Monday, May 10, 2010

Moving Mindfully

The mind has a curious sense of direction
weaving in and out of memories
with no established destination
choosing moments in time
to pause
to ponder
ones that may not be your favorites
maybe not even worth remembering at all
but it stops nonetheless
and takes its time reflecting
jotting down notes along the way
about how the moment feels
snapping photographs to document
the trivialisms that make each moment whole....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Service Swap

After a ridiculous couple of months, I wanted to splurge and get massage. Not being of the socio-economic status that typically does that sort of thing, I naturally turned to my masseuse friends for help. Many of these women are full-time moms, part-time massage therapists. They primarily do business for a set list of clients out of their homes, and at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for the same thing at a spa. So, I got to actually afford such lavish pampering within my measly budget, AND give my hard-earned dollars to deserving friends and not elitist spas…pretty great, right?

So I got the massage, and it was absolutely amazing. My shoulders had forgotten what it felt like to be malleable. My soul had forgotten what it felt like to be weightless. I decided right then and there that this blissful clarity needed to happen on a more regular basis.

I asked my friend, and recent miracle worker, how frequently people on average did this sort of thing; you know, the people who actually can do this on a regular basis. Her reply, as I expected, was far more than my wallet could bear.

Weekly. Yes, many people out there get weekly massages. If only we were all so fortunate.

But there was a silver lining to her expensive proposition: a lot of clients work on trade. A massage for yoga classes. For manicures. For hair cuts. For Spanish language lessons. You name it, they trade it, and as she rambled off the list of things she was getting for free, I realized that all of these services sounded pretty wonderful. These were things I could use.

On my drive home I started thinking…what could I trade? Unfortunately, while marketing services are very much in demand, they’re not easily broken into $50-75 units. And to learn to do some of the services my massage therapist friend suggested take way more time and energy than I have to spare right now.

So here is my open-ended question of the day. What would you trade for 60 minutes of stress-busting peace and tranquility?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Making major life choices

People gravitate toward the norm. To what feels familiar. To what they’re used to. Maybe this norm is what their parents did, or what their parent’s parents did. Whatever the case, these individuals live their lives by a checklist that was not created on their own.

But there are also individuals who want to avoid the familiar. Who don’t fit in with the norm, and aren’t into what they’re used to. These individuals are faced with an extremely exhilarating, yet daunting task: to create their own destiny. To forge their own path. To make decisions not only on who they want to be, but how they want to live, and what they hope to get out of life.

These people, in my opinion, are truly artists. And with any blank canvas, sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to start.

The most challenging part about figuring out what you want is the realization that every decision you make now has an affect on where you’ll end up. If you don’t marry during a certain window, or have children at a particular age, those opportunities can truly flash before your eyes and fade into oblivion.

This notion has always scared me. While these choices are not something that I want right now, what if I change my mind?

To help me figure it out, I find myself looking for examples in my friends and family who have accomplished these pivotal milestones…for better or worse.

I look at my great-grandparents who were married for decades. My grandparents who have been divorced for longer than they were ever married. To the ones who have found happiness on their own. I use these people in my life as reference points on what my options are. But for some of the more avant-garde lifestyles, examples are hard to come by.

So here are a couple questions to throw into the cyberspace universe: When did you KNOW how you wanted to spend your life? How you wanted to grow old? And, do you know of any unique circumstances where people were able to find their own happiness?

I welcome your insight….

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Street walking

So I have a guilty pleasure lately. I am obsessed with walking down the middle of empty city streets. Something about it is so romantic and beautiful. The dichotomy of living in this city of non-stop chaos and noise, and finding that one isolated pocket of silence, where everything stops and your whole universe makes sense.

I work out a lot of my problems in the middle of the road. Somehow in the stillness, something inside me just clicks. I effortlessly float from one thought bubble to the next, and clear away each resolution to make way for the next.

Like a true junkie, I’ve been seeking out prime thoroughfares to conduct my meditative problem solving. I try to determine whether north-south streets should be favored to east-west ones. Test out which way is ideal on a one-way street.

On this quest for peaceful solitude, I realized it was something I’ve been searching for for quite some time. Living in the city is wonderful in so many ways; however, it leaves much to be desired in the way of personal space and downtime.

So for all my fellow city girls looking to make sense of it all, try to find a place or activity that brings you peace, and hold that time sacred. Keep it for you and only you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Making Contributions

As children, we concoct imaginative aspirations for adulthood. We want to be astronauts and firefighters and superheroes…we want to save the world. Yet as adulthood rears its ugly head around the corner, our aspirations shift gears. We start to understand the concept of “standard of living” and see no other option except maintaining it. To get there, career aspirations shift in favor of the almighty dollar, leaving us with degrees that lack specificity and more importantly, heart.

We believe that these degrees, these cubicles, these white-picket fences verify ourselves as contributing members of society...but what are contributing members of society actually contributing?

They’re contributing more waste, more CO2, more malaise and entitlement. Why to be a contributing member of society do you need to keep within the box of conformity, when it’s that box that got us in this mess in the first place?

Today, the individuals making a conscious effort to actually make the world a better place are a rarity. People are much more concerned with leaving a financial legacy for their family than doing something that will truly leave a legacy and make a difference. And unfortunately, some people who want to make a difference are stuck not knowing what to do…how to help…where to start. You can’t search on Craigslist for a job to “make a difference” or pick the “superhero” category from a drop down. How do you gain the knowledge and qualifications to help save the world? What do you major in to get there?

So going back to childhood, the time where hope isn’t jaded and creativity is in it’s purest form, can we start teaching future generations that the way to contribute to society is to actually make it better? That a cleaner, safer, smarter, happier and healthier world is so much cooler than conformity. I would love for that to be my legacy. I’m just trying to figure out how to get there….

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Urban Decay

Part of me still calls Detroit home. A city that I never really knew. Streets I never really walked down. People I never had the chance to meet. I look at Detroit now like a decaying work of art. It's like a faded painting where you try to picture the vibrancy of the colors, but so much of its beauty relies on imagination. I saw this photo today and it make me want to cry. 

Photo of United Artists Theater by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

When in Doubt, Beatbox

Beatboxing in hip hop is as frequent as harmonizing in folk duos. But when you throw it into a different genre, it adds a new layer of dynamic complexity that really makes a song "wow." 

Bjork turned to the Godfather of Noyze and former member of The Roots, Rahzel, for her Medulla album. Amid a collection of a cappella ballads, Rahzel's contribution adheres to the rawness of Medulla, while providing a unique and unwavering distinction that seems to ground the work as a whole. 

More recently, I've been listening the British duo, Nizlopi, quite a bit. Comprised of Luke Concannon on vocals and guitar and John Parker on bass, guitar and beatbox, these guys turn to beatboxing as their percussion instrument of choice and seamlessly blend their love of hip hop into heartfelt love songs. 

So if you have a great song, and drums just aren't doing it for you, consider adding a beatbox to the mix. It might be just the thing your song needs to take off.