Feelings of Music

Sitting up there, you feel as though everything just falls away, as though there’s nothing left, as if it’s only you, you and the light, the music, and the emotions. Nothing really matters when you’re up there; you can just express yourself and your feelings, free from fear of persecution. Each moment is different from each of the others. And each one in turn slips away into the past, never to be expressed, felt, cherished, or loved again.

Copper-colored strings stretch out under a heavy, black sky of dark wood which dissolves into the repetitive two-tone rows of keys. The bench stands firm and attentive beneath me, waiting for something monumental to occur. The connection from my fingertips to the keyboard is electrically tangible. Only the piano and I have ever spoken like this before; it’s a conversation so intimate and deep that it will never be heard or spoken the same way again. Only we have danced like this before, felt like this before, expressed this deep, intricate, passionate, mysterious love for each other before. We are singly committed to each other and to the creation of music, an art form as emotional as it is deeply meaningful.

I have never laughed with, loved, enjoyed, and harmonized with another person in the same way as when playing music with them. The instruments, the people, and the sounds all come together in an unbreakable, intense bond. Love is produced in many ways, but only through music is it as intimate and deep.

It’s that connection that gives me hope that one day the world will be a better place and that we will all realize the similarities between all of us through the power of music. We are all deeply intertwined whether it’s immediately visible or not. Music removes the veils of ignorant hate, unearthing the complex connections beneath.

Never have I listened, talked, and conversed better than when sitting before a piano. The ecstasy can never be felt any other way. Only through the piano can I fully live and express the way I must to live on another day. The piano and I will never be apart. We are connected physically, emotionally, and most importantly, intimately.

I feel more emotions and feelings through music than I have ever felt any other way. Music changes us and it makes us feel things differently. We will never be the same people again, but the music will always be with us.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Why Do We Fear Change?

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I fear that which I cannot predict yet I also fear the truth.

Why is it that we fear change so much? Life moves on around us constantly and it would seem that we are rooted firmly in the past, knowing not what the future holds and resenting ourselves immensely for that. We like stability and security, and so change scares us.

I have always felt like a person who’s prepared for whatever comes my way. But recently I have feeling substantially more fearful of the future. I will be moving not only towns soon, but also to a new state and region entirely, and I will be doing that alone. I think we fear change in this way because it is a loss of security, a loss of basic comforts that we must face alone. When we embrace change, we are going out on a limb and becoming someone new; we are doing that entirely on our own, and that frightens us.

In our everyday lives, although we may not realize it, we are constantly met by things that are normal for us and thus subconsciously comforting. And so when life changes, we are then forced to acquire new comforts and create new normalcy in our new lives. Newness is what scares us; we are afraid of the unknown future. But we must travel on in our lives, or we will never go anywhere.

Change is often the best thing for us, but it is also one of the scariest things. We fear change mainly because it means that all we have known will not be the same anymore which is undeniably terrifying for everyone on this earth.

As I look back at my life thus far, there have not been many changes of magnitude. But as I look forward, my career, my location, and my personal life are all uncertain which alarms me. I am a person who likes to be in control and the fact that I am not and will not be for a least a little while horrifies me.

What we all need to realize though is that we are the sole creators of our future and we have the power to change our destiny any way we want to. In my own life, I have realized that while I make the transition from rural Colorado to Long Island, New York, I must be willing to sacrifice some control for the benefits that the change will generate. And I must also be willing to step up and take control of my life to change my life the way I want to change it.

I was talking to someone the other day who was describing how she was close to retirement and scared of both a change in her future financial security and a change in her purpose in life. And the primary emotion I heard was fear, fear for the future and of things she could not control. And what I thought to myself was that this woman had a right to be scared. I understood her fear, because I have those same types of concerns for my future.

I think people are remarkably similar and vulnerable too, when it comes to their fears for the future. But what we all must realize is that fear of change is okay, but we must embrace change in order to move forward. Change is a piece of life and it’s the reason that life is interesting.

So accept your justified concerns as a way of comprehending your options. And overall, embrace your future and live your life the way you want to live it; change is just part of the journey.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Audrey Brooke

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Cool, crisp, blue-gray air buffeted Audrey as she slipped out the front doors of her apartment building. She walked quickly on the way to the subway, conscious-as-ever of the work that lay ahead of her. The office was just three subway stops south, and given that she was virtually alone on the train, it didn’t take long before she was strutting up the hard cement steps and into the cold, New York winter air.

It was 5:30 AM to the second as Audrey glided up the icy front steps in her red leather pumps and black fur coat. She was a very punctual person, and the fact that it was a cold winter day was no excuse for tardiness. The lobby was deserted and virtually silent except for the harsh click of her heels on the mosaicked floor. She greeted the doorman cordially and strutted on, eager for the day to begin. After a lengthy elevator ride, she stepped briskly out and, arm outstretched in anticipation, slid the key smoothly into the shining silver lock.

The warm office lighting glittered on, as if it had been excitedly awaiting her arrival. And for a woman like Audrey Brooke, things always awaited her arrival. The view was lovely as it always was in the early mornings, Manhattan at its finest, she liked to say. Her purse bounced gently and quickly found a comfortable resting place on the side table against the wall. Her office was spotless as usual, she liked it that way.

Audrey looked stunning as always, red leather pumps, a black Vuitton bag, a light-mint dress that met her perfectly at every curve (not that there were many), and a glistening sliver necklace with matching earrings and bracelets.

It was typical Monday morning, if that were a real thing in the office of one of the most powerful people on the planet. Editor-in-Chief was the official title inscribed on her door, but she was so much more than that.  The black leather furniture and imposing adornment of decorations in her office hinted at the level of her power.

She was an elegantly dazzling young woman with golden brown hair and piercing blue eyes. She was effortlessly tall, strikingly authoritative, and above all, poised and charismatic.

The largest publishing company in the world, Brookestone, lay in her hands and her hands only; she liked that- being in charge. But what went unsaid in this office was the fact that Audrey Brooke was about to become not only the most powerful woman in publishing, but also one of the most powerful women in the entire world.

Audrey had the check signed and everything was in place for one of the largest buyouts in history. Audrey Brooke, the woman whom so many had forgotten when she was young, was about to show the world that she ran the news, the magazines, the books, the internet, and so much more.

Audrey Brooke was finally going to get what she waited so long for, and everyone else, well, they would get what they had coming soon enough.

Audrey’s blue eyes seared through the glass as she felt the warmth of the immense power she was about to gain course through her veins. Nothing could stop her now, and nothing would. For beneath that saccharine veil lay a much darker personality, one that was willing to kill, one that would use any means possible to get its way.

This was what Audrey thought about as she stared out onto the world in the earliest hours of dawn.

Today was her day, hers, or no one’s.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Love Is… A Life Story

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Love knows no boundaries. Love is limitless. It is undiscriminatory. Love is unconditional and blind in its stark equality. Love is both indefinable and definite.

For all that love is, it remains as an underlying context as well as an all too familiar companion in life. But with its numerous virtues aside, love is painful, bitter, and heartbreaking. Love strengthens our resilience while in turn silencing our pride, humbling our very being, and squelching our quasicomfortable facade. We are in love, we are out of it, but the line between the two is existentially undefined as well as inexorably finite. We feel each experience with clarity, we know the journey of life is ephemeral and stern, and we contrive our self-esteem and self-sufficiency every day in preparation for love; but in all reality, not a single one of us isn’t blind-sided by the sheer intensity, the rancor, and the turmoil caused by love and its repercussions.

We cover our pain and sorrows in the scarves, the clothes, the cars, the handbags, the shoes, the alcohol, the makeup, and the hairstyles, but deeply recessed within the impenetrable layers of concealers, we still experience vivid sentiments of hatred, anguish, vengeance, suffering, and most of all, heartbreak.

Love never withers; nor does it succumb to vagrant dormancy. It is seldom forgotten. Love as coincident with passion flames vivaciously in fury. Love is raucous, it is undeserving, it is timid, it is venomous, it is pretentious, it is stubborn, and it is ignorant, but it is paramount to existence. A life without love is purposeless, cruel, and discontent. But incidentally, a life with love seems just as discordant and spiteful.

But, we live onward; we love onward. We try to forget; we try to remember; we try to live and laugh and love as best we can. Failure isn’t an option in love and so succeeding becomes the solitary alternative as necessitated by our aspirations for our lives. Our fate is indeterminate and our love is similarly unstipulated, but we live each day hoping the next one will be the day we fall in love. We are imprudent with love, but we are reasonable in our decision to keep trying, to keep hoping, to keep living, because tomorrow could be filled with love, and only time will tell what the future holds.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

The Art of Self-Sufficiency

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When looking at self-sufficiency, one must first look at the definition of its very core value, independence. And when I say independence, I am referring not to a perpetual state of solemn loneliness, but rather to an ability to find content and serenity in life’s silent, solitary moments. Self-sufficiency derives from the same foundational level as independence in that it too relies upon an innate ability to see merit in solitude. Self-sufficiency is much more than that though. It is a life-skill that will continue to develop as individuality and work ethic do as well.

But more than anything, self-sufficiency stems from an uncanny ability to remain poised, independent, strong-willed, and motivated throughout the multitude of experiences one undergoes daily.

There is a magnificent correlation between self-sufficiency and the ability to remain calm, collected, and eloquent in public. Likewise, to be self-sufficient, one must also be able to manipulate and finesse each interaction of life with great elegance and efficaciousness.

Self-sufficiency is additionally reliant on a skill set that aids in sustaining oneself independently. Primarily, organization is incontrovertibly necessary, utilized throughout each and every era of one’s life. But even more imperative to self-sufficiency is the ability not only to be tolerant of one’s seclusion, but to embrace and relish in that state of isolation. For some, being alone is an interval for writing, and for others it’s a time to watch TV or even cook, but a healthy adoration of solitary occasions is more than expected and accepted.

In the end, self-sufficiency has so much to do with contemplation, with independence, and with a deeply-rooted confidence in one’s own advantageous abilities. Self-sufficiency is the ultimate perfection of life, and we must embrace it for the sake of our own contentment and sustainability.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Confusion of the Individual

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Yearning for uniqueness, we travel onward in this world. We strive for a futile individualism that seems unreachable in our age of growing monochromatism. But we somehow lose sight along our way; we forget whom we are just as everyone else seems to do. On day, we wake up in the morning and don’t recognize the visage staring back at us in the mirror. And we stop and wonder- when did we lose track?

When did we ever really know exactly who we were?

There are moments in each of our pasts that illustrate at least a small portrait of who we were, but do those moments exist in our present lives as they delicately used to do? If we ever really had and clarity about who we are or who we were, it was futilely ephemeral as most things in life truly are. We remember temporary states of unambiguity, but if we were really sure of our path at any point in life, why would there even be a purpose to keep on going.

Life is as much about finding oneself as it is about the confusion we all face each and every day. Although we won’t admit it, we are all a little bit lost, continually tangled in webs of memories, hopes, dreams, and emotions.

If any of the journey of life were genuinely easy, it would be meaningless, another pedestrian, pointless experience. But the fact is, it’s not simple; it’s not without adversity or plight; it’s not free of heartbreak and failed aspirations.

The confusion we all experience at some point along the winding, fickle path of life only assists in our growth and maturing process. For to grow is to have been lost and to have realized a new enlightenment. Without losing sight of whom we are, we will never truly gain insight into the person we are today, the person we have left in the past, and the person we aspire to metamorphose into.

Our confusion helps us to learn and grow as individuals, professionals, and unique personalities. When we lose ourselves completely, we finally see the person we have never known, the person we have always hoped to discourse with but have never had the courage. When we lose ourselves in the confusion, we find out what lies within, and that is what’s truly transcendental.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Solitary Comprehension

 

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When we look at a life, what do we remember? When we look at a day, what is it that sticks with us?

Waking up each morning at 5:35 AM reminds me of how much life happens when we are alone, utterly and truly alone. Darkness in the early morning is both all-encompassing and isolating. One thinks so much about one’s life in the solitary darkness that is the morning. One remembers the days gone by, the people they miss, the dreams they’ve lost.

When I wake up in the mornings, lying in the blackness, alone in my boudoir at night, and on the solitary drive to work, I tend to think about the people I love, the dreams I hope to accomplish, and the past as it will never be again. I think about the meaning of life, trying desperately, as many have for millenniums, to understand my purpose for existence. Comprehension of our own existence is the one adversity that we will all struggle with and most likely never overcome in our lifetimes.

When I am alone, I try to dig as deeply as I can into the depths of my soul, groping for the answers I so perilously desire. But alone time also leads to magnificent insights into the existential truths of life. The biggest asset we all possess in life is that of our ability to think critically. For when we delve deep into the mind, only then do we begin to really understand life, love, emotions, and relationships fully.

One can spend a lifetime thinking about living, but without immersing oneself in life, one can only begin to comprehend the vast number of minute complexities that make up the incredible existence that is life. One must think and learn and grow every day in order to better comprehend everything that life discloses to one.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Balancing Life

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Being a person who is balanced within all aspects of their life is so often taken for granted these days. We all juggle a lot with how busy all of our lives really are nowadays. But it isn’t recognized quite enough when and individual stands out from the crowd as being a balancing artist. Very often, these are the entrepreneurs of our world, busy day and night and always running off to one meeting or another. But what is the real secret behind living a balanced lifestyle, one might ask.

We are constantly stretched thinly between our career, our friends, our love-life and our family-life. And all too often, when one aspect of life gets just a little too busy and a little too taxing, the rest begin to slip through the cracks. When work starts to expend all of our energy and absorb all of our time, our love dies out. And when we spend too much time vacationing or watching TV, our love life and career fall flat almost immediately.

The day we learn to balance our lives impeccably is also, unfortunately, the day we lose something we love or something goes wrong. It’s the day that we get fired, broken up with, feel lonely without friends, or get fed up with the constant state of exhaustion we are lingering in.

Our lives are in constant motion, and so we must learn to keep up if we have any hope of retaining sanity, health, or even happiness. Balance must be reached daily, or life falls apart. Without love, we are lonely; without friends, we are lost; and without our career, we are purposeless and moneyless too.

So too, is it important to balance our imagination with the reality around us. For without one, there is no hope of existence for the other. We must remain grounded while hopeful, joyful while lonesome, and balanced while the world caves in around us. For we are gods in a sea of dying angels and rebels in a world of depressing realities, and we will always be survivors battling life solitarily but perseveringly.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Defining Our Own Persona

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How do we define ourselves at the end of the day? When we get home after the longest of days, what is the single most important thing we do to maintain inner clarity?

Our careers define us more than almost anything else in life. They are often what we spend the majority of our time thinking about, so why shouldn’t they define us? For the luckiest among us, our career is both our livelihood and our passion. But inevitably, we will spend many years of our lives if not a majority of our adult lives at work, whether we enjoy it or not. Work sets the stage for us not only economically, but also socially and culturally in many ways. Our work friends become our only friends at many times and our work almost certainly defines our values and outlook on life in a lot of ways. But is career really all that we hold dear?

Relationships with people in our lives also play such a vital role in our overall being and emotional health. Relationships outside of the ones we have with ourselves make up most moments of the day and so the way we interact with people, the ways we organize and categorize relationships, and the deep relationships we possess all have an unforeseeably-large impact on our life path and daily happiness.

So much of daily contentment is based on this principle as well. The ways we define and thus advertise ourselves in the real world greatly influence our emotional stability and overall health on a life-size scale.

Each piece or ourselves that we divulge to the world is not communicated by mistake, but is rather shown as to “create” for ourselves and others a whole vision of a person, one who is happy, healthy, and enjoying life.

We define ourselves by the many characters we assume each day. From professional, to peer, to coworker, to fellow empathetic human, we assume many roles each day which each highlight a different definition of the real us. We are all incredible actors when it comes to assuming a single person at one time and cunningly concealing the complete remainder of us.

But what is so important about how we define ourselves is the fact that when all else fails, we can fall back on to the plush cushion of the person we have cleverly built for so many years. Whatever else happens in life, we somehow never manage to lose sight of that fragile, amorphous character deep inside of us. Each definition of us works to point the way for us in the rest of our life.

We are our own person as defined by us and only us. We have the sole ability to define our lives as they are today and as they will be for eternity. We truly are the solitary creators of our past, our present, and most importantly, our futures, and we must never forget that.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

All Dressed in Love

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I have grown so much in the last couple of weeks. I have lived so much and learned so much and realized so much. But one thing that I have learned which was always there I think, is that you should never forget love. I was watching Sex and the City the other day, and I know this sounds corny, but I got inspired by it. There has always been something very inspiring about the ending to the the movie for me. I think it may be nothing more than Jennifer Hudson’s incredible song “All Dressed in Love,” but I always feel like I want to love more people in my life, and cherish the incredible friendships that I already have. I want to open my heart up more and let in the love from everyone in my life.

In the end of Sex and the City there is such an incredible feeling of lifelong friendship. In that scene, they have realized that their friendship is about more than silly little things and that they will always love each other, through the best and worst of times. That ending seen always reminds me of two things: the incredible relationships that I both love and take for granted and the power of waking up every day and ‘dressing yourself in love,’ so to speak. By living every day the way you want to and making the most out of every minute, you come to realize a new appreciation for the power of happiness and love. You live the way you want to, you love the people that you love, and you make the decision whether to ‘dress yourself in love’ every day.

By ‘dressing yourself all in love,’ you are saying that you will focus more on the love in your life than on the hate. You are saying that you are stronger than most people, and that you will never let yourself feel bad because of someone else’s hate. When you ‘dress yourself in love,’ you are saying that you love yourself so much, that nothing will ever bring you down. You are saying that you love everyone, no matter who they are. You are saying that you will simply write off and forget about anything but pure and true love.

‘Dressing yourself in love’ is about dressing the way you want to, expressing yourself, and being the most honest version of yourself. It means you will never forget your dreams or stop loving the people you fall so hard in love for. It means that you will remember the good times and not the bad. It means that you will live every day as honestly as you can, never being untrue to yourself or others about your feelings.

When I started on my journey to better myself and my life, I told myself that above almost anything else, being ‘all dressed in love’ would be my guiding light. Although I admit that I am sometimes loud and mean, I am always honest. Because I have realized that I love love more than anything else in this world. And love is based on truth and honesty. I have learned to love myself and my life more than anything else. I have learned to love every moment that I spend with my friends, family, and lovers, the good and the bad. Life is all about love. I am always ‘all dressed in love.’ Love is my life.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones