His Name Is Alive (on Vimeo)

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Gorgeous, beautiful His Name Is Alive performed at Mercury Lounge last night, and I was graced with the presence of my lovely boyfriend as my date. The performance is such a treat because it is really only recently, after all of these years, that HNIA is touring. They perform their old songs with completely new twists, and even some of their new songs from the new album “Detrola” have unusual live versions, so everything is really fresh, alive, and new during the show. I’ve fallen in love with them all over again.

Here is a teeny clip from last night’s performance of a classic song of theirs, done in a more mournful way than the original version, which was done with a gospel choir and children.



My Limbo and Flux You

Reading time: 7 – 11 minutes

Everything seems to be in limbo right now. Isn’t it funny that “limbo” is a playful game of bending over backwards and moving forward, and it also implies a kind of imprisoning with lack of movement. Me: I’m bending over backwards and moving forward.

Most of the time I see this kind of flux as a form of adventure. Part of the adventure is that it’s just a part of life that things change and that’s a good thing. The limbo and flux is the price I pay for the kind of life I choose to live. I’d rather spend my energy treading water in life while doing what I love, than to stand on dry land, safe, but alone and ineffective.

One of the main things I have learned in recent years is that life is not about EXTREMES. It’s about balance, harmony, healthiness, and compassion. Sure, I can be extreme and do ONLY what I love, struggling against the raging waters for my very survival along the way; or I could do the other extreme and “get a job” that would bring about a weekly stability, but suck dry all of the time and energy I would otherwise have for my life. Either extreme is not kind, healthy, compassionate, or balanced (for me). They are cruel methods of living and many in this world feel they have to choose one of those extremes against their inner navigation.

In fact, the world is often divided in many ways by that very line: People who live in the acceptable mainstream, stable world of glorified mediocrity, and people who live in the distant, chaotic world of contemptuous naivete. I am from the latter.

Neither extreme is better than the other, but the sheer pressure of our social peers makes the mainstream, relinquishing of dreams, to be an acceptable and even enticing world to join. (I wonder what it’s like in cultures where the reverse is true.) I am tempted into this surrender of dreams all of the time. It is truly easier to surrender your dreams for a piece of stability and mainstream acceptability, than to pursue your dreams and live out the chaos of your creativity. I am often tempted to take the easy way out, especially now that I will be living on my own. The pressure is on from all around me, too. My loved ones take great measures to convince me to conform to the expectations of our society, culture, monetary status, and just give in; join those who stand on safe, little islands of dry land.

But I know I will never join that common world of dry land.

I will create or find my an island of my choosing, thank you very much. I don’t need to join those who lie upon, or wander about, the worn-out shores of social acceptance, mediocrity, and mainstream as a way to live my life. I want to create and/or find new places and share methods for how others can do the same! It may come as a shock to some people, but there IS more to life than what we can see at a glance. It’s beautiful out here in the water.

So, I won’t be joining the walking dead on the dream-littered beaches any time, soon.

Cyprus knows this, too, and this is the motivation behind our separation after all of these years. That’s a good thing, though. We live and work incredibly well together, but after all of these years, the lifting of the weight of catering to such extreme differences in each other’s world will be a great relief.

When people define me, or conclude me, by the fact that I have a sporadic income, distracting dreams, and a willingness to living a bit chaotic and creatively, they sometimes interpret this as being irresponsible, childish, and inconvenient. When people do this, I feel so utterly invisible and sad. It will always be shocking to me when people define others by the superficialities of life. This is like calling someone ugly because his skin is not perfect, or because she is fat. Think of the shallow mentality that easily dismisses the boy with the bad skin through a distant pity for his condition, or that is repelled by the fat girl because “she obviously doesn’t take care of herself.” It is really lazy, and really easy, for some to dismiss or repel others because of what certain symbols mean to them. For instance, it is really lazy and really easy to dismiss me because I don’t fit into the mainstream rules of financial stability and routine.

How we interpret the conditions and symptoms of another person’s life is more about OURSELVES than about the person living that life.

Everything you don’t like about me, or my life, is reflective of what you repel and reject in yourself . Everything you love about me, or my life, is reflective of what you desire and embrace in yourself. People rarely have relationships with other people, but, instead have relationships with THEIR OWN REFLECTIONS extracted from other people. When we really allow room for others TO BE THEMSELVES, we finally know intimacy.

This is why I find I am truly invisible to some people. They see only parts of themselves in me, instead of just ME. That’s part of life, though.

I survived through 18 years of torture, and then another 18 years of creating and pursuing a life to counter the pain and horrors I survived. My life has always been about survival, and I am done with that game. As part of the creation and pursuit of my life, my aim was to do this through helping others create and pursue their own idea of what their lives could be. During that second set of 18 years, I managed to do all I could to help the world around me, while trying to balance helping myself. That’s a tough one to do, but I’ve done it! Yes, I trip and fall a lot, but getting up and continuing is part of the process of creating and owning ones life.

But, see, I am only 38. Yes, I said it: ONLY 38. If I were to die today, people would comment on how young I was to have died. In the two years since I finished that second set of 18 years, I have come to several realizations:

I have my whole life ahead of me. And it’s MINE. And it’s mine to SHARE, not to give away. I will always know that at any point when I die, I will have loved my life, despite its challenges and pain, because I know I have loved and cared for everything I have created from me. Life happens FROM you; not TO you.

I didn’t give up on me, like others may have. I didn’t choose convenience over creativity, like others may have. I didn’t choose complacency over challenge, like others may have. I didn’t choose familiarity and routine over risk, like others may have. I keep trying to play the way everyone wants me to play, but I am playing a different game, I suppose, so the rules through which I have tried to play for so long just don’t work.

I know I am not a convenient person to know or love. In a culture that encourages as much convenience and superficial, immediate stimulation as possible, I can be a troublesome, inconvenient, and boring boy.

Over the past two years I have discovered that the conflict and challenge of finding balance in my life is actually IN the relinquishing of my passion, or in the joining of the world of stable mediocrity, but NOT in the WHOLEHEARTED commitment to what I want to do with my life!

If I do not feel I am worth the effort, who will?

Struggling to live the life you want does not make you tired and bitter, but neither does doing what you have to do along the way. It’s in our assumptions that we are trapped by the extremes of life that we get tired, despairing, frustrated, and depressed. When we finally GET IT that life fluctuates, changes, and is a long-term dance of creation and interpretation, then we can free ourselves from these extremes and live within the SPECTRUM of life.

We are never really in limbo or in flux, happy or sad, trapped or free, in love or rejected, doing what we want, or not doing what we want… we are never really those things. We are just LIVING. It’s all just a PART of us, our lives, and each other. And it changes. All the time.

Enjoy the ride!

So the next time you are disappointed in yourself or in someone else, try to actually LIVE a little. Free yourself and/or the other person from the constraints of an outdated paradigm that encourages you to polarize yourself against yourself or someone else.

We are a spectrum. And so is everyone else.

And so is everything.