The name of the game is JOURNEY for me right now. It is becoming a deep focus for me lately, kind of unexpectedly, and I’m not even sure how it all started… A friend lent me a book this past fall, for the quotes at the end of each chapter, he said. I’m always looking for great quotes to build art around…Took me months to pick up “Buddhist Boot Camp” but it’s been blowing my mind ever since….turns out it’s not even really about Buddhism. Then in the past few weeks I’ve had a few things on constant repeat: I’ve probably watched “La La Land” a good ten times so far (or parts of it, a movie about dreamers) (yes, I have a lot of insomnia; trying to make it work FOR me), and the HBO “Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling” have amazed me with their wisdom and insights. Also downloaded “Heretic” recently, the new documentary about Rob Bell; it is so thick with ideas and philosophy it also calls for multiple screenings. Which is not to say that I’m letting popular culture lead me spiritually, but it is the sea in which we all swim, right? I’ll say this: I’ve been moving toward a fresh understanding of compassion and inclusivity for a while now, and it only makes sense to me that the Universe would cooperate in that journey. I recently shared on Facebook my excitement about a confirming dream sent to me in the midst of all this. I want to grow in kindness, in understanding how that might look in my life, and how it might take root in my heart so as to flow more freely. I know, it sounds so simple… it may be indicative of my own heart’s darkness that I find it so… compelling and complicated and challenging.
I am a person of connection, and I am used to experiencing my spiritual journeying in community, alongside others. Let’s be honest: I am also very verbal. Read: I like to talk. A LOT. Those two things being said, I’m thinking I may share this journey on Facebook. I know, I know, you just threw up in your mouth a little. But before I lose you completely, let’s talk about the Book. I started on FB back in like 2006, when I was writing for music websites. Bands had started using FB like Myspace, and in order to research them for interviews I had to create an account of my own. So I was there when it was all young people and college students, and I was there when their parents started joining and they all left. Since then some of the ‘rents and others have become disillusioned and dropped out, and of course people often go in and out with it, depending on how they handle it themselves. For me, it’s always been a useful tool; for communication, for exploration, for information, for laughing… I’m not someone who loses time with it, because I pay no attention to the extras. I get the information I want, and I’m done. I live a thousand miles away from many dear friends, and I love feeling connected to their lives, and to those in my current community. But I love connection of any kind, so to me the Book is a useful tool. I adore technology, and any tool that has the potential to draw us together, I’m down.
But I’m not unaware of the down side of social media, so lemme just say this, in the most friendly, straightforward way: I am not seeking the approval of anyone. If you think I’m going over Niagra in a barrel, if you think I’m wasting your time, if you think I’m endangering my mortal soul, if you think I’m a narcissistic blabbermouth…. you may or may not be right. Feel free to ignore me, block me, or defriend me; I’m totally fine with it. If your worries are sincere, please reach out to me privately and let’s talk. Of course you’re welcome to publicly express a different perspective as long as it is calm, respectful, and contains no name-calling or snide superiority. This must be said as I’ve recently found myself playing unwilling referee among friends duking it out politically on posts that started out quite innocently. The experience has been very uncomfortable and I’m determined to avoid a repeat. I didn’t shut those discussions down (although I was tempted to) because I do value the exchange of ideas, but they were often the very antithesis of kindness and I will have to if hijacked on this topic.
Of course I’m reading this all as I type and it begs the question: who do you think you are that people would be that invested or interested, Kevan, that you have to post rules of behavior? That actually does come across like a narcissistic blabbermouth LOL. See, I said it could be an accurate description, I don’t deny it. That possibility is actually part of the reason I’m so interested in exploring my insides, and trying to reach a place less selfish, more altruistic. If I’m being honest this has to be considered, and I’m willing to, because I want it that badly. I may be completely alone in this; it wouldn’t be that shocking to me. But who knows? I may not be. You may have things to teach me, and I invite you to join me. I want to learn from you, from anyone also interested in exploring a more compassionate way to live, a way to encourage others to find and affirm beauty in other humans. It seems especially crucial at this time, a season where ugliness is perceived as a virtue and the ego is king. I need rescue from this culture, this message. In some vital ways, I may need rescue from myself. I’m dreaming of a truth-filled journey, where we may post pictures of our art or our writings or our questions or our songs that lead us further into the adventure of exploring KINDNESS. Feel free to share, join in, ignore, pray, post, or any other soulful response. I’m eager to learn from you. I may NEED to learn from you.