THE POWER OF MUSIC

I am sure open to people enjoying whatever pursuits that bring joy into their lives. I’m even happier that I to can pursue the things that move me. Lets take music for example. There is something for everyone and somewhere deep in my soul I don’t believe one form is better than another. OK, I’m lying to a degree. Maybe I’m just so consumed by what moves me. That has changed through the years which I look at as a healthy form of growth!

I have my desert island favorites without question. Jackson Browne, Bob Marley, Willie Nelson for sure. I don’t know how I could possibly limit it to just a few. I guess I’m really glad that “desert island” is pretty stupid to begin with, or I’d need a really big island to also fit Roger Miller, James Taylor, Al Green, Don Williams, Jimmy Buffett, John Prine, Stevie Wonder, just to name a few. I think it’s a beautiful thing that music moves people, I mean really moves them. For me it’s kind of like life’s blood, I just couldn’t live without it.
When I first moved to Nashville in the late 90’s I still listened to some of the country music that was being played on the radio. People told me that living in this town could change you and they were right. Maybe it’s me getting older but I don’t think the Country Music I hear now relates to me at all. I can still do a little Alan Jackson, some George Strait, and I’ll always give a .new John Anderson song a spin. Lee Ann Womack just flat out kills me.
As a person that considers himself a writer at heart but would be reluctant to make that claim in the company of the folks I’m about to talk about. Being in Nashville and having the opportunity to hear some of the worlds best writers cut their musical souls and bleed all over the paper still moves me to no end. I’m not sure most folks realize how vital and how brave and healing it is for writers to make that journey. I found guys like Kevin Welch and Bruce Robsion. Guys being true to their soul, not worrying about the money, or at least not letting it get in the way of their art. There’s a line of writers like that, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, all the way up to the new poets like Davis Raines, Sam Baker, and Walt Wilkins. Once you taste that, once you experience something that real it’s impossible to return to the stuff that is force fed to us on the radio.
Recently I had the good fortune to see Davis lay down some of the best written stuff this town could handle, as well as Mark Winchester put stories in song that are not meant to be consumed but savored like something you don’t want to lose. I ended my week at high church watching Walt Wilkins move an entire room, lead an audience through their hopes and dreams, doubts and beliefs. It was honest, soulful, and in my humble opinion, is what music should be all about.
It’s out there, the good stuff is. Let it move you again. Whether it’s James Taylor, Miles Davis, or Mozart, keep it in your world, keep it pumping through your veins. It’s mighty fine medicine.
And in the words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry about a thing ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright”…
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Faces



I have long been fascinated with faces. Just think about it ¬†after you’re done chuckling! Aren’t they amazing? They tell such stories, such mysteries. As I’ve become older and I see my own face beginning to take the shape of its next stage, it makes me think of the time line. I look at pictures of people who have made the full circle here on earth, and now have begun the spiritual circles that will never end.

The ones that were physically shattered and damaged here and will forever be beautiful and healed. I see the hopes and dreams of young people before, as Jackson Browne so poetically wrote in “Too Many Angels”, “And upon their angel faces, life’s expectations climb, where the moment has preserved them from the ravages of time”. I also wonder how the photographs freeze us and perhaps in a way that was just one sliver of a moment but not the full moment. We then thread our dreams and thoughts into the photograph that is before us.

I see the infant in her Mothers arms totally dependent on her for her very survival. The teenager who has so much and yet still needs the wisdom that only comes with time. I see the 20 somethings geared and set to take on the world and to leave their mark. As the next stages came to me and I began to father my children, I found them teaching me much about myself or at least what I thought I knew about myself. I love the peace and contentment of my elders who have learned to let go of what isn’t important and to embrace what is. I saw the hollowness in my Grandfathers face in his last days. I was looking at the shell of a man scared yet preparing for the fuller journey.
I’m not really sure what all of this means. Perhaps it’s a reflection that time comes for us all. That maybe we are to make the best of each day we are given. To understand that no matter how much we think we aren’t taking this life for granted, the acute clarity of life will reveal itself in our own crossing over.
So no worries, for what good do they do. Engage, love, and relish in the beauty of it all. Those are the steps for me although I fail daily, but it is no reason to stop walking or finding love in the faces in my life.
GS

SACRED SPACES





What does the term “Sacred Space” mean to you. It surely doesn’t have to be only one thing. There are sacred spaces in conversation and in prayer. Sacred Spaces are often in your mind and in your thought process.

When I started thinking about it, my first images were of physical places. Those places that I hold dearest in my memory. Places where life happened, where unexpected and unplanned conversations brought me closer to people. I’ve had many of those times around a campfire over the last 20 years. I’ve had them at home on “my” beach.
There is one place that seems to tug at my heart more than others though. It’s a little kitchen at 121 North M St, in Pensacola, FL. My Grandparents kitchen. It was cozy, kind of like a cocoon. It had paneled walls and indoor/outdoor carpet. There was an old radio on the top of the refrigerator that seemed to play nothing but Gospel music from an AM dial. Through its screen door I would smell the scents of the morning time. The smell of the Gulf Coast mixed with the paper mill and fresh cut grass that blended so wonderfully with the smell and sounds of grits, eggs and bacon frying in her old skillet. Many evenings and late night found us in conversations that I still hold close to this day. These were holy moments in Sacred Spaces to me. The memories of many things that can’t be recaptured. They are gone now and someone else is making memories in that house that my Grandfather built and cared for, for over 50 years.
I’m making more memories however with my children, creating more sacred spaces in conversation, in listening, growing with them. The realization and reminders of my own short comings and mistakes cause me to reflect and have moments of understanding. I have created a space at my house that I affectionally refer to as my “Hogan”, after Navajo terminology. It is a space that I have already shared some wonderful conversations about journeys and lives and memories.
I hope we all can continue to see and create these Sacred Spaces in our lives. My wife has created wonderful Sacred Spaces in her gardens, places where she helps bring things to life, where she thinks and lets her soul flourish. They can be anywhere you wish them to be as God is everywhere and in everything. I’ve included a couple of pics of Sacred Spaces for me over the years, where life has been shared and the spirit of God made me glad to be right in that moment.