So I’m blogging during these strange times of coronavirus. If you are reading this please don’t share this post on socials. I’ve written these thoughts here because I don’t want to engage over there. You could argue, why share these thoughts at all? Why not write it in a journal? You’re right. I just wanted to say something but as activity over here is quieter, I thought I’d surreptitiously share a few things…
It really odd because in our blind leading the blind lead up to Covid-19 I found that from October – once I had submitted my PhD – all I wanted to do was be around nature. Every weekend I put my walking boots on and stomped around the countryside. I did not want to be indoors at all!
As an introvert/extrovert, I’ve realised I’m actually built for this, strangely. The crisis has made me feel much calmer and I know I’m not alone with these sentiments. Anyway, I don’t know what to say, the UK government have handled the situation badly, black and brown people are dying in record numbers.
There’s a clear class divide in terms of those who are being affected – people have died on my road, it’s crazy. There have been several times where I have heard the clipperty clop sounds of horses transporting those whose lives have sadly been taken off to their resting place.
Then there’s the BLM movement that has been galvanised due to the tragic death of George Flloyd. Cue loads of white folks rushing to demonstrate that they are not racist by sharing social media posts about how woke they are or how many times they have interacted with black people in their work. Some of it is well-meaning, some I find is really cringe-worthy. I have to limit my time on socials as everyone is shouting about it. Personally, I think it’s time white folks took the lead in addressing their part in all this. I’m cynical about all the social media stuff, what are you going to do outside of this virtual realm? How are you are going to avoid creating temporary tokenistic interventions rather than the labour intensive, challenging, durational work needed to create real change for equality and equity, what if that means you need to step down or receive less cash or commissions or whatever it is? Are you still down for the cause?
Anyway, during these three months, it’s all about the rituals. I really enjoy teaching my composition students and listening to a fair amount of music. High-intensity exercise, walks, Buddhist chanting and reading are getting me through.
Some tracks I’ve had on lock:
Still determined to make a real change in my work – which will take a while. I’m in the early stages of planning something exciting… I have to view the journey as a marathon. Reading an ace book which is a dialogue between my spiritual mentor Daisaku Ikeda with legendary jazz musicians Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. A passage that inspired me is where Shorter says he tries hard to create music that puts people in touch with their deepest hopes and dreams they have given up, aiming to “inspire courage, so people can overcome their fear of the unknown and find a way to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected. He says the process of cultural awakening is one that must be pursued patiently and there are no shortcuts.
“Cultural exchange raises awareness. By coming into contact with other cultures, people learn that there are many perspectives and ways of life. Such an awareness can overcome long-held rigid and parochial views of culture, which no longer have a place in the world”.