Veteran’s Day 11/11/18

I try to write a Thank You letter to the Veterans in my life, every year on this day…also on Memorial Day.

I also have to admit when I started writing these yearly notes, I did so from a place of “universal guilt”… a cousin to that instant feeling I have when I spot a traffic cop following me, even when I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

“something happening here…”

But I realized a few years back that though many of my generations’ brothers and sisters treated each other poorly…well, horrifically…during the conflict over the Vietnam War and its Veterans, I personally never threw pig’s blood at a returning soldier.

Like many of my peers at the time, I didn’t really understand who exactly to be mad at- the military vets, or those who drafted them.

“what it is ain’t exactly clear”

So I focused my energy on Peace instead.

I was that girl with a wreath of flowers in my hair, who shoved daisy’s into barrels of the guns of local law enforcement, clad in riot gear. Young men about my same age, I have to add, who were just doing their own confusing jobs.

“there’s a man with a gun over there”

In the 1990’s I tried to open my mind to a new generation of returning veterans, so badly wanting them to have a different experience than those brave men and women, drafted or not, returning from Vietnam.

And then 9/11 happened and did a permanent number on my heart and soul. It was the birth for me of a new level of awareness. People the world over were responding to “attack” event with such dark black or white hot absolutism.

That all coincided with my father’s death so his lessons to me as a kid naturally came rushing back with a warm, loving vengeance. I considered, for the first time really, what he had been trying to say.

There is always more than one way to look at something.

“nobody’s right and everybody’s wrong”

So now, if I say thank you to a stranger in a military uniform, or when I send out my gratitude, in a note or blog post, I feel no guilt. I still don’t like or understand war, but I have room in my head and heart now for many, many more ways to fight for peace.

And I am grateful, and deeply respectful for those who choose the military (and law enforcement) as their vehicle to accomplish that.

This year, my sweet James wrote the letter below to his family. He and his siblings have had a wonderful, daily tradition, thanks to their 96 year old mother’s deathbed request. She insisted that they all stay in touch, even though they have lived across the country from each other. The emails to each other, all these years later, is one of my favorite all- time uses of the internet.

James says I can share today’s note with you too. (I have altered it only to remove other people’s personal stuff.)

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Good Morning

Today, we remember those of us who have served and died in service to freedom of expression, religion and political choice. I must admit that I am distressed by the present political situation in this country and the direction we are taking. Having said that, I honor all men and women who have participated in protecting us and giving us the right to chose our lives in a turbulent world where such freedom is becoming less and less available. I have heard from the men I served with in Nam and am reminded of the quality of men I was lucky enough to have shared that experience with. 
I had a fun trip to the islands. He picked me up at the ferry landing. We did a couple of errands in town, then joined a group of men for
The Stand Up Men Against Domestic Violence
on the courthouse lawn to remind citizens that violence against domestic partners is not acceptable as a solution to personal problems. These men have been doing this every Friday for the past four years. They organized after a couple of domestic violence deaths on the island reminded them how prevalent this problem is in our society. Two deaths were recorded there in the past twelve months so it continues to be an important issue for those who suffer at the hands of their partners. 
You can read about this amazing group here:    http://safesj.org/sum/
These guys are truly Veterans of their own local “war” against domestic violence. And they deserve to be honored, celebrated!!
Afterward, we went home where we a nice lunch and we relaxed the rest of the afternoon. About five pm, started a fire in the fire pit and we sat around with an adult beverage until men began to show up for the poker game. By seven, there were eighteen men there. We adjourned to the poker tables and played poker ’til around ten thirty, then back to the fire pit for another round of chat before everyone trickled away for home. We cleaned up the poker mess before retiring sometime between twelve thirty and one am.
(I included the description of their gathering after because it demonstrates for me that there are many really wonderful men in the world, a message not so clear in the media these days. Their “Poker Game” has been a monthly tradition in this smaller community for around 20 years. They rotate the home where it takes place. They have what they call a “Party Bag” (different from a Gift Bag) where each person throws in some of the money they win (they play with quarters) and the money is used for things like replacing the worn out felt on their vintage poker table, or, get this, a nice night on the town with the wives! These guys also golf together, and once a year, they take the Poker Game to a beautiful mountain town many miles away, for a retreat weekend of golf and poker.
I love the men in this small town. I have witnessed several times over the years, how one guy can put out a call for help (or not put it out) and the rest just show up, barn-raising style. It’s just the way they live.
James ends his letter with:
We plan on accepting Applebee’s free dinner for Veteran’s this afternoon. My worker, John is a Navy vet so he’ll get a free meal too. 
__________________________________________________________________________________________
Am I lucky or what??
Again, thank you to all who served, men and women, who made the choice, regardless of their reason. It was a precious, brave and probably unbeknownst to you at the time, a healing decision to make for all of us.
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
____________________________________________________________________________________

 

One Gift Turned into Three

There is a whole HUGE category of people for whom MUSIC speaks way louder and more clearly than any amount of political discussion or rhetoric! Just ask any true Hippie or Flower Child!

MORE MUSIC!!

Here is a second attempt at re-blogging my friend Karuna’s post today.

I”m going to put the main song I want to pass on directly in here, in case the re-blog doesn’t work again, but do visit her sight also. She always has great, beautiful, inspiring stuff there.

https://livinglearningandlettinggo.com/2018/11/02/one-gift-turned-into-three/

 

Living, Learning and Letting Go

A friend just sent me a link to this video. I loved it.

I decided to listen to another one of his other songs. I loved that one too.

Then this video caught my eye. It wasn’t by Keb’Mo’ but I also loved it!

Thanks Vani… for being the person who led me to this string of gifts.

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Music Playlist for Changing Relationships

The story behind the need for this playlist in the first place is way too long (and very personal) so I will spare you. The short version is this. The combination of music represents the ending of the very best, most fulfilling, most love-filled 25 years of my life.

And even though I put together this CD in the first place for a very specific, very close group of dear friends…chosen family, really…I have found this group of songs really helpful in my therapy practice for several clients needing to grieve over the years.

The info about, and lyrics for, each song are available online (would have made this post way too long) and I hope if any of this music speaks to you (sings to you?) that you’ll research further.

 

Grieving the changes in Relationships

 

Miles Away by Marc Cohn

Sometimes we just need to be in the feelings for a while.

 

 

Help me Understand by Juliette Wyers

       Then comes the struggle for meaning.

 

 

We Just Disagree by Dave Mason

Sometimes this is the only thing that makes sense,

 

 

Thank U by Alanis Morrisette

       And then we can move into Gratitude, even for the difficult

 

 

Thank You by Karen Drucker

       Slowly adding to our list of appreciations

 

 

My Thanksgiving by Don Henley

       Until we realize, we wouldn’t really trade a minute of it,

 

 

Love Heals the Wounds it Makes by Eva Cassidy

       And any left over pain will slowly mend,

 

 

I Miss You by Randy Newman

       Leading us back to our original state of Love and oneness….

 

 

Voyage of the Soul by Frederick Delarue

       Where in lies the greatest peace of all.

SongLyricSunday 9/9/18 picture/photograph

I always love different versions of a favorite song. Here are two!!

 

Fountain of Sorrow
Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer
I was taken by a photograph of you
There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more
But they didn’t show your spirit quite as true
You were turning ’round to see who was behind you
And I took your childish laughter by surprise
And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes
Now the things that I remember seem so distant and so small
Though it hasn’t really been that long a time
What I was seeing wasn’t what was happening at all
Although for a while, our path did seem to climb
When you see through love’s illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool
Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to hide sometimes, but now you’re all right
And it’s good to see your smiling face tonight
Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
But that magic feeling never seems to last
And while the future’s there for anyone to change, still you know it seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past
I’m just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you
In my lessons at love’s pain and heartache school
Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
There’s this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool
Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to hide sometimes but now you’re all right
And it’s good to see your smiling face tonight
Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You’ve had to struggle, you’ve had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you’ve got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright
Songwriters: Jackson Browne
Fountain of Sorrow lyrics © Jackson Browne/Swallow Turn Music/Night Kitchen Music/Open Window Music

 

 

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Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 9/9/18

SongLyricSunday 4-22-18–Theme “Sister”

Well, the theme today is Siblings or Brother/Sister.

For me, a heart-breaking theme…

I was just telling James last night, after watching one of those poignant long lost family reunion TV shows, I wish I could find some surprise, unknown siblings…from my biological father, whom I never met. Not that I didn’t search for the guy for much of my younger life. But looking for Michael John Kelly, I just never had any luck. Way, WAY too common an Irish name. Even with all the “Ancestry” type options we have these days, I have kind of given up.

I just wish I could have some kind of healthy reunion with the sisters I did have growing up. Pretty unlikely though.

I have to admit that along with my joy at Helen’s experiences with HER sister, I also experience some envy.

So, I thought of this song by Cris Williamson called “Sister”. I’ve posted it before but am not sure I included the above backstory. It’s a beautiful song, worth another listen, even if you already know it. I can close my eyes and imagine myself NOT the oldest sibling, taking care of everyone else, but having an older sister singing these words to me!!

Sister

All of the earth
Child of God
Just one of among the family

And you can count on me
to share the load
and I will always help you
hold your burden and I will be the one to help you
ease your pain.

Lean on me
I am your sister
Believe on me
I am your friend
Lean on me
I am your sister
Believe on me
I am your friend

I will fold you in my arms
like a white wing dove
Shine in your soul
your spirit is crying
spirit is crying

Born of the earth
Child of God
Just one among the family
And you can count on me to share the load
And I will always help you
Hold your burdens
and I will be the one to help you ease your pain.

Lean on me
I am your sister
Believe on me
I am your friend
Lean on me
I am your sister
Believe on me
I am your friend

Lean on me
I am your sister
Believe on me
I am your friend
Lean on me
I am your sister
Believe on me
I am your friend

I am your friend

PS Here’s some info on Cris Williamson, a wonderful and talented singer/songwriter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cris_Williamson

I had the extreme pleasure of being at a Bonnie Raitt concert once, when she called Cris out on the stage to sing with her. They did “Angel from Montgomery”. Oh my GOD! What a beautiful combination of voices.

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 4/22/18

 

 

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SongLyricSunday 1-14-18 Natural Disasters

First song that came to mind so I’m going with it…..

Dedicated to one of my very best friends in high school, a talented musician.

I wrote this last year for his obituary guest page.

“Jerry was my best friend in high school. We covered many deep subjects in many long conversations throughout our time at Natchez High. And we sang together, both of us tenors, in a choir, as well as in the “Duzin Cuzins”, a folk singing group. As happens, somehow time sped by but we were reunited at our 40th high school reunion. He was still Jerry…sweet, funny, talented and ethical to a degree few ever reach. 
I weep for his much loved family, and wish I could be there to celebrate his life.”

Jerry would have passionately agreed with Helen’s childhood, end-of-the-world story.

This song always brought tears to my eyes during the long stretch Jerry and I were out of touch. Made me think of him right up to the end.

 

Wait, that was WAY to heavy and sad.

 

Here’s your comic relief. After all, the end may be near…….

 

And once again, WAIT. I just found THIS on YouTube. This is my dear friend Jerry’s son, Tyler Flowers. Worth a listen even though the lyrics don’t exactly fit today’s theme. But with a topic like this, I figure we need all the good music we can find!

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 1/14/18

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SongLyricSunday 12-10-17 Falling

So many songs came to mind but this one showed up first! Flashbacks of many road trips…barreling down highway 1…ocean on the right…sun rising on the left…singing at the top of my voice!!

 

I highlighted my favorite line.

 

Help Me
Help me
I think I’m falling
In love again
When I get that crazy feeling, I know
I’m in trouble again
I’m in trouble
‘Cause you’re a rambler and a gambler
And a sweet-taIking-ladies man
And you love your lovin’
But not like you love your freedom
Help me
I think I’m falling
In love too fast
It’s got me hoping for the future
And worrying about the past
‘Cause I’ve seen some hot hot blazes
Come down to smoke and ash
We love our lovin’
But not like we love our freedom
Didn’t it feel good
We were sitting there talking
Or lying there not talking
Didn’t it feel good
You dance with the lady
With the hole in her stocking
Didn’t it feel good
Didn’t it feel good
Help me
I think I’m falling
In love with you
Are you going to let me go there by myself
That’s such a lonely thing to do
Both of us flirting around
Flirting and flirting
Hurting too
We love our lovin’
But not like we love our freedom
Songwriters: Joni Mitchell
Help Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,
Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

 

 

By far, one of the LONGEST entries I’ve seen in Wikipedia!! What a life!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Mitchell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 12/10/17

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