.

~Still Wandering...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wandering Into a Quieter Place

We live in a noisy society. Several years ago, I was visiting friends and looking for employment in the Halifax/Dartmouth region of Nova Scotia. One day, I boarded a bus into downtown Halifax and was taken with the large number of people who were using Personal Listening Devices… Walkmans, Discmans, MP-3 Players, over half the passengers were listening to some form of PLD. I was struck with the thought that this further served to isolate people from one another. Then as the bus began to move, I understood. The sounds of the engine, the rattling of the seats, a shriek from a child… I began to wish I had one too!

Of course, I’ve had a PLD since the early days of the Walkman. Back then, I listened to popular music of the time, The Police, The Doobie Brothers, Karla Bonoff, etc, but as time has progressed, my musical tastes have changed. Today, I listen to more “World” and “New Age” music as a way of escaping the banal drivel I hear on commercial radio.

But as I think back to that crowded bus, I think just how much I would have enjoyed one of the CDs that are available, with just some nature sounds. Many recordings exist today of the natural world. One can purchase CDs of the sounds of the ocean, rain, rivers, animal sounds such as loons, whales, or wolves. These are particularly enjoyable amid the urban clatter. It’s refreshing to be in a crowd of noisy school children and hear wolves howling in a windstorm… a sound I think I would prefer any day. There also exist CDs of nature with “mood” music mixed in. In fact, as I write this, I’m listening to one. Some of these are very effective in creating a meditative mood or relieving stress after a hectic day. The beauty of the PLD of course, is that it gives everyone the freedom to hear one’s own personal choice of music without forcing it upon others the way the “boom boxes” of an earlier time did.

However, the one thing that sounds best to me is real nature itself. I become who I think I was meant to be when I’m alone in the woods on a trail or perhaps canoeing on a quiet lake. I can hear only the sounds of the birds, insects and occasionally a fox or coyote, and my footsteps or the sound of my paddle gurgling in the water. I highly recommend that everyone get out and go camping or hiking in the wilderness. Include some swimming, canoeing or kayaking if possible. Get in touch with your quiet inner self. It will add years to your life.

~Still Wandering…

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wandering Into a Happier Time...

The last entry was one of great sadness, of the death of a friend. This one is of great Joy and Happiness. In slightly over two weeks, my best friend is getting married.

I have known Michael since around 1991 or 1992. He was a student of the piano teacher who was teaching in the same building I was. On occasion, I would drop in to use the piano teacher's photocopier and eventually met most of his students. One evening, I recognized Mike at a coffee shop and sat with him for a coffee and cigarette. A couple of years later, Mike was in University and he and his classmates would all be at the coffee shop during the evenings when I'd stop in on my way home from teaching.

Mike's interests were far beyond the 'normal' university student, and his maturity, knowledge and wisdom exceeded even most of his professors! Having many of the same interests, our friendship deepened, even though I am closer in age to his parents.

From 1994 to 1999 we were almost always off hiking, camping, or chilling in a coffee shop together. In '97, he became musical director for the University's theatrical production of "The Wizard of Oz" and asked me to play drums in the band. I know now what a big step that was for him. I had been a 'professional' musician since he was an infant and he hadn't yet begun to play professionally. I accepted since I had been mostly teaching for a number of years and thought it would be interesting to perform again. The added bonus of being beneath the stage and therefore out of sight from the audience made it even more fun. That summer we worked together in a dinner theater production that lasted three months total, rehearsals included. Our afternoon coffees at a local cafe' kept us both sane.

In 1998, I was asked to work in a local band with national aspirations, and when asked if I knew a piano player, quickly suggested Mike.

Mike and I worked well together onstage and spent much time together exploring the towns in which we were playing. After one rather demanding tour in the summer of 1999, Mike began to think of returning to University to continue his education and by the beginning of the year 2000, he had moved to Ottawa and began studying as well as working as a choir director and sales manager in a music store.

I did not see Mike much after that. We kept in touch via e-mail and whenever he was home for a visit in the summer, we'd get together and spend a few hours, maybe even a couple of days together.

Then, one magical beautiful day he introduced me to Claire. She was more lovely than an ocean sunrise, more radiant than the Northern Lights in autumn, and oh, her smile!

And HIS smile!

My dearest friend had found his true love. Not many years passed until one day he arrived at my door to spend some time. The lovely Claire had chosen to stay with his parents, to allow two old friends some time alone. In my back yard with our coffee, he turned serious and said, almost reverently,

"Jones, I'm going to ask Claire to marry me."

I wept.

I had seen Mike through at least four relationships, maybe more, since we'd met. Some were disastrous, others just didn't work out. But this relationship... This time it was special. I knew when I met Claire that she, if anyone, would be the one to bring my friend Ultimate Happiness.

Michael and Claire will be married in her hometown, Paris France, on May the 16th 2009. I will be unable to attend as time and budget have both conspired to keep me in Canada. However, my heart will be with them both as they openly and publicly state their commitment to share their lives together forever.

Michael and Claire, you are two very wonderful people who are both VERY important to me. Look after each other, and come visit when you're back in this part of the world.

I love you both.

Still wandering...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wandering into Loss.

Just a few hours ago, I got the news that an old friend and band-mate has passed away.

How can I put four years of our mutual lives into words? We shared much more than a stage, hotel rooms, and bad restaurant food.

There were the endless hours of traveling from gig to gig, often through the night. Stephen made those endless drives bearable with his stories and jokes.

Stephen’s love of the sea was well documented, not only in his Coast Guard record, but in song as well. “Silver Sea” on the Garrison Brothers ‘Songs and Stories’ album was testament to this. Once when on tour in Southern Ontario, we found ourselves on the banks of the Welland Canal as a huge ship was passing through. Stephen stood silently, watching. Then, without changing expression, he asked, “You know how most young men hear the train whistle and get the urge to jump aboard?” He nodded to the ship. “That’s my train.”

As in all situations where many personalities are involved, the Garrison Brothers had their share of conflicts. Stephen was the one we all turned to for guidance and support. His life experience made him capable of wise council and he was able to quickly defuse a troubled situation.

Stephen could see the humour and often the absurdity in every situation. Just as things began to go wrong, there would be a chuckle from Stephen and within a minute he’d have us all laughing and adding our own jokes. The hours, and the miles, passed quickly when Stephen was around. At social gatherings, Stephen was a prolific storyteller, silencing the whole room with his tales. We were never able to tell if his stories were true or fabricated, but always he told them with the conviction of reality.

But it was onstage where Stephen really shone; not as a bass player or singer (although he had his moments of glory) but as the band’s spokesperson. Stephen was comfortable in front of an audience, and could calmly tell a joke while a guitar player changed a broken string or a sound tech tracked down a faulty cable. Stephen took on the role of “MC” with ease, introducing the upcoming song, often with the history of its origin and some insight of the author’s thoughts. He never missed an opportunity to poke fun at his bandmates, and hecklers in the audience had no chance against his sharp tongue and razor-sharp wit.

In the twenty-five years since we worked together, I have thought of Stephen often. I have missed him in life as much as I shall miss him in death. Stephen’s number one priority was first and foremost to see that the audience was entertained. He was well loved and will be greatly missed.

Rest in Peace Stephen, dear friend.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wandering into Zen-like silence

There is a peaceful magic to the late night; when the voice of the world is hushed to a whisper… After the bars have closed, the revelers have gone to their homes, the homeless have found their nightly sanctuary, the cars with their loud stereo systems and exhaust fumes are parked until tomorrow, when the rural countrysides and communities are silent…

It’s a certain Zen-like quality I experience at such times; I can hear no other sounds but my breathing, see nothing but the streetlights and perhaps the taillights of a solitary car off in the distance. If I am listening to music, it’s usually light classical or smooth Jazz, played very low, barely audible. This is the time I love to meditate.

When I was still actively playing music for a living, it was at this magic Zen time that I would be returning from the performance, often alone. I would invariably seek silence since I’d had enough noise pollution at the show. The headlights on the road, and the dash lights in my vehicle would sometimes be the only illumination for miles… On a clear night, I’d find a straight stretch of road and stop, shut off the lights and engine, and get out and watch the stars in the sky. With no streetlights to interfere, the stars were bright enough to see the time on my watch, and oh, the multitudes of them I could see! In cities and even small communities, the man-made lights overpower the stars and it’s easy to forget they are there in such profusion. Not so in the dark, quiet places of our world. The stars reclaim their rightful place as Heaven’s sentries. Occasionally, the Northern Lights would dance among their Heavenly companions.

I remember once, working on a recording project in a rural studio. As the producer, engineer and I stepped from the building into the night air after completing the day’s tasks, we all looked upward. It was late autumn and the night was crisp and cool, the sky seemingly darker and the stars seemingly brighter than normal. Looking upward, the engineer commented on the surrealness of it all. He pensively commented that it seemed magical to him, and that he often wondered what our early ancestors must have thought as they looked skyward. I replied that they probably had the same thoughts we were having at that moment, and that those stars had witnessed all that had come before us, and will witness all that will come after us.

Still, silent, unconcerned, non-judgmental… The stars look down upon us and give us hope: hope that someday we will look back from a quiet planet, a planet without wars, hatred, fear, and greed. A planet that has come to terms with itself and its near insignificance in the vast gulf of space.

We are all one…

~Still Wandering…

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wandering In The Post Love Wasteland Part III

Following the 'Summer of Love,' and the 'Spring of Death,' 1969 was the triumphant apex of the Hippie generation. By this time, the war in Viet Nam had reached an all-time low in the popularity ratings, Richard Nixon was showing his true colours, Canada was enthralled with Trudeaumania, and the Beatles announced their break-up.

The summer saw hippies, flower children, and many others all heading to upstate New York, in August to attend a 3 day celebration of music and love on a farm owned by Max Yasgur. The event was to become known as "Woodstock," because it was originally scheduled to happen in that town, near the rehearsal home of The Band, formerly Bob Dylan's back-up musicians. Woodstock was the most epitomizing event of the '60s... 500,000 people showed up and tuned in together... Dropping acid, smoking marijuana, grooving to the sounds of their favourite bands and single artists, as well as many new acts. Crosby, Stills and Nash made their second public appearance at Woodstock.
Despite the over-crowding, bad weather,traffic jams, and in some cases, claustrophobia, the event was unparalleled. There were no fights, no stabbings, shootings, nor vandalism. Only two deaths were reported.... One reported drug overdose, and one as a result of one of the clean-up tractors running over a young man who was sleeping on the ground, muddy and inside a dirty sleeping bag. There were also a couple of births... Undoubtedly there were MANY births a few months later! :-)

For me, 1969 was the beginning of my musical career and a time when the music I loved was expressing itself in a way my senses could not even begin to comprehend. Led Zeppelin, Cream, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and oh, so many more, many of whom had appeared at Woodstock were also flooding the radio waves with their fiery assault on the world. I listened enraptured as song after song left me weak and speechless with its spell. It was to be several years before I could begin to realize how pivotal this time really was. But I spent that year in the greatest of euphoria. I had my music, my freedom (in a relative sense) and my youth was still unspent. I can remember the smells of the rural countryside, feel the heat of a summer sun, I can still see the smiles on the faces of my friends as we gathered at the local hang-outs or swimming holes. The world had yet to play its jokes on us or to deal its tragic cards to those who played a little too recklessly.

In my opinion, 1969 was the greatest year of my life. I was fourteen years old; ready to fall in love and to experience the rest of my life from an adult perspective. High school was just a year away as that summer ended and with it, real life was about to close in and teach us all some very nasty lessons.

~Still Wandering...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wandering Into a Dream.

On Tuesday, March 24 2009, music - and the world - lost a legend, and a gentleman. A gentle man. Uriel Jones, Motown drummer, member of the legendary "Funk Brothers" died in Michigan from complications of a heart attack suffered a month ago. He was 74. In his honour, I decided to watch the 2003 DVD, "Standing in The Shadows of Motown." As I watched, and listened to the music, which I refer to as "the soundtrack of my life, I felt all the emotions that the memory of those songs recalled. As a boy, I heard Diana Ross and the Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Smoky Robinson and The Miracles. As a teen I heard Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations all on the Motown label, all backed by the same remarkable musicians.

Growing up, these songs, along with songs by The Beatles, The Hollies, The Dave Clark Five and many, many more inspired me to pursue a career in music. I practiced and played along with their records, the music feeling safe and comforting. Years later I was able to play music with some friends in High School and eventually I began touring and performing all over Canada, the U.S. Australia, and New Zealand. What experiences and joy I experienced... I also got to know the not-so-nice side of all things musical; the unending traveling, the fighting, the bad food, illness, and lonliness which in turn led to drug and alcohol abuse, self-destructive behaviour, and finally alienation.

Somewhere along the way, music began to represent not joy and elation that I felt listening to the radio in my room as a youth, but something that led to grief, sorrow, and the urge to just leave it all behind. In short, my dream became a nightmare.

There is an old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it," which seems to accurately sum up my musical career. I got it all right, and as I look back on it, I realize that the dream looks much different from behind, that is to say, the memory is much different from the anticipated future.

Yet, as I listened to such songs as "What Becomes of The Broken Hearted," "I Heard it Through The Grapevine," "Heat Wave," and others, I once again felt that dream awaken, and I began to, like that boy of so long ago, wish I could one day grow up to play music like that. There was great soul in those songs.

I met Uriel a few years ago when he came to Cape Breton as part of the Cape Breton International Drum Festival. About a year and a half later he returned to participate in an event to kick off the upcoming Festival. I got to speak with him briefly, share some memories, and thank him for all those great hits that meant so much to me and inspired me. In his humble, almost embarrassed way, he thanked me and shook my hand. We had our picture taken together and said goodnight. But the boy got to meet the drummer, the backbeat to the soundtrack of his life. How cool is that!??

Rest in Peace Uriel. Rest in FUNK!

~Still Wandering...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wandering into perseveration... Sort of.

Finally! Some time to myself! I've been as busy as a one-armed painter with a bad itch for a few weeks now and it's time I took some time for MYSELF! It's also good to note that the local geography is experiencing symptoms of spring! That makes me feel better.

I sometimes wonder if the Universe or "That Which we Call God" doesn't have some perverse sense of humour... I keep getting pushed back into activities and situations I have been trying to leave behind in my life. I have been a musician since 1969, making this my fortieth year. I have been trying to "retire" from music for a number of years and I keep getting asked to perform. The same goes for teaching music. No matter how often I try to stop doing that, I keep getting asked to teach. Of course, the fact that I need to earn a living does not help; If I were independently wealthy I could afford to not play or teach music any more and I could be free to "follow my Bliss" to quote Joseph Campbell. Alas, that doesn't seem to be the case at this time in my life.

This brings me to a point. The word I used in the title, "Perseveration" is described as, "the pathological, persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act, often associated with brain damage or schizophrenia." So is continually ending up in the same situation a form of perseveration? Can I be subconsciously putting myself into repeated behaviours due to some mental disorder? Am I really the architect of my own grief? Or are these things happening simply because people know I do (or have done) what they require doing? I have often thought I am cast in a role the world will not allow me to break out of. Call it typecasting if you will... But seriously, I have become known as a good musician and I think people expect me to WANT to play, and they expect me to be a good teacher because I have been a successful player. But after forty years of it, am I not allowed to want something else for myself? Am I not allowed to go on an extended vacation to another location? Must I always be in beer parlours and concert halls with dressing rooms that smell of beer and doobies? (Spell check underlined the word doobies, and suggested boobies... That might be nice. LOL) Perhaps in the end I keep returning to what I know best because I don't know too much else. Let's just hope I'm not perseverating!

~Still wandering...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wandering into Like, ... Total Awesomeness, Dude!

Originally posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, our words have great meaning. Words cause vibration through sound, but the sounds they produce also cause vibrations of a different kind.

When we say certain words, their meaning is released into the Universe in vibratory energy. As this energy travels, its meaning is manifested and brought back to us in that manifestation.

However, when we over-use words, particularly very descriptive words, they begin to weaken in meaning. Today, everything is “awesome.” But is it? Is everything we see or experience really worthy of Awe? Awe, for those of you who don’t know, is described in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “inspiring a feeling of reverence, fear and wonder.” So can a skateboard or a guitar really inspire feelings of reverence, fear and wonder? Wonder, perhaps, but I doubt reverence and/or fear apply.

Using words to create irony is nothing new, but again, when overused, they begin to take on their original meaning. Like Awesome, wicked is one of these over-used words. Wicked means “evil or morally bad,” but used in an ironic manner it would mean “great.” But, again, it is over-used and becoming meaningless both as irony and in its original meaning.

The teachings of Buddhism, ask that we practice Right Speech, which means to abstain from false speech, especially avoiding lies and deceitful speech. We are asked to abstain from slanderous speech and to not use words maliciously against others, and to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others. Further, we are asked to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth.

It is also my opinion that we should reserve some words for “special occasions,” times when they will have the greatest effect. Those of you who know me personally know I spent many years playing music in a number of bands. Musicians are not the greatest at displaying discretion in their speech. What I mean by that is that I have a vocabulary that would cause a sailor to blush. While I am pursuing a more spiritual path in life, I still find my language is that of a musician. Out of habit and non-mindfulness, I find myself using words that create negative vibrations in the universe. Using such words in everyday speech gives them no meaning.

But I’m not ready to stop calling my best friend the “biggest f#*%ing pile of Ugly I ever saw.” If I were to avoid such speech with him, he’d most likely have me visit a hospital to make sure I’m not ill!

~Still Wandering...

Wandering in Grateful Amazement

Originally posted Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In the 2004 film, What the #$*! Do We Know!?, there is a scene where the female lead, Amanda, is waiting for a subway train. While waiting, she sees a demonstration of the work of Japanese Doctor Masaru Emoto who has had remarkable findings working with simple water. Dr. Emoto explains that by simply adding written words to the outside of a water container, we can change the crystalline structure of the water within. Now, we've all been told to be careful what we say, that our words have consequences, but this was a new spin on that. In the 2006 book and film The Secret, the statement "Thoughts become Things." is made more than once. As I began to assimilate this information and put those ideas together in my mind, I reached a disturbing conclusion. If water can be turned black and vile by simply writing "I hate you" on the bottle, and if thoughts can indeed become real things, then what we think and say can seriously affect our health and state of being! Another well-known doctor, Bernie Siegel, has been saying that for over thirty years. Dr. Siegel has had remarkable success in treating cancer patients with nothing more than their thoughts. Then it occurred to me... No wonder there are so many people with serious illnesses in western society. We are in a constant state of agitation, bombarded by negative images from our televisions on networks such as CNN, negative news on the radio, negative topics in our conversations and the music we listen to, all of which is happening as we eat our meals and drink our water/milk/tea/coffee/whatever. We are literally ingesting negativity into our bodies with our meals! The Secret also mentions "an attitude of gratitude"... of mentally giving thanks for what we have, even if it's not yet all we want. So why not adopt an attitude of gratitude (a sincere one) with our food and water? Perhaps we can change the molecular structure to something more positive and beneficial. Maybe in this way we can reduce the amount of sickness in our bodies and minds. Once that is done, it will be easy to bring peace to our planet and learn to love one another instead of always starting wars to kill each other.

~Still Wandering...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wandering In The Post Love Wasteland Part II

(Originaly posted August 30, 2007)

1968, like a middle child, rests uncomfortably between the two greatest years of the most wonderful time of my life.

If 1967 was the summer of love, 1968 was the spring of death. Beginning with the assassination of Civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Junior in April, the horror continued with the slaying of Robert Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, exactly two months after Dr King was killed.

When I try to explain these events to my younger friends like Saltwater Tibs and the ever lovely Susie Chambers, words fail me. I know they have their own tortures to deal with in their own ways, but I don't think they can ever grasp what it was like to know that people, including young people their age, were being killed for having an opinion that was contrary to that of the "Establishment." Not in Communist Russia, nor Red China, but in North America.

I recently wandered back to that front step where I sat in 1967, listening to my pocket radio. As I sat there, it was easy to remember the way it felt that evening forty years ago... I could once again hear the music that was popular at that time, thanks to a new device known as an MP-3 player. :-) I could also feel optimistic again. For a moment I allowed myself to believe that love and peace could one day be a reality. While I cannot condone war, I can remember those who died to bring attention to the atrocities that war brings. Martin and Bobbie, your message got through, you will not be forgotten.

~Still Wandering...

Wandering in The Post Love Wasteland.

(Originally posted July 19, 2007)

* When I originally posted this, I was in a very dark time of my life. I had begun to think that everything I stood for and believed in, was no longer relevant. I was bitter, lonely, and in great emotional pain. The negativity in the post is no longer a part of my life, but the message from 1967 is still important to me. So, here in its original form, is the first re-post from the old blog.

Welcome to the post-love wasteland...

"1967.... Yeah, I remember.

It was summer and I was sitting outside on the front step, listening to my pocket radio. (Still a pretty hip device for its time) They had just played "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" by Scott McKenzie when the announcer came on and said "Well folks, it's official. It has just been announced that this is to be known as the summer of love!" At that moment the Wanderer in me was unleashed. I wanted to go immediately to San Francisco and wear flowers in my hair. I wanted to see all the great bands living there: The Grateful Dead, The Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and The Holding Company with Janis Joplin, even the names seemed exotic. The marches of opposition to the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam. I wanted to go... But I was twelve years old and had to babysit my dumb sister who was two! So I couldn't go. But the ramifications of that announcement reverberated through my soul like a speedball in my brain. Love... The Utopic dream of a whole displaced generation of baby boomers. I looked at my sister and thought, "You're so lucky. You're going to grow up to live in a world that knows no war, no hatred, no racism..." When I told her about that evening many years later, a tear fell from her eye as she said, "It's worse now than it was then."

The troops were pulled out of 'Nam in the early '70s and our music gave way to disco, (shudder) and then punk, rap, metal and all their variations and sub-categories. In the '90s the U.S. went back to war. This time in the Middle East, and the enemy was not communism but oil shortages. Here we are, 40 years later and the U.S. is back in the Middle East, once again to gain dominance over the oil industry. The music has morphed into something dark and sinister, albeit with an occasional hint of the glory days when we all believed peace could really happen and love could steer the stars."

~Still Wandering...

Wandering into Unification.

As I stated last week, I had another blog that for some reason, I can no longer access. Still, there are postings on that blog that I feel are pertinent and I would like to make them available. Therefore, I have decided to re-post them on this blog rather than expect people to use the cumbersome link to find the old blog. To that end, I will be copying and pasting for as long as it takes (including coffee breaks and other such diversions) to get that done. The first of these re-posts will be here in a few moments, and I will get to work on the others soon.

~Still Wandering...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wandering around shivering.

After yesterday's rain and mild temperatures, I was surprised to wake up this morning shivering! This seems to be the coldest time of year on the Atlantic coast, and it usually stays cold until late April. The drift ice comes into shore and then the winds carry that cold into our homes and it seems into our bones. I can't wait for summer.
Last summer I made a decision to upgrade my bicycle. I have been riding since I was a boy of 6, and had continued to pursue riding as a hobby off and on since reaching adulthood. Having had one bike stolen and having lost one in a fire, I finally had one given to me several years ago. I rode casually every summer, but my knees hurt, my backside REALLY hurt, and I found it to require great effort. A friend of mine suggested the bike was not the right size for my body, so I purchased a new one in September. It was infinitely better than the old one, and I found myself once again thinking of doing a tour like I have seen so many others do. Every year, countless riders travel across Canada or within geographic regions, such as the prairie provinces or across Ontario. I have decided to ride from Cape Breton, where I live now, to New Brunswick where I was born. Of course this will take much planning which I am already in the process of, and training, which will begin once the snow is gone. I am considering seeking sponsorship (to offset cost) and riding for a cause. Once the details are in place for that I will make it public knowledge.
Meanwhile I'm shivering.

~Still wandering...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wandering in Simplicity

Today was a beautiful day; the sun was shining and the temperature hovered above freezing. The local bicycle club to which I belong had scheduled a snowshoeing social at a nearby ski hill. The thought of getting out on my snowshoes with new friends was exciting, but I didn't want to be in a wide open space near all the skiers and snowboarders. Should I go or not? I deliberated so long that I missed the registration time and by the time I left the house, the event was already underway. Instead, I went to a small trail on a back road not too far from where I live. As soon as I strapped on my snowshoes I knew I had made a good decision. The sun shone through the trees, casting varried patterns of light and shadow on my path. The trees also protected me from the wind and as a result, I was able to enjoy the full effect of the sun's warmth. I heard only the sounds of my footsteps and breathing as I hiked along the trail, stopping occasionally to look around and enjoy the beauty of the silent forest. At times, I could hear aircraft at the airport, on hand to take part in tomorrow's one hundredth anniversary of the flight of the Silver Dart, Alexander Graham Bell's airplane and the first manned flight in the British Commonwealth. During one rumbling arrival by what must have been a military flight, I looked up to see if I could catch a glimpse of the plane. I couldn't. What I did see however, were two mature Bald Eagles, (presumably male and female) soaring in wide circles, the sun in the background. I had two cameras in my knapsack, a digital Olympus for still pictures, and a JVC digital video camera. Besides them, I have camera functions in my cell phone which was in my pocket. I could have taken still and video images of those two eagles, and shared them with the world, but as I stood there I decided to leave things as they were. I could have captured the images, but there was no way to capture the feeling, the essence of that moment. That was between the eagles and myself, and that which has created us.

~Still wandering...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wandering Into a New Time and Place.

The computer age is wonderful. We can stay in touch with e-mail, social networking sites like facebook, and blogs like this one. I had another blog,which brings me to the OTHER side of computer technology. Somehow I can't get into that blog to add or edit any more. So out of necessity, I have created this new one. It is yet to be seen whether or not I am more active with this one. I certainly wasn't too active with the other one, but there are more things going on in my life now, and perhaps I can actually find things that I think others will be interested in. I'll keep you posted. I also welcome your feedback, if for no other reason than to take offense.

~Still Wandering...