Monday, August 30, 2010

"When the student is ready the teacher will appear".. Buddhist proverb

I have discovered that Julian's presence in my life has become my most powerful personal guru or teacher.

"A guru is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others (teacher). In Sanskrit gu means darkness & ru means light. As a principle for the development of consciousness it leads the creation from unreality to reality, from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. In its purest form this principle manifests on earth as a divine incarnation (saint), a person with supreme knowledge about God and all creation." wikipedia

My friend David mentioned that he thinks babies come from an outer realm, the baby planet, and they know ALL. We can just watch them and learn and absorb all of their, well, baby-ness and presence. Some say that the reason people are so taken by babies is because they have a direct connection to God. For me their sheer ability to be incredibly present constantly is such a teacher (and at times utterly exhausting). Whatever emotion, feeling, or state of being they experience they embody it with their whole body. Whole body -- breathing, laughing, giggling, crying, angry, sad, happy. They have no filters or blockages.

In the past 48 hours Julian went from being the most perfect baby on the planet (in my opinion) to a fussy, crying, non-sleeping (at all last night!), little ball of fury, then back to a giggling half ball of fury and half clown, flirting, squealing, and now back to little perfectness in the most angelic, cherub-like beautiful state that you've ever seen at 10 AM. And this is exactly why Julian is my guru and teacher.

Raising a child and witnessing the recovery of a stroke day by day is a bit like living inside a Zen koan.
"–noun, plural -ans, -an. Zen .
a nonsensical or paradoxical question to a student for which an answer is demanded, the stress of meditation on the question often being illuminating." dictionary

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Portland, ME Benefit/Celebration concert :: Aug 28th :: 8pm

Our Portland friends are pulling together an upcoming concert. Hope to see you there!

Save the date! August 28th 8PM

Benefit Concert/Celebration
for the Phil James Family Emergency Fund

Saturday, August 28, 8pm
Trinity Episcopal Church
580 Forest Ave, Portland

Admission by donation

Phil Nyokai James – shakuhachi and piano
Carl Dimow – flute
Nathan Kolosko – classical guitar
Danielle Langord – celtic harp
Nicole Rabata – celtic flute
Mark Tipton – jazz trumpet
Marita Kennedy-Castro – dance

For more information: Carl Dimow – 207-615-1550,

Phil Nyokai James is a recognized master of the Japanese flute, the shakuhachi, and also a wonderful pianist and composer. While driving from the Grand Canyon in Arizona this past January, Phil had a major stroke. Paralyzed, he lost control of the car. Sitting in the passenger seat next to him was his wife, Lara, seven months pregnant. In an incredible rush of adrenaline, Lara gained control of the car and prevented the family from heading off the icy road into the mountains. Far from any town and without phone reception, Lara pulled Phil from the driver’s seat and she drove until she saw headlights - and connected Phil with medical care.

Phil was initially very far gone and in acute rehab for weeks. He had minimal speech and no ability to read or write. His recovery has been slow, but steady. He and Lara were able to return to their home in Portland at the end of February, and Lara gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Julian, in early April.

At this point in time, Phil has regained a lot of physical control but still has aphasia and is working to regain his full speech capacity. Amazingly, and thanks to daily encouragement from Lara, he began playing shakuhachi within a week of the stroke. His musician friends have been stunned with how little the stroke affected his musical skills. Nevertheless, he is still recovering and has not been ready to return to a work life of teaching and performing. The family is struggling financially.

This concert is to raise money for Phil, Lara and Julian, but it’s also a celebration. This will be Phil’s first public performance since the stroke. He’ll be joined by a number of luminaries from various ends of the Portland music scene: Nicole Rabata and Danielle Langord playing celtic music; Carl Dimow and Nathan Kolosko playing Brazilian music; the wonderful jazz trumpet playing of Mark Tipton; and the exciting dancing of Marita Kennedy-Castro. The musicians will be working in a variety of combinations and Phil will appear as a soloist and with a variety of ensembles. This promises to be a unique, special and entertaining evening.

For more about Phil, the composer, performer and writer: