Look to What You DON’T Know.

Will Rogers, one of yesteryear’s revered comedic and philosophical figures, once said this:

Dear Gen X, Y and Z….

This cartoon is definitely cringeworthy for our American society at large.  Now that I am retired, with the very notion of a J.O.B. teetering on the horizon of my memory, I am compelled to speak on this issue before I entirely wipe it from my data banks.

My last J.O.B. was one of those soul suckers:  paid marvelously, no traveling involved, a 30 minute auto commute, working on what should have been the ideal “last job” by most measures.  But it sucked.  On my off time I spent hours searching for another job that had similar compensation, but woe, I was at the near pinnacle of pay, and firms only look for younger folks…..like you guys, X, Y, Z.

I was already 70 when I took this job, and I took it out of necessity due to financial troubles, moving four hours away to another city.  Gosh, I hate moving!

Enough about that last J.O.B., or I should say, “the Last Stand.”  What I want to say to you all is, “Don’t go on this way!”  I was my own worst enemy, so don’t let you be your own worst.  I thought I had a professional career (being a licensed engineer), which again, by traditional standards I did.  I had a good run too, but looking back, I see that I could have looked harder at changing my circumstances, and not just have been on automatic pilot like the rest of us Boomers: get married, buy a house, get cars, get dogs, spend all you make every month and more.  Get drunk on weekends after mowing the yard.  Oh, and “kids.” Oh.

There ARE other ways to live your lives.  Unfortunately, Millennials, you may be far along on your “do what Dad and Mom did” fortune, to easily change.  BUT YOU CAN TOO!

As for Gen Y and Z, you guys still have time, and I know first hand that a lot of you, perhaps by necessity rather than choice, are on paths that will not suck your soul:  so as with all things, there is a silver lining to be found in a sow’s belly, and sometimes that just falls into your hands.  What you do with it though is your responsibility.  So you may have lived with your parents, and many of you still are, but this is actually a blessing, for you have the opportunity to find and/or make a path in your life that does require you work for “the man” (in this case, usually a multi-national company) filling a position that likely is of little real interest to you and for which you may feel very inadequate to do.

The first thing to know and accept, is that altering your life in the direction of a SOUL LIFTING job, may require sacrifices and choices that are in the immediate are painful….but rest assured it will be worth it one day.  How long, I can’t say of course, but let’s say 10 years.  That is not a long time, as you will find out as you move through life.

I know it’s difficult to “figure out” what you want, so be open to the universe.  If you are honest with yourselves, authentic in your connection with the universe, you will find yourselves informed in a way “out of nowhere” as to what you should do, or a door will just suddenly open, something different, but with potential for happiness.

So I conclude by suggesting you do this:  tell that SOUL SUCKING JOB to kiss your ass, and go begin a new life!  If you can’t do it now, set a time goal and make the plan you need to do just that!  Before your life is spent, and you live in “wish I had” mentality till you croak.

As for me, I have accepted my life as it was, for it has a lot of quality in spite of the time on the job.  I just want to see others not have to pay the soul reaper to find their bits of happiness.

 

A Purposeful Life

Last evening I watched a film titled, “Find Me.”  It was, I suppose, what might be called a “chick flick,” but of course that moniker is, I suspect, not “PC” today, so forgive me, let’s just say it was a movie dealing with feelings; moreover, it deals with giving unconditionally – and finding purpose in one’s life.  It is a cute movie, funny, sad and yet very redeeming.  But, I am not here to review the film, only to borrow from its theme, to talk about living a purposeful life.

What does it even mean, “purposeful life?”  So we can come at this many ways really.  The term is a corollary of “the meaning of life.”  Why am I here, on this particular planet, right now?  Surely there must be a reason!  There is,  but unfortunately many of us around the world may not even have the luxury of creating a space for that question to arise in our mind.  This, in my mind, gives credence to the concept of reincarnation:  I believe each sentient being, humans and animals with some level of consciousness, are on a journey of seeking their ultimate purpose for existence.  For those beings not yet human, the cycles will be countless, as they return again and again to learn and advance, with their consciousness evolving more and more with each coming and going.  For humans who are not able due to the hardships of life, for the incipient thought of “why” to blossom, they in time will reach that potential.  It is a “potential” only, the potential for the question to arise as to “why am I here?” But at some point, in each person’s mind, eventually that thought will push through.

Regardless of whether you subscribe to reincarnation as a description of our existence now, or infinitely, depending on your present beliefs, I know that eventually your spirit energy will reach the edge of the vast void, where you are forced to look deep into that chasm of the unknown – call it God if you wish – and ask, “Why?”  It is the most beautiful question one can ask of the “Universe,” for the reason that the answer contains profundities that are infinitely simple, yet infinitely affirming.

Perhaps for those who believe in a Judeo-Christian or Islamic heavens (funny, are these different?), they will assert that all they need to do is “follow God’s law” and believe, and there is no need to try and attempt answering the question I have posed, for it will be “revealed” at the end of one’s life on Earth.  Perhaps.

There are many identifiable man-made religions and paths, and within those each adherent charts his or  her own course.  Others of us are like leaves falling to the ground in autumn, subject to all the shifting of the fall breeze, blowing in the wind.  Others of us have arrived at the point, the juncture in that place that is at the intersection of love and non-self awareness, beyond the intersections of the planes of time, space and gravity, where we are open to all the possibilities of Life, the manifest universe and the non-manifest universe, and are asking “Why?”

I do not yet know the answer, and if I did perhaps one vow I had made with the Universe was not to reveal it, for each person has their own answer, that is just for them only, that must be searched for as long as it takes, but with the certainty that it will be found.

So, let’s continue on our journeys, but Spirit informs that if we all hold hands, our collective Light on the road ahead will be so much brighter through the synergy of Love.

LIKE A BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS, JAZZ & BLUES WILL “GITCHA” ACROSS – EVERY TIME!

Today I decided to write in some color.  Blue for the Blues.  Red for Jazz.

I took care of my Mom after my wife passed in ’94.  The lady in the header photo…..my wife…..was known as Dallas’ Queen of Jazz until she transcended.  After my lady went on, her mother would tell people, “I lost my only daughter, but I gained a son.”  I thought likewise,  I had lost my sweet birth mother and my Beloved, but had gained a Mom I grew to love more and more, until she also was called by “her Lord.”  They both were a couple of characters.  My wife, Shirley Jean, was a phenomenon in Texas jazz during the latter part of the 20th Century.  A “mover, a shaker,” she had her finger on and her voice in about every jazz activity in the region, and around here, jazz and blues in those days mixed like a fine cocktail.  Mom also was a queen, actually given the title Queen of her church, and when she stepped out, she truly did look like a royal!

I was fortunate to be a part of that music scene, being married to such a respected artist, and got acquainted with a number of renowned musicians.  Cedar Walton would drop by to visit Shirley each time he was in his home town.  Shirley would always fix up a pot of chicken and dumplings for Dizzy Gillespie when he came through, and we threw a party in our home for Stanley Turrentine.  Just a sample from my memories of those years.  But I am not here to talk history today, but rather to speak about the efficacious, soothing medicine that jazz and blues brings to the willing patient.  From what I can tell, there are a whole lot of folks that need the elixir of jazz and blues!  It seems like the raging, muddy waters are just getting wider and more violent, do you agree?

My Mom used to shake her head, and say “These are some troubled times.”  She was around 90 then, so she had seen a lot.  I am actually glad she did not live to see what is going on today in America.  What got her through the rough spots of life, was prayer.  I am all for prayer myself, and pray that you pray in your own way, and let me and every other person pray as we individually wish.  I am a Buddhist, but one thing I know is that “the Kingdom of God is Within.”

Within each of us are all the potential tools we need to get through this corporeal life, and music is one such, and I would say a gloriously, wonderful tool (actually a bag of tools!).  Jazz and Blues are America’s music.  Blues begat Jazz, and Jazz is America’s Classical Music.  By listening to either or both, if one just “let’s go” she/he will be drawn into a matrix that is the Universe Itself,  to experience an infinitely colorful lightness of being, exploration, revelation and resolution, carried high and across over troubled waters – and then be deposited on the other side; and for some time thereafter, the raging, murky, troubled waters just dissipate into the sea of life.

So maybe this evening you should just kick back and put on some Trane, or some Yard Bird, and in between “do some” B.B. or Blue Bland.  Try it, you’ll like it!

SEE YA ON THE OTHER SIDE. Peace out!

If you would like to know more about Shirley McFatter’s music, please just visit the You Tube channel “Joe McFatter.”  Also, on Amazon search “Joe McFatter” in book authors.

Thank you Richard & Mildred Loving!

No that is not the Loving’s above.  The header photograph is from my wedding photo album, marking the beginning of a 25 year marriage to my most beautiful wife, until her passing in 1994.  We married in 1971.

There was another interracial couple who made our marriage possible.  About four years before I married my Queen, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Mildred and Richard Loving, who had sued Virginia to abolish the State’s law against so-called “miscegenation.”  That ruling struck down similar laws across the US, including Texas, our home State.

Funny  though, at the time we went to get a marriage license in downtown Dallas, we had no idea whether our marriage was indeed legal and whether we would get the license.  As we walked up the steps of the courthouse, we both were silent and tensed.  Looking back I would say we were just really naive, two innocent young people madly in love, wanting to share our joy openly the rest of our lives.  When we started dating in college in 1967, we were unaware of the Court case and totally oblivious to the circumstances that we might have had to contend with, were it not for the Loving’s victory.

lovings

Mildred and Richard Loving.

For those interested please Google them; also, there one of two good movies about their story.

It is the bravery and determination of such people, throughout the history of race relations in America, that informs us of the potential We collectively have.  However, we yet have many rivers to cross.

White men lost in the matrix of hate.

What is it about some white men that leads them to the worst kind of hate: hating another human being for the way she or he was born?  I do believe that if one could, by means of some super sleuth device that’s part time machine and part AI God, trace the origins of racism in white men in America, one would find they have been caught up in a matrix of naivety, ignorance and confusion that manifested a few hundred years ago, and has been a force that has lurked in the recesses of twisted minds since.

I have come to believe that racism in large part, is a form of mental illness afflicting a particular demography of white males within every generation in our country.  (Note: of course what I say applies to many white females, but thankfully they do not often express themselves by being creators of carnage.) I don’t think one can challenge an argument that America has many historical and cultural attributes, at the intersection of which is a mental “black hole” like those in deep space, that literally sucks in susceptible white men’s minds.  Once in the pull of the black hole, they cannot escape after passing a certain point.  Their mental and moral decay at that juncture radiates an anger that is entirely destructive, in fact, is evil itself.

Now racism is a form of hate based on an invalid Zeitgeist that has traveled through time, morphing along the way, generation by generation.  In the mid-Twentieth Century it was manifested profoundly in Germany, infecting a large part of the population, even though it had already taken hold here in AmeriKKKa long before.  Really this country has been built on hate, when one takes a serious look at our history.  Every immigrant group that has come to theses shores has hated the other group, with those arriving more recently receiving the brunt of the hate of those already here; and, then there is the matter of the genocide of First Peoples.  But the racism of white men hating people of color is a unique brand of such hate, giving them the “justification” to commit atrocities like at Wounded Knee, and the now countless mass murders over the last three years.

Here is one article asking if racism should not be considered a mental illness, or at least explored as such.  I agree with most of the article, as it lays out what to me is obvious, that one way to begin to “cure” racists is by exposing white racists to those persons of color in a way that can lead to person to person transaction.  I don’t know where one might begin to practice such an experiment at large, but within our prison industry might be a good starting point.  It is a fact that if two people of different “persuasions”  are forced to confront one another in a situation that depends on their mutual cooperation, they tend to begin to see the other as “human” and not a mere object to receive their hate.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-pacific-heart/201708/after-charlottesville-is-racism-mental-illness

I think this approach should be seriously looked into.  Of course, we can not use pleas of insanity by domestic terrorists or other racists that have harmed innocent people; but, we can attempt to root out the mental/spiritual cancer of racists and try to “fix them.”

Another “approach” to preventing or curing racism, I believe wholeheartedly could and should began in secondary education.  In previous posts I have suggested that a reason for so much of our problems as a country is the inability to critically analyze problems, or “problems.”  Using the  Socratic method of discussion, showing young people how to analyze and unravel the threads of a problem or condition, so they can separate the real threads from the perceived fallacious threads, would without a doubt contribute to youth who carry that ability to seek truth into adulthood.  Racism will not flourish where there is truth.

The fascinating subject of human communication.

I am fascinated with how our means and modes of communication have evolved even within my Boomer lifetime.  “Kilroy was here” predated the Smiley face by roughly ten years, but literally spread around the world during WW2 and afterward.  There is a story behind “Kilroy,” but rather than get into that, I just want to use it as an example of the human need to express one’s individuality with some form of symbols, including “mere” writing.  I am a prime example of this, writing this blog that is my mental salvation.  I can say what I want to – since I live in the USA – since my father and the rest of the “Greatest Generation” saved civilization.  And, I truly miss those days when people actually wrote letters and put them in the mail.  There was nothing like getting a sweet, perfume-scented letter from my distant girlfriend when I was in the military.  Today, with “Skype” and all, I suppose that is “better,” but it’s like the difference between reading a book and seeing the movie of the book’s story.  Really.

Over my childhood, I carved my name into a number of trees, usually in the soft bark of persimmon trees.  Also during my boyhood I saw carvings in large rocks done by someone else a generation before me; and, then decades later I saw carvings done by First Peoples in rocks in New Mexico.  Similar impressions as we know are to be found all over the world, expressions of the human condition from distant human beginnings.

Then, let’s not forget the tags of those who spread graffiti (often done by youth   succumbing to that very basic human need to, as I stated above, “express one’s individuality,” to assert one’s very existence.

And, then came emojis.  And they just keep coming and coming.  I use them often, slap my face!  I am told “kids” even can communicate with just emojis……well, I guess.

But what really is amazing to me, is how social media has just taken over.  The ability to express ourselves instantly around the world, with a few words, art, symbols and photographs, real-time video, “facetime” and all, has given those who have access to the internet unlimited potential of individual expression.  With this unlimited potential comes the relentless motivation of so many of us, especially the younger generations, to fill that potential with constant injections of their “individuality.”  It’s like every young person with a smart phone wants to constantly be on their own soap box, shouting “whatever” to the whole world.  If aliens are monitoring all our electronic signals, certainly they have to be scratching their heads (with their long skinny, fifteen fingers!). Maybe our youth need to practice periods of abstinence from their phones?? In some cultures long periods of silence between one person speaking and another “answering” is perfectly normal.  But in our Western society it seems we must constantly be chattering.

Do we need to declare one hour each year to be an hour of silence?  I think so.  To reflect on our individuality, and how we might best conserve and apply that person who is “self.”