by Madeline Laughs
Haale Gafori is an incredibly talented musician that I had the pleasure of spending some time with while she was performing for SXSW. Here are thoughts in her own words.
“Over the 10 years I’ve been playing music in NY, I’ve played with many amazing musicians. The ones that aren’t struggling to stay afloat with a full time job, and are lucky enough to sustain a living by playing gigs, usually play with many bands. It’s rare to see a great musician have the luxury of time or the luxury of a cheap rehearsal space to spend all their days on one or two projects that might not be lucrative, but might have some profound meaning to them, and might eventually lead to music that is innovative and authentic enough to enrich our lives if we put down our cell phones long enough to listen.
Kind of depressing, but of course there’s always something good happening in the cracks of any system. And as things get worse, our coping mechanisms get stronger. Community. Tribalism. Barter Economy. Friendship. Helping each other out. In this age, kindness and generosity are our most precious natural resources. And then of course there is nature, and the sea. As ugly as the planet has become in places due to pollution and war, we still, in this country and on most of the globe are lucky to have hundreds of thousands of square miles of park, forest, desert, river. It’s our duty to enjoy this and to raise our level of happiness. The more miserable we get, the more miserable we allow our governments to behave. Only hurt people hurt people, and so we owe it to each other and the planet to heal ourselves, and quit the nonsense!
Over the last 6 months, since Jan 2007, I’ve been touring with my band. We’ve got to experience the best of all this bright-side talk. Kind, funny, generous human beings, as well as creeks, caves, redwoods, oh puentia cacti, and waterfalls. We’ve stayed with old and new friends in Philly, DC, New Orleans, SF, LA, Chicago, Yucca Valley, Austin, Santa Cruz, Great Barrington, Atlanta, Charlotte etc. etc. Sincere, hospitable people, they are everywhere.
After Bonnaroo, we jumped in a river in Tennessee, sat under a waterfall and it beat upon our backs like the earth had 1,000 fists. We went to the desert of Yucca Valley and slept under the sky. We covered our bodies in clay on a tiny deserted island in the middle of Lake Norman in North Carolina. We ate rice and vegetables beside a bonfire, while we listened to Ben, the arid agriculturalist outside Joshua Tree, tell us stories about his urban punk days in Chicago when he had one foot Mohawks, and in his glasses I saw our little fire dance, and in his eyes I thought I saw a found man. He showed us what he had grown in the desert, radishes, for instance, I ate one. It was delicious, and so was the water that came out of a spring he found on the land.
Yes there is terror, there is fiscal tension, but there is also joy and there is also love and there is also beauty. And more people are full of it and/or capable of being full of it than we would ever guess. Isn’t it important to know this, say it, feel it, tap into it, be it, and pass it on? Surely more than any pill, self-help book, or waterbed, knowing this and living it lowers my anxiety level.
And so I say…
Nothing we can buy will fill our gnawing souls.
We are of the sea, of the desert, of the mountains, of this world, we are alive—what a pleasure, what a gift.
As the wonderful poet Sonia Sanchez once said, “This is not romantic, this is hard-core.”
I listen to the crickets.
I throw off all that deadened me.”
Just an amazing piece of writing and better than any sound bite I’ve read in a long time. What I took away from this is “Only hurt people, hurt people.” How true is that one statement?
I wonder sometimes why people will lash out or hit out of left field with crap I’m not even expecting. It knocks the wind out of you long enough for you to get really pissed off and then you start looking at the person and asking yourself “Well gee, what the hell did I do to you?”
The answer to that last question 99% of the time is NOTHING.
Everything is connected. My friend Scott tried to explain this to me today. Let’s see how right I can make it sound because he delivered it with such elegance…
He said we need to find our core of strength within ourselves and cease to look for this outside, in our friends, or our family, or even in our work. We have all the tools we need within to deal with the rocks and boulders strewn along our path in life. Once we become self sufficient with our own mental health and well being then the rest will come together all on it’s own. We can’t change or control the outside. We can only change and control what we have inside. This will lighten our perception of the world around us once we have decided to love ourselves for who we are and not for who everyone else may expect us to be. You see? For they are not YOU.
When you hate something about another human being it usually has nothing to do with them, BUT IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH YOU AND HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF. Get that?
Everything is connected.
Try this exercise. Make a list of the things you hate about a person. Maybe they’re rude, maybe you feel they don’t believe in you, maybe they yelled at you, maybe, maybe, maybe….there could be hundreds of reasons. Sooner of later you’ll have to realize that making this list hurts. You hurt. Hurt people, hurt people.
Everything is connected. Everything in your world is connected to you. You have the power to change. You have the power to heal yourself and the work has to start from within. There will never be a day that blaming someone else for your “feelings” will make for a better life. In fact, there are many times I am “feeling” a certain negative way about someone and they have absolutely NO IDEA I FEEL THAT WAY.
What are you doing when you spend time whining to your friends how wrong this other person is for “making you feel” negative? You’re looking outside of yourself for someone else to blame. You’re not facing the truth about the matter. You’re not looking within. No one has the power to “make you feel” anything…unless they punch you square in the face. OUCH! Don’t let it come to blows!
Besides the fact that going on the attack by using gossip with your friends to undermine the object of your obsession and avoiding doing the work to improve the situation is classic passive aggressive behavior. Gossip is one major passive tool of the P/A trade. Passive-aggressive behavior is sometimes resistance to following authoritative instructions in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as resentment, stubbornness, procrastination, sullenness. You know the type.
Here’s an example: you hate your boss so you goof off instead of working and you draw horns on his picture and tell your co-workers what an ass he is, but when it comes time for a raise you have your hand out with a smile on your face exclaiming how much you love working there. The only person that gets hurt or looks like an ass in that scenario is you. Totally useless and destructive behavior.
Like I said, most of the time the other person has no idea you even feel the way you do.
I’ve surprised myself in the past by confronting someone with my “feelings” and have gotten a response I never counted on. In college one time I finally told a guy I had been really pissed at him for the last 3 months because he didn’t invite me to a party at his house. Turns out he wasn’t at the party either, in fact, he hadn’t even thrown the party it was one of his roommates that had the party and someone I didn’t even know!
Even though this was obviously not something he did to me intentionally he APOLOGIZED TO ME!! He told me how hurt he was that I didn’t come to him sooner. We had wasted so much time doing this when we could have been friends.
Oh shit! Now, who was the creep here? That’s right, ME. Did I ever make an assumption like that again? Absolutely not.
Hurt people, hurt people.
Everything is connected.
You are the only source of your “feelings” and the only one that has the control over how you react to situations throughout your life. You have the power.
I reduced this down from the whole world to just you and your place in this world because that’s how it starts…with just one person releasing their hatred of another human being. That will send ripples across the ponds in every borough.
So I’m with Haale and Scott…let’s tap into it and spread it around. CHANGE YOURSELF AND CHANGE THE WORLD ONE HEART, SOUL AND MIND AT A TIME. Take a moment right now and give yourself a mental inventory. If anything written here has made a dent in your mind and there is garbage to be taken out, then make that trip to the curb and “quit the nonsense!”
We are all alive…what a pleasure….what a gift.
- Handling passive-aggression in the workplace (procentus.wordpress.com)
- Consciousnesses, Narcissism and Passive-Aggressive Behavior (deadbeatpoetsf.wordpress.com)
- Coping With Passive Aggressive Behavior (neilwarner.wordpress.com)
- Self-Sabotage as Passive Aggression Toward the Self (Pt 5 of The “Logical Illogic” of the Psycho-Logical) (psychologytoday.com)
- How Can Passive Aggressive People Hurt You? (neilwarner.wordpress.com)