Pablo at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, June 2006, at Peter and Brie's wedding week. Photo taken by our longtime friend, Lara Porzak, who figures into our lives in a cool way. Way back in the day, when Jo Ann and I were just friends, we went to one of Lara's shows, and Jo Ann lent me dough to buy a Lara pic I fell in love with. I didn't have cayysh on me, and to this day, I never carry the stuff. It was a sweet gesture on Jo Ann's part, and I have always remembered that. The photo I bought is now hanging in a hallway in our house.
Grady, Jo Ann, Peter and I just left the group meditation at The Awareness Center in Pasadena. Inside the Center, the air was calm, neutral, welcoming. The air outside was desert hot. For days, living in LA has felt like walking around inside a blast furnace. In a very real way, it's a reminder that, after all, we live in a desert. The extreme temps also feel a bit like how the insides of our bodies feel since 17 May.
Carrie Hirsch organized the whole thing. The ceremony was beautiful, powerful. We felt centered and at home the teacher, with Wahe Guru Kaur. Carrie her husband, Dan Bernath (just back from the Network Promo Awards in NYC–he cuts comedy promos for ABC; this is relevant if you click the link on his name) and 30 other friends from all corners and eras of our lives joined us. The circle included people we talk to daily, and many people we haven't seen in a while. It included people we work with, as well as peeps we have done vast amounts of spiritual work with (years of meditation classes and retreats with Tanda Tashjian), and many fellow parents The three of us had the opportunity to state our intentions for Pablo's recovery, growth and future life. We also got to give up our fear, anger, self-blame and any other gnarly stuff knockin' around in our heads.
A group mediation would be great on any day. Once the three of us sat down facing one another in the center of group, we knew we needed it TODAY. After the three of us stated our intentions and the items that we were offering to let go of, everyone in the room stated their intention for Pablo. Then we did powerful healing meditations and chants. What a beautiful thing.
OK back to the meditation.... In addition to the prayerful healing we did for Pablo, we also included another child in our meditations today. Through our dear friends, Anne and Neal Morris in New Orleans, we have been introduced to a family from their son's class who is also going through treatment right now for bi-lateral Wilms' Tumor. What are the chances? With only 4 or 5 cases a year in Northern America, we get hooked up with another family sharing an incredibly similar experience. Caitlin Russell is being held firmly in our hearts during this journey. Click here for her blog.
OK, I'm crying just thinking of today and these two beautiful children.
Jo Ann, Jeff and Grady
PS (from Jeff):
I have never done Kundalini Yoga before. The mediation we practice is sort of omni-practitional, and we don't chant or anything.
And I have to admit that today I was distracted (in a great way) by the similarities between the chanting and terminology used in Kundalini, and the lyrics of one of our fave bands, Love And Rockets. Obviously, their song "Kundalini Express" epitomizes this.
Allow me to relate a "Luckiest Guy In The World" story here. A couple months ago, Dangerbird artist and friend Eric Avery set up a hang with Love And Rockets for me. It turned out that they were rehearsing for Coachella in the room next to our band Darker My Love. I mentioned this to Eric, and sort of jokingly asked if he could hook a brother up to meet a few of his idols. A few minutes later, he called back and said, "It's on. Just pop your head in and tell them who you are."
30 minutes later, I was walking in the door. They were simultaneously nice and standoffish (read: badass and legendary British rock dudez). I asked them to play "The Light" for me. Bassist David J genstured toward the giant song list taped up on the wall, and stated, "We're not playing that one on this tour, mate."
It all makes sense now, writing this. In a strange, roundabout way, loving those songs since Scott turned me onto Love And Rockets, and their predecessor, Bauhaus, back in seventh grade...then meeting those dudes back in April...and, today, hearing the basis for so many of their lyrics in the Kundalini ceremony of life....
The L&R connection with Scott also feels like a bit of a nod from him. We listened to those records-and I am not exaggerating–thousands of times. Now, I am not sure what I believe about afterlife. I'm pretty sure I believe that people hang around those they love after they die. Yes, I do believe that. And, so, in my heart, I connect the dots from 1985 to 2008. Once again, music is a giant, decades-long road map for life for me. Same for Jo Ann. When the Youtube clip of "Kundalini Express" started this evening, Jo Ann went nuts recalling all the times she saw them in New Orleans in the '80s. She knew all the words, the backing parts, and still remembered how to dance in unspeakable '80s styles.
Rock and roll is why I get out of bed in the morning. I am grateful every day that music is how I make a living. It's always there for me, and constantly reveals different messages and meanings, depending on where I am in life. Not sure that video games or 'the internet' affect the life experience of humans.
Grady already has this bug for music. Pablo does too. And I hope that it flowers in him as his perception of the universe, literature, fables, analytical thinking, and cancer-booty-kicking blossoms along with his growing phyiscal self.
So, in keeping with the spirit and teaching of our meditation: Here's to a long and healthy and vibrant life for Pablo. And for ALL OF YOU, AND YOUR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES.