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“where you stand depends on where you sit.” [merely-a-thought monday]

where you stand

there is a moment when the sun is going down that the ball of fire on the horizon disappears.  official sunset.  but the light lingers in the sky and the color stuns.   it is seemingly a grey area between day and night.  you can call it either – “it is still day,” you can say.  “it is now night,” you might relent.  it depends on where you sit and when we are hiking in the woods and still have a couple miles to go we prefer to think of it as ‘still day’.

it’s all a matter of perspective.  the eyes through which you view all that around you.  the shoes in which you stand as you look out on all that is happening.  are you on one side or the other?  are you bipartisan-ly, so to speak, looking at life?  john avlon recently said, “where you stand depends on where you sit” and i couldn’t agree more.

opinion is a personal matter.  indeed.  free as we profess (or is it purport?) to be, we are all entitled to our opinions.  on everything from food preferences to healthcare in our country, from clothing styles to immigration policies, from decor in our homes to gun control or the lack thereof, from coffee brands to what we individually choose to call a divine universal power and how we lift that divinity up, from places to live to how we feel about blatantly incentivizing people to stay under earning limits…it is all a personal matter.

and yet, it becomes not personal when we are unable to view others’ opinions without demoralizing them, without a listening ear, without educating ourselves before being reactionary and spurting out inaccuracies.  when we turn a blind eye to what befalls others.  when what is best for us supersedes what is best for all.  when riches – in its first definition:  wealth or great possessions; abundantly supplied with resources, means or funds – is not meant for the populace.

it becomes not personal when we fail to realize, allow for, negotiate that where we stand – truly does – depend on where we sit.

right now as the sun sets on 2019 it is still day.  or has night come?

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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“you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” [merely-a-thought monday]

dream

i found a note the other day, tucked inside a book.  it was a jotting-down-of-a-memory and was a quote from The Boy.  he was five and he said, “look at how i can snap (my fingers).  at 5 years old!!  i could become a snap teacher and teach everyone how to snap!”  never too young to dream.

jen is zealous.  she is reallyyyy zealous.  i don’t think i have known anyone who is as zealous a learner as jen.  it is invigorating and inspiring to be around someone who embraces all she does not know with questions and a hope for understanding, as opposed to resistance or suspicion.  she actively seeks out ways to learn the new, the unknown, wholeheartedly jumping in and swimming.  she knows that vitality comes with opening yourself to new things.

pantene recently ran a new video series.  it’s referencing the holidays and in it transgender people talk about what it’s like to go home.  it’s breathtakingly sad the number of LGBTQ women and men who are not welcomed at home because someone cannot learn, ask questions, try to understand.  instead, resistance and suspicion and a whole lot of judgement fiercely reign and the dream of being all together celebrating is devastatingly dashed.  squelching another’s dreams is not the ultimate job of our job as humankind.

yesterday i conducted a christmas cantata.  ahead of time, i had, for hours and hours on end, researched songs to find the pieces i felt would resonate with people, the pieces that would be generously bestowing of spirit and not off-putting.  i looked for the language i thought would tug at their hearts and remind them of the light, the miracle of the season.  when one song didn’t quite fit for me after i had chosen it, i wrote a new one.   they were labeled ‘contemporary’ songs, with melodies, rhythm, chords, years of copyright differing from the hymns in the hymnals.  over thirty people participated:  a choir, a ukulele band, a worship band, a violinist, a violist.  the result was truly beautiful, the message clear and the music gorgeous.  our little church – a church that proudly purports to be reconciling and all-embracing – had moments truly holy in that service.

h is 93.  every week at rehearsal he is ready and willing to learn something.  he is steeped in traditional – after all, he is 93, his year of copyright long ago.  and yet, those new melodies, harmony, challenging rhythms he has learned to sing have brought a freshness of life to him.  never too old to dream.  he knows that vitality comes with opening yourself to new things.

but back to yesterday.  i remain unfulfilled in one way.  because the sad part about yesterday?  all the work and time that these dedicated volunteers had put into this cantata – with my careful choices based on over thirty years as a minister of music – was not seen by the first service folks.  the word ‘contemporary’ made it unfathomable for that service to host without complaint, relegating it only to the second service.  the spirit of camaraderie, the support of the efforts of others in their own church, the truly beautiful music that was made was lost on this first service.  i try to understand their dedication to traditional music, to choice, and i heartedly honor it in selecting music for every other week of the church year.  but i fail to understand their unwillingness to even try to embrace something else, something ‘new’.  i fail to understand any reinforcement of ‘different’, of divisiveness. especially as simply one day and a festive community celebration of the holiday.  especially when churches are constantly looking for relevancy and vitality is one of the necessary ingredients.  they do not know what they missed.  closing off.  what they are missing.

jen and h would like each other.  they both openly embrace new.  they both openly embrace others.  they both dream dreams, happily engaging in life, snapping.  what a gift to be around.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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holding steadfast. [k.s. friday]

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it is against the odds that this tree clings to rock and doesn’t topple into the lake with a great splash and float away.  instead it stubbornly holds on, a steadfast intention.  the rock, the basso ostinato.

at a time when holding steadfast seems mightily important, i wonder about the questions we have been asked.  will you stay?  will you leave?  will you love it here?  in the midst of all the infighting, are you going to give up? will you hold on?

the answers may not be directly related to the actual intent of those questions.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our integrity.  we will hold steadfast to the reasons we came here in the first place.  to make a difference, to bring ideas and change, to apply that which we have learned, studied, experienced over at least 80 combined years of work, higher education and profession.  to be honest and transparent and collaborative.  to try and instill a sense of working together into a community divided by narratives too numerous to list.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our belief that people should be kind to each other, that people should not work around others nor should they undermine others, that people should instead lift each other up, not drive stakes into another.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to honoring art, the driving force behind this initiative.  to honoring creativity and the blossoming of beauty and wisdom, staunch tenets of artistry.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to believing all is possible.

but, in answer to the real intent of the question asked us….will we hold on?

we will not hold on if others cannot join us in what is real, what is truth, what is most important.  we will not hold on in the fire of pettiness or shameful self-serving underhandedness.  we will not hold on, holding still while others take turns throwing rocks at us, at the real goals of this place, if those are indeed about art.

the answer to the question is not up to us.  we can either cling to the rock, holding steadfast or we can topple, with a refreshing splash, into the lake and float away.

download HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 


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cohesion. [merely-a-thought monday]

cohesion copy

cohesion definition

from essays in the art of living  (wilferd a. peterson, 1961) “no [one] stands alone.  through all the centuries of recorded time, [people] have set into motion influences that affect your life today…you are the heir of the ages.  [people] reaching for the stars have created for you a world of wonder and challenge…more enduring than skyscrapers, bridges, cathedrals and other material symbols of  achievement are the invisible monuments of wisdom, inspiration and example erected in the hearts and minds of [all persons]…a leader glorifies the team spirit.”

it is a mighty mountain to climb without support.  it is a mighty chasm to fall into without hands reaching out to form a solidarity, a community.  the struggle to retain absolute and autocratic control is the antithesis of the solution, for no one person knows all, no one person can see all, no one person can create all.  control will undermine, sabotage, poison the well-spring of possibility.  control is not that of wonder.  control is not enduring wisdom or inspiration.  control is most definitely not example.

“a leader glorifies the team spirit.”  “cohesion-the action of forming a united whole.”

moving into the future requires a choice.  division and discord?  unity and harmony?

separation or cohesion?

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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above the clouds. [two artists tuesday]

in the clouds copy

we left florida in the rain.  it was a tad bit bumpy as we climbed and i was grateful to come out above the clouds into a clear sky with soft early morning color.  as we flew at this altitude i could see glimpses of what was below us, spaces quickly filled in by soft puffy clouds blocking the view.  i strained to see what terrain we were flying over, curious if i could pick out landmarks and know a little bit more about where we were, wondering about people living in those tiny dots of towns and cities and farmland below the clouds that we were flying above.  it was easy to forget that it was raining down there.

i feel like life is like that.  it has become more telling to me in these times of divisiveness.  we are each at a different altitude…we have different starting points – our backgrounds, our education, our financial status, our various orientations…the starting point list is lengthy; all things combine to make us who we are and all things weave us a different starting point.  at any given moment we are at yet another one; life is fluid like that.  we live above our own clouds – or, at times, in them – either way our view blocked.

here above my clouds – for my clouds are different than yours – my questions are these:  how curious are we about the people who are not at the same place as us?  how much do we strain to see what might not be where we are?  how much do we want to know, to empathize? how much do we forget what is happening someplace else, for someone else, in the places where it is more difficult to see through the clouds?  how engrossed are we only in our narrow bandwidth of sky?  can we see the experience of others?  can we try?

we can either think it is a soft-morning-sky kind of day for everyone or we can actually realize that it’s raining down there.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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kindness. every day. [two artists tuesday]

kindness day box

on this day, election day in the united states, i cannot think of a better antidote… er…aspiration than to embrace the upcoming world kindness day wholeheartedly, emphatically, honestly.

the mission of the world kindness movement and world kindness day is to create a kinder world by inspiring individuals and nations towards greater kindness.

the goal of the non-profit organization is “making kindness a greater part of everyone’s daily lives and increasing the awareness of the positive benefits of kindness to health and the overall well-being of society.”

“this day (world kindness day) aims to increase the value of kindness in society as well as increase the amount of kind acts that take place nationwide, making kindness a greater part of day to day life.”

i cannot help but think of my sweet momma as i write this.  she didn’t need a celebratory calendar-day to pledge to be kind.  she just was.  she would be disheartened by our current state of affairs, determined to make a difference one little moment at a time, one kindness at a time.  for as i look around, that is what is lacking.  basic kindness.  what i see in its place is ugly; anger and passionate division, fear and volatility, rudeness and a combative disrespect for humanity.

“on this day, participants attempt to make the world a better place by celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organizations.”

acts of kindness.  how about every day?

kindness mr rogers

our BE KIND reminders:

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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BE KIND/BE KIN BE KIND products ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 


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emerging? [merely a thought monday]

emerging with frame

“emerging artists” the gallery signage reads.  or the concert liner notes.  or the application for an exhibition.  or maybe a residency.  supposedly it sounds better than “new artist” or “unknown artist” and precedes the “mid-career” and “established artist” labels.  that’s to assume that anyone moves beyond the perceived “emerging artist” moniker, the context of that word swirling around the body of work the person has created and its presence in the world.  artists in their fluid creativity are ever-emerging.

the dictionary defines “emerging” as coming into view, coming out, becoming visible, manifesting.  i wonder if we could apply this to humankind….are we all emerging?  headed in some manifesting direction? “being revealed”, “coming to light” seem to imply good things.

i worry that,  in more recent times, i may be becoming a bit jaded.

in looking at humankind as it has been “emerging” lately, i would ask if emerging humans are really “emerging”.  as plants emerge from the soil and grow upward, seeking light, they become stronger, taking in nutrients and sun.  they will manifest blooms or perhaps vegetables – goodness.  as humans emerge, in these days of late, are they seeking light?  will they manifest goodness?  where are we headed in the vastness?  the divisiveness, lack of empathy, ugliness, competition and rage are directions i can’t relate to, directions antithetical to unity, to health.  what will bloom in that world?

hopefully, we, as a humankind, will indeed emerge.  and that emerging, that coming to light, will be to manifest good.  for, actually, we are all ever-emerging.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY