How big is Now?

I sometimes think of the Now as a Universal – a large all-encompassing entity. That may be so, but it also operates on a personal and local level. Just pay attention.

A friend was on a website she rarely visits just to check on a kayak trip a friend was leading, and upon poking around a little, found an upcoming workshop with Paul Winter. She remembered that I had a transformative experience with him almost 20 years ago and sent me an email, less than 2 weeks before the event. I flipped at the opportunity to come full circle, having lived with his improv suggestions for so long. If she had not shared with me, I would have missed it, and she would not have gone alone. She did not email anybody but me.

Instead, we both deepened our comfort with playing the Now, in whatever form it may take – with an instrument, a poem, spontaneous song, a photograph, or by drawing or painting.

May you be listening the next time a small voice rises above the background noise of daily life!

My friend Linda and I in a jam with Paul Winter

My friend Linda and I in a jam with Paul Winter

Exquisite Silence

Exquisite Silence

Mountain ridge
panoramic view
sky draining of blue and white
and flowing
towards the brilliant orange fire
of sunset.

Distant lines
of hills and peaks
from smoky gray
to an inky purple,
in sharp relief
to the pale parchment
of the sky.

The colors write
their slow moving story
on my eyes,
which find patterns
in the golds
as well as
in the wispy grays.

My ears then trump it all
with a revelation –
I am bathed in perfect silence.

No sounds
of modern life
upon this gift,
no insects buzz,
no wind sighs.

And from this well
of deepest peace
a sense of oneness

There is no veil,
no barrier,
no difference at all.
Communion is served
to all my senses,
yet those senses
have been left behind.

The silence,
the dark,
the stillness,
all profound.

In this emptiness
are anchored
all sound,
all sight,
all motion.
Every sensation
born from naught.

The wind gently
pulls me back –
the sunset and I return.
less an object and observer
and more
love regarding love,
in different forms.

poem written by Blaise Kielar, March 2013


You can go home again!

Almost 19 years ago, I deepened my experience of freely improvised music with Paul Winter in a Living Music Village held at Omega. This past weekend he offered a shorter and similar workshop in Virginia. Again he kindled something profound in me, and an appreciation for how important it is to help others rediscover their innate spontaneous expression.  I truly enjoyed all the ways we all made music, even those who had no musical training. Given attentive listening, satisfying music can be made with 3 or 4 people without uttering one word of instruction or planning.

This idea has expanded in my experience to include all modes of expression. Viewing a sunset across a Virginia valley delivered such a profound experience that I wondered the next morning if perhaps there was a poem there. “Exquisite Sunrise” is presented elsewhere on this blog.

When I shared my belief that the medium of expression really doesn’t matter, it struck something in Paul. He said this was the opposite of what communication theorist Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” In my experience, to express what happens at any given moment, any medium of expression is fine. The Now can be expressed in music, words, dance, visual art, photography, or just in appreciative silence, alone or with others. The mere act of noticing and paying attention is enough.

After 3 days of guiding us in improv sessions, Paul Winter shares a smile with a fellow reed player.

After 3 days of guiding us in improv sessions, Paul Winter shares a smile with a fellow reed player.

It is around this idea that Players of Now seeks to form. May you have many moments when you can play with the Now!