Auriol Hays

Awareness through music

Archive for September, 2011

Happiness Loves Company

A friend of mine once said that happiness is selfish. You have to claim what you want and need. Most of us don’t though. We lie about who we are, what we are capable of giving and hope that no one catches us out.

The universe has a funny way of letting you know what’s up when you are too busy to pay attention. Strange things happen. Accidents, bad mojo and, in my case, a lot of confusing dreams. Once I was uncertain of a choice I had to make. I remember being in the car and silently asked for guidance. The answer came in a very unexpected way. Every light for at least 10 minutes was red. The answer could not have been clearer.

Sometimes I gain clarity through music. I have been accused of writing too many sad songs. I do this, I think, to confront and rid myself of my fears. By writing music I take what’s in my head and heart and …somehow am able to see myself clearly. The results are often a revelation “Damn! I didn’t know I felt that way!”

With each song I write and experience I have I come to understand what happiness could be and every morning ask for three things. That I am able to love myself and others sincerely. I got a wake up call when my daughter casually remarked, “Why do you always look so disgusted when you look in the mirror?” Dang kids…some of them are too observant and should be shot.

Then I ask for awareness. If I am not aware of my own shortcoming and why I sabotage myself it will be pointed out to me by others time and time again. That is not a pleasant experience. I link my flaws and blind spots to childhood conditioning.  As I grow older I discovered that a great deal of what I was taught is no longer relevant. I need to adjust and reassess and find new ways of being. Love, happiness and abundance have many different forms and all I need to do is spot them in time.

The last thing I ask for is music. Not only the ability to make music but to hear it in others. In the way they speak, the things they share, the food they make…their laughter, the things they can’t say. That, to me, is an act of love.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  Rumi, was one smart dude.


posted by auriol in human nature and have Comments Off

Annie Wants a Baby

Even though we don’t mean too, claim we know better, evangelise the advances of technology and how it has propelled humanity into the galaxies and beyond, at the end of the day we are terribly, boringly human. Some of us never get past our conditioning.  We get up, live our day and at time don’t understand why we feel the way we do.

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday and she was miserable. “Why do I feel this way?” she asked.  A few years ago I realised that I unconsciously took on some of my father’s energy. The old man has a habit of hiding out from the world on his birthday. Doesn’t pick up calls, talk to anyone and generally is not a happy chappy.  As we grew older my sister and I started to mimic his behaviour.

When I made this connection, I decided to break the habit consciously. “The best birthday I had, “I explained “was when I was alone in my house. The sun was shining and I put on some good music and danced like a lunatic.” After all, if I am responsible for my own happiness, who will be?

Over the years I have questioned why I behave the way I do, where it stems from and tried to identify the triggers that set off certain behaviours. My friends say I over think and over analyse. I spent years not understanding why I feel the way I do. Some might call it mild depression. I prefer to think of it as a period of adjustment during which I gained insight into myself.  I made many life altering decisions then too – like being a musician.

Occasionally I worry about my sister. She can be rather fragile – even though she doesn’t appear to be so. I say occasionally because my sister can be fiercely protective and scary when she has too. She swore at a nurse and a judge in court once! All for perfectly good reasons, I assure you….She is stronger than she thinks. I just wish she could see that. I wish we could all see that when it matters.

posted by auriol in family,Insanity and have Comments Off

Brendan’s Death Song

My daughter has a hamster called Peaches. I call her Nibbles or Nipples depending on my mood.  In fact I really could not stomach the creature but after seeing how well my daughter cares for her and the trauma of two very close near death hamster experiences, Peaches has become one of the family. In case you’re wondering where I am going with this let me put you out of your misery. We just did a Nina Simone show and I sang Four Women. The climax of that song is of course the last verse where Nina sings “My skin is brown//my manner’s tough//I’ll kill the first mother I see//My life’s rough//I’m awfully bitter these days//Coz my parents were slaves// What do they call me?//my name’s Peaches” When my daughter heard line she shouted from the audience, “Peaches, is my hamster!”

It’s funny because it’s the first time my daughter saw me perform. Usually she rips into me about this and that. Yet, it was nice seeing her beam with pride afterwards. “Mummy, you can’t hug everyone after your show!” she said demanding attention. The performance went well and Don Veno, the saxophonist, added something special to the show. Of course there were things I could have done better. All of which was discussed and will be taken into account when we take the show to Johannesburg.

When the evening was over my siblings and I hung out at my house and that’s where I learnt a valuable lesson. Sometimes you have to get out of your head and into your skin with bad pop music. Radiohead relaxes me but hurls me into the past. Muse has the same effect. Ben Harper makes me want to crawl into bed and dream of having brown babies. This never bothered me but does become problematic when I need to chill out.

My sister and I let my brother entertain us with his dubious dub step music. He even gave us a little dance performance and as a result has a new nickname. He is the American Indian…and we had a kick ass time just hanging out. Considering that there  is a big age gap between the three of us, I think it’s great that we enjoy each other’s company as much as we do.

All in all I had a great time on and off stage. There we so many people who helped to make the show a success. Sherwin, the chef from Balducci’s in the Waterfront, provided food at the rehearsals and before the show. Did I mention that there were over 20 people in my house a week before the show? It was a mad house with all the cameras and discussions going on while we were rehearsing. But I loved every second of it! Now I have to focus my attention on the next thing that’s a few months away. What can I say?  I do love my job…

posted by auriol in musical performances and have No Comments

Mean Mistreater

Sometimes I am convinced that most of us are ill prepared for what life throws at us. Scrap that! I am always ill prepared. Music is easy compared to everyday living. You practice your notes, rehearse in real time, in your sleep and you can pull of a decent performance. Life, on the other hand is more…complex.

The only way to get through it is by having something to look forward too. I still want to celebrate a birthday in the desert listening to Radiohead, Muse, Grand Funk Railroad while being surrounded by friends all huddled around a big fire. I want to lie on my back, gaze up at the open sky, hear music being played around me and forget everything for a while. Ah, it is a sweet dream…

I do wonder if I would have been better prepared for this life if my mother taught me how to be a proper lady. If I knew how to cook, clean like a pro, walk comfortably in heels and to dress better. Instead all I can sing a song reasonably well and write a good song if I am inspired. My world does feel rather small and at times I wonder if it is enough…

There are days when I am deliriously happy and manage to forget all my shortcomings. I put on some good music, cook and do a little impromptu dance with a wooden spoon in my hand. Or I sit in the sun and read a book while my cat naps on my lap. Then there’s my daughter who’s just an all round comedian-wannabe rapper-writer-painter. Mostly she lives to mock me and my taste in music.

Maybe I just need to write less depressing songs about death and revolutions and simply be more observant.  While on that note, I should also stop comparing my cooking to the dishes I see on MasterChef. After all I am not trying to win a competition! I just don’t want to poison anyone….

posted by auriol in human nature and have No Comments