Glass Jars, Moonlight, and Intention

The shining ones are revealing themselves daily. So excited to hear similar voices, read similar thoughts and know the sky is FULL of similar empathic stars.

Singing Over My Bones

It was the night of a final full moon-the decade had been so long,

She’d had enough, done calling all bluffs, time to sing her old new song

So she stepped outside

And lit fire

To all the pages

All the phases

All the stages

All the faces

That didn’t serve her, and didn’t deserve her

Dropping them into to a jar made of glass

She watched as the waterturned from clarity to ash

Shattered.

Something within her broke.

Held up her arms in the darkness and the smoke—

Yelled, “Moon-do your Work!

Can’t take another minute of sitting with this hurt.”

Closed her eyes, closed the door, closed the blinds

Turned on reality, turned off the lies

Sometimes the words come, without having to try

Then there she was, 15 year old me

Little blonde head, fairy wings, and big dreams

She said, “Stacy, you’re still me, and now…

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Love Letter to my Grandmother

Cover FoG by Dean Michaels largerMy second book, Fields of Grace https://t.co/CmeG06m2mm?amp=1 is a love letter to my grandmother, Dagmar Scammell nee Thompson based on her relationship with me and her teacher, the Master violinist, Eugene Ysayë.

In writing the story of this part of her life I decided to change her profession to acting rather than music to incorporate my love of, and knowledge of, theatre. But like my debut novel, Catch the Moon, Mary, music flows through the narrative.  I also gave her the advantage of being born in England rather than Australia, which was then and remains, a cultural desert. I also forward-dated her rise to success ten years after it actually happened to factor in the impact the burgeoning WW2 had on my protagonist’s career.  Unlike Grace Fielders, the protagonist in Fields of Grace, my grandmother’s marriage to my grandfather was a happy one and the child who blessed that union, my step-father, was a much-loved, rather spoilt only child.

Be that as it may, Fields of Grace still captures the elements of my grandmother’s life as told to me by her when I lived with her after my grandfather passed away. We shared a love of music and theatre and I listened fascinated to her stories of London in the 20s and 30s when she was feted as a musician of exceptional talent and beauty, “tall and divinely fair” was the florid description of her by the journalists sequestered to the Sydney Morning Herald. I can certainly attest to her arrestingly beautiful turquoise eyes and generosity of spirit. I adored her and she adored me so please forgive a little bias.

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Dagmar Thompson before she left Australia in 1924.

My grandmother whom I called Lala, hat-tip to her Norwegian ancestry, was raised in Sydney’s Clifton Gardens by her widowed mother who struggled to feed and educate her three gifted children, Fred, Dorothy and Dagmar. Ultimately it fell to young Fred, a talented solicitor, to support the household, his wage supplemented by his mother and sister Dorothy’s income teaching piano at home. Rather than competing for use of the single piano in the house my grandmother, Lala, decided to learn the violin. Within a few years it became apparent that her gift was exceptional but in a country that favoured men in all areas of life it was clear she had no musical future in Australia.

In 1921 the Master violinist Eugene Ysayë decided to mentor three violinists of exceptional ability. To find the candidates he auditioned accomplished young violinists worldwide. He had already discovered an American girl in New York and offered her a position and closer to home, a French girl. Australia was the last stop on his worldwide search and had fate played out any other way my grandmother would have ended up teaching from home like her mother and sister. But Ysayë had not found a third student and so he came to the bottom of the earth in search of one.

Lined up in the corridor at the Sydney Conservatorium were hundreds of young violinists including Dagmar Thompson. A beautiful, nervous young woman whose violin had been purchased on credit by her mother, sister and brother several years earlier she had practised hard, and seemingly all her life, for this one opportunity to break free of Australia and compete on the world stages. She was determined to give it her best shot. For her audition she chose Mozart’s Allegro Moderato and Bach’s Partita in E Major.

I can only imagine what Ysayë must have thought when this statuesque, she was 5’9″, elegant young woman entered the room. He must have prayed her talent matched her looks. It did. My father told me he had never heard anyone reproduce the tone my grandmother achieved and I daresay it was this exquisite musical sensitivity captured so eloquently that persuaded the Master to send all the other candidates home and offer my grandmother the final place.

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The move to Belgium was achieved by the family passing the hat around and that charity extended to the affluent family next door, the Scammells, who owned and ran a successful pharmaceutical company called Fauldings. The youngest Scammell, Rupert, was a boy of fifteen who made no pretence about being wildly infatuated with the twenty-three year old violinist who lived next door, an infatuation that lasted his entire life. Never did my grandfather even look at another woman. I must add here that my grandparents grew up in mansions next door to each other in Bradley’s Head Rd Clifton Gardens but whilst the Scammells were wealthy, the Thompsons had inherited the house and struggled financially. I imagine life inside the Scammell mansion was ordered and charming whilst life inside the Thompson mansion was chaotic, lacking any semblance of routine and saturated with conflicting melodies. It was to my grandparents’  credit that they were able to harmonise these contrasting lifestyles.

In Belgium my grandmother’s story gets interesting. Freed of the constraints of home and aware that she is a prodigious talent who owes it to her struggling family to become a success she applies herself diligently to her studies whilst simultaneously frequenting the many cabarets on offer, led on by her wild and wealthy French co-student with whom she shared a flat. My grandmother told me they were both on an allowance from home which covered their rent and sundry items like stockings, hats and food, the latter often forfeited in favour of the former. Many days my grandmother subsisted on a cheese sandwich while her reckless French friend got by on gin.

Two years of intense daily studying later, Ysayë discharged his students with certificates and introductions to patrons in London, a mixed blessing for my grandmother who was loathe to leave the comfort and allure of seeing her handsome teacher daily and having to finally honour her family’s faith in her.

My grandmother had fallen in love with Ysayë or at least become infatuated and is it any wonder? He was a charismatic romantic genius, albeit married, but at that age when men start to worry about death and can have their heads turned by the adulation of a beautiful young student.

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Ysayë, the charming and handsome and very married teacher.

Did they have an affair? I don’t know for sure but I do know they stayed in touch and wrote to each other for the rest of his life.

 

My grandmother moved to London and was quickly absorbed into the highest artistic echelon courtesy of letters of introduction from Ysayë. She played in salons and met artists of every stripe and before the year was out she was well on track to becoming a major star in the field of classical music.

lala's certificate from ysyaie

Letter of recommendation from Ysayë

The boy back home kept up-to-date on her triumphs,  his youthful love maturing into passionate adult consideration for the woman he hoped would one day marry him against all odds. Meanwhile he was becoming accomplished in his own right, a clever bio chemist he created a product for Fauldings that became its signature, Fauldings Lanoline and he pursued his passion for photography, recording the changes in Sydney’s skyline with his trusty Brownie Box camera. He sent these updates to his glamorous neighbour in London who no doubt saw the boy as little more than a back-up plan.

My grandfather’s pictures of Sydney.

By 1933 it became clear that Hitler was a madman hellbent on world domination. Lala’s mother told her daughter she must come home but promised she could return when things settled down in Europe. Reluctantly my grandmother boarded a ship and sailed home. I can only imagine her pain as she saw her dreams receding in concert with those white cliffs, and more ominously, the coast of France beyond which her beloved Ysayë remained domiciled in his fairy-tale existence in Belgium, surrounded by beauty and music and a doting family and undoubtedly three more privileged young artists. I know the pain of leaving England and Paris myself whenever I’ve had to board a plane and grind my way back to the bottom of the earth so far from the lustre of genius that permeates the London and Parisian air.

lala 25 Program from concert at Aeolian Hall London 1924

I can only imagine her pain when the war set in like a long dark winter and so much of her beloved Europe and London was shattered under cover of dark when those arrhythmic discordant bombers ground overhead and dropped their lethal cargo of whining incendiaries. The atonal squeals followed by the nightmarish thuds, the screams of those trapped under rubble slowly chilling to silence.

My grandmother followed the passage of the war with every headline and newscast dreading the loss of her friends and most of all, Ysayë.

Back in Sydney my grandfather reintroduced himself and my grandmother must have been thrilled to see the spindly boy had matured into a handsome charming and highly accomplished young man who had already built her a home in anticipation of her accepting his offer of marriage. The home he built for her was around the corner from their childhood mansions in Clifton Gardens and modelled along European lines, his best effort to recreate the Europe she would almost certainly miss. As the war dragged on it became clear to Lala that she would never be able to pick up where she left off and so she accepted the offer of marriage and made the best of it.

Unlike the character in Fields of Grace who drags Grace to Australia and away from her fame, her family, her friends and memories of her beloved, my grandfather was a sensitive thoughtful man who empathised with my grandmother’s loss. He knew she was incomplete without her music and all Australia offered this genius musician was second fiddle in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The insult inflamed my grandfather as much as it infuriated my grandmother and after a couple of half-hearted attempts to establish her career as a soloist in Australia she gave up entirely and threw herself into charity work.

Fast-forward five decades. My grandfather passes away and a teenage actress on fire to conquer the world moves in with her grandmother to keep her company in her loneliness and the years of grief that followed the loss of that good and great man, Rupert Scammell.

Me when I lived with my grandmother.

My grandmother decided I had a great unambiguous talent for music and we spent hours planning my future which included a stint at the Conservatorium learning to sing. Despite my having a fairly unremarkable voice Lala insisted I had the music in me just as she did. Her unshakable faith in my musical ability was the rock upon which I built my faith. But it didn’t materialise until the 90s when I wrote my first musical, Scheherazade.

Then one day she decided to share her treasured past with me. Just as I wrote in Fields of Grace, she opened her trunk and together we poured through the memorabilia of an almost world-beating life on the stages of London. Her best friend, Janine, the French student married a French Count and retired to the south of France. They have stayed in touch and my grandmother decided to speak to my parents about sending my younger brother Marcus to France to live with their son and his wife for a year in exchange for their grandson Eduard who would live with my parents in Sydney for a year. The idea was willingly embraced so there was much shuffling of grandchildren and homes at that time, orchestrated by my grandmother.

lala's friend's chateaux

Janine de Balthazar’s home in Olivet, Chateau Bellevue

My grandmother was the outstanding student, an artiste as Ysayë had said and that evening over wine and with programs spread out all over the dining room table my grandmother and I shed a few tears over what might have been. What should have been had Hitler not ruined the world and so many lives.

After reinterring the programs and photos and promise of an incomplete life my grandmother looked at me and said, “He’ll come back for me you know. We never finished our dance.” I assumed she was talking about my grandfather and I squeezed her hand and said, “Of course he will.’

After her death I had cause to wonder if it was my grandfather she was talking about.

She left me her trunk and it was full of photos, letters and memorabilia of Ysayë and her performances. There was only one picture of my grandfather.

Rupert

My grandfather’s passport photo 1940.

Years later I sit at my desk and can finally find the courage and expertise to turn my beloved grandmother’s tragedy into a story of charm and redemption. I did it for her and for me and all the genius lost in that insidious episode fomented by a mediocre little man who made nothing worthwhile of his life and sought in his frustration that single province available to the undeveloped – CONTROL.

The tug of entropy.

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Today I have had an infestation of people warning me that I will never succeed as a writer, lyricist or musical theatre book writer. With soft-edged sympathetic emails I have been told on no less than three platforms – Stage32, private email and FB – that succeeding in the Arts is virtually impossible for someone like me. To support their claims they have cited their own struggles. They have all dismissed my talent as garden-variety, average and lacking wow-factor.

Having grown up in a cultural desert, Australia, whose industry is run by a closed circle of government-funded mediocrities whose work would never make it OS, I have been poisoned since birth with the idea that I am not “good enough”. It’s been a tough, soul-destroying battle to preserve both my sanity and my belief in my own worth over the decades. I have worked largely alone and occasionally with talented others whose ethic reflected mine. But Australia never supported me.

I am not alone. There are others like me who have heavily invested in their Art with relentless graft and attention to detail for no other reason than the desire to do something well. I am writing this Blog for them as well as me.  These are the artists who have endeavoured to put soul-on-page or canvas or stave or stage and they have suffered the isolation this discipline demands. To get in touch with your own soul and transmogrify your craft into Art you will spend much time in the desert. Longer than 40 days. Much longer. Sometimes a lifetime.

It is beyond ignorant for people who have managed to get their work “out there” to assume that those of us who haven’t are missing some vital element, like excellence.

People only recognise genius when it is explained to them OR they have the “sight”. But taking the elements of recognised genius a pattern emerges: the artist works in isolation, the artist suffers ridicule from many and support from a few, the artist retreats to a place where he/she feels safe enough to pursue their Art without the burden of comparisons.

So here I am today, the recipient of no less than three emails dripping with sympathy, calling me that most noxious of words, “brave” and telling me that it’s almost impossible to get a musical staged or a book made into a film, that “everyone” has this struggle and my work is so lacking in individuality that I must accept that it sits in a congealing homogenous pile of similar works indistinguishable from one another. My books are the ten thousandth and the ten thousandth and one birds on a wire. My musicals are lacklustre and boring. My lyrics pedestrian and my melodies forgettable. And this I have been told with great authority from people who think they know.

I wish I could tell you this is a one-off bad day for me but this is my life. For decades I have heard this about my work, first it was my singing and acting, now it’s my writing and music.

I am simply not very good at anything I do apparently.

Well, neither was Van Gogh and he persevered.

What I know that these “experts” don’t is that I have worked hard to give the world my best work. I do not trot out formulaic books and formulaic musicals, nor do I have formulaic opinions about life. I analyse everything and think long and hard about every aspect of life before I put pen to paper. I make sure that I put soul-on-page and then I spend years polishing my words until I am happy that they sparkle with a life of their own and deliver meaning in translucent phrases that chime with readers’ souls. But none of this registers with the bargain-basement practitioners of Art who are looking to make a buck. These plebs, some of them incredibly blessed with talent, have no concept of excellence and no faith in its longevity and wall-crumbling power.

When Catch the Moon, Mary was first published I had a meeting in London with my publisher, a marketer and a writer friend. The marketer said, “We’ve got twelve days to sell this book to the public. After that they will get bored and be looking for the next distraction.” My writer friend said, “Have you read this book?” The marketer laughed and said, “I don’t need to. My job is to sell it.” My writer friend then said, “Then you are unaware that this book will endure beyond twelve days. It’s a classic in the making. Your generation may not get it but the next one will and like Wuthering Heights everyone will be reading it.” The marketer took the book home, read it and rang me the next day, apologising and saying it was one the best books she’d ever read.

Her words chime with me today, four years later, as I struggle to maintain faith against a barrage of negativity framed as well-meant advice that I would need either a miracle or a very lucky break to succeed. What they all agree on is that my work needs an expert to rewrite it, someone who knows what the public wants. Interestingly enough I have just read a swathe of reviews on Amazon for books that were published by Harper-Collins, and without naming titles you’d be familiar with, the reviews were mainly one, two and three stars and all saying the books were boring and predictable, the endings obvious from Chapter One. So, the experts were able to clone several lacklustre imitations of classics and dumb them down to quick forgettable reads.

In contrast, I have been reading a self-published book called Nightjar by Paul Jameson, https://www.amazon.com/Nightjar-Paul-Jameson-ebook/dp/B07CRFG7Y6 whose work is so intoxicatingly original it makes for a mentally and spiritually and totally satisfying read. I’m glad the “experts” didn’t get to it!!nightjar cover

I have spoken to Paul and he said he spent ten years refining this brilliant novel. No, Harper-Collins didn’t pick it up but they wouldn’t recognise genius if they tripped over it. Paul has put his work out there and it will endure.

And as for today’s detractors they will mouse wheel their lives away and even though I may well “go to my grave unsung” to twist the words of Henry David Thoreau, I bloody well won’t “go to my grave with my song unsung“.

FOG + CTMM with amazon

I want to thank the people who do support me in my efforts to be the best writer, lyricist and musical theatre book writer I can be. To name but a few, my mother Carmol Scammell, my aunts Joan and Rosalie, my sister-in-law Sabina, my daughter Genevra, my friends, BK, Peter Donnelly, Leonardo Macchioni, Jean-Paul Yovanoff, Dean Michael Rochford, Des Cannon, Frank Loman, Lauren Lovejoy, Aidan O’Callaghan, Louise Burke, Suzy Davenport, Amanda Redman, Paul Claridge, Carpet Martin, and lastly brilliant composer, Shanon Whitelock with whom I am writing The Last Tale. Thank you!

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Letting Go is the Best Way Forward

Featured Image -- 539When I was a child I went to Sunday School and learned that a man born two thousand years ago in a tiny Middle Eastern town called Bethlehem was the son of God. In fact, said our Sunday School teacher, a pretty little brunette who wore gingham and an Alice band, Jesus was God Himself.

arabian sky (2)The shocking story of his betrayal and crucifixion emerged piecemeal, various chapters of Jesus’ life revealed as the teachers felt we were old enough to cope with the fact that humanity had butchered God. The crucifixion was horrifying in its cruelty and God’s lingering death made me quietly furious with humanity whose ingratitude seemed inexcusable. The teachers explained that Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan to save humanity. His death was so that we might live eternally in Heaven. But, I reasoned, how could Jesus be both God and His son at once and what kind of parent allows the torture their child? This seemed like bullshit to me. But with no other information I suppressed my doubts and believed what everybody else was swallowing hook, line and sinker. For years I clung to the story that had set like concrete in the minds of my friends and rather than risk ostracism I forced myself to overlook the lapses of credibility and clung to the hope that Jesus’ resurrection did indeed guarantee forgiveness and ultimate union with this innocent victim of human abuse.

In tandem with this story I was listening to other stories.

My father, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Australian Army explained carefully why it was necessary to drop two atomic bombs on Japan and murder millions of people. He said that murdering millions of the “enemy” whose lives apparently were worth less than ours, would ultimately save millions of Australian and American lives. Like the story of Jesus being a pawn in God’s plan to save humanity this story of butchery simply didn’t find traction in my understanding.

But with no other source of information I held onto these twin beliefs. For a while.

graves When I reached my teens I was hearing other stories. I was apparently a citizen of a privileged “lucky” country. I was Australian and that meant I was blessed and defined by a heritage of butchery of the original owners of the land who also defined themselves by a sense of unity with the dirt beneath their feet – dirt corralled by ocean on all sides. It all felt like bullshit to me.

I looked at the stars and felt a far deeper connection with those distant pulses of light that weren’t spinning stories of death and force and autonomy over designated terrain that blessed occupants with superiority over others.

D5SuUA7WAAAPdDi   By the time I reached my twenties I let go of all the stories and fell into a desolate place of isolation devoid of gravity and companionship. From this lonely place I was able to observe the dynamic of herd thinking and inculcated beliefs that forged unity among consensual groups. I realised that all of these silly stories were spun in response to gravity. Gravity glues us to this planet but gravity is the weakest force in the Universe. And yet psychologically it is the force that takes precedence over all others including momentum, the force of original projection and arguably the force that indicates our soul path.

I understand the impulses that keep people united in delusion. It’s fear of loneliness, a need to belong, a sense of gravity holding us firmly on the earth.

But to initiate a return to momentum one has to let go.

Let go.

hand reaching down to save

Let go.

Let go of all those beliefs in order to explore your own truth. Let go of nations, borders, racial separation and religious waffle.

By the age of twenty I had to let go or implode under the weight of falsehood. I stopped going to church and I told my father he and his kind were murderers. It broke us apart for a short time but love brought us back together because it is the strongest force in the Universe. Love and a willingness on his part to let go of his indoctrinated ideas about war. In the end he came to regret his part in a system of pugilistic aggression that murdered far more than it saved. He saw the world through a lens that was truer to his soul than the lens of nationalistic bias.

For my own part I let go of Christianity and all who sailed with her including Jesus. I became an atheist for years but eventually this seemed like another cop-out so I started exploring other religions. Not one of them had the answers I was looking for. I got involved in witchcraft, seances and Ouija Boards in my quest to see if there was anything sentient and willing to talk to me about the Afterlife.

witch I got tired of witches very quickly as they struck me as a bunch of lovesick femmes looking for spells to control reluctant lovers. But through the Ouija Board I met dead people and all manner of Otherworldly entities who had relevant and fascinating lives in energetic form. They were eager to chat and answer my questions. Through them I discovered a far more complex mesh of sentience in concert with LIFE as the primary force. Years of conversations on the Ouija Board opened my mind and ignited my own understanding of God and Life and ultimately Jesus who initiated a fresh, modern and individual relationship with me based on, but not limited to, my soul evolution. I was encouraged to ask questions but cautioned not to get ahead of myself in my understanding. Time and again over the subsequent years Jesus cautioned me to focus on my life purpose and give my talent the time and energy it deserved and let go of trying to understand the Afterlife – a place he assured me I would reach in due course!

So, here at last was the kind of religious instruction I longed for – intelligent, open-minded and relevant to my life. And because I was open-minded I was able to access spiritual advisers through the pagan, evil and dangerous Ouija Board which coincidentally connected me with Jesus, the so-called progenitor of the Christian Church. Although, as he explained, he never intended to become an icon. He had a human life and did his best to make a difference. The religion that sprung up in his name was neither his idea nor his intention. The fact that he intuited that Peter would build a Church did not sanction the project, it merely anticipated Peter’s use of his own free will and like all things in LIFE good and bad emerged in equal measure.

Wisdom is the ability to renovate old ideas when they grown stale.

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I have gained so much by deviating from the path others have rutted over centuries of mindless obeisance.

There are many others who have struck off alone and found the traction of wings in defiance of gravity. I despair when I hear of crimes committed in the name of God because it chimes with the crucifixion and the callous integration of human butchery into a tapestry of transmogrification. Murdering Jesus was not God’s plan. It is as heinous an act of human butchery as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Holocaust, cutting down rainforests, poisoning the atmosphere with toxic fumes and filling the ocean with plastic waste.

We cannot keep reconfiguring Divine intention to chime with our immorality.

God kills so we do.

Bullshit.

We kill so we create the comfortable delusion that God does, too.

Religion has anthropomorphised God, remade this numinous entity into a man with the narrow corseted mindset of a jealous, insecure psychopath. God is a loving, playful, curious, evolving empath ever willing to embrace the new and evolutionary. God is not spongy love.

God is LIFE in all its force and vigour and commitment to survival.

super novaAccepting an open-ended reality means letting go of constricted box-set beliefs and ideas.

Which brings me to today and some people’s determination to cling to the past paradigm embodied in the narcissistic rule of Donald Trump, a man who defends fiscal imbalance and services billionaires. He is so blatantly erroneous and to many of us it’s obvious but some still defend him out of pride and the stubborn refusal to let go.

So, the big lesson here is letting go and feeling confident enough to admit you were wrong. It’s hard admitting fault but it’s the most liberating thing you can do at a timely juncture in your life.

When I admitted to myself that I no longer believed in God or my country’s politics or humanity’s whitewashing of mass murder in war I felt empty, frightened, unsupported, in defiance of gravity and totally alone. It was an exaggerated feeling of vertigo. I did not trust myself to find traction or wings. I did not trust myself to think for myself. I did not believe I had the brains, the spirituality or the personal power to go against my religion, my father, my nation or my God.

But I defied them all and found myself.

I am very comfortable today knowing that I don’t know what to expect when I die. I trust myself and I trust the denizens of Otherworld – the angels, sprites and spirits who watch over us and co-create our lives with us whether we know it or not.

It’s OK to let go. It’s OK to admit you were wrong. It’s OK to defy the tribe.

The sky won’t fall.

The last word goes to Tom, an Irish writer I met on the Ouija Board. “Not one of your religions knows the truth. You think heaven is a shining place where only believers go. You think hell is the other place. I tell you, lass, it’s all made up. There’s no heaven, no hell, no punishment. It’s better than that – better than anything you can imagine.”

Thank God for that!!

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Post-Coronavirus World

Imagine a world in which all your basic needs are met.

Imagine a world in which you can choose to work. Or NOT.

Your survival no longer depends on you finding a job, ANY job, and spending the greater part of your precious life doing something uninspiring, exhausting, soul-destroying or just plain boring.

Your needs are met.

So, how do you occupy your time?

You are free to do nothing if you wish. Or something you love.

Imagine that. Should everyone be free to live their best life? Or is it only the privilege of the rich, the transient or the misfit?

Artists mostly live and work for love because we work willingly, without a time-clock, without bosses and without paychecks to carrot us into another week of slave labour making someone else rich. There is a song in Chorus Line called What I Did For Love https://youtu.be/AJnLfEtuw8M and it explains the mindset of dancers who will only ever make the chorus and basic wages. They will retire at thirty and make way for a new crop of dancers who will also “do what they do for love”. It’s a Solomon choice to make when you’re a teenager and your best working years are the decade between 20 and 30 when those who start to climb the corporate ladder will be just reaching the third rung by the age you retire and start waiting tables or washing dishes.  Your contemporaries who cut the baby in half are looking at six figure paychecks and lifetimes of enslavement to bosses they may never meet. But they’re comfortable if vaguely dissatisfied.

The Buddha said, “Do not sell your days for gold.” Who listens? Few.

When you live in a world that ONLY values gold and denigrates those who work “for love” you struggle against a tsunami force of ridicule and a disproportionate burden of midlife debt even though you may have worked all your life, harder than most and with longer hours than a 9-5er could endure.

The question for those who believe in the current system is this: Is everyone entitled to joy?

That’s the real question that the rich, the major beneficiaries of the current system, must ask themselves. Can they temper their consciences with the ideal of business at any cost? Can they continue to spout the meme that jobs = dignity? I call bullshit on both. I call immorality on a person who employs others for basic wages while they hoard gold. I call bullshit on the serfdom that stigmatizes the unemployed and I call criminal on the judgement heaped on people who fall through the cracks for whatever reason.

Consider this: while you judge the homeless and poor as wastrels, drug-addicts and lazy you are ameliorating your conscience and fostering an inequity that gives you status.

Some people crave wealth in lieu of self-respect.

We ALL die.

Now I ask you to please suspend your atheism or religiosity for the the next few paragraphs. I do not want us to get stuck at the gate of proof. Whether or not there is an afterlife has no bearing on what I’m about to say. So please…leave your God, your rocks and your emptiness at the door and follow me into the temple of creation.

We ALL die.

So, whatever follows this life is the greater part of our existence. Whether it’s worms or nothingness or something so extraordinary it has transferable gifts. The life after this one lasts longer and is therefore our bedrock reality. It is what we come from and return to.

Assuming there is something. What is its currency? Money? No. Work? No. Where would we look to find the currency of eternity? What pre-existed us and what will continue after our demise? To what paradigm do we return if any?

We have only to look around us for evidence. The stars, the forests, the ocean, nature. These are the physical manifestations of eternity and what do we see there? Balance and harmony. Expansion? Perhaps but checked by an invisible force of dark matter that will one day inhale and return the physical world to play-dough. Or not. Either way, the physical universe hasn’t burnt out, exploded or self-consumed. Somehow the universe has found equity in life and a balance that stops it from imploding.

Unlike humanity which is expanding without tempering in EVERY area of life.

I have explained to religious people before that there are two forces powering life and they work in tandem. There is the force of growth which perpetuates life and is ignited by the force of imagination. Imagination is the unborn, unknown, unseen force that powers the next world.

All that is new lies unimagined within.

Within us is the unignited power of imagination which can and will switch LIFE on and facilitate new pathways of BEING. In the next world, the longer view is taken, everything new is nurtured in harmonious contracts between sentient beings who give their time willingly to bring new creations into being. The currency is CREATION and it is not at the expense of the slave class we have created on earth where one person enjoys the feast while worker-bees live off crumbs. All work together to enrich the whole. Look at a forest and see how life begets life and all work together to grow. There is a generalized reach for the sun supported by a network of telegraph roots that feed the forest community. You do see some scavenging in the form of vines that suffocate their host but this is unusual. Mostly there is symbiotic agreement and life is served by the health of all. I have been reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wollheben https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28256439-the-hidden-life-of-trees who has made it his life’s work to observe forests and share his extraordinary insights and understanding with humanity. Trees feed each other through their intricate network of roots that sustain even a stump for as long as possible.

This supporting of the forest rather than the individual tree is a worthwhile model to propagate a New World post Coronavirus.

But back to the Afterlife. Every new creation offers pathways of being for the entire sentient community. If we look at the manifest worlds in the physical night sky and observe the diversity of nature, myriad pathways of Being are observable. We are only limited by our lack of imagination and our fiscal enslavement to soulless work and an economy run on debt. But if we were free we could explore different ways of life.

But for exploration to happen we have to be liberated from expenses and debt.

Nature gives her gifts for free. We do not pay for the beauty of the stars or the moon or the sea or the mountains. We do not pay for the rain that brings water. We can grow vegetables for our sustenance. Why? Because these things are ours by right and if we plan a post-Coronavirus world intelligently we can all be more self-sufficient. If governments can serve the people rather than corporations we can all live simply and well. These economic constructs were born in our imagination and a new way of life can be born there too. But first we need to understand that we can give our services for free and enjoy an equitable exchange with like-minded others.

If we agree to lower prices on EVERYTHING we will still be able to enjoy all the benefits of a technologically advanced society. Technology is the gift humanity has given to itself just as Nature has given us a planet to live on and all the things we need to feed ourselves and build shelter.

We need to start thinking of our talents as GIFTS rather than economic investments.

So, what do humans owe society if we are to take a lesson from an afterlife employed in creative communion to explore manifold ways of BEING whilst leaving the life force to perpetuate the existing physical universe?

We owe the world our best efforts.

If we STOP working for money and start working for LOVE we won’t need a time-clock on us. We will enjoy developing our unique gifts and giving them to a world that is grateful for them. So…

Dance your best dance.

Write your best books.

Paint your best pictures.

Compose your best music.

Invent your best inventions.

Cook your best meal.

Be your best self.

Do it for love and serve humanity.

We are now seeing doctors, nurses and health workers who are serving humanity and saving lives. They don’t earn a fortune. They don’t do it for the money. They do it for LOVE. Love of humanity and love of themselves. They know they are making a difference. They know they are valued and they know they are needed.

What use investing on Wall Street and making an empty fortune that serves no-one but yourself and a few enslaved family members?

What use empires built on greed that entitle only one person or one family?

I ask again: Is everyone entitled to joy?

We ALL die and when we do our bodies are fodder for worms in a Kingdom supporting LIFE and I believe our souls ascend to companion the creators who work for love bringing infinite new and exciting creations to fruition.

What is your best life?

A life spent in service to humanity as preparation for the eternal life spent in harmonic creation of BEING.

We all serve in different ways. Some bring works of art to the world. Some explain the mechanics of creation in elegant theories that contract BEING into exquisite and playful equations like e=mc2 some invent technology that connects us and those wonderful few who give us unconditional love and support in tangible practical ways like smiling at us in the street, cooking for us, listening to us or simply supporting our dreams while they are waiting for theirs to be born and of course the CHORUS who dance for LOVE.

I urge you all now while we have time to think without the distraction of “busyness” to consider how best you could serve humanity with your own special talents and gifts that may have been lying dormant in your soul for decades.

Be the best version of yourself and leave the old world at the door when we emerge into the light of a New post-corona World, safely hand-in-hand.

france9

The meditation pond at Le Jardin de Luxemburg Paris.