Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Crowded Solitude

"We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand to the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies -- all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes. "
-Aldous Huxley, "The Doors of Perception"

I read this quote today and felt it coincided with a few thoughts that have recently been filtering through my head. Sometimes I feel detached. Disconnected. Maybe it is because I am dealing with new experiences lately, or maybe because I am in semi-fresh surroundings, probably both. Maybe neither. Maybe I'm just trying to pin a cause to my wandering thoughts and feelings. Whatever it is has put me in a reflective mood, especially at night when the events of the day are over and I have nothing to do but think about them. Through this time, though, it has become clear to me that things on this earth are so ephemeral, so trivial. It is when I feel like this that I realize God is the only one I can really latch onto, and connect. He holds on.

On the heels of this observation, I want to share something I wrote a while ago. It is rather melancholy and somewhat poetic, which is a little unlike me - it is definitely new territory.

Today my day was black and white. I looked desperately for color, but couldn't find it. The sun was shining, but it only made things visible, it did not make them glow with golden warmth. The trees were not green, their blossoms not snowy white and blushing pink. The purple hair on the girl who sits across from me on the bus every morning; the girl with the red backpack; the guy with the orange mo-hawk, the interior of the bus itself with its neon seats; all these images met my eyes today devoid of all color. I saw them in black and white and shades of gray, with only the memory of the vibrancy that used to fill those images. Even though the memory of color was there, it was as if the color had never existed at all. The sky was clear, but it was only that - clear. I was chilled today - but it was warm outside. I am not bitter, and I am not depressed. My day was just black and white today. Everything seemed empty, ghost-like, hollow. I wonder how long it will take to paint the color back in.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Third Party Endorsements Are A Good Thing

Jack Johnson released a new album on February 5th. First of all, it's good. Secondly, it's nothing extremely out of the ordinary for him, but in my opinion, it's just more good, solid Jack. For those who are critical of his lack of evolution in style, I say, why do you like him in the first place? Because it's Jack. If he sounded different, it wouldn't be Jack. This CD incorporates a slight variation of sound, while remaining classic. It's a little reminiscent of the Curious George soundtrack, which was definitely a different feel than his previous three albums. It's neat to hear some of his songs that are obviously about his wife, or his kids. My favorite songs on the CD so far are: "Monsoon" and "Hope." I also like "Sleep Through the Static" (the title song) and "Adrift." The song "Angel" is very sweet (as in awww, he wrote that for his wife) and right now I feel like I identify with the song "All At Once." Oh, and "Losing Keys" is a great song. With a song title like that, how can you not want to listen to it?

A few lyrics that immediately stuck out to me:

"I wanna take the preconceived out from underneath your feet." (All At Once)

"Show me that there's more than the meantime" (Monsoon)

"I've been losing lots of keys lately, I don't know what that means, but maybe I'd be better off with things that can't be locked at all." (Losing Keys)

"There's still so many things I want to say to you, but go on..." (Go On)

"When will these ideas really be my own?" (Adrift)

"Your voice is your own I can't protect it" (Adrift)

You all should listen to his new CD, "Sleep Through the Static." It also was recorded using only solar energy, just so you know...an interesting fact, I thought.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mixed Emotions: On Anticipating the Future

"Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

The promises of the future charm me, yet once I am enticed by them, I hear them snicker at me behind their veils that promise success and contentment. I want to change and grow, I want to stay the same. I am excited, I am scared. I am elated, I am terrified. I think I can't handle it, I know that I can. The thing I despise most about this whole process of change is the switching of emotions that happens daily, hourly, almost moment by moment. It is on the front of my mind, it is at the back of my mind, it is on the bottom of my mind, it is on the top of my mind. It's on the side, in the corner, in the middle, over, under...it is always on my mind. No matter what else flows through the matter of my brain, that is always there, always there, always there. Like a constant drip, like the sun - always rising, like the memory of a loved one gone, like the promise of something better, it is annoying, refreshing, lonely and hopeful. It is all these things separately, all at once. And so I will always be learning to adapt to the ever looming prospect of...change. It is always there, nerve-racking at first but almost always worth it in the end - for there is always something new to learn. Most of the lessons life gives are age-old, and worth the process it takes to learn them, even if they hurt.