D.T. Suzuki (1870-1966)
“When traveling is made too easy and comfortable, its spiritual meaning is lost. This may be called sentimentalism, but a certain sense of loneliness engendered by traveling leads one to reflect upon the meaning of life, for life is, after all, a traveling from one unknown to another unknown.“
This posting is about a renewal of faith and the telling of an adventure that returned a lost heart. Mine. This is part one of a three-part series.
Sometimes we don’t always know that we’ve lost something. We can go about our day to day activities and deep down we know something is missing, but we can’t quite put our finger on it.
I’ve really enjoyed traveling and the loneliness that Suzuki mentioned in his quote was familiar to me. Reflected on the meaning of life, yes and even though I moved at a fevered pace, the whole of the activity itself was a liberation of my unknown self.
We had a successful run at Billboard Live in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. The guys flew back to NYC and I headed south to Jakarta, Indonesia. Hey, it was only 7-8 hours away!
When I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia the first thing that struck me when I walked outside was the moist, oppressive heat that belted through the terminal doors, giving a sharp contrast to the cool air on the inside. Within seconds the sky darkened and a torrential, tropical downpour, which lasted for 5 minutes, was followed immediately by 2 minutes of cool breezes. Oddly this was soothing to me, although the swift transition back to humidity and heat was disorienting. I waited under the awning for the appointed person from the Institut Musik Daya Indonesia to pick me up. I listened to the rain and watched the comings and goings of travelers.
I thought about who would be picking me up; would I recognize them from my last trip here? Well, I didn’t have to fear that I would have trouble identifying someone from the school. A stunning, statuesque figure with a beautiful, warm and friendly smile, wearing bright colors of orange and yellow, walked right up to me, introduced himself as Donny and gave me a jovial hug. He immediately apologized for the delay and said one word- TRAFFIC. Now, that would be a word that I would come to understand and develop an appreciation and sincere respect for anyone with the ability to navigate through it without incident.
It took 4 hours for us to travel from the airport to the school. Why so long you ask? TRAFFIC.
My home away from home for the next couple of weeks was a lovely extended stay bed and breakfast [ ] that was located across the road from the school, Being unaware at the time, that crossing “the road” would be a daily task that required skill, confidence and sheer raw nerve.
Although the day I arrived was a torrential rain kind of day, the next morning was beautiful and sunny. Since I was right across the way from the school, I declined the assistance of transportation.
This photo only marginally demonstrated the constant danger of my journey to the school. To get an idea about how incredibly terrifying it was to cross the constantly congested street, one would have to envision bumper to bumper cars and minibikes moving roughly 30 miles an hour, sans traffic lights and you got my morning commute. Of course this image doesn’t do my description justice. I asked some of the students and faculty at the school, how does one go about crossing a street where there wasn’t a traffic light where cars are moving so fast and their reply was, – “you put your hand up in a halt gesture and step into the streets, the cars will stop, the bikes may not, but the cars will, usually”…..Okaaaaay.
Once I made it across the perilous thoroughfare, I breathed a sign a relief, something I would do every time I crossed. At this point, for me the rest of my first day would be a piece of Red Velvet Cake. They relocated the school to a new address since my last visit and this new location and my hotel being in such close proximity, gave me the freedom to come and go between the school and my hotel without inconveniencing the students. Even though all the students and faculty did not mind in the least to transport me about, I didn’t want to disrupt there daily schedules. Plus I had never walked “on the streets” in this area of Jakarta.
My new mode of transportation shifted my optic experiences of the city and and the school. Ability to see things missed when riding in a car. As I walked to the very end of a long alley way, powerful impressions of exotic adventures swirled around in my mind. What awaited my at the end of the road? Oh, yes…the school, V!!!!
On the right, at the end of this road, The school – Institut Musk Day Indonesia awaited me. The building where I would work for two weeks and where my life would change forever.
My first day, my first impressions were those of excitement and unknown possibilities. Honestly, I was frightened because this was the first time I was implementing a program that I’ve worked on for the past three years. I never had a great test environment in the United States for reasons that will remain unwritten. But anyone in the progressive, visionary department knows, that unconventional and unorthodox is something that most people are not comfortable with. People need the familiar, otherwise they don’t have a reference for their reality. That’s why when I hear people say that they are innovators, some go so far as to say that they are geniuses. I always think of a quote that one of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffet said:
“There’s a natural progression to how good new ideas go wrong. This progression is know as the ‘three I’s’. First come the innovators, who see opportunities that others don’t. Then come the imitators, who copy what the innovators have done. And then come the idiots, whose avarice undoes the very innovations they are trying to use to get rich.”“
Although this quote is used in the context of investments, the wisdom can definitely be applied wherever there are pioneers and visionaries striving to do things that have not been done before.
So far everything was beautiful, serence and peaceful at the Institut Musik Daya Indonesia (IMDI).
IMDI was founded in February 2001 by Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah. it is the first independent Music Academy in Indonesia which offers comprehensive International standard curriculum. Since 2004 IMDI has been an associate member of International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) and PRASASTI GELAR SENI (Indonesian Association of Performing Ats Educators & Practitioners) since 2009.
It’s vision to improve the appreciation of culture and arts through formal performing arts education in Indonesia. It’s mission-establishment of the Daya Indonesia Fine Arts Academy and Performing Arts Center in Jakarta for Indonesia is to improve Indonesian human resources in facing globalization era in the field of Performing Arts (Music, Dance and Drama).
But there was more, much, much more…….