We are habituated to noise.

woman-blur-dizzy-noise-peace

“By embarking on the spiritual path, an aspirant is attempting to encounter silence firsthand. This is the quintessential journey in life–the inner sojourn. It is returning to a source long ago forgotten but often glimpsed at moment unawares. Recapturing that which flitters on the periphery of awareness is the goal of the mystic. …The mystic consciously dives into silence, at first unfelt. With repeated practice it becomes a living, palpable Presence filled with immeasurable vitality and boundless, nondual continuity. But what causes this gradual revelation?

First we need to discover why we do not experience silence. The simplest answer is that we are habituated to noise. We are addicted to novelty, sensation, to ourselves. Fuss and commotion, mental chattering, and outer stimulation occupy our minds from dawn to dusk. The twentieth-century Japanese Zen master Nan-in rightly noted that we are overflowing with our own ideas and opinions; to learn Zen we must first empty our minds. But there is no room for such emptiness. When one is clattering away on a keyboard sixteen hours every day, the capacious pockets of silence are kept well at bay. We thereby deafen ourselves to the underlying silence we would otherwise clearly hear.

By intentionally quieting our restless minds and calling a temporary halt to the random noise–inner and outer–to which we are subject, we create an environment conducive to the manifestations of silence. Welling up from within, this silence subtly engulfs us, drowning out all the noise of existence. The Jewish mystics refer to God as “ayin,” nothingness. When we quell the somethingness of our lives, this nothingness emerges. But as long as we dwell in the realm of substance, it remains elusive.”

–John Roger Barrie, in Parabola Magazine: “Silence.” 


Notes:

 

MM*: A dull ache. A gentle humming.

jump-release-let-go

every now and again,
you will feel a dull ache in your soul.
a gentle humming around your heart.
a longing for something without a name.
if i ever told you to obey anything,
this would be it.

listen to the call of your authentic self.
that part of you that lives just outside of your own skin.
let it have its way with you.

i have died a hundred times trying to ignore it.

~ Mia Hollow


Notes:

All About That Bass


Kate is originally from Portland, Oregon, where she received national recognition in high school for bass and singing through the National YoungArts Program. Lauded by MTV as one of 2014’s “15 Fresh Females Who Will Rule Pop,” Kate grew up with an instrument in her arms and a head full of inventive lyrics. Her lifelong training makes for smart, warm pop that’s as musically nuanced as it is addictive. If you put a mid-career Jenny Lewis album in a room with Regina Spektor’s coloring, Joanna Newsom’s lyric poetry, and a dose of Tina Fey’s sharp wit—then added a couple decades of rigorous musical education and a shift dress—Kate Davis might come strolling out.

Read more at Katedavismusic.com. Find her on Facebook at Kate Davis


Cold Specks: Winter Solstice


Jim Fusilli, Cold Speck’s Arresting Mix:

Now 26, she (Ladan Hussein) was born in Etobicoke, Ontario, to parents from Somalia. Calling herself a “typical moribund teenager,” she took up a guitar at age 15. After relocating to London, where her extended family was dubious about her choice of career, Ms. Hussein was playing as Cold Specks at St. Pancras Old Church when a producer from “Later… with Jools Holland” caught her show and invited her on the BBC program. The other guests on the November 2011 broadcast included Mary J. Blige, Florence + the Machine, My Morning Jacket and the Who’s Pete Townshend. At the conclusion of her a cappella version of “Old Stepstone,” the traditional folk ballad, Mr. Holland cheered, “The power of the single human voice!”

On her two albums, including this year’s “Neuroplasticity” (Mute), Cold Specks delivers contemporary rock that either arrives with the confrontational authority of hardcore punk and free jazz or is as contemplative as folk and mellow soul. In concert here last week at the Echo, she and her four-piece band demonstrated how arresting that complex mix can be. In a conversation before her late-night set, Cold Specks—whose real name is Ladan Hussein, though she is also known as Al Spx—was quiet, perhaps even shy, a contrast to her bold, insistent music. “I’m a listener,” she said, “not a talker.” She added that she doesn’t follow modern music and was enjoying the doo-wop a manager put on in the van as they traveled between gigs.

…“I am who I am,” she said earlier during a conversation, a simple remark that later seemed a promise of much more extraordinary music to come.

Find her new album on iTunes here: Neuroplasticity

Find this tune on her 2012 album: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion

Find Your Beach

zadie-smith

Here’s English author Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books with an essay titled Find Your Beach:

[…] Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.

This woman is genius and can write.  Don’t miss her full essay here: Find Your Beach


Notes: Find her award winning book on Amazon here: White TeethPortrait of Zadie Smith: oprah.com. Bio at Wiki here: Zadie Smith 

Freed

woman-bliss-breathe-peace

“Maybe poems are
made of breath,
the way water, cajoled to boil, says,
This is my soul, freed.”

Dean Young, from “Scarecrow on Fire,” in Bender: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)


Image Source: Black and White

Ignite it. Let it come out to play.

face-paint-color

[…] Not just offering an object,
but the soul,
your life’s mission ignited and on fire,
burning with a thousand different flames,
all blazing and sparking together
in more than a lifetime
of sleepless nights and saturated days.
Your soul has something to say.
Let it come out and play.

~ Quaglia Cocco

 


Credits: Poem – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com. Photography: ThePalette.  About Quaglia Cocco.

Yes.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

~ Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays


↓ click for audio (“Ruth and Sylvie” by Daniel Hart)

[Read more…]

Suzannah Espie


From Suzannahespie.com:

Suzannah Espie is a Melbourne, Australia based singer songwriter who has been casting spells over audiences ever since she first took to the stage with her alt-country pop band, GIT, in 1997. A woman of compelling beauty — statuesque, with piercing blue eyes framed by golden curls — she has a voice to match, an intoxicating mix of country, soul, blues and pop. A gentle, sweet trill that can move grown men to tears one moment, or an Aretha-esque hellcat belt that can raise the roof the next; however she sings it though, it’s still unmistakeably Suzannah Espie. It is as a solo artist Espie has truly come into her own…

It’s hard to believe now that, despite her prodigious talent, Espie was beset by self-doubt and shyness early on in her career, which she moved to Melbourne from Fremantle at aged 18 to pursue in earnest. She tells of forcing herself to get up at Fitzroy’s Rainbow Hotel to sing once a week. “Then I’d go and have a cry in the toilets afterwards because I thought it was so horrible.”

Collard recalls the first time he went over to Suzannah’s house to play some music together. “Absolutely nothing happened,” he says with a laugh. “She was too nervous to sing a note.”

While Espie’s confidence and profile have grown over the years, she remains as earthy and honest as the music she writes and performs.  “I still don’t think I’m a good songwriter. Occasionally I’ll pull a good one out of my arse,” she says in typically straight-talking Suzannah fashion.

Find her album on iTunes: Sea of Lights


 

 

I’ll take you there

Mavis Staples (born in Chicago, Illinois) is an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer, actress and civil rights activist who recorded with The Staple Singers, her family’s band. This tune reached #1 on the charts in the U.S. in 1972.