Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nothing gives me a better reason to write than travel. A change of surroundings always inspires, because it provides a different perspective on life. Different places have different culture, customs, language and ways of thinking. Its living proof that the world is not static, but highly dynamic and ever changing. The age-old axiom “all things are impermanent [and thus relative]” rings especially true when you’re on the road. It’s good to remind yourself of this sometimes.

The ridicule or praise of worldly people means nothing
This is an old truth; don’t think it was discovered recently.
“I want this, I want that”
Is nothing but foolishness.
I’ll tell you a secret:
All things are impermanent.

良寛大愚 (1758-1831)

The last month or so has just felt like a big free fall, and I still don’t know where the ground is. But I know it was time for me to leave Taiwan and move on. Now that I’ve been in Macau for a few days, it kind of feels like I’m coming out of exile. Not just physically, but mentally, psychologically and spiritually, too. For a year all I did was focus on getting a solid foundation in Mandarin Chinese, not much else. I’m grateful I did that, but it wasn’t easy. Many times I wanted to leave, put more time into other things. Travel, music, anything. Anything but be stuck in a dirty city. But I held my course, and now here I am. Out of exile, literally on the border with Mainland China proper. I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m exited. Exited by the possibilities. Isn’t it a trip? The flip side of these lame insecure feelings that come with free fall is that they’re just a function of this wide open field of possibilities. Depending on your point of view, your either be stoked about it or are really scared and intimidated by the vastness of it all. Me? I go back and forth.

Right now I’m stoked. Waking up, sitting, stretching and sitting down with a good cup of green Chinese (as opposed to Taiwanese) tea bring me back home, back to the root. But last night I got caught up in the worrying again. Lame insecurity and stuff. Still can’t do much about it when it happens. Kind of like typhoon; best you can do is just close the shutters, go inside and brace the storm. It’s lame, but it happens. It’s just nature in all it’s different manifestations. I still believe you can’t really change this stuff, but you have to learn how to live with it. Kind of like that typhoon. You can’t stop it from raining and storming, but you can learn how to keep your house from getting leveled. Or like Brant used to say to me: “You can’t change the waves, but you can learn how to surf”. Yeah.

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m listening to John Coltrane right now. Man, that dude is an inspiration too. Someone asked him why do you play music, what’s your message? And Trane’s like, “I play music to uplift people”. And he means it too, you can feel it. The stuff he did from the Sixties onwards, man, it’s powerful. “Holy ghost music”, Carlos Santana would say. And that just brings me right back home, back to the roots. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the future looks like either, or how it’s gonna manifest itself. But whatever I do it has to do that; Uplift people, inspire people. Even if it’s a only a handful. It’s important to remind myself of that, cause that lame insecurity gets in the way sometimes and can make you lose sight of your higher goals in life. You start to settle for less. Compromise. That might be fine for some people, but I sure don’t want to live my life that way. Bob Dylan said “those who ain’t busy living are busy dying”. And I’m in no hurry to die, so why settle? Like Steve Jobs said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, only looking backwards”. So in the mean time you got to have faith and follow your heart, reach for the higher goal and don’t lose sight of the big picture. And if a typhoon comes, just go inside and brace the storm. If you’re skateboarding and you fall down, just get back up and keep going. You miss a beat? Just wait for the one and come back in. Moral of the story? Don’t give up on your dreams, or they will give up on you. So keep on pushing – straight ahead.

And that’s about all I have to say about that.