A Quiet Season

We all live, these days, in a world of voices. They come at us from everywhere. The come on the radio, blogs, texts, social media and the most dreaded of them all, the TV!!! We all participate and I suppose we all have a threshold of how much we can stand. Some engage in it all, on what feels like a constant basis…words, words, and more words. I do it, I participate, but sometimes I just find myself retreating from it all. Going to someplace quiet and calm, and letting the swirling winds of the world howl and rage all they want, but I will be tucked away in a cocoon of quiet.

I’ve had one of those quiet seasons this past summer. A summer where I retreated, not withdrawn from life, but simply retreated from all the conversation, the debate, the opinions, and the noise. My inner being just wanted to relate to the things around me, to the Creator, to art, without words. There are some religions that believe it’s unholy to even speak of God. They just “are” in the presence of the Master. Maybe our culture wouldn’t argue so much if we did a little more of that. I am by nature a person that likes to create conversation, to learn of peoples stories, and to find a way to relate to all that cross my path. To find that harmony with all my brothers and sisters. So soon I will return to the fold and find myself back in the campfires, discussion groups, and yes TV news !

Do any of you ever feel like maybe you’d be better off just letting all of that stuff go by for a little while? Do you feel you’d miss it if you didn’t or miss out on something? Is being involved what keeps your fires burning? These are questions I ask of you and especially myself. The tension that we all live under trying to find a balance. Trying to find peace; to get it and to give it.

So as I’m still in this quiet season, I will make this short and close here. I would be interested however to hear your thoughts on this.

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Better Than the Sum

The other day was a stressful one at work. The kind of day that really makes you question what you are doing, especially when you are rolling down the backside of life. You know those kinds of days, right?, where you start entertaining the thought of the stress-less days of a Wal Mart greeter !!!

That day I’d driven my wife’s car that has been passed down from her father. It’s a 66 Mustang, mostly restored and runs really good. So I leave work, hop in the Mustang, with my three legged dog, Josey in the back. It’s a rare low humidity August day in Nashville, so I slide the windows down, turn on my ipod, and put ear buds in. The first song that came on was a live version of Jackson Browne’s “My Stunning Mystery Companion”. All of a sudden the stress of the day all slipped away. Cool evening breeze, and 289 engine that sounds more like a well oiled Harley, Josey smiling in the back, not much traffic and Jackson’s sad but reassuring voice telling me that it’s all gonna be just fine.

“what with all my expectations long abandoned, and a future I no longer saw my hand in / how I found you is beyond my understanding, my stunning mystery companion.

Ahh that voice, that sweet melody that is a true Jackson Browne signature….he continues

“what with all my expectations long abandoned, and my solitary nature not withstanding / You’re the one who pulled me out of that crash landing, my stunning mystery companion.

It was all these elements together, thinking of my wife who is my own stunning mystery companion. Thinking of my children, my life. With the breeze on my face and a smile of gratitude on my lips, I was born again and again in those moments. And while a car ride alone or even Jackson’s music as much as it holds a dear place in my life, or Josey in the back, can totally transform me, these single parts were shadowed by the sum feeling of what a wonderful world it can be. Thanks to my wife and family, my dogs, to Jackson, and to that sunny Nashville evening drive home…..

Here is a studio version of “My Stunning Mystery Companion”…..

 

 

Shine A Light: Tina Mitchell Wilkins

Many years ago in an interview, I heard Jackson Browne talking about his thoughts and feelings behind CD’s vs records. He made a comment that has stuck with me. He was saying how he liked the term “record” because to him albums were records of events, or a record of a story, a full story and not a vinyl disc of 10 separate songs that had nothing to do with each other. Especially for the singer-songwriters they were chronicling where they were in life and hopefully their listeners could relate. That was the first thought when I slipped Tina Mitchell Wilkins‘ latest “record” into my car player !

Morning Glory is just that; a record of where someone is at. I’m not gonna speak of age because as old as I am I’ve learned not to do that, but I will say that if spirit is what keeps us young, then Tina is barely out of her teens. From the opening lines of Ageless, “mirror mirror on the wall, could you make me skinny and tall; 15 years young to appreciate it all; not funny to watch it all…fall”. Right out of the box I knew I was on this journey. Male or female it doesn’t matter, although I’d take skinny for sure ! Tina is speaking about the paths that all of us go down if we have gone down the paths of life very far. To me what I hear in her voice and lyric is that it isn’t going or not going but how we go. Do we go with grace? Do we go with balance, with love and with the truth of understanding that it really gets sweeter and richer !!

On Here To Love You, she might be singing to the love of her life, but she is also speaking to life itself and to all of us sharing this planet with her. It’s more of her mantra, her approach to life than anything. We need more of that in this crazy ole world !

No worries that she is speaking for the world, on the highly personal We Made The Spirits Move, Tina pulls back the curtain and reflects on love and the risks, both the pain and rich beautiful rewards of that love. We were shaking up the heavens and we weren’t even trying, what a great line. Hopefully we’ve all felt that in some relationship somewhere in our lives and if not there’s still time !

Restless as we all are, the old tune Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For was a great choice. It reminded me in the context of this “record” that we are all full of forces that push us out there, challenge us and make us move and grow, but we are also in the midst of forces that pull us back and make us doubt. Many times our lives feel like two steps forward and one step back; just as soon as we get one thing down, something else moves !

So I say all of this simply and honestly to say that this is a fine record and worthy of whatever the pittance itunes charges. What you will get back, if you turn down the lights, find a quiet evening and listen to Morning Glory will be repaid many times over and remind you that we are all traveling together. It’s a good “record” of where we all are at this bend of life. Gracias, Tina!!!

Go to Tina’s site to catch her live in a town near you. She also writes a great blog !! Visit, visit, visit !

http://www.tinamitchellwilkins.info/