Tag Archive: Patrissia Cuberos


Music Matters… to Me

2. Mi Convien Cosi Crepar?
(Is it better that I kick the bucket?

Berta-The Barber of Seville 1984
A face like this, (mine!) very similar to the one that woke me up in the mirror this morning, might call for such drastic measure.

In my case, it only took me to old memory lane and my youthful self, singing the part of Berta from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville with Colombian National Opera Company.

The links below are to the aria, -one for the vocals, one for the looks- as one of the singers sings it beautifully in my view but looks too young, while the other has the looks but… well, it is a matter of opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuuruXoFfH4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIXngsbh1jk

Anyway, there are no recordings sung by me as in those days in Colombia (1983-84), live performances weren’t recorded. Even when, as it was the case with this tour, I had the honour of singing alongside Luigi Alva, -one of Maria Callas’ famous tenor partners,- and Thomas Hampson (1983-84)!

Luigi and Thomas were at the opposite ends of their musical careers: Luigi was 56 by the time he sang with me, but still in great voice and physical agility. The role of Count of Almaviva requires that to make of it a great comical, lively character, and Luigi was a real master! The rest of soloists and choristers were often in stitches watching him from the wings. He was also a wonderful team player. He always treated me –I was the youngest and, by far, the less experienced of all the soloists – with both, respect and forbearance. More than once he prompted me into the stage when my queue arrived and gave me plenty of discreet but extremely useful advice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Alva

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xqRx5ggOqs

an incredibly old and terrible recording but you can still appreciate his voice and acting. His coloraturas are divine. Very similar to the voice of another famous Peruvian tenor, Juan Diego Florez. What’s with Peruvians and those incredibly high voices? Incredibly high mountains?

Thomas Hampson, 29 at the time was at the start of what would become a very successful career. If you are into any vocal classical music, you will have heard of him. His versatile voice and personality and his curious mind have driven him to perform all sorts of music from the XVIII to the XXI centuries as far as I know. Have a look at this link.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/opera–tall-dark-and-hampson-thomas-hampson-is-the-thinking-mans-baritone-equally-at-ease-in-everything-from-mahler-to-american-musicals-but-asks-edward-seckerson-isnt-he-just-a-bit-too-good-to-be-true-1368226.html

He had the biggest bottom I’ve even seen in a man, made look bigger by the fact that with his height, 6’4, it was far closer to my eyes than his head was! He was just as handsome as he is nowadays, but he had long curly hair, that gave him more angelic, yet, less sexy looks. He was also as kind and interesting as the article says.

Well… that was an unexpected trip down memory lane… I think I can afford that. If you managed to read till here, you also afforded it!

Till next time.

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19. Immortality

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 17th May 2014

 

19. Immortality

 

 

If a bird could stop

In the midst of its flight

And contemplate itself,

The miracle of stillness,

Perhaps it would be happy

 

What makes us so unhappy

Are yesterday; tomorrow;

What it was, what will be,

Between sorrow and hope.

What we had or we didn’t.

What will get or not;

What we were or we weren’t

What we will be or not.

 

If I could stop this instant

This smile, or this kiss

Or this air… or this me…

 

 

And so often it is possible, just by being present in the moment.

 

Patrissia Cuberos

 

Mindfulness is a way to be present, therefore, immortal: still, in and within the instant.

Hugh Poulton has been my most valued mindfulness and yoga teacher for many years.

 

 

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

1. I am not a health practitioner of any description. The tips I will be giving are directly related to my personal experience and my experiences with family and friends who seem to have benefited from those tips. Please if in doubt, always consult a qualified practitioner.
2. With their permission I will be mentioning in these pages the names and expertise of many people who have contributed to my current state of health. See also the Links page. Whenever possible  and relevant, I will be leading you to their websites or giving you a direct contact if you ask me. Nobody is or will be paying me or rewarding me in any way for doing so. I will be doing it because they are wonderful practitioners, to whom I owe much and to whom I am very happy to direct people to, for the benefit of all. I don’t and won’t recommend anyone whose help and expertise I haven’t experienced and benefited from directly.

15. And the Killer was…

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 12th April 2014

15. And the Killer was…

All of them looked innocent. Further more, they honestly believed they were.

I interviewed them several times after the tragic events surrounding Sarah’s demise. Each of them had a perfect alibi: they were at home; she was in Hospital.

According to them, they had just been performing their functions as they were meant to, without any ulterior motive or dubious intention.

First I interviewed Sofa. These were his exact words: “I’ve always been here; still, soft and comfy… even though Sarah got me in a charity shop and I was already quite battered. I imagine I might not have been good enough for her; I know I have a weakness. I could never be firm with anyone… I am a softy.”

“But, didn’t you notice that something wasn’t quite right?”

“Sorry, I am very ignorant. I am not like TV or Computer who know all the answers. I just made sure that Sarah as comfortable as possible. I did notice that she spent more and more time on me and I felt really cherished. Not as much as Computer or TV though: they were her favourites.”

“Are you sure you didn’t notice anything?”

“Well… I noticed she became more comfortable herself: bigger and softer. I loved it. I could tell, week by week that her behind was getting better for me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.”

I had no choice but to declare Sofa, free of all evil intentions.

Then I interviewed TV, who I knew was all excited and ready to be turned on…

“I’m always innocent!” She declared enthusiastically before I managed to ask any questions. “My jobs are to entertain and instruct. Mind you, Sarah liked to be entertained, best. I did my best; therefore Sarah spent many hours sitting on THE SOFA…” TV ended, looking accusatorily to whom she believed to be the culprit.

I ignored her and decided to interview Chair. Same as the others he denied all responsibility.

“Look,” he said quite indignantly: “I was the only one doing any serious job in this house! Sarah only used me when she was doing some proper work, and besides, at least I am firm!” Then, he signalled me to come closer and murmured in my ear: “If you are looking for the assassins, look no further: I know Computer and TV did it! Sofa also… and you haven’t asked bed!”

Bed? I thought. It hadn’t occurred to me that she might have anything to do with it, but I decided to interview her also;

“I did nothing!” she swore. “All I did was to provide her with a place to sleep and rest.”

“What about the hours she spent doing crosswords in the morning? You knew she was getting pain in her neck. You know you did much damage!” Chair shouted from his place.

I realized that Chair definitely knew something, even though I didn’t like his self-righteous attitude. “So…” I addressed him again: “Can you tell me how the symptoms started?”

“I am innocent! I am innocent!” cried Sofa, TV, Computer and Bed in unison. I suspected neither of them was innocent; not even Chair, but at least he was ‘firm’ as he had said, and he might be able to provide some answers and make the other’s chip in.

“I’ll tell you what:” I said trying to pacify them. “Let’s say that all of you are innocent until proven otherwise. I just need to know what happened, and the order in which it happened.”

“It was while working with me that Sarah first complained about her right shoulder…” said Computer Sheepishly, “I think you should ask Mouse… He was never good for her.” He ended.

“Sorry… Sorry!” Mouse squeaked, sniffing loudly. “I didn’t know. I’m just made this way. I’m so sorry!”

“Actually, she was also complaining about her sitting bones… particularly the left side…”

Chair confessed, losing his initial arrogance.

“And I know she always got a neck ache when the cross words took her too long.” Bed admitted, avoiding my gaze.

At this stage Sofa begun to cry: “I knew I wasn’t firm enough! I never was! Her poor lower back was aching awful when she sat on me for too long!”

“But, what did she do, when she had all those aches? Did she stop doing whatever she was doing?”

“No!” they answered mournfully.

“She took painkillers.” Said bed.

“Did she change position? Did she do some exercise?”

“No.! The mournful choir burst again.

“But, Computer and TV: you could have told her to do more exercise… to move more.”

“We tried.” They answered “But she was too busy to pay any attention.” Computer ended.

“She just got worse and worse, ended in a wheel chair, then in hospital with liver dysfunction. She was taking lots of remedies: painkillers, anti-depressants, laxatives, remedies for her liver and digestion, vitamins and minerals…We couldn’t do anything to stop it!” Bed sobbed, hugging Bedside table who had opened her mouth to show a drawer full of medicines, pills and bottles of all ages, colours and sizes.

“Don’t worry guys…” I reassured them writing my final statement: –Slow suicide. – on my notebook. “I can see it was not your fault. You are all exonerated of all blame. Try to take care of your next owner, but I know that we humans are able to use, even the best of our inventions against ourselves.”

 

For the last few weeks I have been suffering the consequences of my favourite activities. Two weeks ago, my shoulder seized up due to too much writing (and here I am again!) and too much sewing (proud about my accomplishments, but in pain!) A body like mine doesn’t take kindly to any excesses. I’d love to write, play the piano, and sew, in excess. For good or for bad, my body gives me the pain signal, so I have to change to an activity that doesn’t involve sitting down or using my right hand and arm. I have let it go too far this time and going for long walks, stretches and yoga, writing standing up, watching TV squatting or doing stretches, won’t do the trick. I will have to take myself to my osteopath on Monday, and for today, I will have to resort to a (one!) painkiller with anti-inflammatory properties. I can’t remember the last time I took one. At least three years ago. By the way, my wonderful Osteopath is Clive Lindley-Jones from Helix House. A real magician. I’ll tell you how I do, next week, although I will try first to intensify the yoga and back exercises.

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up
Saturday 29th March 2014
13. The Limitations of the Unlimited

I confess I hate limitations. I hate to be told that I can’t. And yet, I have to accept that we are shackled by Limitation even in our affluent, prosperous society, where those limitations are generally self-inflicted through our own excessive desires and expectations.
I fall painfully into this last category. My unlimited mind, a mind like yours or anyone’s, can imagine worlds, situations and possibilities that are beyond my physical capabilities and the limitations of time… I was going to call it my worst enemy, but I think I better befriend it!
At 8.00 am, a day extends ahead of me with a promise of a million small and large projects that I am sure I will be able complete:
• Today, I’ll edit my book for 6 hours: around 4000 words at the current speed, if no more scenes and dialogues decide to sprout on the way! (14 years on the go! I don’t dare to plan anymore a publication date! It is an embarrassment, but being my first novel, it has to be the best I can achieve at this stage.)
• Today, I will do 2 hours of piano practice: I will finally master that little Scarlatti sonata (at it, on and off for 10 years). I might even improve the Mozart sonata (2 years on the go.)
• Today, I’ll write my blog and I will do it in 20 minutes instead of the usual 2 hours.
• Today I will finish at least my sewing project No 7 (at least 6 more on the go, all unfinished; all piling up in my basket.)
• Today, I will give the kitchen a proper clean.
• Today, I’ll go out for a two hours walk…
• Today I will watch that David Attenborough’s Documentary.
• Today I will do a bit of gardening… after all, it is sunny…
However:
• Today, after 20 minutes at the piano I have to stop to do yoga because my back aches. My fault as I did too much writing and sewing yesterday. For once, the three 10 to 20 minutes yoga sessions, and the 3 hours cleaning, baking and stewing the last of the autumn apples, weren’t enough to compensate for the stillness. (Arthritis is being wo-man-handled, but not yet defeated. Flares up if I sit or don’t move for more than a couple of hours.)
• Today, I sit to write this blog, planning to continue editing… but my carpal tunnel syndrome is making its appearance again, numbing my right thumb and making it difficult to write…
What shall I do?
• I shall be gracious, and not complain about having an active mind;
• I shall be grateful for my health being as good as it is. After all, I rather have problems sitting too long instead of not being able to move.
• I will re-read/check extracts of my novel and I’ll use my thumb as little as possible.
• I will do some gardening… hands and back permitting.
• I will go for a walk indeed, and enjoy this beautiful sunshine.
I might be exercised enough later on, to afford some writing, sewing and playing the piano!
Tomorrow at 8 am, the day will seem limitless… again…
If anyone out there would like to be my Executive Secretary/Editor/Personal Assistant, let me know. I am considering winning a lottery or becoming a Best Selling author in order to pay one! Of course I need to finish the book first, don’t I?

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

1. I am not a health practitioner of any description. The tips I will be giving are directly related to my personal experience and my experiences with family and friends who seem to have benefited from those tips. Please if in doubt, always consult a qualified practitioner.
2. With their permission I will be mentioning in these pages the names and expertise of many people who have contributed to my current state of health. See also the Links page. Whenever possible and relevant, I will be leading you to their websites or giving you a direct contact if you ask me. Nobody is or will be paying me or rewarding me in any way for doing so. I will be doing it because they are wonderful practitioners, to whom I owe much and to whom I am very happy to direct people to, for the benefit of all. I don’t and won’t recommend anyone whose help and expertise I haven’t experienced and benefited from directly.

 

Fate, Fortune and Will

 

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 15th Feb 2014

Fate, Fortune and Will

Some people are fortunate enough to appear to have it all: health, a roof over their heads, enough food, warmth, clothing, love and security, opportunities for learning, work, creating, enjoying life. However, all too often, they are unfortunate enough not to recognize it.

If you are reading this, it means you, like me, have been spared from the distressing and even tragic consequences of the latest storms. Perhaps, like me, you are reflecting on your good fortune.

After having planned this week’s post, one of my dearest friends asked me, pretty much what the protagonist of one of my books always asks himself:

“Is our destiny determined by genes, birth, upbringing, past choices?

Or can we determine the course of our existence?”*

My answers, based on my personal experience and my observations of life and people, are:

  • 50%, Genes, birth, family, education and upbringing:
  • 50%, What we decide to make of our 50% lottery.

In my personal experience, we can change even our health, and overcome many other seemingly impossible challenges, quite dramatically. We can change, of course, the effects of education and upbringing. We can transform ourselves, our lives, our health and our level of happiness.

In my view, it is the power of our will what can take us all the way, from simple wish to the intention; from the intention, to the attention and focus necessary to work our wish into the desired result. Perhaps you will care to have a look at my nephew Juan Acosta’s project,  http://ThoughtsintoResults.com (By the way, Juan has grown up in USA, and I have had no influence whatsoever in his upbringing. However, obviously we are into similar missions!)

But, how do you train your will to will what you need to will in order to transform your life?

My suggestion for this week is to observe, and if necessary to change your attitude to your life and your circumstances. Essentially, I suggest that you strive to see your glass, not even half full but full to the brim with the unabashed and pretty permanent joy of being alive; of having learnt what you have learnt; of experiencing the love you experience for and from people, places, objects, whatever form love takes in your life.

Will, have Faith in yourself; work at it and/or open space for it. Remember:

“Never give up hope and good luck will find you”

(From the Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story)

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

1. I am not a health practitioner of any description. The tips I will be giving are directly related to my personal experience and my experiences with family and friends who seem to have benefited from those tips. Please if in doubt, always consult a qualified practitioner.
2. With their permission I will be mentioning in these pages the names and expertise of many people who have contributed to my current state of health. Whenever possible and relevant, I will be leading you to their websites or giving you a direct contact if you ask me. Nobody is or will be paying me or rewarding me in any way for doing so. I will be doing it because they are wonderful practitioners, to whom I owe much and to whom I am very happy to direct people to, for the benefit of all. I don’t and won’t recommend anyone whose help and expertise I haven’t experienced and benefited from directly.

*From “The Secret Life of a God”, part of “The Thermodynamics of Love Trilogy”, hopefully to be out and about this year. I won’t give up hope!

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 18th January 2014

3. Mind… the Gaps in your Awareness

Many people are aware about the condition of their minds and bodies. Sadly, many of us pay more attention to the state of our car, our furniture or our house than to ourselves. We tend to numb our senses and subject ourselves to excess or deprivation in ways that in my view, if we were in our right ‘mind’ we would never consider.

If at all times we were aware, ‘Mindful’ of our real needs (I’ll talk about the mind and emotions in another post):

Would we eat or drink in excess?

Would we put inside our bodies harmful substances, food and drink that are not good for us, or smoke?

Of course, the question is, unless the cause is genetic – and I’ll come back to that at some stage- would we suffer from indigestion, obesity, diabetes, and perhaps allergies, which in my view might be caused by saturation of the body with a particular food or substance?

Would we deprive our lungs from that most essential fuel, Air? We tend to breathe so carelessly, that most of the time our lungs are 3/4 full with poisonous Carbon Dioxide. As with food, we tend to take in more than we can expel! Have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercapnia

Would we deprive our bodies of movement if we realized in our bones that a sedentary life can kill us? Everybody knows that it leads to heart disease, arthritis, with the consequent body parts replacement if they are replaceable, and that it is also one of the biggest contributory factors in depression, lack of energy, poor sleep, obesity, etc, etc.

I suggest for this week, that you treat your body as you would treat your car:

Check the alignment = Posture

Check the quality of the fuel and oil you put in it = Air, food and drink.

Keep turning the engine on to make sure the battery keeps charged.

You could also chose to go to a mindfulness class near you.

I have personally attended Hugh Poulton’s  www.yogaunlimited.co.uk Ashtanga Yoga and Mindfulness classes and I just think he is very excellent.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

1. I am not a health practitioner of any description. The tips I will be giving are directly related to my personal experience and my experiences with family and friends who seem to have benefited from those tips. Please if in doubt, always consult a qualified practitioner.
2. With their permission I will be mentioning in these pages the names and expertise of many people who have contributed to my current state of health. See also the Links page. Whenever possible  and relevant, I will be leading you to their websites or giving you a direct contact if you ask me. Nobody is or will be paying me or rewarding me in any way for doing so. I will be doing it because they are wonderful practitioners, to whom I owe much and to whom I am very happy to direct people to, for the benefit of all. I don’t and won’t recommend anyone whose help and expertise I haven’t experienced and benefited from directly.