Carry On

So a couple of nights ago, I was cooking dinner for my live-in family like I often do. I love being in the kitchen, and I love listening to music while I cook. “Rock Me Amadeus” came on, and I began to reminisce a bit. I told my wife that I had searched for 30 years for this particular version of the song. Today, it's known as the “Salieri Mix”, but in 1985, on that cassette tape I had in upper elementary, it was just “Rock me Amadeus."

When I bought a CD of the Falco 3 album several years ago, I was disappointed. The version of Rock Me Amadeus was not the version I loved so well. This began an exhaustive search for my beloved version of the song. Year after year I was unsuccessful.

I recently discovered that in 2016, a 30th anniversary album of Rock Me Amadeus was produced. At last! There it was! Track 2: Rock Me Amadeus (Salieri Mix)!

As I was relating the story of this journey to my wife, it hit me… I've had similar relationships with several songs over the years.

Songs that for one reason or another connected with me on a soul level. Songs like Kylä Vuotti Uutta Kuuta by Värttinä, and The Thing by Phil Harris.

The stories of how those songs came to me are for another time.

I learned about the concept of carrying songs by participating in song circles for the past few years. I realized I had been carrying these songs for years.

It was at that moment, standing there in our tiny kitchen, cooking an amazing cabbage dish, I was overcome with chills. I've heard some people called them "truth tingles." The idea is that in those rare times when we stumble across a concept that resonates so completely with universal truth, our bodies and minds are overwhelmed with physical sensation. Usually for me, this type of sensation send chills down the back of my neck, and maybe makes the hairs on my arm stand up.

This time, my entire body was overcome by the tingling sensation.

I realized, I am a carrier!

While at Music Medicine training with Christine Stevens, I learned the concept of carrying drums.

A friend at that training brought a powerful, and unique drum with her. The voice of this drum inspires community, and togetherness. We discussed the fact that my friend does not own this drum, but rather carries it. She has been entrusted with the responsibility of caring for and sharing the beauty of this drum. Eventually, she will pass on this responsibility to another.

In that one moment, while cooking cabbage, I realized that I have been carrying many things for many years.

I am a song carrier, I am a drum carrier, and I am a story carrier.

While working as a music therapist in long-term care, and hospitals, I learned about the responsibility of carrying stories. People would often share their stories, or part of their story with me. With honor, I was able to bear witness, and when appropriate, share their stories with others.

Of course, with this new realization, comes a greater sense of responsibility.

I have known for years my life was to be a life of service. I realized quickly that the songs, drums, stories, and medicine I carry are not for myself. I carry them to serve others.

Maybe that is why I often end prayers with something I've read is a favorite of the Dalai Lama: guide me, and heal me, so that I may be of greater service to others.

What do you carry?

What gifts are you meant to share with this world?

To quote Manifesto by Nahko and Medicine for the People, find your medicine and use it.

Carry on my friends.

What The Hell's Wrong With You?

Do you ever get out of your head just long enough to metaphorically (or actually) look at yourself in the mirror and say "What the hell is the matter with you?" Yesterday, I spent eleven hours at Starbucks, working on my masters paper.

Today I've been at Starbucks for nearly four hours, and all I've accomplished to that end is to find a list of sources from when I first started a lit review...four years ago.

What else have I been doing?

Writing in my updates on a little used laptop, and watching "The Office" on Netflix.

I am full on pain body today.

Today, I am suffering.

Remember the words of Tony Robbins: Pain in life is inevitable. Suffering comes when a person feels powerless to change the situation causing the pain.

But I question why I am suffering...

Sure, I've got money challenges right now, work stress, living situation stress, away from family...sometimes, that's life.

There has to be something more, something deeper.

What if I actually enjoy suffering?

Doesn't make sense, does it? No sane, rational person would enjoy suffering.

Tapping into Eckhart Tolle's ideas on the ego, the picture becomes clear. The ego has one survive. It will do anything it can in order to Eckhart says, sometimes even killing its host.

It seems that somewhere in my life, I began playing a victim role. I actually remember that going back to when I was three or four years old...I've had a LOT of time to perfect the role.

The thing is, I've let that role control my behavior and actions at times. That role helped me stay small for most of my life. If things are going good, let's do some self sabotage, so we can REALLY feel that victim role again!

Time and time again, I have been told that I get in my own way...but if I don't, the victim role will fall away and the ego would eventually die, and...

Ah! The light of consciousness!

The ego cannot withstand it!

This quote from Hands by Jewel popped into my head this morning: "...and not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful and useless in times like these."

Like Eckhart says, there are no problems, only situations that must be dealt with. The mind, courtesy of the ego turns those situations into problems.

The mind is such an amazing tool, but most of the time we don't use uses us. Exposé sang Free Your Mind...the sentiment should be "free yourself." Your mind can fend for itself!

As the ramblings of getting out of this funk start to creep in, I take a look once again in the metaphoric mirror and say, "What the hell's wrong with you?"

The reflection smiles back and says, "Nothing. Why do you ask?"