Sometimes a record, a song, a voice, just creep into your soul. Michael Kiwanuka’s album and single both entitled Love and Hate are filled with enough sorrow to reach me there.
The Guardian’s review of the album spoke of authenticity. I hear the authentic sorrow for the deep contrast of how far we are from the dream of how we could be. This is an artist rising to the challenge of sharing his feelings in a time when we need a reminder of the common thread holding us together.
Surely that thread is our humanity. Though masked in an infinite expression of genetic code that unseen oneness exists. If our our every act is guided by what is humane, no one will take us down, no one will break us down. Choosing what’s humane, that is the something wonderful Kiwanuka is asking for, I believe. The lyrics follow.
I used to look forward to watching my favourite Christmas movies each holiday season. Now I look forward to a four minute video from an airline.
I watch my favourite movies because they capture the spirit of Christmas – love, peace, generousity and all that’s best in humanity. I watch these WestJet videos for the same reason. They remind me how connected we are and what magic we can make for our fellow human beings just by caring for each other. The movies may be classic, the videos fresh but, the message is the same. Out of profound loss and grief, joy can arrive out of caring. And THAT is the coolest thing of all.
This post examines the healing power of art. Artists are brave. They create a thing and then let go of it. We catch art’s beauty for our own inspiration, joy, comfort, consolation or bliss.
The song in the video above caught my attention today. Continue reading
After almost a decade of Stephen Harper as Prime Minister of Canada, I’m tired of secrets so I’ll not keep it a secret that I won’t be voting for his party in the October 19 election.
Why? Watch the video by Blue Rodeo above.
Muzzling scientists? Getting rid of research institutions that were self-financed by the industries they researched? Destroying freedom of speech? Lying and cheating and insulting Canada’s collective intelligence by thinking we don’t care or NOTICE politicians who lie and cheat? Denying that 1200 aboriginal women being abducted and murdered is not a massive human rights and societal issue? Dismantling a national public radio service and news broadcaster to the point where reporters are capturing content on their iPhones? Not spending the allotted money for social programs that could prevent poverty while watching food bank use rise by 30%?
I rest my case and I hope Stephen Harper will be resting his briefcase somewhere else October 20th.
Please Vote and let the world know this is not our CANADA! If he wins, I’m going to need grief counselling for I will have suffered the loss of my country as I’ve always known and loved it.
There is no them
There’s only us
I can’t see him but he’s not invisible
The plain truth delivered in U2’s powerful black and white
If my 18-year-old son were alive would he be rebelling and saying
you can’t see me but I’m here
I’m not my father’s son
doesn’t matter, that’s all drama, invented by my brain
my body knows we are all just bodies in one soul
There is no them
There’s only you
and there’s only me
There’s only us
Thank you to U2 for helping me see what’s not invisible
and for giving me the glue to keep it together
it’s always fiction if we imagine we are separate
There’s only us
I will not turn away from the one, not today or any day
I’ll take the pain and savour it all
and besides, this song is about helping bodies on this planet who are invisible even though they are physically present
and that’s where I’ll turn my attention today
my son would have liked that
taking care of our oneness
there’s only us
I appreciate music.
Like art and beauty, taste in music, is totally personal and subjective.
It doesn’t matter what type of music I like or that you like. No matter what it is; the fact that we like it is enough to have a positive impact on our brains and our lives.
This post was inspired by U2’s new song Ordinary Love because in watching the video and listening to the lyrics, I got to thinking about how music affects our lives and our ability to savour it all.
Elbow River Fall 2012
Elbow River – Winter 2012
Elbow River Spring 2013
Elbow River – First day of Summer 2013
I decided last fall I would snap the odd photo from this one spot I always pass on my walks around my neighbourhood. Without fail the view of the Elbow River from this hill always makes me pause for a moment to enjoy its beauty and tranquility. I love the sound of the running water and think of it as bringing life where ever it goes. I treasure having something in my day that causes me to stop and feel the joy of being alive and in the moment for even one moment. Nature has the power to engage all of our senses and help us live in the now. Even a moment of not racing ahead to my to do list or not dragging the past like an old sack behind me can deliver a little transcendence. Nature is a true blessing in this regard.
Nature also has the power to scare the bee-jeepers out of us. Today we are experiencing the worst flood in Calgary’s history. Today’s walk around my hood was engaging all my senses but not in a relaxed and joyful way. The last photo in the study above was taken a few hours ago. The Elbow River has become a raging torrent and as I stood and watched it from my usual perch, I was deeply saddened as I know the wrath it is wreaking on my friends downstream. I could hear the thunderous power this avalanche of water is gathering as it hurls itself towards the city of Calgary just around the bend. I could see the earth and debris it is tearing up and dragging along. Everything in its wake is powerless. It is in fact designing a whole new riverbed as it goes. I’m not sure the double bridge around the bend will even hold up under its forces. I could have gotten away from here but I wanted to stay. Being one who savours food I have a pantry, fridge and freezer full and I might be needed by my neighbours. Like all Calgarians, I’m longing for the flood to hit its peak and begin to recede so we can rebuild our beloved city.
I just spoke with a dear friend who told me her home is under 10 feet of water. Another is in a Best Western motel and can’t locate her father-in-law. Still another fears her home might be dislodged completely. I’ve got oodles of friends on Facebook joking about their new riverfront property and hiding anxiety about the mess they’ll soon face. Still others have texted to let me know they are okay. They have not been able to get back to their homes but they are dry and safe and happy to be drinking wine with friends or just watching movies with their kids as they hang with relatives. My friends that I do business with in Inglewood have called and emailed to say they might not be able to do a food tour with me tomorrow. Good grief! – the grace they had to think of me and my little business at a time like this astounds me.
I pause in the helplessness of it all. I pause and think about those friends. I was surprised as I talked to people who not once did I hear worry, pity or defeat in anyone’s voice. I heard strong people calmly accepting what nature is doling out. I did not hear anyone talk about the things they were losing. I heard them talking about what a miracle it is that all are safe and how happy they are to be with their families. I heard them making plans for rebuilding as soon as they possibly can.
I felt helpless. They seem strong. Perhaps I only feel helpless because I can’t help them at this moment. I know what I need to do. I’m going to rest and I’m going to do what I always do in times of trouble…GET COOKING! I need to be ready to feed my friends. That’s something I’m good at. That’s something they’ll need when this initial calmness dies off and they are left in grief, shock anger and despair when they return to face the reality of the devastation this flood will leave in its wake. We may have to gulp the food I’ll cook down in moments spread here and there between days of clean up in the weeks and months to come. We may not be able to savour our food in the days to come but we can savour friendship and savour the gift of life even when nature threatens our life with its amazing power.