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Staying fluid when life is hard 

Just now I was thinking about the proverbial glass half-full vs. glass half-empty. As I prepared dinner and put the kettle on the stove, I had a thought I’d never thunk before, one which, now thunked, amazes me with its obviousness. Either way, the glass is the same.

As my stomach growled and the water simmered I marveled at the judgement hidden in that question, do you see the glass half-full or half-empty? The implication is that if you see the glass half-full you’re a positive person who will attract friends and good fortune, and if you see the glass half-empty you’re a miserable person no one wants to be around. Early in life I reasoned, I never want to be one of those negative people! (lol, see albums 1-13).

However is this true? Is there value in emptiness? Does there need to be value? Does value make a thing? Is there another way of seeing? Must we be so reliant on sight?

I had a friend who saw the glass emptier than half-empty. He believed that everything eventually goes wrong, which meant I had to work extra hard to believe that everything eventually goes right. When things went wrong, he was right. When things went wrong, I was devastated. It was exhausting. Both of us attempted to control the flow of the glass because neither could bear the unknown.

I don’t automatically see the glass half-full. I don’t see the glass half-empty, either — mostly I take the glass for granted, seldom noticing unless it’s empty or overflowed. There are many senses to indulge in. Most likely I’m thinking about thirst or a song or sex (again, different words for the same thing).

As the water boiled and I filled the mug I marveled at how complicated we can make something so simple. Life is fluid. So are we.

Some see half-empty, some see half-full, some see something else. Despite what the news or angry bumperstickers tell us, we have a heck of a lot in common with people who see the world differently. We occupy the same space. When we fixate on how we see the glass (or the world) we’re no longer seeing the glass (or the world). We’re seeing our own mind, reflected back to us as we guzzle what is or isn’t there. We're drunk on being right, rather than on learning what is here. Glass is fragile. We must handle it with care. 

I wonder... what’s in this glass, anyway? Is it wanted? How much is enough? Is there someone other than us who might benefit from its contents? Can we acknowledge the privilege of having a glass, holding a glass, seeing a glass, empty or full or in any state of emptiness or fullness? And what of the whole universe surrounding this glass...

Right now the windows are open and the room is filled with the music of leaves rustling and birds settling in for the night. My belly is more than half-full with the satisfaction that comes only after one has known the feeling of being more than half-empty. Despite everything, I'm optimistic.

Just some thoughts. Thank you for taking a sip. 

I'm attaching an old half-full song from a young wholehearted swan, circa 2006.



Truth is a pathless land 

We put so much pressure on ourselves to find our path — as if there's only one, as if one is right, as if there's one at all. Krishnamurti proposed that truth is a pathless land, and when I read this in a bathtub some years and miles ago I underlined it three times, not really knowing what he meant, and yet knowing it to be true. Truth is complex and contradictory, a wilderness that includes yet evades us. We can explore and uncover it, as we explore and uncover ourselves, but if there's a clear path it's probably because someone else put it there. That doesn't make it less true; it also doesn't make it truth.

Sometimes it’s helpful to follow a well-worn path. Mama always said, the beaten path is beaten for a reason. If we're certain of where we want to go, a clear path is faster and more comfortable than carving our own.But what if we’re uncertain? How do we know where we want to go when we don't know where we are? How do we know where we are until we’ve wandered a way? What if we want to explore in a different direction? What if we enjoy the uncertainty of not knowing, even if it feels frightening? We’re taught we need a path because everything outside the path could potentially cause harm, from the rattlesnakes to the other humans to the land itself. Is the path not also the land? Are we not also the land? Are we really going to assume we know the way?For me, the danger in following a path isn’t the path itself but that it exists between here and an imagined future point. Rarely do I experience the no-path of here, which is why I fell in love with music. Music helps me be present. Of course, I tried (and still catch myself trying) to make music my path, instead of simply making music. Expectations, no matter how sweet, lead to disappointment. Unless we expect the worst. Either way, there's suffering where there might have been... well, being.

(To be clear, I stayed on the path to take these photos because I respect the poppies. Don't they look like they could talk? Or chirp? What do you think they are saying?)

While it’s fun to plan a trip — especially if it’s a tour — I've found that true fulfillment lies not in the paths we take but in the ones that emerge within that barely perceptible space between future and past that is us. Each wavering, confusing, frustrating, inspiring, challenging, gratifying, humbling step that feels pathless is our truth. How do we know this? Why else would we keep going?

A year ago I left what had become a well-trodden path to try something different. It hasn’t been easy or comfortable, but I don’t think ease and comfort are the point. We’re here to explore and to experience, and sometimes that hurts. Sometimes we have to be beside ourselves to know where we are, to know what is true. This, too, changes! We, too, are changing! Sometimes we have to get on the path in order to abandon it. We have to abandon it in order to be here, the one place we are now. 

After all, it's pretty great to be here, isn't it? Even if we're tired and a little sore? I'm glad you're here. Thank you for joining me in my rambling. 

I'm about to venture deeper and farther into the wilderness... of Chicago? Yes, sometime in the near future (trying not to get too ahead of myself, but an apartment needs to manifest at some point) I'm going to dig into words and sounds and images at the School of the Art Institute. I don't know what's ahead, but right now feels pretty great. Thank you to the wonderful patrons who've supported me through the past year of tortuous (if not torturous) applications. If you’d like to join us on our M.F.A. adventure you can subscribe here!

Happy Earth Day Every Day, 


Things I'm still learning...  

Evolution is a process.

Although we can't always detect it, we are making progress.

We are moving forward. 

There are potholes. There are smooth patches. It's all one road.

We will get there.

We are here.And we're here to grow.

We are complete. We are unique.

We are equal. We belong.

Get out there. Happy Fall.


What I learned on summer vacation 

It's easy to get stuck in a rut.

It's just as easy to bust out of it.

Dive in. Shake it up. Try something new. Break the rules. Venture a little farther. Know your limits. Transcend them.

Choose a different seat. Try a different perspective. There's no such thing as a detour.

Windex really does fix everything. 

Life isn't about winning or losing. It's about the people you're with. (And Stella Starfish.)

Televised world championships of cornhole exist. (You can't spell SAUSAGE without USA.)

Bright lights and screens were designed to take our money, so proceed with caution.

We don't need all this stuff.

However medieval-themed blacklight mini-golf - complete with an alternative hits of the 90s playlist - is a fantastic investment.

Sometimes pointlessness is the point.

After all, the world is round. 
Nature nurtures.

We are nature.

There are places where you don't have to worry about your bike getting stolen.

There's no right way to do anything.

If you think you can, think you can, think you can, you will make it up the hill. 

When you feel scared, scream.

If screaming seems inappropriate, there's probably no reason to be scared. 

However it's okay to sit some rides out. ;)

Nothing lasts forever.Yet the present moment is infinite.
Once a kid, always a kid. (This is the house where I was born.)

So there you have it. Souvenirs from summer vacation. Now I'm typing in my pajamas and a down coat listening to rain on the roof, settling into fall vacation... everything feels like vacation when I'm not touring. But then tour often feels like vacation... I guess life is a vacation. A working vacation, but a vacation no less. As long as we play in our work and work in our play.

I tweaked the site a bit... added a new photo:

My friend Kristijan took it on his roof in Zürich, the same apartment where the Let It Breathe cover photo was taken. We were excited about this one for the cover of the next album. The working title for the past year and a half has been One Woman. It will be stripped-down. Solo. More like how shows are. I'm pretty certain it will be a Laura Meyer release, though Cygne has a bunch of songs stockpiled, too. I'm documenting the process on patreon. It feels good to be slow. There's so much more time this way... 

Sending love <3

Laura / Cygne / One Woman

A message from Cosmic Turtle 

There’s abundant evidence that the world is spinning out of control. And it is. Because the world has never been in our control. And it’s okay. We’re okay. When we notice this, we’re out of its control. We’re free. We have choices. We have imaginations. And then we can use them.

This morning I jogged along to the last minutes of an audiobook, The Female Persuasion. I like to listen to audiobooks on low volume without headphones so I can hear the birds and keep the bears away (I’m not sure if this is an effective bear-deterrent, but it’s a comforting thought.) Plus, out here in the “country” it’s helpful and inspiring to hear other human voices, especially smart, witty ones that offer entertainment and perspective on difficult subjects.

Today I was faster than usual because I got a late start. I always feel behind, no matter what I’m doing. There’s just so much I want to do. Here we are in the longest days of the year and they still feel too short.

As I approached the top of the hill I noticed a lump in the road I couldn’t identify…  a new shape in my growing encyclopedia, slightly domed. Just before the stop sign the narrator reached the final lines of the book —There wasn’t much time. In the end, she thought, the turtle might outlive them all — and at that exact moment the lump in the road revealed itself to be a turtle.

Can you imagine my delight? Yes, there are many critters in these woods… but this is the first time I've seen a turtle, and I can’t remember the last time I read/listened to a book in which a turtle had a starring role. The world might be out of control but maybe, just maybe... something is connecting all these moving parts?

As we approach solstice, the top of the hill, the time when the planet is divided into extreme darkness and extreme light, find solace in nature. Slow down, says Turtle in my hands. See all the light has to reveal. Feel all that is shrouded in darkness. Beyond these extremes and constant flux there is solid, common ground. Proceed carefully, watch for signs, trust yourself to recognize them, and you will get there. You are here. And you are needed.