meaningofstrife

Seeing the best in life's challenges

Music, Wisdom, Love and Dancing

Concert Review of the Animal Liberation Orchestra, April 27, 2013 at The Blockley in Philadelphia.

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Oh, you just noticed that I am writing this the day before the concert?  Well, I say, what good is a great review of a great band, the day after the concert – when your reaction is “Darn, I just missed a great time!!”  And since everything is happening in the NOW anyway – time is fluid – it doesn’t matter when I’m writing this.  If you are reading this, then this is the only moment that matters anyway.

But, I digress.  I feel qualified to write a review before the concert because I already know all about how the evening will go.  There will be a very happy crowd, anxious to hear the guys play, all smiling at each other.  There will be silliness, revelry, amazing musicianship, talk of love, fond glances between band members.  The guys will be as happy to see us as we are to see them.   You get the sense that every single time they play, they are humbly grateful that people came out.  No sense of ego.  And these guys would have every reason to be cocky – they are amazing.

The sound will be upbeat.  Zach, Steve, Dan and Dave are four of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet.  Zach and Steve have known each other since they were seven years old, and Dan since they were 12.  How fun is that?  Zach will probably have his little disco ball on the corner of the keyboard, there may be a fun hat or other accoutrement, and don’t be surprised if there are beach balls being tossed back and forth between the crowd and the band.  There will be plenty of banter.

silly

Everyone will be excited to see what is included on the setlist.  ALO always mixes it up, and you never know what will emerge.  They’ll throw a cover in there, and it might be Prince, or Van Morrison, or (what has popped up in the past in Philly) Eye of the Tiger.  Plus, true to their jamband status, there will be lots of Lebo, including time with the lap steel.  Oh and I shouldn’t forget to mention there will be Zach on the uke.  It is impossible not to be happy when watching Zach play the uke.

There is a reason we call ourselves ALOvers.  It’s all about the love, a brotherly love.  In that room, it won’t matter how old you are, what you do for a living, or how you look.  It’s all family and all you have to do is have fun and be yourself.

Want to get a sense of what they sound like?  ALO is super accessible.  Go to www.archive.org and search for Animal Liberation Orchestra in the Live Music Archive.  You will be amazed at the number of shows that are there FOR FREE.  And if you can’t make it to the concert tomorrow, it will be streaming live at rmblive.com at 8:30 pm.

Seriously, the ALO community models a new paradigm of being, and the thing is, it’s totally natural and relaxed.  It’s all about sharing and caring, inclusiveness, having fun and being yourself.  If you are so inclined, it can be about thinking deep thoughts (just spend some time with the lyrics) but there’s no pressure to do so.  One of my favorite lines, from Plastic Bubble, sums it up really well:

It’s a crazy, mixed-up world, full of contradictions

And that’s why it hurts so bad sometimes

But that’s also why it’s fun

You can also check out their website at www.alomusic.com.  There are lots of videos there.

Oh, and they even wrote a song about girls like me, LOL!!

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Fear of Dreams

Hopes and dreams.  Can you imagine?  How far will you let your dreams take you?  What makes you stop?

We all know how nighttime dreams can be – unrealistic, crazy, make no sense, are hard to understand…..they take us to places we wouldn’t ever go in “real life.”  There has been a ton of research into sleep and dreaming.  Dreaming during sleep is apparently very important.

But I’m thinking about the dreams we have when we are awake.  How many dreams do you have that are unrealistic, crazy, make no sense, are hard to understand…??  How do you view this kind of thinking?  Do you let yourself think creatively?  Are you comfortable considering crazy thoughts and pondering possibilities?

How do you feel when others come up with ideas that seem unrealistic?  Does this make you feel uncomfortable?  Do you discount this kind of thinking if it’s too “out there”??

Tristan Prettyman says, “Love is a crazy dream.” (War Out of Peace)

Seems to me, that in our culture, there is a lot of pressure to be realistic and practical when considering possibilities.  It’s one thing to be creative with art and design and dance and things that we think of as “the Arts” but it’s quite another to be creative with how we live our lives.   The rules of behavior are much more entrenched with “shoulds.”

If a friend told you they were going to sell everything and go live in Africa to work with the people there, what would you think?  When you hear of the young man who seemingly has a very bright future, who risks it all to come out as transgender, does this make you uncomfortable?   When you hear the story of the woman who meets and falls in love with a Sherpa from halfway across the world, does this seem strange?  How willing are you to support and embrace others who are willing to step out of the comfort zone and live their dreams?

What if a friend shared a crazy dream they have?  Would you immediately judge it as unrealistic or silly or delusional?   Would it make you uncomfortable?

The ability to think in dreams is exhilarating, if you can do it without the fear of disappointment that the dream won’t come true.  How will you ever know that “dream come true” feeling, if you never allow yourself to dream?  Are you too afraid of the potential disappointment, to allow yourself to hope and dream?  Can you support others, to help enable them to engage in dream thinking?  Why not?

No one ever changed the world without dreaming.  Case in point:  Martin Luther King Jr. and “I Have a Dream.”

I allow myself to have some really crazy dreams.  I love to “play” with dreams — why not?  (Actually, I prefer to move at The Speed of Dreams!!)  But I only share these dreams with a select few people, who I know will not have knee-jerk reactions to these ideas.

I don’t think you can say it much better than Zach Gill and ALO in the song Barbeque:

The road is long and windy like a good mystery unfolding

It twists and turns in colorful subplots and sunburns and fake out endings

And sometimes my patience in the whole process starts bending

As I attempt to unravel the web

by traversing and rehearsing and perversing

along the doubt-laden extension chord thread of my life

 

And in this life we’re free to dream whatever we want to

But that doesn’t mean that your dreams are gonna come true

Instead as a way of getting us to move

Life dangles your dreams in front of you

And unable to resist the temptation, we continue

 

And it’s clear to me that this life is gonna be

All about the dangling possibilities

that keep turning in and turning out

Yes it’s clear to me that this life is gonna be

All about the dangling possibilities

 

The road is long and windy

Full of twists and turns

But before you can rise from the ashes

You’ve got to burn baby burn

 

Welcome to your barbeque

Where we roast all the dreams

That never came true

Welcome to your barbeque

Pig out and dream anew

I challenge you to dream…..what are you afraid of??

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Dimension Shifting as an Aspect of Empathy

Remember, it’s all metaphor, especially when you get to the point where words just don’t seem to do the job anymore.  You know it, you feel it, but you can’t really describe it adequately.  Well, to me, the idea of “dimension shifting” is one of those things.

Celia Fenn describes this idea in one of her channels of Archangel Michael.  First you have to be familiar with the idea of dimensions (see another of her descriptions here).  Maybe a simpler or more familiar way to think about the idea of dimensions is to use the word levels, levels of awareness or perception or spiritual development.

Each of us has moments where we are more “together” or grounded or comfortable in the place where we are.  Then we each have times where we are stretched or out-of-place or uncomfortable.  Sometimes we “rise to the occasion” and sometimes we “sink to their level.”  We have personal paradigms of how the world works, so does everyone else, and it’s what people talk about when they talk about different realities.  Reality is more fluid than we realize.  And I’m not explaining  this very well, but for purposes of this discussion, these situations represent the different levels, and the fact that we all move from one to the other is the shifting.

This is the natural way of it.  We are each different and we each have stuff that we’re good at and stuff that we are working on.  Combine that with the fact that we interact with others that are good at their own stuff and working on their own other stuff.  There are endless combinations even if we are talking about two people.  Get a larger group together and it gets very complex.

If we are aware that this is what’s going on, and that it’s natural and to-be-expected, then we are less likely to get caught reacting in an emotional manner, jumping to judgments that there is something “wrong.”

In the old Third Dimensional paradigm of duality, where everything is either this or that, right or wrong, up or down, there is little room for the complexity or subtlety that I am talking about.  For someone who is fully immersed at a 3D level, the idea that it’s ok for others to “flip flop” or switch sides or associate with someone who “has it wrong” or to be “shifty” is very uncomfortable and this person will likely react and get upset.

At the next level, one doesn’t automatically become upset or fearful or angry that there is a mismatch of perspective, of “levels” or “dimensions.”  One can recognize the mix in what’s going on, and be patient and understanding or open to gaining information.

So, it’s all about being aware of the level where you are, and the level(s) of others around you.  PLUS, add the idea that there are Soul Groups, families of souls that have shared bonds or purposes or origins.  Simply, from a human perspective, there are people that we just “click” with.  We don’t necessarily have to understand why.

There will be times, like on Friday when I had lunch with a “soul sister,” when I can share my deepest thoughts, because she is on a parallel journey to mine.  We can each share an idea in our own words, and because there is a very deep level of openness and trust, well, we just “get” each other.  I can “go there” with her, and it’s amazing.  The understanding is automatic.  I have no doubt that we are connected closely at the soul level.

I can listen to the music of ALO and it resonates with my soul.  I totally “get” the lyrics in my own way.  They speak to me at a very deep level.  Zach, Dan, Steve and Dave feel like brothers, despite the fact I’ve only just met them briefly.  But we share the same space in a certain dimension.  This is hard to put into words, and would sound “weird” if you are thinking about it literally, rather than figuratively.

I can “visit” another person’s space, allow myself to feel where they are for a time.  I don’t have to “agree” with everything they think or decide they are “right” – I can just enjoy knowing and understanding them.  Another word for this skill, for being able to travel to the space of another, is empathy.  To allow a full connection of or response to empathy, the other person must show their true self, be open and trust that the sharing is safe.  The more open both sides, the deeper the connection and level of sharing.

There are instances, however, where two people just aren’t “on the same wavelength.”  Isn’t that amazing that we use that expression??  (It’s all frequency!!)  In these cases, it just is.  No one has to be right or wrong.  It doesn’t even mean that someone is more or less than another, it is just different.  I can still have empathy and be open to understanding.  It just might feel like more work.  These instances provide the greatest opportunity to expand one’s skills in the areas of communication and understanding.  It can also feel very frustrating, which is probably leftover expectations from third dimensional programming.

Even two people who have a high level of empathy and are skilled at shifting can be from two very different Soul Groups.  These two people might be very open and able to share deeply, but they might feel less of a connection or ease in understanding.  From my perspective, this is where there is potential for HUGE advances in Peace and Understanding for Humanity.  When I work on knowing others who are very different than me, but who are able to communicate at a deep level, that interaction feels very, very powerful and exciting.

Maybe the best example of this is the Israel-Love-Iran campaign started by Ronny Edry.  Cutting edge stuff at a whole new level!

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The World is our Playground

Let me tell you a little secret……when you get to the top of that mountain (see my very first post from November 2011) and you look down at all of it, what you are going to realize, is that the entire mountain was actually a playground.  An amusement park with the most amazing variety of rides – some scary, some thrilling, some kind of boring, rides of more kinds than you could ever imagine.  You may have missed some, but others who are looking down with you will be able to tell you about them.

“So, wait,” you might say, “then what is all this serious stuff you have been talking about, then?”

I think Zach Gill puts it best:

 

It’s a crazy, mixed-up world, full of contradictions,

And that’s why it hurts so bad sometimes

But that’s also why it’s fun.       –Plastic Bubble, ALO

 

Just another reason I love ALO – they combine seriousness with silliness, all wrapped up in love.  They are four of the nicest guys I have ever met.

We all need fun and silliness to balance the seriousness of life.

 

 

What’s more fun than a uke?

 

 

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Just One Reason I Love ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra)

Animal Liberation

(music by Lebowitz, Adams & Gill; lyrics by Gill)

 

The animal crouched in the corner

Teeth clenched, ready to kill

The child maintained his ground by the bed

Challenging the creature’s will

Suddenly they stopped

In a fog of blood and tears

Upon the revelation

That the one they fought was a mirror

 

Then the child got up

And the animal knew the time had come

For what was separated long ago

Must now be made into one

The image that binds us

Is a creation of our mind

Let it go and the rest will flow in time

 

And I knew you were hurt

Playin’ it off like you were tough

Cause I saw your spirit shrivel

When suddenly you thought

You weren’t good enough

And I think it’s sad, so sad

I think it’s bad for our health

To let hurtful words and thorny spurs keep us

From being ourselves

So at the end of the song

The message that comes through

Is you gotta be true to what grows on you

People gonna judge

People gonna always suck you in

Just remember what works for you

May not work for them

 

Everybody in the world today

Has an animal they need to liberate

Everybody, everyone

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