For the love of music

In the bathroom.

Parked on a side street.

Hiding in the closet.

Morning, evening, night.

At every given opportunity, almost on the verge shirking familial responsibilities.

And pretty much every opportunity that I get with my phone, I am hiding away pursuing what seems to be a newfound, insatiable hunger. A certain addiction!

About a year ago, I chanced upon an app called Smule, a karaoke app. VIP members have access to songs from multiple languages and choose to sing and record a certain verse and leave the following verses of that song to another.  Anyone that searches that particular song, is welcome to join. Little did I know that this app would change my life forever.  Let me tell you, I am no singer.  The furthest I have gone with my base voice and singing, is my bathroom.  With no training in music and absolutely no understanding of beats or musical notes, I am what one calls an auditory learner.  This addiction has been consuming me for months.  However, I find this to be a good kind of addiction to have for multiple reasons.

  • This platform allows for otherwise shy singers, to truly sing to their heart’s content alongside strangers.
  • I have found wonderful people who encourage one another to sing.  Strangers leave comments with words and emoticons. It brings me back to my core belief – this is indeed a wonderful world to live in.
  • This app made me realize how latent memory, when triggered, can prove to be so deep.  There are many songs to which I never knew I had all the lyrics to.  These are songs I have heard when I was very young. Yet, when the music cues in, I had every word.
  • It is huge stress buster and a wonderful outlet.

And above all, it can be very entertaining to strangers too!

On a Thursday morning two weeks ago, I was parked on a side street where I park every morning at 8 am.  And I was browsing through my phone trying to find right song to bray to, as I noticed a cop car drive past me, peering into my tinted glasses.  I didn’t think too much of it, until a few seconds later I looked up at my rear view mirror to find him parked right behind me.  My first thought was, “I am parked. I wonder why he’s coming up to me?” So brought my window down and greeted him with a pleasant smile.

“Good morning, officer.”

“Good morning, ma’am.  May I ask what you are doing here?”

“Singing”, I said, with the biggest grin on my face.

“Pardon me?”, he said in complete bewilderment.

“Singing”, I repeated, as I picked up my phone to show him the app and began explaining all about the app.  It was in that very moment the two of us burst into hysterical bouts of laughter.

He quickly gained composure and added, “Ma’am, neighbours on this street have seen your vehicle parked here every morning.  They never see anyone get off the vehicle and the vehicle drives away after a few minutes.  They suspected nefarious activity and called it in.”

At that point, I began laughing so hard that tears were trickling down my cheeks and he turned around to take leave.  Through my hysterics, I managed to tell him that he totally made my day.

Moral of the story : Whether you sing or you bray to entertain yourself, there is always more than one benefit to it!!

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And that’s all there should be!

March 2017 – Two 11-year-old boys met by the poolside in a  Dominican Republic resort. The following three days were spent in one another’s company – breakfast, lunch, dinner, table tennis, beach volleyball and more.  The parents met briefly to say hello to one another and the conversation was courteous and minimal.  The families came from different continents – Europe and North America, spoke different languages, had different food habits and yet the boys got along like a house on fire.  One family left on the fourth day. A tearful farewell was an understatement.  The boys exchanged phone numbers.

Upon coming home, the North American family decided to be courteous and send a text thanking the other family for the wonderful time the boys had together and also inviting them to come visit, should they ever felt like seeing North America.  The response to that text, from the father of the European boy read, “Sure, our son will visit you in the summer”. What followed was a series of family room discussions about the possibility of the visit.  There were a lot of apprehensions about how the child would adjust to food habits because the North American family is predominantly vegetarian.  The father of the European boy was reasonably sure that his son was easy going with food and would adjust well.  The boys spoke to one another a few times a week in preparation for the trip, also exchanging their interests and likes and dislikes.

July 2017 : Summer arrived and so did the boy from Europe (alone, may I add!).  It was a jam-packed three weeks of camping and sightseeing and eating out and fun.  It was about meeting more North American families and sharing stories and also having a lot of them asking, “Wait, what? He came alone? You just met in Dominican Republic for four days? Do you know the family?”

This is no fable.  This is real life. This is the story of our family and a European family, one of immense trust and friendship.  I don’t know what came upon the European family to trust us in the little time that the boys spent with one another in Dominican Republic.  They took a leap of faith and sent their son to us for three weeks.  To me, this is what real world should be.  This is what we as human beings need to believe in more.  The family didn’t see us differently. They knew their son would be safe and loved and cared for.  In a world of mistrust and chaos and hatred, this friendship comes as a breath of fresh air.  It comes as hope and it reaffirms my faith in mankind. .  The experience humbled us as a family.  It was one of the best summers we have had.  We look forward to a life-long friendship.

Inward journey, interesting results

A recent three day retreat of inward journey was exhilarating, joyful, calming and exhausting, all at once.  The physical body  rebelled at the 2:45 am wake up calls.  Monkey mind tortured the body, as the body chose to sit still.  There were intense moments of energy surges. A ton of pent up emotions flowed in the name of tears and energies were exchanged through hugs.  The room reverberated with deafening silence.  The sounds of sobs became a common occurrence in a room filled with almost 450 people.  After three days of listening to profoundly wonderful and transforming lectures, combined with long periods of sitting still, I emerged, a somewhat transformed human being (or so it seems). What surprised me was the inner chaotic voice settled and surprised my outer experience in my everyday world.  And I seem to be experiencing some interesting results.

The seeming disappearance (temporary ?) of the sock thief : In the physical world, I know for a fact that I have only two children, however, I am reasonably sure that as I delivered them, I also delivered an invisible sock thief, for it is only after their birth that single socks have begun to disappear.  Regardless of how few loads of laundry I do, I have always land up with single socks.  I commend my two children who, instead of cringing at my parental sock-neglectfulness, have now become proud wearers of different socks.  Since my return from my retreat, I have found all pairs of matching socks.  The sock thief has perhaps ended his sojourn with us. Amen!

Order in a chaotic home : As I trotted back into my home, I was welcomed to a rather regular sight, that surprisingly did not perturb me. Piled up loads of laundry in every nook that I could see.  Household chores, grocery shopping, dirty car, work-related issues and much more.  I could barely believe myself when I smiled my way through washing and folding, what seemed like 40 loads of laundry.  I hopped over toys like a joyous bunny in the spring time.  A trip to the grocery store on a grey day seemed like a picnic on a bright summer day.  Work-related emails seemed to take quarter of the time that it would before.  And I know that what has distinctly changed is indeed my attitude towards the issues that once used to be irritants.

The idiot box takes the brunt : Since my return from the retreat, the need to engage in my inner world is so powerful that my favourite sitcoms have suffered a major blow.  Some of the characters must feel bereft of an ardent fan.  My family has lost a sitcom companion and the TRP has dropped by one and thus having a domino effect on all the missed opportunities for commercials selling products that were seemingly important to buy and hoard.  I have been robbed of the “knowledge” that I could have gained by watching commercials about those pharmaceutical products that cause distress in the undistressed.

Sedated monkey mind : It has been over a week since I have returned from the trip.  What surprised me was the sense of calmness that prevails since – a true appreciation for life, joy in the littlest of things,  non-judgmental peaceful days, a heartfelt gratitude for all setbacks, a deeper sense of community, a profound sense of compassion, a rather wonderful understanding of the macro and the dissipating importance of the micro. It most definitely seems like the a powerful sedation of the monkey mind. And a passionate desire to continue to do what was once seemingly difficult to do – practicing silence every single day.

 

 

PS : Thank you Google images for the image.

Everyday blessings

meditation

sunrise

cool breeze

hot shower

half decent reflection in the mirror 🙂

choice of clothes

fragrance of hot coffee

fruits

mom-cooked meals

sounds of children chattering

choice of footwear

lone drive

music

friends

smiling strangers

occasional warm rain

sunset

starry night

crickets

cozy bed

books

soft pillow and so much more. so so so much more.

 

 

God

A hyper sensitive topic in a politically correct environment.

Oh don’t you worry, this is no venue for me to profess my ideas of the mystical energy that surrounds us.  And ooops sorry if you landed this page by sheer accident, for if you are trying to find answers to your problems, this page isn’t the one.  This is aimed thoroughly at people that I have to deal with on a day-to-day basis just because I have made a choice to.  My facebook only has people that are personally known to me. And yet there are so many that have impacted my life beautifully and yet aren’t on facebook.  Having said that, the ones that are on my friends list are people with whom I have spent some memorable times. What I seem to have missed is how some of them have completely missed important lessons in life.

God needs us : It seems like a given that God needs social media today to make his presence known to the world.  Really? I find that fascinating.  People, wake up!!!  Which part of this story are you not getting? God had the best social media that mankind has ever seen.  How else has He / She permeated this earth for the thousands of years? You have got to believe He / She is more intelligent than using merely those on social media to permeate earth!

Healing through Amen : Did you actually believe a child or an animal will heal with your typing Amen?  Pause here for a minute and think and then read on please.  I urge you to use that part of the body that is not used very much by humans.  Yes, I am indeed referring to the brain.

Sharing God’s pictures brings luck : Really? Define luck.

Not sharing God’s images brings bad luck : Wow.

People, here is my two cents.  My keyboard bears the brunt of my wrath as I type this.

  • You want to help healing? Get off the couch. Go on the streets, find someone in need, offer words of solace, offer them shelter, offer them food, offer them water,  bring them to a safe place.  That is how you help healing.  That is how you define Amen.  That is the true meaning of that word.
  • You want luck ? How about you change the way you think?  How about you give before you ask?  How about you don’t associate luck with something magical that  happens only once in a lifetime?  How about you practice gratitude for just being alive, for a roof over your head, for food on your plate, for clean drinking water, for health, for family, for work, for money, for friends, for education ?
  • You don’t want bad luck ?  Then stop spreading fear amongst people. Stop agonizing over what might happen.  For the only way you can create joy and peace around you, is by embodying it and spreading it.
  • Work of God?  Be kind to everyone.  Help the ones you see in need.  Don’t complain about little things.  Have healthy thoughts. Perform random acts of kindness. Smile at nothing.  Appreciate nature.  You are indeed doing His / Her work by simply living well.  And please for God’s sake, stop making a mockery of yourself.

Struggles of an incessant thinker

I work with children and I am amazed by their ability to completely be absorbed in that moment that they are in, whether a tantrum or a smile or the act of devouring food. It is indeed a spectacular sight.  It also makes me very envious of them because I work hard at my meditations to re-learn what I knew as a child.

I consider myself a seasoned beginner, (yeah I know – complete oxymoron) as far as meditation is concerned. It means I have been at it for a while now and I make conscious efforts to meditate every day and even if I don’t, I bring about my awareness to the moment several times in the day, often savouring the moment.  However, I am appalled by my mind’s ability to follow a chain of thought and wander off like Hansel and Gretel and often, I do leave myself bread crumbs in order to find my way back to the original thought that led me to go off on a forbidden trail.  However, the struggle remains.  Hence, I came up with my version of solutions. While some of you might find my thoughts downright crazy, I hope some others can find humour in my solutions.  In this day and age, it is all about technology and with absolutely no knowledge of inner workings of any gadget, I present the following ingenius implant gadgets. The size and implant mechanism shall be discussed on a separate blog.

Thought-gps : This device will track every thought and its vibrational frequency.  The in-built warning system will beep in three variable sounds – low, medium and loud, depending on how negative the thought is.  The device will also maintain data that can be used to analyse the patterns of these thoughts.

Thought-anchor : This device can be activated at the time when a positive thought arises.  The device will ensure that this thought stays anchored in the present state for as long as the person chooses to have it anchored.  The timer option gives the person multiple levels of time to keep the thought. The upgraded version, scheduled for phase 2 development, will offer a high memory capacity to store these anchors for future references.

Thought-sensitizer : This works best in conjunction with the Thought-anchor.  Every positive thought that the Thought-anchor catches on to, the Thought-sensitizer will give power to.  A reminder will be sent to the person to start the deep breathing exercises that will power up the sensitizer, adding electro-magnetic field to the thought.

At the moment, the three gadgets are in R&D stage.  Wonder if the banks will fund me and in the meantime the business plan is being written up for it.  Until then, I shall continue to slog with my ever-active brain to calm down the brain waves through sitting still during my meditations.  A friend of mine that heard me talk about these gadgets seemed to have a simpler solution for me, “You need to be put down!”

Yes, I have 24 children

And they gasp!

“Really?’, they ask. And I know exactly what the next question will be.  “Is this by choice?”

My affirmative answer never ceases to baffle them.

“How do you do it?”, they wonder.

“Well, for starters I have help.  I hire help.  Not just because I have to or need to, but because I feel the need for others to contribute to this loving atmosphere”

“You mean your insanity?”, they scowl.

“I know how it sounds. But truly it is the most wonderful feeling,” I say, only to get mocking looks.

“Are you forced into doing this for your husband’s sake?”, they quiz me.

“Of course not. I am educated. I made this choice”, I retort.  “I live by the choice I have made and I am proud of it”

I get these questions a lot.  What people do not realize is that when I hear my four year old talk about a hexagon at the bottom of a pencil, when I watch my  two year old say “paralellepiped / square-based pyramid”, or when my little non-english-speaking child says, “Ontario sounds like Dario”, or when my three year old points to the Map of Canada and says, “That’s Maniscotia”, confusing Manitoba and Nova Scotia, when my four year old insists that I be sent a picture of her while she is holidaying in Mexico, I know it is all worth it. I am a teacher and all 24 children are mine because

  • I know they spend their predominant waking hours with me.
  • I know they impact my life much more than I impact theirs.
  • I know they bring joy to me and my little space.
  • Every single day I am given a reason to be grateful.
  • I work with pure energy.
  • I am taught to live in the moment.

And you ask me if this is my choice? Damn right it is my choice and I am proud of it every single day. And they are mine for the hours they are with me.