Tag Archives: connections

Singing

David and I are spending Thanksgiving weekend in NY with his parents, and today we are going into the city to sing Georgian music at a workshop lead by Carl Linich of Kavkasia.

David introduced me to Georgian music (among other freaky types of music). My first response was, “I like Georgian Music. The Indigo Girls are my favorite!” David’s response was probably something like, “oh, I didn’t know the Indigo Girls sang Georgian Folk Music,” confusing me with his combination of sarcasm and sincerity.

The first Georgian song I learned, here sung by Carl and his sons:

We haven’t been singing in a while, and singing is getting more and more difficult as Raspberry pushes upward into my diaphragm and lungs. I have barely been able to keep up with my favorite Georgian duo, holding now-gasping sing-a-longs with the Indigo Girls.

I miss singing. It is hard to be sad or angry when you are singing (unless singing along with Alanis or Pink or something, which I don’t usually do). Singing in a group, whether during Shabbat services, Sacred Harp sing-a-longs, or choir practice, builds community effortlessly.

I’m excited to introduce Raspberry to Georgian Music. And everything else.

Just Ask

Important lesson learned: People loved to be asked to help, to volunteer, to contribute.

Kids loves to volunteer to pass out papers, to write on the board, to collect papers, to hold the door, to help another kid. Few that I’ve met have the initiative to offer help (maybe this is a developmental milestone hit later? must look into that), but any time I ask for volunteers, I usually have more than I need before I even announce what the volunteering is for!

Adults also love to help but need to be asked. People who are new to the organization, community, family, etc want to be involved and supportive but often don’t know what to do.  Small projects work well and then that volunteer starts to see how the systems work and they either continue to volunteer or begin taking initiative.

This revelation is not earth shattering. You may even be reading this thinking, Yes, Vicki, all you have to do is ask. I’ve been telling you that for years. (Yes, Mom, you are right again).

But for a small, shy woman, asking is the hardest part. It is easier to for me to do everything myself rather than ask for help. But I see that the community cannot continue on my shoulders (or the shoulders of the taking-initiative few) alone; I don’t want it to. That is the whole point of community.

Though it is a little early or late, my new year’s resolution is to ASK.

Verfremdungseffekt

I remember learning about Brecht in college Theatre History class. I loved how Brecht told stories and I loved this word: Verfremdungseffekt. Mistranslated as the Alienation Effect, I prefer the concept of distancing to alienating. It describes the way you feel when you are watching the play and suddenly the scene shifts and the character sings directly to the audience. You feel pulled out, distanced, from the story, but still connected.

Our professor gave us the example of the way we feel when we return home from college for the first time. The story of our family and our hometown continues but we have changed and suddenly, we are singing directly to ourselves inspite of the ongoing story.

I still feel distanced when I return home and I struggle with it. I am a very different person from the me at 18 when I drove to Indian with my parents. I am a very different person from the me who drove to Pennsylvania 5 years later. And I am even a different person from the me who visited last summer.

There are the obvious differences between my story and the story of the family and my hometown, but that isn’t it. So I’m pregnant, so my parents have moved, so parts of the city have changed. That makes a bit of a difference, but the real difference is deeper, and I don’t know that I really understand it.

I feel like I can’t go home again. My home isn’t Pensacola anymore. My family has expanded (and will continue to) and I feel incomplete without David (not in the co-dependent way, but in the balanced way). I feel incomplete without my stepkids.

I never felt so happy to get back to Reading. Not because I dislike my family or hometown, or even because I like Reading so much. But this is where home is. Now.

Wide World

This article, from a favorite NY Times Blog, Motherlode, moved me to tears.

I am on a precipice, between doing what I want all the time and full-time parenthood, between youth and maturity, between changing the world and being someone’s world.

I read this article of a young woman who travels the world and settles down in Nepal, building a loving, healthy orphanage and school there, as a parent. I realized that as I was reading. There was a time when I’d read about young women like her, who travel and change lives, and feel inspired, jealous, and everything in between. I wanted to be that girl.

And now I read it and think, without planning to think it, “What inspiring parents who raise a daughter who can go and do. I hope I have the courage to give my children the confidence and values so they too will go out and make a huge difference in the world, whether in this community or across the world.” But only if it is truly what they want. I don’t want them to live my dreams for me.

I mourn a little bit for the me who will not, at least for a long time, travel the world and save the children and live all of these idealistic dreams.

At the same time, I smile because I am growing up and moving on. As hard as it is, as much as I hate growing up and seeing the truth about the world and about people, it is time.

Funny when it hits me.

 

Rabbi/Yogi

There is a Rabbi in my yoga class.

I spent a while talking to him after class one day about Judaism and yoga. Now he periodically shares tidbits of Torah that tie to the yoga teaching of the day.

Today in class, our teacher mentioned something about the windiness of fall and how we must hold on to our practices to get through it. After class, the Rabbi came up to me to share that this week, in Parshat Noach, as Noah builds his ark, he (and I can’t remember exactly…darn pregnancy brain) he is told or he decides he must cling to his practice of building the ark in the midst of the chaos all around him. Focus his mind. Just as our teacher told us to cling to our yoga practice.

On my drive home I was thinking about the habits I cling to, especially when the chaos hits. I feel like so many aspects of my life are out of my control – being a step mom, having a boss, being pregnant – my decisions are not always my own.

But I can eat Raisin Bran for breakfast. That is a habit that I don’t like to break. I find myself looking for raisins and bran all day if I have to eat something else.

In yoga, we are taught aparigraha, non-grasping. For a while I was trying to eliminate habits and routines from my life, thinking if I did, then I would have the freedom and mental space to be a real yogi. But now, being that I am a householder, a parent, a wife, a worker, etc and a yogi, I realize the value of these habits and how much I need them. How much I depend on them.

For me, in the boundaries of time, I find freedom.

White People

Perhaps you have heard of that infamous blog-turned-book, Stuff White People Like? Well, Ok Cupid, a blog that David introduced to me, has used its dating service data to create real lists of what all kind of people like.

I am more Indian and Asian than white, which I’ve suspected for a while.

Inspiration/Perspiration

Though I haven’t read his books (gasp!), I enjoy reading Seth Godin‘s blog.

This particular article (entry, update, post…) caught my fancy – it is about finding inspiration, something I feel I have been lacking lately. He is thinking about it in terms of business, I think, but inspiration is inspiration.

I think of the Picasso quote, I do not seek I find.

The main idea from the article:

The second method challenges the fear and announces that you’ve abandoned the resistance and instead prepared to ship. Your first idea might not be good, or even your second or your tenth, but once you dedicate yourself to this cycle, yes, in fact, you will ship and make a difference.

Simple example: start a blog and post once a day on how your favorite company can improve its products or its service. Do it every day for a month, one new, actionable idea each and every day. Within a few weeks, you’ll notice the change in the way you find, process and ship ideas.

So. Challenge the fear. Do, do, and do again. Every day.

I don’t know if I’m really ready to take that on. But if not now, when?

Tolerance, it ain’t Acceptance

I could say that everything in life I learned from the Indigo Girls, but that wouldn’t be true. I have been inspired by their activism, collaborative spirit, and creativity. I have been inspired to think in new ways about many things, one of which is the issue of Tolerance and Acceptance.

On one of Amy Ray’s solo albums (she sings the lower parts, has brown hair, and is often a little darker than Emily), she has a song called Laramie, about Matthew Shepherd’s murder without saying so. The lyrics that are particularly meaningful to me:

Poor man do the bidding for the rich man/Those rednecks just doing what the classy fuckers thinking/And tolerance it ain’t acceptance/I know you wanted it to be when you’re out in Laramie

The difference between tolerance and acceptance has become a huge issue for me.  Tolerance means you deal with a situation, belief, person, etc and allow it to be in your presence. Tolerance leads to deeper hate and eventual action of that hate.

Acceptance means you accept a situation, belief, person, etc – not as your own belief, for example, but as something that exists, as someone else’s truth. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, believe it, want to be there. In the end, it really isn’t your decision.

For example. I know someone who is very homophobic. He doesn’t believe that homosexuality is “correct.”  He says he is tolerant of it: “those people can do what they want, but they are wrong.” He does not accept it because “I don’t think they are right and I’m certainly not gay.” I keep trying to tell him that he is not accepting their identity as his own but rather accepting their identity as their own.

That’s the real issue for me, whether it be about sexual identity, faith, quirks, etc. You don’t have to do or be what someone else is. But if we all made a stronger effort to accept others for who they are, what they do, what they believe in…I don’t even know how to finish the sentence in a non-cheesy way. The world would be more peaceful, more friendly, more welcoming, more equal.

XO

Live United

Maybe there are good things happening in Reading. Perhaps if I read our local paper more often, I’d know more about them.

How exciting is it that young people from all over the county, nearly every school district, city and suburbs, came together to help others  and learn about service. After I read and admired this program, I couldn’t help but think “What if they added theatre to the program.”

I would like to think that I would have liked a summer camp like  this when I was young, but I’m not actually sure – I only wanted to perform in plays, preferably playing the lead role. Now, I see a value in theatre beyond entertainment – the ability to bring people together, the question the world around us, to make the world a better place. It is hugely difficult to create work of artistic value and meaningful community reflection. To bring “non-artists” (a phrase I don’t particularly like or believe in. I’ll take suggestions for something better.) and “artists” together. To honor a place, a community, a time and uplift those who need it. To empower all to create art and be moved by art.

I should just call the United Way and talk to them rather than blogging about it!

Best Baby Photos Ever

I want to be friends with this photographer, Adele Enersen, and absorb just some of her brilliant creativity.