Monthly Archives: June 2013

I Can’t Keep Up…

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Well, funny how one minute you are essential, and the next you are being shown to the curb. Lost a job today that I had been told was going to last for years, a job in which I was made to feel essential for a lifetime. It’s funny how quickly people forget that you are essential. This is a job in which the client was going about telling people how I changed their life… which I did, and now, they just can’t afford my weekly fee, which was actually lower than what I was comfortable accepting all along. This is why I do not trust any situation as being stable. This may explain to some of my other employers and collaborators why I can NEVER relax in the certainty of my essentialness. This has happened so often, one minute I’m told I’m essential, life changing, the best, trustworthy. One minute praised for never missing a deadline, told how good my work is, and the next, “Sorry… really sorry… but…”

Well, “sorry” don’t pay the bills, no matter how much sugar your cover it with nor how much regret you inflect in your tone. No, it seems that it doesn’t fundamentally pay to be “essential,” problem is, I seem to have a hard time figuring out what does, nor what will pay the bills. Evidently whatever I have to offer, either as a teacher, artist, musician, or housekeeper it’s just not enough.

So far, certainty and a feeling of being essential has proven to be nothing more than an illusion, which is why I am all the more committed to being myself, being Justine, being bold, devotedly barefoot, and uncompromising. I don’t believe in seeking certainty or stability, rather sustainability, a life that demands little cash, and joy in what it means to live a life that is purely based upon my own vision of who I am and what I want.

For years my mother harped on me about certainty, about making safe choices, seeking reliability… well, if we’ve learned anything over the last couple decades it is that there is no certainty. Nope, health, home, work, it can all go with one little tumor, one little whim of a client, one foreclosure letter. The days are mine, I am not trading them off for the illusion of certainty, and I no longer believe that I am “essential” to anyone, at least so far as employment is concerned.

Barefoot Justine & Tica Douglas Gig…

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Well, Tica was great! I, on the other hand, really struggled. I had a major equipment malfunction (with my effects pedals and electric), could not hear myself over the air conditioning unit cooling the Co-op, and my face was dripping with Florida sweat. In a very sweet and mostly effective attempt to help, Joe set out a fan, but my hair just kept blowing into my sweat and lipstick… AAAARRGH! Well, I was so worried about my face melting that I just couldn’t focus. What, me shallow and vain? Eh, the gigs can’t always be glorious, at least I killed at the CMC a month or so back. But not in the courtyard the other night, I played sloppily, sang shrilly, and just couldn’t keep it together. Upside: it wasn’t stagefright that got me this time, just everything else. It was OK, but if I were in the audience I doubt I’d be in a hurry to come to any more of my gigs. Anyhow, here’s an appropriate pic from the gig.

Me (Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen) appropriately enshrouded in darkness and psychedelia.

Me (Barefoot Justine Mara Andersen) appropriately enshrouded in darkness and psychedelia.

Tampa Hindu Temple, Barefoot Justine and Joe Courter

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“God looks after you especially,” said my fortune cookie. I don’t care for them (fortune cookies, I do care about Gods), and as a rule I disregard them, but when I feel compelled (as I did the last time I found a suitable fortune) I will open them. I had just been to the Hindu Temple in Tampa yesterday, so today I checked my fortune cookie, and it seemed rather auspicious, considering. Plus, it directly echoed a sentiment my Priest at the Temple back in Ohio had said to me when I told him why I was converting (you know, signs and visions), to which the Priest told me “God is speaking to you.” Of course, I don’t really know what any of this means, and I haven’t got quite enough ego to feel especially looked after or spoken to, but the symmetry was inspiring.

Joe Courter took me to the Temple, so it was a nice day all the way around, and oh so needed for me, as I have been slipping off my center… something that happens when you have no spiritual community, i.e. a local Temple. So it was that I went seeking a reconnection with my center, with God… that was the point to the journey, so you see, the timing in the message of this fortune cookie seems, again, rather auspicious. And this, below, was the first view we had of the Temple upon leaving the car:

First view when Barefoot Justine and Joe left the car, Tampa Hindu Temple

First view when Barefoot Justine and Joe left the car, Tampa Hindu Temple

Quite dazzling, quite lovely, and perhaps the closest I will ever get to a real Hindu Temple in India. All of the views were dazzling, unfortunately I do not have a great picture of the pyramid-like climb that leads to the inner sanctum, but this is the impressive tower that looms over you as you climb, a view that essentially blots out any and all unholy thoughts… like the hand of Shiva knocking spiritual sense into a woman so involved in the trappings of the material world, mired in Maya.

Impressive tower details from Barefoot Justine and Joe's trip to the Tampa Temple

Impressive tower details from Barefoot Justine and Joe’s trip to the Tampa Temple

OK, so it’s not the whole tower, but it is a lovely close-up, this is what the tower looked like from our approach…

Barefoot Justine and Joe Courter's Temple visit, tower view

Barefoot Justine and Joe Courter’s Temple visit, tower view

Of course I felt my center, and it was not only right where I’d left it (right there at the third eye), but it was also warming me from the Godhead out. The sense of peace I had enjoyed so much at the Temple in Ohio returned, it was a feeling I had longed for and all-but forgotten. It’s a feeling of undistracted purity. Of course, we had gotten there too early, so we could not yet get in, and, of course, no photography was allowed inside… for good obvious reasons, what a bummer that would be, a gaggle of gawking slack-jawed yokuls snapping pictures and making peace signs for their friends back home. So I took a couple more shots of the Deities on the outside, including Lord Ganesha who keeps watch and showers blessings from his post over the door to the inner chamber.

Lord Ganesha!

Lord Ganesha!

Lovely!

Lovely!

It was actually quite nice to be there so early and to be able to spend so much time around the outside of this glorious Temple.

As a fairly recent convert, I have had to learn a lot of things about Hinduism and Temple etiquette through trial and error, for one, you are supposed to enter Temples barefoot, but are not supposed to bring any dirt from the outside world into the Temple, iether in your mind or on your feet, and since I’m always barefoot all the time, I now carry wet rags or wipes to clean the bottoms of my feet before entering. And then, when I’m done with it, of course, I stuff the rag in my purse, forget about it and later wonder why everything’s all wet. I also think I breached etiquette this time by forgetting a small bit of leather that I was wearing, but I’ve seen a lot of Real Hindus forget this, so I don’t feel so bad about it.

And was my mission accomplished? Well, my center returned to me, and I feel all the more aware of God, and the fortune was, to my mind, one more reminder that this is where I am supposed to be. God works in mysterious ways, sometimes, even showing up in fortune cookies… but only if you know when to open them.

As for me, I hope to spend more time at my altar, more time meditation and chanting, but it won’t be easy, not without a Temple nearby. at 2.5 hours away, I am sad to realize that I will rarely get to the Temple, and I will have to continue finding my center alone out here, so far from others who share my faith. But I do know this, that my center is there, the Gods are there, and it is up to me entirely to believe, pray, and stay on my often elusive center.

Thank you Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Durga.

Message From Bill Bryson

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Hey gang, found this lovely message from Bill Bryson today… he was listening to my show (Get On the Right Thing: growradio.org, Thursdays 11am) while recovering from a very grave illness (that’s in there for the folks back in Ohio who don’t know about it).

“The tunes are good for my healing, thanks Justine.” Bill Bryson.

Well, that’s the most meaningful comment I’ve ever gotten on one of my shows. Get well Bill!

I’ve always said that the truly great artists are Shaman/healers… and this just backs that up for me. Plus, McCartney exudes hope and positive energy as a matter of course. And until Bill’s out, healthy, and back among us, I’m only playing these kinds of tunes on my show… and that’s a promise!