I was recently at a peaceful gathering, a space held by a dear friend of mine, for people to meet and share creative juju. We were welcome to draw, converse, dance, sing and, if the urge was to arise, perform shadow puppets. It was on this night that I met the quietly creative, Mr. Rhubarb Dada.
Over the course of the evening, I watched this young man's silent progress of an image that completely alluded me. From what I could see, he was sketching with coloured pencils, colouring with high-lighters and building with pastels. I'd look over with intrigue every ten minutes or so, each time taken away by the depth that the next layer brought with it.
When complete, Dada revealed it with an aloof gesture. I felt my eyes search the image before me. I was immediately enamoured of it and I couldn't identify why. He politely allowed me to take it from him and sit quietly with it for a time. I am positive I appeared to be that crazy lady who does weird shit at a party, and you're not sure whether to laugh or just let her do her thing and back away because you fear she might pull out a knife at any given moment. However, I hope that wasn't the case.
So, I sat, with this picture a few feet from me, and poured myself into it. As I opened myself to its presence, more information came forth. The image began to reveal itself and I couldn't look away. It was a book of which I couldn't keep from turning the pages. The more I looked, the more I saw, and the more I saw, the more I knew.
The image I see tells me a story of a man searching for unity. On his journey, he has discovered great lands, experienced the kindness and cruelty of others, and learned many lessons of the self. But he has never connected with what is in his own heart.
A recent event, of which we know not, has brought him to the brink of the abyss. A place where he has been presented with a choice. To jump, become one with all things, feel pure bliss wash through his being, and completely release all doubt and fear to the Universe. But in doing this, he loses his identity, sense of self and all ownership of everything he ever knew. Or he can retreat, continue to live out his existence as a wanderer, searching for a love that resides within, forever hidden from view.
He chooses freedom.
This is a portrait of a man becoming one with the abyss. He is coming to, not just learn, but know that his body, his mind, his idea of the soul, means nothing. The body is a mere vessel to carry a spirit separate from the Source. An embryo that grows, develops and inevitably dies. In death, the body disintegrates, so the spirit can return to the Mother. He knows that his body is no longer required. He has always been connected to God because he is of God, therefore, is also God. And if he has this inside of himself, so does every other living being. We are all the same. We are all from a place of pure love. We have each pulled away to learn and grow, to return stronger.
He is watching as the atoms of his body begin to pull away from each other. They no longer hold together so tightly. He is letting go and they follow suit. His expression holds no fear, but awe. How wonderful his journey has been, to bring him to this.
The grey and white shape in the bottom right-hand corner, for me, is a microscope. It represents the microcosm that this man is now truly part of. It is in the forefront because if his awareness of it.
But this is just my impression.
I call this story "The Fool's Ascension." The piece itself does not yet have a name. Mr. Rhubarb Dada, if you are reading this, I invite you to provide one. I know you said this was a still-life for you. So, perhaps, your title can lead us through your thought process. Or give it a super far out name that will make the everyone say, "What the actual fuck...?" That, too, would be most brilliant.
I love abstract art. It affords the on-looker interpretation of, not only the image, but their own mind. What we see in the picture is a reflection of ourselves. If we take the time, we can experience a brief connection with the artist and listen to what they are communicating to us. Or maybe we can just take the time to connect with ourselves and our own feelings.
The magic is in the interpretation.
Twelve Foot Ninja is a small collection of vastly creative musicians. They hold a highly electric and inspirational place in my heart. Their new and highly anticipated album, Outlier, was released late last month and I have been in a state of vivid mental cataclysm ever since.
DISCLAIMER: Oh my golly goodness, disclaimer! I get very passionate in this one. So, please, I beg you, be mindful of adult language. If you are not at a stage where you can receive this, I implore you to skip this one.
And we're away!
Musically, this album grabs me by the ears, looks me in the eyes and sends forth wave after wave of unadulterated intensity. However, I am not a musician and I do not claim to know anything about time signatures or any other music terminology (seriously, "time signatures" seems to be the only lingo that comes to mind at present) to be able to give the sound any justice. But, honestly... empowering, engaging, breathtaking.
Lyrically, however! Damn, man! This is something I have to relinquish my hold on and share with you.
I have discovered, over the last week, that it is the words that are resonating at such a high frequency within me. Please, do your best to navigate through my tangled concepts that are to follow. I fear I am not going to clearly explain my interpretation and thoughts of the tale being told. And, in true Nicky Tuesday fashion, this post is my interpretation of what I'm experiencing. The images and feelings that are being conjured are my own. I do not claim to know the thought process of the lyricist, Mr. Kin Etik.
Right, a wee bit of background on what I drew from TFN's previous album, Silent Machine. This story (music and lyrics entwined) made me feel like I was preparing for a war that I had to face alone. The outcome of winning or losing was irrelevant. My journey from the wounded fledgling to the ultimate warrior was all that mattered. I was fixated on becoming, not only stronger than my enemy, but truly invincible. The track "Mother Sky" roused me from my sleeping-state and I completely surrendered everything I was, am and will be, over to a higher power.
This being said, I found Silent Machine, for me, to be more of an internal discovery. It was the catalyst for my awakening. Being mindful and aware of my potential, but not truly connected with the greater force of the Universe. I felt very much within my own head, getting to grips with my past, present and all emotion that felt so raw within me.
Outlier is the next stage in my evolution. I am being released from the ties that bind me to the physical plane of existence, and I'm allowing myself to be open to the infinity of the Universe.
I won't go over each track on the album, otherwise I will be sure to outstay my welcome. So, allow me to expand on a few songs, snippets and succulent morsels of awesomeness that held great power, in order to give you an idea of what it all means for me.
Invincible - This song had me at hello. And, at first, I had no idea why.
It describes the tale of my ascent to the top of a mountain I have been fighting my way up for as long as I can remember. Through trials with people I've encountered, battles with the self, and the dire need to become something more than what I am, I finally reach my goal only to find I haven't even left home.
"I fought a mountain,
And believed that I had won.
When I reached the top,
There was another mountain,
Blocking the sun."
When listening to this song initially, I must confess, I felt quietly superior about what was being conveyed to me. There is a line that very genuinely and modestly shares "I did not expect to lose. I never thought I'd find wisdom in being the fool." I have always told myself that I am the fool. Therefore, I am open to every lesson that the Universe affords me. How fucking self-righteous I was.
This song now serves as a reminder: I am currently in this state of feeling invincible. In my arrogance, I have convinced myself that I can never be knocked down because I am already on my knees. Acknowledging this, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yes, I have developed a skill of finding blessings in the resistance I feel towards any given situation or person that causes me discomfort, but I also recognise that I have lead myself into a place of being vulnerable to the elements. Which, in itself, perpetuates the cycle of self-realisation, enlightenment and fear all over again.
Post Mortem - This ties in perfectly with what I have just (hopefully) expressed to you.
Every time you fall,
Better to give everything,
Or nothing at all."
This is even at the risk of being overcome. Because, honestly, what is the God damn point of anything if we don't give it our all? If we want something, let's put our whole heart and soul into it. Commit to it. Be truly present and honest with what we feel and think. For each of us to own our existence. We can then be clear and direct with others, being humble in our vulnerability, as we open ourselves to interact sincerely with those around us.
This life isn't about half-asked questions, manipulating answers, or even about what we can gain. Life does not start and end with us. Energy is in a constant state of change. The mind may wander, the body may die, but we are just pieces of a great and intricate picture. One that will never, and I mean ever, come to its completion.
"Nobody's here for too long,
It's just a breath,
It's just a song,
And in the end,
No right from wrong,
You'll find it didn't matter."
So, what's the point of it all? Does my life mean anything? What's the purpose for my being, if nothing I do matters?
Which leads me to...
Point Of You
I will never have the ability to fully transmit the magnitude of this song. Every word holds such a fierce resonance in me that it physically causes me to cease breathing.
In a nutshell, and I mean a nutshell so grotesque in appearance that one can only fathom what the hell is at its core, this chapter reminds me of the connection I have with all things. How each of us is interwoven with one another, that the Universe isn't something "out there" but within us. Although it is hidden from sight, it is something colossal, infinite and, at times, quite tangible. It is a force each of us can tap into. If we are awakened to our collective consciousness, we can speak our truth. We are only on this earth, in this form, for a fleeting moment. But we are still, and each, integral parts of all existence.
"Point Of You" is my "Mother Sky" of Outlier. I am fully present in this stage of my awakening. I no longer wish or need to conform to my own limiting thoughts of "me." The point of me is that I am all of us. What I see in you is in direct correlation with my own being. Where I've been, what I've done, what I will do. If I find something beautiful in you, guaranteed, I have it within myself. If there is something in you that causes me displeasure, resistance, or if I just think you're a right cunt, there is obviously something in me that requires my attention.
And the stars,
They could never be bigger,
Any bigger than you are."
Like I said: nutshell.
The last track I'd like to touch on is Adiós.
This one is... actually. This one genuinely breaks my heart.
The story is one wrought with something that I can only describe as frustration, mutilated acceptance and the last dregs of cold fury. I feel so much hatred from these words that, when I focus on them, I am brought to tears.
Centre of the universe,
This is my last song for you.
I know I have, and am, experiencing very similar feelings. To want to wash one's hands of someone because they are an energetic blackhole of despair and self-pity. The damage they've caused seems irreparable and the fact that they are completely oblivious to it conjures such a filthy anger within me that I want to vomit.
I feel such sadness from this because of the very reasons I mentioned in "Point Of You." The interconnected nature that is our existence only goes to show me that I am still at the base of the mountain. I am not ready to let go of this anger. And, until I am, I will never be free to see the sun.
The casual sign-off of "adiós" only confirms to me that I'm not ready.
But I will be. Given time.
Thank you so much for staying with me through this. If you have any questions, comments or would just genuinely like a chat about all things, I welcome you. Whatever the nature of conversation. We are each on our journey of self-discovery and, I for one, would like to be active in the adventure. Regardless of how challenging the road becomes, I will never stop.
"When I could abandon hope,
I still search for you.
I still look for you."
Keep it real, kids.