Maybe I'm just crazy after all.

Life has been kicking ass for me lately. I even recorded my first video blog where I went on about that. Hilarious thing, though: as soon as I got it into my ego like that – Boom! – life started (gently but firmly) kicking my ass. I couldn't get a picture to show up in Windows Movie Maker (could only get audio, and a crappy audio it was), and that got me thinking that maybe vlogging hadn't been such a hot idea after all. The more I thought about the video I'd recorded, the more I thought how embarrassing it'd be. I'm not too terribly awkward on camera, but my speaking skills aren't up to a level where I can just go off-the-cuff and have it come out how I want it. Not that I'm so vain that I can't let people see me as I am, but if the point is to make a point, then I want to do it as well as I can and not waste people's time with my halting speech and half-formed thoughts.

Perhaps I will still make a video blog at some point, but it would probably be either me reading stuff aloud or be a private video as a letter home to my family. I think those options would help me be less self-conscious, too. Seeing oneself on the screen simultaneously rather tends to have that effect, unfortunately. I'd rather not feed my ego that way if I can help it.

Anyway, I've had a lot on my mind, even as I've been flying high on a creative roll on the magic carpet of universal love that makes everything go my way. The blogs/websites of a number of highly conscious individuals (links on the right if you're reading this on my Blogspot) have provided plenty of food for thought recently, but I've mostly been wrestling with a very personal issue: my hobby.

First I should tell you why it's become such an issue. You see, my plan at this point is to leave the country by the end of June, which will mark five years since I left my family in Vancouver and moved to the land of my birth to see what experiences it might hold for me. These five years have been incredibly transformative and full of different phases. My life situation has undergone radical changes by the year:

Year zero: leave job and hometown in Canada to enlist in Finnish conscript military as an adventure and a requirement for keeping my dual citizenship.

Year one: discharged with rank of 2nd lieutenant. Begin studies in Forestry at Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences.

Year two: summer of love. Relationship with girlfriend at its peak. Active social life. Internship at building supply warehouse provides financial security and chance to work largely outdoors, serving customers. Everything is great.

Year three: everything falls apart. Plans to switch field of study to Theology come to naught as I discover that the Christianity I was raised into has been a weapon of mass deception and no longer serves my spiritual needs. Quit Forestry, break up with girlfriend. Truth-seeking begins in earnest. Job at call center pays the bills but eats at the soul. Breakdown on the job prompts move to Oulu, an area with many relatives and friends. Find new job as personal assistant to severely disabled father of six, an ex-con and ex-hockey player whose wife left the same faith movement as me (conservative Laestadian Lutheran) to marry him.

Year four: fired from job in spring, after six months. Had been too wrapped up in myself and my inner life to really engage fully and integrate into the family's home. (The ex-Laestadian girl who succeeded me apparently serves the family's needs much better, for which I am very glad.) Desire to find another regular job is zilch, as interest in being really independent has taken off. Start translating business. Find that I really don't have what it takes, but deny reality until savings run out in the fall and I am forced to shut it down and apply for government social aid. The emotional support of close friends plays a key role.

Year five (now): jettisoning most material possessions with intent to go on a trip of indeterminate length, starting with Sweden and continental Europe and ending in Vancouver. Money will likely run out along the way, at which point (barring some kind of temporary employment) I will be entirely at the mercy of God and my fellow human beings. That thought scares me a lot less than it would probably scare most people.

So now the trouble here is that the only thing I've ever become really good at – the hobby (socially still rather marginal, although the public awareness and acceptance of it are constantly increasing) of building original creations out of Lego bricks, for which I still have as unrepentant a passion as ever – is up against the compelling need to drop everything and hit the road. Shipping my entire Lego parts collection to Vancouver would be very costly due to the weight, so I must now significantly reduce its size. Selling it all off wholesale would be the rational thing to do, but as I mentioned, my passion for building is as yet unabated (despite occasional bouts of disillusionment with it all and an ever-present awareness that none of it matters in the end). Lately, I've been in a veritable frenzy of building in preparation for my first exhibition down in Helsinki next month. I also have a prospective buyer who has offered to pay 13 euros per kilo for sorted, bulk Lego parts. So I am left to separate the wheat, so to speak, from the chaff. Which parts are superfluous and which ones am I going to need for my projects in progress? It's a tough call to make, but I have to make it. Which explains my anxiety.

Well, that's a load off my chest already, to have laid out the situation in words like this. I think it's now clear to me that I would be wisest to enlist the help of a friend or friends in this process. The idea of doing it alone is just too daunting. And I guess that simple epiphany is what I was getting at with this whole entry, though I only realize it now. I do hope that anyone who took the time to read this will send supportive thoughts my way, be they voiced or silent. Advice and compassion are always appreciated, and I won't bite your head off even if you're in total disagreement with what I'm doing. Hey, maybe I am crazy... but that's still a subjective judgment. I'm just doing what seems to be the right thing for me personally. So... wish me luck?

- Not that I believe in luck. (grin)

Jammin' the shape of things to come

Ooooh! Look at the/time, oh
This ball start to roll and she don't/stop for nothing
(Just speedin' up)
Gonna do some big-time/damage down the line
(Sooner than you think)
And all you thought was real, it be/comin' down
(All around, comin' down)

Ooooh, baby, you just/keep your head cool
'Cause you know it's all/meant to be
(It's all playing out)
My heart tells me, baby/we're gonna be all right
Just watch your feet, baby/don't lose your head
We'll stick together, baby/and we've got friends

Ooooh, got to do what's right/stick to the truth
'Cause that's what this all's about/teaching you
(Be true)
To know who what where, when how why
The devil come in, he don't want you to fly
But you know there's/always/another way, baby
And the right way's not gonna be found/outside you
Yeah the right way's not gonna be found/outside youuuu!

(screaming-hot guitar solo)

Ooooh, the world's goin' pear-shaped/whatcha gonna do?
Ooooh, everybody freakin' out/ooooh, what are you gonna do?
'Cause there's no time/there's no time/there's no time
To be standing there gawkin' like a fool without a clue
(Get a clue)
Listen to your ************* heaaaart!
Act from your ************* heaaaart!
Listen to your ************* heaaaart!
And know it in your ************* heaaaart!

This is why
You are here
Don't blame me
For your fear
(Got to) let it go and and take a chance
Step up to the cosmic dance
Then you join the cosmic daaaance

(wild, ecstatic guitar solo)

The truth inside
We're all one eternal mind
Heart and soul
Living whole
Universal love behold

Love behoooold
Love behoooold
Love behoooold
Love behold

(Love behold)


Written after reading HalfPastHuman's latest Shape of Things to Come report. Thanks to the immortal Jimi Hendrix and others for inspiration. :)

Play from your HEART!

Bill Hicks, ladies and gentlemen. One of the most offensive comedians of all time. He also happens to have been one of the very, very best. How is that? Well... the fact that he saw through the manufactured bullshit that masquerades as “reality” and called it out for what it was. The fact that he was totally unafraid to be seen for what he was: nobody special, just a guy with a taste for vulgar jokes and a gift for telling them. He was more than that, of course. He was a man of uncompromising integrity, brutal honesty, deep humility... and he did what he did because he loved to do it. No other reason could have driven him.

Today I listened to a couple of songs by Rage Against the Machine (Wake Up and Calm Like a Bomb, from the Matrix soundtracks). I listened in a way that I'm just discovering how to do (although I've probably been doing it all along): such that my internal state of mind is at its own place of repose, while the music plays out around me. I could appreciate the soundwaves, the thoughts and emotions without getting attached to them myself. I don't know if or how this is a productive way to listen, but it appeals to me. It's a way that I can apply to any genre of music, even (and especially) music that is full of angst and rage and darkness. I don't have to go to the place where the music is coming from in my totality, just enough to appreciate it. It's enough to have been there myself at some point in the past. You might ask why I would do this. Why listen to music that's not in line with where I'm at in my innermost? That's a good question.

Part of the answer is that the world is not in line with where I'm at or where I'd like it to be at. That's something that I just have to make my peace with. Appreciating music that comes from a human being's experience of this tortured reality while also holding peace and unconditional love in my heart... it feels real. It feels like healing, somehow.

Bill Hicks had a lot to say about music and the music industry. He made no bones about his distaste for empty, mass-produced, ego-driven dreck. He ranted against banality and mediocrity. He also praised those artists who he saw as having done humanity a service through their music, who played from their hearts.

I listen to a lot of different genres of music. I've never become an expert or a connoisseur of any particular one. Rather, I simply listen to whatever I find that appeals to me. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this artist. Here is someone who plays a genre so apparently full of garbage (in my uneducated opinion) and yet comes across as a true artist with a genuine message. Ana Free is (to me) a diamond in the rough. Her music comes from her heart. And what a heart it is! Beautiful. Generous. True. - And she's pretty, to boot! (grin) Anyway, lest I sound like I'm advertising (ahem), she is what she is, her music is what it is. You may like it or you may not, it doesn't matter.

“Play from your heart.” That's all well and good for those with a talent for making music... what about the rest of us, like me? I think the answer is obvious enough: whatever your talents happen to be, use them to express what you feel, the things that matter, the things that inspire you. Don't be afraid of what people are going to think. Don't worry about whether it's got market value. Those things are distractions! They don't matter! What matters is that you believe in what you're doing. If you can find something you would do for free, without any hope of recognition from the world, just because it gives you joy and fulfillment... do it. Whatever you feel is your purpose for being here now, do it. You will know what that is, because it will come from deep inside you and the mere thought of doing it will fill you with energy.

Play well, yes... but more important than that is to play from your heart. And it's more than likely that it'll come to the same thing anyway.

Ana Free - Try (Live)