Archive for the ‘ Hmmm ’ Category

Old Year/New Year

It’s been a fantastic month for the author. I threw myself a “surprise” 40th birthday party and played music and shared videos with some of the most important people in the world to me. It was the best birthday I’ve ever celebrated and I am truly excited about my forties! I feel like it will be a great decade for me and I look forward to looking back on it at 50!

We celebrated Christmas in Warwick, cutting down a 30 foot tree to serve as our centerpiece, then attended the annual Land Gang party in Westfield. I skied with Ivy at Mt. Peter then took three days to work on the basement studio, which is actually nearing completion! We drove North to Vermont for New Years and I skied three days: One day riding Red Chair at Magic, one day of snowmobile-aided back-country at a friend’s farm in Warren and one touring lap at defunct ski resort and recently opened back-country terrain Dutch Hill with Ivy on my back. A great start to the season!

The New Year is here and I will strive to make it the best one ever. After two weeks off, I’m back to teaching and vow to give everything I can to my students. The better I teach, the more I learn, and that, to me, is maybe the whole point.

Flow

Driving on the BQE with my family yesterday, I heard the end of a TED Radio hour on NPR and some quotes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which I found very intriguing. He is a psychologist who has written extensively on a concept he refers to as “Flow“; describing it as losing oneself in an activity through complete focus and intrinsic motivation. I found it fascinating because I know exactly what he means and I feel it regularly when I compose music. Whenever I am able to fully concentrate on creating music, I have no other cares or desires; it is everything in that moment. It is, itself, the reason I play and enjoy my time in that endeavor so immensely. I have always been aware of this ecstatic state and have always made every effort to cultivate it whenever possible. I realize that I feel it in other situations, too; sports and skiing, in particular, affords me fleeting moments of transcendence, teaching classes or lessons sometimes offers the challenge and effortless command of attention and skill that produce flow. I have felt it while traveling in exotic places and at many other points in my life, when a task or activity stimulates and motivates me to a sense of timeless joy. Being in Love, with my wife and children, when time is simply devoted to being in their presence, is probably the most profound and uplifting rapture I ever experience, and although it may not fit in the flow schema of high challenge/high skill, I am certain that it is related. All of these aspects of my life bring me great joy and are purely and intrinsically rewarding.

It was so wonderful to stumble upon this branch of psychology, and I subsequently watched the entire TED Talk and researched the concepts broadly; it has given me a context for how, what and why I devote so much of my time and energy to these passions. I discovered a great new word, “autotelic“, to describe these vitally important aspects of my life. I have a greater appreciation for these moments of joyful immersion, and I recognize how lucky I am to have these opportunities to experience Flow.

Ivy Dorset Taylor

My daughter arrived on August 11, 2013 at 7:24pm at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, NY as she and her mother performed the most unbelievably amazing act I have ever witnessed. This is all I am capable of putting into words at this point as I try to process what happened in Labor and Delivery Room 3 from 9am to 9pm today. Maybe with some time and perspective I could describe the event in greater detail, but I will never be able to communicate any real sense of what I experienced there.

Love is Born!

Boston 4.15.13

I was born in Boston, raised in Newton, and although I have displaced myself geographically, my heart will always beat Bostonian and right now I feel more love than I have ever felt for that city. Patriots Day is a holiday and tradition celebrated exclusively in the region and consists of a morning game at Fenway and a night game at The Garden while the Marathon pours people into the heart of the city. It is a day of pride for Boston’s unique and important history in our nation’s independence and a day to enjoy family, friends and springtime in the city.

And now it is a day of tragedy.

We hear about bombs exploding every single day. All over the world, people kill people with explosives. The technology is basic and the construction details are easily accessible. If someone wants to build a bomb it is almost impossible to stop them and with it they are capable of mass murder and mass hysteria. It is a perfect terror tool.

I recently watched a Vice Documentary that demonstrated the use of computer software and 3D printers to build a gun. So while unarmed citizens fight hard for even the slightest bit of gun control against our own elected (but NRA bought) politicians, DIY technology is making true firearm restriction impossible. As weapon knowledge and construction instruction has become democratically available as a simple hobby craft, it has become too easy to be evil and invoke a tragedy.

When applied with the element of surprise and randomness, violence can have an impact far outside its blast radius and using the media amplifies the effect and damages the collective psyche. We wonder who and why but also when and where will it happen next?

This attack is now a part of Boston history and the scars are permanent, but sometimes realizing our worst fears brings out the best in us. It is a reminder of the city that raised me and everything I love about it; the passion and character that define its traditions and inhabitants. Those who lost life and limb were Boston’s Best, simple citizens celebrating other citizens in their personal conquests. I know we will heal from this and I can only hope that we gain a deeper appreciation of all we love and cherish. We live in a world of chaos sometimes dominated by violent expressions of Hate and our only defense against it is Love…

Stay Strong Boston. Keep the Love Alive.

Triumph and Tragedy

Today is my 35th birthday, which is fun. I am living an awesomely fantastic life. I have been surrounded by wonderful and loving people for all of my years and have had unimaginably beautiful experiences and adventures. Today is just one day of 12, 783, but a birthday represents the completion of a larger cycle and is a time to imagine the past and remember the future. I have been so loved in life and I want to give it all back and more.

And yet, somebody else can feel so traumatized by life that he would walk into a school with guns and murder innocent people. Children. I can’t even begin to fathom how bad this person’s life must have felt for a massacre to seem like a solution. Sadness and Hate overcame him and he embodied it, drawing others into his mental state, provoking the Darkness in all of us. Life was Evil to this man. Everybody else, whose Life was Good, suddenly felt pain and suffering he had manifested; it must feel powerful to have the world curse your name…

But as we process the shock and awe of this attack, and feel the vacuum of depression sinking in, we are naturally reminded of the ones we love and we love them a little bit more. Tragedies, like birthdays, are time for reflection on life and our unpredictable world. The future only exists in theory and chaos can take us anytime; this is all we know absolutely. But the underlying understanding of our delicate and ephemeral existence is what gives life meaning and purpose. The tiny chance that each time you say goodbye to a friend or family member might be Forever makes our time together truly precious. Be it by evil actions or natural disasters or circumstance or health, life always ends. All we control are the choices we make and the relationships we maintain. If love is guiding, life is good.

 

With love, compassion and deepest condolences to the victims and families of Newtown, Connecticut.

Louis CK

Louis CK is good. He makes me laugh and he makes me think. His insights are simple and he communicates our basest human qualities in a way that is so fluid and familiar, I feel like I could be thinking them in my head as he says it. He sees the Essence of Life and presents it as easy and palatable low-brow humor; he is a philosopher masquerading as a jester. Art is a quest for The Truth, and great Art shows us the obvious from a fresh perspective, giving us a novel view of Life. I have enjoyed watching his show and listening to his recorded stand-up routines, but seeing him perform in person on Saturday night at City Center was different and special; it was a joyous experience which caused me mild pain in my jaw from smiling and laughing so hard. I could see my primal self on stage as a disheveled middle-aged man mocking humanity’s dreams and fears, while simultaneously and genuinely appreciating the great miracle of our very existence.

Mars!

Humans built a machine and sent it to Mars.

I am impressed by relatively simple technologies like cars, phones, cameras and computers, all of which have embedded themselves in our lives over the past century. The “Curiosity” rover takes all of these amazing inventions from our planet and brings them to another. The effort and cost is astronomical, but exploring our universe is priceless. We may not discover life on Mars, but we have reached beyond our own mortal, earth-bound lives to expand our celestial consciousness and seek understanding of our greater place in the eternal mystery of our existence.

Touchdown!

The Landing at JPL

Panoramic Photo of Mars

THANK YOU!

It’s hard to applaud anyone for saying something so obviously right but some people’s voices just matter more, so when I read that Barack Obama came out supporting gay marriage, I smiled and felt a certain peace knowing that what I have always known was now confirmed by the most powerful human in the universe.

This is a victory for Love, Freedom, and Justice. That is Truth, and progressively, Hate, Bigotry and Intolerance fade as people realize that Beauty, Fulfillment and Joy are infinitely better choices.

Long Live Love!

Fun Is Love

Supergood New Year! I just returned from sweet vacation time in New England that included but was not limited to family and friends dining drinking dancing skiing chilling hottubbing laughing. And a Pats game. This is what it’s all about. I am fortunate to have such wonderful people and places in my life and the free time to spend with them. I love them all and my life is good. Thank Goodness.

May 2012 be the best calendar year ever experienced by you and all you love.

A New Year’s Revelation

New Year’s Eve tends to be a letdown. It is so hyped and feels like it should be the greatest night of both years that it bridges and often ends up being just an overpriced and overcrowded affair with 10 minutes of excitement overshadowed by hassle and cursed with a terrible hangover to begin the next year.

And then there was 2010/2011…

Although we have the opportunity to celebrate NYE every year, this one will remain unique forever. My sister was married at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. and threw down a serious party to ensure the title of best New Year’s for the rest of my life. It was SO GOOD! Great people, great food, and great fun all came together and put this event over the top. Her husband, and now my brother-in-law, is as good as they come and with a family to match; I am thrilled to see The Taylors and Reiches united. All family members were present for this wedding and as always, I feel so fortunate to be a part of such an amazing clan.

I was charged with delivering a midnight toast, and when the band handed me the mic, I had about two minutes to say what I wanted to say. While I enjoyed the euphoria of the moment with every one else, I was unable to fully express my sentiments on the true beauty of the evening. The hype surrounding New Year’s makes it virtually impossible to appreciate its significance, but a wedding makes it so much clearer. Time is passing always and forever, yet we rarely think about the fact that every moment is a link between past and future. When December 31 turns to January 1, we anticipate and witness this transformation on our watches and calendars; Time becomes visible in a countdown of tension and release; old becomes new and failure becomes hope. A wedding is also a beautiful manifestation of this transformation, as two separate lives become one and begin anew. And while New Year’s Eve brings us in touch with the moment, a wedding brings us in touch with the eternal. It is not about the Here and Now but about the Everywhere and Forever. It is greater than a day, and even a year; it is more than a lifetime and beyond science. It is Love and it carries us every moment of every day from our birth to our death and beyond.

Thank you Sam and Caitlin, for giving us this clarity. Enjoy your Honeymoon and the rest of Eternity.