After five days and seven nights of work, this Saturday morning marks the first of two days off (in-a-row).
Quick to seize the opportunity, my Midwestern work ethic was already hinting to me on Thursday I should be making a list in preparation for a true weekend. “Gotta get things done”.
But all is not list. Nor am I given to things that go bump in the night. I am a practical and rational being…
But here’s the thing –
Last night, not long after I’d fallen into bed around 2 in the morning, I felt someone sit down on the edge of my bed. The edge of the mattress stayed down for a few minutes or so and then, I kid you not, I could tell when ‘it’ stood up and made its way to somewhere I do not know. And I felt Peace. Spooky, right?
I was not alarmed. Puzzled? Yes. But not alarmed. And that, in and of itself is curious enough all on its own. What was going on?
I knew I was alone.
I knew the front door was locked and I was already rationalizing my sensation to be a quasi-dreamlike day dream brought on by indigestion (aka Dickens ‘the spot of mustard’ defense).
But I was not afraid.
A cool breeze went drifting across my shoulders.
I kept my eyes closed and my breathing regular.
Was it my dad? My uncle Paul? Grandpa? Someone else altogether?
How did I even know it was even a ‘he’? Why were their faces, those particular faces even coming to mind? For Pete’s sake, it’s 2 in the morning! There has to be a logical…and then I stopped. Somehow, someway, I just stopped, found the pocket and rolled with it.
And then, as quietly as it had come, it was gone. And so was my wish for a list. This morning, I got up, feeling fully rested and committed to focusing on doing nothing.
It does not come easily to me to do nothing.
But other than writing to you, I have done pretty well at staying at rest. It’s almost a prayerful state of gratitude. I’m so lucky.
How did I even know to do that? Where is this coming from?
No list. No frenzied round of errands or false guilt about letting my body just be; giving myself the freedom to rest and recharge after a hard seven-days with very little sleep.
I don’t understand it. But I know it to be true.
Good things are coming.
I don’t know why or how, but I know they are.
There’s a reason I felt led to share this with you instead the essay I had scheduled to publish today…I just don’t know what it is – yet.
Someone is going to need you this week. Listen for them like a Lakota does for the Quiet. The rest will be easy.
Great Spirit Prayer
A Native American Prayer by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark
Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to all the world. Hear me; I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice
Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Help me seek pure thoughts and act with the intention of helping others.
Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy – Myself (My fears and my doubts).
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
~ (translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887) published in Native American Prayers – by the Episcopal Church. ~
Aaron Copland – Appalachian Spring: Simple Gifts
This is one of my all-time favorite pieces. There isn’t much that can compare with Leonard Bernstein’s conducting of the New York Philharmonic in Copeland’s master work. But today, I offer a presentation of the same wonderful passage of the old Shaker hymn with Yo Yo Ma and Allison Kraus. CLICK ON THE PIC. Change is good…the Standards welcome it. Travel well.
Died Wednesday, August 6, 2014
AIDS ACTIVIST DIES IN BEIJING
Updated, 7:04 a.m. ET| In an eloquent message of support for the rights of people with H.I.V./AIDS in China, as many as hundreds gathered Friday morning at You’an Hospital in Beijing to say farewell to Li Hu, a campaigner who died on Wednesday.
Mr. Li, who turned 40 on Tuesday, died of complications from the disease. He is survived by three siblings, his parents and his partner, according to friends.
Mr. Li’s death shook people with H.I.V. and their advocates in China, who say they have lost an enthusiastic promoter of their cause in a country where people and public institutions commonly ignore the issue or discriminate outright. People known to have H.I.V. are regularly denied surgery in hospitals or turned down for jobs. They may even be refused flights on airlines.
“I think there were about 300 people there,” said Zhen Li, a fellow activist, speaking by telephone. Others put the number at more than 100.
“His parents were there and his partner. I recognized people from Guangzhou, from Chengdu, Shanghai, Tianjin. People sent messages from Xinjiang,” Mr. Zhen said, naming widely disparate parts of the country.
Mr. Li’s parents also won admiration among gay rights advocates for their open acceptance of their son’s homosexuality. Demonstrating that, they stood to receive condolences together with their son’s partner, Xiao He, in the room where Mr. Li lay in a coffin with a transparent lid, surrounded by tributes written on strips of paper and affixed to funeral wreaths decorated with paper flowers, according to people present. On the strips were messages such as “I miss you, Li Hu.” An online condolence site received many messages, such as “Stand in Tribute,” by @ZhengHuang.
… Most notably, in a battle that highlighted what H.I.V./AIDS activists say is one of their biggest problems, in 2012 Mr. Li helped a young man with lung cancer, Xiao Feng, receive medical treatment after being turned down by hospitals in Tianjin for being H.I.V.-positive.
Mr. Li advised Mr. Xiao and helped him alter his medical records to hide the fact he had the virus, something that enabled him to have an operation. Afterward, Mr. Li went public with the deception, leading to an outcry with both critics and supporters. Quite a few doctors and nurses were furious, said Mr. Zhen. “They are often very poorly educated about H.I.V./AIDS,” he said.
But the incident attracted national television coverage, including a sympathetic program on the state broadcaster, CCTV, and, reportedly, a telephone call from Li Keqiang, then China’s vice premier, to the Ministry of Health, with instructions not to refuse treatment to people with H.I.V., several campaigners and friends of Li Hu said.
Read more about this gutsy guy who waged a war of love in a most inhospitable environment by jumping to: http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/08/li-hu-aids-activist-dies-in-beijing/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1&
By DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW Sinosphere Blogs Dispatches from China at New York Times – AUGUST 8, 2014 4:34 AM
JAMES SCOTT “Jim” BRADY
August 29, 1940 – August 4, 2014
Former Reagan Press Secretary and Gun-Gontrol Advocate, Dies
(CNN) — James Brady, a former White House press secretary who was severely wounded in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and later became a prominent gun-control advocate, has died. Brady died at 73 after a series of health issues, his family said in a statement on Monday. “Over the years, Jim inspired so many people as he turned adversity into accomplishment,” the statement said.
Brady was one of four people hurt in Reagan’s shooting by John Hinckley outside a Washington hotel. Suffering a head wound, it was erroneously reported at one point that Brady had died. He was, however, left partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Reagan, severely wounded as well, also survived the attack and served two terms as President. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting and has spent the ensuing years in a psychiatric hospital.
After leaving the White House, Brady launched the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which pushes for stricter firearms laws. He inspired the Brady Bill, which was fiercely fought over for years before Congress approved it and President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993. It requires background checks for gun purchases.
President Barack Obama praised Brady’s legacy.
“Jim is a legend at the White House for his warmth and professionalism as press secretary for President Reagan; for the strength he brought to bear in recovering from the shooting that nearly killed him 33 years ago; and for turning the events of that terrible afternoon into a remarkable legacy of service,” Obama said in a statement.
The Brady Campaign also acknowledged his death in a tweet: “We are heartbroken over James Brady’s passing. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Sarah, and their family.”
Brady was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award. The White House press briefing room also was named in his honor.
By Dan Merica, CNN updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014 http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/04/politics/james-brady-dies/ Other Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brady PHOTO: at http://4umf.com/james-brady-dead/
JERRY ‘Jake Hooker’ MAMBERG
May 3, 1953 – August 4, 2014
A Founder Of 1970s Pop/Rock Group The Arrows,
Lorna Luft’s Former Husband, Has Died At The Age Of 61
“Jake Hooker died this morning in Malibu, California. He was 61 years old. Hooker was the guitarist for the rock/pop band The Arrows. Jake was born in Israel, but his family moved to the United States when he was just a child, settling in New York. Jake later moved to England where he met and married Lorna Luft.
Besides being a respected manager, Jake Hooker was a very successful songwriter having written, “I Love Rock N Roll,” one of the greatest and biggest hits of all time, according to both Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines. The song has been covered by many artists including Joan Jett and Britney Spears creating worldwide sales in excess of 30 million records.
Jake also wrote and produced many hits for various soundtracks, including, Flashdance, Top Gun, Rocky 4, Iron Eagle, Wayne’s World, Charlie’s Angels (The Movie), Ghost World, Story Telling, etc. All told Jakes songs have sold well over a 100 million records or a staggering $1.6 billion in retail sales.
In the late 1970’s Jake was still a performer and had a very successful group in the United Kingdom called “The Arrows”. The band had several hits and was produced by the legendary Mickey Most (The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, and Donovan).
The band also had a successful national, musical variety TV series on Granada television, (ARROWS) that ran for 2 years. Jake’s companies produced records, television shows, movies, videos and were also heavily involved in licensing as well as special live events.
Since 1980 the companies have also been involved in personal management and music consulting. The original reason for forming the companies was primarily for publishing and songwriting, which are still the mainstays of the business.
He retired as a musician in 1978 when The Arrows disbanded. He married actress/singer Lorna Luft on Valentine’s Day 1977, and soon became her manager. They had two children, son Jesse (born in April 1984) and daughter Vanessa ( born in September 1990), and were divorced in 1993. Jake Hooker lived long enough to learn of the birth of his first grandchild.
Lorna Luft released the following statement: “After a weekend of such joy with the birth of our granddaughter Jordan Eloise Richards, I have learned that Jordan’s grandfather, my former husband Jake Hooker, passed away this morning. Jake was an accomplished musician and the father of my children. We are heartbroken. I have no other plans but to grieve with my children and be grateful for the gift that is our precious Jordan, my mother’s first great grandchild. We ask that you respect our privacy during this most difficult time.”
http://highlighthollywood.com/2014/08/jake-hooker-a-founder-of-1970s-poprock-group-the-arrows-lorna-lufts-former-husband-has-died-at-the-age-of-61-highlight-hollywood-news/ Photo: http://www.the-aleecat.com/Arrows_Where.html
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Lakota man, pipe ceremony, 1907, Edward S. Curtis: http://indulgy.com/post/tS4ogiuTU1/slow-bull-praying-to-the-great-spirit-by-edward-; Lakota Sioux: http://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/resources/files/page_photos/000Photos/natives/powwow.jpg; Oglala Lakota (Sioux) chief: http://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lkdyjmjPzi1qh4kq4o1_500.jpg
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