Friday, July 23, 2021

Songs in the key of life.

   I love music. I was brought up on it. Certain songs bring back certain points of my life. I enjoy playing the guitar and plunking around on the piano. But, I don't like to hear continuous music. In my youth I would crank up the radio in my car or my stereo system and rock on. But, as I've gotten older I find that I need a little quiet time. When I do play I'm into it. When I do listen I enjoy it. But, once I put down the guitar or turn off the radio or streaming then I'm done.

I get distracted easily these days so something constantly playing is not comfortable for me Also I like to discuss life and talk about subjects that interest me and I also like to read or meditate. I don't know how anybody forms a world view that doesn't read. But, I do know some intelligent people that are not readers. However, I don't know any readers that aren't intelligent. That's an exaggeration but I wanted to make a point. 

But, back to music. As a kid I was a little young for Woodstock and for some of the really iconic rock idols of the early to mid sixties. I guess my music was more from the early seventies to the early eighties. Although I like to say that Rock was not the same after about 1978 or so. Again, an exaggeration but not much of one. I do remember where I was during certain songs and it's sometimes fun to think about now as I get older. 

Rock to me was my music. My mother sang and played Country Western as I grew up. My Grandmother made sure I was in church and I also was well acquainted with gospel hymns But, that was the music of the adults. The rock music on the AM radio was mine. Now back in the day they had super stations like WLS in Chicago and I would tune in at night once my local station signed off. I do remember though how connected I felt when my radio would pick up my hometown station again as it signed on in the morning. I had rode the waves all night to the big cities of Chicago and St. Louis and maybe even Cleveland. But, once WGAD signed back on in Gadsden, Alabama I had made it home.

So even though I say I don't play music continuously in my later years. I fell asleep most nights in my youth with a radio playing by my bed. So, what are my favorite songs? Well, most of the time it's the ones that gave me comfort when I was alone. That said the things my young self was thinking and couldn't put into words myself. The following are not my favorite or at least not my absolute favorites. But, they had an effect on my life and my memories.

Day after Day...Badfinger.

I'm in the General Forrest Junior High Gym. On the PA is a song and I can hear the lyrics. " Looking out from my lonely room day after day"...across the gym is my sister's best friend. We had grown up together. Had talked as children when she would sleep over with my sister. Had even had a childhood seance together to see if we could contact her uncle from beyond. She was a sister to me. But, as the music played and she moved around the gym it seemed different. " I remember finding out about you. Everyday my mind is all around you." The years passed and I have no idea where my friend is now. Neither does my sister. But, everytime I hear Badfinger, which in this day isn't often It takes me back. Day after Day isn't my favorite song. But, it does bring back one of my favorite memories.

Slow Ride...Foghat

Pony Millers and joints and country roads. That's all I'll say about that. But, anytime I hear Slow Ride I feel like singing at the top of my voice. It might not be pretty but..."Move to the music. We can roll all night.

Gimme Three Steps...Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

If you're Southern and are of a certain age then you can maybe relate to smoky bar rooms and jealous dudes and a 70's era earth momma that you can't take your eyes off of. I have a funny Skynyrd story. I'm talking to a really cute girl one day in my youth. Skynyrd had just come on the scene. Back in the day we didn't have Twitter or facebook or any other way of getting instant information on our guitar heros. So, all I knew was that there was a song on the radio  that I really liked. Anyway, this girl says do you like Lynyrd Skynyrd? So, looking cool I say "He's good." Of course she looks at me funny and when I discover that he is they I really feel embarrassed. So Gimme three steps is a fond memory for me but also a little uncomfortable. "Oh, wait a minute, mister. I didn't even kiss her. Don't want no trouble with you."

Good Day in Hell..Eagles

It's funny how life works. In my teenage angst I remember this song. It spoke of some of the crazy feelings I had. I felt my young self was in hell and I had to get out. Away from the little town that was smothering me. Away from my mistakes and my own skin. These days I wish I could go back and appreciate my youth and do it better. But, life is a journey and part of mine was my misspent youth. .."All this gratification and sick conversation Someone get me out of town. Oh well, it's been a good day in hell. Tomorrow I'll be glory bound.

The HighwayMan..Stevie Nicks.

Remember me saying all the good music was before the end of 1978? Well that was an exaggeration. I was in my twenties around 24 years old when one of my rock idols from back in my teen years released a solo album. Belladonna was a beautiful album by the Welsh Witch herself. Stevie Nicks. I was finally coming out of my youthful angst and learning how to live in my own skin. Stevie Nicks had survived her Cocaine fueled rockstar years and this album was proof of how deep she could be as an artist and for me how much I had grown into my own person.My favorite was "The Highwayman." I was struggling with the fundamentalist faith I had been brought up in. I was also starting to gain my own personal balance about my spiritual side and my understanding of myself. Still had miles to go but it was a start. The highwayman was something that resonated with me. The lyrics seemed to speak of something eternal. Something that was like the wheel or cycle of life. I really love this song. " A dream as the thunder wakes her. And her highwayman disappears. To a life already lived before in eyes welled with tears." I learned a version that I could fingerpick on my sixstring. I often do and think of lives lived and how it's all a circle. 

I had heart surgery in my sixties to replace a leaky valve and another procedure to repair the leak caused by a stitch that came loose. The younger surgical team asked me if I'd like my favorite music played as they put me under. To relax. I said Well if you have the Eagles, that would be nice. '' So, down I went into slumber with a "Peaceful Easy Feeling." Or as peaceful as you can get when you are having a heart procedure done. I woke up on my back able to breathe again. Everyday since then I feel like I'm playing with house money. God gave me some more time to look back on my life and I try to give others room to be human. I don't always succeed but I try to treat others the way I'd like to be treated. So, don't forget to remember your youth and accept where you've been. And if that certain song gives you a little rhythm then don't be embarrassed. Go ahead and sing along.

Life is short, fast, tragic and wonderful. 

"I get a peaceful easy feeling. And I know you won't let me down. Cause I'm already standing on the ground....Eagles.

Peace. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Fire Next Time

What a terrible, wonderful book. Sad and damming. Full of hope and despair. Do I sound dramatic? I know I do. But, I'm white and 64 years old. I look at some of these "woke" millennials and see so much whining. Everybody wants to be a victim. But, I'm not an idiot and I see the anger and the underlying frustration. 

Now in all fairness it's hard for a white guy like me that heard the stories of my grandparents having to shut the door and pull the blinds during the depression era so they could eat two hen eggs before somebody knew they had them to be told I come from privilege. To remember my grandmother telling me that people called her family Shanty Irish in her youth. To hear a 25 year old pretty black lady with a college degree tell me to hush because a white man couldn't understand.

So I went to where I often go when wondering about why the world seems crazy. To the elders. To those who lived through the fire. 

Everybody wants to be a victim But let's face it. There are only 2 victims in the U.S. historically. The black people were brought over in chains. The Indian or Native American were robbed of land and forced to give up their way of life and spiritual heritage. 

Everybody else. From my Celtic ancestors to the Hispanic people to the Asians came here for the same reason. For a better life. So I decided the elder I would go to would be the African American James Baldwin. "The Fire Next Time."  James Baldwin 1924-1987. Author, activist, poet. 

This book spoke to my soul in a way that no CNN talking head or NBA Billionaire ever could. Here were the streets of Harlem. The Nation of Islam. Here was a man struggling to understand his nation in the midst of being treated like a second class citizen. This wasn't the flowery love talk of the civil rights leaders. Nor was it the angry venom of the Black Panther. This was an honest to goodness human being. Struggling not in a pious or phony way to love. But with gloves off. Honest talk. 

Just as most people today can't understand the quiet desperation of my depression era grandparents. White people including myself can't understand the generational experience of our black neighbor's. 

So while it's hard for me at times to understand the anger of a 25 year old black person that in all honesty has many opportunities in this land. I felt maybe there was something more. Something I couldn't see that drives so much of that anger. 

Two things happened within a week that troubled me. I'm not a far left wing "woke" person. But I am awake .A left of center moderate One thing was some white peoples anger at Juneteenth. I mean I understand Kwanza is a condescending made up day by mostly guilt ridden white liberals and black people that have never been near Africa. But, Juneteenth is real. Human beings really were put in chains and sold as if they were cattle. To celebrate the end of that should be praised by Everybody. Even by old white men like me. The second thing that bothered me was today.

I saw an article that Mobile, Alabama will not (Thank God) allow the Birthday party of our nation on July 4 to be hijacked by celebrating Donald Trump. I politely pointed out that the 4th of July is for our nation. The celebration of people who fought and died for freedom. It was bigger than Donald Trump or Malcolm X or any other partisan political statement. 

OMG! The venom from Trumpsters was immediate. How far have we fallen. If I can't say The United States of America is bigger than Donald Trump.

So, where are we as a nation? Will white and black America ever come together again or maybe for the first time to create a more perfect union. Or has the long smoldering divide finally caught up to us? I don't know. But, the final words were sobering.

"First the flood. But, The Fire Next Time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Meditation with Jesus.

 I'm sitting in a comfortable spot outdoors. I hear a running creek and I see the mountains. I'm in Northeast Alabama. It's my happy place. A place I go to in meditation sometimes. A mashup of my hometown Gadsden, Alabama at the falls beside Black Creek and about 20 miles or more to the West in the little rural North Alabama coal mining town of Altoona where my grandparents came from and where I spent a lot of my youth. Especially from the 10th grade until around the  late 80's. I close my eyes and this is often where I end up.

Ever see the old facebook meme with a bench and the "If you could sit with anyone from history for an hour who would it be?" Well, this is kind of like that. I come here and meditate and pray and think about people from my life. Family members, old friends and even the source of my own being. I even have a meditation app I use that has the sound effect of running water that I use on occasion with my ear buds. 

Here I am and as I sit here beside the creek I look across and there you are. Jesus. Purple robe and sandals and the whole look from Sunday School from my youth.
 Jesus: "Would you like me to wear jeans? or a hoodie? or anything else?" " my wardrobe is endless"

Me: Yeah, but somehow I don't think you are really concerned with how I see you. That's kind of a manmade construct isn't it? 

Jesus: "Yes and no. I'm not concerned with how you envision me. but, I am part of mankind so I also don't see it as silly or irrelevant either." 

Me:  Thank you. I really should have started this meditation with a prayer. I'm not really  religious these days but I do still pray. So, before I get farther in I'll just take a second and do a silent connection with the Ground of all Being.

Jesus:  "Don't worry. I'll still be here.

Me: Ok. I'm back.  I was thinking about life today. I'm not going to use this blog to explain to others why I'm no longer a bible thumping Christian and I'm not going to try and justify myself to  Believers, atheists or anybody in between or outside. We all have our journey and I'm still on mine. 

So, if I could, I would like to talk about why I still consider you to be the most important person, avatar, teacher in human history. I think one thing that sets you apart from most religious dogma including the Christian dogma of an angry god is your core of showing how important each and everyone of us is.

Jesus: You have come to see the cross as a metaphor for life and that's not a bad thing. You see my journey as telling people that as important as this life is. And it is important. That  precious as it is and it is precious. That compared to home this is a pale reflection of reality. Kind of like earth was a reflection of  Narnia in C.S. Lewis books and in the end. Even Narnia was a reflection of Real Narnia. So this is a reflection of a reflection. The reality of home. The place where all creation springs from is so much brighter and precious than even this. The cross was a price I was willing to pay. Is that how you see it?

Me: Yes! Only I don't know if that's true or if it's just me holding on to a vestige of my old dogma since I honestly don't think religion matters in the end. It's more of how we treat each other. For instance the truth or myth or whatever else you want to say is still awesome. That a man or a woman would run into a burning building and rescue someone is heroic. But, in this case. God puts on flesh and comes into the burning building knowing he/she can't rescue everybody physically. So God sits in the burning building with the rest of us. Now that's love! 

Jesus: One thing for sure. Love never fails. So in the end love wins. 

Me: It's kind of sad that people think a loving Deity could rest if even one creature was in misery for eternity. But, some do think that's love. That kind of love loses in the end. But, that is the myth. The torment and eternal death that the churchy people have used to control people. 

Jesus: However, the atheist myth is just as damaging. It's like running into a children's cancer ward and shouting there's no hope for anybody and in the end nothing matters and we all just die and death and oblivion are the end result and all of you are just meatbots. 

Me: Yeah, I really try to treat everybody the way I'd like to be treated. That's my only religion. 

Jesus: Yeah. But, often you end up treating them the same way they treat you. 
Me: Yeah. It's hard not to at times. 

Me: Do you know what I really regret about life? 
Jesus: Yes. But, tell me anyway. It'll do you good.

Me: Well. I don't regret one curse word or one toke of a joint or one sip of beer. I don't regret the idiotic way I fell for my first love or the fact that I went through so much crap to get where I am now. 

What I regret is the times I hurt other people. My grandparents who loved me unconditionally. My friends and classmates, family and neighbors who I treated as if they didn't matter. The times I was mean to animals and treated them as if they were not as important because they were just animals. Those are the things I regret. The times I treated others as if they were just bit players in my movie. 

Jesus: Well your grandparents know that from where they are now. So do the neighbors and friends and other precious people that came through your life. After all, in the end Love Wins. 

Me: Well. I do have some things I would like to clear up. Remember when I was really young and I had this memory of a past life? 

Jesus: I also remember when you first thought about the verse talking about putting new wine into old wineskins. 

Me: Yeah. I understand that verse is not talking about reincarnation. I'm not  going to pillage the bible to make myself look right. But, it does remind me of it. The new wineskins are the new body and the wine is the fresh edition of spirit poured into the baby while in the womb. The Spirit itself is eternal but this version is coming into completely new circumstances and different bloodlines and has a journey to add to the total experience of the soul.

Jesus: So that's what you believe? 
Me: I don't know. But, I do lean towards it. 

Me: I'm wondering about a lot of stuff lately. Things that used to seem so important to me are now kind of distantly important. I still like sports but it's harder for me to really genuinely worry much about the outcome of a game. I still like music. But, I don't much like to sit around just listening. I'd rather play the guitar or plunk around on the piano. But to just have music on in the background often distracts me these days. 

Me: What I find myself doing more and more is wondering what comes after this. I look at life and behind me is this long, winding road and places I've seen and things I've done. But, in front of me is this stretch and a hill just beyond a curve and I can't quite see over that hill.

Jesus: It happens. The other side of the hill is what you have prepared for your whole life.

Me: I know. Remember a dream I had once? There was this river. I came to the edge of it and somebody was beside me. I knew if I got into that river it would kill me. I knew it was so cold that my body would freeze. But, somebody beside  me said "go across."  I said " I can't. if I get in there I'll freeze." But, the person beside me said "You have to get in." Finally I did. It was so cold. It instantly froze my body. I felt it dying. But, 'Me." I rose up in ecstasy. It was the most awesome feeling I had ever felt. I was soaring in happiness and joy. Awesome!

Me: So, Jesus. What's beyond that hill anyway?

Jesus: Smiles and touches my face. "Well, there is a river." 

Peace!

Monday, May 31, 2021

God, old friends and Mary Jane.

 I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round I really love to watch them roll No longer riding on the merry-go-round I just had to let it go..John Lennon

Everyone should have that one friend. It might not be your best friend or even someone you see everyday. Just that one person that you fart in front of and drop F-Bombs with. Talk about politics and religion and if there's a God what must that God be like. Does she care what we do or how we act? Notice what I did there? Yeah, that kind of friend. Where if you say something that's not religion 101 they don't lose their shit and start preaching at you.


Why do we give up our hearts to the past. And why must we grow up so fast...Joe Walsh


I had a friend like that once. We could go years and never say a word and then one day run into each other or call out of the blue  and just pick up and  talk. Anybody and everything and everybody was fair game. We had a history. I am older and so I'm talking to my friend for the last time some years ago and he says "Well, I'm going to die this Summer."  I'm thinking "Yeah right." How dramatic. You can't die. I'm older than you and you're a rock star. 

Don't you know that you are a shooting star?
Gotta shine on now, forever now
Don't you know that you are a shooting star?
All the world will love you just as long
Long as you are
A shooting star...Bad Company

He did die though. At least from this particular view. Nobody really dies. I've come to that after so many years. They just get off the bus and take the next one out of town.

 My friend was a rock star. Younger and good looking and I swear he might never have been famous but he played guitar and wrote songs and had women out the yin yang when he was young. He was a rock star. Just didn't get that big break. Came out of the same bible belt I did in rural Alabama. Had a swagger and an edge and you either loved him or hated him. I should know. I did both over the years. 

I'm causing a mild sensation, with this new occupation
I'm permanently glued, to this extraordinary mood
So now move over, and let me take over
With my, melancholy blues...Queen

He had a saying "Fuck you if you can't take a joke." Things would get tight or hard or uneasy. Feeling hurt and drama on the way and then "Fuck you if you can't take a joke." Well what are you going to say to that? If you get offended then you obviously can't take a joke so ....

I get up and nothin' gets me down
You got it tough, I've seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You got to roll with the punches and get to what's real...Van Halen

So my rock star friend calls me up some years ago now. Hey Steve if you're ever in Birmingham look me up. I'm living here now. At least for a while. We can smoke a joint for old times sake and bullshit. I'm on chemo and I'm going to die this Summer. Oh man. Come on you aren't going to die. It's been thirty years since I smoked a doobie but if I get up that way I will absolutely fire one up with you. 

Roll another one
Just like the other one
That one's just about burnt to the end
So come on and be a real friend...Little Feat
We talked a while about music. About God. Reincarnation and his turn from angry atheist to hopeful agnostic. My turn from born again Christian to mystical liberal Christian with a lean towards reincarnation. He said he knew there was something. The Christianity we were both brought up in didn't make much sense. He still was stung a from the small town judgements and hypocrisy of his youth. But, the angry atheism didn't make much sense either. If we had been together instead of on a phone I promise we would have fired one up right there and solved the mysteries of the universe. 


I'm sailing away
Set an open course for the Virgin Sea
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me...Styx


Damn. I wish I had gone to Birmingham. What kind of friend was he? Well, I was brought up on seventies Southern Rock and he was brought up on Van Halen and early 80's glam rock. He had a band back in the day. This one blonde haired dude was a great guitarist. I've seen him break a string in the midst of a loud number and restring the guitar and tune it in a moment and never miss his lead guitar riff. 

What you looking for
You know those boys
Don't want to play no more with you
It's true...Night Ranger

But, my friend stopped the band one day and said guys. My friend Steve loves Southern Rock. He's got his guitar and I want him to have the experience of playing one number with a kick ass band. So, we did. I did.

Call me the breeze
I keep blowin' down the road
Well now, they call me the breeze
I keep blowin' down the road
I ain't got me nobody
I don't carry me no load...Lynyrd Skynyrd

See what I mean? So, that's a rare kind of friend. Now there are things he did at times that were the exact opposite of kind. Things I won't repeat here that we both did. We were young, stoned and drunk. Not an excuse. Just a trigger for our actions back then. He also almost got my brains beat out by a psychotic good ole country boy over a woman that he made love to. Still, he hid my little butt at the last moment and I got out of there. 

 "Oh, wait a minute, mister
I didn't even kiss her
Don't want no trouble with you...Lynyrd Skynyrd

Now how did my little butt almost get killed when I never even touched the woman? Well, my friend was a rock star and a ladies man and he had fun. But, he didn't always take full responsibility for his  fun. As for me? Wrong place. Wrong time. I made it out so it's all good. After all "Fuck you if you can't take a joke." 

Pour your sugar on me
Oh, I can't get enough
I'm hot, sticky sweet
From my head to my feet, yeah...Def Leppard

I see people today arguing over politics. trying so hard not to offend each other and I'm guilty of sugar coating my feelings about a lot of things from religion to politics just to keep from offending people. But, that's why it's so important to be able to have that one friend that you can yell and cuss and get stoned and get rowdy with. Or drink iced tea and coffee with. That one friend that you can just be yourself with and never worry that they are judging you. 

I've walked through the Halls of Karma
I shook hands with both the Devil and God...Black Oak Arkansas

For some reason I've thought a lot about him the past few days. Maybe somewhere he's thinking about me. He once told me that he liked to be. When he got his diagnosis he said he didn't know about religion or what came after but "I just like to be." 

For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be...The Beatles

I've been through heart surgery and I thought I was out of here. I literally had a vision of my hand under a funeral light when I was so sick before I even had the surgery and the repair of the surgery that kept me going. So, I can honestly say. I understand what my friend was saying. I'm not worried about angry old man in the sky that smells blood in order to let me crawl and sing praises. I honestly trust that once I get to that river the one I come from will lead me across. I'm not really worried about saying bad words or my misspent youth. I'm more concerned with the times I haven't treated a person or animal with respect. I'm more concerned with making sure I find myself in the light. I believe one reason I'm thinking of my friend is that he is in the light. 

Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer...Dan Seals

After all. I like to be. So, I Am. 

We're just humans, humans being
That's what makes us
Humans being...Van Halen

I meditated once and fell asleep. I woke up with my whole being filled and in the midst of the most incredible bright light. It only lasted a moment but Wow! 

How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala
How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala
Tell me how does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala
Tell me how does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala...Three Dog Night.

So, if you have that one friend that you can cuss or pray or sing or even argue with then you are so blessed. I read something the other day that I really feel is true. "We are all just walking each other home." 

Peace! . 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Prayer

 I no longer follow religion. But, if the only thing I ever got from the faith of my youth and young adulthood was prayer then it was worth the trip. I meditate (which is a form of prayer) these days and I also pray. Now, I'm not as sure of the makeup of the one I pray to these days. Not sure of creeds and not actually believing that I can have a new car or that my money is in the mail just because I prayed for it. Praying for illness? I don't even believe I can pray for the pimple on my butt to be removed Much less pray for a cure of cancer. But, I will tell you that I will and have and will again pray if I think I might even have the chance of cancer. I prayed while in the hospital for heart surgery and I prayed when I lost a job and when I got another job and finally was able to retire. 

I don't pray because I think it's a one way ticket to paradise. I pray because it just feels right. It reminds me that I belong to the first cause of the whole cosmos even to that which we can't currently see with our naked eye. I pray because I am. And I am therefore I pray. I meditate. I listen and sometimes I don't listen. I don't pray to be saved from the wrath of an old man in the sky. Because that old man the way the Christians and the Muslims describe him is a bloody tyrant. I pray because I need the inner resources of the one that I am an expression of. I love the Lord's Prayer. I amend it and hear it in my own spirit. 

So, this is some of what I was thinking  today as I decided to write down my morning call to God as God knows himself, Herself, Our self to be.

 My Father. I could say Mother. Ground of all being.. The only cause of all that is. Hallowed be thy name. I know that wars have been fought and people have been beheaded and cursed at and had infantile curses flung at them over the "right" use of your name. But, only you can know yourself and you are the one who shows me myself. What manner of being I am. I have a name given to me by my family. But, my name is wrapped in "I AM." That got Jesus in trouble a long time ago and once Rome got hold of the sect the "I AM" got warped into "He is." and we all were cast out to follow vain religious creeds and "just so" stories about ancient text that were never really meant to be "just so" stories. 

Thy kingdom come. But, what does that mean? I see the kingdom as all of the cosmos. The empty space that people wonder at? Maybe it's not empty at all. Maybe the kingdom really is all around us. dimensions and world within worlds. Crazy? well, so is the idea of talking snakes and angry old men that have to smell the blood of their own child to be appeased. Crazy? So is the idea that a piece of organic matter somehow gives rise to the very creation of creatures and consciousness just by a chemical reaction inside your head. Crazy? maybe. But, I think there is evidence of being and evidence of intent in every creature and plant you see. So, to me. My crazy makes more sense than your crazy. So, yes may the Kingdom of God or first cause come in my life here as I try to find my way home.

Thy will be done. What is the will of God? I can't even know myself so how can I know God? I have found that the will of God is that we all wake up to the worth of every human including ourselves. To the worth of every creature. Every plant and the very air we breathe. I will treat every individual human or animal or even memory with the care and thought that I would want to be treated. 

On earth as it is in heaven. Heaven. Streets of gold and only the people who recite the church creeds? Heaven as the abode of God? My very being is the abode of God. Your very breath is the abode of God. Heaven, earth, the cosmos and all that will ever be is the abode of God and yet God is the first and only real cause of it all.

Give me this day my daily bread. My bread that keeps my body alive and the bread that gives me hope that even when the body is worn out I am still "I AM" 

And forgive me for my trespasses. The times when I mistreated a creature. A dog or a cat or the times when I treated other humans as if they were just actors in my movie and I was the star.. Forgive me for the times I took the love of my grandparents and family and threw it to the side since I was young and had places to go. Forgive me for the times when I hurt a neighbor or treated the outcast as if they were something to be avoided instead of the image of God.

As I forgive those who trespass against me. Help me to forgive those who tried to take away my living and treated me as if I were lower than they were. The ones who excluded me and cast me aside as if I were not made in the image of God.

But deliver me from evil. Evil. What is evil? Belittling the poor and judging the actions of those whose skin I haven't walked in. Cheering as bombs fall on the poor and the weak and waving a piece of cloth as if it were more important than the image of God wrapped in the flesh beneath those bombs and bullets. Treating other people as if they are either on my team or not worthy  to breathe. Calling rich billionaires oppressed while demonizing poor because they are oppressive just because of the skin color and where they were born. Calling a young woman evil because she can't see a way to provide for a baby. But, then turning around and casting that baby aside into poverty by cutting healthcare and aid. Choosing sides based on a religious or political system that in it's very intent is to rule over others.

For thine is the Kingdom. The power and the glory. The Kingdom where you dwell within each being and particle and spirit. The power which is unconditional love and acceptance. The Glory which is the very realization that "I AM." Because I am an expression of the Ground of all being. The "I AM."

World without end. Amen. 




Saturday, May 8, 2021

Politics is people.

 



See in this the chance to die...Amy Carmichael

I have never forgotten that. An Irish Missionary to India. Amy Carmichael gave her life to the poor children of India. back in my more devout days I bought and still have a thin devotional called "You are my hiding place." A 40 day journey with Amy Carmichael. She recounts one instance where a nurse or a co worker (I honestly can't remember which one) said something harsh or rude to her. Just as Amy was considering which blistering comeback to use she heard in her spirit. "Consider this a chance to die." Meaning to not engage in the very vain and useless war that people fight with each other just to say "got ya." The Buddhist would say to kill the ego. The Christian concept  to let go and let God. Just to rest in the reality of eternal peace and the Yogi's would say choose bliss. 

I thought of that today as I read a very rude comment to a comment I made on facebook. I was just about to blast this person and self righteously point out the sheer stupidity of the argument. But, as  I was reaching for my phone I heard "See in this. the chance to die." 
So, I let it go. Pulled back on my "right" for justice and just breathed. Sometimes that's all that Holy Spirit, The Universe, God,Goddess, Ground of all being is asking you to do. Or asking me to do. Just breathe and treat people the way you want to be treated. 

I love the Christian mystics and the Buddhist mystics and the Hindu mystics. Catholic mystics like Thomas Merton. Modern Chrisitan thinkers like Rob Bell or Richard Rohr. The Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. The Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda. All different yet more alike than they are to the fundamentalist of their own faiths. 

For me The reality of the divine can't be put into a box anymore. One size doesn't fit all. Wisdom is known to all her children. So, I'm trying to find my balance and get ready for the next stage of the journey. I don't know how long it will be. I hope it's not today or tomorrow but I am trying to listen more and react a little less.

I read something the other day and realized how far apart we have become as a nation and a world. I enjoy making coffee every morning and reading the news on my tablet. It has a cool Star Trek or Jetsons vibe to me. I pull up newspapers and articles from all over the world and sip coffee. 
Cindy says I'm a creature of habit and love my routine. She's right. She knows me well. Once I find a routine I enjoy I stick to it. So, after feeding the cats and the dog and referee  who is eating who's food I quickly get my tablet and coffee and breathe. 

I pull up hotsheet.com and click on the Drudge Report. Now, I know I'm left of center. But, the Drudge report is a wealth of information. The links are endless and you can get down the rabbit hole quickly. Then I pull up the Washington Post to balance it out or some other link like the Huffington Post. My favorite is the New York Post. It is a little bit right but not so much that it fails to inform. Somebody has to keep the Democrats straight and lets be honest. I'm a Democrat but CNN isn't going to do it. 

I also like Page Six of the New York Post which is a mini National Enquirer. Want to know if Prince Harry or Megan is a prick? Read the gossip on Page Six. Want to know which Hollywood star has the latest scandal? Read page Six. I only have one problem with Page Six these days. I've about aged out of popular culture gossip. I mean they mention "stars" and I have no clue who most of these people are. Oh well, Maybe I can find an old article from 1978 online somewhere. But, I digress. As usual. 

I discovered a secret and I'm going to share it with you now. Ya ready? I've discovered that depending on which news service you read you can absolutely prove that the conservatives are inbred evil racist nazi slave traders ready to destroy your rights and over run the nation by shooting everyone in sight and that the main plan is to kill all the "people of color" and install white supremacy forever. 

On the other hand I can also prove that the liberals are all baby killing monsters that set up poor Donald Trump and unleashed a horrible virus in order to thin the population for the new world order. They also are trying to cancel all church and faith and use the flag as toilet paper while planning to kill all the white people who love Jesus by the time Joe Biden leaves office.

Don't believe me? Well look it up. Depending on which echo chamber you choose I can absolutely promise you that it's true. Which one is true? Why neither and both. We fell for it. Hook line and sinker.

What if I told you that all white people don't hate all black people? That all black people are not thugs and all white people are not evil racist. What if I told you that poor white people have more in common with poor black people than they do with Donald Trump? What if I told you that poor black people are more like poor white people than they are like Lebron James? 

What if I told you that Ted Cruz having enough money to take his family to a warm resort paradise in Mexico is more shameful than a poor Mexican family trying to find a better life for their children by crossing a border? What If instead of demanding a wall or demanding that a statue be torn down we all got together and demand term limits and end the lifetime appointments to the supreme court? What if we stopped worrying about poor people getting welfare or health care and demanded that congress not have free health care and pensions on the taxpayer dime for life? 

I promise you that if you put Ted Cruz on private insurance and  took away his perks and also Nancy Pelosi then put them on the same health care that the American people have. The health care coverage crisis would be solved instantly.

But, mainly I'm just ready to stop fighting. I'm not going to spend the rest of my days yelling at people and trying to convince people that I'm right.

See in this. The chance to die.

So, I'm going to breathe. I'm going to continue the dialog in my own mind with Holy Spirit. I'm going to let the religious be religious. The atheistic be atheist and the political be political. 

But, politically we are all being played. After reading some of the conservative opinions I at least understood better why they are scared of the take over of the left. After reading some of the liberal opinions I at least understood why they are so angry and afraid of the right wing. But, propaganda always highlights the worst of the opposition. We still have a chance to find common ground. But, honestly it's slipping away.

But, I'm in my sixties now. I happen to believe in the circle of life so I happen to think I'll be back. This ain't my first rodeo. But, it's the one i have right now. So, I'm trying to stay on the ride and not get bucked off. I'm trying to not get so scared and so angry that I miss living. I'm trying to see in this the chance to die. So, I can live.

Peace.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Underrated Horror Movies.

 I thought about writing today on religion, politics or social media echo chambers. Then I thought "what's more fun than that?" Well, a toothache, or getting my fingernails pulled out at the root by a pair of pliers might not be as much fun as today's religion or political debates. But, other than that most anything is "more fun" than politics, echo chambers and religion. After all I've seen people saying they are "preachers of the gospel." Spending more time berating people for having different political opinions than showing any kind of love or understanding of people who have different political views. I literally saw a person saying "Come let us love on you like Jesus" right before a post that turned ugly towards Democrats  via comments. Somehow, after that I don't think "love on you like Jesus" means what they think it means. I've seen atheist try to make eternal oblivion more attractive than having faith. Although, God knows the so called Christian church makes it easy too do to some extent.  

But, this isn't why I'm not an atheist (I'm not) or an Evangelical bible thumping Christian (I'm Not.) or a Conservative (I'm Not.) or a far left social justice warrior (I'm Not.) 

 Then I came across a Stephen King post and an Evil Dead movie post and I knew what I wanted to write about and think about today. Fun stuff. Important stuff. Not echo chambers. So, here is my list of underrated horror movies. I have loved horror movies since I was a child. Actually, it was probably my conservative mother that has a lot to do with that. She loved the old Dialing for Dollars science fiction and horror movies on the old black and white TV back in the day.

I remember watching The Colossal Man getting bigger and bigger. The shrinking man getting tinier and tinier. Space ships blowing up earth. Statues moving in a ghostly house. Christopher Lee melted as Dracula in the sun. The old ending credits to black and white scifi as the "End?" would come up on the  screen. The question mark assuring you it was not the end. Insert ghostly laugh here.  So, years before I read horror novels or knew Stephen King from Rudyard Kipling I already loved horror. 

So, these may or may not be my favorite horror movies. But, they are the most underrated horror movies in my opinion. They are fun and deserve a bag of popcorn and a large coke in front of a widescreen TV snuggling with your honey or simply chilling on the couch by yourself. So, get your popcorn ready. You won't find my favorite which is the "The Haunting" based on Shirley Jackson's book because I don't think it's underrated. Likewise Poltergeist or Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm street. Those are well known and not eligible for being underrated. . The ones I do include are not unknown but in my opinion underappreciated. 

1. Evil Dead: Maybe the most underrated horror movie of all. This had a cheesy looking VHS Skeleton on the front when I first encountered it. I expected it to be cheesy and silly. What I got was a scary movie worthy of The Exorcist. I remember thinking how taken in I was partway through the movie and thinking "wow, this is a good and fun and scary movie. Now, does it still hold up? I honestly don't know. I haven't gone back and watched it again in years. I just remember that first cabin in the Tennessee woods and the fun of this movie.

2. The Faculty: Otherworldly parasites possessing teachers and spreading to students. One of the movies I discovered with Cindy by accident. I don't  remember why we went to see this movie. But, I do remember it as being fun. 

3. The Blob: The original Blob. Although the remake wasn't bad either. A gelatinous blob ingesting everything in its wake. The teenagers saving the old folks. Fun stuff. :  . 

These are just three of the movies that I think are underrated. Although Evil Dead is a cult favorite so I might be pushing it to call it underrated. Anyway, I do like horror. I don't really like slasher horror. I can't quite suspend belief and enjoy the movie when people and animals are getting sliced and diced. That's a little too much like the nightly news. 

While talking of horror I also want to give a Count Dracula shoutout to Vampire movies and a razzy and kiss my butt to zombie movies. 

Vampires: What teenage boy hasn't dreamed of the debonair vampire with the ability to be immortal and unavoidably attractive to beautiful women? What girl hasn't dreamed of the powerful male who carries her away and makes her eternally young? I know. But, really vampires are both powerful and scary and have a certain personality.

Zombies: They just eat and rot. You never will be able to sell a movie or book called "Interview with a Zombie." Why? Because they are the assholes of the supernatural/Science fiction world that's why. Who wants to interact with a rotting corpse whose jaw will fall off in your cereal if you get too close? 

So, as we approach Halloween. Ah of course I see you thinking "what is this goof talking about? It's April" But six months will pass quickly and it's never too early to plan for the most wonderful time of the year. 

Anyway, as I said at the start. I was going to talk about echo chambers and politics and religion so this makes much more sense than trying to make sense of far right and far left idiot...uh, people. 

Peace!