today i called an uber and when i approached the uber to get inside, the driver locked the door, rolled down the window and asked my name
this was an opportunity not to make assumptions as why this was happening, to not take it personally and to not make up a story about the driver, but to meet him with love.
can i keep this up?
today a woman was selling bags on the street and out of habit, I said, “no thank you” but, I thought about it and realized I was about to get groceries and it would probably really help the woman if I bought something from her. so, i went back and asked her how much. she said 150, i gave her 200 and asked for change, she then said it cost 250. i told her, she can keep the bag, but she continued to hustle me for more. I told her keep the bag and the money but she kept arguing. finally, she realized and said thank you and took the bag back.
this was an opportunity for me to remember that if you keep your mind stuck in a negative reality, you won’t be able to see when someone is actually helping you. it reminded me to have compassion, because you don’t know people’s state of mind. and it reminded me that i don’t have to mirror the behavior of others.
can i always be this present and aware?
today i let my thoughts lead me to a feeling of lonliness
this was an opportunity to remember that the space between the notes in the music are what make the music, otherwise it would just be jumbled sound. And right now, I may be experiencing a space in being surrounded by people that love me, but that is what makes the moments of love so beautiful. i remembered to be grateful for all i have and i am never really alone, because i am always in good company when i am with myself.
can i stay this grateful and focused on what is woking?
Pop music means more to me than what one might see on the surface. It is a 3-5 minute expression of feelings that are often judged as superficial or trivial, and yet are feelings and experiences, none the less. The limited melodic format of pop music, combined with its repetition makes it intoxicating. And when the recording artist fully emerges themselves in the moment, it gives life to inner experiences that society would like to judge you for.
The producer, Danja, is a shooting star. He layers pop music in an almost operatic manner. His vocals are layered throughout the song, pulling you up, haunting you, leading you into a mysterious and intriguing place. The untrained ear may not even notice, but their effect is ever present. And the music itself…. talk about layered. I could strip the song and listen to each piece on its own and be mesmerized. Combine that with Britney Spears, who, regardless of the perception that has been given to you (because i doubt you have formed one on your own), gives herself over to the song completely. She is the song. You believe she is the moment. And one thing that makes a Britney pop song a Britney pop song, are the adlibs she adds throughout the entire song. Have you ever noticed that? She is one of the only artists whose background vocals and adlibs sometimes are what give the song its cherished tone. Anyway…. I can go on forever.
When my dear friend, Vivvyanne ForeverMORE asked me to produce a video for her birthday, I was more than happy to and because I respect her so much, I chose to use one of the greatest pop songs of all time; Gimme More. A song that I never bore of, a song that instantly changes my mood, my personality, my person.
In my early twenties, I was a silent actor for Opera Philadelphia and I so cherished being part of these large productions. Singers being flown in from all over the world, performing in the Academy of Music. It was a dream come true. And being there allowed me the opportunity to see what it would be like to have a concert, opera, show, whatever… of that scale.
One of my favorite things to do when working with popular songs is make new mixes to them, so I took Danja’s isolated background vocals, Britney’s isolated vocals, portions of the album version instrumental, and a concert version of the song from one of Britney’s tours and mixed all of that (even adding a completely different song for the intro, a song that had a similar mysterious and ominous tone) and made this operatic mix. I love the chants of “More!” that enhance the song. As she sings, “feels like the crowd is saying…”
And I put myself, Heaven on Earth, on the stage of the Academy of Music. Just before making this, I rewatched the film, The Red Shoes, and it took my back to my opera days. The Maestro leads the opera, they are behind the steering wheel. Silent and ever present. They are… The Maestro. And watching The Red Shoes I was reminded of this and how necessary they are and yet how much the general public, perhaps does not think of or respect them anymore. So, I thought, The Maestro should be a character in this video. What fun.
The song for me, also represents a resurrection of Cleopatra. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what came to me. If she was forced into suicide and the world, still till this day, can’t remove her name from their lips, why wouldn’t the powers that be grant her a return? They want more!
And why not through Britney Spears?
This video was also dedicated to Britney Spears because it was the performance of this song at The VMAs that began a change in perception of her. People were unkind to her, someone who literally dedicated her entire life to entertaining the world. And like spoiled, ungrateful children, people said what they said. Britney deserves more respect. More. More. More Honor. More. More. And so, I decided to get on the stage of The Academy of Music and thank her for her contribution to Pop Music. To Honor her energy. To give her…
Hello everyone! Thank you for watching the video for my first single: THOUGHT HE HAD YOU (FUCKED UP). I wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, filmed, and edited all on my own. Your support is greatly appreciated. Please share the song with your friends and follow me to get notifications of new work. Thank you all! I love you.
WATCH THE PREMIERE ON YOUTUBE: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2020
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Heaven on Earth is a creative project by actor and performer, S. Cummings.When Quarantine began, it became clear that the choices and frame of mind chosen in these months, would influence a great deal of the future. It is for this reason that S. chose to do all the things he had previously wanted to do, including producing and recording music and filming music videos… all on his own.”THOUGHT HE HAD YOU (FUCKED UP)” reminds us in moments where we feel that someone or some situation is our enemy, that we are the true gatekeepers of our perceptions and reactions, and that it is our responsibility and our responsibility alone to manage them. What power we hold!
Lady Liberty has been faced with her own reflection and now must choose; stay the same or face the ego. She is swept away to the land of Oz, where her strongest qualities personified assist her in this duel.
In learning about herself, LL has come to understand how much of what she boasts to be unique to her land, comes at the cost of others, is borrowed or stolen, and is not welcoming to all. It was for this reason I chose to begin the video with Tere Mere Beech Mein. The song, from the Bollywood film Ek Duuje Ke Liye, served as inspiration forToxic, unbeknownst to most who celebrate it. It speaks on the appropriation, lack of acknowledgement for said appropriation, and the ostracization of those who culture is borrowed from.
The Wizard of Oz serves as a backdrop. In my mind, the film centers around one’s personal development and some degree of “enlightenment”. The Tinman, Scarecrow, and Lion all serving as areas where once Dorothy felt scarcity (heart, wisdom, courage), but through facing fears, she is shown that she has had them all along. May we all come to that realization for ourselves.
The Wicked Witch serving as the ego; the aspect of one that attempts to keep them in a perpetual state of fear and hesitation. Facing the ego is a path to growth for us all. May you one day brave that journey, my friend.
SBCNSLY is one those songs that when I heard it, I felt the spirit of instant recognition. Before I even knew what this song was about, I knew it was me. A story came rushing to my mind, one not fully apparent in the video (which I enjoy), and I would like to share that story with you. It feels… It is… personal.
My initial idea consisted of a woman at a celebration of sorts, perhaps somewhere in South America. In my mind, it was Brazil. And she was enjoying herself, dancing and laughing during a festival. This was a big festival, one that everyone looked forward to. And she was the belle of all balls. To watch her dance and laugh, was to be inspired.
In all her joy, she turned around to see her significant other kissing someone else. And, feeling so hurt, she was unable to allow herself to accept that it happened, to show any signs of acknowledgement. Although, it slowly becomes apparent to all.
So, she continued dancing… Forever. She never stops, because she knows if she stops, she must face this reality. And so she dances her way out of the festival, down the street, across the city, for all eternity. Smiling and dancing. She becomes mythological. Everyone knows her story. It’s perhaps the first story children are ever told. And she does all this, to keep from feeling the inevitable pain.
For me, this represented a fear that has always lingered in my mind. One that I will someday face. Increasingly people are beginning to accept the idea of an open relationship and I always feared that my partner would find someone of greater privilege and social ranking and fall in love with it. Not them, but the access, the visibility, etc and leave me. This is not an original fear, but has shown its face here and there. But, I plan to face this fear head on, when that day comes.
Being in quarantine, having a film crew of just me, and having the time restraint of about 24 hours, I decided to simplify, to adjust the story. And so it became a combination of hers and mine. For me, it was about the fear of vulnerability. Just as the song… songs. I imagined myself in a wedding dress on my wedding day, wondering if I could actually do it. Be myself. Be goofy. Be focused. Be loving. Be Me. And be accepted by this person. Truly accepted, or would, upon seeing all that is me, they begin to judge me and turn me into their enemy. I imagined being so frightened of this, that I became a giant, out of pure frustration, looking out over the city, watching people, wondering how any of them manage to be so vulnerable. And the backup dancers, I imagine were her. The beautiful woman from Brazil, coming to support me in my lament.
May we all face our illusory fears and grow into that which we are truly meant to be.
“You’ll hit gold more often if you simply try out a lot of things.” ― Ira Glass
The renewable resource that, for all my life, has fueled the vehicle that drives me, is the search for GOLD. And so, I have tried a lot of things and found gold here and there, but mostly gold plated rocks. But, that doesn’t stop me, because I know gold is out there. But, after losing friends, feeling trapped and suicidal, and watching “family” become more and more distant, I began to wonder, “is there gold in here? within me?”Every teaching I have encountered tells me that I must first see what I desire within myself before I can see it without. And so, I began a quest inward, to discover the natural resources that lay hidden in the fields of my inner world, that no military force could ever excavate or monetize. And along this inward journey, I was surprised to see ideas from the outside world.
“Your best isn’t good enough”
“I don’t date black people.”
“I’ll fucking kill you, you stupid f****t”
I found that my fields were filled with weeds, draining the nutrients of the soil of my soul and keeping my flowers of love from reaching their full potential. And this was no coincidence. You see, years ago, as a child, I asked the universe to guide me towards expansion, growth, enlightenment. And as Abraham Hicks says, “you always get what you want.” I got it; a never ending parade of lessons; growth in wolf’s clothing, as Robin Sharma would say. Initially, I took to victim-hood. “Why is this happening to me?” With time, I began to see patterns, I also began to see how this idea of being a victim would often keep my from doing things that I KNEW would help me. A clear solution would stare me in the face and all I could think was, “someone help me,” when it was I who needed to help myself. So, for once, I decided to tend to my own garden, rather than wait for some sexy gardener to take interest in my fields. I used tho only tool I could find, a HOE.
HOE or Heaven on Earth is a state of mind, that helps one to see more clearly that which is dis-empowering and drains your resources (weeds) in order to consciously remove them and actively care for and focus on, that which empowers you (flowers). Initially, I scratched the surface and was amazed by the results I found, the short-lived results. Changing the words I used during self-talk, becoming more and more aware of my self-limiting beliefs, they were just the beginning. If I wanted true change, I had to get these weeds by the root. So, I stopped. Everything.
I stopped watching TV, I stopped drinking alcohol, I stopped smoking, I stopped having sex, I stopped watching porn, I stopped masturbating, I even stopped fantasizing. I stopped focusing on changing things and started focusing on being something completely different. I imagined that person I always hoped I’d become; what he looked like, how he thought of himself in relation to the world around him, the compassion he had for others, how he expressed Love. And I decided to stop waiting for him to appear and just do it. Now. In ever situation, I’d ask, How would my future self see this situation? He has tons of insight. How would my future self transform this narrative into something more helpful? What environment would my future self put himself in, that would be conducive to growth? And that being, my future self, would travel in time, from the future to the present and show up in situations as myHero.
He showed me to have compassion for those who aimed at hurting me, because just as I am learning how much my conditioning is shaping me, so too are they. Their lack of Love is not about you, it is about them and it can only hurt you if you take it personally. Have compassion.
He showed me that if I don’t want to swim, don’t get in the water. Why continue to put yourself in an environment that hasn’t learned to respect you? Go elsewhere.
He showed me one my greatest tools; focus. Where you attention goes, energy flows. Be mindful of where you place said attention, in your thoughts, in your actions, and be mindful of that which aims to distract you. Distraction is the vice of Focus. So, what are you really gaining from the distraction of meaningless sex, likes on Instagram, notifications on your phone? You are gaining distractions.
Future me is the hero I have been waiting for my entire life. It’s only that I hadn’t realized he was inside me this entire time. The past few years have seen me in, what some may call, extreme isolation. This was the only way for me to discover what is me and what is noise. And now, I believe, The Universe is conspiring to align me with those vibrating at a similar frequency . Those who, like me, tended to their own gardens and found within them, GOLD.
How curious that we all want Love. And yet, many of us feel we don’t have it. Is this feeling an illusion or a result of our personal and collective paradigm?
There is no shortage of Love. Essentially, it grows on trees and we are the branches of said trees. Previously, I practiced hesitation when expressing my love. For friends, family, lovers (the irony). Out of fear of rejection.
Wisdom and Experience have enlightened me to the fact that Love is the answer to every “problem” one encounters. Your circumstances are not a unique excuse for being unloving.
When I was living in fear, I allowed myself to get hung up on people telling me they weren’t attracted to Black guys. Everything we see tells us to be hurt and enraged. The reaction is literally handed to us.
if you deny they sky, it does not deny you.
If you deny gravity, it will still hold on tight.
And if you deny my love, you have merely kept it from your sight.
I’m still here loving you. Whoever you are.
When you change your behavior as a reaction to that of others, you become the other. Be it Love, or the illusion of hate.
When I was a child, I remember learning about people being persecuted for their religious beliefs. And as a boy of about 5 years, I asked, “why didn’t they lie about their beliefs, so they wouldn’t be killed.” And now, without words, I understand.