Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Music connects."

"You may be poor,  you may only have a ramshackle house,  you may have lost your job, but that song gives you hope." - Nelson Mandela,  former president of South Africa

        As we celebrate a brand new year we are often inspired to create resolutions.  Allow 2016 to be 365 days of discovery beginning with opening a space in your life for more understanding, beauty and forming deeper connections with our fellow human beings.  "Musicians without Borders" is an incredible non-profit organization that allows communities around the world to heal the wounds of war through the power of music and song.

 Please read more at their website below. The video above may introduce you to the brilliant opera singer and "Musicians without Borders" Ambassador, Eva- Maria Westbroek

 Love and peace to my family and friends in America and across the globe. Happy New Year! 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

"Change happens now."

"The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long....America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it."- Barack Obama, President of the United States

               Did you know power plants are the number one source of carbon emissions in the United States, accounting for more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions?  Since 2009 the U.S has been on a strong forward  track of reducing harmful emissions by enacting clean energy initiatives. Under President Barack Obama's administration solar electricity has greatly increased and the use of wind power has tripled. Public and private accountability will allow us to stay on the edge, developing even more crucial technologies in order to sustain our future economy.
               The U.S is leading the way to combat global climate change. Fighting for our planets survival by restoring our ecosystems, ensuring clean air and water for generations to come is our moral responsibility. The big picture of climate change includes all of the smaller ways we as individuals affect the Earth every single day. How are shifting weather patterns and the increase of flooding and powerful storms impacting your local communities? The choices we make right now not only determine our own health and welfare but the life cycles of thousands of animal and plant species we cannot survive without. What can you do right now?

 Going Green is more than just recycling-  Be aware of the emissions in your daily commute, the processed foods you purchase and the energy sources you use in your home. We are all personally accountable for the resources we waste.

Contact politicians-  With email and social media city,state and federal government officials are more assessable than ever before. Let them know reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a priority for healthy communities, inspiring scientific innovation and job creation. Companies who fail to comply with emission standards should be taxed, fined or both.

Support Education  and Human Rights Around the World- If we fail to recognize the relationship between overpopulation, pollution, hunger, disease and loss of resources we are doing ourselves and future generations a grave and tragic injustice. There are simply too many people on the Earth. Every nation on our planet should have free access to birth control measures and fully support women's reproductive rights. Helping women and children move beyond poverty should be a global priority,

 Stay informed-  Check the top web resources for additional information. Here is a link to 101 of the best educational websites on climate change and the environment.

 Video "Who Cares About Climate Change?" courtesy of Vice News and YouTube

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Wage peace."

Peace always to family and friends around the world.

Who is looking up
on this silent night of stars?
Infinite wonder......

Christmas haiku by Lisa More
       December 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"You must travel it by yourself."

"Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.”
Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass     

       Once during my elementary school years I relentlessly begged my parents to buy me the Police's album Ghost in the Machine. The first time "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" came on the radio, my love affair with Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland began. Seldom if ever being a demanding child my parents thankfully relented and the album became a Christmas/ early birthday gift. Along with my first drum set and a brand new pair of skates, listening to the album over and over has been a vivid, beloved childhood memory. You could say the intense fascination with the Police and wanting a drum set was comparable to Ralphie Parker's overwhelming mission for a Red Ryder BB gun in the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story.
     The album features the songs, " Invisible Sun", "One World", "Demolition Man" and " Spirit's in the Material World". The title, Ghost in the Machine was inspired by the book of the same name written by Hungarian-British journalist, Arthur Koestler. Many years later I purchased the CD Ghost in the Machine along with the Police's incomparable anthology and most of my early music history is safely stored on an iPod.
     Another powerful track from Ghost in the Machine is featured in the video above called "Secret Journey". The footage for the video was taken from the 1992 documentary film Baraka -A World Beyond Words directed by visionary artist Ron Fricke (Samsara -2011). The entire film is an incredible photographic journey of human life and religious ceremony. Although the song" Secret Journey" isn't featured in the film the images and music created for the video above complement and enhance a surreal experience.
       Sting called " Secret Journey" -" a quasi-mystical song, stating in a press interview," You have to do something, go somewhere, to get outside yourself. I read the book "Meetings with Remarkable Men"(G.I Gurdieff)  which says you have to make a journey. It doesn't have to be a real journey, it can be a mental journey."

         During the holidays, it's especially easy to become nostalgic or fondly reminisce of "better days".  Although we do adhere to traditions of the past we should also recognize and respect change. It's human nature to adapt and aspire, to take on challenges and study new ideas. So instead of lingering too long on Memory Lane feeling regretful or sad, recall all of the difficult twists and turns you've survived on your own unique path. Remind yourself of the knowledge, courage and strength you've gained. No one else has or ever will travel that road for you. Honor it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

" The only other sounds."

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening 

  by  Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

     The human brain has amazing capacities bursting with unimaginable mysteries. Two people will read the exact same book passage or poem and come away with two entirely different interpretations. Among us this can create profound connections or result in tragic consequences. Poet, Robert Frost completed "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" in 1922  after being up all night writing a longer poem called "New Hampshire " which later became part of a Pulitzer Prize award winning collection. Despite being one of the most successful poets of his generation he was deeply in debt for most of his life. When I contemplate the last lines of the poem;
 " The woods are lovely, dark and deep." it reminds me of those deliciously rare moments when we are captivated by observing what we believe is beautiful. The concept of time seems to melt away. Being "lost in the moment" feels magical. But few who recite the poem will come away with the same view. When composing poetry, music or song lyrics that's the point. Recall the famous quote of author Anais Nin, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

     Imagine Frost standing with his gallant horse whom like all trusted animals we love so much remains wordless.  Looking over the expanse of a snow covered field he was in absolute awe. Sure his neighbor owned a lot of property he couldn't enjoy while Frost struggled to keep his own home but do we really know if he was envious or grateful? Dark and peaceful, the chill in the air was probably exhilarating to an exhausted writer. Those of us who grew up in frigid climates discover that even the most soot stained, industrialized city transforms into a winter wonderland following a snowfall. It gives us the illusion our dirty, smog filled cities are sweetly sugared or Frosted.

"But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep."

   Perhaps  Frost was savoring his solitude, awake and alive before returning to work. One perfect moment of beauty and clarity was finally his to enjoy. And then suddenly...  cutting through the gorgeous silence.....bzzz, bzzz, bzzz  bzzzzzzzzzzz. Frost rolls his eyes as he scrolls over a few texts from his wife. "Robert, don't forget to pick up some Stella.", "You are out of coffee." Sad face emoji. "Where are you? It's late!" Okay, no he didn't. It was 1922. Read the poem yourself. However, a spouse must be kept happy, bills paid, children fed, a house cleaned, obligations met.  But all of us LIVE for those silent moments of beauty and clarity. We live for them.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

"Don't let fear rule your life."

"How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared."-  Salman Rushdie, author


           Terrorism isn't a modern phenomenon. It has always existed with varying tactics to strike fear in the hearts and minds of citizens who want to live in a free society. For a brief moment terrorists may appear to be formidable. The violent acts employed by ISIL, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups lack real political power or relevant sustainable ideas. Like any gang or cult,  ISIL uses enticing recruitment rhetoric. ISIS produces slick Hollywood style movie trailer propaganda videos glorifying the perverted "illusion" of camaraderie or the bonds of unbreakable brotherhood. A terrorists organizations primary objective is to obtain power by fear, attempting to destroy what people in a true democracy live and die for- freedom. As a way of life given the choice between blind allegiance, constant oppression, violent threats, rape and murder or equality, education, art, dancing, music, love and freedom of expression which would you choose? And  yes, we do get to choose in this country. Choice is part of our United States Constitution and our universal human rights. Democratic principles have and always will allow human beings to live with the greatest sense of dignity, liberty and justice.
        Currently, the panic that many politicians, media outlets and religious groups are promoting across our country is dangerous and incomprehensible. Intimidation and fear play directly into the hands of what terrorists want to accomplish. Suggesting a preference of Christian over Muslim refugees, the immediate closure of mosques, Muslim data bases, torturing family members of suspected terrorists, a gun in every day care goes against everything this nation represents. Irrational fear mongering puts every American life at home and abroad in jeopardy including those in our armed services.
      Keeping proper perspective is essential especially if you have children. Why would you teach them to be afraid? Last time I checked we are still the land of the free and the home of the brave. Know the facts.There are many reliable resources to consult if you don't understand our own laws, a regions history, a religion or political philosophy. Don't assume or allow other people to influence your ideas about countries and customs they know absolutely nothing about. Education and diplomacy is the greatest weapon we have against terrorist ideology. We must work together in our communities and across the globe with strength, courage, compassion and understanding. What do terrorists fear most? Terrorists are threatened by education, equality and peace. Knowledge is truly the ultimate power.