Tuesday, May 31, 2011

White Lightning

In writing this blog, my motto has been to change the world through words. It is something that I take seriously. I guess you could call it a passion. I find my greatest purpose in writing and speaking words that inspire people to come fully alive. Sometimes words need a soundtrack. This quote by Hans Christian Anderson kind of sums up the lack that I feel sometimes. "Where words fail, music speaks."  I have been moved by music and it has moved me towards life and action. One of my new favorite bands, White Lightning, is on a mission to move people and inspire through the medium of music. These words off their Facebook page describe what they are all about; "Energetic modern rock that will make you dance, thrash, weep and inspire fence sitters to be world changers." This seems to be a tall order, but they deliver. Steve Bosch, Enoch Rottier and Jason Grilo have taken a passion for music, life and for people and have crafted a manifesto of Peace, Hope, Love and Lightning that calls out to anyone with ears to hear, that there is more to life.

They too are wordsmiths, like myself, but their influence is broad and far reaching when the elements of lyric and song intertwine. The first track, Satisfaction, off of their first full-length album called See It All, is a challenge to look inward at all that we think that we need and ask the question, "Do you think that all that you desire will satisfy your soul?" Every time, I hear the words being sung with conviction in the backseat of my car by Elle I know that though she may not understand it now some day she will ask herself that question. Those words are emblazoned on her mind and my own. Answering this question honestly does become a catalyst for change in our world. It is a question that begs to be answered by this generation. The answer is echoed in the lyrics of the song 'See It All'. "I want to live the life of no regrets. Be free, live free. Know how to say no. Know when to say yes." These words are the heart cry of a generation bombarded by so many distractions that are fueled by consumerism, self-absorbed success and an every-man-for-himself mindset. Deep within each of us, there is a desire for something real. Something that we get to unlock about ourselves that gives us meaning and purpose in life. Something that we were created to do that goes beyond making a living and acquiring stuff.

I have come to believe that this world will never be changed by better politics or a reformation in money-hungry world powers. Reformation will happen through people who ask honest questions of themselves and others. Change will happen when people allow themselves to be moved from "fence sitters into world changers". This is change at a grass-roots level, where people live, work and play. It happens when we take the message of inspired people like White Lightning and run with it. As White Lightning continues to hone their skills as musicians, songwriters and entertainers they will fulfill their mission as reformers of a era that is seeking something more, something else, something to live for.

To hear some tunes, watch some live performances and get your hands on some epic inspired music check out White Lightning's website @ http://www.whitelightningmusic.com/

Friday, May 20, 2011

What goes up....

I coined a phrase regarding my little guy Coen recently. Coen is addicted to gravity. He is constantly doing the research to prove that gravity exists. Be it rocks, kittens, or his favorite toy, Woody, everything is thrown up into the air. I've also seen him with his toes, three steps from the bottom of the stairs, precariously far over the edge, creeping closer and closer over the edge until there is no other option but to fall, face-first, down three stairs and then get up and try it again? I'm not sure what it is about his little psyche that doesn't believe that whatever he throws, himself included, will not return to the earth. Maybe he's hoping that it, or himself will fly?! Strange things are afoot!

I think ultimately he has trust issues. I have put him in swimming lessons for the last couple of months. He absolutely despises getting his face wet. I bought him goggles just so we could get through the lessons without the screams of bloody murder echoing throughout the pool. I forgot to mention that I am in the swimming lesson with him. He frantically clings to me. He cannot trust that I will not let him go. He cannot believe that I, his mother, would do anything to ensure that he will NOT drown. At this rate I may still be in swimming lessons with him when he is twenty. Sometimes fear, lack of trust, gets the upper hand in our lives. The result is hell. The irony of this whole thing is, is that if Coen could calm down and hear the comforting words of someone that loves him with an overflowing heart, maybe fears would take a back seat and he could actually enjoy being in the water. He chooses to be afraid and to cry and yell, while peace is there within his grasp. To me this definitely describes hell.

We also choose hell for ourselves at times. We worry about things that are beyond our control. We stay up late in bed mulling over problems and worries that can never be changed by our own troubled thoughts. The result is a tormented soul, far from peace and hope and joy while all of those things are within our grasp. We may even be clinging desperately to them but cannot hear or feel the assurance that comes from them because we are wrapped in our fear, doubt and pain.

Maybe you have experienced this. Whatever your hell has been, HOPE is there. Trust. Reach out and grab a hold of PEACE. Be quiet. Rest. The storm can be over, if you allow it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grain Car Graffiti

"I lost a friend today." These words have been etched in my brain this week. I saw them painted in graffiti on the side of a grain car as I waited for a train to go by. Some of you may argue that graffiti is not art. But according to my definition, it is. Here's my definition of art; an expression, be it music, painting, words or otherwise, that captures a thought or an emotion. As I've pondered and wondered what prompted someone to paint those heart breaking words on to the side of a grain car, I have come to understand that art is also about imagination.

"I lost a friend today" are words that are the ending of a story. A story that I will never know, but I can imagine. I imagine that these words could have been the result of a tragic death. These words also could have been because of a divorce or a relationship breakdown. Or they could have been the result of a misunderstanding that could not be repaired between best friends. My imagination sees many images that play out the scenes that end in the emotional angst of these haunting words, "I lost a friend today." My heart's memory is also awakened to times when I too have lost a friend.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But five small words create a thousand pictures in my head. So I guess you could say that these five words by themselves may not conjure emotion or imagination but together have a huge impact. There is a message in them. As that train travels throughout the land, that message will be spoken. The loss of a friend is something that we have all experienced to varying degrees throughout our lives. We have all felt the sting of loss. Whether we wrote a song about it, or spray painted words on the side of a train car, sharing our pain, or whether forever in our hearts and minds there is a tattoo  with that person's name on it, we remember. We remember laughing. We remember sharing secrets. We remember love. We remember long talks. We remember dreaming together. We remember the day that it ended and we grieve, maybe to this day, about a friendship that has been lost.

Tell a friend today what they mean to you. Maybe it means that you have to repair and mend a friendship that is broken. Do what it takes to fix it. True friends are rare....

Monday, May 2, 2011


I rarely comment on what is happening in the world news but I just heard the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead. I was somewhat taken aback by the rejoicing that people were doing over the fact that he had been killed. It kind of stung me actually. As humans, have we become so desensitized that we are happy, even ecstatic when someone is killed?

Several years ago, I read a book by Donald Miller and in it he talk about the value that we place on people by using the illustration of a lifeboat. I am going to put it in my own words with this scenario... You, as well as nine other people are on a large boat that is sinking. It is discovered that there are not enough spaces in the lifeboat for everyone to be able to be saved. Somehow in this surreal scenario, you have been given the final say in who makes it on to the lifeboat and who doesn't. There is space for six people. Among the passengers are a pregnant woman, and elderly gentleman, Wayne Gretzky, a child, The Pope, Osama Bin Laden, a quadriplegic man, a serial rapist, Bono, and of course yourself. You don't have a long time to decide who gets saved. What do you do? Do only good people deserve to be saved? Does noted fame or talent make someone more worthy? What about age? Does someone at a young age deserve life more than someone who has reached a ripe old age? Do only people who contribute to society garner the nod of life? Do terrorists and rapists deserve to be saved? What about you? What value does your life have? Are you for sure on the boat without a question? What makes your life more valuable than any other? Would you give up your place on the boat for someone else? Do any of these people not deserve a second chance at life? To be better? To change? Where does a person's value lie? At what point are people a right off? When is there a point of no return for someone? Is it when they are terrorists? How about if they just reach a certain age? What if they are severely disabled? What if they are unborn?

This illustration, to me, is something that we all need to wrestle with. So often, we don't even realize how we look at others or ourselves. We place value on people by some sort of ranking system. Evil people should definitely be lower on the list than those that contribute and make the world better. Right? These people even deserve death? And we do a jig when we hear that they have gotten what they deserve? At what point have we decided that we are at the top, that somehow because we have made different choices or were raised in a different culture or religion that we have more value? Honestly now, when was the last time you slandered someone with your words? What about lying? What about gossip? What about intentionally pushing some one's buttons to hurt them? What about feeling jealous or envious? What about blowing a gasket at your spouse or your kid or your boss or someone in traffic?

The world does not change when what we call "bad" people are killed. The world changes when we can look at ourselves honestly and say that we are "bad" as well. At that point we realize we need grace; a second chance. It's when we realize that every person has immeasurable value and that we could give up our own lives, through dying and living, for the world to be better that something truly amazing can happen.