Saturday, November 6, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Thomas Moore says that the special language of a dark night is poetry. That is surely why many special selections of music have always been so important and such inspiration to me at difficult times in my life. He says that the following secret is generally hidden from modern people and sometimes learned in a dark night, and it is "the truth of things can only be expressed aesthetically--in story, picture, film, dance, and music. Only when ideas are poetic to they reach the depths and express reality."Ralph Waldo Emerson in "The Poet" said that the poet "stands one step nearer to things" and "turns the world to glass." Here I am teaching English literature and composition to sixth graders and it can be so enjoyable. I get to teach poetry and read wonderful novels such as, The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, which is a wonderful work of historical fiction with a backdrop of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing which killed four little girls. Which is not why I am writing this post. I went to work today at 6:30 and got home at 5:30 and I am a bit delirious at this point, so forgive me. Speaking in story and images makes writing richer and more meaningful. "Poetic language allows for a deeper imagination of who you are and what you are going through," and as Thomas Moore says, "The usual way of talking is heroic....speaking of progress, growth, and success." Psychology and even religion often, "avoids the dark by hiding behind platitudes and false assurances." I agree when he says, "if you turn to spirituality to find only a positive and wholesome attitude, you are using spirituality to avoid life's dark beauty." What we need and can possibly achieve is an intelligence about our lives.
Well, I guess this all connects for me. It may not for you and that is OK! Not that I would choose a dark night, but there is a "special beauty" to be seen and "poetry is sea-language."
Oh yes, listen to windmills from my music player on my side bar.....PERFECT!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I know I'm tired of the answers that were so definitively thrown at me, and I abhor the notion that somehow everything will always end up perfect because of a supreme being that, depending on our ability or goodness, will sometimes rescue the miners of this Earth and sometimes won't! I know some would say it is my failure that I don't feel simply wonderful. (By the way, I do feel ok at times.) The truth is that I am ignorant.....I don't understand, and I fear the judgement of people who look down on those in a Night Sea Journey!
A night sea journey would not be a night sea journey if it ended quickly. It is by nature a long lasting "rupture" to use Thomas Moore's words "in your very being." Most people want you to be OK, so in turn they can feel OK, and thus life and it's gifts are avoided. I think most religion has at least some element of this avoidance, which prevents experience and growth. Just like the alcoholic that must be able to stand and say, Hi my name is_____. I am an alcoholic, a dark night "pares life down to the bare essentials and helps you to get a new start." The alcoholic, now no longer in denial, has freedom to explore the depths of themselves that would not be possible in denial. The dark night may never be truly over, and as TM says, "its contributions may be what it does for others and not what it does for you!"
Dark nights may not always end happily, but that doesn't mean it didn't have value along the journey. So be careful in negative judgement of people who have entered this other-worldly place, where opportunity exists for transformation to some degree. Sometimes life requires us to go deep in a place that is not full of that religious bright light, but instead takes you to less illuminated places.
I heard this song this morning and it has reverberations (maybe) of that journey on the sea.
The video sucks, but then again Rush was, and is about the music! Remember these are my stream of consciousness ramblings and not any form of declaration of knowing much of anything!
Monday, June 28, 2010
I purchased the cassettes of those very sermons that were recorded at Lake George and I have dragged them out every once in awhile. I even rerecorded them digitally to preserve them as the tapes were showing signs of disintegration. One of the sermons was titled, G.R.A.C.E. or God's Riches at Christ's Expense. I am uploading the sermon in two parts to my Mixpod music player in my sidebar on this blog. If you are interested give a listen. I had to split the sermon in two pieces to meet the size limitations of MYDATANEST.com where the files are uploaded and linked to MIXPOD!
The references he makes to our culture are now dated some 34 years later and I am not nearly as literal as he is, but the message is still clear and valid to me and very much connects to Rev. Lumsden message yesterday! There is a link to to Lumsden's blog in my sidebar and you can find his sermon notes there. I won't attempt to interpret or regurgitate any of these two vital messages. Just read and listen if you are so inclined!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Music continues to be the source of so much comfort for me. It has been that way since I was very young. I was near Boston 5 or 6 weeks ago and I went into a Newbury Comics store and found an Import Tears for Fears Cd/DVD of a concert in Paris in 2006. Newbury Comics is a very cool store with lots of music (Vinyl as well as Cd's) and lots of other funky stuff like posters and other collectibles. The import is printed entirely in French as are the menus, etc. It contains a CD of the concert as well as a live DVD of the same performances. I really like the arrangement of Shout that they created. (Just as I was typing this UPS called to say that Bailey's Marimba will be here tomorrow between 12 and 4! This is sooo cool!)
The next song is by One Republic and I am grateful to my sixth grade students for the discovery of this song. I was helping two of my students with their video poject and they wanted to use the song, STOP AND STARE for their background music but they didn't own it. So I found the CD at FYE and bought it. STOP AND STARE was a hit but I really didn't know much about them. I fell in love with this song, "Say...(All I Need)."
Monday, June 21, 2010
Lastly, Bailey and I had to deal with a very evil, mean spirited accusation here in our neighborhood that left us both dumbfounded and hurt. I cannot go into it in this blog, but can only say it is the very worst thing that has happened to us since Vicki's death! The accusation was unequivocally proven false, but it does prove how misguided people who claim to care can be. We will do our best to put it behind us, but it will much more difficult for Bailey! I feel a strong sense of irony about the support Bailey and I have received since Vicki died. It has come from places I did not expect, and the people I expected to be caring and supportive have vanished or proven to be unable to be present in any way. Oh well! On with summer and trying to enjoy life! We need smiles and laughter, adventure and magic, kindness and empathy!
How about one more song! I was listening to an XM channel that was doing an all time 80's best summer song count down and this song was near the top...
I want to post one more song for two reasons. The first is that after listening to the Bananarama song above I remembered that this next song was a favorite summer song of Vicki's from the 80's. The second reason is that tomorrow JUNE 22, 2010 would have been our 24th wedding anniversary! The actual music video is banned from embedding by EMI so I had to use this video that someone else made.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
The first Talking Heads album I purchased was 77, because when I heard it I couldn't sit still...I just fell in love with it, and then purchased backwards into their catalog and never missed another album! I think now just for fun I'll post a Tom Tom Club song as well! I've chosen a clip from the Talking Heads concert DVD, Stop Making Sense, which Rolling Stone calls one of the top ten greatest concert DVDs ever made!
One more song just because it is sooo much fun!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I have felt this feeling for the last year or so as I have mourned Vicki's death and tried my best to embrace this new life that I live. The feeling is that I only get moments of optimism, moments of joy, moments of a sense of well being, and sadly only moments of true friendship. But these last few days, I have had several profound moments that have made a difference in my life. They provide a glimmer of light that reminds me of the life I have yet to live, different as it may be. I know we all need friendship and love in our lives. people with whom you can feel safe to reveal your reasonable and unreasonable ways. People (and probably just a few) that you can share mutual vulnerability with. That is one of the issues that I have discovered in this loneliness that I am experiencing. The loss of the mirror that intimacy innately provides, and yes that mirror reveals both good and not so good things about ourselves. That mirror shines deeply and reveals the soul of our existence and its deepest meanings. Without it we are doomed to float on the surface of life. Anyhow, I am grateful for the moments that exist and I do not pray for all my needs to be filled according to my desires, but instead turn my face to the light that shines and remain open to the next moments absorbing and reflecting that light and with it accepting the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The second thing I want to venture into is the whole idea of role models and the notion of irony. I was once told that Emily Dickinson was not much of a role model, and I am not sure why she wouldn't be, even though I don't really believe in role models, at least in the typical sense of perfect, shiny people to try to be like! I think that in spite of her many issues she was able to create great art. Michael Jackson was as flawed as can be, but he entertained people with his moves and music. Certainly, the Pharisees appeared to be perfect in their external, surface ways, but they lacked the depth and deeper soul that Christ was pointing to. I think it is dangerous to be caught up in these surface views. We as a culture are so SHOCKED when a supposedly perfect person like Tiger Woods is exposed, and on and on it goes when seemingly perfect or high end role-model people screw up. You see, like Pharisees they look good on the outside but there is rot on the inside just like the majority of us. I bet Christ would have hung out with someone like Emily Dickinson because she found self acceptance in her malady. She put aside pretense and dealt with what was real in her life! She didn't let it stop her from producing great art in spite of her "not so perfect insides." She couldn't leave her house or even greet people, but that life produced great poetry! That is so ironic and certainly there is room for healthy admiration.
A quick quote from Emily...
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
I am not sure where this is leading at all, but I know it is filled with irony, and irony is a truly religious thing, unlike the more traditional religious views , as Thomas Moore points out, "Many theologians and religious people largely avoid irony and instead try to state their positions one-dimensionally, allowing no mystery, and therefore no real religion. They are often the most irreligious of people because they use the language of God to fortify their own human one-dimensional ideas." I have to say right here that pretty much all words in quotes from this point forward are from Dark Nights of the Soul, and I want to be careful to acknowledge that, as so much of it is emblazoned in my memory! So, "To be religious is to be ironical, because you see the bigger picture." TM even goes on to quote the Tao Te Ching..."He who speaks doesn't know; he who knows doesn't speak." TM includes this quote in many of his lectures which immediately acknowledges his own contradiction.
I know I am truly in a "Dark Night of the Soul," and on the one hand, I want to move on (and in some ways have) from Vicki's death and at the same time don't want to. This re-birth of my life has resulted in a strange new world, that just like a new born, feels cold, foreign, and much less comfortable than anything I have experienced before! I sometimes want to try to define all of this, share it with people and at the same time i want to stay away from people. I sometimes feel moments of inspiration only to feel them vanish. Again Thomas Moore says, "During a dark night you may feel the need to be quiet, even silent. You may find talking difficult, and you may seek out a quiet place....You may feel the need to be alone, or at least to avoid certain kinds of socializing. You may disappear for awhile, and your friends wonder what has become of you." He even goes on to explain how you may even be a "monk of sorts in your own way." Whatever I am feeling sure feels more intense during free time like this vacation, because my professional life simply allows no time for MY feelings! I understand this isolation in some ways causes people to be extreme in their reaction to it! Some ignore it, either because they want darkness as far away from them as possible, or as Moore again says, "They try to bind you and give you orders" in that one-dimensional religious way that I cannot stand at this time! Yes, I feel the danger of cynicism, self-pity, and depression, and people offer help to try to make everything go away (which I am sure is to make themselves feel better) or they ignore me. But, during a dark night you need to become darker, yet at the same time this doesn't have to be negative or defined as depressed, but more like "the weight of the world pressing down on us." Thomas Moore goes on to say...."You can be bright. thoughtful, creative, and imaginative during a dark night. You can use your power to imagine your situation in your own way. You can reverse expectations and refuse to be literally defeated. And none of this has to be denial of your tragedy or the repression of your feelings." I think this is what people like Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Brian Keenan, John Keats and many others in dark nights have done, which to paraphrase from Dark Nights of the Soul, is to "make your own world, instead of succumbing to the one that presses down on you!" I guess all of this brings me back to my original point about role-models. People like Dickinson are role-models if we allow a more whole view of life and realize that to have "happiness to you have to accept profoundly and honestly the sadness that awaits at every turn. Every decision for happiness will get you in trouble, and your occasional courageous forays into the dark will likely give you a taste of heaven." IRONIC!!!! I always like to include music in a post so i will include this song from Roland Orzabal from Tears for Fears. The CD "Tomcats Screaming Outside" tends to be obtuse in its meaning but he visits Cain and Abel, atheism and many other subjects in his lyrics. I love the Music and cannot get enough of it.....This song is called Low Life and it just seems to fit here (for me!)
Now please remember as you read this that I am NO theologian, nor trained a philosopher or writer. I am sorting through all of this, trying to keep my wits about me and I DO know that irony surrounds me, and maybe I really haven't yet been re-born yet. I think I am still in the "gestation" process. Maybe I am in a "period of lifelessness that precedes a new birth of meaning." Maybe it is "one big ironical challenge, just the opposite of what it appears to be...not a dying, but a birthing."
I think this next part fits in well with all I am trying to say here.......I watched the movie "A Beautiful Mind" again this week and just felt that same irony in this movie about the life of professor John Nash and his battle with mental illness. Logic and reason, numbers and theory mean nothing in the face of love. He was able to survive his dark night not because he completely beat his illness, but by accepting that the delusions were there, acknowledging it at times with a sense of humor, but choosing not to empower them, and all motivated by the love of one that stood by him. This is Russel Crowe's depiction of Nash's Nobel Prize acceptance speech which still moves me to tears!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Anyhow, I have been listening to my inner voice and I know I need to make a better effort at this life I am living. I need to get in shape physically as well as spiritually. The first thing my therapist said when Vicki got sick was, "EXERCISE!" Exercise to help deal with stress and exercise to have the energy to cope. I haven't got the energy I once had. I have remained slender but my energy is crap!
Now to music.....I find myself gravitating to softer, beautiful melodies in music. This might not appeal to some who'd rather hear more hard driving stuff, and believe me I have a very diverse interest in music. Vicki once came into my music room with a smile and I asked her what she was smiling about, and she said, "You listen to so many kinds of music!" I may have listened to the 1812 Overture, then Madonna, then Led Zeppelin and some New Age like maybe George Winston or anything off of the Windham Hill label, and any sound from almost any decade starting with the 50's. Back to making my original point, I think I am gravitating to beautiful soothing melodies cause that is what my soul desires......comfort, beauty, peace, rest, healing, and meditation. I think music goes straight to our need and even mirrors the metaphysical waves the emanate from the cosmos to our souls and from our souls to the cosmos! WHEW! I just need the opposite of discord! So here is a song that I love, from a voice that I love, by a young newer artist..Colbie Caillat...."I Won't." By the way, her father was the engineer and co-producer of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours!
During our winter vacation, I was able to locate a Roland Orzabal solo Cd released in 2001, and I love it. His lyrics can tend to be obtuse, but the themes tend to be about openness, dealing with pain, communication, and introspection.....remember his Tears for Fears songs like SHOUT and Cd's like The Hurting. This song is "For the Love of Cain." I have posted the lyrics as well!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
I spent much of today converting more of my Cd's to lossless Windows Media Audio (WMA) files. I even uploaded the Cd's that Vicki had in her car, some of which I bought for her. Carly Simon, James Taylor, Sade, and more. So I heard lots of music that I haven't listened to in a while. MUSIC REALLY IS A VERY GOOD FRIEND! This song stuck from a very good CD. In fact, the best cut on the CD is The Way It Is. The cut I am posting is EVERY LITTLE KISS!
I never get sick of this CD and it's piano sound. The next song from the same CD is just about perfect for today. Some might say I need to keep busy to stop feeling this way, but as much as it does not feel good, I know I need to feel it, to ride these waves to where I need to be.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The next song is Brother and I am also including the lyrics in a pretty cool format right below the video!. I cannot explain enough how great it feels to find great songs! That ethereal feel is here. I can't wait till the rest of my Cd's arrive!
Lyrics | Toad The Wet Sprocket lyrics - Brother lyrics
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The next song is Hypnoculture and shows Roland's diversity.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I will give the secrets you request
And you will be the one to sacrifice
So lay your olive arms upon my breast
And sing the poems, free the butterflies
Pray your gods who ask you for your blood
For they are strong and angry jealous ones
Or lay upon my altar now your love
I fear my time is short
There are armies moving close
Be quick, my love
I feel my body weakened by the years
As people turn to gods of cruel design
Is it that they fear the pain of death
Or could it be they fear the joy of life
Pray your gods who hold you by your fear
For they are quick and ruthless punishers
Or lay upon my altar now your love
I fear my day is done
There are armies moving on
Be quick, my love
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The next two songs are meaningful ones for me as well. They both revolve around loss for me. The first is The Last Days on Earth from their most recent CD reminds me of Vicki, and the second, which is contained on the same YouTube Video is Goodnight Song. I used this for my Father's Memorial Video back in 1993. When I heard this song it just connected deeply to saying goodbye to my Father in 1993! You have to listen to the lyrics in this song. For example, "They never mention the beauty of decay!"
Sunday, January 31, 2010
He seemed like a man who was finding some comfort with himself or least happy doing what he did best. In a way, seeing this was a healing experience because with all the media attention (some true, some not) it just felt good to see him doing his thing. Reports were saying he was so physically unfit that he could never have performed etc. etc. I watched and loved it! He was at peace, alive and doin' it!
The quality of the sound and visuals would have been spectacular. I felt bad for the musicians and dancers who worked so closely with him and had their dreams smashed when he died! Most were in tears when they learned they had been to selected to perform with him. On the other hand, they did get to spend months watching and working with him and you could see that whenever Michael performed all those not in that particular number weren't off getting lunch, they were WATCHING and amazed. I am 53 could never move like he did at 5o!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
"The kingdom, too, is like an open window, nothing in itself, and yet it allows everything. it is transparent and translucent. It allows the fullness of life shine through. It is a way of seeing and living, but it is not an entity separate from ordinary existence. It is not a set of beliefs as much as a slant on life....."
The paradox is amazing when it come to God and Jesus.....Moore then also says....
"The Kingdom is invisible, empty. It's more like a color than an object, more like a sound than a structure. It isn't anything more than a point of view, but it is a perspective on life that makes all the difference. As literalism and hard belief gradually leak out of your idea of the Jesus way, you get closer to the mystery of the Kingdom. You come home."
I think this validates my feeling about the voice of God. Nothing but everything.....art and music, literature, poetry, color and sound...an open window, invisible!
Moore quotes the Tao Te Ching which says....Cut doors and windows for a room; it is the holes which make it useful.
I am not ready to share what I heard and felt. But there were tears and a basic, common yearning filled journey toward the open window that the Moore and the Tao are refering to. What I felt wasn't loud and boisterous and certainly wasn't inside or present in my voice, but I heard it and what it spoke ran contrary to what my HARD BELIEF would say! But what I heard felt important yet subtle like the space between the threads of a fabric!
Tonight as snow begins falling I feel the pressure of a thousand weights pressing down on me but I know I need rest and introspection! I was surfing my music service and this song seemed to fit with lyrics like, Some things come out of nothing, as with God!.....Tears for Fears of Course!
I felt like posting this song from the same Tears CD...just because I love them so much!