Archive for September, 2009

Not for the birds, but from them

September 14, 2009

A Paulo Pinto photo became a tune

A Paulo Pinto photo became a tune.

A glimpse of birds sitting on a wire turns into a musical composition.

You can file this video under the category of “proof that the lens through which we view our world creates amazing effects.” As he was reading the newspaper one day, a Brazilian musician named Jarbas Angelli saw a photo of a flock of birds sitting on electrical wires. Intrigued by the way the birds seemed to be lined up on the wire like musical notes on a score, he decided to investigate further.

Sure, we’ve likely all stared in wonder at birds perched on those wires, and we’ve likely all seen photos in the newspaper that sparked our interest. But Angelli didn’t just observe. He put his particular view of those birds into motion.

Angelli clipped out the photo and got busy translating the tableaux into music, plotting out notes based on the birds’ positions. Taking his work full circle, he contacted the photographer at the paper. And just like that: Cue music for the next Internet sensation.

So I wonder, what is your particular view of the universe showing you today?

Birds on the Wires video

The most charming warrior of all

September 9, 2009

Ancient practices, deep happiness and the fresh, clean feeling after a shower.


Marks of a warrior

In Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa makes a point much better than I did in my charmifesto. He writes about the importance of understanding and appreciating our relationship with ordinary life, so that we can create peace and harmony in the world.

“When you experience the goodness of being alive,” Trungpa teaches, “you can respect who and what you are … Because we appreciate the world, we take better care of it and our fellow humans.”

There’s a basic goodness in his teachings that’s at the other end of the spectrum from the more prevalent religious concept of original sin. He reveals not only a beauty but also a discipline in embracing small pleasures, not as superficial indulgences but as portals into the basic goodness of the world and of ourselves. Trungpa goes on in the book to teach more traits of the warrior, but a steady sense of one’s own goodness is at the core.

“When we appreciate reality,” Trungpa continues, “it can actually work on us … We have an actual connection to reality that can wake us up and make us feel basically, fundamentally good. Shambhala vision is tuning in to our ability to wake ourselves up and recognize that goodness can happen to us. In fact, it is happening already.”

Trungpa mentions a sudden whiff of fresh air and the clean feeling after a shower and says, “It is worthwhile to recognize and take advantage of these moments, because they are revealing basic nonaggression and freshness in our lives – basic goodness.”

So right now I’m recognizing the sound of birds whooshing over my deck,  flocking in formation. I’m taking advantage of this moment in the fresh air and letting the goodness sink in. As for my shower, well, that’s between me and my crisp, white shower curtain.

Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior, $10
Whiff of fresh air, Free