So lucky am I and heavy with blessings my being can barely hold, for my capacity to honor the weight of such beauty and bounty is burst and shuddering like a dry levy up against spring storms--and stormed am I by gifts and grace unlooked for, and the love of new friendship and generosity of strangers!
Sometimes I seize beauty passing through and around me as my own, a pirate pixie claiming her due and bounty, but sometimes, I find myself ambushed by goodwill and deep acceptance, arriving in my life like a surprise party of my closest friends on a day I'm feeling down--only it turns out that most of my closest friends are people I've just met, but maybe I've known them throughout time, and our meeting in the flesh in this or that moment strikes like a dream made flesh, feels like coverings ripped from longings long buried--the chronic pain one doesn't feel until relief is granted--an ever present hunger one can't name until satiation arrives unannounced, stilling a gnaw, filling a convexness in your being, a cupped hand filled with another--not knowing what the bowl was for until you find it spilling over--the feeling of meeting a friend from another long-ago life, reunion in absence of anticipation and expectation, leaving space for a gate to lean open inside you, tenderness spilling out, knees buckled, surrendering into a home you didn't know you needed--into the arms of that which is you outside of you--reunion and communion with kindred new and old--the new feels familiar and the familiar feels new and budding evermore.
This is what it feels like to play an impromptu show in a tiny house built beautifully, sound, solid and illegally in a backyard in Berkeley, CA--invited on the generous whim of those who belong to a community of dancers, musicians, urban farmers, jugglers, clowns, designers of bodily adornment, nurturers of magic, growers of joy, believers in a gift-based society, meditators, mediators, dreamers, lovers, writers, nudists, folks who believe in process, inclusiveness, social activists, socialists, communal livers--the labels I try to tack on the members of my interweaving, ever-expanding circles of tribes--I am so lucky.
Last night, I was again blessed by a rapt audience, a group of beings giving me the most generous gift anyone can give--their absolute attention and presence--ready to bear witness to my testimonies of my little journey--ready to listen to the shapes I've experienced as a single thread woven into the great tapestry of the All-That-Is, transmitted in the best medium I know: magic music magic. I process my experience through sound--rhythm and pitch, wavelengths and frequencies, echoed throughout all that lives or has been alive, passing through me and translated into a form all humans can feel no matter what their native tongue. I do not judge myself for the strange shapes my songs take--it would be like being embarrassed for being a thing that breathes--I feel myself both best expressed in songs and yet apart from their creation, me, a living conduit, only just able to vibrate with inspirations born from what already exists passing through invisible planes in the air--perhaps formed from collective consciousness, perhaps pouring from divine wells--streams from our future selves fusing with the currents of our pasts. . . music is a way to experience the sum of us all, and if I can be a part of such experiences, I am deeply honored, and if I am given the chance to share such experiences, I often get nervous, hoping I do not falter at the alter of performance, hoping I have translated my own story truthfully enough for it to resound in the solar plexus of many others. And if I falter, I hope I at least can catch myself with the safety net of levity--expressing the knowledge that the attempt to share divine explorations(songs) can be an absurd task, like so many other tasks, like the whole of life--absurd, hilarious, awesome, overwhelming with possibility--that is to say: along with hoping people like my songs, I hope that when I fuck up, at least I can fuck up happily/hilariously--transmitting the idea of what I'd tried to do, whilst celebrating my human trait of inconsistency, misstepping, falling down. When we fall, may we each laugh out loud--accepting we can't control all the factors which shape our paths--instead of hoping no one saw us fall, lovingly aiding permissions for our essential humanness--for the more familiar we are with different ways of inevitable falling, perhaps the more comfortable we will be with reality, and thus all the more educated in how to rise again and again and to help each other do so.
Oh boy, yes, look at those paragraphs, helplessly ornate in a classic Karen style as she is feeling so many feelings she feels she must try to paste them outside of herself in attempt to unload and give them names and offer up what others may find useful of her own experience. Not sure why I'm feeling so third-person right now. . .
That is, to further explain: I had an amazing time singing for a rapt audience at a Berkeley house concert last night. I embraced new and old friends alike--kissed and hugged them all, as I felt not only honored to be in their presence but to have been accepted and heard by their noble enlightened selves. There was homemade soup beforehand--enough for all present bellies to be filled. I opened for Months of Indecision--a duo based out of Olympia, WA--Sox on guitar, Ely on cello--both sang with unabashed emotionality and rich pitch, ringing tones of spectrum grand, though Sox's soulful bellowing shook the rafters and our hearts as one, and exquisite playing by both--my god, their songs brought me to tears, dly's cello had me quaking quiet sobs as I sat next to my professional mime-clown-sword-swallowing pal Justin, on the floor in a pile of other beautiful breathing bodies. My right leg, whose knee has been troubled, I had to stretch out, and it was happily intertwined during most of Month of Indecision's set with three other legs belonging to three newly met friends. Many thanks to Kim the luminous dancer, donned in Dolly Parten-esque casual dance-wear, for her powerful, loving, gracious hosting. After the show, a dance party was had in the big house, in the kitchen, and we shook and wove and waved and jiggled our bodies, like the angels and divine strange ones we are until the wee hours. At one point I stood by my friend Alexa, resting on a stuffed chair in the corner, and she said something to the tune of echoing my thoughts--look at all these amazing beautiful people--I am so lucky to be among them, to be one of them! And that is the feeling I described in the first two paragraphs--the moment of realizing you are home, once again, in a place you've never been before, in love with new friends who have welcomed you into their tribe as if you're place was waiting for you all along, and will wait for you while you are gone again to the next place you've never been, to share your songs with a new group of strangers, ever-hoping to gather more evidence for the theory: we are indeed all connected; and our stories and experiences reflect those of all others; we all have the capacity to affirm and support each others journeys, if we manage to take the time and make the space, such acceptance multiplies the abundance of gifts; love is limitless, flowing from where it is nurtured; art is god in motion; we are god; sharing and kindness and listening is the way to peace; being a traveling performer is all I want to do--it highlights the meaning of life wherever I wander, and it affirms the thought that I do indeed have something of value to share.
Thank you to everyone who danced with me and touched me and bought my music and gave me tips on with whom to connect in New Orleans. Thank you for your attention and presence and kind words, telling me that my songs or words affirmed your own meaning and way of love in this life. What have I done but be myself to deserve so much joy and love? We all deserve such blessing! xoxoxo Thank you thank you thank you, friends! Y'all are astoundingly exquisite :)
I am in Oakland, California. At the home of my gracious dear friends Shareef and Claire.
I set off from Bellingham, in hurried flight via Hermes, the Magic Music Magic time traveling machine--a harried toil of a journey south due to Hermes' need to go slow and carefully, his body being more sensitive than other road machine creatures.
I've got good news and I've got bad news.
The good news is when I paused in Eugene, Oregon, last Monday, I WROTE THE BEST PIECE OF NON-MUSICAL WRITING I HAVE EVER WRIT. I WROTE THE BEST BLOG ENTRY EVER!
It was exquisite. I made myself write straight onto the website so that I wouldn't be tempted to take time editing and possibly not-posted a blog entry at all. 'Twas a lightening session of writing for about 22 minutes. I somehow managed to encapsulate all that anyone would ever want in a blog post--it was short and concise, and transcended the sum of it's parts, all at once humerously self-aware, pondering, yet not delusional, frank, yet not jarring, vulnerable and emotive, yet focused and rooted and and and and it was absolutely inspired from a pressure cooker of my state in that present moment--describing my thoughts in effortless simplicity, somehow capturing my unusual awareness in that moment and presenting in the most accessible fashion I have ever managed.
Bad news is that when I clicked on the "publish" button, sometime in that 22 minutes of writing, the Whole Foods wifi kicked me off its network, and the genius expression the universe had gifted me was forever lost. I wept for a brief moment at the shocking loss to humanity. Then I numbly dried my tears, as I rose to use the restroom and pack up my stuff, and thought about how useless it is to cry over spilt milk. When I shut the restroom door behind me, I cried again--alas, could it be the technology gods are indeed wary of my Kunkel powers and working against me? must I always lose my words, records, writings when the opportunity to lose them arises? I am sorry for you, my dear fans, and the fans-which-might-have-been-and-never-will-be, for our loss--you will just have to imagine the wonder and greatness of your blog-dreams made virtual flesh.
LUCKILY for us all, I am not deterred by momentary misfortune. I will forever mourn that blog post--it was not in my usual style of prose for it born from a very unusual state-of-being, which I am now unable to describe to you--and not even close to how I did then--for it has now left me and us.
LUCKILY for us all, I have great faith--yay, verily, great certainty--that the inspirations of the universe are endless, and if I but remain open to the flow which can seize my being, and if I but continue to bend to its needs--to write when the call beckons, to sing when I feel the song! to run when my gut says to fly!--and if I continue to not hesitate! to create without judgment! to act without planning the outcome! to share my thoughts and experiences, in whatever form the universe pours them, without shame nor anything like it! and continue to post blogs without editing! as long as I do these things. . . I know all will be well. . . that I will discover new gifts in multi-various forms and I will continue to learn and grow and relay, from time to time, something which someone somewhere in the world greatly needs.
Much has happened between that moment of expression in Eugene and my current moment now, four days later, in Oakland. I will tell you all about it quite soon. But right now, my dear Shareef says a donut shop is beckoning. And I know it is time for me to pause this rambling, to hit "publish" without looking back, and to be present with a wise and ever-evolving being, a friend who has always let me come and go in all my forms into their life as I will and when I have need.