Sunday, January 3 ,2016

Life-Changing Magic: A Book for the New Year

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I recently boughtthe life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo as a gift for someone and couldn't resist buying one for myself because it looked so interesting. It is a perfect gift for the new year as it relates to “cleaning up your psychological space” by going through your things and putting your house, and by extension your thoughts and mind, in a self-confident state of clarity.

Kondo begins by saying many people get the urge to tidy “because they want to put something else in order.”

The book does make me want to discard, and Kondos explanations allow one to do so without the guilt of letting things go. Her philosophy of animating objects and conveying their ultimate purpose to serve you because you connected with them some how (through buying, a thoughtful gift of someone, or acquiring through other means) and releasing them after service with a thank you for their accomplishment or meaning, even if only the thought behind them is wonderfully liberating.

“Thank you for your service.”
“Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you.”
’Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me’ and let it go.”

Things to know:

  1. There is a tidying order.
  2. Clothes are first, and can be broken into sub categories. Momentos come last and this order should be adhered to as not to be derailed from your ultimate goal.
  3. Store all things of the same clothing category side by side. “Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type.”
  4. Handle each item to know if it sparks joy.
  5. Handling each item will help you to “process your past” and gain great self-confidence about who you are and what you need.
  6. “Letting go is even more important than adding.”
  7. Tidying can help you understand what is truly precious in your life.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up 2

A final idea this book has made me think about is the case for buying something in person. I have been buying a lot online in the past few years and have noticed that so much of what I am quick to get rid of is from online as well. If one must touch something to know if it sparks joy, perhaps it is in fact more efficient to buy things in person, even if not more convenient.

Wednesday, November 25 ,2015

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for things that make me laugh.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

la música Cubana que me encanta

Lost_and_Found It has been a fantastic week for music in my life. I am so grateful to have been able to see two Cuban legendary acts live in concert – The Buena Vista Social Club and Chucho Valdés. I don’t know a lot about Cuba or Cuban music or what constitutes a Danzón versus a Son, a Habenera versus a Tango, a Guaijiro versus a Criolla, or even variations of a Rumba in Afro-Cuban Jazz, but I know what sounds good to me, and ALL of the above does.

There is so much integration and inspiration in this Cuban music I experienced, so many places it has taken me, so many textured moments and recuerdos evocativos on which it builds. It’s very … poetic and fierce, as much as music can be, telling a story, conjuring up ghosts and sense of place.

BuenaVistaSocialClubAdiosTour Glad to know they were invited to the White House even though they had to reschedule their date in the valley.

I guess one could argue that the place BVSC evokes is pre-revolutionary Cuba, when life seemed so dreamy and bucolic back in the day. Of course it is sad many of the well known old guard have passed from the iconic Buena Vista Social Club: Compay Segundo, Rubén González, Ibrahim Ferrer, Orlando "Cachaíto" López and Pío Leyva among them. But the remaining original members of the band: Eliades Ochoa, Omara Portuondo, Guajiro Mirabal, Barbarito Torres, and Jesus "Aguaje" Ramos were still amazing -- carrying on the spirit of the group in tributes that support their new album of previously unreleased “Lost and Found” recordings of the original members in this "Adios Tour."

The music they produced will always be distinct treasures, but for the band it is an end of an era.

And maybe the beginning of one -- era that is --as now I want to describe what I heard in the Chucho Valdés and Afro Cuban Messengers concert which was such an exciting fusion of elements that really puts him into a seminal class of his own.

ChuchoValdes Chucho Valdés And The Afro-Cuban Messengers

Supporting the "Border-Free" album, Afro-Comanche (inspired by the deportation of Comanches to Cuba in the 19th century), sweet Caridad Amaro (beautiful piano jazz that play’s with a Rachmaninov concerto at the end) and Tabú (a kind of epic odyssey of jazz and percussion his band Irakere is known for) were stand out performances for me. Sometimes in music you think not a lot is new, but listening to Chucho V aldés you hear a sense of adventure and experimentation that comes together beautifully. More bands should be like this.

I’ve come away inspired from this week in music. Someday I will travel to Cuba and see the country that has produced such music I love.