Seattle, Washington, United States
For those who love coffee, poetry, art, or stories - stay. Have a cup with us.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sorry!

I apologize for the lack of posts, Coffee Lovers. My play is running right now. We will be back on a regular blogging schedule this upcoming Thursday.

Keep your coffee strong and your spirits light.
-M

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Letting Go.

I'm still very consumed with the idea of joy, Coffee Lovers. But I'll be writing on something a little bit different, though it may end up tying back into joy at the end. I never really know how these entries are going to turn out until I'm finished with them.

I wrote an essay today. It was written for my Theology class. I was instructed to pick three items that are indicative of my personality and place them in a specially decorated box. It was a way of introducing a parallel to the three reminders of faith placed inside of the Ark of the Covenant.

I picked a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien, a representation of music, and one of my favorite poems by the always stunning ee cummings. The essay discussed, first, these three items, and then discussed the way in which I decorated my box. It is the decoration of the box that led me to today's entry.

You see, I am what some people call a control-freak. I don't necessarily control others, but I have fashioned a life for myself that fits with my expectations, plans, and schedule. I control everything, because when I'm in control I feel safe. I've never trusted anyone - not a parent, a friend, a relative, or a god - to take the reigns of my life. It is wholly and completely mine.

And yet, I experienced something completely new the other day while working on the decorative aspect of my box. I painted it black, and then began to write on it in a silver, metallic pen. I was writing phrases and words that have special meaning to me. And the pen just stopped working. Then it started leaking. Then it started blotting. Then it sort of...erm...exploded. My gorgeous box was covered in blotches, smudges, and imperfections. And instead of yelling out in frustration, I laughed and made that the theme of my box.

In the very middle of it I wrote: Michael Abraham is Letting Go. And, somehow, I knew it was true.

The next day I was hurrying down a wet hill on campus in the dark and I slipped. I fell on my back and slid five feet down the hill, covering my backpack, shirt, shoes, and jeans in water and mud. What would have usually caused an explosion of frustration made me burst out laughing. I received strange looks from adults when I walked into the parking lot covered in mud and giggling to myself.

It's a baby step, but it's a baby step in the right direction.

I am in a wonderful play with a wonderful director and talented cast right now. But, I swear, every single Theatre God is conspiring against us. First, we moved our date due to the school's other production. Then we all got sick. Then we had snow days. And then the other male lead got the stomach flu, leaving myself and the female lead unable to rehearse over half of our scenes. It has been, to say the least, difficult. But never once has our cast reacted negatively. We move the show; we rehearse harder; we run lines at home; we let go of what we cannot change.

So much of my life is consumed by my own personal jihad against what I cannot change. I have always lived side-by-side with this idea that I am in control. But what do I actually control? Very little. I control myself and my reactions to everything else.

Last week I challenged myself and all of you to find the beauty and lovable aspects in everything, to find the joy that everything can bring us. But what joy can we hope to find when we are busy building locks for our treasure chests?

I think we all know the answer to that question.

I'm letting go of control, pouring a cup of stronger coffee, and sitting back with a good book today, because, for once in my life, I'm just not going to worry about much of anything.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-Michael

(No one says this better than Francesca Battistelli in this song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A-2jhdN0Vc)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Sip: This Moment

Sometimes we think that being happy is a big, life-long, life-changing commitment. I tend to disagree. I don't think you can live this moment for your entire life. So live this moment for this moment. And live it beautifully.

Join me for a cup.
-Michael

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Buried Treasure

As promised, Coffee Lovers, I will be talking about a funny little phenomenon called joy this week. You'll notice right away that I call it a phenomenon and not an emotion. That is simply because I have never known any joy in my life that was emotionally logical. Emotions tend to have reasons behind them. They tend to be reactions to events. But joy is something else entirely.

I was never much a fan of pirate stories as a little kid. I was too busy reading about witches, wizards, and elves. Pirates never waved wands nor did they speak in corrupted Latin, so I wasn't really interested. Little did I know that many years later I would spend two weeks thinking about pirates and buried treasure incessantly. The only reason for this odd shift in thoughts for me is that I started thinking about joy.

I thought about it. I wrote a poem about it. I read poems about it. I listened to songs about it. And I came to conclusion: it's buried treasure! It's shining, priceless, old and glorious gold hidden in a seemingly normal, ordinary, wooden chest.

I find my joy in very small things. I feel joyful around candles in dark rooms, when I wake up to the radio and dance around my room as I get dressed. I find joy in ukuleles and in pure, unfiltered honey. I know of few joys greater than that of crisp autumn wind and golden leaves. There is a certain joy in thunderstorms on dark, spooky nights.

Let me be clear, these things do not just make me happy. They give me a strange, warm, glowing feeling that I have come to call joy. I do not know if my joy is equivalent to yours, nor am I worried that my joy insufficient. I smile when I smell a rose, not because roses smell sweet, but because they make me feel light, warm and buoyant - that is quite enough.

Happiness happens to you - it comes and goes. But joy is something you find. It is a brief moment of shocking, rare beauty. Everything is lovely and right to be so in that moment. And then it flits away. But I have a sneaking suspicion about joy that I would like to share with you, Coffee Lovers. I think joy just might be a choice. I think that there is beauty to love and cherish in everything. And maybe if we saw that beauty, maybe if we felt the warmth of everyone and everything, our sense of nirvana would knock Siddhartha Gautama's sandals off.

I want us all to be joyful. Sure, life will knock us down (as the old and worn cliche goes). But I think that next time I get knocked down I'm going to decide, for once in my life, to STAND UP. I'm not waiting for happiness to happen and lift me up. Nope. Joy and I will just stand on our own two feet. And that will be that.

And I know that right about now you are all probably wondering something. So, yes - I do, in fact, find a deep, aromatic joy in coffee. I just thought I'd save the best treasure chest for last.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-Michael

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sunday Sip: Joy

I will be writing about joy a little more in the upcoming weeks. But, for now, I just wanted to leave you all with a thought:

Why wait? NOW is the best moment to be joyful.

It's a choice you can make for yourselves. And you all deserve it, Coffee Lovers.

Join me for a cup.
-Michael

Listen to one of my New Year's Resolution songs:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfTejiUOynI&feature=related

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Still Art Thrives

All I wanted to do today was watch Lost. Those of you who read regularly know that I am obsessed. And then, of course, I found out that my dad took my Lost episodes back to Blockbuster. So I'm spending the evening on the Internet finding music I haven't heard before. And an idea hit me.

You see, I've been trying to pick a New Year's resolution. I've never really had one before, because it didn't seem like the kind of thing I would keep. Well, actually, hardly anyone keeps their New Year's resolution, and I find that simply disappointing. I never wanted to pin my year on a goal that just wouldn't happen.

But, sitting here, listening to new music, I came up with my first real New Year's resolution. I plan on making time each day to discover a song I've never heard before - hopefully by a brand new artist.

Ponder something with me, Coffee Lovers. We live in a time period where any song, any piece of beautiful visual art, any photo, any biography, any novel, any memoir and every newspaper exists - waiting to be experienced - at our fingertips. This is not a world of two-record-households any longer. The amount of music alone that we are given each year is incredible. It blows my mind that I can own over a thousand songs and still have thousands (in dozens of languages) left to find.

I have grown up in a world that takes art for granted. We pirate music; we underpay poets; we shun novels that require more comprehension than vampire romances. And still art thrives. We don't go see movies if they don't have steamy sex scenes and fast car chases. We don't go to museums anymore to just marvel at paintings. We don't buy sculptures. And still art thrives.

Art is the most resilient weed that has ever taken root among mankind. We are addicted to it. We are in love with it. We rate, rank, berate, shun, criticize, and create it. I am an artist, and I believe that art is what makes me human. I've heard it said that a chimpanzee genetically differs from me by only two percent. But the major difference between a chimpanzee and a human being is that a chimpanzee creates things to use them. A human being creates things to love them.

I have three favorite paintings: The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, Paulo as Harlequin by Pablo Picasso, and Spain by Salvador Dali. When I look at such glorious testaments to visual art, I can't help but be moved. These men - Klimt, Picasso, Dali, and all the others - have poured something out onto a canvas for no other reason than my own personal satisfaction. Klimt poured out his love of romance. Picasso poured out his love for his son. Dali poured out his beliefs about Spain. Show me a chimpanzee who can do that.

I'm sure you'll understand me when I say that I have a soul. I can saturate words with it. I can make connections with it. I can create with it. That is what makes me different than a primate. Even if a primate has 98% of my DNA, it does not have my soul, or your soul for that matter.

So I am spending a year finding music. People sing to be listened to. And, this year, I will be listening. I'm hoping it's an extra shot of espresso in my daily cup.

Who knows? I may even share some songs with all of you Coffee Lovers.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
-Michael

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sunday Sip: Happy New Year!

Wishing you a year of love, peace, prosperity, and moments with the people who really matter. And, of course, wishing you a 2011 that's filled to the brim with even stronger coffee than 2010.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
-Michael