When I go through an experience that moves me, I let it sit in my body. Then I do some soul searching, trying to articulate to myself what about the experience makes my body vibrate, giving me that "ping" you feel when the outside world resonates in some way, good or bad, with my insides. It's usually something deep - some lesson or insight. By the time I'm ready to talk about it on Facebook, the experience is distilled to something that is at the core of who I am.
2014 was a big year - I did not know this, till I was able to look back.
Thanks for following along. If you want to see the comments, feel free to check https://www.facebook.com/ruthshiromafoster. The responses were half the fun!
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The sushi chef tonight lit up when we told him we're musicians. We had a nice conversation about music, and he beamed talking about the music he loves, including Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Carmen McRae and Chick Corea. It dawned on me that this happens a lot - music opens doors.
January 11, 2014
How to Make Mochi
(This entry became a separate post here.)
January 27, 2014
Who You Really Are
Lately, I've been watching people I admire - I mean, really watching them, so I don't just listen to them, and I don't just look at them, but I try to feel what it might be like to be them. And as much as I respect them for their technique and skill - their intonation, perfect pacing, the grace in their movement - that is not what inspires me, and I've known this for a long time. But only through this exercise have I been able to finally grasp why some people move me: It's their power of being. It's a live energy, a strong will, a current inside their body that is so deep and so real. They are strong from their heart, their gut, or, as they say in Hawaiian, their na`au. It's a kernel of power that over time they have managed to grow into something that, when you encounter it, takes your breath away. It's not what they do - it's who they are. You are simply experiencing who they are through what they are doing. ... I've come to understand that even though the world may venerate you for the contribution you've made to a specific field, for the role you've played, you should not allow your identity to be wrapped up in what you do; the real imprint lies in the power of your being, in who you are.
March 21, 2014
When We Fight
Sometimes in our fight over ideas, we lose sight of the humanity of the other person we don't agree with. This feels frivolous.
March 26, 2014
At Jameson's By The Sea, the waitress noticed my uke case and asked me to sing a song, so I serenaded the dinner crowd with Wahine Ilikea as the sun set. And luckily, I just got my business cards in the mail yesterday and was able to give her one when she asked for it. Love how this little instrument has brought such charming moments to my life.
March 30, 2014
I have a creativity question, and I'd love for you to indulge me. What are the forces or circumstances that move you to act, to set yourself in motion to create? Or perhaps not just create, but simply progress? Like with exercise? Or with cooking? Or with any project?
Here's some background for why I ask: I made a pot of soup today, a soup I fully "designed" it in my head before I chopped the first onion. So, I started cutting the vegetables, and every act that followed was simply a materialization of this picture I had in my head. I powered through like a demon trying to "write" out this idea in my head. Norm noticed this and articulated he has a different style, that he just starts taking ingredients out of the fridge and "designs" as he goes; it's very in the moment, not unlike jazz improvisation. I find both styles interesting, and I'm sure there are many styles. I've known this about myself for some time, but seeing this small kitchen scene unfold and recognizing what drove me to complete a pot of soup was revealing for many, many other aspects of my life.
Goodness - that was long-winded! But if anyone's up for sharing insights on their own style for "doing things," I'm all ears. This is so interesting to me.
May 1, 2014
The Medium is the Message?
Too many people say "texting doesn't convey tone," but I've received many a text with a kind tone to it, and they weren't always from wordsmiths. We've been at this - email, texting, social media - for much too long for people to blame the medium. It's time we take a bit more responsibility. I think thoughtfulness finds its way to the other person, if the intent is there in the first place.
May 30, 2014
The Long, Long Story
I am here today because of the fearlessness of my parents and their stories, and the stories that came before them, branching through lineages going back thousands of years. I am the culmination of this fearlessness. I am the culmination of millions of stories.
June 14, 2014
After observing Norm's near-surgical consumption of his Hamachi Kama tonight, I tell him, "you're a good eater of kama," to which he replies, "it's because I'm kama`aina."
August 11, 2014
A futon is where you rest. It is where you lie down, limbs limp, thoughts adrift. It is where, after the world has allowed you to be sifted out from its arbitrary rules of meaning, you fall in comfort, feeling the quietness of your perfect being. Tonight, music was my futon.
August 20, 2014
I played lots of piano and uke and sang my guts out all weekend, and I made progress on a film project. I should be tired, but I feel so awake, as if the insides of my body - every cell - is expanding. This has been good for me in ways I'd never have been able to see.
September 21, 2014
I am becoming more and more fascinated by "intelligences" that are sensory. If you can provide any insight, please send me things to watch or read. I recently went to a workshop where the trainer was from Waianae (btw - I am proud to say this is my hometown) and explained how Hawaiians are naturally aural learners, and he expanded by saying they take in their world by seeing and feeling and hearing. I've always been drawn to this kind of intelligence, and growing up in Waianae, I loved how people just knew how do to things, like throw luau with great efficiency or make friends with complete ease at the beach or get intel from others through rather deft conversation. These days, the closest words I might have for this is being street smart or having situational awareness, but I know it goes deeper than this. I think cultures institutionalize these things, whether the learning is linear or aural, as described by the trainer. I don't want to put one over the other, but I will ask the question - how many of these qualities have I suppressed trying to operate in the dominant culture that prizes specialization and a certain kind of productivity? I am not looking for any hard answers, but just want to open up a discussion. ... And of course, I want that reading material. Hmmmm .... wonder if Dr. Suzuki's Nurtured by Love covers this to an extent ... I just started reading this.
October 9, 2014
Where Truth is Found
The truth - what actually was, is and will be, and not what we as a human race constructed or believe to be truth - is embedded in the smallest structures of our existence, reaching back to the beginning of time. This is one of many thoughts I will be exploring over the next few months. Since this summer, I have been working on articulating my "framework of everything," and it's beginning to get quite interesting. Will take some time, but stay tuned.
October 29, 2014
Floating Through Our Apartment
(This entry became a separate post here.)
October 30, 2014
Cherish the Love
If you find someone, anyone - friend or lover, who cherishes your feelings, never take that person for granted. Life affords you only a few of them; they are treasures.
November 4, 2014
This is what I've come to believe: When something is so beautiful it brings you to tears, it's because that very beauty was somewhere hidden deep, deep inside of you, lost. You live your days with a heart stirring, yearning to find this lost thing, and only when encountering it in your world can this hidden beauty that was always a part of you be found, finally known. Who wouldn't cry?
November 13, 2014
It's hard to know the intricacies that make someone awkward or unable to navigate social situations. But sometimes, these are the very people with the most interesting things to say because they simply see their world differently. They often are the quiet ones who are perfectly content when others have the floor. But try giving them your ear. Ask them questions and be genuinely curious. You might find yourself delighted to be told stories and ideas that shake your thinking.
November 25, 2014
Measure of Judgment
The measure by which you judge will be the measure by which you will be judged. This has no meaning till you, at some point, slip up. If you live a life of grace, you will be afforded grace when you fall. If you live a life of judgment, you will be judged when you fall. I learned this lesson the hard way. These days, I strive to be more like those I admire most - those whose hearts are a large well, filled with grace.
November 30, 2014
It's 1:30 in the morning, and I'm high on all the things that happened tonight. How can anyone fall asleep when your body is filled with good vibrations? You just have to let your body experience the waves till they dissipate, slowly lulling you to sleep.
December 3, 2014
Unlikely Songs at a Downtown Bar
Last night, a group of people sat at the bar at The Dragon Upstairs, and one of the guys pointed at the other and told me, "he sings." After a little discussion, we got him on stage, and he asked me to play Unchained Melody. He said he didn't need the microphone, then I began a simple intro on the piano. Two notes in, and we were surrounded by this beautiful, lush voice. It was an honor to play the large landscape of this song with this stranger who knew every part of it so well. I wasn't joking when he was finished and I asked him, "Did you win Brown Bags to Stardom?" He laughed and said no. Then he did his hana hou from his barstool, an Italian aria sung a cappella. Still smiling the next morning over this musical exchange at a downtown bar.
December 10, 2014
One interesting thing about eating alone in public places is you get to hear how other people relate to each other. Sometimes, I think people overlook the treasures right in front of them. They are not curious, so they don't ask questions of each other, let alone empathize. I know there is more to human interaction than conversation; sometimes, just sitting quietly with someone can heal you. But everyone who has lived long enough to speak has an interesting story inside of them. What wonders are we missing out on when we fail to be curious about the people we think we know?
December 18, 2014
The State of Truth
Truth does not require belief or non-belief. Truth is simply a state. Some can see it sooner than others, and some never see.
December 21, 2014
What if the very building blocks that form how we think and see are in themselves constricting our sight? Perhaps to truly see, we need to disassemble the structures and throw the blocks away.
December 27, 2014
Last night, four local girls stopped in and sat in the cozy far corner, listening to every song. From their seats, they sang along to Wahine `Ilikea and Kuhio Beach (I'd later find out three of them were Kamehameha School graduates!). After I was done with those two tunes, one of them requested The Nearness of You. I put my uke down and turned to the piano to sing. When I was done, she walked onto the stage and gave me a hug, tears in her eyes. "This song always reminds me of my father," she said. Naomi told me this morning what I missed seeing, as my eyes had been closed throughout the song. This beautiful woman in street clothes, warmed by her white cardigan, shared hula just a few feet away. I can only imagine.
December 31, 2014