Today is my Mom's birthday, to show my appreciation I'm dedicating this post to some of the reasons why she's the greatest.
She teached me to wright good. Growing up as the son of a writer and journalist gave me the advantage of having an awesome editor for all of my papers. Still today I don't never make grammatical errors when I write. It's a major advantage now that I'm back in college. (It's also a serious advantage that I can still email her my papers and she'll edit them for me.) Thanks Mom!
She helped pay for my trip to South America in 2011 and helped me fly to France last summer. My travels overseas have been some of the most life-changing experiences I've had so far. Each trip has helped me grow and increase my adaptability. I believe that the greatest gifts we can give are experiences, and he has helped me create unique adventures in my life. Thanks Mom!
Everyone thinks I look like her, and damn do we look good! Thanks Mom!
I am a person. A writer. An MC. I choose to create habits in my life that establish who I am. Character. To be a writer, all that is needed is a platform. I have written in notebooks and novels, facebook and wordpad. I have scribbled on receipts and marked my skin with thoughts. I have created passionately and at times with as much enthusiasm as a wet slug. Sometimes I let myself get in the way, other times I fly down the highway. Right now I'm falling into the words like a springtime seedpod spinning to new soil.
Continuing on my journey, I've let go of vices that no longer teach. I move forward into the unknown territory of creation. There is no way to know what comes next. Reading the future is a practice of the void-bringers. We live now.
But I can set goals for myself. Without ceasing to be present I reach into the future by crafting a vision.
This summer I am going to spend an hour each morning in exercise and mediation. If I choose, this could be my morning routine: Wake up at six and write my dreams down before meditating for twenty minutes. From meditation flow into yoga and stretching. After adequately stretching for 10 minutes, workout for 30. Following this I'd eat breakfast with Noah, Annika, and Dad, and then sit down on my own and write. Write for an hour. Music, blog posts, journal entries. It doesn't matter what I write, but how long I make an effort. It's the work that matters. Get into that flow of writing each morning after meditation and exercise.Imagine and focus on the benefits this will bring into your life. You will be forging your own path in the direction you wish to move in. That is the potential of this moment. I am a writer. I am at peace.After writing for an hour or more, I see myself working with the family on whatever projects they have on the farm. I'll eat lunch with the family, the afternoon and evening will be dedicated to my family. Around ten, I'd like to begin my practice of freestyling and improvising stories and beats. This hour will be dedicated to practicing new and difficult freestyle and beatboxing techniques. I hope to record these sessions on my voice recorder.
My two goals/focuses while in Sweden:
On Tuesday after doing some work weeding our field, Annika, Noah, and I took a walk through the woods. We found a felled tree and Noah climbed up and I came up after him. You can see the picture of the two of us below. Right after the picture was taken, I took two steps before the bark peeled off the trunk under my shoe. I went crashing down and slammed my hip on the log before landing on the ground in a heap of shock. Luckily I was more startled than anything and was able to brush off my ego and keep moving. Noah deftly leaped onto the ground as I was picking myself up again.
After continuing on the walk for awhile, we came upon a field of goats who live down the road form us. After some failed attempts to attract them to the fence where we waited, Noah convinced Annika to ask their owner if we could go in and see them. She obliged and we spent 30 minutes chillin with the goats.
I'd say it was a successful walk.
After a long red-eye flight, I've finally arrived in Sweden. My Dad met me at the airport with a hug and carried one of my two backpacks out to his car. We caught up for a couple hours before arriving at Annika's mom's house. My step-Grandma, Diana, made us a delicious lunch, a Swedish take on Lasagna, and some coffee and apple cake for dessert. After eating and relaxing in Gavle for an hour we continued on the last leg to Dad's farm to the North.
It's so beautiful up here. The community they live in has a population of a few-hundred. It is the most forested county in Sweden, but this valley is dotted with farmland as well. Annika, Noah, and my Dad all live in a two story farmhouse, although the second story is as yet unfinished. I'm staying in a cozy little room in the barn. (I say little, but in reality it's about three times the size of my room in Brooklyn.) I'm constantly blown away by the space and the quiet up here. There is a road in front of our house that cars drive down occasionally, but besides that the only sounds are birds and the gentle splash of rain on the patio's. Compared to Brooklyn I might as well be deaf.
When I arrived I got a tour of the house and barn from my family, before eating ice-cream in the sun. After we'd finished up with our treats, Noah gave me a tour of the woods on their property. There is a beautiful stream and beaver damn. We looked for some fish but couldn't find any. Noah and I chowed down some edible plants that he told me the Swedish names for and I promptly forgot.
We grilled out for dinner, eating steaks, veggies, and chips. I pretty much just passed out after eating. We got my room set up, and I was out. Today I'll start helping out on the farm. Finishing the second floor of the farmhouse, weeding, and painting the barn are some of the tasks I'll be working on over the next couple months.
I haven't written anything in two weeks, So much has happened in that amount of time and each day is so different that I can't even remember them all. Luckily I have a few photos to remind me.
The picture of Noah, below, was taken after an epic traipse through the forest searching for snails. We were eventually successful and along the way we encountered a frog, a dead man's house, and a host of mosquitoes as well. Noah is holding his second balance stick used to help him cross the river by stepping on the rocks jutting above the surface. The first one broke while he was precariously perched with one foot each on a different stone spread below him, resulting in Noah safely on the far shore, I with two wet shoes.
We continued on our way, Noah walking down the river stone to stone while I squelched along behind him. (The advantage of having already fallen in was that large gaps between rocks wasn't such a barrier to me anymore.) Eventually we passed an old cabin on the left and Noah informed me that the owner had died inside so it creeped him out. I wanted to go check it out and eventually he agreed so that it wouldn't scare him so much anymore. We went up to take a look, and BOO! We were attacked by a billion ghost mosquitoes! We high tailed it after there (after I made Noah and I suffer blood loss for a few minutes while I attempted to photograph a sapling covered in spiders. Not a single photo focused).
On the way home we used our balance sticks to battle the evil tries trying to block our way. When we came to the river again Noah and I scared a frog into the river and I took some more unfocused pictures. (I'm starting to realize that as a professional photographer, I'm kinda terrible). We found a snail, that we kissed, on the slimy side, and it did not become a princess to my disappointment. We finally crossed the bridge home and I snapped this (finally in focus) photo before we headed in to report for dinner.
Friday was Sweden's National Day. It's like the Fourth of July, but not independence day because Sweden was never a colony, and not as big of a deal because there are less flag-waving fanatics over here. Everyone does get the day off though, so my family and I all headed into Trönö for a children's festival. They sparked off the event with a Magician! I have no idea what the guy was saying, but got to see some juggling and fire swallowing. It was awesome.
After the magic show I went to check out a church across the way. I was able to climb around a gate to get up to the bell tower for some adventure and beautiful photos. One thing about the graveyard around the church I notices was that many of the graves had big Zen gardens in front of the headstone. I hope that tradition catches on in the US.
I'm not sure what I'm more scared of, failure or success.
Failure, in my mind, would involve being judged by other people and being ostracized from those whose respect I crave. I fear failure because I want to be "cool," I want other people to be moved by the things I create. I am afraid that if I am not good enough in the eyes of those around me I will not be accepted as part of the pack.
Success is another story entirely. I fear success because, to be cliche, "with power comes responsibility." I fear that I will have some success, but I won't be strong enough to live up to the expectations I have set. I fear that if I realize my true potential, I will be locked into a path that I will be unable to break free from. I also fear that by being successful I would be ostracized as well. It seems so much more comfortable to just flow with the status quo, don't make any waves, and don't try to change anything.
Both of these fears, it seems, ultimately stem from the fear of judgement. I have no idea how to free myself from this. One way that I can work towards overcoming this fear, is to be mindful when I am judging myself or other people. If I can break my own habit of being judgmental, the fear will have less control over me.
In a few hours I'll be getting on my flight to Sweden! Regardless of my fears I am about to embark on a major life transition. Two months in Sweden, one month back in Arizona, and then return to Brooklyn to become a full-time student. I'm excited and nervous and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. After talking about the plans and goals I would like to accomplish while overseas, I've decided that perhaps they were a bit too ambitious. I want to set more attainable goals that will give me some leeway to make mistakes and improve. Rather than trying to meditate, exercise, and write every morning, and beatbox and freestyle every evening, I'll make it a goal to accomplish three of those five things, four days a week. Setting more achievable goals will help me to build successful momentum.
I just finished this song based on the book The Passion by Jeanette Winterson. The beat is from the song "Unfamiliar Places" by Oneself.
As the R train rattles it's way from Manhattan to Queens, a pair of Mexican musicians slide between cars. “Que queren escuchar?” The guitarist asks nobody in particular.
“Tocan Reggae!” comes an enthusiastic response from the back of the car.
“No tocamos reggae,” Responds the guitarist.
“Tocan Reggae!” The duo ignores the call and begins playing some jazzy Mexican swing (a genre only found on the R train headed to Queens), a trumpet accompanying the rhythm and melody of the guitar. The two jam for six minutes as the third rail pulls the train from Lexington Avenue to Queens Plaza. After the serenade the trumpeter removes his beanie and moves from passenger to passenger collecting coins and dollar bills.
Before the players move into the next car the voice from the back moves to center stage. Embodied in a large woman wearing a baggy blue sweater, hood up, and a grey beanie below the hood, she starts stomping out a beat and sings
In the beginning there were two great forces, that of destruction and that of creation. The Walker: tireless, always working. He was strong and fearless, living in the wild, the world burning around him. He got a thrill from his own power and the risk that the destruction would overwhelm even him and careen out of control to consume the universe. He would wander the woods drawing lines, plotting what lands were to be set aflame. Once the boundaries were set, the Walker would circumscribe the border, flames dripping from his fingertips. As the smoke billowed up around him, the Walker would circle the area once again, checking and double checking that the conflagration was contained.
Mary, the world writer. Born in comfort, raised in the womb of the world. Using words to create the stories. She wrote novels, epics with all the complexities and intricacies of life, and yet without soil to take root the stories had no substance, mere structures without meaning.
Through the Writers observations and the Walkers wanderings the two begin to notice one another at the peripheries of their realities. Realizing potential, they converge. The charred, barren earth of the Walker's domain became the hallowed space that would birth man. Two brothers were born from the writer's stories. Finally able to take form thanks to the fertile ground the Walker provided.
While the brothers were in infancy, the Walker and the Writer lived and loved together in harmony, but as time moved around its cycle, the Walker felt the irresistible call to move, the call of the flames. He tried to resist, to fill his heart with love for Mary, but she could see the fire building behind his irises. She became frightened that his lust for destruction would come to harm their children and She banished him from her reality.
But the Writer did not understand the nature of the connection between father and sons. The boys could not create stories of their own without the space their father created through his addiction to destruction. As the brothers grew they were pulled between the creators while polarizing each other. The elder was blessed with the gift of discipline from the Walker and an urge to travel the world, always exploring new places and pushing himself to the edge of destruction. Always aware that he must control his urges so as not to be consumed by his own energy. The younger blessed with the talents of his mother, creations of fantasy, structure and knowledge, but without fertile ground to give substance to the stories within him.