Saturday, December 3, 2011

Discord and harmony



There are 1,551 words about Robbie Robertson's song, The Weight in the Wikipedia entry. Robertson has a fan site that details the beginnings of The Band, origin of this classic.

Beyond having loved this song for years, hearing it performed by this group causes me to think more of the word harmony, and, by association, discord. The following fact will reveal me as the para-amnesiac I am. I forget to listen to music.

There is a history behind this which is complicated and of very little interest. Though I do sing when my tasks don't require all of my attention, I've grown away from a habit of intentionally brightening my life with music. I am working on doing that differently.

A friend's mention of Gillian Welsh led me to YouTube just before sleep last night, and I found the blended voices created a sense that was soothing, stilling, like a laying-on-of-hands. So much of what simply comes at us without our consent results in an effect so contradictory it seems almost too simple that, under the right conditions, with proper input, we can feel some of our overload drain away.

Doing Christmas, for that is how it feels, in a fashion that comes close to matching what is in my heart and not that toadstool-sprouting part of my mind, is a process of ignoring, avoiding and dismissing all that gives me the December whim-whams. It is a process of pruning, selecting, identifying and savoring, not getting caught up in what could set my hair on fire or reduce me to tears. The fact that the NBA lockout is over and Christmas day will include BASKETBALL is no small joy.

That this is no longer the 1950s, that I don't have, really, such things as Christmas wishes that involve gifts, that many pieces of the coming few weeks are very different than they once were do not grieve me any more. I have almost come to tolerate my indecision and pokiness about the gifts I make which are often delivered late. Christmas waits on the other side of a narrow plank that I cross with great care; care enhanced by harmony, by willfully remembering about music (not Christmas music), by taking suggestions from trusted friends as to what are reliable sources of peace, lowerers of blood pressure, raisers of spirits.

Discord can be measured by how far we tilt away from what is nourishing and mistake the mediocre - or worse - for a prevailing norm. We are intended, I absolutely believe, to be as unjangled as possible in each moment. The firm, gentle banishment of frenzy is to be sought not only in the midst of other people's aggressive jitterbug competitions, but daily, year 'round. It is a word upon which to ponder: harmony. Like any old friend, we will know it at once, no matter how long we've been apart.

22 comments:

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Ah yes...finding harmony...she can be good at hiding behind the house! I find the same feelings arise...I am at peace with the way I do things now. Going to the woods for branches and birds nests to put on the porch and feeling 'The Weight' lifting...these are two of my favorite singers, songwriters...cheers Marylinn

Penelope said...

Such good sense, Maylinn, thank you, as I wangle my way through the jangle onto the quiet, grassy path of harmony.

Melissa Green said...

Sigh. Harmony. Music. Voices blending in peaceful sounds. Thank you for describing so clearly how beautiful harmony is, how disrupting and hurtful discord can be to the heart. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kerry - Oh good, Ratty and Mole making a welcome appearance. It is such a perfect version of the song, though I loved seeing The Band perform it in THE LAST WALTZ. I still have one family member over whom I fret, somewhat, about my way of doing things but am gradually releasing that. I remember your sparkling photos from last year of the porch adornments. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Penelope - Sidestepping the jangle - and not even our own jangle. Sweet refrains lead us to the calmer path. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - It is the beauty of synchronicity, I suppose, that presented "The Weight" as the car which dropped harmony at my door, for there is a heaviness of heart, of limbs, of spirit when discord settles in. The image of Uriah Heep, ewww, and his mother, do pop to mind as intentional spreaders of discord. Much of the rest seems to simply go with the territory - human life. Thank goodness for peaceful sounds. xo

Elisabeth said...

Your thoughts here, and so beautifully expressed, are timely for me, too, Marylinn.

I'm trying to avoid the usual 'whim whams' of Christmas, with not too much success so far. Still I'm trying.

I'm glad to see the you're making more of a success of arriving at that state of harmony that I, for one, find so elusive.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elisabeth - Thank you. Finding harmony, as is true of most things, is a process. I think our first step is knowing that disharmony is taking up too much valuable space. The rest happens in increments, sometimes almost microscopically small. With Christmas, it has felt at times over the years like reclaiming stolen property. I hope your peaceful holiday is nearer than it seems. xo

Rubye Jack said...

I think much of harmony is not getting caught up in things, the drama that can be our lives if we let it. I like how you've said this here.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rubye - Thank you, happy to see you here. Drama feels to me like the flashpoint of discord, the reason why the wheels fall of the wagon. Thus we walk a bit to the side of and behind the main parade.

T. Clear said...

I found this post, and the language you use, to be marvelously soothing.

These lines especially:

"Discord can be measured by how far we tilt away from what is nourishing and mistake the mediocre - or worse - for a prevailing norm. We are intended, I absolutely believe, to be as unjangled as possible in each moment."

I'm guilty of mistaking the "worse" as the prevailing norm. Thank you for reminding me to tilt back towards that which is nourishing.

(I so very much needed this reminder, at this time.)

xo

grrl + dog said...

A good and gentle reminder to styay in your heart over this time.

Its easy to get swayed, glad you are centred enough to send that message out to all weho can hear it.

Your pond is rippling far..

Marylinn Kelly said...

T. - Thank you...it was what I needed to remember. That vortex of worse can pull us entirely off balance when there really is calm in which to rest and regenerate. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - Thank you. That's one of water's most astonishing features, the ripples. That and weightlessness. Wishing you days that are calm and bright in equal measure. xo

toomuchaugust said...

yes, tilt back towards what is nourishing. last week my daughter and i hurried off for a late dinner together at an irish pub. one thing came after another, but then- shhh!...what is that? a mandolin tuning in the corner of the pub. and then a banjo, a violin. our rush ended...we spent 2 hours listening to these gentle men quietly play at their table. i love what you said about music coming AT us instead of the other way. and christmas being at the end of a dark plank...surely you speak for me.

blessing to you, marylinn.

sherry

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Thank you, a blessing warmly received. The evening you described is exactly how I believe this particular brand of magic evolves. I hope there is a brighter light above the dark plank. xo

Kass said...

To feel peaceful and harmonious is a decision we forget to make amidst all the jangle bells.

Love your choice of words in this post.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. I spend a lot of time being still. I helps me remember there are choices. xo

Claire Beynon said...

What we need comes to us at just the right time. You are a messenger of harmony and the songs of hope and weightlessness, Marylinn.

Thank you for reposting this today xo

Patti said...

Now I can't even recall what directed me back to this post (big surprise) but it's such a great piece of writing and I can certainly relate!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Thank you. May I never cease to be amazed at the timing of things completely beyond any chance of my tinkering with them. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Patti - Thank you. I have forgotten so many of the threads that led me to hugely significant connections, as though the breadcrumbs were all gobbled by birds after I passed. Happy to see you here, to visit your blog again and to see some of your husband's art as well. xo