Gemma 'Coco' Dolenz  

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By cocodolenz, May 1 2017 05:06AM

So once again, my body has succumb to Bronchitis. It seems to be rather rappant these days, and I don't know why but every where I turn someone is coughing and it's lingering and they can't ge t rid of it. So I'm not alone in that. I suppose there is some underlying reason why so many people have breathing and lung issues, but I will leave that for the medical and scientific communities to figure out. I'm on the mend, but not completely out of the woods.

What comes up for me is my fear of losing my singing voice. Not necessarily my speaking voice, but my singing voice. I have lost my voice many times from similar ailments, and not being able to talk is not an issue. I learned a long time ago the beauty of being silent. The first time I lost my voice was back in the late 70's after being on the road and singing without monitors while standing in front of blaring guitar amps and trying to hear myself by feeling inner vibrations to make sure I was on pitch. And altho I sang on key, my vocal chords finally said 'enough' and went on strike. I left the tour and came home. I visited a well known vocal doctor in the Bay Area who basically said " Don't talk for 2 weeks. That will be $100 . Thank you." Evidently I was developing nodes on my vocal chords.

Seeking a second opinion, another doctor suggested I would need surgery, but I politely declined the suggestion. So I didn't speak for 2 weeks. Carried around a notepad like Meher Baba and did some assorted mental exercises and visualizations which I had learned to speed up my recovery. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn't recover. I did recover and rejoined the tour, a little wiser and more careful with my "pipes". Today my favorite people in the world, are Sound Engineers, 'monitor people' who allow me to hear myself on stage without screaming above the electronics on stage.

What I learned during that first episode in the late 70's was that what I 'thought' I needed to say, just wasn't necessarily all that important. After a few days, I quite enjoyed being silent, and forgot the notebook. If I really needed to convey some information, I wrote it down, but for the most part I became aware of the idle chat and 'filler' that I was used to supplying in a conversation. I realized that silence was uncomfortable to me and I felt it necessary to fill the gaps with whatever....

This latest bout of bronchitis has reminded me of that great lesson, which I must be honest I forget most of the time, as I chatter away, but I'm glad to be reminded. I save lots of quotes and sayings etc... and I recently came upon a good one which I do try and abide by:

It's entitled THINK before you Speak:

T = is it True?

H= is it Helpful?

I= Is it Inspiring?

N= Is it Necessary? ( there's a good one)

K = Is it Kind?

So not talking and chattering away is not an issue. But not having my singing voice, is different. It is times like these when I realize just how important it is to me and how truly grateful I am for it. I give thanks for what I have been given and appreciate it even more during times like this.

I hope everyone who reads this stops a moment and gives thanks for what they have, what they can do, their skills, their abilities, and not take anything for granted. For our gifts are truly a blessing.


By cocodolenz, Jul 30 2016 11:07PM

- "Dominion does not mean destruction, but responsibility. It is important to avoid flawed convictions about the right and power of humankind in relation to the rest of the natural world." (Think 'stewardship', the true meaning of the concept) "... a false view of dominion has played a role in the mistreatment of creation, but a correct understanding of the concept can lead to service, responsibility, and stewardship. Exhibit this dominion/stewardship, but exhibit it rightly: treating the thing as having value itself, exercising dominion without being destructive."

Therein lies the challenge. In 'ruling' or having 'dominion' over other species, unfortuneately, we have only disrupted their right to exist peacefully on this planet along with us. On what level does this make sense to you? Or as I was asked once " How's that working for you?"

Wise and beloved leaders have been great because they acted as 'stewards; i.e. just, fair, great thinkers, and acted with wisdom and stregth, not destruction and superiority.

I remember as a young adult having the great honor at being present at a talk given by the late Edgar Mitchell, after his walk on the moon. He shared with us some interesting insigts - He knew that the beautiful blue world to which he was returning is part of a living system, harmonious and whole. I remember him also remarking that as he peered down he saw no' borders' and realized that all of our wars have been 'civil wars'. I took his insigts to heart. His remarks spoke to my heart, not my mind. Whole. That includes everyone and everything.

Some of us humans, through our decisions based on our 'beliefs', have created dis-harmony, de-struction, violence. An illusion of separateness. On the other hand, some have also created just the opposite; support, cooperation, con-struction, service.

Why do I stand for wildlife? Because I know that their de-struction is inherently wrong, unnecessary, needless and avoidable.

By cocodolenz, Aug 3 2015 01:00AM

Let’s say we meet a friend one afternoon and we say ‘Hi” How are you? And they reply. “I have such problems” You might question whether it was a good idea to ask them how they were in the first place. So you might say, “well how are you right now? I don’t see your problems.” They may then say, “well yes, I’m fine, but my problems are a burden.” I suggest that when we look to the cause and cure of human problems, we look not to the experience that caused the problem. We look to our reaction to that experience. What happened to us is important, true. But not as important as our response or reactions to the experiences.

One person may find themselves out of employment and they might say, “This is a great problem. I am troubled by this.” Someone else might come along and say “Well what an opportunity I have. I have been waiting to get free from this awful job. Now I can go out and do what I want to do and I am going to do it. “And they do. This is an example of the difference in reaction. And our reaction is the key as to whether we are going to be burdened with problems and elicit a type of response that will cause us to enter into despair or if our reaction is of a constructive nature, we turn it to our advantage and move on.

In the first scenario, we can anticipate great difficulties, and our anxiety conditions our reaction, as we react to things that have not yet happened. And these, are the greatest burdens of all. These are the greatest troubles of all. These are the things that will drive a person down in their attitudes of life. These are the things that seem to pull the rug out from under us emotionally and we find ourselves sinking deeper and deeper into a state of emotional depression. Not because of what ‘has’ happened, but because of what we think ‘might’ happen.

Interestingly enough, our anxiety seems to project itself and we end up doing exactly what we don’t want to do. We make the errors, stub the toes, suffer the various aches and pains, all because of our reaction to what we think ‘might’ take place. It’s like a self- fulfilling prophecy. It has been found that this physical anatomy of ours, this nervous system of ours, does not distinguish between that which is real and that which is imagined. Our feelings, our reactions about what has happened or that which we think ‘might’ happen is just as effective and just as debilitating, just as detrimental (or just as vitalizing) as if the occasion were real.

We know that exercise does it, but did you know when you and I are in a happy mood, which is just the thoughts we are currently having about something, endorphines rush through our body making us feel better. Find more reasons to laugh. It's an everyday, immediate way to give yourself an endorphin rush. The act of laughing stimulates the production of endorphins and helps you feel good instantly. Laughter helps to relieve stress and has many other physical and emotional benefits.

What does all this have to do with problems? Well I have found that answers & solutions to a problem (challenge) come easier to me when I am in a positive more receptive frame of mind. Doesn't matter how I got there. So the cause of problems? - Our reaction to experiences, our thoughts. The cure? - Choosing a different reaction - different thoughts. Simple, but not necessarily easy. But well worth experimenting with. Till Next time.... Namaste

By cocodolenz, Jul 30 2015 10:33PM

My mom used to say to us kids, “go out and play” to get us out of the house when we were making too much noise, or just being ‘under her feet’. When we did we always found something to do; ride bikes, play tag or statues on the front lawn with friends or go to the park. Today play might look a little different like reading that new book sitting by your bed, making art, listening to music, watching that movie you’ve been anxious to see, or browsing Netflix and finding a gem.

These days, it seems harder to give ourselves permission to ‘go out and play. “Oh, I’m way too busy for that. I’ve got too many things to do, after all there’s so many things to consider, and to understand and sort out in my mind, before I can ‘play’. There’s all those conversations with people at work I need to have (in my head), and my ‘to do list’, and fix the broken leg on the piano and I have all these problems I have to solve, and____________________ (you get the idea). I must do these first ‘before’ I can allow myself the luxury of ‘playtime’. “ Rubbish- Nonsense-Baloney!

So I decided to try an experiment. I wanted to find out what would happen if I just dropped all the mind chatter, the shoulding on myself and briefly walked away from it all. I admit at first I felt a bit guilty, but I soon felt lighter, unstuck, and funny enough, even bodily aches and pains let up. My world did not come crashing to a fiery end. Hmmmmm… Interesting. And the multitude of ‘to do’s and ‘problems’’? Yes, they were there when I got back yet oddly enough some of them evaporated while I was playing. I was able to come back to the rest of the day, refreshed and re-energized.

I am reminded of something his Holiness the Dali Lama said:

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it,

Then there is no need to worry.

If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.

There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

― Dalai Lama XIV

That about sums it up. Simple. During my short ‘playtime’, just a few hours, I stopped working on my problems, and I felt an inner centeredness and remembered afterwards that I may ‘have’ problems (or challenges, as I choose to call them) but I am not them. I am whole and complete in and of myself. Namaste.

By cocodolenz, May 17 2015 06:18AM

Earlier this month I had the honor of officiating at my nieces wedding. We stayed in a lovely B& B in the Virginia countryside called Field Stone Farm.

The Bed & Breakfast had gardens which were absolutely beautiful. Sloping gently up the hill in back of the 1770 farm house were various beds, connected by pathways of green lawn. Lilac trees in full bloom were spotted around the area, and in the beds were tulips, blue bells, daffodils, geraniums and more, all at different phases of growth and bloom, working together in harmony creating eye candy beyond description. A half dozen of huge, of hat I was told were white rhododendrons flanked the patio flag stone wall with buds the size of walnuts ready to shortly burst into bloom. Various planters sat around the area alone and in groups, planted with blooming flowers and vines, spilling over with color and texture. Around the corner was the garden gate with a rustic wooden plaque which fittingly said ‘Garden Gate’. Inside the gate large beds were eagerly waiting to be planted, lying ready to receive seeds in the warm May sun.

As I walked around the grounds, it was obvious that this garden with its abundant foliage had been well thought out by its curator to make sure that there was always something in full bloom. The tulips were spent, with a few petals fallen on the ground. Daffodils which had been in full bloom early in the month, were now stalks waiting for next year, as they added nutrients to the soil. The Bluebells were profuse as were various other flowers, which I can’t name, filling the beds with their leaves, flowers and scents, of different sizes and shapes. Then there were the old trees overlooking the grounds as sentries might do, silently surveying all they watched over.

The wedding party was small, some 40 guests who came from all parts of the world to celebrate the marriage of the bride and groom. Close childhood friends, college friends, colleagues, parents and siblings. I was fortunate to preside over the beautiful ceremony which had been carefully crafted by myself, the bride and the groom to be deeply personal and meaningful to them.

Over the course of the weekend, we enjoyed a pre-wedding Bar-B-Q at the B&B, then the wedding ceremony the next day with a reception to follow, dinner and dancing, an after party late into the night and the next evening a bon fire complete with roasted marshmallows under the clear Virginia sky. On the way home I got to thinking about the people I met and the sometimes deep discussions and conversations I had over the three days. The majority of the guests were thirty somethings with highly active careers which brought them to all points of the globe. I met physicists, members of the State Department and the Foreign Service involved in not only life changing but sometimes dangerous work, teachers and retired medical professionals, steel workers, business owners, actors, writers, woodworkers, and artists. The happy proud parents were there, as were assorted siblings. This multifaceted garden of people surrounded the couple with one thing in common; their love and support of the bride and groom. Each with their stories, connections, and individual presence adding to the joy of the occasion.

I was amazed at the energy this group of young people had. They all obviously work very hard and they play hard as well. Three of the couples were expecting within weeks, but it did not stop them from dancing the night away till I thought we were going to be celebrating a few births as well as a wedding. I thought about the white rhododendrons back at the B&B. Their buds ready to unfold, ripe with potential just waiting for their ‘time’ to open and become fully realized. As I write this, they, the flowers and the couples have more than likely given birth.

There were those of us who watched the festivities from the sidelines. Content to leave the dancing to others. I sat. Watched. Listened. Remembered. Remembered my earlier days, when my busy days were packed with work, hobbies and raising children. All of my ‘petals’ in tack and full of color. I sat there enjoying the present moment and the richness of my remembering and the gratitude I have for where I am now, savoring every moment. I watched these intelligent and fascinating young couples full of energy, in the thick of things, making a difference in their fields and thought about the garden back at the B&B, the bluebells, young and fresh, the Queen Ann’s lace strong and proud, the lilac trees full with their lavender scented blossoms. Smaller groupings emerged as old friends gathered to tell stories and re-connect with each other. I saw those of us who were single and few of words, exuding warmth and grace in their smiling eyes as they silently watched over the group. Strong and steady.

Yes, the garden with its contents in differing phases of development and our little wedding party were very much the same. Each a beautiful expression of the life force in action. A perfect out picturing of the circle of life as it continues to unfold, always in the midst of changing. Each stage necessary. Each stage complimenting the previous and the ones to come as they bring their own texture, fragrance and color to this garden we call life.

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Here you will find whatever's been on my mind.  Maybe something about what I've been reading recently or an indepth look at 'what's trending'.  Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

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