Something New – Part 6

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
 
* * *
Okay then, from the sublime to the ridiculous…
This challenge is interesting in that I want to do new things and still I’m pretty aware by this time in my life what would just make me miserable and what would just be a stretch but might be something that would enrich my thinking, or even my life. So reading the entertainment section on the Friday before Mother’s Day offered me this month’s “new” thing.
I love music. And I’m varied in my tastes. My favorite is opera. Next is bluesy gospel, blues, classical, classic rock…and the list goes on in no particular order.  And since it first appeared years ago I have enjoy rap and hop-hop. I often deplore the lyrics but I love the beat. I’ve attended a lot of festivals, concerts and performances in bars and clubs, but I have never been to an Open Mic.
And I’ve certainly never been to a Hip-Hop Open Mic. So, Voila!
My husband (although I’m not his mother) consented to humor me on this special day by going with me. And what fun it was!
We live near a fairly small town that prides itself on it’s entertainment. There are many theaters – from world famous to hole-in-the-wall productions. There’s usually live music to choose from on weekends. How had we missed this opportunity?
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the evening was the variation in the attendees. So you want diversity? Here you go! I’m sure there was a grandmother of a performer in the front center row. She had a couple of friends with her and she was poised to enjoy and support. In this black-walled  theater with folding chairs set up in semi-circles around the sound equipment and a DJ at the back we watched as the crowd filtered in. Young women in short shorts and filmy tops. Young men in camo and boots. Older men straight out of their book-lined studies who should have been carrying smoldering pipes in their pockets. Dreadlocks. Shaved heads. Theater people. Music crowd. And chic, Starbucks-toting, groups poised and ready for…what?
We enjoyed all sorts (literally) of performances. Moving poetry. Singer-songwriters with an acoustic guitar followed by a rock singer surrounded by electronic equipment to provide his percussion. Women bringing tears to our eyes with stories of survival and young men crooning loves songs to women in the audience.
Finally, after an hour or so, a hip-hop artist was announced. The young man shambled to the mic an peered from behind his curtain of hair. So quietly that it was hard to discern his words (other than the classic “mother-fucker” and “bitch”) he spilled out his angst to his own internal beat. I wish I could have heard more. Like other performers, he had a story to tell that was compelling to him and to the less-hearing-impaired listeners.
He wasn’t the last on the list of hopefuls. But he was the only one who slightly touched on hip-hop.
We stayed around for sidesplitting stories and soul-stirring folk songs. The entire experience made me think that before my years of “new” ends, I may want to attend a poetry slam. I have never done that either.
The Student

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Filed under Angeles Arríen, The Challenge, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate

The Fire of Vision

Reflection

“Many sacred texts, such as the Bible, Koran, and Torah, speak of fire as a symbol of the vital life force that can be called upon for transformation, revisioning, or the transmission of renewed meaning.
Reflect upon the four fires—the fire of vision, the fire of the heart, the creative fire, and the soul’s fire. What does fire reveal to you about your dreams, work, health, relationships, creativity, and soul’s desire at this time in your life?” Angeles Arrien
My visions of my life have guided me for many years. I have never had goals, but I recognized early that I could see myself in certain positions and situations and that seeing myself there often placed me there.
But, until recently, I haven’t paid much attention to my dreams.

On my trip to the retreat at Teotihuacan one of the morning exercises in the circle was the acting out of dreams. Someone in the group would volunteer to share their memory of a dream and one of the partitioners would help in illuminating its meaning.

I don’t have a spiritual teacher nor a friend experienced in dream analysis, but I have become aware. Once in a bit I look up some recurring theme on one of the many dream interpretation websites. The answers are a bit pat and don’t always tick the boxes – still, I get some ideas.

The interesting thing about my dreams is that they do guide me. I lie quietly in the morning to let the spirit of my dreams wash over me while I remember what details I can bring back. I pay attention when I dream repeatedly about looking for something or of being frantic to reach some destination. I revel in the beauty of some dreams and let those visions stay with me throughout the day – recalling the feelings. When I have dreams that include people I have never seen (to my knowledge) I try to figure out what or who they might represent. And when I dream of my loved ones, I make the contact – assuming that they appeared in my dreams for a reason that my subconscious realizes even when I don’t.

The fire of vision has probably always been vital in my life. Now I recognize that value.

The Student

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Filed under Angeles Arríen, Reflections, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate

Something New – Part 5

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
* * *
When asked me two weeks ago how I would stretch myself this month, I replied that I was unsure. Even though I had already signed up for my big challenge. I just didn’t see it as that.
We are fortunate to have a hometown university. And like many universities, ours has a program for the great aging population. We are college seniors in a new way – attending classes on a plethora of subjects taught by local experts. Some teachers have retired from academia. Some are doctors. Some are artists and artisans. And some are just highly experienced in the fields in which they choose to share knowledge. Well, I digress…
For about six months I have had a notation on my calendar to remind me to dance. I love to dance. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy – just turn up the salsa or rock and roll and I will gyrate around the house on the way to the refrigerator or while making the bed. Somehow, though, I forget to turn on that music. Other than a rare 10 minutes after my exercise class when some of us boogie to Jerry Lee Lewis, I have neglected my dance intention.
Intention plants seeds, however, and this spring I signed up for a class in English Country Dance. I know – strange. But this is line dance and circle dance from two centuries past and I don’t need a partner.
Thursday, I wandered around an small industrial area to find The Dance Space. I walked into a large group of people doing some fairly intricate steps in a circle. When the music ended the teacher asked my name and invited me into the circle.
Immersion dancing!
By the end of the hour I was laughing at my own awkwardness, apologizing for messing up, and realizing that I had enjoyed every moment. I signed up for a workshop on Saturday and let my husband know that I have a new passion.
(By the end of the Saturday workshop I was exhausted, brain dead, and still determined to make room in my life for this exercise for mind and body.)
Five months of new beginnings and counting.
The Student

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Filed under Angeles Arríen, The Challenge, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate