Impatience at Warp Speed

Not sure I’ll dial this thought in very good this morning on little coffee. One of the stories that has prompted this thought or frustration is the Malaysian flight that is missing. First let me say along with the rest of the world , my prayers are put in the wind everyday for the families of this horrible tragedy. I can’t even begin to grasp their level of angst, confusion and pain. I would also naturally want answers that hopefully would offer some form of closure, so whatever healing could happen, would begin.

This morning on the news was a lawyer stating that they didn’t need to wait for any type of official investigation or statement, because they believe there was a flaw in the planes design. The sharks and vultures begin to circle amidst peoples incredible pain and loss of center. This is an unprecedented event and with 24 hour news on dozens of TV stations, thousands of radio stations, millions of blogs and internet conversations. And the collective WE want the answers right now…or do we? Is there anybody else out there frustrated with the insane amount of guessing, theory and speculation going on? Of course they can’t shut up, they have to fill the airwaves every single second of our lives. It is up to us to turn it off. I get it, I really do, but it is crazy. It becomes like the boy that cried wolf. Now we hear of debris in the ocean and we don’t tune in !

This pace of information doesn’t allow good thorough investigation. To check and double check. Everyone wants to be first instead of right. Any thoughts, frustrations out there? Maybe this is the blessing and curse of our technology at the same time. I hope we can all find some measure of peace with this conflict that is not going away. We have to govern ourselves and that’s the toughest part. Peace be with you !

Dare I Say, Kenny Chesney

kc1

I know, I know, I know !!! In some circles the name Kenny Chesney did or does bring a little chuckle. Some of us think back to dismal tunes like “She Thinks My Tractor is Sexy”, poorly shaped cowboy hats and them being worn by guys that wouldn’t be caught dead in one off stage. In general a big decline in good songs and artists that were believable. While I wasn’t his demographic early on, I have found his drifting to beach tunes to ring true. Maybe I’m trying to fill the void of old Jimmy Buffett tunes. Each year my beach playlist has most of the same artists and while I love the nostalgia of Buffett and Marley, I am always hungry for something new. So now I find a handful of little beach tunes by Chesney that I like.

I know there are some of you way-to-cool-for-school folks that couldn’t find any value in this music. But I like an artist that is maturing for one thing and for several years now the Chesney team has been picking much better songs like The Good Stuff written by legendary Nashville writer Craig Wiseman. So the songs are better and now with this turn to the beach they have an honest appeal. For all I know Chesney hates the Sun and is allergic to shellfish, but if that’s true it’s a marketing dream come true, because he sure seems to have found himself a home in the islands. I’m sure his team is also smart enough to look at the career of Jimmy Buffett and what he tapped in to and knowing that ole Jimmy sadly won’t be with us forever. So why not slide into the on deck circle !!!

Like the lyric says, “The keys in the conch shell , come on in !!!!!

Prayer: This Is Just My Way

Morning Prayers

It is said that my Great Grandfather opened his windows in the morning and prayed to the East. While my ritual of reflection or prayer time is not known by those that I knew or by the ones that they knew, I can see the seeds as they fall through the generations. My way would be closer known to the ancients way. As most family lore, the story of my great Grandfather is highly contested. Perhaps it is contested for the very reason my prayer time would be contested. Because it veers away from the tradition that a person feels comfortable in. To me that is one of the great keys to our spirituality: to constantly evolve and push the walls wider and wider to somehow catch a glimpse of the bigger dream.

My prayer time is like walking a symbolic path or labyrinth. As my ancient Muscogee / Catawba people would have done I begin facing east to Grandfather Sun. I listen to the Creator in his many voices of wind, birds and my inner spirit as he reminds me of each new sun, new day, new possibilities. Opportunities to be new again. Then turning South; this is the strength of the day as I am reminded of youth and the drive to bring thoughts to life. Facing West are the voices of reflection, wisdom and satisfaction. It is the sweetest direction for me when I find myself in its harmony. The last of the four is North, where we and everything returns full circle. Thoughts return full circle; acts return full circle; days and lives all have their returning to completion. Finally to be reminded of Father Sky and Mother Earth, before finally acknowledging the last direction with is within. My spirit. This is but one of many facets of the medicine wheel.

The symbolism comes from my choices of earth. The handle is made from shed deer antler. Shed to make way for new life, new circles. The abalone shell is a reminder of my body, my shell and the life it holds. The Hawk feathers because he is one of the highest flying birds, flying closest to the heavens as a messenger. Those feathers fan the sage, cedar and sweet grass that my prayers rise on to the sky.

I get that this might appear strange to many, but really it doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter to me how anyone else attempts to connect with what the Muscogee called The Master of Breath. Why should there be only one way? Why should we concern ourselves with another’s path of spirituality. One Creator, many traditions. This is just my way. It’s not meant to be mystical or paint me as a deep thinker, believe me that’s not the case. It is just a way of understanding my path in this world. A way of navigating that makes sense to my spirit. I don’t think of right or wrong, better or worse. I just do what feels right from an honest reflection of something I will never fully grasp nor am I meant to. I am simply meant to experience, that’s all. The Great Mystery !!!

I hope these words ring true for someone out there. I hope it helps to release someone from their spiritual bondage of having to be right. Having to figure God out, and let them just experience. Lastly I hope it casts a simple, gentle light on our human desire to connect with this wonderful, Great Mystery !

To Just Be

This probably isn’t so much a post on spirituality as it is on life or getting older. I was raised to think of others or at least care what others think. As I ran that through my life filters, I perhaps created it into something that it wasn’t intended to be. I worried what others thought too much. At some point I had to let that go. For years I tried with effort to let it go but I still felt trapped by those thoughts. As I’ve become older I’ve had little tastes of what letting go really means to me. I couldn’t do it with effort as much as I just had to divest myself from that thinking. Perhaps think of other things and the more I did that the more I just forgot about the other stuff !

I’ve always felt a connection to the Creator. I wouldn’t define that within any religious system, but rather an undeniable sense of something beating in my soul. As I wander along I am feeling that the big truth is in many, many small things, like prisms in glass. Slivers of truths, all equally important for each individual. I can no longer confine the Creator to only my thoughts or anyone else’s thoughts. To no religions, traditions or cultures. None own the truth in its entirety, but we all own a piece of the truth that belongs to our soul. I believe the Creator shows up everywhere in everything.

For now I am still way too hungry to have my voice heard. Too hungry to be right. Too hungry to own all of the truth. I hope my future stages will have me letting go of that hunger, and leave me just basking in the peace and comfort of knowing that my honesty and vulnerability with the Creator is enough.

I’m sure many will disagree with these thoughts. Some will be worried for my soul. Some will think I’ve gone off the deep end. Some will think I am right on track, but really none of it should matter to me. My road is mine, just as yours is yours. I hope we all reach a point where we are so comfortable with our beliefs, that not only do we need to be shouting them but that we also don’t have a desire for the praise or need to defend the criticism.

At some point I hope to just be.

Rollin’ Down The Back Roads -Tennessee

fork5
The back roads of middle Tennessee are especially beautiful in late spring. Everything is lush fueled by big May rains. Plants, bushes and trees poised and ready for the dry, hot, take no prisoner, summer sun of the South.
Traveling on roads like Leipers Fork and Bear Creek road, twisting turning two lanes snaking through ancient lands. Riding with an old friend from Pensacola, and enjoying extensions of the same conversations we’ve had for 25 some odd years now. Sometimes riding in silence for miles, until I hear my friend say “turn here, I wanna see what’s up that road”. Off we go into someone else’s world, peeking into their lives a little but telling us more about our own unquenchable thirst for connection.
Fairview, Santa Fe with a long E, Carters Creek Pike, cattle, long gravel driveways, steelbelts hummin’ on the asphalt as Steve Earle would say ! This is my hometown, American back roads. I know these people, farmers, preachers and warehouse workers. The ones that don’t have it all, the ones that aren’t quite up to snuff on having everything the advertisers say you have to have to be happy!

fork2

We drive on, stop at a few markets in between Country songs, put our feet on the ground hear the screen door slap and a slow friendly “howdy” comin’ from inside. Old friends on old roads, traveling, sharing life, sharing Creation. Sharing the things that hold us together.

Harpeth River, Caney Fork Road, leaning tobacco barns, cemeteries in the afternoon shade. Jo’s Kut n Kurl, Tommy’s Tune-em shop. John Deere mailboxes and one room church houses. A glimpse to a past that some don’t remember and most try to forget. It’s heartland, it’s the backbone. The ones to count on, the ones that remember who they are.

I wish were cruisin’ in a big ole Jim T kinda ragtop Cadillac, feeling it sail over these roads like it was meant for them and them alone. But still we are taking whatever turn looks interesting and wandering. We are free. Free of clocks, free of all that we seek to be free from.
fork3

A few hours into our little journey, we head east, looking for the signs of home. It will be good to be there and share our stories. It is good to have another set of experiences to laugh about. It’s good to have friends and good to be a friend.

Two Dogs

Ok, I’ve tampered around with this idea on a couple of other posts but don’t think I got it. There’s probably an easy and concise way to say it, as I’m sure many of you readers can, but it isn’t easy for me.
Maybe the question boils down to this. Do we live a life following what we intrinsically feel in our spirit (ha if we even know what that is) or if it’s different do we live our lives governed by what we’ve been taught and experienced?
I was riding home the other day listening to Jack Johnson’s song “Sleeping Through The Static”. I’ve heard this song many times, but it hit me enough to strike the thought I’m trying so hard to flesh out. Here is the part of the lyric that I’m speaking of:

Who needs sleep when we’ve got love?
Who needs keys when we’ve got clubs?
Who needs please when we’ve got guns?
Who needs peace when we’ve gone above
But beyond where we should have gone?
We went beyond where we should have gone

…..and then it goes into this part……
Shock and awful thing to make somebody think
That they have to choose pushing for peace supporting the troops
And either you’re weak or you’ll use brut force-feed the truth
The truth is we say not as we do

Now it is obvious that Jack is speaking to the Iraq war, but that isn’t the part I’m interested in. When I heard this and when I hear other personal truths, they just feel right way deep down in my soul or DNA or physic memory or whatever you want to label it as, but it says “this is who I am”. Even if isn’t something that I consciously, socially or morally agree with. Maybe the tension comes from not feeling like I can stand up for what I feel when I’m in a crowd that sees the world differently.

When fear is spoke, I understand it, and part of me wants to cover my ass and err on the side of me and mine. Forget everyone else.
These really are complex issues and I would like to think that in the quiet conversations we’d find most folk lean a little this way on one issue and a little the other way on another issue. Maybe we shouldn’t care what others think about where we stand, but hey this is the land and age of telling everyone in the world every thought we have !!

I like Abraham Lincolns quote “I’d rather be fooled a thousand times than develop the heart of a cynic”. So maybe I’ll be fooled, taken advantage of from time to time. Maybe I won’t win or climb the ladder to wherever they think it goes. But maybe, just maybe I’ll journey on with a smile and look at the people I met as a friend. We’ll see. Does this make sense at all? Still not sure I have the question right, but I think I’m closer. Liberal might not be the worst description of me; I’m liberal in love and gentleness; liberal in forgiveness and patience. That’s not a bad start.
Kind of like the old story of two dogs living inside a person. One is liberal and one is conservative (adjectives mine). Which one grows the strongest?- answer of course is the one we feed..

Shine A Light: The Adventres Of The Big Boy

As they last days of 2012 dwindled and the leaves had blown across the streets of Nashville, two really good records were released by Nashville artist and writer, Davis Raines. Always a local favorite and among the writers of this town, Davis is acknowledged as a writing force to be reckoned with! Davis Raines is the insider’s favorite, everywhere he goes.

Santa Maria Hotel was a Shine The Light post in December 2012. Now listening to the second record, The Adventures Of The Big Boy, produced by Don Kerce, the most obvious commonality is the love for Davis Raines music. The approach to the songs is different, and the set list is different all but for Santa Maria Hotel. I’ve you dream of living of the hard driving honky-tonk sounds of Country Music reminiscent of Waylon, Willie, Don Williams or even Marty Robbins, then Milan Miller produced Santa Maria Hotel will hit you right between the eyes.

big boy cover
The Adventures of The Big Boy stretches the bag towards the hippie side of Davis Raines, and believe me the Autauga County Alabama native has a big hippie side, full of love, openness, and a sincere wish for all to live in harmony and happiness! What a great bag of tunes with stories dripping with Cajun juices, to the Blues, Country, and even the Beatles-ish “You Lied”. But every influence and every Sunday -morning -saved- again, is in every Davis Raines song. While he has been gone from Autauga County for a long time it has never left him. Davis has a way of always walking away with only the good stuff !

davis live

Give the rollicking track Big Boy a listen, man the opening lines hit me right off, “I got a roll of fifties, I got a .45 / I been to Mississippi, I been on a airplane ride- baby girl you sure smell good / Lordy-mercy Mama treat the Big Boy like you should……..This is high caliber Hillbilly ya’ll, with subtle brush strokes of the Old South. But if you think Santa Maria Hotel stays in the past then buckle up for Methamphetamine, where the listener hears a story with all of the confusion, paranoia, and fear of addiction and that is just coming from the music and the track, but then the words step in….I’m just a country boy, never had much / Never had much interest in notes and such, I never had much focus never had much drive- never had much reason for being alive…..

dr2
Nobody is asking, but I guess I’m telling, go get a copy of The Adventures Of The Big Boy, but I must warn you that if you like what you hear then that stuff they are calling Country Music these day will no taste so good to ya! I’ve you’ve been looking for the real stuff with the craft of writing still intact, then go get em! And you can thank me later! By the Way as luck would have it, Davis Raines will be appearing at Kimbros in Franklin Tennessee this Thursday night, May 23 !! See Ya there !