Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Nearly two weeks have elapsed since my return home from a two and one half month spiritual odyssey through five different European countries (seven if you count briefly touching on an additional two countries which served as stop-over - or re-directional hubs in order to carry through to another country). So much went on throughout that period of time - I seem now to be back in my present reality long enough now to become more physically rested, but also to begin to unravel what the significance was of some of these experiences and in some cases even just revisit and be with that which went on.
I sat with my guitar upon "Beacon Hill" an idyllic vantage point on the Victoria water front looking across toward the Olympic mountains from the perimeter of the park that bares the same name. One observation I make is that Victoria's park though perhaps smaller than some I encountered on my journey holds it own, in terms of beauty and surpasses with respect to upkeep and ascetic presentation.
After playing a few familiar tunes - I began to seek out the creative field - feeling inspired to try and honour my Celtic ancestry with an original piece of music that at least had an air of authenticity to it's sound. It would likely now be a good time to mention - that my "direct" association with Celtic culture in some ways, only began at the beginning of my trip to Europe. I had gone to Ireland to take part in a circle that was in part a continuance of energetic/healing/spiritual work I had been participating in. The other piece was that I had been adopted as a baby and had began to focus on the fact that though I had no knowledge of the identity of my natural father, he was of Irish ancestry (which of course meant so am I). So without really knowing what the experience of being on Irish soil would provide, I hoped that it might give me some vague sense of part, of my heritage. In all honesty I had no idea what to expect - some upon learning that I was going and the ancestral focus - acknowledged that yes it is important to have the foundational sense of origin and self - no one prepared me for the variety of experiences I would encounter during my time in Ireland. While I can never lay claim to the life experience of being steeped in Irish culture - having a world view shaped by the impact of day to day life in Ireland which in turn has been affected by the various historical influences on the peoples of the country. Still having now been there I can say - that I was deeply moved by and connected to the whole experience of being there. Having said that though I have ideas around what makes that possible - I don't suppose many of them would stand the test of "scientific" scrutiny.
I sat and ponder all of this as I continued to search for a melody that might somehow convey any of it. As I recalled the time spent in Ireland - what I saw, the people I connected with - what I felt - I was overcome with emotion - I could feel my heart opening reaching out to reestablish the connection. Well it goes beyond requiring any evidence needed to satisfy some external inquiry - I'm living it - I don't need anything else to verify my experience. I grant you it is difficult for even me though having the experience - reconciling that - I was born in Canada, lived my whole life here, circumstances aligned and created an opportunity to go to Ireland - and somehow - in a matter of the two weeks I spent there - a heart felt connection has occurred. My inherent skepticism though softening over the years - to a position more like - okay, I can maybe see something like this being possible (for someone else) - but not me. Now to maintain that perspective I would need to deny my own experience.
But it goes beyond the trip to Ireland - I went on to travel through Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Italy. I have heart felt memories, connections with people, experiences in each of those countries all of which combine to be life changing (well at the very least perspective changing). I wonder can I now state accurately that the music I'm trying to create is inspired by Ireland - meanwhile I'm having this heart-warming experience of all my travels - all these countries - the people, the impact it has all had on me as a person - would I not have to say the song, is influenced by the whole thing? It is coming through my heart which at the same time is filled with the joy, love and connection that was brought about while traveling. This within the numerous ways these various cultures differ from mine - and I use the word "mine" in the loosest possible terms (i.e. there were items on certain menus that I might - without giving thought to cultural diversity - just say is wrong - but really, only just for me and that is really only because my belief system has been shaped culturally to hold a different view - I don't even have a personal experience to uphold this particular belief - never ate said menu item - yet a knee-jerk response of sorts would have me initially "believe" it shouldn't actually be on a menu in the first place). I am so grateful to have had the grace and good fortune to have had these open-hearted connection opportunities with so many different people. It showed me without any doubt that the superficial differences between cultures - though often weighted as being very important - can be allowed to fall away in the space between two people - that when honoured and respected by each for the other - that clears the way to connect through the heart where there are no differences. If it can work one on one (and my experiences convinces me that it can ) and it can work in larger circles of people (when that is the intention set within the circle) then it can work internationally, politically, but it would take each to demonstrate a willingness to place the beliefs, needs and feelings of the other on a equal footing with their own (it is not necessary to adopt the beliefs/practices of the other - the aim is to understand the view of the other (without judgment) find the common humanity and then seek a mutually agreeable solution that honours both parties. There cannot be open-hearted connection if both are so intent on upholding their viewpoint or making the other wrong - this will only result in creating a atmosphere of defensiveness.
I don't think it would be an accurate portrayal of the "western world" to say everything is that is being done is wrong - any more than everything that is being done is right. I do question what appears to be the inclination of the so called "first world" nations to presume to know what is in the best interest of other nations or cultures - it's just not true. Why is it around corporate board rooms - political "roundtable committees" etc. the idea can be embraced that the strength in these team approaches is derived from the collective energies through harnessing the diversity of gifts brought to the table. This idea of collaboration would carry over beyond regional, religious, political, cultural divides if, it could be agreed that the desired outcome would result in win - win. It would pre-suppose that all bring something of value to the table - would acknowledge and honour the diversity present and see it as an aspect of what is available toward the creative process not a justification for divisiveness.
Unity between groups large or small across political, religious, geographical spectrums can take place in an area which is defined by the size of the hearts of the individuals concerned.