John Torres / Blog


I took my daughter to the jungle gym at Rotary Park the other day. As soon as I stepped out of my car, thoughts began racing in my head. Thoughts like, I better make sure I can see her at all times, I better watch out for sketchy looking dudes that may be lurking around the area and I better make sure she doesn't touch anything that could be germ infested....and on and on. Typical parental concerns that the media has infiltrated us with. As I sat on the nearest bench to take in the dreadful summer heat, Hayley noticed a little boy and immediately approached him, "Hey, wanna play?" No names were even exchanged! He non chalantly looked up, put down his toy and responded," Sure. You're it!" and off they went. I thought,"Wow, I wish I could pull that off that easily." They both seemed to enjoy each other's company, and I had a great time watching them simply play. Sadly, we're in a world where manipulation reigns supreme. We see it in dirty political campaigns, manipulative media ads, the throat cutting inside the work place, the snobbery within social classes and relationships trying to maintain "an upper hand". Unfortunately words like love, kindness, patience, humility, empathy, self control, forgiveness, hope, perseverance, and acceptance have been watered down to merely 'feel good happy ending Disney fairy tales' further diluted by media satire. Letting your guard down to intentions of nurturing inclusivity and personal growth, give way to the blending of cooperation and friendly competition. This can also be experienced through a phenomenon around the world musicians like to call; "The Jam Session". The Jam Session is an unrehearsed (or improvised) musical performance, that begins with a simple concept; A motif (or an idea). The motif has two options, it can either be melodic (harmonic) or rhythmic. The first principal is consistency. Secondly, the motif has to be cohesive enough for anyone in the group to latch on to. The motif could be ignited with a shaker rhythm, a kick drum pattern, clapping, or even snapping fingers. Once the motif has been established and acknowledged by the participants, anyone is invited to jump in with either a complimentary idea or in unison. Gradually the jam unfolds to the point where everyone in the room is openly participating at the risk of derailing the groove by not paying attention to dynamics, harmony or tempo. Maintaining the jam is the primary focus. The collective surrender to the spontaneity of the flow with complete strangers, can induce a sense of euphoric togetherness. The mutual realization and appreciation that surrendering to the beauty of inclusion is in fact what we are all longing for. It is the act of opening up to ideas (motifs), perspectives and experiences worth sharing and connecting to. The Jam Session will always provide sweet relief to the tense, scary, germ infested jungle gym we call LIFE.