I’ve just returned from an imaginary place, the verdant and mountainous film set for The Lord of the Rings. At least it all appeared to be fantasy while hiking in New Zealand, where we seemed to exist in that thin place between reality and imagination. Yet it is the very real and frightening movements of tectonic plates that created, and continues to shape, this otherworld of stony mountains, fern-filled forests, fathomless lakes and plunging fjords.
We have no limits in our imagination. What we see and hear and feel in our minds can take us to the heights of great joy or the depths of unbearable sorrow. It’s a place where we confront those things we are apprehensive about acknowledging out loud, whether they be our deepest desires or most disquieting fears. Imagination takes truth and reality and turns them into stories which entertain and illuminate. Or takes the absence of reality and creates something that had been previously…unimaginable! John Lennon asked us to imagine peace, and in that spirit let’s imagine justice for all and a world full of loving-kindness too. Imagination becomes reality in magical New Zealand, which makes me wonder if just maybe all things are actually possible.
I’ve lived with Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” for a long time now. More than half my lifetime. I would pull them out periodically, feeling that I was revisiting an old friend, but a friend who always has something new to share. I began thinking about Bach and mindfulness last year in a way that meant something to me. Each variation became linked in my mind with a word and that word became something like the “intention” that yoga students are sometimes asked to set for their practice. A word to mediate on and to help draw more from within. For the next 32 weeks I will post one of the variations and write about the word I associated with the music. Sometimes a connection will seem obvious, but more often it will be unexplainable. It became apparent as I worked on this project that I thought about things which I wanted to cultivate in myself, ways of being in the world that were positive. All of the recordings are to be made in my living room, playing the 9 foot Steinway that was gifted to me on January 5, 2016.