By the time I finished recording The Glory, I was out of money, energy, tricks, and all of the other things it takes to support and sustain a career as a singer songwriter uninvolved with the “star maker machinery behind the popular song.” It’s a shame because without any promotion or further touring, The Glory was lost and I really love many of the songs we recorded.
Until I unwrapped a CD copy just now, I'd completely forgotten that I included this quote in the liner notes:
"That which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for the bees." —Marcus Aurelius
One of the songs on the album is about a world without trees. As I write this, the air in New York and Pennsylvania is filled with haze and particles from the Western wild fires. Here in North Carolina, the air is hazy, too, for the same reason. In fact, there's now a "code orange" air quality alert across the entire state. I read yesterday that, because of burning, the Amazon rain forest is emitting more CO2 than it is putting into the atmosphere. Yet, still, people are clear cutting lots and acreage for, well, money. A world without trees is a reality that we are actually closing in on now.
But that conclusion assumes that I know the future and none of us knows that. A world without trees is just one possible outcome of our current circumstances, one possible reality.
I've been thinking a lot about reality lately, about how we each create our own. Personal reality is a choice, really, in large part, a projection of our thoughts.
That is not to suggest that any of us play ostrich. Ideally, part of a adjusting a personal reality is taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions. In terms of climate change, that includes curtailing our consumption of energy and pretty much all things. Still, while operating in three-dimensional space, there's only so much we can control. But what we can control is our thoughts and what influences how we form those thoughts.
What influences our thoughts? The culture of our upbringing and education, our general, day-to-day frame of reference, the people we interact with and, of course, the media. The current variations on reality are breathtaking. Maybe it's time to tweak your own.
"We seldom realize, for example, that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society." —Alan Watts
Recently, I've been seriously curtailing my news intake. The alarmist and fearmongering headlines are designed to reel in our attention in order to sell soap. This "news" affects our nervous systems and mental health which in turn, affects our physical and spiritual health. It's good to stay informed but what and how much of that do you really need to know? Is it news or a twisted form of entertainment with ads flashing all around?
We create our reality. This is not some new age concept. It goes way, way back into Hinduism, Buddhism and isms I don't know anything about. You can even bypass spiritual traditions and look at history. The reality and mindset of someone 150 years ago, let alone in medieval Europe, the Egyptian Empire, or the Han Dynasty is radically different from anyone in the same locations today.
Artists often fiddle with reality. Representational painting is all about working a two dimensional surface to appear as three dimensions. Music does not actually exist in three dimensions. Novelists and screenwriters make up worlds left and right. My favorite play, Calderón de la Barca's La Vida es Sueño is all about messing with personal reality.
It's not just spiritual traditions, historic mindsets, and the arts that rattle the doors of perception, it's science, too. How about the fact that what we look upon changes simply because we look at it. That's the observer effect.
That is good to keep in mind if you're open to considering what sort of world you want to live in. We do create our own reality. It's worth paying attention to who and what we expose ourselves and allow to influence our perception.
The plasticity of your personal reality is at least something to consider. It's on my mind because of my love of the earth, my desire to keep my own well being intact, and because of some inner workings of the course I am launching today.
Too much of the earth is burning but if you're not directly in the flames, you may have alternate options. Keep your well being front and center and remember to breathe, intentionally and fully.
Click here to listen to Shadow Dance. Download at iTunes, Amazon Music, or Spotify. Lyrics below. If you like the song or the album, please share.
It’s so hot
I have got to get out of the sun
I am spinning
I’m dizzy, this isn’t much fun
I remember thick carpets of dew
when morning was new
how the vapors arose in the air
with sparkling vows
unfolding in moments of now
Take my hand
you’re just standing around like a fool
Let’s go dance
no place fancy, just somewhere that’s cool
I remember the shade of the trees
the color of leaves
how the breeze moved the branches
and made the sun dance with the shadows
flecks of light shimmered through windows
Sole to sand
rock, dust and bits of bone on the ground
Such a burning
we’re turning, we’re turning around
I remember when night fell
the stories we would tell were filled with the music of
choruses of frogs croaking
wolves in the hills howling
sylvan wind whistling on high
Let me dance in your shadow now…
©2000 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved
Bonus: How To Calm Your Climate Anxiety