when people think of Beethoven they often think immediately of the Fifth Symphony, Fur Elise, Moonlight and Pathetique sonata, Eroica symphony and other instrument-only compositions. If you like those and fancy even a hair of choral/opera/ music Beethoven wrote some fantastic soul gripping choral arrangements as well. The ninth symphony (ode to joy) has choral parts in it. Choral Fantasy for piano, orchestra and choir is amazing. In college I was so excited to sing the choral fantasy, even if the choir only came in in the last 4 minutes of the 20 minute arrangement. I had a cd with it from middle school and I believe i was the most excited, art major that i was, among the music majors surrounding me. I think i recall even clapping when the director told us what we were to learn and perform it that year. We also had the privilege of singing Beethoven’s Mass in C Major, which is awesome (along with a schubert mass and a long and diaphragm challenging Bach motet) BUT Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is probably my all time favorite Beethoven choral comp. If you’ve read this far then you have to listen to at least the first part, the Kyrie section. It’s the first 10 minutes of the hour+ song. Or even the first 5 minutes. Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, kyrie Eleison. Lord have mercy, christ have mercy, lord have mercy. Even if you aren’t a christian, the pleading of a person begging a superior to have mercy, for the weeping person begging the something outside of themselves to have mercy. In the movie Immortal Beloved Kyrie played as Beethoven’s casket was taken through the streets of Vienna, Austria with an estimated (according to wikipedia) 10000-30000 onlookers lining the streets. Beethoven, I want to travel back in time to sit with you, and i’d love to sing your songs in a choir again one day.
I notice when people avoid eye contact, or are looking around while talking to me and it’s somewhat annoying. I notice it and think them jumpy but all in all it doesn’t annoy me to the point that I tell them to look at me..usually. But MAN I hate it when people force me to comply to their eye contact desires. I will be talking and looking around and the person will move their head as if to get between what i’m looking at and my eyes, to get my eyes back to them. It’s SO ANNOYING!!!! I’d rather just sit side by side and not look at someone who’s talking, most of the time. When I join eye contact it makes me forget what I’m saying sometimes.
When walking down the street or wherever I happen to be, and someone makes eye contact with me it is almost like magic. A second to remember, a second that a stranger and I acknowledged each other’s existence.
Today I went to go visit my grandmother. She has been depressed for over 2 years. The last major depression she had where she was hospitalized was 15 years ago, the day I graduated high school. She was taken into the mental institute, convinced my papa and aunt were demons taking her to hell. Her depression can turn into psychotic depression but hasn’t this time, yet, and hopefully won’t make it that far. They keep messing with her medicines. It seems like she’s on the 5th change of medicines b/c either they aren’t working or the insurance decides to change its coverage on the ones that do work. I am her oldest granddaughter, the second oldest grandchild of around 17 yet many times I look to her as a mother. My mother wasn’t touchy feelie. My grandmother babysat when my mother worked. I never remember cuddling with my mother but I do with my grandmother. She looked right into my eyes amidst her zoning out, with a tear half hanging between her half opened eyes and said, “What do I do? tell me what to do?” and we just stared at each other. Her old blue eyes with her fake lens she had gotten put in a couple years ago. When the light hits it it reflects like a cat but it reflects white, not red. There was no reflection in the darkened living room, just her black pupils surrounded by her old faded blue eyes. She was so sad. So lost. I could see her old self in her face but it was as though someone half erased who she was. Her hair wasn’t colored and the gray was showing so much. Personally, I like her gray hair, but today it was dingy, dull, like crayon gray. “What do I do? Tell me what to do!” and I wanted to say, “Come home with me. My kids are nuts and my house is a bit messy but at least it’ll get you out of this dark dingy yellow room with its sad pale yellow walls. You can sit in my hammock all day and cry all you want and sleep all you want. Listen to us as we fuss and laugh, play our guitars and pretend we can rule the world with fake guns and puppets.”
She really wanted an answer from me. I tried to give her an honest one. At the risk of her thinking I thought she was to blame for everything I told her she needed to talk to someone. A counselor that she told everything to, without censoring. Someone who wouldn’t judge. Sometimes things we bottle up can surface in secret, behind our consciousness i believe, to eat away at us like an unknown parasite. Pray for things to surface so you could deal with them. Pray for all evil to exit. I feel a strong urge to tell her to tell me everything. She may have done bad to me in the past but I forgive her of that. Her family is beyond littered with sexual abuse and even that i can talk about as much as it makes me want to vomit. An old woman, in the last years of her life, closer to death than she ever has been and in the depths of depression, everyone deserves a chance to make it right or at least acknowledge what’s been done. As for little things, I told her to Force yourself to do little things you once found happiness in. Force yourself to sing, to walk outside, to play the guitar.
Tomorrow I will call her. Maybe I will call her every day. I go too long without calling her and I’ve always gotten the feeling that she is happier when I call her more often. It’s easier to talk on the phone than have someone look you right in the eye and plead for help. It may be easier, but I wish I would’ve brought her home with me tonight.
I simply believe that some part of the human Self or Soul is not subject to the laws of space and time. ~Carl Jung
An experience I had in my adult life that solidified my knowledge that I wasn’t just a physical being was during a sleep paralysis episode. I opened my eyes to the sunshine pouring into the bedroom. The walls and window coverings were white except for one dark wooden and deeply painted accent wall. I couldn’t move. I was breathing, I could move my eyes but try as hard as I might I could not rise. In that moment I recalled learning about REM sleep in high school AP Psychology class. If we didn’t have a part of us, or chemicals in us, that made us paralyzed during dreams we’d be flailing all over the place. When you wake up and your body hasn’t come out of the paralysis it’s called Sleep paralysis. I was excited to just lay there and experience it.
I didn’t know any stories of sleep paralysis but now there’s so much folklore around them. I know now that people, including friends and other experiences i’ve had, have seen demons, ghosts, frightening things and have felt them, too. I’ve heard sleep paralysis and night terrors used interchangeably but they’re different… I’m going off on a tangent here somewhat…
I was excited to just lay there and experience it. I could feel the sheets against my skin, see the breeze from the fan blowing the curtain gently, and then I saw a figure. Looking down to the left of the foot of the bed a white, somewhat translucent figure was slowly gliding across the floor. So beautiful white, a soft white that didn’t glow but was just there..and with the blackest opaque non reflecting non shiny no depth at all hair i’ve ever seen. I didn’t see a face, just a blur. The edges of this white and black figure were blurred. My eyes glued to it as it glided from the left side of the room to the right and into the bathroom. I knew part of me was still in a dream but I had to get up. I closed my eyes and tried to force myself to not be paralyzed. Get up and go look in that bathroom! GET UP, GET UP GET UP and SWOOSH I got up really quickly, felt the wooden floor under my bare feet and saw myself laying in the bed. As soon as I saw myself, SWOOSH!! it felt like my soul was gently sucked back into myself and I was staring at the ceiling again.
Even though I know the whole experience could very well be hypnagogic hallucinations, it could’ve all been just a big funky ass dream, I say it was real. Coincidentally enough the next week my friend said she had been having a panic attack in the shower and as she tried to count slowly to get her heart rate down she felt herself rise out of her body. She saw her self leaning against the wall from up above, looked around and stayed there for a few seconds and then was back in her body. My husband woke once to see his own face below his perspective. Like my friend he stayed there for a few seconds, looked around and that was that. People I know have seen ghosts. Children talk to ghosts and have uncanny descriptions of people they’ve never seen. It can happen. We aren’t only physical, we are spiritual.
You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body. ~C.S. Lewis
We are born into this world, whatever time the soul enters the physical realm of our little baby bodies, and have to acclimate to them. The nurture of ourselves from outside forces definitely shapes us. The nature of our true selves, the heart and soul of us, comes out to other people as our personality, in our actions, whatever. You feel yourself, your consciousness, your being every second of every day. What we experience as infants into childhood is, for the most part, long forgotten but the way we were brought up effects what we do as adults, how we think, how we speak, how we eat…
Once I saw myself as a fetus in my mother. A light shone in the heart of me and a voice spoke, “This is you before the world got to you. Find it and be it.” Although I haven’t done psychedelics in years, and I didn’t do them but maybe 5 times, that hallucination has stuck with me since. The tears that followed were for the knowing that voice was true. We can only let the physical effect our soul so much. Maybe that’s one reason why the prophets, in particularly Jesus (I was raised in the church and still call myself a Jesus believer) taught so much of casting the physical aside. How easily it is to become rooted in all the physical around us. It’s natural to do so! I may not, in the strictest of terms, be trapped in the physical. It is a part of the experience of life here. But to let the physical be the only focus is to ignore me. I am trapped, i cannot exit, i do NOT WANT to exit this body until I’m 102 but I want to know more of the spiritual, more of my soul separate from the physical, but i must accept the physical, make it cozy, make it not rule over me.
Assess the physical, assess the changes it has made. Embrace the lessons and learn from them. Consciously work at becoming the person I know I am and can be. Apply the lessons learned to real life. Cognitive behavioral changes even if I have to tattoo the lessons learned onto my skin to keep it at the surface of thought. Show the love I know I have in the best ways I can. So (for example) I dislike when my children touch me and sometimes it feels like spiders crawling. I should make them touch my arms and take deep breaths, think happy thoughts.. at some point my brain will comply with my greater will and i can train myself to love their touches as a mother should. *my son looooooves rubbing and touching people, so i wouldn’t be forcing him to cuddle. He would greatly love it and would probably pretend to pass out if I asked him specifically to rub my arms.*
Today I would much rather just stay in bed and sleep. I could dream a thousand worlds and half of them would be freaky and scary. They would have jet black spirits flying around my bed, like the ink in a slow motion squid video, giving me panic amidst my praying that the name of Jesus Christ would take them away from my presence. Alligator people would lie about on front porches of family members dismembered and disemboweled from my own axe I used to take my anger out on them. But half would be beautiful and full of wonder, sex, music, and creative lucid amazing things. I can’t remember any details of any wonderful beautiful dreams I’ve had, but I will work on that. Sleep is an escape from the consciousness of the real world. That can’t be very healthy to want to remain in that state forever.
I awaken every morning to people who depend on me. Two children that require me to feed them, clothe them, soothe them, teach them, and for the life of me I can only think that God must be playing a cruel joke to think this was a brilliant idea. I start to find clothes for one, the other starts wanting a drink, the phone rings and I ignore the call and then see some clothes to put in the laundry and I do that, someone texts and ZOOM runs a naked child past me repeating to herself, “something to eat something to drink something to eat something to drink.” I open the fridge and immediately recall the failures of the day before. I didn’t go to the grocery store so no cereal this morning. I fix the kids some other food and hope they eat their fruit. While they eat I go into another room and find some other clothes to throw in to make it a full load in the laundry. I feel really uncomfortable sitting at the table eating with them. I convince myself that i’m doing them no harm by never wanting to eat with them, but I know that every little piece of interaction with me is shaping who they will be and how they will react and treat people in the future. It would damage anyone to have to spend their first 5 years with a mother like me. Rarely touching, disliking talking, favoring sleep and cell phone interaction over children. My children touch me and I have to will myself not to flinch, not to move away. We’ve had our good moments but there’s no wonder my son favors the grandparents more than us. We are lazy and annoyed parents. We are children ourselves.
So the children start yelling at each other. YES! NO ! YES ! NO! YEEEEEESSSS !!!!! *red faced oldest child clinching fists as if he will punch the table into the next state* NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! *the grinning red faced 3 year old girl screams. she’s enjoying this*
STOP IT!!!!!! I yell.
This will continue through the day. A myriad of screams, hollers, children pushing each other, mother trying to keep their minds off of being in each others space, and mother crying inside wishing she knew what the fuck she was doing.