Just to know

manhattan flags.jpgFor many years now, I’ve had a loop of the song “City of New Orleans” finding it’s way into the front of my memory. The fact that it’s resurfaced for so many years now tells me that it has found a home in my subconscious and just raises its hand from time to time as some type of release or reflection for my soul. I hear Willie Nelsons version for which I am thankful for. I like Emmylou Harris’ comment one time that if America had a voice it would be Willie’s. “Good Morning America, how are ya?, don’t ya know me, I’m your native son!”

glenn and josey.jpg

In these days where it’s easier than ever to find heartaches, sadness, division and every other adjective that makes us feel like the good fibers of our world are frayed and thinning, the opening line to City of New Orleans feels like an internal barometer for me. I hear that line as the eternal optimist reaching out with his open heart saying ” hey everyone, what’s going on, you doing ok?” . I also hear him saying, “me too, I know it’s tough. But we really are in this crazy thing together”. There is a common road and everyone is traveling by his own light, culture and accumulated experiences. I think we need to remember our commonalities, those threads that hold us together. Love is an eternal language and it slides in and out of music, art, 4 legged creatures. Yes 3 legged too. The winged ones, the trees, the landscapes all speak in their own ways to us. Bringing us a sense of belonging, balance and peace.

eagle.jpg

The natural world will bring us more truth than CNN or Fox, believe me ! There are the eternal truths, the one the Creator passes along through everything that he made. And there is the nonsense that the news brings us. Headlines of fact, but that’s where it all ends and where the big spin begins. The spin of misdirection, confusion and doubt reigns supreme.

joshua tree.jpg

I wish you peace my friends. I wish for you a balance based in the deeper truths of the universe. Not to sounds crazy full of double talk and new age yak yak. This is simple stuff. Look to what the Creator made. Find the good stuff in your loved ones. Watch their smiles and how they love each other. Listen to the trees and the birds. Know you are loved. Know you matter.

paden and dylan.jpg

Know we all hold the same doubts. Know you are not alone.

tks.jpg

I hope the reminder to you and me that we all share the same stuff is comforting to your spirit. If you are hurting, know the continuum of life keeps going. The new reality will present it’s own gifts. Know our hearts beat and grieve with you. For we are all a thin veil from each other. Aloha, Peace, Blessing, Aho, and any other kind cultural gesture you wanna pass along, I’ll take it !

cross.jpgPhotos

Joshua Tree, California

Flags, Brooklyn NY

Glenn Simmons and Josey, Nashville TN

Paden Simmons and Dylan Simmons, Amtrak Train NY state

Tamra Simmons Nashville TN

Cross, Pensacola Beach

 

Tips to Myself

I’m in a season now where I think about things I wouldn’t have in the past. Like health, longevity, time, and what I’ll leave in the hearts and souls of my children, family and friends. Here is a quick list of things I’m pretty sure of ! Not an exhaustive list for sure but also not a bad place for me to begin. This is my list, but I’m hopeful something in there will be a reflective point for you as well. Tips and daily reminders to myself. I really need them !

*The fewer keys on your key ring the happier you’ll be

*Music, art and athletics have done more to bring the world together and bridge gaps than any government or religion- Thanks in part to my friend Paul

*Don’t take yourself so seriously !

*If man weren’t progressive then we wouldn’t have the wheel or air condition. I’m comforted by progression

*Don’t be an asshole- Thanks Willie Nelson

*Live barefoot as much as possible

*Definitions or describing something can never touch the experience of something

*Keep wonder alive

*There’s always another way to do something….your way ! Thanks Waylon Jennings

*The Creator is and  has always been inside you

*Remember the ones that say they have all the answers on something, rarely do

*Man is just a part of the circle. Not the top of anything

*Be intentional

*Celebrate those who dance. Those of us that don’t are simply jealous- Thanks Tamra

*Be good to yourself…..Aloha

 

Good Morning Universe, How are ya!

Around 5pm this afternoon, I will have circled the sun 56 times. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been fond of suppertime ! And evening is my favorite time of the day. It all adds up in my mind for sure.

This is an interesting season for sure. Naturally whatever stage we are in we have never been in it before. As with most things we can only truly understand things from experience. This season has brought heaviness. It has brought mortality into very sharp focus. What once was a blurry concept now sits at the door waiting its turn in our lives. I have 2 dogs circling for home. A parent going through tough challenges. Friends parents passing, friends themselves. You hear the stories all the time. We take youth and the assumptions that tomorrow is going to be there for us with way too much liberty. The worst part is that it effects how we treat today. The present.

With all of that circling around my head, it makes me much more aware of the moment. Of the breath. Of the heart. Of thankfulness of which there is so much of.

Circles begin and close everyday. The tides pull and the moon is affected. We are all connected to everything. So, here on this cold day in Tennessee, I will pray thankfulness for the cold, the rain and the perfect imperfection of the universe. I am happy to be here, to learn, to forgive, to be forgiven, to build more bridges and tear down walls in my world.

So Creator, when you see the smoke of my Cedar and Sage rise this morning, know it is me. Know my humble heart beneath my ego. Know my love for this earth I stand on. And know that I do try to be, what I say I want to be.

I write this thinking of my Father. Of a friend that lost her Mother unexpectedly last year. I write it with Glen Frey on my heart. Of Merle Haggard and how much music is attached to our souls. We all must pass, and it is my only way of understanding is that there is something after. And while pearly gates and streets of gold don’t connect with me, I know the soul never dies, and there is a home on the other side of our reality here. But today I say” Good Morning Universe, How are Ya !” I’m glad to be here !

Be good to yourselves and to those around you.

Aho and Amen !

55

Well I’m sitting here on the eve of my 55th birthday. A drop in the bucket some say. But I’ve been around long enough to know some folks’ buckets are smaller, and a single drop can take up more of that bucket. Nothing promised. But I’m not pensive, I’m thankful.

As with anyone’s life much has happened. The journey has been and continues to be rich and blessed. Many moons since I breathed my first breaths just off of Palafox St in the heart of my hometown. In the town that still holds my heart and my connection to everything that helps me make sense of this world.

I was thinking about peace and contentment earlier and while I still greet each day with thankfulness. I know many of my brothers and sisters in this world do not feel that way. Some have been dealt hard cards, some have chosen poor companions and some just seem to have inherited a DNA that they let dictate their outlook. I feel for them and to a big degree, I am the kind that may never be totally happy until the whole world is happy !

But as I sit here this April 7th evening in Nashville Tennessee, I am thankful for love. The one’s that have loved me despite it being a difficult task at times. The ones that chose to love me as well as the ones that had no choice. I am also extremely thankful for my children, one who’s 22nd birthday is today. Happy Birthday Dylan ! I love you !

So I think I’d just end by saying that we really , really need to love one another. Think maybe on the elements that we have in common as opposed to our differences. One Creator one Love. The  ability to draw breath really is a good thing, so to help someone else believe that in their soul id a big gift. We all need that gift to give and to be given to.

As usual, I’ve not edited this at all. As I’ve jotted this down, I’ve been listening to Tom Waits “Ol 55″ and The Staple Singers ” Touch A Hand”.

Go be someone’s light !

Just Because You Can

Is it because I am getting older? Is it because I’ve matured?, I know, ha ha! Is it because somewhere along the line the value of true manners and good tatse were instilled in me, and the notion of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” was burned into my brain.

Since I was a child one of my biggest challenges has been my profane tounge ! I do say this with a little wink and smile because on the big list of No-No’s, its not that big a deal. Sounds like a guy making excuses ! BUT, there is a discipline missing and is that some of what I’d say we are misssing in our world of Pop Culture. Language and crassness doesn’t make me blush and I don’t think of myself as a prude but I do think there is something, growing even in me, about good taste. It just seems that the trashier you are and especially if you can do it on TV then the more popular you are.

Some people might think it’s the sign of being an adult that they can say and act any way they want, but perhaps it’s the sign of maturity that you choose to not exhibit your pooerest choices.

I hope the pendulum will swing back the other way. Or maybe I can work on my own pendulum swinging back the other way. I guess I’m further down the road where less is more, where quietness feels better than noise and hopefully the teachings of my youth are ringing truer than ever.

A Blessing

Once in a while someone says something that really reflects how you feel. Something you wish you had said ! Such is the case with a blessing that was written and recited by our friend Melissa Greene at church this past Sunday. For me this is high and above religion and politics, and although it brushes against those themes it is more about  choosing a way to live a life. Knowing Melissa, these aren’ just words to evoke an emotion or posture herself in a certain light. These are words she would put up to her own mirror, words not only for us, but for her too. Letting the repeated word “We” settle into your head as you read, reminds us that it’s not an “I” world but a “We” world.

In this loud world full of banter from TV media and where people shout hateful and dividing words behind the veils of social media forums, hearing these words was very moving. My favorite line is “May we get down off of our fences and high posts and come down into the level ground, into the open space where all truly live”. I really believe that we can share with someone in a quiet setting, we find we are much closer than we think, that there is an “open space where all truly live”.

If you find even one line that stirs your soul or sticks to your bones, then the reading will have been worth it. If you find yourself wanting to know more about Melissa’s journey, you can find her at http://melissagreenemusic.com/.

May We Be The Blessing

May we be the blessing today and not the curse.
May we encourage one another towards an abundant life.
May we seek peace and reconciliation in our own hearts and with the hearts of those around us.
May we live humbly.
May we give people, all people; our family, our friends, our neighbors, our communities and our leaders, the benefit of the doubt.
May we let LOVE lead us.
May we let generosity guide our actions.
May we stand for what Christ stood for or rather stand with those whom Christ stands with. ALL.
May we get down off our fences and high posts and come down into the level ground, into the open space where all truly live.
May we dwell in this fertile ground where our lives WILL eventually turn outward toward others.
May we allow our focus to turn from me to them to you and finally to us.
May we live united.
May we seek SHALOM.
May we be reminded of the image of God in all of our lives.
May we seek communion with all.
May we be the blessing not the curse

 

Not Currently !

I will speak for me here, but I wonder if to some degree it isn’t true for many of us. When I was a young man, I was trying to create who I was. I was doing this by sort a sculptors approach. I was defining myself or my image by what I didn’t like. I used a lot of “nevers” and “not in a million years”, and “I wouldn’t be caught dead” type of language. Like most young people I thought I was chiseling these things I stood against out of  stone, and they would carry me through my years. As anyone with some years on them that is reading this, you know how this doesn’t really hold true for the long road.

I was talking with someone the other day and they asked if I read the Bible. Well, I’m not a big Bible reader, in fact very rarely. In my younger years I would have felt compelled to state my case strongly and adamantly. Giving all of my reasons why, and if they read between my lines they would sense from me why they shouldn’t either. Fill in the blanks, I would have said I hate _____, I would never do ______. Again trying to project my image by defining what I’m against. In this situation I found myself just saying, , not currently. It kind of surprised me, but it felt good that finally at 51 I was realizing that I should be sculpting out of soft clay instead of granite. That life is soft clay, full redefinition, re learning, second chances and forgiveness. Now I’m thankful I have lived long enough to let go of “nevers”. I find great warmth and value in things that I couldn’t have in my youth.

It kind of opens life up and allows so many avenues of learning and understanding. It takes pressure off. So you may find me one day doing things I never thought I’d do ! You may see me with a Bible in hand, watching a musical, driving through Massachusetts, saying no to an island trip (ok , maybe not that), but I’m open to whichever the winds of growth and expansion are blowing. I might even wrap a fork around sushi !! There’s hope for us all. Maybe “not currently” is the way to go.

Does this resonate with any of you? Any value here? I must confess, I write this just days before an island trip, and I’m listening to Jimmy Buffett’s “Trying to reason with hurricane season”, a song I loved for 30 years. Did I forget to mention, I love traditions !!