— The Soultree Center (@SoultreeCenter) November 17, 2011
Sometimes the soul needs a reminder…just for itself. A soul wake-up call of sorts. Not a reminder for you, that would be a conscious thing and somehow would then get attached to the need to fit into your appointments on iCal or figure out a way to squeeze in over the weekend. Nope. The soul needs a reminder specifically so it can caution you NOT to do all of that nonsense all of the time. Your soul needs to breathe and it needs room to inspire you. We all desire a life teeming with more balance, beauty, sensuality, time to chillax and space to enjoy the people we love, but how do we fit that in when we’re bombarded 24/7 by tweets, pokes, todo lists and bills to pay? Well, we don’t. And that sucks. But we can. And that’s rad. Trust me, I get it. So for today…I give you permission to put worry aside, turn off your electronics…and connect. Start there. Choose to connect to your self or choose to connect to others. Just do it. The good news, either choice will melt seamlessly into the other and that’s a beautiful thing.
My reminder was delivered at 6:43am using my gangly yet adorable 6’3″, 150 lbs., 3000 calories-a-meal consuming teenager as its messenger. It went something like this…
“Yes my sweetheart angel of a child, I actually woke up from my very short yet deep slumber to cook a hot meal for you simply because I love you. I abSOULutely adore you. And yes…of course, selfless motherly love is enough to brighten even the foggiest beach morning while you ignore me. So even though you’re grunting and only half awake, I’ll keep humming my fave wake-me-up Kate Earl song while I rub your back and tell you how great you are. Sure, you love me and you’re tired, and I know full well that later tonight we’ll sit in the spa together and crack-up about the insanity that ensued in our respective days. But even taking all that into consideration, on this particular morning as I stare at the top of your very tall and lovely head I can only think of one thing to say….put your f**king phone down before I scream bloody murder and throw it in the jacuzzi while your eggs find their way into the dog’s bowl! Uhh…oops, sorry, growling mumma hasn’t had her Illy latte yet my sweet love. What I meant to say was…could we please share a slightly more involved than a one-word answer conversation between bites before you head off for your day?”
Anyone out there with me? I mean really, does he know how early I got up in order to make this particular morning happen? Before my Pearl Jam iPhone alarm woke me up, I went to bed exactly 3.7 hours AFTER he did because I had the ever-so plentiful amounts of first week of school and club volleyball paperwork to fill out on top of completing my workday. Ahh…love. Parenting is…love.
But that was today, on the other days I’m blessed and beyond luckier than most of the nightmare stories I read about in the trashy rags proffered when getting my bi-monthly pedicure. Thank bejeezus for that. This gangly youngster, almost 17, is my last child at home. He talks to me about everything, smiles when I hug him, and totally gets it when my final answer is…”because this way cultivates your soul my angel” or “that’s just straight-up sexy” or “let me meditate on that, have some one-on-one time with God, and I’ll get back to you.” Not so bad. I’ve never had a “terrible teen” in my house. Knock wood. But…this one is addicted to his iPhone. Umm…confession time…Apps have changed my life forever, so maybe I have a bit of a co-dependency problem as well. It seems once you go Mac, you’ll never go back. But, technology has its place, and thankfully so does soul. Lucky for that ever-morphing relationship…it goes both ways. So my real point is, teens aren’t the only ones looking down at something small when they’re walking, rather then gazing in amazement at the stunning world we inhabit daily. Soul thrives and blossoms from a deep sense of connection to the outside world. It craves beauty, sound, touch, laughter and sensuality. The soul yearns to be enraptured by the senses and looks for moments to deeply gaze into something it recognizes as love. That is inspiration at its most authentic. Give it a try as you head into your weekend. Create time to allow your soul to be cultivated within the obstacles and confines of our techno lives. You can have both. I promise.
So here’s your homework: Do yourself, and those around you, a favor…put the smart phone down for just a couple of minutes. But do it AFTER you watch this video link below. Ha! Funny, but not kidding.
Connect. Give. Love. Share. Be. Enjoy your week’s end, together.
Being a romantic is quite simply following the influence of soul, beauty and passion in the daily task of living.
— Karin McDermott (@Karin_McDermott) July 31, 2011
I wrote a quote a while back…”Soul is found in the simple poetics of everyday life. Engage, summon, explore your own miraculous harmony, and let your poem begin.”
It seems the Omo people are the fortuitous benefactors of this daily ability. Breathtaking.
Give yourself 7 minutes of beauty. Simply for the sake of beauty. Your soul will thank you.
The senses are downright sexy. Perception isn't just how you see things – it's how you sense things. Be informed about you…by you.
— Karin McDermott (@Karin_McDermott) July 30, 2011
Think back to January of 2007. Does anything you were doing stick out in your head? Did you stop to smell a flower, take a whiff of fresh-baked bread, laugh with a toddler, listen to music in the metro or in the park? Were you teaching or were you learning? And furthermore are you asking yourself, “Why the heck is she asking me about 2007?” Quite simply…awe and envy. One of the beauties of technology is that as quickly as I can one-finger peck my keyboard, I can access anything I have saved to my hard drive for the last decade. The awe and envy is from a single incident of non-accidental random music.
Random Tangent: Thank goodness the memory capacity for technology keeps growing at rocket pace, or someday I may have to figure out how to delete doubles, organize “stuff” into folders or God forbid purge things I’m not even sure how to find, but for now all is safely tera-bitten and floating somewhere in the clouds. Or is that just, cloud?
I’ve read a few different articles and opinions on the urban yet oh-so-true legend of Joshua Bell playing an unrealistically intricate piece of music in a Metro station in DC. Oh yeah, by the way, his instrument…a $3.5 million dollar Strad which had been hand carved to perfection with love, patience and a humongous dose of soul centuries earlier. (How’s that for artisan dignity we just don’t see any more?!) I’ve watched the video of this event umpteen times, and each time I think to myself…how in the hell did more people not notice this dude? Then I think…would I have been living truthfully in my body enough to be pulled into his sublime world of art and beauty OR would I have been too fill-in-the-blank to notice? I’m filled with envy not only at the chance to have witnessed Bell’s musical genius in rapturous pleasure with Chaconne, but also to have had the chance to put my own soul-directed life principles to the test. Practice what I preach, know what I mean? Hmm…I wonder.
Whether if it’s for my movement classes or for a workshop on cultivating a sensually soul-directed life, there are obvious umpteen lessons I could riff on from this Metro experiment and the debates therein. But for today, the below excerpt describing a thought by Bell that morning hit home for me as a gorgeously honest question for any artist, healer, teacher. It demands a look into why we are often more able to give fully and authentically when we charge for it. Stay with me. Here goes:
“When you play for ticket-holders,” Bell explains, “you are already validated. I have no sense that I need to be accepted. I’m already accepted. Here, there was this thought: What if they don’t like me? What if they resent my presence . . .”
Wow. And that coming from a true master, known and respected world-wide, who literally plays for kings and heads of state, and whose name is often breathed in the same sentence as ‘genius’. Good stuff, that gives a little dose of healthy perspective for the rest of us. And here’s where I went with it. I know for me, guiding a free first class or introductory series is always more nerve-wracking than the first day of a paid-in-advance series. It’s exactly what he said, but different. I build it up as this is my one shot to transform someone. My one shot to express why I’m so deeply passionate about my work. And at Bell’s $1,000 per minute rate we obviously differ on this one, it feels like my one shot to not completely blow it because they may never come back and then how do I pay my bills? Anyone out there ever have any of those ridiculously unnecessary fears?
Random Tangent No. 2: I was told long ago by someone wise enough to know better than to live in the ugly place, that FEAR meant: False Expectations Appearing Real. Love that. Use it.
The reality is, when I teach I am simply sharing my truth with someone searching for theirs, and we may or may not be a match. Out of my control. It’s that simple. And at the end of the day, my honest truth just wants everyone on a path of transformation of some kind. So what I can control is being OKAY with charging for my time and wisdom, knowing that I’m earning what I’m worth, and simultaneously I’m encouraging students to step up and invest in themselves as well. You did. I did. Joshua did. Time, money, heart and many soul excavating hours of cathartic introspection later, my passion became my calling. That’s worth something. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching for free when it’s appropriate, that’s just good karma. And I still know that at the beginning of each and every first class (whether free or not) my heart will race, my cheeks will flush and I’ll need to breathe deeply into the huge-ness of the moment, because I realize I am in the position to shed light into someone’s darkness. That’s a humble miracle, and the rational fear is that it should never be taken lightly. Healthy jitters are the soul’s way of saying ‘stay present’. As we continually work to become more clear, we continually realize that it’s work. And we’re worth it. So for today, know that beauty speaks its own language when we are being of service through our work. Know that healthy fear reminds us to seize the brilliance of every moment. And know it’s more than okay to let your bills get paid as long as your soul is leading the way. Ubuntu.
If you have a wee bit of time and love a philosophical puzzle as much as I do…read further, dive into your soul and explore this article link. It’s a relevantly beautiful discussion about this Metro incident and thoughts on culture, beauty & the modern world. Maybe put on some Bach first, pour a cup of tea, and inspire a deep breath. Enjoy.
Not-so Random Tangent No. 3: I love this quote, it’s so very Sense[u]al Soul Whispering: Interview magazine once said Joshua Bell’s playing “does nothing less than tell human beings why they bother to live.”
See for yourself…here’s the video of that January 2007 morning. Like I said…total envy. Stop and Hear The Music.
Life is good when we are being unconditionally authentic in the presence of others. Encourage your sensual soul to lead the way today.
— Karin McDermott (@Karin_McDermott) June 26, 2011
Yes, I know. E-cards are so dang easy, but c’mon people…soooo not sexy. Close your eyes and remember back to the day when you walked, ran, sprinted to your mailbox hoping to find a letter addressed to you. Those were the days. Someone took the time to write you a note, lick a stamp, and drop it in a box – for no other reason than to bring you joy. That’s just plain and simple love, and who doesn’t want that? Don’t get me wrong, I think technology is a fabulous blessing of efficiency, but that being said, it also sucks the sensual pleasure right out of soul. So why not get back in the soul groove and give it a try. Send some stamped joy to someone. I would bet a bottle of my favorite rose-water that you derive just as much pleasure as the person on the receiving end. It’s a win-win people…so get bold…send a handwritten note. Smile.
Dirt Nerd Alert…I even go to the Post Office and choose a stamp that best suits the person it’s going to. Try it. Geek fun. Here’s a bonus…you’ll even get to know your neighborhood postal workers. Cultivating community IS cultivating soul. Now that’s a good time!
Aren’t convinced? Need more reasons?
This week’s Soultree “Soul Goal” Poll: Inhale…fill in the blank. Exhale…release it baby!