Better Days

September 17, 2012

Bruce Springsteen sings of them. So do the Goo Goo Dolls. But the best lyrics I’ve heard recently about better days is a line in Dave Matthews’ Song, “Cry Freedom.” “The future is no place/to place your better days.”

Better days refer to better times. It usually is followed by “When I do X,Y,Z, then A,B,C can happen,” such as “When I have lost five kilos, then I’ll be happy.” Deferring the good stuff in life is not a good idea because you really don’t know when your personal bank account of time will close forever.

Better days are here and now. If you let them in. And they can be found anywhere at any time in the still, small moments that frame our lives.

Getting to your happy place isn’t hard if you make it a habit every day. When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you think about? Your worries? Your to-dos? Or do you focus your attention on what’s right in your world? Do you greet the day with the reverence it deserves?

The good news is if you are reading this, you get another chance to make today that better day. Are you with me on this one?

Dust in the Wind

July 23, 2012

Sometimes all we are is dust in the wind, as Kansas rightly sings. The first time I heard that song was at a talent show when I was ten years old. A few friends of my sister sang it. The message stuck with me all these years.

As you glide through this life, ask yourself, are you really dust in the wind? Or are you perhaps the wind itself? Or are you both?

Ride that wind and see where it takes you, my dear friends. It is worth the journey.

Biding Your Time

July 8, 2012

After attending a recent concert of international singers at my daughter’s school, I am convinced that music can heal the world. You can’t help but feel touched when voices rise up like that. Just try to listen to soul, for instance, and try not to be moved by it.

Music can also help us with hard times. We have all had the experience of waiting for someone we love; whether it’s because they are overseas in the military, on travel or simply live far away.

Busby Marou sings of it in his song, “Biding My Time”. It’s lovely and reminds me of the songs by Jack Johnson.

Enjoy!

As I have already said in an earlier blog post, “The Soundtrack of Our Lives”, music is the sonorous accompaniment of our days. It’s the grease that oils your remembering machine: the oh-my-god effect when you hear a song hidden in your history, somewhere buried deep down in a place only music can touch.

It permeates your skin. It penetrates your soul. Music is the balm to give you back your bounce.

So as you embark on our summer journey (or winter for you lovely folks in the Southern Hemisphere), consider putting together a mix of music to keep you company. Whether you’re on the subway or cruising down the autobahn, there is nothing like jamming to good tunes. Need inspiration? Everyone has their own tastes, but here are some of my favorite albums currently:

Looking 4 Myself (Usher)

Making Mirrors (Gotye)

Go (Vertical Horizon)

Here and Now (Nickelback)

What are some of your favorites? Please share because I’m in love with iTunes and need to feed that relationship!

Your Weekend Sensual

June 23, 2012

This past March I saw Fuerza Bruta in New York City. They are hard to describe really: a dynamic dance performance group doesn’t really say it. It’s one of those things you simply have to experience. But I’ll tell you this: it involves several elements, including wind, blood, sweat and tears. Doesn’t sound appealing?

Maybe Usher’s rendition of “Scream” that he recently performed at the Fuerza Bruta show will help you along. It’s hot. Sensual. And partly underwater.

Curious? Give Scream a try. Happy Weekend Sensual, all!

I heard God tonight. No, it was not the booming-voice-from-above kind of sound. It came from a flute and three string instruments played by a quartet that breathes the divine power of Mozart. Believe me when I say: music can heal. I left the Salzburg Imageconcert hall, in all its golden, guilded beauty, with soaring spirits. Salve for the soul, indeed.

How could you not smile to the beat of The Magic Flute? I found myself grinning stupidly throughout the entire two hour program. We gave them a standing ovation; they gave us an encore.

It was magic. In a flute and a few strings too.

Thanks, Wolfy. I owe you one!

Erica Chase, the talented young singer-songwriter (“We Can Fly”) was an English major at Pitzer College in Claremont, California when she met multiplatinum producer, Dana Strum (Slaughter bassist) . Through connections her father’s business partner made in Las Vegas, Erica met Dana on February 1, 2006. That date will forever burn in her memory, not only because of the amazingness of the moment, but because of what happened the very next day. Riding on her bicycle on the way to meet a friend for lunch, she was slammed up against a truck windshield, flying through the air and onto the ground. She awoke in a helicopter with a mask over her face.

“I will never forget that day for as long as I live,” she told me in a recent phone interview. While she had dabbled in songwriting as a high school jock growing up sandwiched between two brothers, she hadn’t realized how much her dream to become a rock star outweighed her upper-middle class upbringing of doing the smart thing such as becoming an educator. “I was on my way to Seattle to become a teacher,” she revealed. But after her accident, from which she miraculously walked away with minor injuries, she realized how short life could be. It was time to take the bull by the horns and live out the secret dream she truly harbored.

What fascinated me most about our conversation was the feeling she had when she met Dana Strum. “I knew something big was about to happen,” Erica said. She didn’t know what that was, but she knew she was on the edge of something indescribable. It was a heavy energy that can be equated to the onset of depression, a significant weightiness that one simply cannot ignore. The very next day, as she was flown to the hospital, she knew she couldn’t live without music. “It was my wake-up call.”

The life of a rock star is an irregular one, not necessarily what one thinks of when one thinks of slow living. But late nights and loads of travel don’t phase this twenty-something artist. One of her big dreams now is to do a multiple city tour via bus.

When I asked whether she was worried she might burn out, she revealed an inner truth that I share. Like myself, who simply cannot live without writing, she cannot live without music. It is so deeply entrenched in her soul that to live any other way would mean certain death. In true power of slow style, she is living her life on purpose. It took a severe knock-down to put her on the right track, but luckily she chose to listen to the message right away. As a result, we get to profit from her stellar Sheryl Crowe-meets-Beatles sound. Now that’s a track we like to hear!

 

Because magic lives everywhere…


 

Happy Thanksgiving, my Gratitude Friends!

A special treat from the Goo Goo Dolls brought to you by The Power of Slow.

May all your holiday wishes come true! And remember here is gone the moment you utter it.

Peace!

If you don’t know TED, drop what you’re doing and run, do not walk, to this site. An actor friend of mine got me turned on to this organization that hosts conferences on the most diverse subjects.

TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design. It was originally created to foster discussion about these areas by professionals in those fields. But it quickly went viral as countries around the world wished to partake in the conversation. In 2009 TEDx was born. It stands for independently organized TED event. On Friday, I attended one in Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart with a town center so quaint that it almost hurts.

My new friend, Albert Frantz, held the first talk of the day. He discussed the meaning of music and how to embrace dissonance because that is the very thing that makes the music interesting. Later he played a piece by Beethoven that gave me chills. In that moment I realized how healing music can be.

One of my favorite inspirational quotes about music is

Music is what feelings sound like.

I couldn’t agree more.

In the spirit of the mind-body connection, SANOSON is an example of a therapeutic approach to healing through music. It has been scientifically proven that you can regulate your heartbeat, blood pressure and more through its process. From a subjective standpoint, music has a centering and calming effect like nothing else.

So how can music help you bring more slow to your life?

Listen to a recording of African drumming or some other rhythmic beat. Dance to it. Let yourself really go for it as you become one with the instruments. We did this technique in my acting class yesterday. It was incredible how everyone in the room was transformed when they let the music flow through them. We were more concentrated, productive and, ultimately, happier for it.

I bet you will be, too.

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