I find comfort on my own thought

Rayman is a walking juxtaposition — his raspy voice and eerily enticing lyrics demand a listener’s attention, while he himself prefers to keep his head down and let the music speak for itself. Little is known of the rising genre-melting artist, who fuses R&B swagger with hip-hop grit all while spinning compelling stories much like a country artist can — and the mystique is intentional…

Ben Lovett/Keyboardist/Vocalist from Mumford & Sons:  “I came back from a tour a year or so ago and… there was music blaring out and the whole office was vibing. They were dancing around, singing along, and I felt like I had just been completely left out of the party and that was quite rare. If that’s happening normally it’s some classic hit, but it was something I had never heard before. It was Allan Rayman, obviously. I immediately got infected with the bug, went into my office, sat down and listened to what was Hotel Allan front and back and was completely blown away.”

~ Lindsey Havens, Billboard.com: Rising Artist Allan Rayman Discusses His Rule-Breaking Artistic Vision & More in First-Ever Interview

Lyrics from Tennessee:

…Well, this boy, he needs no company
This life is sharp like Pittsburgh steel…
It may be tough, don’t follow me
This boy, he needs no company
No company needed (Don’t need it)
I find comfort on my own thought…


Notes: OnestoWatch.com – 10 Reasons Why Allan Rayman Is The Most Mysterious Man in Music

with each breath I’ll meet you there

There was a beautiful forest close…a place I would go to periodically for a hike. I tended to go there when it felt like the world was crashing down around me, when I felt overwhelmed. The woods were my escape, my get-away place of sanity. Walking under the shade of tall trees and listening to the sound of running water from rivers and waterfalls, I always had the same thought: I feel so whole when I am here. Why don’t I do this more often?

I know what makes me feel more. Why isn’t this an everyday practice for me?

In these days, it seems like we are living on the brink. Pomp and bluster seem to rule the day. There is conflict here, at home and around the world. Our very home, this tiny third rock from the sun, is in real danger.

One of the truths we know is that we live in an enchanted universe. The up-there and down-here mingle, the earthly and the heavenly mirror each other. We have no choice but to continue to redeem the world, to save the world from our own selves. We are, ironically, the cause of the breaking and just might be the channel of healing. To make the world whole, we ourselves have to become healed, become whole. Our well-being and the world being well are linked together.

To tend to our own inner lives is not selfishness; it is wisdom, it is essential, and it is unavoidable. […]

We are so attentive to our devices, making sure they are charged. Do we show the same care and concern for our hearts? Do we wait until we are running on fumes? How lovely and wise to make sure that the recharging is not through being a “weekend warrior” or even once-every-few-years vacations (both are lovely), but rather a matter of daily practice. […]

Let us, you and I, friends, find what sustains our soul. Let us find what nurtures our heart, who nurtures our heart, where our heart is nurtured.

Let us go there
daily
And make a habit of it.

If we may paraphrase the great Rumi:

Out beyond the realms of this faith
and that faith

     of no-faith
There is a field of goodness and beauty

where hearts our nourished

     With each breath
I’ll meet you there

~ Omid Safi, excerpts from Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole (onbeing.org, May 18, 2017)


Notes:

  • Inspired by: “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” — Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies. (1927)
  • Photo: Newthom

He looked down, she just gave him a little lick, and suddenly I couldn’t stop him from crying

Zereeseis Player, age 12: “They taught me how to be respectful, they taught me how to listen, they’ve taught me not to be disobedient to others, and treat people like they want to be treated.”
Farrah Akbar, age 8:  “I would say, if you’ve never seen a horse or touched a horse, just touch it. Because if you touch it, then you’ll feel the soul.”

At equine-therapy programs like Compton Jr. Posse in Los Angeles, inner-city adolescents find a refuge from drugs and street-gang culture by developing equestrian skills and learning to regard the knowing gazes of 1,000-plus-pound horses and guide their beguiling power. In return for striving in school, the program’s participants, ranging in age from 8 to 18, are taught to ride horses, groom them and clean their stables. These experiences keep them within the horse’s “personal circle.” Horses have a profound effect on humans. “Whether they have a physical handicap or an emotional handicap or a mental handicap, when you’re around a horse,” Akbar says, “the energy is so powerful that it tunes the body up…

Something extraordinary occurs when we’re in the presence of a fellow sentient being. When we let go of language’s tacit conceptual constraints and judgments, we allow ourselves a kind of time travel toward our own inner animal. Science is revealing the ways that the physiology of our psychology can be found across species: the common neuronal structures and attendant nerve wirings that we share in varying measures with a startling array of both vertebrates and invertebrates, including fellow primates, elephants, whales, parrots, bees and fruit flies. Animal therapy makes us aware of this cross-species interconnectivity on the purest, subconscious level…It has been established that the tactile element alone in animal therapy releases endorphins, so called feel-good hormones that counteract the trauma hormones of adrenaline and cortisol.

…therapists involved in such programs speculate that their benefits actually derive from shutting down for a time some of our brain’s higher and sometimes cacophonous cognitive functions…Rather than augmenting higher-level consciousness, a substance like psilocybin actually shuts down our brain’s ego center, which, under duress, can confer crippling fear, guilt and insecurity, and instead allows people access to their unfettered emotions and sense of childlike wonder. Allows them, in other words, a mind-altering walk in the wood with no names…

“He looked down,” Martin recalls, “and she just gave him a little lick, and suddenly I couldn’t stop him from crying. Just that connection set free all of this stuff inside of him. She was the catalyst. There’s that ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ thing that happens. That’s real.”

~ Charles Siebert, excerpts from Why Close Encounters With Animals Soothe Us (NY Times, May 18, 2017)

 

T.G.I.F.: On its knees

tired-sad-alone-jpg

There are moments when,
whatever the posture of the body,
the soul is on its knees.

— Victor Hugo,  from Les MiserablesChapter IV. A Heart beneath a Stone

 


Notes: Quote – Hidden Sanctuary. Photo: Kristi Wright (via Mennyfox55)

you just keep on using me until you use me up

No chance you won’t LOVE this.

ZERO chance.

Ay Ay Ay Ay
I want to spread the news that if it feels this good getting used
Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up
Until you use me up


Notes:

It’s been a long day

blue-face-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,” Fall Higher

 


Notes:

Sunday Morning

 

philippe-conquet

Today, at the sacred site of your soul, make peace with your present reflection as you go in search of the body and face you were born with and excavate the many extraordinary faces that have evolved during your many lives…

Embrace the lines that stare back, the parts that sag in the middle or stick out where you think they shouldn’t, the hair that never keeps a curl or never loses it. Invoke the Tibetan poet Saraha’s psalm of praise:

“Here in this body are the sacred rivers; here are the sun and moon as all the pilgrimage places. …I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach, from “Our Pilgrimage Places” in Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self

 


Notes: Quote: Thank you Beth @ Alive on all Channels. Photo: Philippe Conquet

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

St. Paul & The Broken Bones is a six-piece soul band based out of Birmingham, Alabama, which formed in 2012.

“Paul, according to all the reviews and stuff that are written of the band, he looks like your high school history teacher, or he looks like Drew Carey,” Phillips explains. “Bottom line is that we’re a bunch of kind of nerdy-looking white guys, and when this sort of earth-shaking soul roar comes out of his mouth for the first time, you can always hear the air being sucked out of the room.” Janeway wasn’t raised to be a soul singer. He grew up in rural Alabama in a strict religious household. “I could only listen to, like, gospel Christian music,” Janeway says.” And he got most of his musical chops from church. He even trained to be a preacher. “I learned more from preaching than I did singing in church,” Janeway explains, “because you learn a little bit more about how to interact with the crowd — feeling momentum, just feeling that intensity — and it’s not a whole lot different than what we do now.”

(NPR Music: From Preacher To Grass Cutter To Earth-Shaking Soul Singer)

Liked this? Don’t miss I’ve Been Loving You and All I Ever Wonder.

Find the group’s 2016 album Sea of Noise on iTunes

Lightly child, lightly.

blue

Not often,
but now and again there’s a moment
when the heart cries aloud:
yes, I am willing to be
that wild darkness,
that long, blue body of light.

— Mary Oliver, from “Whelks,” New and Selected Poems: Vol. 1.


Notes:

  • Poem: The Vale of Soulmaking.
  • Photograph: Ahsan Uzzaman with Blue (Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

 

 

They live closer to the bone

humpback-whale

In common parlance, the word ‘soul’ pops up everywhere…Soul music gets us swaying. We want our lover, body and soul. In each case, ‘soul’ connotes deep feeling and core values…Today, studies increasingly show that many non-human beings feel. Elephants appear to feel grief, while dolphins and whales express joy, or something much like it. Parrots can become cranky, pigs and cows terrified, chickens saddened, monkeys seemingly embarrassed. Experiments have shown that rats become agitated when seeing surgery performed on other rats and that, when presented with a trapped lab-mate and a piece of chocolate, they will free their caged brethren before eating. […]

One might even argue that other creatures are more cognisant of feelings than humans are, because they possess a primary form of consciousness: they are aware of themselves and their environment but are less burdened by complexities such as reflection and rumination that typify human consciousness. They live closer to the bone, so to speak. Jeffrey Masson, author of When Elephants Weep (1995), has remarked that animals possess feelings of ‘undiluted purity and clarity’ compared to the ‘seeming opacity and inaccessibility of human feelings.’[…]

Extraordinary examples of ensoulment among non-human animals abound. Ethologist Adriaan Kortlandt once observed a wild chimp in the Congo ‘gaze at a particularly beautiful sunset for a full 15 minutes, watching the changing colors’, forsaking his evening meal in the process. Elsewhere, African elephants belonging to the same family or group will greet one another after a separation with a loud chorus of rumbles and roars as they rush together, flapping their ears and spinning in circles. […]

A particularly striking case of animal gratitude occurred in 2005 off the California coast, where a female humpback whale was found entangled in nylon ropes used by fishermen. As recounted by Frans de Waal in The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society (2009): ‘The ropes were digging into the blubber, leaving cuts. The only way to free the whale was to dive under the surface to cut away the ropes.’ The divers spent an hour at the task, an especially risky one given the sheer strength of the animal’s tail. ‘The most remarkable part came when the whale realised it was free. Instead of leaving the scene, she hung around. The huge animal swam in a large circle, carefully approaching every diver separately. She nuzzled one, then moved on to the next, until she had touched them all.’ […]

In the end, soul may be a profound matter of fellow feeling. The stronger the capability of a given species for fellow feeling, the more that species can be said to exhibit soulfulness. To view things in this way offers another important step in humanity’s progression towards understanding its place in creation – and to appreciate the inheritance we hold in common with other sentient beings on this increasingly small, restive, and fragile planet.

~ Michael Jawer, Do only humans have souls, or do animals possess them too? | Aeon Ideas


Photo: Humpback whale bubbles by Scott Portelli (via lovely seas)

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