Blessings to you, Paco de Lucia

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I first came to hear the amazing sounds that poured from the heart and guitar of Paco de Lucia a few years ago while sitting in a modest house on a hilltop in the foothills of the Sierras in the ever moody and majestic Alpujarra of Andalucia.

I was house sitting, it was winter, it was my first time in Spain, and I was alone – alone with an exuberant mountain wind flicking through olive branches,  the sound of distant tinkling bells as goats were herded through the fields below, and the whispering whispers of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca mingling with the air (this was the region where many felt he had been murdered long ago).

It was a place ripe for the music of Paco de Lucia. And so was I.

One day as I sat sipping red wine, eating Spanish cheese, and pondering the mysteries of my life, I came across two DVDs sitting on the shelf; one of Paco’s life and music, another of the music and dance of Blood Wedding, a play written by Lorca. I became entranced by the power and passion, the sense of perfection and haunting beauty of both. From that moment on I was fascinated – with the music of Paco de Lucia, and the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca.

I speak no Spanish, yes sadly still, so everything I know of it is from translation, and perhaps most important, from the heart –of the poet, of the artist/musician, of the music of flamenco and of an incredible Spanish classical guitar –  to my heart. For me it is a music whose touchstone is pure heart. What an amazing place to emit from. What an amazing place to be brought to.

It is of course possible that in order to travel to such a place, it will demand from us an inner quest for nothing less than excellence. Such a journey can be arduous. It certainly asks the best of us. From everything I have read, that is what it did for Paco de Lucia.

When I listen to his music I know that we, you and I. are blessed because of it.

Paco de Lucia left us today. He slipped away from our arms somewhere on a beach in Mexico.

He leaves behind a wealth of music. Like Andalucia, it is a musical landscape rich and vibrant, one that can colour the very fabric of our lives, if we open to it.

So gracias Paco, thank you. May your music kiss the angels as you grace their skies with your heart.

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It occurs to me that lately I am writing about profound talents who are leaving our world, some far too early. Talents, and yes, souls who will be truly missed, both for their journey into excellence, for the jewels they have bequeathed us, and for the beauty of their spirits and hearts.

I cannot help but wonder – what does that ask of us who are still here?

 

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For Philip Seymour Hoffman – in memory & in gratitude

For sharing his amazing talent and beauty with us all … for daring to always push the envelop as an actor … and for being an inspiration to the world of story – THANK YOU.philip seymour hoffman 3 - Copy

This poem comes to mind – for his family, for his friends, and for those of us who never knew him personally but somehow feel the loss …

It is by Mary E Faye and it is called:     I DID NOT DIE

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.

I am not there. I did not die.

Bless your heart, Philip Seymour Hoffman. We are richer because you were here.

Raining Sapphires …

I wrote most of this a couple of years ago. Suddenly woke up yesterday knowing I had to dust it off, edit & update it a bit, and share with you. I hope that in some small way it touches a positive chord in your heart.      Blessings to you, Aliana

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RAINING SAPPHIRES            (c) 2014 Aliana Alani

It was raining sapphires along the sands and beaches of my heart. The sky kissed the air with perfumed stardust and the earth trembled, shivering like a fragile expectant lover. It beckoned as lovers often do in a strange hypnotic fashion, its rhythm enticing and provocative, its inner smile illusive and tempting. Yet somehow I could not follow, not fully, not yet. Perhaps it was the dust that clouded my vision. Perhaps it was fear, of the known and the not. Perhaps it was the one thing I frequently chose to ignore, to dance around, to two-step, to tango, to fox-trot, from there to here and fro; the one thing I knew would eventually happen, and yet … Perhaps it was all of these, and more.

This was, after all, my story, hence my world.

The picture comes in fragments. It is unstable and will not hold. That is its illusion, and to some, its reality. It appears increasingly bleak and fond of monochromes, especially shades of grey and black, as though its creator had decided to cast it all in shards of steel and bones of white ash, with a dash of startling midnight blue. Its waters pound against timid shores. Its winds blow like hurricanes of ancient memory. It does not speak of tomorrows, only what was, what might have been, therefore by lineage and association what could be, today. It tantalizes through threads of adrenaline pumped with escalating chords of anxiety. Its song is of flight and fright, of dread and fear. Its clothes are many layered, yet its costume remains the same. If it has its way, soon wherever we turn, this will be all we see. It will be all we feel. It will be all we think we know. We will be wrong but…

For this is a road of dissolution and dismembering that ultimately can know no air.

Within the fragments reside people, lands, countries, and stories. Within the fragments are hearts capable of soaring yet feeling broken, their worlds crumbling around them – security, sustenance, love – all seem to vanish within one large long cosmic breath. The classic, Poof, and there is no more. The cause varies but the result appears the same. The world watches in horror, its compassion tinged with a hidden worry that any minute the breath will turn in their direction. What then? What happens after that? So we begin to speak in apocalyptic terms, with words and gestures both large and expressive. We speak, often forgetting the power of thought, the energy generated by sound and intent. Forgetting what many of our ancestors knew; that by doing so, we may indeed be calling our own little apocalypse into being. We may be helping to magnify its possibility.

For it too travels a road that ultimately can know no air.

Like the many sides of a fine diamond or those sapphires on the beaches of my heart, inside each facet of the stories that make up our lives, no matter what appears to be happening in the moment, no matter whether we love it or hate it, lives an inner jewel that hovers like a secret key waiting to be discovered, a key that can unlock untold mysteries and bring with it endless peace and happiness. A key that is ours to have and use; that has always been there and always will be. The key may appear unique, perhaps even exotic, yet one thing that it carries is a link to beauty for beauty is a corridor to the heart, and the heart is one giant door to love. Love, as many have waxed poetic, is all there really is. In case you have forgotten, as many of us do.

Beauty is often said to be in the eye of the beholder. Where one person sees devastation, another observes within its skeletal midst an awe-inspiring splendor. Where another perceives garbage, someone else sees a dance of wonder hovering midst an air-floating plastic bag. And where some envision approaching death with fear and horror, others see within the light of life waiting to be reborn.

If you track this thought with me, you will perhaps find that hidden key. That lingering midst despair and devastation, no matter how impossible or painful it may seem (and it often seems totally impossible and incredibly painful) is an opportunity to view hence feel the beauty of existence, even if it is only for a moment, a seed of possibility blowing in a wind of turmoil. That in so doing, you may find yourself bringing that solitary seed of beauty to the fore more and more each day until one day, amazingly, within you only it will exist, having now blossomed, as seeds are apt to do, into a magnificent abundant garden of life, your life, and death, whatever form it had been taking, will have vanished mysteriously into the endless unknown.

Every moment is an opportunity, especially for love.

              With that those sapphires sparkle and glitter, tossing their brilliance into the centre, into the heart finally, sprinkling their ethereal wisdom like starlight upon the ocean of my soul. A door within blasts open.

              And I am home.

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