Port Huron Music Center Is Spreading The Love

News these days is really hard to take. Too many bad things with very little inspiration…until now. The story started off with lots of questions as we viewed a video clip posted on Reddit today. A 16-year old named John celebrated a birthday, but it wasn’t what he expected. He didn’t look happy and we soon found out why. Watch and listen to his sister’s video to find out what happens – and have tissues handy because it will make you bawl.

All of the amazingness is happening because of a group of incredible people at Port Huron Music Center and a very wonderful dad who loves his son. They were able to give John a very special present that will last his lifetime. And that caused a lot of lurkers and posters on Reddit to reach out to bring a little bit of happiness to a guy who will hopefully bring beautiful music to the world, as he and his loved ones go through some very tough times.

All I can say is THANK YOU to this wonderful group of people who gave me and a lot of other people some hope that the world still has pockets of humanity that care for one another and wish each other the best. I really needed this reminder today that hope exists until the last light is ignored and dies. Today, we are nowhere near that point yet and this story is one of the reasons why.

Port Huron Music Rocks!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Port Huron Music Center: You guys rock!!!! Please keep spreading the love far and wide. The world needs it so much right now, and you’re an example of the best that humanity has to offer. Keep the music flowing.

To Johnny, please remember that we are all behind you and want you to do incredible things with your gifts. I hope that you do so many amazing things with music and never let anyone separate you from your love. Enjoy the concert and meeting one of your heroes. I am also so very sorry for your loss, but so happy that your dad’s love is now everywhere as well as with you. You’ve touched me deeply and made me want to go after my own dreams even harder. Take care of yourself.

…I just needed to share a heartwarming moment of humanity and wish Johnny a bright and music-filled life. Thank you to everyone involved for giving me some much-needed hope.

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I Am Sad

I know that I’ve been a storm cloud of late, but it’s been really hard to shake the fact that I am sad. Something very wrong is going on around the world, and we’re not taking it seriously at our own peril.

I started out writing this post in bullet points so others would read it, but I’ve changed my mind. These words need to be said in a stream of consciousness. Only because I’ve been bleeding on the inside, and it’s being caused by others who I would have never suspected of being cruel. Our closest loved ones and even strangers who sound reasonable are all acting as though their emotions supersede all of the reasoning for building a safe world for all. Who knew that I would now be scared of emotions?

Somewhere along the way, we lost our compass that guides us – not just morally but also literally. From below, words of hatred are thrown as darts at anyone who does not belong in your clique. From above, the leaders shower us with pretty words that are completely meaningless when their actions are opposite.

We aren’t robots that perform in a straight line. We’re not even pushers of whatever trend is making the most money. We most certainly are not walking billboards to advertise what a soulless entity wants to sell to take over the world. When we decided that institutions deserved more respect than the people that built them, we fell off the path of our humanity that led to a prosperous future. Prosperity isn’t only about what you obtain, but also what you attain and retain.

Where did our caring go? Where did our curiosity go? Where did our dreaming go? Where is anything that brings out beauty to be appreciated without being coveted?

I appreciate birds because they can fly free. I appreciate all living creatures because they live in a purer sense than we do. We love animals in return because the love they provide to us is a true love, without conditions. And yet we do not treat them all in the same manner, protecting them as they do us.

We expect them all to live by our rules, yet it is our very rules that are corroding us from the outside in. When someone claps at the pain another causes a perceived enemy, we all lose. Multiply that by every person at all levels of society doing harm to someone weaker and you get a breakdown that not even the rule of law can fix.

At some point, all of our learning is just words. And that is not something that I want to accept as I am a lover and creator of words. Words are not some simple concept that fits their definition. They have the power to build worlds when they are combined together. They have the ability to create dreams when they are used creatively.

But they also have a darker side when they are used with malice. And that is where it feels like we have landed. A world that actively chooses darkness in order to protect the very little light that we can see. Because we refuse to tend to the light that shines on truths that we don’t want to see.

I am sad that we choose labels over being the complex beings that we all are. Nothing should stay the same forever because we are supposed to be growing from learning new things each and every day. And yet, the past seems to be held in lofty respect simply because that’s how it’s always been done. Where does the future come from when nothing changes?

 

This is a tweet that has been bothering me since I read it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this is going to be our conversation to one another from now on, then how do we ever expect to live, work, and love togther? If people are applauding violence as an answer, then they are really not being human (I hope we haven’t devolved). We already have too much violence in this world, no matter what other “experts” like Pinker say. We’ve become the numbers that we so cherish, and have forgotten that they are not he be-all, end-all of this universe. Checkboxes, labels, numbers and data are all limited for a very good reason – they are not all-inclusive.

I can barely look at social media or news of late because the darkness is overcoming the light. Brutality should not be the foundation of rules, laws, thinking and acting and yet it is. All because we no longer want to be together. We’ve only got one planet, and it’s time that we remember that it is as fragile as we are.

Here’s a thought: Every organization that only fights in one way is missing the point of this so-called revolution. When a world is trying to change the inside, it is going to take much more than rules and process. If you are not allowing others to do their part in their way, and you are pushing them out before they can accomplish the dreams in their minds and hearts, then you will never win whatever cause you are engaging in. Look at your maps, and you will notice that they are not as crowded. Perhaps that is because you are being two dimensional, when the world is not. Some of us are serious about changing for the good of all. You really should hear those voices as well if you want a different outcome.

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Truth Can Hamper

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you only seek a side which is close to your truth, are you really seeing, hearing, or even contemplating anything other? Can all of these people who don’t agree with you really be wrong, and only you right? And must you see this as a personal assault against your point of view (which is personal to you, even if others identify with you)?

Truth can hamper real progress when it’s not the whole truth.

Compromise doesn’t mean that others do it, but not you. Compromise means that everyone gives a little to be as fair to as many as can be done. So much in this world misses this point, and we are living the results everywhere. Acceptance without question is not compromise, unless that acceptance has been won after everyone has been heard. That’s the point so many are making that’s not being heard.

Here’s another truth that won’t hamper:

 

 

 

 

 

We all have work to do, so shouldn’t we actually try doing it together? After all, this is our collective lives that are being affected, and not some simple game as the system like to portray itself. There’s much more at stake than just winning or losing. We’ve keep missing the point that humanity has always had more than two sides.

 

- thanks to Umair Haque for continuing to share his perspective to bring truth into the realm of reality.

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The Lines

Our communities lived by measurements of both good and bad. It was how we learned where the limitations of both existed. It wasn’t the immediate consequences that worried us, but the future unseen ones that we could never predict. And they always came, usually when we least expected.

This is a moment of time with one of those consequences. And this will be the first lesson of this class. Welcome to Sanctuary.

 

Walking through the town, you would never know that it had ever been a community because of the lines. They are everywhere, and they are almost down to a few feet in width. As an outsider, I marveled at the confusing legacy that came from the flurry of decisions that must have led to this chaos of stops  that did literally that.

And as you can see, the lines marked boundaries that each person wasn’t willing to cross over. The tour guide had a cheerful smile on her face, but everyone else in the group was horrified.

Why wouldn’t they just work together?  What was so important that no one was willing to bend just a little so that they could live with one another.

The tour guide giggled a little at that comment, Well, as you can see, they couldn’t live together, now could they?

Another person in the group laughed aloud in amazement. Were they all children? Who would be stupid enough not to know what compromise is?

A small girl with adorable pigtails hmphed at the man’s comments. You could tell by the look on her face that she didn’t appreciate the insult. Kids aren’t that stupid. Why do you think they’re always bouncing from game to game? It’s so everyone is happy. Adults don’t like a game and they take away the ball so no one can play. They call it laws, and expect it to be followed without question. But kids have to work together because we’re always being told no like we don’t know anything, and we don’t even us those things. Who’s really the child?

Stomping off to talk with the “children”, it wasn’t long before they all turned to look at the man in disgust. Now that was embarrassing, and he shut up after confronting the tiny but growing storm cloud.

Well, she does have a point, now doesn’t she, sir? Even the guide was aghast at the man’s air of superiority reeking about him in a stench of privilege. Those in charge get to call the shots, and rarely listen to others around them. I guess it comes from thinking that one knows everything there is to know. Once that happens, how is one ever wrong and others ever right?

The crowd shifted uncomfortably at this reminder that maybe they too had done something just like this in the not-too-distant past. But they would never be this shortsighted, would they?

What about the last national election of 2020? Did any of you think to do anything different than you had always done? I would think not! We would not be standing here today with the results that literally tore apart a nation like tissue paper if you had really known what compromising meant for everyone, and not everyone ELSE.

The children all nodded in agreement with the guide. Our teacher taught us about that time in our history just yesterday before our fieldtrip today. She wanted us to understand the consequences of “lines in the sand”. We didn’t think she meant real lines until now. All of the children looked dejectedly towards their parents. Why would you do this to everyone? Why wouldn’t you learn to play well with others like you ALWAYS tell us?

Now the adults shifted away as though they were the cause of all of this. How could they be when it was their ancestors who destroyed hope more than 10 years ago. Ok, so maybe they were the ancestors and not the victims they pretended  to be, but they didn’t start this mess. A once proud land was now a pockmarked desert of lines and signs as far as the eye could see. No natural beauty left because no one thought of the importance of it in their own lives. It wasn’t necessary because they had pictures of it to be viewed in the comfort and privacy of your own homestead while they scraped the land for “resources”.

And now they had no nation to call their own because they ripped it apart with their belief systems and for all that glitters.

Now would have been the time when a…I think it’s called a tumbleweed…would roll by in the desolate winds of destruction, but of course there wasn’t anything left to make that tumbleweed. I looked at the children with my own look of sadness, and sure enough my daughter knew what I wanted. With a simple projection from her communication band, a tumbleweed rolled by the larger section of adults who looked on in shock.

I chuckled alone as I stood apart from the rest, much like it had always been. A history teacher wasn’t very important until times like this. Of course, if more of them had been listened to by the masses back in 2017 or 2018, then maybe we wouldn’t all be standing here wondering where it had all gone wrong.

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When Others Create

We’ve all created something that we embrace as our own precious gift. We become invested in it because we put so much of ourselves into it. Whether it was a game, a book, a show or any other creation, it spreads its wings and glides into other souls. And those souls embrace it as their own, because they pull something unique from it that they relate to. The cycle moves on, growing like a ripple in the water driven by a joyous wind.

When another creation is born from that which we treasure, our expectations are high and pure. We want to feel that emotion that birthed a love so true. If the emotion is discordant, then we hit out against the blasphemy that we perceive. But is that right? Or did we just not open ourselves up to a hidden path that someone else uncovered, unseen by ourselves.

We forget that when others create, their dreams do not always match our own. That is the beauty of dreams – there are an infinite variety, some hidden and some seen. See the colors and textures as only you can, but don’t limit them to what you know. Don’t close yourself off to another’s dream simply because it is feels off to you. Give it a chance, because there is an opportunity to find new lands to explore. Every journey has the potential of changing you, and that is what life is about.

Creations are indeed infinite but also delicate. If you try to capture and tame them, chances are that you will endanger their very existence. Let them go free and see where they will take you, without preconceived notions. You may not be happy at what you see at this exact moment, but the future is wide open to create anything that you can dream up. So, when others create, embrace the difference. It’s all around you. And it feeds a hungry soul that is looking for a reason to grow and prosper. Every creation begets more, ever growing and ever changing to something beyond our expectations. How beautiful!

…just saying

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Hound is Back – Hound 3: Liberator

Cú Cullan is a Celtic mythological hero, and his story is part of the the oldest stories known as the Ulster Cycle to come from Europe’s history. He is the central figure to the Hound trilogy that I’ve been following since the beginning.

If you haven’t read the first two Hound books by Paul Bolger and Barry Devlin, then you really need to go find them now! The Kickstarter campaign for the final story in the trilogy is going strong for another 9 days and they’ve almost reached their goal. That they haven’t yet is something of a mystery, as this story is a hauntingly beautiful one told with mesmerizing (and gruesome) strength that has already made waves.

As you can see by the page below, it is a powerful telling with incredible graphics and a captivating story spanning three books that originated through two previously successful campaigns with the current one drawing to a close soon. Check out the campaign (click on the Kickstarter campaign link above) to see what’s involved in this final telling from the trilogy.

I have read books 1 and 2 multiple times just to remember how the fierce warrior manages to overcome the many wicked deeds that seek to destroy him. In a world of violence and greed, here’s a hero who embraces his strengths and weaknesses in order to overcome adversity in all of its forms. He is always bruised and battered, sometimes out of control, and yet manages to move forward with a determination that can only be found in select few who have the courage to face darkness head on.

A gorgeous page from Hound 3: Liberator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s my own piece that was created from the original Kickstarter campaign. I have it on my wall of treasures as a symbol to strive for when encountering my own trials in daily life. No matter the size of your own problems, the solution is always to come face to face with it. Pretty incredible image that I really cherish from a story that I’m glad is being told with such passion and talent.

My very own slice of Hound heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if this isn’t enough for you, choose to become part of the story in a unique and lasting manner. There are a few ways to be immortalized next to the hero himself. Just, go check it out right now and join the Hound brigade that stands with Cú Cullan. Story telling of this level come only a few times in our lifetimes, and the opportunity to support Hound 3: Liberatory is now.

p.s, Also, get in touch with Hugh Welchman to find out more about Hound the movie. I can’t wait to see how they’ll immerse us into the story in moving form. I know that it will be as beautifully done as the books! Plus, he’s a really great guy.

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Finally…Some Good News

Need I say more:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America, we need to have a seriously open discussion about….EVERYTHING.

p.s. We really need to celebrate the fact that many do come together when life hits rock bottom. We need to keep this going, to support one another, so that we will all finally understand the same things at the same time. Life is not a game where the winners get to lord it over the losers. There is just to much at stake, to act as though we can keep up this insanity any longer. Repeating the same mistakes is what got us here.

…just saying

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Hear Me…Understand Me

Can you hear me?

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What about now? And more importantly: Do you understand me?

 

What will it take for you to hear me? When will you stop to listen to what I mean, and not just to what I say?

Learning to converse (courtesy of the wondrously beautiful movie, Arrival)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watched the movie Arrival today, and have to say that I don’t remember the last time a movie spoke to the inner me so profoundly. The story line was so breathtakingly beautiful because of the depth of understanding and cooperation between the language professor, Louise, and the aliens. Both do not think linearly, and are not limited by the structures that society and our leaders impose upon us. Humans have the capacity to overcome these barriers through shared exchanges and a willingness to step outside of our normal experiences. That it does not happen frequently enough is evident from our current state of global affairs.

Words are the music in my soul, so it was inevitable that this movie would speak to me. Words are the air that I need to exist. Others use similar symphonies like music, color, lines, or texture to express themselves to the outside world. Without them, we only see black and white. And yet all of these things are no longer considered pertinent to the human equation of life. Who thought that this would be a good idea to eliminate them from our lives? Who thought that only linear forward thinking would allow us to successfully venture into our collective future? Who? Because those who made this decision shackled our creative future and tossed away the key. We need to find that key again to unlock not only our human potential, but also to ensure our very survival!

I feel as though I’ve been stuck in a frozen dimensionless plane in life for far too long. Any forward motion is accompanied by too many steps backwards. I look around and see people who talk, but do not stop to truly listen to the meaning behind the words. Their schedules require that expediency be the only answer to the process of living. So, everything outside of the accepted equation is not relevant.

But I also see so many people who are looking for a meaningful connection to facilitate the return of a soul to humanity. We connect momentarily during temporary gatherings, but we need something more that is perpetually sustained. How do we do this outside of the normal channels and organizations? Because clearly, the existing institutions and status quo are failing us spectacularly.

If the current groups will not hear us, then we need to find a different way of communicating. We need to use a different language. We need words that exist outside of structure. We need art…and music…and science…and texture…and life. But most of all we need access to all of these tools to recreate the rich fabric of humanity that once existed. We need to free them from the shackles of conformance.

Life does not conform; it adapts to its ever-changing environment. So, I’m reaching out to someone…anyone…to come talk to me. Mutually build a society from the ground up so that the ending of arrival can become a reality for humanity. Please hear me. Tell me where to meet you. I’m willing to take a step forward with you together towards a world that is in our dreams.

 

I’m sending a signal out to the world once again. Who will hear me and start the conversation? Who will offer more than what money can buy? I’m so tired of the superficial. I want depth back in my life. I know that others out there do as well. Do you understand what you’re hearing from my very soul?

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Heart Pounding Mike Yung

When we’re in need of soothing, many of us turn to music. It is the warm blanket upon which our souls snuggle into. It’s been a while since I heard a voice that left my heart pounding in pure joy. THIS is what perfection sounds like to me, and people living in New York can hear him on their way to and fro. You guys are really lucky to hear Mike Yung in person! I found him being shared on Reddit last night and would LOVE to hear him in person. So in the meantime, enjoy this and support him in any way you can. These are the kind of musicians we should be enjoying.

 

I don’t know about you, but his voice brought me to tears at the sheer power and perfection. It really is unfair that many of those who have the most beautiful talents to share never get seen or heard. I really hope that Reddit helps him get the light he so obviously deserves. Mike Yung, everybody. He’s in a subway near you in New York. I wish that I was there!

…and here you can find Mike Yung on Twitter. If his album ever gets out, I’m there in line waiting to buy it! Please make it happen!!!

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Words To Think About…F451…Faber

We’re all looking at books that we read in the past to make sense of the present. One that is being talked about is Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It’s been so long since I read it that I only remembered the sense of it, and not the details. I just changed that by re-reading it and got so much more out of it this time around, as I looked at it with new eyes.

1st edition cover of Farenheit 451 (courtesy: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s something that got to me, spoken by Mr. Faber, the retired English Professor:

Mr. Montag, you are looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going, a long time back. I said nothing. I’m one of the innocents who could have spoken up and out when no one would listen to the ‘guilty’, but I did not speak and thus became guilty myself. And when finally they set the structure to burn the books, using the firemen, I grunted a few times and subsided, for there were no others grunting or yelling with me, by then. Now, it’s too late.

Or how about this:

It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the ‘parlor family’ today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios and televisions, but are not. No, no, it’s not books at all that you’re looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.

And finally:

The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parades roars down the avenue, ‘Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.’ Most of us can’t rush around, talk to everyone, know all of the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money, or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent of them is in a book. Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing that you were headed for the shore.

Those are from the second part of the book, when Montag is starting to awaken from deep sleep. I had forgotten just how profound a book this is, and that even back in 1953, Bradbury was clearly seeing what we could become as we set down the path we’ve been stumbling down. Now, look at where we are, and admit that the destination is most definitely not the splendorous jewel of a future we were promised in all of those movies, novels, and national aspirations. Fear has us returning to our past to see if we can find the answer to wake up from this nightmare.

The question is: What will we do with the knowledge once we find it? How do we change what has been written in stone in our societies, so that we can reach a future that all of us want to be part of?

We’ve all been so worried about the one-named beasts that threaten to smother ourselves: censorship, racism, sexism, inequality, classism, dogmatism, materialism, and on and on and on…that we forget what we accomplish collectively that allows for books like this to appear. Now, it seems like these words to think about, by one man who had knowledge but lacked power, can restore the power of the collective to see a better future than the one we will be facing.

Read a classic book, and see what lesson you can bring to life. Heck, it doesn’t have to be a classic, as long as it speaks to your soul (not your ego). Share it over and over until you’ve breathed life back into it. Stoke one fire that isn’t meant to destroy but to create. It’s what we desperately need now.

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