An artist I was involved with in my early twenties said, "We paint for our immortality." His death, within three years of uttering that sentence, I don't think was on his mind when he actually said it. Being thirty two years older than me, he knew something about our time on earth, I didn't recognize yet. We are so busy trying to achieve and experience, we often miss that which is most incredible and closest to our heart. Often, we are too taxed to think much of others with which we are simultaneously experiencing the NOW. There are so many shows to watch, books to read, songs to listen to, responsibilities we must handle; how does anything or anyone stand out and shake us to our core if we are so busy swallowing up as much as we can, as fast as we can.
Now I have reached the age he was when espousing those words and I've seen much more clearly what becomes immortal. I know exactly what I was doing the night Sinatra died, each person I interacted with as the hours clicked away, thinking about the songs he sang which changed the world and people's lives. Michael Jackson, became known all over again, and his music broke through beyond the monkeys and trials that had distracted us from his brilliance. So many others have passed and I hardly recognized them while they were here. As the world mourns their abrupt or otherwise absence, my too often frenzied attention turns to them. Their creativity is complete in that moment, for what it is, and as much as they could give during their time, it says what they most needed to say. I think of Eva Cassidy's Fields of Gold.
My own younger brother, I knew deeply for thirty one years. He passed in 1993, yet he has aged with me even though I haven't hugged his physical being in twenty-two years. Just today when impatient and wondering why I was vexed, a red vehicle cut in front of me with his birth date on the license plate. Seeing that relaxed me. After a very slow and natural deep inhalation, I realized there was nowhere I needed to go and nothing I needed to see other than being present in what that moment was fully offering me, free of charge yet abundant in its riches and layers of meaning.
Since Bowie passed I've been quite curious. First I wanted to know what kind of cancer it was and how he managed to create a good bye album and have it born on his 69th birthday. What was it like to keep that secret, to store up all those emotions of facing one's end and create something others could enjoy and study after his last breath. Last night before bed I watched the BLACK STAR and LAZARUS videos. Today however, I am most taken by the connection he had with his wife, Iman and then the two of them had with their daughter, Lexi.
As the painter said about immortality, artists create for when they are gone. Today I heard a quote of Bowie saying he was selfish because he wrote only for himself and sang only to express himself. What a gift it is that humans can communicate their own unique feelings and thoughts with others. We can do so much more than bark or purr, sting or kill. To hear Bowie say that all of his music wrote about loneliness and the desire to connect deeply with another, and then see the trajectory of his life and recognize he manifested that harmonic blending of being together in bliss is playing over and over in my head, like a record on auto repeat.
I've not personally known many couples I thought were happy. Oh, people I don't know well seem happy on social media, but when I grew up, everywhere I looked around me there was war; between couples, families, businesses, countries. My last HP blog was titled the same thing. I never thought I would write a Part II. But tonight I must string some sentences together about this subject.
A friend of mine once said, "Talking heads and political dramas were here before you were born and they will be here after you are gone. While you are here you must fill your life up with what you came here to learn about, become, embody, or experience. Watching the nightly news with its bloody headlines and greedy soundbites only distracts you from what it is that your soul wants to know."
I think few people get to know who they truly are. They play along with what is expected of them and never know why something or someone is rubbing them the wrong way. To read about how David and Iman were able to rub each other the right way, that they had the Better even when going through the Worse, inspires me. To see two people who got happier, and fuller as individuals and as a couple as they shared their years together, inspires me. To now learn about Bowie, his music, his writing, his origin and how he created his life and his death, will continue to inspire me.
As I move forward I will remember when I wake what Bowie said in 1993, Each day is a jewel, and we can't take any of it for granted.