Life is like a roller coaster ride, quite often besieged with strife and trauma, little pockets of uncomfortableness that we love to avoid and yet, moments of raw unbelievable excitement and joy. Most of us humans run away from the difficulties, suspending them with addictions, stimulates, drama, excuses, work (whatever it is) and before we know it, years have gone by. We then feel engaged in a life that is contracted, unfulfilling and unsure how to stop it.
Recently a friend sent me a musical score that he had composed. It was haunting and beautiful, full of musical rhythms depicting that exact strife and difficulty. It spoke to that part of me when in my younger days would traipse home miles from a night club without telling anyone where I was going. It spoke to that part of me that sees the desolation in winter (hey, we can’t all live in California) the bare trees, the snow drifts and that feeling of being very remote and cold and alone. It spoke to my heart-ache of past painful decisions that ripped apart my gut leaving me feeling ungrounded and a little unworthy of a world that has so much within it.
It also spoke of pink satin ballets slippers and tutus, an example of grace and hard work if ever.
It spoke of new beginnings and validation, that we are not the choices that others have made for us, nor some of the ones we’ve made for ourselves. It spoke to that worthiness in life each one of us is seeking, where beauty and inspiration and grace are not something we inspire to be, but rather we already are.
What comes through this composition is the journey of my friend and his road-trip to hell and back; it draws you into the havoc, the carnage, the secret haunts of beauty that are all around us, the release, the achievement. To hear his story through the music is to understand what he endured to be where he is now. To convey feelings like that speaks of genius, heart-ache, love, will, humility and determination.
It is the human journey.
'A journey from the streets of Downtown Los Angeles, Skid Row to walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Sunlight.
How destitute one becomes when one has everything yet, one becomes nothing.
How empty one is when the miracle of redemption becomes a reality.
For it is by “self-forgetting that one finds, it is by forgiving that one is forgiven, and it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.” ' Ben Shirley
This is life, this is the human journey. Not the beautiful photos of yogis doing scorpion pose or handstands in some bikini on a beach( ok so I did headstand on a beach in a bikini once too) but the real haunts of life that force you to both hang on real fucking tight and yet to also throw your hands up with wild abandonment and bliss.
It is through the cracks of our life experiences that allows the light to shine forth and this is what inspired the Skid Row Mala.
There is a good chance you have been there too.
Down and out. Hungover (still a possible future experience), smoked cigarettes, say fuck a lot, probably have at least 1 tattoo, miss HR and Bad Brains, own a skateboard, did some crazy shit that you still haven’t told your Mother about ( like prancing around in a forest on mushrooms), made some bad choices and have still recovered, and each morning whether its a carafe of coffee or a cup, you get up and get on with it.
So to my friend Ben, who inspired this mala, for getting on with it and doing some pretty amazing things because of it.
To see his baddassery,