Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beauty And The Beast

A new day is awaking on the Cariboo planes. I'm standing in awe before this everyday miracle. On the other side the beast is moving his fingers, then shoulders, slowly, menacingly, cracking the crust it is covered with. The elections in France are over, and some big changes are announced. Greece is facing another election in a month, Germans are before one, and  Obama is full speed into the campaign for the next term. Let the show begin!

The season of another batch of empty promises is ahead. Socialists, Liberals, Conservatives, Democrats, Green, Yellow, Pink, you name it... The business of Politics is full speed ahead, the manipulation level is sharpening its teeth, The bottom line is none of them are truly different. They all work within the system that is in its core disfunctional. And none of it is really about a change they propose. It's all about someone's career, salary and the power in the pockets, and fame.

What's most disturbing about it, most people are aware of the fruitlessness of it all, yet we continue to support something that does not really work. We hope, we believe in good, and in that hope we keep voting. What a power we are given! So generous! While they sit in the deep armchairs, throwing crumbs at us, pretending they really, trully care. It takes nine months to get used to the idea of creating life, to get accostomed to the life change we are in front of. It takes four years to forget all the mistakes the previous bunch of decision makers have made. The time is getting shorter and shorter.

They fight hard to throw the dirt at the other side, they dig through the shittiest laundry they can find, they use TV to make us hate, to make us love, to make us believe we matter. And we stare, and stare, and swallow, swallow, swallow. We aplaud, we admire, we worship, while they laugh at us from their parliamentary chairs, from their expensive cars we pay for, from their airplanes we slave for. In a few years, they do the same shit they faught against. And, we don't remember anymore.

This is very obvious, in front of our faces, and some people tolerate it, some don't but not many are doing anything about it. The decisions will be made that majority does not agree with. More oil spills will poison our coast and forest, more carbon monoxide will be leaked into our air, more genetically modified food will be produced that will cause more and more alergy reactions, more cancer will kill our people, more oil fuelled vehicels will be produced. When the hell the wheat became so poisonous that the biggest hipe now is gluten-free diet?

The governments of the world do not really care that we do have technology to harvest the power of wind, that we do have electric cars faster and more powerful than any conventional, that we do have a cure for cancer. Until the politics stop being a business, and it's run on purely volunteering bases, we will not have decisions that make sense. Until the justice system becomes profit-free, we will not have justice that makes sense. The common sense is being swallowed by the dragon jaws of corporate greed for money and profit.

Until the political decisions stop being controlled by corporate powers, we will not have a real humanitarian progress. We need to work toward erasing money from the equasion of our life. We need to sustain our development because it is inflating at an alarming rate that can go nowhere but explode. We need to stop getting ourselves enslaved and controlled. We need to say: "Enough!"

The Montreal protest is a bomb that was just waiting to detonate. Student have always been the ones who bring a real change. Not surprisingly, we don't hear much about it. The public opinion is being bent toward disaproval and accusation. "The city and province passed emergency legislation on May 18 to cope with widespread protests over the student situation. Montreal police declared the marches illegal for having failed to file an itinerary eight hours ahead of time", the media says, but most people missed it. Is that the democracy we live in?

The truth is, there is no need to increase tuition fees, there is no need to increase taxes, there is no need to toll our bridges we paid for decades ago, there is no need to lay off people. We need to spread the wealth more evenly till the money disappears from our landscapes, stop wasting money on empty ideas, stop supporting the pockets of someone up there. We need a completely diferent Economy to create a completely diferent System. And it actually already exists. It's a Resourse Based Economy. The question is, why is the whole world not accepting this already?
Because the beauty is still scared away by the beast. The vibrations are telling though, this will be changing rapidly.
Soon enough.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Just Magic

Woke up unusually early for a vacation, on Sheridan Lake in BC. My nose was damp and cold outside the covers. The soft light was laving through the thin single glass door window of my room. I wanted to see the lake this early in the morning. Surprised myself by how quickly my body got up and ready for an early morning walk. And there I was, standing on five feet thick cover of ice. Realizing this is the first time in my life. I felt strangely exhilarated... But really, five feet of ice covered with a fine layer of a foot deep snow, dry and crispy and screaming to step on it and walk... I could almost feel the weight of the ice below me...

Max was as happy as I was. In fact I might have been happier than him. Not quite sure why, but I loved every second of it. Purity. Absolute quiet. Not even a distant airplane engine. Clarity. Freedom. He was waiting for me to throw something for him to catch, but I couldn't get enough of this morning, of the mist, of the foggy air, of the sun light branching through the tree tops on the other side. I felt connected. As never before here.

Max was chasing invisible creatures underneath the ice. He couldn't understand why he can't dig deep enough through it. I wish I could see them below. It's been a long time since I got up so early and inhaled the dawn. But never on this thick layer of ice, in the middle of a lake, on the interior plains one thousand feet above the ocean. Where the trees whisper. I will write a song about it. In the land of the Whispering Aspens...

This is the way to live. To feel. To be. In the quiet of the Mother Nature. Far from the TVs and gadgets, and bad news. I could feel my nerves regenerating with every breath I take. How the hell we forgot about this and let the System rule? How is it that we value money and the Profit more than this? If we let this be our life, this morning, the air, the magic of the awakening day, there is no way there would be evil on the earth. This disarms you, makes you surrender to the ultimate beauty, to the goodness. You begin to crave to be good, to become the part of this peace and quiet, undisturbed, it makes you want to give. To protect. As much as you can, and then some. Unconditionally.

The day before we were flying over the ice in the snowmobiles. 90km an hour. 95km an hour. We went across and over it a few times. Two loud machines and nobody else around. Miles of solid ice, with distant trees scattered around the perimetre covered with snow. All in white. We could hear through the engine noise the ice cracking below us, sagging like a suspended bridge slab as we flew over bumps of long welds of ice. Now, only the tracks remain. As if that was somebody else there. Reminded me of the tracks behind me when my dad was pulling the wooden sleds years ago. Perhaps that's where my thrill is coming from? Or it's just pure love the Nature evokes?

It feels like all the good memories are stored in this morning, in the molecules of water beneath the ice, and it all resonates with the water within my body. I feel there is synchronicity of this moment and the good times along Belica, or even more Morava river. They say water retains information, communicates, is alive. Somewhere along my path this lake, the invisible water, and the ice it's covered with is in balance with what I brought from the Morava Valley in central Serbia. Here, at least for this morning, I belong.

The recollection of some of my most cherished moments in life are pouring in. They unfold in slow motion, in virtual 3D projections just above the snow on the ice. Glowing in content vibrations. The wooden sleds my dad built and the thin ribbon of tin running along the sled skies that kept breaking as the sleds were constantly overused. The back of the giant rubber boots stepping deep into the snow in front of me while I was gripping the sleds with my both hands covered by warm mittens my mom made out of scrap wool yarns in various colours. I was gliding! 

The Potok park in my hometown when the snow was so deep the sledders kept digging out a bobsled like track down the meandering runway between the trees. They appeared as tall as the old growth in the BC rain forests, and the walls of the runway were well above my exhilarated, mesmerized head. If Harry Potter was written back then, the scene would look and feel just like the flying game.

There was so much more snow in the 70's in Serbia. The winters were crisp and bright, sunny and cheerful, though freezing to under -20 at times. My feet were always wet, but I was nevertheless overexcited running out to walk and listen the crunching snow beneath my steps. The different shapes and sizes of the footsteps were a puzzle I could not stop resolving even when my feet were freezing and my fingers felt ready to fall off. I see the image of the chunks of dry snow splashing under the thick soles of the people  in front of me in the rhythm of their walk.

I see an open window in the recording studio where we made our first two demos. The curtains were moving with the wind in the corners, with the sound of the keyboards for "Stronger Than Anything", while the snowflakes were dancing in slow motion around the street light. To this day I can't understand why the guy was playing in a freezing room with all the windows open, but the scene outside was becoming whiter and whiter as the song was approaching its end, and the moment was growing more magical.

As the demos were done, we found ourselves outside in the world completely covered with snow. Every branch, every step, every millimeter of the power lines was white. The snow picked up every wavelength of the sound, laid it down over the Earth, and left a complete silence. At three in the morning we found ourselves stepping over the gathered up notes and unfolded violin keys. Utterly mute. Quieter than a silent movie. Just like this morning.

As the holograms of my past moved in procession over the lake a one dollar bill dropped right in front of me. Max stopped puzzled. There was another. And another. Left and right. The whole sky got covered in flickering papers. The Wall Street LED ribbons of  moving numbers and letters proceeded snaking in between the visions erasing one after the other. The money was covering every cubic inch of the air, melting at the contact with the beauty. How did we get here?

How is it that this magic we were given we planted on the foundations of the biggest gamble in the universe? Stock Market. The absurd gamble that is not even based on real monetary value! We brought money to the purity of untouched, balanced communion of human life and nature, and paradoxically killed every value it should be based on! Distorted it with the concept of property, ownership, success, career. Mine. More. Me.

And how is it that most do not understand that it all pales in front of this? Even if they do, they take for granted the way the System want us to follow, too busy and indifferent to stop, question, change. Because, at the end, this is what matters. This moment, the harmony, the ice rainbow, the peace and quiet, the contentment in simplicity of being. In resonating with each other, with the universe. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sand and Time

From one log to the other, as the peeking sun is revealing the choices I have to grab and pack the bits and pieces of this Iona Beach into my memory card. And my brain. It's a long path over the lose sand between the river and the ocean. Hard to walk on, but worth it. I'm giving my devoted attention to this piece of quiet land. We all need attention. Praise. Like. We need to feel special, meaningful, different from the rest of the water in this social ocean we live in. I wish I could be as these chunks of washed over logs. They don't care. They simply are. As God. And they are effortlessly beautiful.

In all the pressure the media and social establishments are imposing, we forget the purpose why we do what we do, why we live the way we live. My gut feeling is telling me the system is created to keep us on the edge, just comfortable enough to not complain much, but far from success and fulfillment the top elite is milking from us. Most people feel something is utterly wrong and going the rotten way, but are kept too busy and too drained to focus on questioning. There is discomfort and general irritation felt in the air, on the streets, pretty much everywhere. You can hear it in most talks around. But we are far from the real revolution. We are not suffering enough, we are not on the verge of existence, we are still not desperate.

The great people who changed history came mostly from periods of extreme social suffering. That is the reason why I don't believe the next one this globe needs today will come from these areas. I hope I'm wrong. This global dissatisfaction we all feel in recent years and months will have to get ripe. It's still green, a bit sour, little lost, wondering blob of unclear form. I know one day, sooner than we might think, it will take the shape of a rock, and will be thrown. Hard.

We all have our own ways to cope with it. We focus on kids, focus on jobs and advancement, focus on money, and often on completely wrong causes. I do this, I make music, I live nature. It bugs me a bit that of 208 people on my mailing list only 2 have checked my last blog page. I justify it by posting it around the Easter. Both Catholic and Orthodox. Ultimately though, I do it because I have to. For the sake of putting it on this virtual wall. For the sake of creating those images, compose these sentences. For the sake of believing. Some will get it, hopefully, or not. It shouldn't matter. Certainly feels good being able to share it with a few.

With age I must admit I developed a dose of (healthy) bitterness. As many of you over 40, I often question where my life has gone and if I made all the right choices. Certainly not all of them, but what I'm most thankful about is retaining the ability to understand and admire the beauty around me. Especially in nature, but otherwise too. And the need to create. Those two things alone are weighing enough to balance all the rest. I wish however that my dreams have not been dented, especially with the most recent social awakenings happening all over the world. They might be dented, but I'm more than thrilled that I still dare to dream. And I dream of a future that will be more just, and more creative.

As much wiser people then me said, it's not about being happy. Happiness is impossible to achieve. Content with what we have, and the choices we have made along the path we follow is what matters. For the most part I believe I'm content. The things that I could be more satisfied with are mainly out of my control. So not worth dwelling about.

I notice I'm writing about the same thing over and over again. We need the purpose, a deeper meaning to all of this that is going further and further from making us belong. I'm noticing every day a dissatisfaction of the general public. Everybody is feeling that something is just not quite right, but we need to provide for our families, we need to pay off our mortgages, cars, lines of credit. We are all chained, weather we want to admit it or not. Today they said on the news for every dollar we make, we spend 1.5. We make our purpose in spending. We often try to heal momentarily by buying stuff, overfilling our places, while our hearts are left more and more empty.

There is three main parties in Canada. The Liberals are losing in BC. In three municipalities in Greater Vancouver there is extraordinary elections. They need a change. Every year however, I'm wondering what real difference does it make? Sooner or later, the changes each of these Parties bring is superficial, and more or less everything stays the same. I feel the people will one day get so fed up with it and will require a profound change of the whole System. I just hope I will be around to take part in it.

With all this technology around our lives should become simpler. We should have more time for ourselves and our families, to do what we really love and what makes us fulfilled. Instead, the abundance of this technological gadgets we are bombarded every day with is making us so busy that we don't have time to communicate in real time with our closest! Paradoxically, we are more than ever virtually connected with thousands of people screaming for attention. And we all more or less feel desperately alone. So alone that we make choices and tolerate the weirdest personalities around us. We justify, we forgive, we are frightened of losing.

More and more people are becoming aware of their relentless competition for achieving more, earning more, acquiring more, yet becoming more and more stressed and depressed. At the end, nothing of that will make us happy. Sooner or later we have to face it, stop, and ask ourselves what we are doing and where we are really going. And the answer is often that we don't really know. We are lost. How to really live a content life when the system is established in such a way that creates frustration in most ways we turn? And what do we do? We give up, we run away from it all, we get defeated by setting for less. And we rarely consider devoting our lives to change the system. Somebody else will do it...

It gets overwhelming for sure, there is so many things that need to be changed, corrected, or simply extinguished. I remember a lecture I saw here at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, by Paul Hawken. At the beginning he started showing a list of global organizations that work on all those issues. The list was rolling from bottom to top of the large screen. He said it would continue to roll for a day, two days, three, a whole week, and still wouldn't reach the end. Two weeks, maybe even three! The sheer number should be making us ask ourselves how come there is so many things that need to be fixed? How come we let those things go the wrong way? Because we are too busy with our gadgets.

The Occupy Movement gave me a big hope for a day, a week even. But than it became clear that the movement is confused, lost, undefined and disorganized. The opposition took that to their big advantage and the movement almost ceased to exist. I hope only for a while. I can't wait to see it rise again stronger and more organized than ever. Why should ordinary people in Greece have to pay for the mistakes their irresponsible and greedy government was committing in their name? They did the best they could: they worked, they were paying their taxes and  mortgages, they were taking care of their families. Most ordinary people don't need much more. Now, they need to tighten their belts, get their salaries reduced or worse yet lose their jobs altogether. We get our banks bailed out by billions and billions of dollars taken from ordinary people that struggle already. They will not take that forever.

If someone makes 173 times higher salary than the average is simply not right. They are not that many times more skillful or better as people. The only thing they might know better is how to play and use the System. People will not tolerate it, I can feel it in my guts. If everybody else gets taxed more but the Corporations, people will not tolerate it forever. If the prices of gas rise without slowing down, people will not tolerate it forever. I hope the society at large is realizing this and feeling it too. There is abundant amount of wealth around there, and only needs to be redistributed more evenly and justly.

Talking about the justice system, that one needs much work! Sometimes I feel it might be out of control already. If I had a child I would be terrified of what is awaiting them in the future. The rulings are not making sense more and more, the criminals are negotiating with the law, the system is basically teaching them what to do and how to act in order to get away with their crimes. I feel it's slapping me personally in the face every time I hear a decision that does not make sense. And it's happening too often. There is four realities out there: this one, unionized one, virtual one, and the justice system one. Who needs any other parallel one?

In a way, the System looks kind of a freshly cut log of an old growth. Rough, half eaten by bugs. It needs this water to be washed away, softened, rounded, refined. It takes lots of time, but sooner or later it will happen. Before that, we all need to face each other, our own values, our own worth. How much are we worth? Some think the measure of our value is our salary, some think it is where we live, what we own, our career, how much we traveled. Not many people actually think about our talents, highest quality of skills.  Perhaps, the reason for this is that it does not seem important enough.

Our advancement in life and career is only dependent on how high people and superiors around us are allowing us to go. It's surprising how often it does not depend on high quality, skills, competence, efficiency. Most often it depends on personal liking, company politics, profit. It is very easy to convince an honest person that he or she is not good enough. We all have our insecurities that can be easily played with. Before I moved to Canada I had a perception of The West as the world where only truly the best and highest quality is what matters. Sooner than I wanted, I realized that it's far from that. It's a very average combination of good enough talents, skills, personality and character that fits the company, the politics, the community or any area of involvement. And does not stir up things too much.

Change, originality, and different opinions are highly valued and promoted, but only if they stay within the boundaries set by the top structure of any establishment.  Personal preferences, liking, subjective opinions, personal gains are too often the driving force behind decisions, be it on the highest governing level, or personal. It's extremely hard, if not impossible, and rare that a true individuality breaks through. In many ways this reminds on regimes like Communist for example, only under a different propaganda - about "freedom" and "democracy" only to realize that both are in a very gray area of relativity, and hardly even exist!

These logs still don't care. They lay along our path half dug in the send between a river and an ocean. They are washed by the waves, the stream, and the rain. There are all those different waters that we must endure to reach the end. The secret is how we manage to use them, while maintaining our integrity, values, confidence, growth. Do we embrace it or hate it? In any case, walking on the sand is quite hard. The river, and the tides can get you before you blink. We must learn to live with it, to use it to our advantage. Otherwise, reaching the end is pointless.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Realistic Abstractions

Walking Iona... There is so many musicians in this city, so much good music. Alas, most of it will never make it. It will never reach the wider audience. The American Idol is great, educational even for older people who are still trying to give voice. The top five are close to marvelous. The top one is simply spectacular, most of the time. But what about all those very good ones, great ones, extremely unique, truly different, but less than spectacular? TV and the big music labels make it look like nothing less is going to cut it. Should we all give up and stop creating?

There is this teenage sensation movie out "The Hunger Games". On the day of release a news cast said: "The movie industry has become corporate. In the past, the movies are made for the Oscars. Today it's all about what makes money". At about the same time I was told by a friend who worked in the industry for 20 years,  that it started collapsing when the labels became corporate. In the past it was more about the music. The labels would take an artist under their wings and prepare it to fly.

Today, they expect the artist to do all the promo work, to build an audience, to have a perfect product, and be spectacular. Somebody on the news said they are saving tones of money that way. They come and scoop the rest. Not only the labels, but the promo companies, the licencing companies, everybody else.

Internet is revolutionizing our lives. In many ways is great. However, it appears it's creating this mentality that everything can be acquired for free. The book publishing companies are disappearing, the DVDs are not selling, the video stores are gone,  the CD manufacturing is in a huge decline. The bits of music are equal to nothing. You get it, you listen, you forget. You get the next ones. Free.

All the talent, inspiration, skill, time for creating, crafting, refining, producing, coming up with the money to record it is nobodies concern anymore. I want it, and I get it, and I don't give a shit. The albums are chopped off in pieces, nobody cares about it as a whole anymore, as a complete art piece. The internet is butchering the art of music creation. It helps in many ways too, but the question is HOW and when this all is going to end?

Everybody is a photographer today. A video producer. A promoter. Before the internet you had to deal with only your immediate surrounding. You had an illusion that there is bigger chances to make it in any creative artistic area, and this was pushing you to do something. It was still extremely hard though. Now it seems even harder. We are all competing on a global level. Sure, here and there we see these talents going viral. Many are giving up before they even consider whether they have something to offer or not.  I wonder what final culprit this virus will bring?

We expose every detail of our lives for a few likes. We need to feel unique, special, worth living. We will give everything for free for one listen, one share. It's kinda sad isn't it? On the other side, if it wasn't for this internet social revolution, most of our lives would be even more miserable. Where is the trade off line?

Walking Iona still... The steel garden means nothing from the distance. When you walk over and through it, it reveals a quiet beauty that needs to be captured, framed, memorized. There is this enormous blob of indie music boiling and screaming to be heard. It means mostly nothing to the giants of the music industry. They are too high above.

Nature is a refuge from all of it. The colourful details of beauty. I walk and pay attention. Observe, respect, love. It gives me peace of mind. It balances my frustrations. It makes sense. No matter what, it's all about creating. Whether somebody decides to do something with it, likes it or not, appreciates it, ultimately it should not matter. The process is what counts, if it makes us happy.

A Hollywood actress once said on Jay Leno:"We are chosen by God to do this". I couldn't believe my ears, so I replayed it over and over again. What arrogance. No wonder the kids are killing themselves for not seeing the purpose of being alive and living average, seemingly meaningless lives. The success is measured by how much money one makes. It's not that she is the best actress ever, there is many more talented ones that will never get a chance to make it Hollywood big. Yet, the pool of average everyday people is craving to give their own sweaty pennies to the ones that were heavily promoted on the most powerful manipulation tool - TV.

The overlaid paints are calming me down. Make me wonder what could the passing time say about this bunch of trailers that look abandoned. I always feel the past was slower pace, less stressful, more meaningful. It definitely wasn't as much about profit as today. Long ago, when I was a way bigger dreamer than today, my sister would tell me how evil Profit is as a concept. I could not understand, nor I really cared much. Now I feel terrified for the new generations. What will the world they are going to live in look like?

In many ways I don't feel I belong here, in this system. It took me a long time to build this small circle of trusting and understanding friends. With others I often get in conflict for my different ideas, for voicing them, for not auto correcting myself to please everybody, as this I find impossible. What I feel connected with is this metal, the rust, the details of passing time, and the very send and grass they are planted in. That's why I walk...

Now I'm not sure I would feel I belong back in Serbia either. That is the nature of leaving your roots and starting all over again. The system  itself, local and global,  is faulty in most ways. The nature and some of the built environment, the beauty of it is what makes me happy and content. And my very precious circle of friends and family. I hope the rust will some day take over me and plant me to this land...