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blog: the road from beauty to becoming

Oct 4, 2017

Fall 2017

Dear friends, 

I'm happy to say that I will be enjoying a few more years in Beijing, as my wife Kimberly has signed a two-contract. I stay very busy playing in small groups and as the primary lead trumpet player for two excellent big bands, the Beijing Blue Note Big Band, and the JZ Big Band based in Shanghai.  I have met so many wonderful people here--internationals like me who are up for the big adventure of living in China, and some very generous and gifted young Chinese musicians.

I'm also excited about our work in getting our international social enterprise off the ground. TURN TO BEAUTY launches and coaches aesthetic communities (art makers and lovers learning together about connecting beauty to their daily lives) in cities across the globe.

I can still be reached at my primary address:

jkylejazz@gmail.com

All the best to all of you!

JKG

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Sep 6, 2016

Back in Beijing

September 6, 2016

Dear friends, 

After an action-packed summer teaching jazz seminars in Cyprus and Lebanon, and moving out of houses in Verona and Colorado Springs, I returned to Beijing a few weeks ago, excited about the good beginnings that we built together with Chinese colleagues and students last Spring. Tomorrow night we will have auditions for the big band, which gradually keeps taking steps forward. I genuinely feel that it is such a privilege to get to know this incredible culture, and am I am only beginning to scratch the surface.

I am most excited about the impending arrival of my best friend in the world, as my wife Kim is arriving here in just a few days after an even more exhausting summer for her as she carried the heaviest load with going through all of our stuff. We will be diving into Chinese learning this fall and see how far we can get. I am kind of tired of just pointing at things and nodding my head in my interactions with people. It would be nice to once again be able to express some more specific thoughts with the use of those wonderfuls tools of communication that we call words.

The kids are doing well at school. A big part of our job will be to stay in touch with them via skype and texts so they don't feel abandoned by their folks on the other side of the world. We are proud and encouraged by who they are becoming, and excited about the unfolding of their paths in the coming months and years. Who knows what a new day will bring? I certainly didn't foresee this turn in our path, but now that I'm on it, I realize that having missed it would have been a tremendous loss. It's the people I've met here who have so enriched me.

I will keep the blog articles coming on turntobeauty.com so that you can continue to travel with us in this journey.

Wishing you all the best from above,

Kyle, for Kim 

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Mar 1, 2016

Hello from Beijing

March 2, 2016

Dear friends, 

Well, the day has finally now come and a new chapter in our adventure begins in China. I arrived just a few days ago with a massive cold, which has complicated things, because at this point I am depending on student translators for teaching my classes, and I can't pronounce things correctly!

I am very impressed with the warmth and openness of the colleagues and students I have met. I am figuring out new words every day to add to my severely restricted vocabulary. I am much missing my family in the States (with Emi in Spain) and my friends in Italia, and hope to have the energy to tell the story of my journey here so that all will feel included. Please travel with me.

My future blog postings will be on the new site I created a few months ago to help network aesthetic communities (groups of art makers and art lovers who meet together to learn to enjoy and creaty beauty in ways that are transformative for their lives and communities) at:

turntobeauty.com

I hope to see you there, but I will keep making occasional postings on this page as well.

I have my first big band rehearsal here tonight! Wish me well, and I wish you all the same!

Peace, 

JKG

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Jun 5, 2015

June 2015 update

Dear friends, 

Well, it has been much too long since I've been around to update you on what is happening with us! Emily (Speech Pathology at the University of Northern Colorado) and Rebekah (Political Science at St. Olaf) successfully completed their first year of college, and Nick will be entering a university in the Fall, most likely at UC Denver, studying in the singer/songwriter program. Kim just finished her first year as a public elementary school teacher and I think, likely set a record for the number of fifth graders she had crying--all because they were sad about leaving her! She was crying, too, of course.

I have had an unprecedented level of travel over the last three months, with trips to Thailand, Italy, and Spain, along with trips within the States to Seattle, Albuquerque, San Francisco (twice), New York City, and Bloomington.  There were many beautiful visits with beautiful people. The week I spent in Seattle and NYC with my dear Italian friend, pianist Paolo Birro was very special, and our visit to Louis Armstrong's humble house in Queens was perhaps the crowning jewel of our time together.  It was deeply inspiring to get a real life picture of the humble spirit of perhaps the world's most important musician of the last few centuries--at least I would be happy to argue that case!

Our partnership with artists in Colorado Springs continues to widen and deepen. It is very gratifying to be a part of an arts movement that truly enriches people, mostly through creating space where artists can connect authentically with one another.

I am at a crossroads regarding the geographical center we'll work from in the future. As we move into a new period as open-nesting parents, Kim and I are contemplating some opportunities in different parts of the world, with our kids' consent. I look forward to seeing how things unfold in the coming months and will share our news as it happens.

The very best from above to you all!

Peace, 

Kyle, for Kim, Rebekah, Emily, and Nicholas

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Sep 12, 2014

the days are long...

September 12, 2014

Over the last few weeks Kim and I have had to say a temporary "arrivederci" to both of our twin daughters who just moved out of the house for their first year of college. Dear sweet Emily is up the road in Greeley, 100 miles away. The thought of having her in-state has been a little bit of solace. I left Rebekah in the Twin Cities and made the 16 hour drive back home alone, glancing often at the empty front seat next to me that the day before she filled with her characteristic gushing of passionate thoughts, feelings, and words.

I saw lots of other somber dads like myself, hauling van-loads of boxes up to tiny dorm rooms that didn't look like they would hold the contents but somehow did. I think they too were trying to hold themselves together, doing our usual masculine dance of focusing on tasks rather than feelings, putting a brave face on this difficult situation. Maybe I am projecting. I imagine you might even celebrate a bit when your teenage son moves out, since you're driving each other crazy, but not with a daughter! My heart is still wrapped around their no-longer-tiny fingers. Of course I'd jump in front of a truck for my son, too, even though he might feel sometimes like pushing me in front of one! (Love ya, buddy! ; )

While attending a parents' meeting at one of the schools I heard it said that as a parent, "the days are long, but the years are short." Man, is that ever true. Like a river, life rushes forward. You can't stop the current. You can't call time-out. You can use memory to visit images, sounds, and smells from the past, stirring up feelings of nostalgia that I have heard others talk about, but haven't been so much a part of my reality. Until now. Is this the turning point in life where you increasingly look backwards? A beautiful chapter has come to a close. A beautiful new chapter awaits us. At least that's what they tell me. I'm trying to believe it.

jkg

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Aug 19, 2014

a new chapter

August 17, 2014

Last evening we had a beautiful evening with our twin daughters, and two of their closest friends, sharing stories and drinking in the goodness of simply being together.  These are days in which Kim and I are savoring every opportunity we have enjoy this time as over the course of the next two weeks both Emily and Rebekah will be leaving home for their first year of college, leaving of course a tremendous hole in our house and in our hearts. Thankfully, we will get to enjoy Nick, and our new Italian adopted-son, exchange student Pietro, for the next year.

Last night I said to the girls that as we enter into this new chapter many things will change, but two things will remain the same:  we will never let go of them in our hearts, and they never really "belonged" to us in the first place.  We have had the privilege of taking care of them and guiding them for the last 19 years, knowing from the beginning that this day would come when we would need to share them even more with the world.  The world will be a better place to have them in it.

Peace and grace to Emily and Rebekah!  We're gonna put What'sApp to a lot of work!

JKG

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Mar 3, 2014

a postscript regarding "how to be a happy artist" (see previous blog entry)

March 3, 2014

A postscript regarding the list below:

It can't be practiced through an assertion of the self, but rather, only through a soul-level surrender.  By "soul" I mean the essence of our being.  It is much greater than the sum of what we accomplish, and it remains intact in spite of whatever awful combination of bad things has happened to us.  We can't make it happen, we can only let it happen, as the ego is dethroned by a revelation of something/someone bigger.

Peace, y'all

jkg

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Feb 28, 2014

on art making: how to be a happy artist

1. Love and accept yourself apart from your work, you are worthy of love and acceptance not because you are better, but because you are a human being

2. Don't compare your work to others, be faithful to your own vision

3. Focus on growth rather than success, over the long-term, improving the quality of your work will give you your best chance at making enough money to keep doing your work (or marry someone rich)

4. Remember why you loved your field in the beginning and stay connected to those sources of inspiration

5. Stay grateful that you get to follow your passion in your vocation, most people don't have that privilege

6. Surround yourself with fellow artists who are learners, one of the great things about art is that there is always more to learn

7. Offer your attention and support to colleagues and stop depersonalizing them as competitors

8. Surrender frustration over being overlooked, we're all overlooked (except Beyonce)

9. Work hard and long to become prolific, that alone is within your control, excellence is always the product of long hours of learning from experience

10. Be a giver, not a taker, we are public servants, not celebrities, unless our work is born, perfected, and offered out of generosity it is all wrong

jkg

 

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Jan 20, 2014

jkg update

January 20, 2014

Yo friends, near and far!  Un abbraccio a tutti i miei cari amici italiani!

More than a year down the road, I am happy to report that some people have come onto my horizon that I am really enjoying.  The hardest thing about moving for this season of life away from Verona, is being far from my Italian peeps--everyone in the family would say the same thing.

Well my Italian peeps will remain my peeps forever, but now there are some Colorado Springs faces to keep in my mind and heart that are also becoming precious to me.  Filling your life with good people is surely a key to living the good life, and I've found some wonderful people here in Colorado Springs.A number of my new friends are musicians that I have the pleasure of making music with, playing in local venues, and promoting house concerts to connect with new listeners.

I am staying busy with my work with Via Affirmativa, including building connections with local artists and art lovers in the Springs.

I am putting together a new initiative to bring the arts to people through educational concerts and workshops called "The School of Inner Wealth."  I hope it doesn't sound too pretentious, but I do deeply believe that inner wealth is much more important to our quality of life than material wealth.  I imagine quite a few of you are with me in that!

I hope we get the chance to talk, face-to-face, or through cyberspace, in the coming months.

Buon anno a tutti!  

Happy New Year!

Peace, 

Kyle

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Oct 1, 2013

the function of art

To see and perceive.
To hear and understand.

To see and hear through the scenes and sounds of our daily life to the deeper-meaning-world, which can be lived in, in this time and place. It can only be entered with feeling.

Everybody knows you don't listen to a Ravel piano concerto just to hear the sound of a piano.  You don't look at Van Gogh's Starry Night (I saw the original a few years ago!) just to see chunky blotches of midnight blue and golden-yellow paint.  The piano is much more than the piano.  Hear deeper.  The paint is much more than the paint.  See deeper.

This is the function of art.  It makes us conscious of life’s deeper dimension, and of our responsibility and freedom to awaken our perception and understanding with imagination.  Faith is re-imagining reality. 

I came downstairs early Sunday morning and saw my sixteen-year-old son Nicholas asleep on the living room couch with our golden retriever Ella laying with her back up against the couch right below him and I saw through to feel the preciousness of it.

jkg

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