What Is My Bliss? …Really.

My mind moves at a million miles a minute, I swear. I’m constantly thinking about 5 million things at once. Yesterday and today it’s been: What is my bliss? No – really.

I don’t think we’re truly self-aware if we don’t constantly question everything we know, or should I say – everything we think we know.

A few months before graduating college I kind of had this profound, deep existential crisis that spiraled into about a week of depression, which consisted of: I don’t want to do music anymore. I hate it and want no part.

And I don’t know where it came from. Maybe anxiety and doubt due to the fact I didn’t have a job lined up, nor did I want to think about one. Could have been a childish response to a part of my youth coming to a close. Maybe I felt too dependent on it and that scared me. Maybe I was just tired of being in school for so long. When talking (or should I say shouting) to my my mom about it, I kept saying things like, “It’s been my life for so long, it’s like I’m not interested anymore” and “I feel like I know all there is to know, and I don’t know what to do with it anymore”.

I don’t think I feel this way anymore. I actually ended up crying in my room for a long time listening to Saves The Day’s Sound The Alarm, so music did get me through it after all (which I really resented at the time). I am still currently pursuing jobs in the music industry, I listen to music everyday, I still write songs, play guitar, etc. I think I just had a crack-up. But there are days (many days) where I catch myself making excuses when it comes to my own songwriting pursuits: Oh, I don’t feel like going to that open mic today and I don’t want to record this week and I don’t feel like going to that show. I almost feel like I’m sabotaging myself (which apparently really is a thing women tend to do according to Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes). I am I really lazy and harming my ambitions in the long-run, or am I just generally not interested and should just accept that fact and move on to something else?

All my life I feel I’ve pushed myself (or have been pushed) to do things I sometimes didn’t want to do, and sometimes when I did them, I’d feel really glad that I did. But I don’t know what this is – this feeling of hesitancy and closeted introverted-ness. I cringe at the fact at lugging my guitar somewhere. I like performing, but it’s mainly the fact that I have to go somewhere to go do it. And then that annoying question always lurking in the back of mind: Is this really all worth it?

I like doing things if I can anticipate a positive end result. Maybe that makes me spoiled? I’m not sure. But that’s the way I like to do things. But to be a musician is such an unknown. And I might I sound like a baby going on about this, but I’m really battling these feelings. Does it matter at all? Does anything matter at all?

And I got business cards with my songwriter info on them, I got a new feedback suppressor for my guitar. Why not use them, right?

I guess these thoughts are plaguing me as of late because there was an open mic at a place near me last night, and I decided not to go. To make myself feel better, I decided to go to my friend’s show instead which was in the same town. But then as the hour ticked closer and closer, I became less and less enthused and wanted more and more to just stay home and read or something. I didn’t like how that’s what I felt I really wanted. I felt like I was bullshitting myself – I should have pushed myself to go. Have I just been home for too long and that’s why I feel this way? I’m too comfortable here? (For TNG fans: Will Riker much?) I ended up getting a headache and went to bed right after dinner last night, anyway. So maybe I needed rest and I’m just making a big deal out of nothing.

The place I go to has a weekly open mic and I played it at the beginning of the month. It went great. The next week I had an interview scheduled for the next day, so I decided not to go, opting to go to bed in order to wake up well-rested and prepared. Then yesterday came.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is if I feel at peace, is it worth disturbing that peace to go and pursue something that disrupts that peace in a way? See, I hate the idea of wasting my life. And honestly, right now, I don’t feel that I am. But it’s the thought of the possibility that I am that creeps up on me. What if I could be doing more? But then for what? Why even push myself if it leads to nowhere? Do I just think music is my bliss because it’s been constant in my life? What if it’s not? What if I’ve transcended past that and it’s something else now? What if I’m just wasting my time pursuing some childhood dream? What is my bliss, really? Is there something more or am I just following a shadow of what I think I know?

Has anyone felt like this about anything? Let me know in the comments, y’all >>>

Peace and love,

<3-Roe

5 Days of Gratitude Challenge – Day 3

  1. Cool breezes. I love fall and cool breezes with no humidity. Maybe it’s because October’s my birth month, maybe it’s because my hands sweat less or something. It’s always reminded me of freedom or falling in love. When you smell autumn air, all your worries seem to fall away. It’s definitely one of the many reasons why I’m looking forward to the summer ending.
  2. I could probably go on ad infinitum about Joseph Campbell. But I will always be grateful for all that he contributed to the world and the literary community. I also find myself quite proud of the fact that he is American. I don’t get too patriotic often, but with Joseph Campbell I do. He makes me proud to come from this country. His mind was one of a kind, and he realized so many common threads within myth, folklore, religion, and psychology and how it applies to us as human beings and why it’s important. His work, reading his books, listening to his lectures, and watching his interviews as given me an abundant set of tools of how to live in the world as a human being, and I will always be thankful for his existence.
  3. Clean water. I know I’m lucky to live where I do, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t complain about it as often as some. There are parts of the world where if water is not scarce, it is hard to find clean. As a citizen of the Northeast United States, I have access to clean water to drink, bathe, and wash dishes. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you hear about tainted water from leaked chemicals in West Virginia or know how often people get sick and die from water-breeding diseases in foreign countries, namely India and Africa, you realize how good you have it after all. Sometimes it’s the little things we take for granted. I’d hate to think we wouldn’t know what we have until it’s gone.

Day 12: From Comment To Blog Post – Be Inspired By The Community

Today’s assignment: Write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog.”

Alright, so yesterday I commented on three blogs and after weighing the comments I left and debating how much I was inspired by the posts, I decided I wanted this post to be about Cosmos and why I believe it will positively impact the future of pop culture.

I commented on the ALL THINGS SCIENCE blog (You can see my comment here) expressing my excitement for the return of intellectual/scientific programming to a mainstream media channel (even if it is FOX…). In my eyes, this is huge.

Last night’s episode was killer, by the way. It talked about COMETS, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Halley, and stars. I love the graphics, the animation, I love Neil deGrasse Tyson narrating and leading this “Spacetime Odyssey”, continuing to carry the still-blazing torch of Carl Sagan. It’s awesome, inspiring, enlightening, and absolutely refreshing to this a show like this make headway, even with the controversial creationists nipping at Cosmos’ heels. We get to see the both sides of the public’s reaction to science in real time and no matter what the other thinks or believes, this can mean nothing but good because we are finally talking about these things out in the open. Science is making good dinner/social media conversation, making up for lost time when it fell out of the regular conversation scope for awhile; Blame it on the postmodern age if you must but whatever the reason, science has made a comeback in our daily dialog and these conversations won’t be going away anytime soon.

Another thing I mentioned in my comment yesterday, was how happy I was to see Star Trek-alum Brannon Braga’s name in the Cosmos credits. Good for him playing a critical role in Cosmos (Executive Producer) and ensuring its success! The world of science and the world of science-fiction are very closely related in my opinion.

When in comes to fantasy and science-fiction, it’s believability that is important; When it comes to real life scientific facts and calculation, it is the imagination that must be called forth so that the scientist may be encouraged to continue discovering. The two are crucially linked. For example, warp drive and transporters – They don’t exist in today’s world, but knowing how far we’ve come scientifically, technologically, we know that one day it may be possible, and possibility and believability are two skeleton keys on the keychain of innovation and can be the promise of a new tomorrow.

Before we accepted our solar system as heliocentric, something probed the mind of Copernicus. It must’ve been part imagination and part “what if”. Through observation and staring at the night sky, he somehow figured it out and let me tell you, his discovery was probably not motivated by prestige, popularity, money, or fame. The questions presented themselves to him and he fervently searched for the answers, devoting his life to something he cared so deeply about.

I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was practically born. There’s a home video floating around somewhere where at the age of 2 or 3 and while teething on a wooden spoon, I am captivated watching Next Gen or Voyager playing on the screen. And because of this early exposure to Star Trek, I’ve always credited Captain Janeway as being my first legitimate, positive, female role model (and these days I’m more vocal about it because I think it’s important to talk about) and I have my dad to thank for that; He was the one who realized the importance of presenting a character I could look up to as a young girl, especially within the strange, patriarchal-based world we currently live in. I don’t think he could have anticipated that that sense of allegiance continues to carry over now at 23-years-old, but I think I look up to Janeway more now than I did then. I will even go so far as to say I would not be who I am today, had Captain Janeway never been introduced to me. I’m 100% sure of that. (I can talk about how much Captain Janeway has influenced my life ad nauseam, but that is a different post for a different day.) 🙂

What’s so great about Star Trek is that it tells stories that are relatable, memorable, and innovative. After our planet had been explored and charted, where else were our stories supposed to go but to the stars? Gene Roddenberry was smart enough to realize that. Since TOS (The Original Series) with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, et al, Star Trek has projected an ideal future of people working together to solve problems regardless of their race, gender, (and in this case) species. It gave (and still continues to give) people a myth to live by, to follow (For more on Star Trek, myth, and Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ I suggest watching William Shatner’s 2012 documentary ‘Get A Life!‘ where all this is broken down really well), to better inform our lives somehow. There are archetypes that break through in every movie, in every installment of the TV series that personally reflects on our inner being and make us reflect on ourselves as human beings.

This is a great, wondrous thing. Despite television’s upsets, downfalls, and passivity and all the garbage that somehow makes it on to the screen (Neil Postman would probably have more to add about this), here we have a phenomena of sorts: A fictional TV show so uplifting and marvelous it has inspired, encouraged, and motivated hundreds if not thousands of people to become doctors, astrophysicists, scientists, engineers around the world. These stories are real. They have been documented and cataloged, especially in quite a few Star Trek documentaries. This continues to fascinate me and I think it is an important thing to recognize – Pop culture can lead to marvelous, positive things!

When a show like Cosmos gets put on the air, it is no small order. It is a massive step (the first of many, I hope) towards progress, towards uplifting the human race to get out there, explore, learn, think, do the most with our corporeal bodies as we humanly can. When children watch this show they are captivated, when lost 20-somethings like myself watch this show we are temporarily calmed about our futures and eager to learn more. TV shows like this have the capacity to change, change for the better. This is the stuff that makes kids want to be a part of this world. Not feel the need to participate in a decaying social construct that encourages destructive behaviors and habits and treating human relationships with disdain and not compassion (i.e. the majority of Reality TV).

If we can collectively make a pact to create and influence positive pop culture, I am sure we can make this world a better place to live in, to be a part of, emotionally and scientifically. This is the beauty of Cosmos, the beauty of Star Trek, and the potentiality we all have to play a role in making good things happen in our world, by encouraging these wonderful things. We have been starved for too long. I welcome Cosmos as our first dose of delicious pop culture nutrition, and I for one can’t wait for my second helping.

 

Day 11: Be A Good Neighbor – Leave Comments On Three New Blogs

Since I’ve started my blog, I’ve been relatively quiet on the commenting front. So far I’ve only independently posted and responded to other comments on my page. Today marks my branching out. I commented on three blogs today:

1. It’s All Dead – I follow and dig this online music magazine because they tend to post about bands/artists within a vein I’m familiar with. They recently posted the newest Against Me! music video for their single “Black Me Out” off Transgender Dysphoria Blues. The album’s pretty solid. I haven’t listened to it in awhile, but may revisit it soon after watching the video.

The first (and only) time I saw Against Me! live was September 2005 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford when they opened for Green Day on their American Idiot tour. I saw Jimmy Eat World that night too. Laura Jane Grace was still Tom Gabel at that point but regardless, as a bright-eyed 14-year-old I just remember being swept by the music. That was my first legit concert too. I was in the pit…It was one of the best nights of my life.

2. All Things Science – Sapeck Agrawal wrote a nice writeup on the new Cosmos series with Neil deGrasse Tyson (It’s on again tonight at 9, by the way!) and I just had to comment on it. I’m just so stoked science is making its way back to the mainstream again. It’s been awhile since it’s been in the spotlight. Positive pop culture like this tends to inspire and encourage young minds with their future pursuits – and how awesome is that?

3. Creative Database – This blog found and posted a HILARIOUS video of puppets describing Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. I LOL’d so hard! It’s absolutely genius. In fact, I’m going to leave it here for you all to watch. It is informative, yet absolutely priceless. Get into Joseph Campbell, my friends! You will not regret it 🙂

Day 4: Explore The Neighborhood

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Today I spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon grabbing iced coffees with one of my dearest friends and because of the warmer weather we had today, I suggested we stroll over to the park. She snapped this picturesque photo of me (and my behind). Look at that sky! So many people were out today with their kids and dogs, taking in what they could of the fresh air before we are plummeted back into the freezing temperatures typical to a northeast winter.

Though I did literally (yet unintentionally) “explore the neighborhood” today, I wanted a post to go along with my challenge even though it wasn’t required I do one. I had to follow five new topics and begin to find blogs/bloggers I like.

Well, I definitely followed more than five topics (I followed 11) and the readers I ended up following appeared when I connected my Facebook/Twitter/Gmail accounts. As to following other readers, we’ll have to wait and see; I’ll have to take some time to explore the blog landscape and see what I like and who I feel inclined to follow. What I will do now though is go through the topics I followed and list why I did (in case you were curious) ;).

Zerotohero – It’s the name of this 30 day challenge and the tag that brings all us participants together to view each other’s work. The post suggested I follow it in order to easily connect with others. Can’t hurt!

Joseph Campbell – I’ve gone on about Campbell before in some of my musings and I’ve read many of his books. If you don’t know about him, the abridged version is he was one of the greatest American thinkers of the 20th century. His written works and lectures span comparative religion and mythology as he found a common thread between all world religions and myths linking it to the world at large, our inner individual psychology, and how we relate to it. He has transformed my thinking so much and although it’s only been two years since I got into him, I will go as far as to say I would be lost in life without his guidance. He died before I was born, but I really wish I had a chance to meet him. He discusses really great stuff and I would suggest him to anyone seeking purpose or direction in life. Reading his words you will come across small epiphanies in every paragraph, and it is a wonderful and enlightening thing. I love connecting with other Campbell-ites, so I definitely want to stay in the loop at all times!

Bill Moyers -Bill Moyers has been and is still (IMO) one of the most cutting edge journalists/TV Hosts of our time. He broke Joseph Campbell into the mainstream media by interviewing him and releasing those interviews through a program on PBS titled, “The Power of Myth“. Campbell unfortunately passed away before their release, so he did not get to witness the impact his had on millions of viewers. This six-part interview is also a great introduction to Campbell’s work; I got into Campbell through this series and his biography, A Fire In The Mind. But aside from that, Moyers is still active today with his show, “Moyers & Company” on PBS where he discusses current events and issues plaguing our nation and interviews great intellectuals, writers, scientists, and thinkers. I’ve recently seen episodes where he interviews astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, author Richard Slotkin, environmentalist Bill McKibben, and David Simon who created the hit show, “The Wire” alongside his other journalistic/creative writing endeavors. Really fascinating stuff. I always appreciate hearing Moyers’ insight and input. He has an open, intelligent mind mind and tries his best to understand whoever is sitting across the table from him.

Carl Jung – Jung was really instrumental in shaping Campbell’s writings and since reading Campbell, I’ve been really turned on to him. I had the opportunity of reading the autobiography of the famous Swiss psychologist (Memories, Dreams, Reflections) this summer and, wow. What a trip! It requires some dedication to understand Jung’s perspectives and reasonings, but when you do everything just clicks. He was the one who coined the phrase, “collective unconscious” and realized the power of dream as a means of communication by the unconscious to the conscious self; It is a way to inform the conscious of what is happening within and without. Coincidentally, I ended up reading his autobiography after having a dream about him (I’ll have to blog about that one later. I think I’ve written it down somewhere). I figured it was a sign to explore his thinking and further enlighten myself. Hopefully by following Carl Jung topic posts, the enlightenment can continue!

Neil Postman – Postman is yet another inspiring thinker and author. I read his Amusing Ourselves To Death and though original published in the early 80s, the book has never been more spot on. He discusses the decline of the printed word and the increase of images as means of informing our culture. (Hello? Vine and Instagram, anyone?) He also discusses how technology but most specifically how and why television is a detrimental medium for learning and informing a society. In his opinion it increases passivity, indifference, and apathetic moods. He dissects television news and why it must not be viewed as news but as entertainment. (Frantic theme music, a new story within a span of 20 seconds, jumping from morbid events to a heartwarming story, etc) I actually just reblogged a video of a PBS interview he did. I found by clicking on the tag, if you care to watch.

Dairy-free – I’ve been lactose-intolerant for almost 3 years so any time I can get some dairy-free cooking into my life, I’ll take it! I drink almond milk, use Daiya cheese, eat soy and almond yogurt, and buy coconut milk ice cream in the summer.

Gluten Free Beer – I don’t have Celiac’s but contrary to my doctor’s belief, I do have a gluten sensitivity. Like my mom I get intense (and annoying) muscle spasms and inflammation around my rib cage area, particularly my upper ribcage and sides when I eat bread, pasta, flour, etc. I don’t like chancing pain so I’ve been pretty strict with myself when it comes to ingesting gluten, no matter what form. I don’t have a lactase pill to fall back on like if I were to accidentally eat dairy. This began less than a year ago and although my blood results came back negative to gluten sensitivity, all I know is when I don’t eat (or drink) gluten I feel fine – but I love beer! So I figured I’d follow to Gluten Free Beer tag and get the word on what’s good. I like Bard’s, Redbridge, Woodchuck Cider, Angry Orchard, and Dogfish Head makes a nice GF beer too. But I can’t stand New Planet Ale though. BLEH. I’m looking to become more informed and see what kind of GF beers are out there. I don’t frequent the liquor store often but when I do, I like to know what I’m buying beforehand.

Job Hunting – I’m still just as unemployed than when I started this blog about 9 months ago. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. I do have an internship now (unpaid). But still. The search never seems to end. I plan on retouching my résumé and LinkedIn and refocusing my job prospects. It’s hard out there for a non-business graduate. Feels like the world doesn’t want you sometimes – and the bastard child feeling gets old real quick.

Saves The Day – How can I not keep up on posts about my favorite band in the world? 🙂

Music Industry – As a MI grad, it’s probably necessary for me to keep up on what’s going on within my respective field. Despite all the music industry related people/companies/organizations I follow on Twitter, it’s good to check in on another social network medium.

Album Review – I chose to follow this topic because it’s something I want to get better at. I don’t think I was ever taught on how to write a legit album review. Based on the many I’ve read I think there’s a certain way to go about it, including what kind of words to use and how to describe certain sounds and genres. In any case, I just want to read how other people are doing it so I have more of a foundation how to do it myself.