It’s The Quiet And Still Breath That I Forget

I woke up this morning, unsettled and restless.  The very homeless state that I had thought I’d settled into creating a place for worry and anxiety.  I don’t know when I will be back in my home.  I don’t know where my things are, I don’t know a lot of things right now.  So when I woke up I got dressed, went out, got a cup off coffee, came back to the house I am staying at, and got back into my pajamas.  This was a way of telling myself I had the right to rest today.  To get to pen and ink, to read, to be still, to think about the weekend which was probably too full.

I thought I had a wonderful idea this weekend.  And maybe it was, maybe I’m drained or just feeling melancholic, but I decided to drive this weekend and to stop when I felt like it, to turn around when I felt like it.  To be impetuous when I felt like it.  To be alone because I felt like it.  And hopefully to find myself on the road.  Picking up pieces of me that I wanted to grasp more tightly onto.  I make a pact with myself to throw something away every time I stopped.  And in the spirit of celebrating my own life I went out and bought my first digital camera (welcome to 1997 young lady) on the way out of town and I began the long process of throwing away a lot of trash I’ve accumulated in my van over a very long period of time and worsened by the removal from my home.

The general idea was to either go to Chattanooga (which is a city that is rich in art and beauty, only 2 hours away) or to drive south on I-65 until I felt like stopping.  Having not actually stopped in Alabama for anything but a bathroom break on tour, I chose to drive south on I-65 and see where I landed.

The journey would be warm and filled with sweat.  A bit like driving to Bakersfield from Fresno, but greener and filled less with the smell of cow manure.  I no longer have air conditioning in my van, so this is a plight I have grown accustomed to in the south.  The only real downfall being that I burn more gasoline with open windows than I would with the air on.  I digress… My first stop brought me to a monument in Alabama which was erected to Space exploration.  A giant Spaceship jutting into the blue summer sky.  I stopped at the rest stop and wrote for a while, emptied trash from my van and took pictures of the spaceship.I don’t want to bore you with unnecessary details of the trip.  And I’m still trying to process what it meant or what good is going to come from it.  But essentially I ended up exploring Historic Decatur, AL and taking tons and tons of pictures.  Mostly of homes and some really cliché pictures of flowers.  Why?  Because I can.  And I needed the time to be and to inspire myself and to be adventuresome, alone, and not in Nashville.

It was a good day.  But I think it gave me a really strong sense of the physical displacement that I’ve been feeling.  I came home to 2 days of my dog being totally stressed out and sad and this simply mirrored what I was picking up in myself as well.

I woke up to this thought:  I don’t know where I’m living or when I’ll be living there.  I feel tired and stressed out, under rested and over stimulated and hungry for peace and my own bed.  Hungry for my own life to start instead of just revving my engine.  I feel as though it’s been years since I’ve moved here and I’ve spent most of my time just staring at the starter, trying to get the guts to put my key in.  Now the key is in and I’ve just been listening to the engine run.  Wondering where to go and how to get started again.  

I’ve been learning to dream again.  Giving myself permission to hope and imagine.  But what about vision for the future?  Where is my vision?  And when is my passion going to overtake my peace?  I feel tons of stillness when I take the time to write but joy is like a dripping faucet and passion is something I’m afraid to get going perhaps?  And so I end up feeling more like a I might imagine a trappist monk must feel frequently.  Stuck and generally okay with it.  Zen in the fact that I feel tons of peace where I am but it is so uneasy.  And I fear that it could lead to complacency or even more, I fear that the circumstances will not change.  That I will not receive vision, that I will come up with my own lame idea and invest my talent and energy into it for no reason.

So I am processing through my wants and my desires and giving myself permission to dream.  Hoping that passion and vision kick in.  Hoping that this zombie like state I feel mired in comes to a close.  That I will have room to breathe.  Understanding of what’s coming next and the ability to move forward without hinderance.  To cry out against the darkness as a star does in the sky.  To present myself, wholly me, and to give hope to people who have no hope.

I have decided that service may be a key in all of this.  I noticed after last week (the week of my birthday) that I was feeling empty and self-centered.  My head full of what was important to me and me being celebrated.  My own weird expectations of others taking over but only in light of my own life.  I haven’t been disconnected from the flood situation but until today I didn’t feel like I could physically handle the stress of volunteering as I was dealing with trying to clean my own mess as a result of the displacement.  But my city is suffering and maybe it’s time to not manage my own emotions and mess but instead to bless others.  Could it be possible that by volunteering at a homeless shelter I might be able to have true perspective?  I think this is probably a key to this whole process of vision.  How in the world can I expect to receive vision when I am only looking at myself?

So tomorrow I begin stepping out into the unknown of my own future and my own vision.  Stepping up, somehow, to serve and making an attempt at not looking at my own messes until there is something I can physically do with them.  Like move back into my home.  I am homeless but not without shelter.  I am being tended to.  I am being blessed.  It is so important that I pour out what I am receiving so that others may receive as well.

So that’s that.  I guess that’s my conclusion for now.  Service may or may not provide vision.  But to do what is right is right and I have to trust that the rest will fall into place in its time or I have no hope at all.

I say all this because I can not be the only person in this place.  And maybe being open with where I am will help.  Maybe it won’t.  But it’s up.  It’s present.  It’s ready.  It’s a quiet and still breath that I’m breathing but I’m still breathing.

Kat Jones

A Flood Does Strange Things To The Heart

I am sitting in my local cafe right now.  Feeling noisy and crazy.  Trying to quiet my head and my heart.  The buzzing of human voices sits on every fence.  Life returning to normal for most, now that the houses have been emptied, the destruction counted, the lives not lost given thanks for.  But there are still overturned hearts in every direction.  Quietly, down the street, someone is still shoveling water out of his basement, someone is still grieving over the loss they’ve incurred.

I find the quick return to normal life disturbing.  Most of the city was in shock for a week.  However, it feels as though so many of those people have decided to all-to-quickly return to the grind.  I understand why.  I am even struggling to let myself have extra room to breathe.  And I am trying to figure out this place that the city is in.  As though, “Oh my God, the destruction… what happened to our city?” has turned into, “Oh my God, I need to get back to work.  I have a tour to book, and a record to finish, and business deals to complete, and product to push, and people to hire, and…” (I am listening to one of those conversations right now) But there seems to be so much injustice in this mentality.  What about the people without homes?  Why can’t we take time off our jobs to figure out what to do with the thousands of new homeless in the city?  What of sitting in ashes on the floor with our friends and grieving with them?  I am trying to make sense of all this.

I think I was hoping that Nashville would stop and re-evaluate for a moment.  And really I am praying that this WILL happen.  I was hoping that the constant ticking of bad art/commerce would turn into a slow quiet meditation on good art and what art is.  When the unnecessary linear pounding of the pavement proves to be worthless in the long term – how will you best spend your time?  How do you heal in a way that HEALS OTHER PEOPLE?  This is the art I am interested in seeing.  I fear that instead of slowing down and re-evaluating that the city will self medicate in self-promotion, fruitless and continued self-addiction produced art.

I hope I am not being too harsh.  I am merely using my blog to process today because I have got to get it out in a public forum in order to process it through all the way.  To have conversations about it.  To be heard without being interrupted.

I am facing my own stuff today.  Looking at my life.  Fighting the temptation to hit the grindstone as a way to control all the uncontrollable things that have happened over the last week and a half.  My apartment is in the process of being torn apart and re-built.  My personal belongings are scattered all over the city.  My clothes are in plastic bags and need to be folded and organized.  My dog is even stressed out which furthers my own stress and responsibilities.  I am not complaining.  I didn’t lose anything of value.  It’s just this being uprooted so suddenly which causes me to feel stressed and a little panicked.  I miss my quiet back yard and my quiet house.

But I had settled into my life perhaps too easily and too comfortably.  Not holding my own self lightly enough.  My surroundings with loose fingers.

I was caught off-guard and in a state of trying to get back up .  So what of this flood needs to shape this season?  How to I move forward in such a way that it brings healing to the lives around me?  How do I move into a place where I can do what I believe my voice is meant for?

In all this:  I will be debuting a new song tonight @ The Family Wash called Dear Apocalypse.   It won’t be perfect but I think it is necessary.

On another note:  Next week, May 20th, is my birthday and May 19th will be my birthday show at The Family Wash.  I hope you can come out.  The flood and being temporarily homeless may be postponing any and all birthday plans so I hope that you can come out if you’re in town.

All that said… I still don’t know what to say.

Here’s the poster for the residency.  Thanks to Ricardo Alessio for the design work and Mike Conway for doing the screen printing 🙂  These will be for sale @ The Family Wash for $6.00 if you’re interested.  I am unsure of where any of my merch is right now as it has all been suddenly packed by people other than myself and put into dark dungeons around the city.  🙂

Thanks everyone for everything.  Special Thanks To : Kelly and David Landry, Audra and Justin Harvey, Mike, Patricia, and Rose Majett, Mike Conway, Megan Morrisson, Amy Hall, Joe Pagetta, Chris Autry, David Michael White, Amy Wright, Troy Daugherty, Lori Joe Bridges, Ben Harms, everyone at the Anchor who helped organize trucks etc.  I know I’m forgetting someone and it’s ripping me up… but my brain is not working correctly.  I love you all!  Thank you so much for your help!