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Why Are We Here?

Why are we here? Life’s big question… Huh?

I tend to be dramatic, theatrical. I visualize and day dream as if a movie is running constantly through my head, frame by frame.

So let me share my newest screenplay with you…

Picture something out of The Matrix or Avatar. What if our character’s divine purpose is to touch just one specific person, finding them by weaving through the web of society, dashing about, flitting from one person to another not knowing who is ‘it’. Like a supernal game of tag. What if life is not about our needs at all, but to solely fulfill that divine purpose of finding “The One” we are put here to ‘touch’? Picture life as a real life game of Pacman or some video game where you have to find the Princess through all the obstacles.

And… What pray tell, would the reward be for such a find? Well…. Heaven of course. What if we saw death as a reward and not as a sentence? Death would be the gold medal we get, that catapults us into a non-physical state of euphoria and peace. It would bring us back “home” to our true security and comfort. And the minute we touch “The One”, we die.
See, I told you I was dramatic!!

I used to wonder why my dad’s life was cut short at age 37 of a heart attack. He was a good guy, not just your average good guy, he was an episcopal priest, political activist, forward thinking, gregarious, outgoing man in the 1960’s who stood up for civil rights and touch hundreds of people with his pastoral care and welcoming hand. I never knew my dad, as I was only 15 mos old when he died, but I feel like I know him from the countless beautiful stories told by his parishioners and friends that he touched; and the brave tales of him standing up for others in the face of bullies. This small, 5’6″, slight of build, healthy, fit, tough yet kind guy could disarm you with a smile. He marched with Martin Luther King and stood for inclusion and equality for all.
So Why?? Why would HE die? Why would this virtually healthy guy who had so much to live for, who was hell bent on changing the world, why would he be dealt such a shitty hand?

I started to think about life and death. Why do we die? And what determines our time of death?
Now this is just my humble, human perspective, and my dramatic, theatrical vision, but….
what if my dad’s divine purpose was to touch one specific person. Perhaps the woman he visited in the hospital that afternoon, or the homeless man he gave money to on his way home, or the paperwork he filed that morning securing his family’s financial future.
Perhaps one of those things was his divine purpose and once it was done he was rewarded with death, with going back “home” to the most amazing place of love and peace.
He did his divine duty and won the gold medal.
Now, If that is so, why weep? Why mourn? Why not celebrate? Yes his presence is missed, after all he was larger than life, but perhaps we are the ones that need to change our mindset regarding loss. And perhaps our duty, as the loved ones left behind, is to pass on that energy of love to the next person.

You see… Maybe life is not about what we want, or what we feel we need to achieve; the success, the money, the things. Maybe our life is not about ‘us’ but about ‘them'; searching high and low for “The One” amidst the crazy tangled web of society, so that when we do find them we too get the gold medal?

Now, I know it’s difficult to make sense of a loved one’s death. Especially a child or an ‘innocent’. I’m certainly not trying to dismiss the pain a parent must feel. Mourning anyone is difficult, especially a child. It seems so random and useless. But perhaps if we look at any death, all death as a success. They’ve done their job, they’ve fulfilled their divine purpose, and now our charge is to take their love & example and spread it forward throughout the world in search of our person. Imagine the effect.

Imagine if we lived our lives in search of that one person we need to touch in order to win the gold medal. Our thought process, our actions, our demeanor, our whole lives would be so different. We’d be more mindful, more caring, constantly touching everyone with love so that we can get the reward that much sooner!! If our life’s objective is to find the needle in the haystack on the way to the promise land, how would we behave in our day to day?

Would we waste time squirreling money away for a vacation? Would we cry if we didn’t get that promotion or that corner office? Would we spend hours at our computer on Facebook or playing video games alone in our room?
Or … would we be out in the world, frantically trying to connect with as many people as possible in order to find “The One” and win the grand prize?
The global ramifications of such an agenda are staggering. Bordering on world peace!!
Ok ok, I’m getting dramatic again.
But it certainly would alter the current current of greed and selfish behavior so prevalent in our world today.

What if we flipped our view on death, on life, on our needs, on our purpose?

Why are we here?
It’s not WHY are we here, but THAT we are here.
That we may find “The One” to touch.
Happy hunting.

:-)

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Mental Health & Gun Control

I loved Michael Moore’s thoughtful and reverent Christmas Eve Newsletter this year.  Regarding Gun Control and it’s factors, it is quite accurate! However it misses one key point in the conversation about Gun Control and Mental Illness.

Every mass shooting gunman has had one thing in common… they were all on prescription drugs for behavioral issues since their youth.
I believe we need to re-evaluate the root of our behavioral issues in our kids today and not just ‘quick fix’ it with a drug in an effort to keep a ‘wild’ child well behaved.

I know of too many over worked, tired and frustrated parents who’s kids are on adderall or ritalin in an effort to keep them docile. On top of which these kids are given video games (often violent in nature) to occupy their time or to keep them quiet & calm in the back seat or even at the dinner table.

And just what is on that Dinner Table? Well for one, our food supply is rife with chemicals, hormones, & toxins. Yes, we attribute it to the increase in cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but what about rage, depression, anxiety, ADHD?  Did you know that autism is up over 200% in boys over the last decade? And no one is asking why.

I believe gun control begins with a healthier society both mentally & physically.

Suppressed energy turns into rage. Children need an outlet for their energy and creativity. Children don’t play in the streets anymore, they don’t run around in the back yard, they don’t even have artistic ways of expressing themselves anymore. Their lifestyle and activity fits in the size of an iPad.
The “zombie factor” is not only fattening and dumbing down our children, it’s creating monsters like Adam Lanza, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold and James Holmes.

While it’s great that the Gun Control debate casts a very well needed light on Mental Health, my concern is that the drug companies will capitalize on this tragedy and advance their need for more prescription drug sales.
Mental Illness, Behavioral Patters and Psychosis are not exact sciences yet. And already, doctors are far to swift with the prescription pen due to drug company bonuses and bribes. Perhaps we should look at our environment and our societal behavior for the cause before we cover the symptom with a pill.

Let’s be careful and not be too quick to label a stifled, toxic child as a ‘problem child’, thus rendering them to a life of MAOI’s and anti-depressants with side effects such as anxiety, depression, migraines & mass murder.

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What is Gun Control?

In light of the recent shootings at the OH Shopping Mall and Elementary School in CT the conversation has turned to gun control.
Just what is the answer? Here are my thoughts. They were inspired by a Facebook post from Comedian and friend Beth Lapides.

Laughing is gun control. Taking a breath is gun control. Not beating yourself up is gun control. Having self control is gun control. Eating well is gun control. Not cutting people off in traffic is gun control. Not caring if people cut you off in traffic is gun control. Apologizing quickly & instantly for bad behavior is gun control. Hugging is gun control. Singing, dancing, painting is gun control. Education is gun control. Looking each other in the eyes while talking, passing by, or even while sitting on a bus is gun control. Holding a door open for a stranger is gun control. Smiling at each other is gun control. Compassion is gun control. Not detaching ourselves from one another IS gun control.

*Connection
*Communication
*Kindness
*Respect
*Compassion
*Arts Education
*Civic Duty.
These are the tools and the foundation for gun control.

We create a detached, ignorant, sick & violent society when we do things like: eliminate Arts Education and Civics classes from public schools; put chemicals and hormones in our food supply; reward bad behavior through ‘reality television’ and ‘sensationalist news’, celebrate greed and strive for riches rather than peace; when we don’t hold responsible our corporations, government, leaders, executives and even each other; when we allow bigotry and racism, fear and consumption,  bullying and ridicule.  These are detrimental to our human existence.

Removing AK47′s from the streets and even from people’s homes would help, yes, but it’s not the answer.
Raising our standards of education, compassion and connection is the only way violence will cease to be.

May the families find strength to move forward. May they find solace through the holidays.
And may we finally learn from these tragic events and come together as one human family.

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Updated Blog

I’ve switched over from Blogger to WordPress. Unfortunately you cant post retroactively so I’ve had to repost old posts here. But it was actually fun to go down memory lane. Hope you enjoy these old stories!!

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I’m a Bitch… according to Keith Richards (archive 2007)

Me & Keith Richards

 

Johnnie Johnson was in town, and playing at Chicago Blues…. 
I picked him up at the airport, like I usually do. I sat in on Friday night, like I usually do. I met him Saturday Afternoon for lunch, like we usually do. (Sylvia’s in Harlem) Went to see him play Saturday night, like I usually do. And who walked in…… Keith Richards. He sat in for the first set, it was amazing! I went backstage in between sets and Johnnie grabbed my arm, pulled me over to Keith and introduced me as his favorite keyboard player. Keith and I were joking around and talking, laughing, even singing old standards like ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and “Satin Doll”. Just me, Johnnie and Keith! I told Keith I am a student of Johnnie’s. He said “Aren’t we all!” Then, they all went up for the second set. Jimmy Vivino and Keith were dueling on the guitars. And Jimmy kept the pace going, singing one song right after another. Then, Jimmy started singing “Johnnie Be Goode” which, during the chorus, “Go Johnnie, Go!”, is usually Johnnie’s cue to get up and wave good-bye to the audience and go. Well……… Johnnie didn’t go. At the end of the song, Johnnie just waited for the crowds to calm down. He paused and said over the mike, “It’s not fair. There have been two guitar players up here all night and only one keyboard player. I think we need to have TWO keyboards. C’mon Do..a” Well, I jumped so high out of my seat, flew up on stage, and sat next to Johnnie at the piano. We boogied together. Then Johnnie got up from the piano and stood back behind me and put his arms out as if to say “watch this girl go!” As soon as Johnnie stopped playing and I was playing the piano alone, Keith turned around and looked at me and stopped playing guitar for a moment. He actually let go of his guitar and, if it wasn’t strapped on, I think he would have dropped it. His mouth dropped open and a big grin came over his face, and with pride, he looked me right in the eye and said (with his Austin Powers accent) “You’re a bitch!” I don’t know how this translates in writing but it was DEFINITELY a compliment!!!! (like, you’re a bitch on the keys!) After a while Johnnie came back and boogied with me again. Jimmy Vivino came over and sandwiched me between himself and Johnnie and then Keith came over and started hittin’ the keys, too. The four of us on one keyboard! Then, Johnnie got up and waved to the crowd and started off stage while the band kept playing. It was like he passed the torch to me and said “take it away, kid”. He left the stage and left me at the piano to finish the song. When the music ended, Keith came over to me and gave me a big bear hug! Then his “personal assistant” came up to the stage and whisked him out of the club and into a car. It was the greatest night of my life!

- Doña

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An Audience with the Prince (archive 2007)

An Audience With The Prince

 

While on vacation in LA , my cousin, Jennifer & I decided to do the tourist thing and have drinks at the Beverly Hills hotel.

They sat us in the piano bar area. As we sipped on a $10 bottle of water, $7 coffees & $11 chocolate cake, I looked up and sitting directly across from me was none other than PRINCE!!! THE ARTIST!!

I turned to my cousin and I said, “I’m about to get thrown out of the Beverly Hills Hotel!”, She said, “WHAT? WHY?”

Pointing to Prince I said, “Well, there is one of the greatest musicians of our lifetime, and over there is a grand piano not being used. I’m gonna audition for Prince!”

After going back and forth, discussing the possible ramifications, Jennifer said that I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t do it. So I got up from my seat, my legs felt like lead. I was so nervous. Jennifer, too, was so nervous for me, that she started choking on her $10 water.

I walked over to the piano and raised the lid, sat down and hit the first chord and started singing my song “He’s My Baby”. I got 2 lines out when the Hostess approached me and said, “Did one of our guests ask you to sing for them?”

While still playing I said “No” and then I sang another line of the song. The Hostess then said that she’s gonna have to ask me to stop because one of the guests requires quiet at this time. While still playing, I replied, “OK” and then sang one more line before finally getting up and walking back over to my table. I was so VERKLEMPT that I couldn’t think fast enough. I did not have any business cards on me and I was so flustered I didn’t think about writing my number down. I just looked over at Prince, who caught my eye and then quickly looked back down at his plate. Whew

Jennifer said that while I was playing, Prince’s bodyguard (who’s back was to me) turned around in his chair and started bopping his head. And that everyone in the room was watching and bopping their heads. When I returned to my table the bartender approached me with a huge grin and said “WOW, that took a lot of guts. We were all enjoying it. Why did you stop?” I explained that I was asked to by the Hostess. Suddenly the Hostess came running over and said, “It’s not that you weren’t good, but I had to do my job”. I said, “I know, but I had to take a chance”. Winking at me, she said, “I know you did”.

While I regret that I didn’t get to follow up and give Prince my contact info, I did sing for him. it was a great moment.

AND I DIDN’T GET THROWN OUT OF THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL!!!!

Doña

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My 2 days with Ewan McGreggor!! (archive 2007)

My 2 Days With Ewan McGreggor!!

Sunday:
We were scheduled to play at the Lincoln Avenue Street Fair, in Chicago. The day started off slow. First time slot, so there weren’t many people on the street. While I’m playing a small crowd starts to gather. I noticed a man walking up towards the stage, who looked familiar, almost like one of my family members. He really grabbed my attention, but I could not place him. He was a fully bearded, scruffy, wearing a Biker outfit. Obviously European. Very charismatic. He was bopping to the music and smiling. Just then I noticed a professional cameraman filming He whom I call the Bearded One. Then, I saw another cameraman. I tried to place the Bearded One, but I did not recognize him, so I assumed he must be a local European TV celebrity in town for some Chicago Blues. That happens a lot around festival time.The longer my show went on, the more of a crowd converged. And the Bearded One was really getting into it, as his camera crew filmed him enjoying the music. At the end of my show, I start the Boogie Woogie. Suddenly, I felt someone on my right side, on stage with me. That was unusual. I looked up and it was the Bearded One’s cameraman.

Having been on many stages filmed for TV or Close Circuit, I was not thrown. I played to the camera. He was great too. He kept getting shots of my hands, then back to my face, then over to the drums and then finally back to me for the finale. The crowd went crazy for the Boogie Woogie, the energy filled the air, the cameraman was dancing around me.When it was all over, the cameraman came up to me and thanked me for playing along and started to explain his purpose. “We are filming a documentary with Ewan McGregor.” Ewan McGregor? I know that name, but in all the excitement and energy of the show, I couldn’t for the life of me remember who was Ewan McGregor!!!!
What is wrong with my brain that I can’t place him? I looked over to the front of the stage and there was the Bearded One reaching out for me, with a starstruck grin on his face. I kept looking into his orange, weathered beard, trying to see his face. Trying to place him. “Ewan McGregor, Ewan McGregor.” I still had no clue. Was he a rock star? A movie star? A TV star? Well, no worries, I’ll just play along.I go over to this ‘Ewan’ guy and he is looking up at me with awe. He tells me how wonderful I am and asks to see my hands. He holds them for a moment as if they hold some magic power. Again, he says something to the effect of, “You’re Amazing!” I look back and say, “I’m a big fan of yours as well.” (WHAT? I can’t believe I said that, when I don’t even know the guy.) He looks up at me and says in response, “Not as much as I am of you!” As we chat, the accent, the eyes, the name, Ewan McGregor, start becoming familiar. Still I’m not sure. So, I ask him if he’s in town shooting a movie and he explains that he and his buddy, Actor Charlie Boorman are driving their motorcycles 20,000 miles across the globe from London to NYC and they are filming it for as a documentary series for Bravo. I am starting to see the importance of all of this hoopla and I interrupt my mother, who is busy selling CD’s to the general public and I ask her for a business card. She, not noticing the importance, ignores me. Ewan starts asking me questions about myself, while the camera is rolling in our faces. I tell him I’m a struggling artist, just trying to make it. I said, “You know what it’s like, you are an artist.” With that, I suddenly realize who he is!!!! Holy crap!! Moulin Rouge, Trainspotting, Big Fish, Star Wars, etc. It’s Ewan McGregor, It’s EWAN MC-FUCKING-GREGOR!!!! I LOVE HIM!!!! But I just didn’t recognize him with the beard! And with all the hoopla and excitement of my show, my mind was frankly not focused. Then he looks up at me with all sincerity and says, regarding my career, “It’s only a matter of time.” How sweet. With all the positive energy in the air, my band and his crew all hugging each other, and congratulating each other, swapping info, were bonding, if only for a moment.

But what a great moment!!Now, it’s time for me to pack up my equipment to make room for the next band. I excuse myself and get to ‘work’. I notice Ewan and his crew, were not leaving the immediate area, they were still hanging around as if they didn’t want to miss anything more. The tech comes over and asks me to sign a waiver for Bravo. I’m still trying to find a business card to give to Ewan, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity, but I got to get my equipment off stage. Faster than lightening, I pack, go to the van & get a business card and run over to Ewan and tell him if he ever needs a band for any parties… He interrupts, “We’re having a wrap party on Thursday in NYC, if you want to come.” “Sure, I’d love to come, I’m free on Thursday and I used to live in New York. It would be great!” I then ask for a photo op.

Then energy in the air is still filled with positive vibrations and excitement. As the crew disperses, David, the producer, comes over and says, “If you would really like to come to the party on Thursday, we would be delighted to have you there. I’ll put you on the list.” We exchange info.
With my head reeling from the entire day, my mom & I are like bubbly schoolgirls. I tell her about my invitation to NY and how I HAVE to go!!! Of course I have to go. How many opportunities am I going to get in my lifetime, to go to a Hollywood wrap party in NYC with Ewan McGregor!

Thursday:
I asked my cousin, Jennifer from Albany to accompany me to the party in New York City. It was a ‘Murphy’s Law’ day of aggravation; getting to NYC, Jenn’s train being late, both of our cell phone batteries dying, finding Jenn in the terminal, being locked out of my friends NYC apartment, Jenn’s name not on ‘the list’, the ‘perfect’ outfits now disheveled. Though we are tired and frustrated, Jenn and I finally arrive at the party, late. But it couldn’t have been a more perfect evening.As soon as we walked in, we ran into David, the producer, who greeted me with open arms and a generous hug. He seemed thrilled that I was there. He quickly whisked me over to the VIP section to see Ewan. I approached Ewan’s table, and I see that his back is to me. I lightly tap him on the shoulder and before I could re-introduce myself, Ewan turned and shouted, “Doña, oh my God, you came all the way from Chicago!!!” He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me, then turned to the woman sitting next to him and said “Natalie, this is Doña Oxford, she is the next big thing in music! Doña, this is Natalie Portman.” NATALIE PORTMAN!!! I LOVE HER!! Then Ewan asked us to join them at their table. Imagine, me and my cousin sitting at ‘THE’ table in ‘THE’ VIP section at ‘THE’ party of the week! And I could see so many people trying just to get close to this coveted table, and here we were asked to sit down!! Natalie introduced me to her cousin, as I introduced her to mine. Funny. Ewan snapped his fingers and looked for someone of service and started yelling, “We need a piano. We’ve got to get a piano in here. You have to hear her play.” Unfortunately there was no way we were going to get a piano into a crowded nightclub at 11:30 at night. But Jenn & I had a great time hearing about Ewan’s adventures, talking to Natalie & her cousin, and hanging out with all the Hollywood types. It was a BLAST!
I hope to make it into Ewan’s Docu-reality-series on Bravo. If you are interested in watching the series and maybe catch me on the tube, the series is called “Long Way Round”. There are 6 different episodes. I would bet if we make the cut, we will be in Episode 5 or 6, since we were near the end of his trip and at the wrap party.Long Way Round

Peace,
Doña

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