… on… navigating storms….

Love Is The Lighthouse In A Storm

When we are in the midst of a storm – like the culture war that is raging here in America – there is only one way to get through it.  Love is the lighthouse and forgiveness is the light in the lighthouse.  Sure many people may say love is the light but that just seems to easy – even cliche.  I think that the lighthouse is love because it is the foundation that holds the light.  Forgiveness radiates.  How does this work?  Love is what we give to others and forgiveness is what we ask for ourselves.  We are all perfectly imperfect.  Have you ever noticed what happens when someone asks for forgiveness?  There is an immediate pause, a respite, a calm, things immediately de-escalate.  What would happen if the US asked Korea for forgiveness?  What would happen if the opposing sides – non-racists and racists asked for forgiveness from each other?  Would that not bring calm and open the opportunity for dialogue?  That’s what we need – and we don’t need to agree – we just need to stop hurting each other when we disagree.

So please, let this be our mantra: “I love you, forgive me.”
We can ALL learn how to live on love and forgiveness.

 

 

… on… god, monkey & the evolution revolution….

…or, how to start your day serious and end with a smile…. 😉  Have a GREAT weekend everyone.

David Sylvian & Robert Fripp – GOD’S MONKEY

Pixies – MONKEY GONE TO HEAVEN

Lancelot Link & The Evolution Revolution – EVOLUTION REVOLUTION

….on…. take me to church….

It’s been a long time since I listened to Sinead O’Connor. I loved every track on her very first album. But everything after that was sort of hit-n-miss and I eventually lost touch with her career.

I recently came across this wonderful song from 2014 album I’M NOT BOSSY, I’M THE BOSS. It seems to have the same kind of edgy energy that I liked in her first album. The Chorus hits home for me and highlights the need for pure love and how the institutions of today fail to provide it – which is highlighted in the lyrically sharp chorus,

“Oh take me to church
I’ve done so many bad things it hurts
Yeah take me to church
But not the ones that hurt
‘Cause that aint the truth
And that’s not what it’s for”

… on… grow where you’re planted

Rock Side Planter smlr
Nature can teach us so many things if we only take the time to stop and listen. This photo was taken at a local area called Gorge Metro Park. And yes it does live up to its name since it is a large rocky gorge carved out by the Cuyahoga River over centuries and cuts right through the city of Cuyahoga Falls. There are several trails in this park where one can observe huge rock overhangs, cliff walls and large monstrous boulders. This image is a detail from a cliff wall. It was well above arms reach and I had my zoom lens out to its max of 200MM. I was mesmerized by this patch of grass that seemed to be growing happily on a small outcropping of the cliff wall. I took this photo a few weeks ago and have been pondering over it ever since.

As a species, we humans are a restless lot. We never seem to be satisfied with where we are at – neither in physical location personal, emotional or intellectual development. It seems are constantly dissatisfied with what life hands us. Now some people would praise that and say, “Duh! That’s how progress is made” But is so much dissatisfaction really beneficial? I think there’s a difference between the dissatisfaction that encourages progress and the dissatisfaction with life’s circumstances that are imposed on us that we have no control over. Can we ever accept contentment and happiness – even if they are fleeting?

I wonder if we need to take the time to truly cherish where we are located in life. I wonder if we can grow where we are planted like the grass in the photo. Talk about an inhospitable environment! That poor grass is in a bad location all around – lack of nutrients, lack of water, limited light and limited attention. But it is still growing. Is its life circumstance sad, tragic or unacceptable? Absolutely not. For it has shown me beauty and taught me something valuable. That patch of grass can be content with its limited life span because it has served some purpose for the betterment of the planet – even when it has reached maturity and “gone to seed” it will feed other animals and as it decays on it’s little rocky outcropping it will become fertile soil for the next generation. You and I are the exact same way. We may live an ever so humble existence – we may lack one thing or another – we may be living in circumstances that have spiraled beyond our control. And like the grass – we have worth – we have value – we exist for the betterment of the planet; it may have happened in the earlier part of our lives, in the present or may even happen in a fleeting moment in the future but we have worth. It’s not the amount of time we have or how much we do with it. The fact that we ARE is enough.

In our birth we bring joy and wonder.  As we grow we become a symbol and a beacon.  When we die we make room for others.

So go ahead try to appreciate where you are no matter how rocky it may seem.  Just stop for a while and then slowly feel your way around lest you fall off the cliff.  Then relax and grow where you are planted.

“Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” – Matthew 6:29,30 (NIV translation)

“If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can’t be solved.” – Zen saying

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” – Zen saying

“the quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” – Zen saying

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and grass grows by itself.” – Zen saying

…on Peter Gabriel – Amazing


“I’m Amazing” – lyrics by Peter Gabriel

Run into the cage
With what I grew up hating
Keep on recreating
Please help me

Something’s got to change
It was something that you said
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead

Saw the kind of blood
Like a picture’s going to shatter
Can you recognize the pictures of a bone-luck setter
All the people, all the faces in my head that are running around
I’m trying to make connections but the circuits are down

Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
I’m amazing

I’m living from without and I’m living from within
Got light in every layer of my illuminated skin
Could swallowing a lightbulb transform into the sun?
I can jump into the darkness
I can shine on anyone

Look at me
Look at me
Can you see what I can do?
‘Cause I’m amazing

Look at me
Look at me
Look at me
Can you see what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Reaching out my hand
I’m going under water
Sunlight filtered into shafts
I’m going under water
With the human race
I’m going under water down
Under water down
Under water

Trying to put it together in my head
Feeling the weight of what you said
The weight of what you said
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead

Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Look at me
Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Cause I can!
And I will!
It’s moving in me
The spirit is free
Oh what did I leave?

On his website Peter Gabriel[hereafter PG] states,

“I wrote a song a few years back – ‘I’m Amazing’, which was, in part, inspired by Muhammad Ali’s life and struggles and at the time of his death, when so many people are celebrating his life and thinking about all he achieved, it seemed the right time to release it.”

I do not believe we should see this song as a tribute to Ali. I saw one video posted on YOUTUBE that said this song was “about Muhammad Ali”. I disagree. PG is an artist; and as such, he uses all of life as inspiration in creating his art. Ali was only one part of the equation that helped clarify the point PG was trying to make. PG has something much bigger than one mans life that he want’s us to consider. If there is any comparison to Ali that can be made accurately is that the song deftly alternates between “Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee”.

So what makes this song, it’s music and lyrics so powerful? Peter Gabriel has become an undisputed master of using various music influences from around the world in creating his own unique sound. “I’m Amazing” is a blend of these influences that borders on genius. The music moves forward and has it’s own pulse points with a fusion of sounds electronic, tribal and organic with lyrics both spoken and sung, chant and vocal ululation. There are ebbs and flows in the overall song structure that help propel the listener through the song with rhythmic emotional intensity.

Lyrically, the song offers intense criticism of our culture and society. He is careful not to place blame. He simply let’s the character in the song make observations and leaves it up to us to determine any cause and make appropriate adjustment in our own lives so that we do not end up in the same predicament. What is NOT said in the lyrics is just as important as what IS said. PG does not write on the surface of things but gets under the skin. While on the surface if you just read the lyrics it may seem like a positive paean with the old “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality. But listening to how the lyrics are sung provides a whole new wealth of meaning that seems truer. It is funny how music can add clarity to the meaning of words. By themselves lyrics are ambiguous and can be interpreted by each individual as they wish. But what is lost is the authors intention. Music provides that intention. I have not heard such snarling sardonic expression in pop music for a long time and it is refreshing. A true wakeup call. I love how the lyrics switch between introspect/retrospect/prospect as the singer looks to escape his own mundanity and latch onto all the promises made by a self-help society with “happy times ahead”. Drowning in his own misery he not only seeks for a way out but becomes so self-obsessed that all(and everyone) else is left behind. The character acts/does because he can and never asks if he should. It’s only after it’s too late does he contemplate what was left behind.

This is a most welcome addition to the canon of music written by this great artist.

…..Samsaric Capitalism…..

In the Samsaric world of Capitalism
I am neither positive nor negative.

I know that promises breed hope –
Without a guaranteed reality.

What will be, will be.
Not what is promised or guaranteed.

Guarantees are empty absolutes;
To live by them is to live in delusion.

If we want to remove the Samsaric sting
We must accept the beauty of a flawed reality.

Like wrinkles on a face, spots on skin & gray hair describe aging –
Broken promises reveal an imperfect reality.

Where, O Samsara, is your victory?
Where, O Samsara, is your sting?

Embrace with loving-kindness all errors and flaws.
In doing so, we redeem and ransom ourselves and others from Samsara;
From the long list of disappointment-fueled anger and sufferings.
untitled

Values

WHAT VALUES

Who co-opted our values
Who changed the primary meaning of the word
Who dared to stare at the face of God
and say, “Who are you?”
and, “How much?”

When did values change to only mean
deal
sale
cheap
bargain

When did the noun co-opt the verb

Will we ever be able to recover
prize
cherish
appreciate
those things
which cannot be defined
by material value

Maybe some day
it will be an innocent child
who recovers the truth
and once again
focuses and directs
away from materialism
the values of humanity
breathing new life
into old meanings