Bob Dylan

6 Degree Vignettes for May

It’s hard to be positive some days. When there is overwhelm, with lots of stuff to do, it is easy to get behind schedule. You may perhaps have health problems or financial worries, and looming debt or threat of impending doom may be enough to just paralyze you. And then the walls begin to close in around you.   Well, it’s times like this we think of those poor devils who really have it hard! The ones who are living through wartime conditions in Ukraine now, or the people who lived during the Great Depression. And if we really want to go way back in the “Wayback Machine,” we can just imagine what those folks were doing when tasked to build the pyramid at Giza!   Ways to stay Cheerful while building the Pyramid at Giza   It’s hard to stay cheerful all the time. You can think of “High Hopes” or “You Gotta have Heart” and sing like the birdies sing for a while with old musical medleys. And then people go out and just shoot themselves.   That’s not the way to do things, but you can almost understand when people get to the end of their ropes. And it’s then I am reminded of the Egyptians who had to build the Great Pyramid and had about 20 years to do it. I think of the great quote from Eddie Cantor: “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success!”   And now we know so much more about these guys. You can think of truckers and people who complain about tight deadlines. Those shipments must be delivered by a certain date in order to meet their quota. Imagine what the guys at Giza had to do to get a huge piece of rock moved from the quarry to the building site!  And that includes sailing it down the Nile on a barge!   Working the night shift   To paraphrase the great Bob Dylan, you have to: “Please her/please him…20 years of schoolin’ and they put you on the Day Shift!”  And those who try to be a success will have to try to suck up in order to be a “Suck-cess!”  It’s never a fair fight when we are always having to contend with “Corporate.” Be they modern-day CEO’s or the Pharaohs of yore…It always comes down to deadlines and having to move the merchandise. Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well. (He was the one who was stuck on the night shift at Giza!) The Stuff that Dreams are made of…   We have been raised to believe that if you have True Grit or The Right Stuff, you have it made. Whatever you want to call it, Bogey was right… It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. And it’s also the foundation upon which we exist.  The cornerstone of the American Dream is the belief that we all have a chance for success.   Moral Fortitude and small bits of beefed-up “Magical thinking” is what lies inside most Americans who believe in the American Dream. That is the belief that we can make it if we try hard enough.  Or if we believe in ourselves then our dreams are enough to keep us plugging away.   We all love a good challenge. But only when we think that there is a chance that we can succeed as much as the next guy. My Dad hated women to be called ‘guy’. But in many ways that can be considered a good thing these days.   Because it’s a generic term that can mean almost anything if you want to be seen as just ‘one of the guys.’ That comes in handy for most women. Especially in the workplaces of old. Those were the times when women may have been asked to turn around and walk for the boss and then wear short skirts! (Or not-depending on the shape of her legs.) American Delusions   America is and always has been this mythical, magical dream of high purpose and ideals. And the illusions are mostly delusions as we see the reality of the bubble burst. There are people who Do live in bubbles.  They are the ones isolated in their own grand delusions of themselves; with the belief that money can buy them a ticket to heaven or wherever they think they are going.   So that is one way to look at it. Keeping busy always signals to us that there is something that has been missing and we can “Fix It!” We can fix the broken parts by speeding up the narrative and just powering through.   Letting Go vs Let it Be   Have you ever experienced a dream so wonderful…and then you just couldn’t really remember anything about it the next day?!…   I am grateful that I do have the time and grace, the mind and heart and soul, and the body to know that there are flaws in the engine. Things are going to break down, and it’s not going to be what we want it to be. And there are times we just have to let it be. But “Let it Be” is often just another way of saying Let Me Be. Let it go and let it be are two different things.   By Letting Go, we acknowledge the past and all the faults that lie within us.  And that includes our own broken souls that may have been battered and yet have survived. By letting things be, we know the future will unfold as the universe has intended in mysterious ways. And we must let it be as God intended.  Because that is how the plot unfolds.   As writers, we are always hoping there may be multiple universes hidden inside the shell of our brain. (You may remember from last month…that’s the “Pale Fawn Fluff” that exists on top of my head!) And at some point, there may be an opportunity to bring those

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Monday Muse: On Mother’s Love and a Grateful Heart

A Mother’s Love With the upcoming holiday of Mother’s Day, it makes many of us reflect on the idea of what comprises a Mother’s Love. In The Daily Word, it’s noted that whether your mother is still living or has passed on, the love that she held for you in her heart is something that lives on. It is an inspiration that is always felt. I am grateful and blessed that my mother is still living. Many of my closest friends have already had to say goodbye to both their parents. It’s a bittersweet holiday to celebrate our parents on Mothers Day or Fathers Day-when they are not here. But it also serves as a reminder of the celebration of their lives and their legacy that lives on in their children and in their deeds. We know from experience, most of us, that a Mother’s Love is one of the strongest bonds in existence and it is a force that is almost impossible to break. And when we contemplate our own lives, our work, our deeds, and what we want to achieve, we can find untold strength in that bond that is felt in our Mothers love for us. Looking back in our lives, we remember often the inspiration and encouragement that only a mother can give to her child. And we remember how that love has kept us going! It is something that we can build on and find strength and courage in nurturing each day.   A Grateful Heart… To that end, we bring a grateful heart to each new project or plan that we seek to begin. With that, there is a psalm that tells us to give thanks with our whole heart. That is the part that is reserved at times for those we love the best. We need to open our heart to make it whole and to observe the blessings we have gathered in our lives. After a particularly rough month, and through the past year in dealing with the Pandemic, I’ve often had to fall back and remind myself of the blessings I have received in this life. And it is with that same grateful heart that I have found so many people willing to help and to encourage and to wrap my loved ones in grace and in kindness. It is the strength of that love, given with a whole heart, and in particular, the love that is needed to give to our friends and families who need that resilient and encompassing bond of love from us reaching out with a heart made whole by love.  We reach out in the spirit of that universal Mother’s Love for her own.  And it is rewarded by enveloping those who seek it with the encouragement and grace that we have felt in that all-encompassing love. It truly takes a great, big and grace-filled heart to enfold a flock of people with that love. Sharing in that gratitude is what gives us the warmest feeling of fulfillment as we move forward in life. Release There is a memorable song by Bob Dylan that speaks of a wish and a lament-Any day now, I shall be Released. We speak of a great release when we know that things are coming to a close. And so it is when we have experienced watching a loved one struggle with pain and illness, that we recognize death as a kind of release. When we release and let go of those things that we once thought were important in our lives, it is a lifting of the spirit that will almost always make you feel lighter. Your spirit has felt this release. It’s more than the type of relief we feel when we see a messy desk or room that has been cleaned and cleared. In some respects, the corners of our own soul have clutter to clear up. When we do release the heaviness of long held beliefs and anger, there is a lightness of spirit. The old saying is this; “It would make a Mother proud.” We have spoken of the strength of a Mother’s Love, and the idea of living with gratitude for all we have received. The final part of this process brings us round to the release that will lead to the joy of a Mother’s Love and the fulfillment of a grateful heart. When we can set things free that have bound our spirit in pain and sorrow, we can achieve great things. Bible Verse: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart- Psalm 9:1 Mantra: I will be mindful of the all-encompassing power of a Mother’s Love, and be grateful each day for the chance to nurture and renew the bonds of love I have had and may still seek in others. And finally, I am going to take deep breaths and live each day of the week, mindful of the spirit of loving others with a whole heart. I will release all the inner angst and worry that plagues me, just as I release deep breaths and expel all of the past sorrow and pain. And I will feel lighter in my step and my thoughts when I release the past and live with a grateful and loving heart.

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Monday Mojo: The Keys to the Kingdom this Christmas Season

Power Power is perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts we have. In life, those who have power and wield power wisely do so with the understanding that they are working on behalf of others and often with divine guidance from God. Those who have misused power have done so and often lived to regret it. That is something that the Greeks understood when they wrote plays dealing with all powerful Gods and those who would thwart their will. When we talk of power, we also should speak of love for others and a humility born out of the power to serve others. When we hear the song: “I’ve got the power!” shouted in exultation, then we should also think of the concept from Bob Dylan’s prophetic song: “You gotta serve somebody.” Meaning that whoever you are, there is someone or some Thing that you are bound to serve. With great power also comes great responsibility in the eyes of God. Peace With Peace, there is the understanding of the ways to find true happiness. The ‘keys to the kingdom’ in this life, seen in our bible verse from Matthew this week, comes when we are at peace with ourselves and our destiny. At Christmas time there is the beautiful hymn that speaks of the Silent Night where all is calm, and all is bright. When we reach a point of stillness, through meditation and through prayer where we can reflect on the quiet calm, we can think of the ways that peace may become a constant in our own lives. The possibilities of good, of doing for others and for finding calm in our relationships is why there is a need for the quiet calm of night where we think and reflect.  The Christmas season suggests that we find that place in our soul where we are ‘at peace’ with ourselves and the world. Understanding Through understanding, all things are possible. Through prayer and meditation, we can find the peace and use the power of our own words and deeds to move forward in our lives. Charles Fillmore, Unity Church’s founder, called Understanding one of the 12 divine powers that lives within each of us. We have seen those with a greater sense of understanding, of comprehending problems, and we see that they have a finer control over their own actions and an ability to lead others. If we learn to use our own powers of thought to tamp down the negative thinking of the past and focus on the positive and the possibilities of our future, we will create an atmosphere within our own lives that can become a permanent space to create success and positive ideas. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven Matthew 16:19

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