Stuck in the middle with you.

As I began to take everything in, I noticed the two halves. Black and white, left and right, East and West. Seperating the two was a thin fence. I didn’t enjoy being too much on one side or the other as I felt they both could be wrong. I sat on the fence, precariously balancing taking in the black, white, left, right, east and west. It is not easy to balance on the fence. It was easy to fall to one side and was hard to climb back up again.

Conflict will always happens at the fence. The differences ironing each other out. I felt overwhelmed having to balance, be a mediator and to seperate the warring factions. It was tiring and much of the time I felt alone. But in and amongst the factions I saw more and more people making their way to the fence. They shook hands, turned around and faced their factions with courage preventing their side from attacking the other. Eventually more and more came to the fence and I noticed the fence was no longer a fine line impossible to balance on. People began becoming the fence and the fence grew. It grew from the centre out, until the entire area of black, white, left, right, east and west became the fence – Became the people.

This is synthesis. Transformation. And it starts at the centre, the heart of the individual and works its way out. Eventually affecting others.

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365 days and going

I haven’t really written anything of late, so I dedicate this post to my mother, who passed away one year ago today.

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Dear Mamma

it has been an entire year since you left us. I’ve been thinking of you a lot recently. When I woke up this morning and thought of you, I wondered how to celebrate you. This seemed like the best as you were one who always read and supported my scribblings on here.I started thinking about the whole ritual of celebration, how we go through these personal ceremonies to celebrate those who have passed on. I then started thinking about who this serves more – the person conducting the ritualistic reminder, or the memory of those gone? I wonder why I feel inclined to write this, as I’m sure the laws of being in your case are very much different to what I can possibly fathom, and you may not see these words but this is how I choose to celebrate you – my ritual. I guess it allows me to feel closer to you as I focus on words that are inspired by your spirit, which I am now sure is eternal.

The last 365 days have been illuminating. The beginning of the end triggered a series of life lessons for me which has left me with clearer vision. Words have more deeper meaning for me now and the way things express themselves, I find weird but somehow logical. I have had run ins with too many seemingly coincidental circumstances to just write them off as coincidences. To others, no doubt, they are, but to me I feel a little bit more. These abstract feelings and intuitions are bit too strong to write off. Some may say I put and look for too much meaning in things. My response would be, if we are not looking and making meanings of seemingly abstract things, then what the heck are we doing with life? If we don’t put meaning in our lives, then surely our lives are meaningless. Having a career and filling you life with things, for me, is not meaningful. I guess the way we each perceive and express those meanings are somewhat different, but the abstruse that motions and drives the subjective to expression is surely what connects all of us?

I found pain to be something that is mostly self inflicting. I found much pain to be caused by mindset and the human egotistical characteristic of personalizing everything to the point of strangulation; expecting things to be a certain way and when it reveals itself as something very different to what we thought or envisioned, we become childish. I realized how unfair, unrealistic and varied our views on life are. Expectation has killed so much and unchecked expectation which we are so easily susceptible to, will be the downfall of unity. Before you passed on I found the thought of not having you around to be painful. I felt that pain at its apex one week before you left and one day before I said goodbye. I even told you about it and your response was so undeniably you. You told me not to be angry and not to hold whatever trace of hate there was in my perception of your departure. Even in the face of death you showed no fear and within these past 365 days I have learned death is not to be feared. Fear is based on a man made, short sighted illusion and I am glad to say, even though I may sometimes live in fear, I try not to live according to it. That was something you taught me, not necessarily with those words, but with actions and intentions much of which I have identified, albeit in hindsight.

Through this last year I have encountered some great life lessons in the wake (pun not intended…Although you always did enjoy a good laugh, so pun intended!) of your absence. I am lucky to have the sturdiest of blueprints you passed on to me. Some tribes passed on wisdom and insight through ritualistic and ceremonious dances which were symbolic and held meaning. Your dance was your life, and you danced it beautifully. How do I know this? Because I interpreted and understood your dance and it has very much influenced mine, giving rise to new melodies and movements.
I’m happy to tell you, mamma, my melodies and dances hold no anger or hatred. You taught me that and these past 365 days have solidified those feelings and intuitions. How so? Because I questioned them and honestly answered them. How do I know I was honest? Because sometimes the answers did not benefit me, but fitted perfectly into a bigger picture which I am apart of. I don’t hate that you are not here, I do not feel your time was cut short, I do not hate the cancer or the complications that took your life. I miss you, that is for sure, but with your life and your death you passed on something abstract which I am unable to articulate clearly. What I do know, is that it was something truthful, honest and beautifully illuminating and I hope others can see the reflection that your bright light casts from me. This is how your spirit lives on.

All my eternal love

Matt
XXX

A letter to my sum total

Dedicated to the desolation of Smaug…

My dearest Heart and Body,

I felt as though I should write you both this letter before we endure this journey together. I am the eldest of us and I’ve been through this process before, and I feel that perhaps these words will some how help prepare us in some unconscious way, at some point in the future.

The three of us are all separate beings, yet at the same time, we are one. We exist in a realm of free will (to some extent) and even though I have experienced this before, it is different and I too will be learning new lessons because of the two of you. Together we make up a dynamic being, both seen and unseen. We are a balance of our separate selves – a synergy, but believe me there will be times where one of us will be predominant and take lead. We will all have countless chances and we will all learn and share from each others mistakes and glories – this is what pushes and evolves us through the consequences of those results, but remember we experience it all together. We will each feel the effects of each others choices and actions. At times we may even betray each other unknowingly as we each speak different languages. You won’t understand it at first, but conditions and environment play a major part in our dynamic and being, and we each will want to react differently. Hopefully over time we will become more in tune with one another and realize we are bigger than our separate selves, then hopefully truth will shine through like a back-lit canopy casting light sparingly on the shadows of our periphery. In time hopefully we become brighter – that is my hope for us.

To my heart, you are the most sacred of things in this life, the being we want to protect the most as you are the most fragile yet malleable. Our dear Body fears for your fragility and I fear of the potential of your malleability. This will eventually cause us to disagree on certain topics and affect our decisions which we choose together and experience together. Heart, you will experience the brunt of our choices, the effect of which has the ability to shape, mend and bend you, even to the point of shattering. The effects on you affects our Body and myself in different ways. The way in which you shape is incredibly important to the sum total of us. You will break, bend and mend to varying degrees, on seemingly differing levels of importance. You must be aware of the shape you cool yourself into, because sometimes you will bend into a shape that causes cuts and wounds and if, like metal, you cool down into that serrated shape it becomes difficult to cause a fire and heat in order to be able to mend and round your vicious edges. Sometimes you may bend unwillingly, unknowingly or naively into a shape you don’t like or other hearts, bodies and souls may not like. Sometimes you won’t know any better and are at the mercy of elements in the realm of our Body. Our Body should look after you, but it too is its own being and has free will. Sometimes our Body may betray us in moments of weakness, but we should not be too hard on it as we are responsible for its conditioning. We are a dynamic synergy and we are responsible as a whole, even though we are separate free-willed beings. The catch, my dear Heart and Body, is that to learn, condition and evolve each of ourselves together as one, requires experiences which predominantly takes place in the realm of our dear and fearless Body. That is where our Body is king, just as emotion is your realm, Heart, and ideals are mine. We work separately and as one – I cannot stress this enough.

To my fearless Body, you are our doorway to the collective reality of this life. You are the youngest and less experienced of the three of us and your conditioning and quality of life is largely mine and our Heart’s responsibility. Remember, you have free will and sometimes you will not always abide to our wishes. You and our heart share a close relationship, one that I will not always understand, and I know there will be times when the two of you will conspire against me and my ideals. We each have our strengths and weaknesses, like every being in existence. I have a foresight that the two of you won’t necessarily be able to recognize and due to the lack of foresight the two of you share, you will rebel and we will lose balance within our dynamic. Hopefully we learn in those times of crises. The only way to regain balance is for the three of us to come to an unspoken compromise that can only be attained in time, experience and sacrifice. We should become purposeful and disciplined but at the same time we cannot be overly hard on ourselves and each other, as evolution takes time and to evolve means learning and to learn means the destruction of one ideal and the creation of a new, better one. That is where I serve the both of you. Within my realm time is an illusion and that is something the both of you will struggle to understand. Time is a necessity for evolution and because you don’t posses the foresight and understanding I have, the effect of time is different for you and it will cause you to make decisions and act out in ways that may not be intended, and this is where Karma works. Karma is an extraneous force and being, which the three of us won’t fully understand, but it is necessary for everyone’s evolution. No human or being of any kind is exempt from its laws. We may at times like it, or not like it but it is there. It is not about winning or losing, but learning and understanding which makes Karma one of the greatest teachers, should we be able to see and identify when it is at work…and it is always working.

Dear Body, you are physically the strongest and you bare the brunt of living in the accepted collective reality and therefore you are perceived more real than your Heart and I – this is your weakness. You have an ego and it often tells you that you are the only one that matters, this hurts your heart and myself, because there will be countless times that your ego will get in the way and distort whatever limited foresight you have, causing you to make decisions without your heart and I having any say. This is to be expected, but also realize that is not necessarily who you are. You are part of a sum total of three – you, your heart and me. Those moments of crises will come, where bad judgment and vulnerability will cause you to manifest actions that will affect not only you, but me and our precious heart too, even the hearts of other beings can be affected by your actions.
Body, you are powerful and your actions are powerful, so be careful how you express yourself as it has very real effects on us and on others. Having said that, it is mine and our Heart’s responsibility to teach and condition you and hopefully sooner rather than later your ego will wane and you will know there is more than you – that there is more than just the three of us. Sometimes we will forget that.
The past does matter and so do consequences. Why does it matter? It matters because the past, with the aid of Karma and consequences, teaches us and hopefully we learn. Hopefully I never fail the both of you with my ideals that you cannot see. Heart, hopefully with my ideals and lessons of consequences, Karma and the past, you shape yourself into a beautiful shape that is unwavering yet compassionate. This shape that you create yourself into colours and conditions our beloved body and your shape, my dearest Heart, is more so my responsibility than our Body’s. I will try not fail you, as I hope that the both of you don’t fail me, and when we do fail one another, be loving, compassionate and understanding and learn from our mistakes. We are an ecosystem. I am you and you are me, we are one, even though each of us are free.

Here’s to our voyage, to our glories, our failures and the lessons and consequences each one brings and as time passes may it bring us closer together making us evermore one, not only with each other, but with those other ecosystems and sum totals that are in existence. To those other ecosystems and sum totals of bodies, hearts and souls that may feel our effects negatively, we are truly sorry and remorseful.

Here’s to the journey, may we become more evolved and better equipped as it unfolds. I love you all.

All my love

Soul

To my dearest Mamma…

Dearest Mamma…

You chose to leave us yesterday, Sunday 20th July, 2014 at 07:50. You left a gaping hole in our lives, your spirit filled so much and I hope that as time goes by, that we may hold on to that spirit because as you and I both know, that is the part that continues to live on.
I was lucky enough to say goodbye seven days before you became too weak to stay awake and I’m so thankful you got to hear me say the things I said. Somehow it just doesn’t seem enough and this is, as you know, my one outlet to express my thoughts.

I am so very proud of you; you were the incarnation of strength, courage, wisdom and kindness of heart. You displayed these qualities through your action and not just words, this made you my greatest teacher. You taught me what it truly means to love unconditionally and the importance of free-will and these things, among the myriads of other lessons you taught me, I will forever remember.
Some may say that your time with us was cut short, and indeed it may seem that way, but I also know you have earned this right to rest. You succeeded everything and more in this life and your spirit is no doubt needed elsewhere, and who am I to want to keep you here for the sake of my selfish wants? You taught me better than that. Even in the face of Death you demonstrated incredible courage and grace to a figure that too many fear.
You loved to laugh and saw the brighter things in life and I won’t let grief prevent me of honoring your spirit of life and love; so my thoughts of you are fond, light and full of unconditional love. I still see you and feel you everywhere and I have an incredible sense of happiness for you and that, Mamma, you thoroughly deserve.

So my dearest Mamma, I say one last goodbye to you. I am going to miss you terribly. Thank you for absolutely everything. I will celebrate your life and not mourn your not being here, you have earned this rest. I am so proud of you, I love and will always carry your light with me.

Rest in Peace Mamma, till we meet again…

 

I love you, always and forever XXX

What it’s like

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You want to know what it’s like?

The majority of musicians love what they do. It is a lifestyle and more often than not, a labour of love. Most of them didn’t study it in any kind of traditional way. They might have taken lessons for a few years, probably back in high school, but mostly they continue playing out of love. It is an outlet for expression and just because they couldn’t afford to study music at a University level does not mean that that door should be closed.
They found other like-minded and like-inspired musicians who shared their passion and love. Despite going though different phases, bands and friends, they continued to pursue their craft. But it had to be a hobby for the majority of them.
Why?
There is a host of different answers for a host of different people. The majority of musicians had to get jobs outside their passion. Some jobs took preference over their love, whether briefly or for an extended period of time. Some of them fell behind never to play again, save for a few informal jams, but I can assure you, the love and passion still burns for many of them regardless of how intense.
The rest soldiered on to find new forms for their expression. New bands were formed and bands disappeared, only to show up in new forms and so on and so on until they found a group of people who shared an ideal and understood where their love of music resided and what it truly meant for them.
Maybe this group of like-minded, like-inspired musicians all have had to take full-time jobs. Jobs that don’t necessarily always allow the time for band practice or even personal practice. Maybe some even struggled to find a job and had an income below minimum wage.

Imagine you were part of this group of musicians and had to find a place to rehearse, because neighbourhood garages and living rooms were too loud for the neighbours to bare.
Maybe this rehearsal room costs a couple hundred bucks for a few hours of rehearsal AND writing new material.
Maybe one practice a week isn’t enough.
Maybe band practice twice a week isn’t enough and you need to have a personal, quiet time practice by yourself. Maybe that costs money too.
Maybe you broke strings, skins and shed too much wood and have had to pay for the upkeep of your instruments.
Maybe your equipment runs the risk of getting stolen from time to time and you are unable to afford insurance.
Maybe you land a gig and it is the most exciting thing, because you get to bare your souls to an audience. Or so you hope. You hope for an audience to listen and like your creative expressions. You also hope that they like you enough to come to another show, in hopes to build a fan base to help relieve some of the financial burden. So you market and advertise for your shows in the capacity you can with the hope that you can get a good attendance.
Why?
Because it costs you to play at a night club. Venues want to see money, even though all you and the band/s really cares about is a heart-felt, passionate performance which the attended can (hopefully) appreciate.
So what happens when there is a poor attendance?
You and the band/s (about 3 bands per show) pay in however much you didn’t make from your puny R20/R30 cover charge. A “successful” night would be if you made (anything.) over a grand at the door (after deductions from club/engineers/door staff/etc.). That’s a little over R300 PER band.
That one gig, that took weeks of practice and rehearsal, over and above full days of work, only succeeded in paying for ONE practice.
Maybe your band has a few songs ready to be immortalized in a recording. How much is that going to cost? Well whatever it is going to cost, a percentage is more than likely going to come out of your band’s pocket.
Why?
Because you love what you do.
Are you making any money?
Fuck no, but does that mean you have to stop doing it?
Maybe. Maybe eventually.
Do you want to?
FUCK NO!
What if your band is lucky enough to land a sweet gig, but the organizers say: “We’d love to have you on the bill, but we are unable to sponsor or pay you/for you. You going to have to find your own way.”

The majority of musicians have jobs and much of the time it is difficult to do some of the things that are required from a band, extraneous from performing, practicing and writing.
Why not get a manager?
Cos we can’t necessarily afford to pay for two practices a week, pay for upkeep of instruments, finance a decent recording and play shows too poorly attended to be paid.
Maybe because of the poorly attended show the venue gets annoyed because you didn’t bring in the numbers you hoped for.
Maybe clubs stop doing live music because it doesn’t bring in the money.
Maybe there are only a few places left that have live music…

True musicians and artists are not necessarily concerned with money. They are concerned with the expression of their craft as an individual and as a group. They care for the platform for their expression because they need it, because it is part of life itself and that platform is mostly concerned with money because in these times money is the savior of all and without it they will not be safe.

That’s what it’s like. I do what I do because I love it, so I will do what I love to my capacity. If one can’t even do that, then what is the point of doing anything?
I do know that with more helping hands the burden will be lighter.

 

P.S  This is written purely from my experience in my local alternative rock scene in Cape Town, South Africa, although I am sure there are others around the world who can relate.

18 Hours

It’s 07:39 on Monday morning. I’m standing in my kitchen because that is the only place wi-fi seems to work. I have just realized Christmas is done – Along with opening presents, good-will and cheer. The faces of the new year are slowly taking shape. It’s almost as if the dawning of stress from days that are yet to come have inverted the festive cheer and slightly twisted some people’s smiles. This year has been crazy; filled to the brim with dualities and I can’t help but reflect on the significance of some of the things I have observed, experienced and learned. For Christmas I got my notebook to scribble down my thoughts, and over the past two days I have been reflecting and scribbling. This is my final post for this year, 2013. This is me letting go and appreciating all the year had to offer. This year went by so fast – in a blink of an eye, but I learned my lessons. Enjoy the hours that are left in this year and allow me to share how I saw these past months…

18 Hours

1.
I saw ideas grow like trees;
giving breath to life and support to the living.

2.
I saw life as an ocean and myself as a library.
I saw the new year as a sunrise
but at the time I was too asleep to appreciate it.

3.
I witnessed intentions like a flame igniting wicks.
I also saw careless flames melt candles and set fire to curtains
reducing mansions to dying cinders,
but sometimes tears are stronger than fire
lifting the Phoenix from out our ashes.

4.
I learned angels can sometimes fall
and humans are able to carry them.

5.
I realized will is stronger than cancer
and souls are brighter than the shadows of love.

6.
I found expression was a direct telephone line to God;
He doesn’t speak human – so many hang-up –
but I find myself on the phone more often.

7.
I learned drum beats do more than keep melodies together
they are universes themselves
and they are waiting to be painted.

8.
I discovered how to let roses be
and how to appreciate them;
thorns and all,
because they don’t have to be plucked to be admired.

9.
I learned grey skies can block out the sun
but the rain it sometimes brings can cleanse the heaviness of souls.

10.
I discovered a half glass of water can eventually become the heaviest of burdens
and all I had to do was put it down.

11.
There were times I felt like Atlas
struggling to hold up the celestial sphere
but I saw angels and their wings beating for my heart
and the world didn’t seem so heavy.

12.
My heart was an actor
it played the role of a mirror.
Love was the sharpest of arrows and when it was released
it shattered my mirror into a thousand different pieces.
But I realized it still reflected and as I leaned in over the floor where it lay –
I found myself.

13.
I struggled to find the keys to unlock this cage
and when I found it,
I left its doors wide open,
even though the wind sometimes blows it closed.

14.
I saw expectation murder hope.
I forgave it and let it go.
My hope still lives from beyond the grave
like a ghost haunting my life.

15.
I saw egos as gardens and learned:
Some humans keep them tidy and beautiful,
others don’t.

16.
I saw words as more than merely letters
and sentences more than these words.
They were ancient pin pricks of light
like stars piercing the blanket of night,
making it more than just heavy but beautiful too.

17.
I observed seasons in everything;
from harsh stormy winters to beautiful lush summers
and depending where one is located in life,
we sometimes see winters all year-long.

18.
I felt this year was a day.
Every two hours – a month.
I slept for at least six of those hours,
but I’m awake now.
I saw the hours for what they were
and now I await for a beautiful sunrise.

 

Wishing you ALL a happy safe New Year. Although your year may have been incredibly shite, reflect on what you have experienced and hopefully you can take away something positive from the negative. Remember that truth is a bigger duality and we are often too small to see it, we get glimpses and slices which we see as good or bad. There is no right and wrong, only lessons and I do hope you have all learned yours. All the best for 2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!