Monday, December 14, 2015

Benefits of Life - Memories of Ireland and Van Morrison....

Life is difficult enough for us all. We do not need to be adding to it. Or then perhaps, we do. We do need to pay attention, to experience, to see what is there. To see what can be there. That is what IS there for us to see, if only we can see it. Things that we may not perhaps notice, and should, could, if only we would, "see".

All the photos used in this blog today were shot by myself.

I have had an experience of that recently. It involved a recent trip, memories, and allowing myself to have "seen", then to have indulged, and finally to have appreciated.

There was a time when I may not have done all those things, to allow all those things, to feel those things. Being like that so diminishes the life we have to live though. When all we need to do is to allow ourselves to see what all is there, and not only what we choose to see that isn't all there truly can be, to see.

Relax, Breathe, Be....

Belfast graffiti
For years I've listened to Irish music both old and new, and thought about Ireland (my being part Irish and all).
Pavilion Pub Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
One day when I was in Belfast in Northern Ireland's UK region in September 2015, I was sitting in the Pavilion Pub on Ormeau Road. While I was drinking a pint the bartender and I got to talking. He told me that the week before the musician Van Morrison had been found by locals to be anonymously playing on a nearby street corner in a big hat.

I had missed him by just a week! Damn! Just like (but different) how I had just missed Marc Maron in Dublin the day after I had left there the week before on the train to Galway.

How cool that would have been to have been tooling around Belfast as I had been doing and just happened upon, to stumble into (and stumbling I was at times) upon the great Van Morrison, just playing there on a street corner.

You might feel like scoffing and say "sure, but you'd probably not have even noticed it was Van Morrison."

No, my friend. I think you'd be wrong there.

I pay attention to things like that. I notice quality. Sometimes in the of oddest places, the most unbelievable places. Even when I commuted to and from Seattle, a daily trip that used up four hours of my time each day in my car, on a bus, on a ferry and upon my feet, I would still stop at something wonderful and pay attention, toss some well deserved money, and share a smile.

I'd have noticed Van fucking Morrison my friends. I'd have noticed.

This goes back to many years ago. When I was quite miserable in my life. Someone, some friend told me that I needed to appreciate the small things in life. There is so much beauty and magic that surrounds us at all times, it is unbelieveable. Once you start to pay attention your day lightens.

There was something I once heard from horror F/X expert and actor Tom Savini about his reentry to the world after his experiences in Vietnam. During that war he was shooting photos of things for the Army. He shot everything, good and bad. One day after he was back home and the war was over for him he was driving along and saw a sunrise or a sunset, I don't quite remember. It was a year after he had returned home and he suddenly realized just how beautiful it was. It was then that his life turned around and he realized finally, that he was home once again.

We have to "see" the beautiful around us. It doesn't just walk up to us and say, "Hey, pay attention to me!" We have to notice it on our own warrant.

Our life lightens at those moments. A daily commute is a daily grind, or a continual experience of the amazing. It's up to us. At times when I was most miserable in my commute I would click a switch inside me and think about that. I would look around and never cease to find something fascinating, something beautiful, something wonderful or miraculous in some way.

In Dublin there is a poster in the Temple Bar district along the Icon Walk that says, "Van - Everyone agrees that you are THE MAN". But I didn't see that until I had returned to Dublin from Belfast. So I had to stop there, take a photo and remember my moment at the Pavilion Pub in Belfast.

Belfast graffiti
While I walked all over Belfast one day I purchased a new set of headphones at St. George's Market.

St. George's Market Belfast
My old pair had been disintegrating on my head.
Inside St. George's Market, Belfast
I walked all over town that day. Down alleys, around shopping districts, listening to music. I remember playing a Van Morrison album. So that now when I hear it I think of Belfast and Dublin.
Belfast alley
Just now I came downstairs after work in my home office to my TV room and I heard Moondance by Van Morrison playing. I was immediately taken back to Ireland and I had to smile. It was the first time since I got back that I felt that feeling. That feeling of hearing Van's music and not only feeling Ireland but being mentally and emotionally projected back into those lovely streets to feel the emotions I felt while walking alone there by myself, with something new to me at every turn.

White's Tavern bar
I found White's Tavern and walked up to the front door, entering and sitting at the bar. I had long waited to do that, long before I flew to Ireland. The oldest pub in Belfast.

I sat and had a Jamesons and a pint of Guinness in that ancient pub.

It reminded me of walking along the Lagan River and seeing the big fish sculpture for the first time at the Lagan Weir replacement footbridge.

Ten pence piece
My lucky ten pence piece I found middle of the street near Writer's Square.

steps at the Writers Square
It was one amazing thing after another.

My foot on that railing facing Writer's Square.

And behind me.
And closer.

I had an amazing time in Ireland and up north in the Belfast. I have to accept that Belfast is the UK I suppose. Since 1922. Regardless what Pádraic Pearse and friends did. And so it is. I find it sad that Ireland isn't whole, but then, it's all still a pretty wonderful place.

I just found it interesting to hear a song, after a usual day in my life back at home, and to be suddenly taken back so far away, so near in time, to such an amazing experience. To feel the feelings that made had me smile, had warmed me and given me such a complete sense of being.

River Liffy, Dublin, Ireland
Should that we all have the ability at some point in our lives to feel such feelings.

It can happen to any of us, anywhere, if we just let it. If you simply appreciate what it is we see around us all the time. We don't have to travel as far as Ireland, though I highly recommend it. If not Ireland, then somewhere you have always wanted to experience. Take the time, make the effort. The is more to life than simply what we do every day, day in and day out.

These things exist in our on home town, along our own daily paths, if we simply take the time to experience them.

Have a happy holiday season! Have a very Merry Christmas! This from an atheist. Have a happy whatever holiday you may be celebrating this time of year.

I wish you and yours well. I wish you all fond experiences and lovely memories. As long as you are doing things to add to the beauty of the our world and not the other.


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