Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Archive for May 27th, 2007


Composing our own symphony 13

Posted on May 27, 2007 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Page: 1

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when I would spend days in the studio producing recordings with APO and other artists, I noticed that the moment I began a project, the very momentum of starting would just open me up creatively. I would be wide awake to nuances that seemed to be everywhere, giving me directions, hints, whispering advice on how and where to take the project and, more importantly, how to nurture it.

Disparate objects, themes, processes somehow found each other and came together to coalesce seamlessly. The hidden ties that made them seem unconnected would suddenly expose themselves.

There is a logic, or even a conspiracy that I invariably discover in times of intense and inspired creativity. It’s almost as if, because I said yes to it, the process unravels and takes me along with it. And it makes me and the project, creator and creature, indelibly linked.

It has been the same thing writing my books. Creative urges, plans and dreams, when paid attention to and given their proper respect, become animated and uncoil into vibrant reality with lives of their own. And with proper guidance, attention and love from a conscious active creator, they become anything from decent works to masterpieces. In all this, a strange and wonderful thing happens: the creator is recreated by his own creation!

During the past five years, and more so lately, I’ve been thinking of my life in the same way. At age 55, I am struck more and more by the unquestionable fact that every life is a creation. By whom, you may ask? How much of our own lives do we create ourselves?

Agreat majority of people do not feel they create their own lives because they are saddled by the history that came with it, for good or ill, and they are merely reacting to given stimuli. They unwittingly give up their creative powers and surrender to the status quo.

And there are others who live an embittered existence despite their talent, winning physical attributes and the wealth they were born with. They, too, are in denial of their creative gifts.

But there are the empowered ones who feel they are living the lives they aimed for and wanted in spite of the handicap of the situations they are in, such as poverty, abusive parents, battered childhood, physical handicaps, etc.

Each one acts out his life’s themes and we can see these in the way people live. There are endless themes to choose from. Some are driven by the insatiable accumulation of wealth, power, the pursuit of ambition, fame, sex and physical pleasures, travel, work and so forth. Every single day is purposely lived for the goal of acquisition. Others may be more interested in less materialistic pursuits of family, home, caring, love, friendship, etc. There are also those who live by more ascetic themes such as spirituality, prayer and religion. For the great many, their lives are a combination of these different themes.

Some may pursue wealth and career in their early years but plan on living the afternoon of their lives more focused on the family or the solitary activities of soul work. Indian culture has a template that allocates all these activities in different life stages.

Many live without even knowing what their themes are, or have not even felt the need to know. But you can be sure their lives express certain patterns and themes just the same.

As one gets older, there is an urgency to wake up to how one’s life is lived because we do not know how long we will be alive. Life is like a song played on the radio. You don’t know how many minutes a station will allot to it before it is interrupted with commercials. It may not even be played in toto.

Reviewing how my life has transpired so far, I can say that the following have been the major themes: career (APO), writing, performing and appreciation of music, family (my Paredes sibs and my own family), intellectual pursuits such as teaching and writing, and spiritual interests ranging from the Catholic faith I was born into to eastern religions and practices that I am still trying to synthesize into some kind of unity. Sometimes, my spiritual interest is so intense I feel like a God junkie.

There are also my political, social and cultural interests and the causes I have espoused and devoted time to, like the environment, the fight for democratic ideals, Filipino culture and education.

There are other themes that occasionally ebb and flow in the course of my life. They are what I call my “shadow themes.” Everyone has his own list. Mine includes excessive guilt, pettiness, superiority masking as idealism, procrastination, the need to please (learned in showbiz, for sure), the penchant for regretting, living in the past, lack of self-forgiveness (resulting in intolerance of others).

For some, the shadow themes are the big, dominant ones. They have addictions to conquer and “victim” mindsets to overcome and outgrow, and their story is one of struggle and hopefully, redemption in the end. Our shadow themes are important to recognize since we have paid a lot of attention to them and have nurtured them as well. To accept them could be the start of letting them go.

There are also minor themes such as hobbies, interests and time-occupiers like scuba diving (which I do less and less of), meditation, exercise, and many more that come and go.

But whatever the themes that dominate our lives, what is important is that we are the composers, the conscious creators of this large symphonic story that we are playing to the world. And each time we do, our music becomes someone else’s inspiration.

From where I am right now, I often remind myself to become more answerable and assume more responsibility and culpability for everything I do with what remains of my life. It is a scary thought to be responsible and have no one else to blame, but not to be responsible is scarier because it means other people will force you to live the lives they may impose on you.

It’s depressing to sing someone else’s song and pretend it is your own.

* * *

Come join the 32nd run of my cutting-edge workshop called “Tapping the Creative Universe.” Like hundreds who have taken this effective workshop, you will discover aspects of yourself that will surprise, delight and inspire you to achieve the greatness you were meant to in your life.

Sessions are June 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 31 M. Jhocson St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Tuition is P5,000. Call 426-5375 or write to emailjimp@gmail.com for further inquiries or a full syllabus.

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