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Bliss and Drumming: The Slow Enlightenment of the Hard Rock Drummer
13 minutes | Feb 11, 2022
About Time for Thanks
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** We map out how we want it all to look, and we have a picture of the outcome. We create this picture based on the past, and it is through fear we speak. Fear of not having enough, fear of it not working out in the way we vision, fear of pain or sorrow, fear of change. I think I am supposed to know what the future is to look like. So I ask and ask and ask. In the past year I have been shifting to a different kind of prayer, a different type of conversation with the great unknown. I began working with a mantra meditation, and the words I focus on praise and thank. After doing this for several months, I suddenly found myself unreasonably happy. Something changed in my moments, and my moments have changed. I see that my prayers have been so one-directed. Now the energy is moving in another way.
10 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
The Scrabble To Get There
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** Airports have lost their charm, at least for the time being. It seems as if everyone is discombobulated. Humans have forgotten their easy flow of being, and there is a kind of uptight scrabbling and agitation that sets everything on edge. People have been cooped up in their own spaces, getting their demands met in every moment, and I guess they’ve forgotten how to comport themselves with strangers. Not every impulse gets met immediately when you’re outside of your household, and people seem to have forgotten this as they bully their way to the counter or cut everyone off in traffic.
17 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
The Gift Of The Glimpse Audio
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** I am missing the meditation hall and its stillness. The hall I am imagining is the one at the Vipassana retreat center near Yosemite. The sound of the small gongs wake me at 4:30. I walk through foggy darkness, following shadows of the other meditators making their way. Small lights line the path that in the daytime is marked with single daffodils. The walk smells like California, pine and sage and sumac and wet leaves, and the hall smells a particular way. The best way I can describe it is stillness. The meditation mat is my little square of real estate, home base for ten days. I have a big blanket to wrap myself up. In the dark of the morning, the hall is dimly lit, and it is a challenge to sit and practice with the body remembering bed. In the morning meditation can be dreamy, and it is a challenge to keep focused. Time stands still, until the sound of chanting, and the gongs signaling breakfast.
15 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
The Question Of Not Enough
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. http://blissanddrumming.com/2021/03/the-question-of-not-enough/ *** I settled into life without the scramble of the constant travel of my music career. In the new stillness, I recognized within me a welling up, a kind of panic of not doing enough, not getting enough done. Without shows on the horizon, some mornings I woke in a kind of confused spin. Then, I noticed that in this confusion was a feeling of futility. I will never get enough done, so I might as well not even start. To witness this was a gift. Maybe there has always been this pushing, punishing dread of not doing enough, of not being enough. Maybe this has driven all my moments, and my impression of who I am. If I am not doing enough, then fundamentally, I am not enough. That’s a terrible feeling.
17 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
All Is Well
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clem reads this piece. *** I have spoken to many people during the pandemic who have made the best of the situation, and who feel guilty about the fact they are doing ‘okay.’ Our society has become a place in which to say that all is well makes us feel ignorant or guilty. I think it is important for us to recognize what is working and what is peaceful. There must be an energy that is in the center, a moderating well-being that is here between the poles of terrible and ignorant. By cultivating this feeling of ‘okay-ness,’ it expands. Feeling good is a generative energy. Our perception can change our experience, and our actions. We might realize this same field of the night watchman exists in our greater reality. Is there a kind of hum beneath the surface, a kind of steady rhythm of breath in, breath out, that the whole of the planet experiences at all times, no matter what the dire situation being experienced? Beneath all the chaos, is all well?
13 minutes | Feb 20, 2021
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** A young man started showing up late nights, a sleight of hand artist who would entertain the patrons with card tricks. I’m not sure he was quite 21 years old. He was quiet and pale, with a sweetness to him. His talent was astonishing. The customers would get overwhelmed with his mastery, and they loved it. When I describe tricks he performed, I am an unreliable narrator. My attitude with sleight of hand is of total trust. I want to be fooled. I guess most people watch the magician to catch the tell, to find the flaw and figure out the way the trick works, but I enter a state of complete surrender. I want the magician to succeed and leave me astounded.
13 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
The Promise Of Three Chords
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** How often do we get to find ourselves going where it is we want to go, with freedom from judgment? There is discernment of course, this sounds better to us than that, but so much of creative work is letting go of the internal rule follower, the inner judge, and just letting yourself open to what is here, asking to be expressed. This is why creative endeavor is salvation for us. We get to break out of our restrictions and just fly. In our daily life, there are so many do’s and don’ts, and the weight of that is heavy on us as we live with so many restrictions we feel placed on ourselves by others.
16 minutes | Sep 23, 2020
Pocketful Of Stars
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** I spend a lot of time thinking about the ways in which human consciousness is transforming. For one thing people even a generation back didn’t grow up with the idea of “global community.” This concept is new in my lifetime. Once we were connected, first through the ease of travel and then through technology, our minds began to change. We started to realize that events across the planet have direct effect on us. Cause and effect became something different. Global. This is a gift, I believe, as with this knowledge, we can’t help but eventually lose our provincial and self-centered ideas. We can’t live for ourselves anymore. We not only see directly how our actions affect others, we do this in the spotlight of humanity’s gaze.
16 minutes | Sep 9, 2020
The Hidden Messages Of Water
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** I recently read The Hidden Messages of Water, about the scientist who began analyzing the effect of the energetic environment on crystals in water. If you haven’t seen these studies, you can pull up the images online and see the beautiful snow flake patterns of the sentiments “I love you” and the song “Amazing Grace,” and the chaotic, disrupted patterns of hate and negativity on the water crystals. The take-away is our own direct response of vibration and frequency in our field, and how our physical being, 70 percent water, might cultivate protection against disruption of our crystals. This knowledge has created new rituals for me around the house. “Thank you water! Thank you! I love you!” before every hydration. “Thank you water! Thank you for keeping Henry healthy!” as I refill the pug’s bowl. I try to remember to do the same for my food, too. Suddenly, a little “thank you” before eating takes on new meaning.
12 minutes | Aug 5, 2020
The First Trance
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** The drum begins. I begin my journey on a bluff, overlooking the Pacific. Rolling grassy hills, the coastline rippling side to side, and the big birds delighting in the marine updraft. There is an opening to a cave there, to my left. The first time I entered this cave, a wave of fear washed over me because it was so dark. Then I remembered: this is my shamanic journey! Turn on the light! And light flooded in from above, highlighting the massive space. A soft dirt floor, ferns and the distant sound of water. A lower world where everyone I meet has my best interest at heart. For a couple of years, culminating in the past few months of the quarantine, I have been studying Shamanic Counseling with the teacher Isa Gucciardi. This path is a surprise in my life, and yet I also feel as though I’ve been making my way here the whole time. Photo by Claudia Meyer from FreeImages
9 minutes | Jul 3, 2020
Here There and Everywhere
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** I love a band. Being one of a small group forging a way through the landscape, experiencing days and nights together. The intangible connection outsiders intuit. The mystery of the moment after everything has been loaded and the van door shuts and what happens as we drive away. I love the animal protection that forms in a band, and the secret language that develops. This secret language – music – connects us in a profound way. The group sometimes comes closest together when attacked by the outside world, as a family does. We can struggle internally until something happens to the whole, and then we bind together, forgetting all pettiness. Buzz Osborne from the Melvins, when asked how to keep a band together for so long, said: Find a common enemy.
13 minutes | Jun 19, 2020
The Power to Know
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** I’ve been thinking about power lately, as I watch the world struggle. To begin such a conversation, I can only reference what I know. So who better to illustrate my thoughts about power than John Bonham. Bonham was a powerful drummer, no question. He was powerful in all the ways our culture references power: heavy-hitting, with an ability to let fly a thunder relentless and pounding. All true, but I would argue that Bonham’s real power, and the reason he is beloved by so many, is in the subtleness of his groove. The reason Zeppelin songs feel the way they do, that exquisite “something” that has been chased by rock bands for half a century, is the translation on drums of the delicacy of power.
16 minutes | May 29, 2020
Better You And Me
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** For the most part, the past week of quarantine has looked much the same as it has for the past couple of months. The preponderance of birds, riotous flower bloomings, quiet streets. Then, a warm spell in San Francisco sending folks out to the parks. Overnight, it seems that facemasks have become obsolete, and big drunken parties of young people fill the grass. I don’t enter the park most days now, and walk Henry elsewhere. After months of lockdown, I can’t help but seeing that block-square grass patch as a big petri dish.
12 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Parrot In A Loquat Tree
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** My window seat lives in this little porch room off the kitchen. I imagine that one day the whole room will topple over in an earthquake, set on stilts as it is. We’ve got bedrock beneath us, and the house has weathered such rattling since the early 1900s, but still, I have a plan to leap into the kitchen and roll beneath the table should the shaking begin. You’re supposed to practice disaster routes so the shock of crisis doesn’t leave you paralyzed. I don’t go as far as leaping around in here and spoiling my comfortable perch, but I spend a little time imagining the tuck and roll before I forget all that and fall in love, all over again, with the breeze.
12 minutes | Apr 16, 2020
The Delight Of Strangers
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** I know I keep remarking on this, but the birds in the gardens outside my window are really going to town again, under the paused skies of the early morning storm. 6AM is our time, the pug and me. We’re fortunate that built into this small apartment is enough room for solitude, but it’s still nice to have the mornings to ourselves. We’re the ones who take advantage of the pre-dawn hours. The old man caretakes the after-midnight ones. Enough space is important, since this is our reality now, gratefully sequestered behind these walls most of the time. When I wake in the morning, it takes some time to remember that reality looks different than it did not too long ago. Now and then it dawns on me how profound of a shift this is, and I marvel at the changes. As the days unfold, now and then I remember that there seems to be no end in sight. That’s always a shock, the lack of the finite.
13 minutes | Apr 1, 2020
Arguing About Death In A Laundromat
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** It was funny, really, and later it brought to mind the article we had both read about the spike in divorce rates after the quarantine was lifted in China. We had to venture out to the laundry. Harsh words were spoken after perceived carelessness. Then, escalation after a reconnaissance to the grocery. We had been doing well up until then, enjoying the time sequestered and getting to spend time together in a way we rarely do. As two working musicians/managers, we often go for months without being in each others’ company. This serves to make time together feel rather precious. Thus the longevity, and the ease with giving the other plenty of autonomy. Adding the outside world to our equation served to ignite a stress we’d each been feeling, and it all launched to the surface under the fluorescent lights.
13 minutes | Mar 18, 2020
Sheltering In Place
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** We deep clean the house. We retrieve things from storage to sell. Now that we are out of work for months we start thinking about things to off-load in order to keep the lights on. We make tense financial plans. I order dry goods for just in case. We check in with family and send condolences to friends whose long-term plans have been cancelled, check in with the elderly neighbor. And then, I wake up into a day where time is all mine. I find waiting for me all of these projects, all of these dreams and goals and plans, as present as birdsong and the chimes of Peter and Paul. I spend time in the morning in metta meditation, with my mind on all those who don’t have the resources I have, those who are ill and worried and alone. Then exercise, on the bike that I’m always too busy to use. Then the window-seat, and a reverie of now.
15 minutes | Jan 29, 2020
Preparing Myself To Live
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** Death is always on my mind, but in the best way. As we drag through the muck and mire of caring for an elderly relative, I often say to the old man, listen. Should it come down to you making these decisions for me, please just stick me in the cheapest, easiest place possible and leave me, go, live your life. I have spent years cultivating a way to be fine, anywhere. I lived for a year in a van, sleeping on floors and in truck stops. I have held my breath in showers in which I wore tennis shoes to be safe. I have had to slumber on disgusting green room couches and to depend on bathrooms that should have been condemned. I’ll be fine in a lo-fi rest home, for sure.
21 minutes | Dec 3, 2019
Drummer As Delicate Flower
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** This is where I’ve arrived with it all: peace, love, one-heart, common ground. A belief that separateness keeps us enemies, keeps us trapped in our suffering, keeps us simmering in a despairingly low vibration, keeps us choosing war and hatred. You and I are of the same consciousness, manifest to learn from each other. In fact, even the idea of “other” is mis-knowing, and keeps us in pain. Who wants to listen to all that baloney? Happiness writes white. Language falls short and words struggle to bring us anywhere. Walking with my vision on these truths is all I can do, I can’t convince anyone of it.
19 minutes | Nov 21, 2019
Ode To My Friend, Time
From the blog http://www.blissanddrumming.com, Clementine reads this piece. *** I have reflected some times, where the hell am I trying to go so fast? I have to be the first one anywhere, and where am I eventually going? Do I really want to be first? There is a vivid, funny memory in my mind of sitting in a living room with a group of children, and the adult saying that we were going to go outside to play, and leaping up and running outside to be first, only to bounce off of the sliding glass door. That’s me, on a spring propelling me to be first in line, no matter the consequences.
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