Crooner Tunes and Musicals: Connecting Across the Memory Gap

The classic songs from “back in the day” bring a touch of familiarity and provide a fun way to interact when memory is on the wane but musicality remains strong.


Helen_N_Kamakura_blue_tshirt_6_10_15I have just returned from a delicious dinner with Helen, my 94-year-old friend and music buddy. We both love to sing and are prone to break into song at any time.

This evening Helen is especially lively. At dusk on a cloudless day with spring blooms bursting forth everywhere, just having enjoyed an excursion at our favorite Japanese restaurant, she spontaneously breaks into a song that is new to me:

What a day this has been
What a rare mood I’m in
Why, it’s almost like being in love

 

Such a sublime articulation of Helen’s joy state! We consult the all-knowing Internet and have a great time watching Gene Kelly singing and dancing to “Almost Like Being In Love” in the movie Brigadoon.

For Helen and many of her contemporaries, it’s all about the Crooner era and hit songs from the big musicals. Being able to search for songs online brings fun improvisational moments of social and musical engagement.

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Grace Lee Boggs, Social Change Evolutionary

 

by Ryan Garza, Feb. 2014

Grace Lee Boggs, photo by Ryan Garza  (Feb. 2014)

Social change activist, philosopher and visionary Grace Lee Boggs died on Oct. 5, 2015 at age 100. Such a life of meaning she lived! If you didn’t know of Grace, I would like to introduce you to her.

Grace endeavored to better the world in every possible way, right up to her last days. Working for social change wasn’t something that she could ever retire from. It’s who she was, for over 70 years.

Browse the quotes and links below to learn more about Grace’s fascinating life and her unique vantage point on the human condition. For lots more, visit the Boggs Center website.


“The world is waiting for a new dream… We are shaking the world with a new dream. Feel it! Guard it! Treasure it! These opportunities do not come often.”

“These are the times to grow our souls. Each of us is called upon to embrace the conviction that despite the powers and principalities bent on commodifying all our human relationships, we have the power within us to create the world anew.”

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Singing, Ministry and Me

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Announcing a New Video “Music, Ministry and Spirit”

Recently I led a Sacred Song Circle at The Chaplaincy Institute. One thing led to another, and a video was born: Music, Ministry, and Spirit. Click on the image above to watch.

Singing and Ministry Go Well Together

At my ordination to interfaith ministry I made an out-loud commitment to be a “singing Reverend”, although I didn’t know what that meant at the time. Since then I’ve sung at weddings, memorials, a birth blessing, community singing gatherings, and bedsides.

For me, singing ministry is not so much a role as it is a ministerial capacity—a bandwidth that jumps into play in certain moments when it is exactly what is needed.

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“Journey-Work of the Stars”: Story of the Universe in 8 Minutes!

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By Henry Reich, in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s video, ‘The Genesis of the Universe’

Check out what must be the most ambitious digital graphic movie ever! Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells the story of the universe’s evolution in a mere 8 minutes.

Tyson’s accessible narration comes to life alongside Henry Reich’s hand-drawn, time-compressed illustrations. On some level the information is utterly incomprehensible in scope and scale. Yet this short video makes it slightly more possible to imagine how the universe emerged and took shape over 13.7 billion years.

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Glimpses of a Possible World with Charles Eisenstein

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Charles Eisenstein in Oakland, June 2015

Last weekend’s Whole Person Economy Satsang at Oakland’s Impact Hub featured speaker-author-philosopher Charles Eisenstein, who is conceptualizing new ways of living on the earth.

Eisenstein’s grounded hope, great mind, big heart, and gritty vision all conspire to inspire.

Below are 20 ideas I was particularly struck by from his Oakland remarks. If these quotes speak to you, follow the links in the endnotes for abundant ideas and inspiration.


1.   We are witnessing the death process of the story that has been part of humanity for thousands of years… the story of separation.

2.   Racism, sexism, ecocide are all the fruits of a world view rooted in domination. The ideological core of our society is hollowing out. We don’t believe the old story any more.

3.   In the space between stories, our own understanding of causality has become suspect. How do we navigate in such a moment?

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Mantra and Meditation: A Talk By Prabha Duneja

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Hindu scholar and teacher Prabha Duneja recently spoke at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on “Meditation and Mantra”. She has a gift for expressing the complexities of Hinduism in a direct, accessible style. Here are 14 pearls from her talk.


1.  Mantra meditation creates a connection with the Source. In mantra japam, whisper the mantra, one repetition for each bead. Then continue silent japam with sealed lips. As the silent japam becomes stronger, one becomes aligned with the Source of All.

2.  Mantra is the word that liberates the mind and leads to the silence of the soul. The power of mantra is released by constant devoted practice.

3.  Mantra and meditation are two sides of the same coin.

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Toward Our Emergent Future

JT_at_Golden_Gate_Bridge_smThese days my adventures in learning center around how we as humans can shift our course and our consciousness to create more harmonious relationships with the biosphere and one another.

A Collective Learning Journey

We have entered a new era of humanity, a time when the continued viability of the biosphere to sustain life is no longer assumed or assured, but must be worked for. It is unknown whether our species can succeed in creating a long-term future that is biologically and socially favorable.

Time to get busy with the sacred work of transforming our world. As we go about reweaving humanity’s ways of being on the earth, this will bring much learning, connection and meaning to our lives.

In this blog I will share occasional quotes, resources, inspiration, and questions, exploring themes of personal and planetary transformation – interfaith spirituality and ministry – nature as beloved, nature as self – changing the Story – social justice – psychodynamics of social change – Hinduism – bedside singing – and more.

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