Blind Rage & A Middle Finger To My D String

Something amusing happened to me today.

Now, I’ve written about how I believe the Universe speaks and sends messages, in what I suspect is a near parallel to how dream and the unconscious functions. At the time it seems some chance occurrence that was either so profound or incredibly frustrating, and you have no idea why the thing occurred. But I’ve found that if you wait these things out, you can accurately determine why the event took place. I’m still in a bit of rage of disbelief and it’s only been a few hours since it happened, so I’m still hypothesizing answers.

With that said, yesterday I was playing guitar in my room when my D string suddenly snapped off. I hate when that happens, and it’s happened to me enough times that I get immediately agitated when it does. And of course I have every other string in the house but that one. So I resolved to walk to my local music shop the next day to get another string so I could quickly replace it (I’m playing a open mic tonight).

So today, at around 11 o’clock, I walk 20 minutes to the local music shop and tell the owner about the string. I end up asking if it’s possible I could just get one string and not the whole pack because I just want to quickly replace it. I know if you change the strings it’s important to treat them like tires – You don’t know replace one, you replace all of them at the same time. That’s just really how it should be done.

[There’s another thing I should probably add here: I’m terrible at changing strings. I mean, I can do it as well as the average guitar player. Sure, I can string it through the tuning knob hole and turn the knob ’til I get the note I need, but within the past few years I’ve been adamant on getting the process right. There’s a certain way to do it so that it looks perfectly coiled (I also believe it’s better for the guitar when it’s done that way too). Imagine how the strings look on the headstock when you walk into a guitar store. I’ve been trying to do that, and every time I do I fail miserably. Only when I do it under the supervision of my guitar tech do I get it right.]

So he’s unsure of what the gauge of the D string should be (for my particular guitar) and hands me a .32 gauge (the thickness of the string, basically) and says, “Well, that should be close to what you need”. My heart seized up – I didn’t want it to be close. I wanted it to be accurate. I’ve strung my guitar with the wrong gauge before and kind of messed up the nut and my saddle. If they’re too fat, it’s not good for the guitar. But I payed for the string anyway and left.

When I left, I still didn’t feel right about it. I even went on Google to search to see if I could find the correct gauge. Long story short, I made myself go back and after telling my story, asked the guy if I could just exchange the string I just bought for a pack of strings (with the correct gauge) and pay the difference. “For peace of mind,” I said. It was no problem at all and he understood.

So I walk all the way back home to change the string. Turns out the whole time the .32 WAS correct. When you by a pack of .11 or .12 gauge strings, the D and A strings are the same size for both sets. (I also confirmed this online) So I kinda felt like an idiot. So I’m changing the string, trying to remember when my tech taught me, I’m winding the string and guess what? It POPS. The string fucking pops off and breaks. I wanted to cry and punch a wall.

That was the only D string I had. Not only that, but I could’ve saved $7 and just bought the original one he sold me!

Blind rage, I tell you. Blind rage.

Luckily, I have another guitar I can use for tonight (who’s strings hopefully won’t break on me) but I’m still pissed.

I ordered a new pack of strings online, and I guess I’ll have to see my guitar tech when they come so we can put them on together and can learn how to do this once and for all.

It’s just so irritating when shit doesn’t work out and goes wrong.

But to go back to my original point – So why did this happen? What’s going on here?

Is there a lesson to be learned? A point to be understood? Just random BS?

Maybe it’s a lesson in “we have no control”; Stop trying so hard; No matter what we do, the end result will be the same.

Maybe it’s bad karma – But to me, even that has a moral when it happens.

And I don’t believe in random chance.

I’m still pondering…and waiting for illumination.

Freckles

A couple weeks ago I was checking the mail. It wasn’t a lot, far less than usual actually. But while thumbing through the letters, I noticed something larger than the others addressed to me.  What struck me as strange was the fact that I hadn’t ordered anything recently as I’m unemployed and without the ability to be frivolous with my limited funds.  Yet it was a large envelope/package addressed to me specifically and I could feel the contents inside; Definitely a book of some kind.  I found myself somewhat perturbed.  Is that weird? Even if it is, later on I convinced myself that it wasn’t as we currently live in a paranoid, skeptical, over-analytical culture full of distrust and suspicion.

After pondering for a few minutes as to what this could be, I opened the package and there did indeed contain a book inside.  Freckles by Eric Shaw.  The book and author were unfamiliar to me and the whole ensemble seemed pretty DIY.  For example, no ISBN number, Arial and Times New Roman font, and the author’s return address label was on the package itself.  No publisher, etc.  It wasn’t large.  Just over 100 pages with some black and white photos inside.  I even Googled the book and although you can find it in various electronic formats and order it from the author directly, there’s nothing giving it “mainstream validation” as in search engine results from Amazon, eBay…sites like that.

From a quick glance, the format seemed to be poetry or something along those lines.  I was pretty dumbfounded.  Who could have sent this to me? Did the author somehow have my address?  I asked friends and parents about it.  They were clueless as to who could have sent it and seemed just as flabbergasted as I was.  I went through bank and credit card statements, my PayPal history, and came up with nothing as to how I could have received this book.  Finding no conclusive answer as to how I received it, I decided to open it up and give Freckles my undivided attention.  But before I could, I noticed a note inside – Two pieces of printer paper folded in half and typed single space.  Essentially, it was a message of the author’s thanks and appreciation for purchasing the book interwoven with life’s reassurances along the lines of, “everything’s going to be alright”, “someone will love you”, “you’re here for a reason”.  I don’t know, kind of uplifting stuff that any unemployed, directionless college grad would want to hear.  Kind of timely stuff, you know?  I read it over 10 times before I actually read the book.

Now, this isn’t a book review but I have to say I did enjoy reading the quirky, honest poetry from this mysterious author that uninvitingly showed up on my doorstep.  If I understand correctly, all the poems were written at a point in the Shaw’s life when he had uprooted himself from his familiar surroundings, got lost, did some thinking, reflected on mistakes, and constantly kicked himself for the broken heart he was so positively sure he caused himself.  Truth is, Freckles would/will never get “mainstream validation” from a publishing company or anything like that because it’s too raw, too real, too imperfect.  Kind of like a human being.  I think that’s why I liked it.  It’s at least one of the reasons why I did.  It even kind of reminded me of myself in a way.  Not always literally, but thematically.  That’s how I relate to Hip-hop sometimes, but that’s a different conversation to be had for a different day.

Now in the note Shaw provided, he listed his email address and link to his Tumblr site urging for feedback, communication, contact, etc.  Still baffled about how I ended up with Freckles, I decided to contact him.  I wanted an answer and I knew this would definitely get me one.  Turns out, I had won something on eBay from him – something Saves the Day related. (I’m pretty sure it may have been the white vinyl OOP edition of ‘Through Being Cool’ I won this past December/January)  He told me he uses his PayPal account to handle his book orders and eBay stuff and must’ve gotten my address from eBay mixed up with the book orders.  A silly mistake but I didn’t mind it.  In fact, I found it very interesting and told him so, along with the story I’ve just shared with you.  I got the vibe (although I guess it’s always hard to tell via email/text what kind of emotion a person is really conveying) that he was embarrassed about it and if he is, I wish he wouldn’t be because in a strange sense I really am grateful.  A book was sent to me that I would have never discovered had this situation not happened in this way.  I would have never been aware of this book in any other circumstance.

It’s just another one of those universe things where things are (literally) delivered to you or happen to you without your knowledge or control.  It’s another message that I will probably hold on to for way too long and over-analyze until it’s lost all meaning.  It’s kind of a problem I’m trying to get over but unsure how to go about it, you know?  But if anything, I now have a cool story to share and a book in my possession that not many people have or even know about.

The world knows.  The world always knows what you’re going through, how you feel.  It senses your energy and orchestrates its place within the field of everything else out there.  I’m sure of it.  Whether you call it God, Allah, Zeus, Shiva, Yahweh, Jehovah, Buddha, Jesus Christ, or Mother Earth – It’s all the same.  It’s this all encompassing entity and science and magic fueled by hope, fear, love, hate, and faith that is beyond our imagination yet is constantly pulling all these strings and allowing silly mistakes to happen that send unknown books to our front doors.

You can order Freckles for yourself, here.

Dragonfly

You ever feel like the universe is trying to send you a message, either through certain happenings or symbols? I think that those types of messages exist and I become more sure of it as time goes on.

For example, yesterday (and frequently when I have been driving lately) cars kept cutting me off, making me have to brake somewhat abruptly so I wouldn’t hit them.  No close calls or anything but all of these careless drivers could have definitely waited until I passed.  I noticed many of them even flew past STOP signs and just swerved out into the road.  Right turns, left turns; They were all going for it.  I was on a main street in my town (Franklin Ave and Centre for those who live in or around it) and was coming to a light, which turned yellow as I approached.  There are two lanes at this light: One to make a left and the other to go straight or make a right.  I was making a left but an Astro van in front of me (and the only car in front of me) had positioned itself between these two lanes, in front of the crosswalk with no directional.  The light turns green and this car immediately makes a left hand turn.  Oncoming traffic was heavy so I had to wait for all the cars to pass and didn’t make a left until the light was about the turn red again.

Okay, so I’m driving on Centre St. now.  I then approach the next light at Centre and Passaic, which is red.  I’m the third car in line.  Light turns green.  The first car (a Chevy Impala) is making a left and has to wait for traffic to pass, the second car goes around the first to go straight, and I am also making a left and wait for the Chevy now in front of me.  After the traffic passes, we make our lefts in succession.  Now this Chevy was going so slow, exactly 25 mph and braked for every slight turn, every person walking on the sidewalk, every approaching car, it even braked when the breeze was blowing.  It was so irritating.  I joked to my friend later on that whoever was driving was either a young new driver, extremely old, or high out of their mind.  If you know me, you know I love to drive somewhat fast preferably with my windows down and music blasting, so this was a bit of a struggle.  But I slowly breathed and told myself to have patience, the universe was telling me something – slow down. Don’t rush.  This pattern, especially while driving has been extremely recognizable over the past few days.

Much to my displeasure, this car seemed to be going exactly where I was – all the way down Park Ave and over the Lyndhurst Bridge.  We finally separated at the light that comes right after the bridge – the Chevy was making a left.  I was making a right.  As I made the right I couldn’t help but put a little more weight on the gas, so glad to be free of that tortoise driver in front of me.  I’m driving smoothly along with no lights, no traffic, and no pedestrians.  I was starting to feel so liberated.  Then I slow to 25 mph again – in front of me there appeared a white Honda Civic moving at the same pace as I was, and a garbage track in front of the Civic moving at a snail’s pace while smelling up the entire road.

I guess you can say these are all coincidences.  Hell, any skeptic could.  But I think the universe has a lot to say if when you keep your mind open, breathe in the open air, and take in everything with a clear state of mind.

So you might be saying, “Okay, fine.  So what?  You had to drive a little slower than usual.  Big deal.”  But something happened to me this morning that I am still in disbelief about.  The universe sending out more messages?  You be the judge.

After stepping outside this morning I was taken aback with how beautiful it was outside.  No humidity, cool air, and a slight breeze.  The sun was shining, birds chirping, and the air smelled so sweet.  Since graduating, I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading.  It sounds awful but I never could make the time for it while I was in school, specifically most of high school and all of college.  One of my favorite things to do now is to go outside with my book, a glass of ice water, my sunglasses, and just read.  My backyard has become such a soothing and peaceful environment to me lately.  So I put on my sunglasses, poured my water, grabbed Pathways to Bliss by Joseph Campbell, and went outside to read at about 9:30.  It was so quiet and beautiful out and I quickly became absorbed in my book.  At one point, I glanced up at a dead plant that was on my deck and noticed a leaf on it that looked like a dragonfly.  I paid it no mind and went back to my book, eating up all the Joseph Campbell knowledge I could about myth, the psyche, and the importance of archetypes.  About five minutes later, I noticed something fly over my head and saw the shadow in my lap.  I glanced back up at the plant again and noticed the leaf was a dragonfly.  It’s wings were translucent and had green lines towards the edge of all four of its wings and a green dot in the middle of each wing.  (I can’t find a picture of this type of dragonfly for the life of me, so if anyone knows what species this might be, let me know!)  I stared at it for awhile.  I don’t ever recall seeing a dragonfly ever, nevermind in my own yard.  Every time I looked away, I looked back.  It was near motionless on this dead branch of a plant in front of me.  The wind would blow hard enough to shake the trees and the leaves.  The dragonfly would sway but still remained locked on to the branch, looking at me.  It became difficult to concentrate on reading at this point, so I closed the book and stared at this funny little dragonfly staring back at me.  It was not afraid when I moved my arms and legs; It did not budge.  Sometimes it moved it’s head/eyes to the side but they always came back to me.  We were pretty close to each other, only about two or three feet away.  And we sat like that for 10 whole minutes.  I timed it.  After the 10 minutes, it flew away.

It left an impression on me.  What could that possibly mean?  I was shocked.  I had never had that type of experience before.  I thought about it all day.  In the afternoon I did a brief Google search on strange dragonfly behavior and found a few things that piqued my interest.  One thing that did is the folk tale that, “dragonflies have traditionally been one of a select few creatures that have been known to carry a deceased person’s energy (soul) to their loved ones. Contact from one of these simple, yet splendid creatures brings peace to a grieving soul.”  I have been thinking about my grandmother from time to time, who passed away in 2004 but because I was only 14 when she died, I never really mourned her death until this past Easter.  It kind of caught up with me then.  Could it have been her somehow?  Then I started reading about what the dragonfly symbolizes and this really got me going:  “The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.”  The dragonfly’s iridescent properties are believed to represent, “the end of one’s self created illusions and a clear vision into the realities of life. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity. This again indirectly means self discovery and removal of inhibitions.  Well that’s totally what I’ve been trying to do!  I’ve been eating up the teachings of Campbell, Jung, and Sagan like crazy!  Trying to learn everything, rediscover myself, transition myself away from my student self which has died and transform into something great, something better.  I’ve been trying to remain objective about this rebirth, yet keep tabs on my subjective feelings.  As I was reading and discovering the symbolism of the dragonfly, I was in utter disbelief at parallels I was finding.  “The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This adult dragonfly does it all in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis. This ability lets you live your life without regrets like the great dragonfly. The opening of one’s eyes The eyes of the dragonfly are one of the most amazing and awe inspiring sights. Given almost 80% of the insect’s brain power is dedicated to its sight and the fact that it can see in all 360 degrees around it, it symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self. It also in a manner of speaking symbolizes a man/woman’s rising from materialism to be able to see beyond the mundane into the vastness that is really our Universe, and our own minds.”  Who knew this deep symbolism even existed?!  “In many regions and as a norm of this day, the dragonfly is considered to be an agent of change and presumably symbolic of a sense of self realization.”

If this isn’t the universe sending me a message, an affirmation of everything I’ve been doing thus far on my journey of self-discovery and personal enlightenment, I don’t know what the hell it is.  How do you explain these things?  Too many things make sense to me.  Too many things fall into place, so why fight it?  Let’s just go with it.  Might I also add that when I first went to go outside to read, I shattered a drinking glass and spent at least 20 minutes cleaning up, picking up shards of glass and vacuuming.  If I hadn’t stalled myself by doing this, would I have even had this dragonfly experience at all?  Think about it.  Sometimes these real life, waking dreams can have such an impact.  I can only encourage others to lead their own journeys of self-discovery and see what they find.  It can be hard work but it gives you the gift of understanding and the possibility of reaping infinite rewards.