|TRAVERS FOLLOWING THE DREAM IN THE FRENCH ALPS|
Busking at the Regina FARMERS MARKET today I met a fifty year old hippie flower-child, Betty. She said I represented the kind of life she’d be dreaming about for quite some.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well look at you, man, you the cool wandering minstrel just comes to town, plays guitar, then moves on to another town and plays guitar, then moves on again. It’s the kind of lifestyle I dream about. It’s not that I want to play the guitar, I just want to travel.”
“And what’s stopping you?” I asked.
“My husband … He’s fifty going on eighty. He thinks I’ll get over this wanna-travel phase … trouble is … it’s getting stronger and stronger.”
“Have you discussed this seriously with your husband?”
“Not really. He’s fifty going on eighty. He doesn’t like to travel. He wants to sit at home and tinker in the garage, or go have coffee with his friends in the morning, or go have beers with his friends at night. I’m not saying I’m unhappy. I mean after twenty-five years and three kids I have to say that I love the guy. He’s good and my life is good. I just want more.”
Betty does not really know me. Betty does not know that I am a faux busker. Betty, when she sees me thrumming on the sidewalk is really seeing someone else. Betty sees Neil the busker, the cool busker with the bleached shock of messy hair, wearing the tight white t-shirt, faded blue jeans, and black marching boots. Betty imagines Neil the busker as a stranger who comes to town with a guitar … a handsome guitar-slinger … lingers for a day or two or three … then moves along following the sun, riding out one day at sunset.
“You’ve got soul,” she said.
“Hmmm … you’re wrong there,” I said, “I’ve got no soul. I’ve no faith in anything and therefore I’ve not got a soul.”
“Oh, you’ve got soul,” she said. “Your soul is what you are at your core. Your soul is the core of who you really are, that place in your heart where you are happy and at peace. Sometimes you need people who recognize that soul for what it is. And sometimes you need people to build back some of that soul, to help you find that soul that has been lost for whatever reasons. Sometimes these people offer you joy in bringing back that soul with nothing expected in return. Sometimes you need reminders, like old friends for example, to take you back when your soul was free to do stupid things, to take you back to adventures you did before you were judged not to do those things. I never realized how restricted I had become until I woke up one day and decided … I WANT MORE! Busking, I believe, does this for you. You’ve definitely got soul, and I’ve most of mine. I am about to get mine back. For the rest of my life I WANT MORE!”
Betty does not know that in my real life, I represent Corporate America. Betty does not know that I am never on the edge of starvation or a warm bed. Betty does not know that my busking is purely recreational. Betty does not know that my busking persona is NOT me. And Betty does not know that my busking persona is … really … the person that I want to be. Betty does not know that, unlike her fifty-going-on-eighty husband, I am really a narcissistic adolescent who shares a similar dream, as hers, of the future. Betty thinks I am living the dream. Betty does not know that I, like her, am still dreaming the dream. Betty does not know that, like her, I WANT MORE!
Betty also does not know that over the years I’ve thought about this, and thought about this, and thought about this. And over these years the only way I’ve come to grips or terms with this far away thinking is through the philosophic lenses of EXISTENTIALISM, ZEN, CARPE DIEM, PHENOMENOLOGY, KARMA, and now thanks to Betty, SOUL. (As you are now aware, dear reader, this is seriously on my brain and the older I get and the more I think about it, that once blurry line betwixt my reality and dream has become rather bright.)
FACTOID: MY STARK REALITY IS … I AM RUNNING OUT OF TIME (I’LL BE SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OLD THIS MONTH) – I HAVE TO VERY SOON KICK-START MY DREAM INTO MY REALITY … OR CONTINUE TO HUNKER DOWN SAFE AT HOME AND WATCH THE WORLD GO BY UNTIL THE DAY I DIE.
FACTOID: I’M LIKE BETTY -- I WANT MORE.
I WANT MORE. I want to be an international BUSKER, a WRITER (blog, books, and songs), a TEACHER (university), an ARTIST (guitarist and portraiture), and a private practice HYPNOTHERAPIST.
Hmmm … and here are some thumb-nail philosophic interpretations that make it all sense to me why I WANT MORE.
EXISTENTIALISM is the notion that we are constantly creating values for our personal reasons to exist. We, and only we, define our own meanings for our lives. For some of us it is our work; for some of us it is our family; for some of us it is faith; for some of us it is our recreation. As the years roll by and the wrinkles roll on thicker and thicker, I tend to define my meaning more in my recreation than my work. (I do not consider university teaching and private practice work … simply because I enjoy both so much.)
ZEN is typically translated as absorption, an awareness of each moment. For Zen followers, each moment sustained is enough, until the sustaining of moment upon moment upon moment becomes first and second nature to living. To live is to suffer – this is the skinny of Zen. If you know what it's like to love someone ... you know what it's like to suffer.
CARPE DIEM literally translates as pluck the day. Carpe Diem used to be my favorite theme when I was studying English literature at university. Ah ... plucking the day was like plucking the fruit when it was ripe, seizing the moments of joy and running with reckless abandon with nary a concern for the future. Carpe diem is adventurous and oftentimes daring. Carpe diem now for me ... is too derring-do, too dangerous for me to seriously consider as a life purpose.
PHENOMENOLOGY is psychologically complicated (not that the others are not so). For my understanding I believe that imagining the connections in coincidence, the ability to link certain people with certain events at certain times, is a personal construct. For phenomenology to work for me reality consists only of objects and events (phenomena) as they are perceived within our personal consciousness, and these phenomena are not of any design independent of our consciousness. I fancy myself a phenomenologist ... I've lectured on Phenomenology a hundred times, at least, in my university classes.
KARMA, on the other hand, is acknowledging the significance of coincidence, and that coincidence is in reality, following as effect from a cause. Simply defined, what goes around comes around seems the skinny of Karma. I know that if I treat others with respect and dignity, they usually return this social gesture in kind. Knowing this ... am I sincere in manipulating the Karma?
SOUL, according to Betty, is the very core of one’s being. The true and unclouded nature of the individual is who a person really is. And for any persons, the person they really want to be is the soul speaking out. Betty stated that friends were good for the soul because they helped awaken a spirit that is oftentimes locked away and hidden within ourselves. This could very well be … but an awakening leads to an awareness of frustration, the reality that most of us are not living the dream. Most of us, once our soul is awakened, will decide to settle for just dreaming the dream. Living the dream takes considerable gumption with considerable collateral damage. Betty’s definition of soul sadly brings me back to Zen … To live is to suffer. Another thing about the soul ... a soul is usually defined in terms of being contained in a vessel of flesh, and when the vessel reaches its demise, the soul drifts on. The big question, of course is, drifts on to where?
This crazy thinking is not really crazy thinking. I’m going to frame and explain this I WANT MORE mantra in another setting. I want to this frame this explanation into one of my favorite pictures, that of hockey. And then naturally I want to frame this picture with a snapshot of my favorite hockey player and best friend, COLBY WILLIAMS.
to play for the PAT CANADIANS, a TRIPLE “A” hockey club in Regina,
Saskatchewan, Canada. COLBY WANTED MORE. While skating with the Canadians, Colby had
earned a try-out with the REGINA PATS of the Western Hockey League – he didn’t
make the cut. COLBY WANTED MORE. Colby returned to the Pat Canadians and a
year later was again invited to a try-out with the REGINA PATS. This time he made it. Colby then played four years with the PATS,
eventually developing into their number one D-man, and even being assigned as
the Captain. Still … CAPTAIN COLBY WANTED MORE.
Just last week, my best friend Colby Williams, signed an ATO (Amateur
Try-Out) contract with the HERSHEY BEARS of the American Hockey League.
|COLBY SKATING FOR THE WASHINGTON CAPITALS|
Here is what MR. HOCKEY (GORDIE HOWE) said about the HERSHEY BEARS.
Everybody who is anybody in hockey has played in Hershey.
After the ORIGINAL SIX (BOSTON BRUINS, CHICAGO BLACK HAWKS, DETROIT RED WINGS, MONTREAL CANADIENS, NEW YORK RANGERS, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS), coming in as the seventh oldest professional ice hockey organization in North America … is the HERSHEY BEARS!
I know Colby. Colby plans to continue developing as a hockey player. Sure, Colby is on the roster of the Hershey Bears but … Colby still WANTS MORE. Colby wants to play in the National Hockey League (NHL). Colby is getting close. He’s been drafted by the WASHINGTON CAPITALS, hence his opportunity to sign with their affiliate team, the Hershey Bears. Colby will continue to hone and ply his hockey skills while chasing his dream of playing at the biggest hockey show, the NHL. Whether or not he ever gets to the show doesn’t really matter.
COLBY WANTED MORE.
COLBY FOCUSED ON HIS DREAM ...
FOLLOWED HIS DREAM ...
AND IS STILL WANTING MORE!
Marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE today:
|DELORES OF D'LICIOUS TREATS (FARMERS MARKET NEIGHBOR)|
|LARRY THE KID ... GOING WITH THE GRAIN (FARMERS MARKET NEIGHBOR)|
|YIKES! A DRONE (WITH EDDY THE PILOT BESIDE ME AT THE MARKET)|
|DEANNA, ABORIGINAL ADVOCATE WITH REGINA PUBLIC SCHOOLS|
|DEO, A LONG-TIME BUSKING CONSUMER AND FELLOW HILL RUNNER IN WASCANA|
DEO TOOK THIS PICTURE THIS MORNING ... LOOK MA, NO FEET!