by justin kaliszewski
Amongst a swirl of wonderful happenings, two profound events occurred for me recently at the Steamboat Springs Movement Fest…
First, I watched in awe as my friend Seth Larson – front man for Denver Westword’s perennially named ‘Denver’s Best Rock Band’ Something Underground – absolutely rock…a shaker. Secondly, I had my astrological chart read, but more on that later…
See Seth inspired me…I’m not the best musician, in fact in our band I’m one of the worst – I’m the guy that gets handed shakers while others get handed guitars and such.
You might imagine how much enthusiasm I can muster when this happens – imagine (or remember) being asked to “guard the bikes”, or to “go play left field”.
But there was Seth, his left thumb looped into his pocket like James Dean flanked by musicians and surrounded by yogis, me screaming and Big Jim, the sound guy, weaving throughout the room trying to figure out what the fuck to do, while his right hand kept the beat like David Bowie and a metronome had a baby, and his face set somewhere between Magnum and Blue Steal.
Real rock n’ roll is about caring so much that you come off as not giving a shit…while at its heart, it’s about discipline. Playing till your fingers bleed. Caring so much it doesn’t matter if you’re hoarse, haggard or high…you fuckin’ lay it on the line. Every time.
Chills tattooed up and down my spine…
In that moment, I realized that every moment is a war between presence and indifference, a battle between “wow” and “whatever”.
This will become significant later…
The second profound occurrence from the weekend was having my astrological chart read to me…
In between poignant affirmations (I am strong and confident, damn it!) and less lovely challenges (in fact I can be overbearing and a little too ambitious), I was advised that I might benefit from not ‘taking things so seriously’.
That as far as Mercury was concerned, I might consider being more discerned around where ‘I could lighten up’.
That even Mars advised I should just go ahead and chill the fuck out…
Ok, I made that last one up, but it pretty much sums it up.
I believe there’s a right way and a wrong way to do anything, and that the way we do that anything is, in fact, the way we will come to do everything. Toilet paper faces out, not down, and if that’s not enough of an example then go out and buy the cheapest toilet tissue out there, go home and use it with your off hand – you’ll get real mindful to the mundane real quick.
Whether in conversation with your mother or in your interactions with the environment, every moment breaks down into a few basic elements – your internal landscape within it, the external stimuli, and your interactions with those stimuli as filtered through your internal experience.
Try this on in high plank – cultivate whatever from the belly out…let your arms be bent and your back humped…do however many push ups you want…and then stop and rest in child’s pose or whatever…
When you’re done, check in and see how that felt?
Essentially: (your level of presence) x (the level of presence of those around you) = the quality of the environment around you
So that if, for example, we meet some else’s whatever with anger, the product is a multiplied pile of shit and we don’t have to look far from our front doors to witness the ramifications of such inputs.
Indifference has become a sickness in this country. And I, for one, am god damned sick of it.
The sixth extinction has begun and we’d be damned dumb to not do something about it. Or in the sagacious words of Russell Brand, “We’d be wise to start acting as if everything’s fucked here.”
It’s time to take our environment more seriously, it’s time to be more nit-picky about everything we can do to heal this planet.
From where I sit, we’re too fuckin’ lazy to consciously consume and recycle, too fuckin’ afraid to take a stand for what we ought to, while, in a pathetic parody of Idiocracy many are simply too fuckin’ stupid to realize that anything’s wrong in the first place.
Perhaps ignorance is the better word? We are daily called to ignore the challenges that face us because they have been packaged as too big for us.
That anyone goes to bed hungry in this country, a single animal is farmed in a factory, is proof positive that a lack of empathy has become endemic.
We are all aware of these atrocities and others, and all guilty of willfully ignoring them.
Nothing’s going to change…not with that attitude anyways.
Don’t like it? Good. Prove me wrong and do something about it. Anger is a vibration raising energy – it’s not sustainable and it’s unlikely get us all the way to point Z, but it might be enough to shake us out of a deadly rut, stuck at point A.
Grow your own vegetables and marijuana, go out of your way to recycle, remember not to unnecessarily idle, don’t text while you drive and, while we’re at it, use your turn signals…
Imagine if we all started there…at least we’d be starting somewhere.
Our Outlaws, yogis, and heroes won’t be distinguished because they look different, or because they sing and dance great about change, but because they do different. In the face of indifference, they will be the one’s making a difference by doing a thousand daily disciplines.
Whether towards your mother or the mother, I welcome you…I challenge you…fuck it – I dare you – make fewer ‘whatever’ moments in the future and see if something wonderful doesn’t emerge for the future…