In The Night [on KS Friday]

inthenight song BOX copy

If you’ve ever stretched out in a mountain meadow on a crystal clear night and watched the stars amble across the sky, you will recognize this piece. If you’ve ever, hand in hand, taken a midnight walk on a warm summer night, you will recognize this piece. If you’ve ever walked along the beach at night, the summer moon hanging lazy in the sky, you will recognize this piece.

Take a moment, today, and step into a memory, step in the night.

 

IN THE NIGHT on THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY available on iTunes & CDBaby

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read Kerri’s blog post about IN THE NIGHT

www.kerrianddavid.com

 

in the night/this part of the journey ©️ 1998 kerri sherwood

KS Friday

jacketasitisjpeg copyMeander. A gentle word, that brings to mind a slow stroll through a sunny day with no place in particular to be. It is a word without to-do lists and achievements.

Kerri’s composition and performance of Meander invariably opens my heart/mind to a slow stroll through memory, a warm gallery of small hopeful moments. A barefoot walk in a mountain stream. A sunrise, that moment that the warmth hit my face. A meteor shower and the scent of sage at midnight. The puppy smell of Tripper Dogdog when he first came home.

On this KS Friday, from studio melange, give over to Meander. Let this amazing piece of music inspire you – as it does me – to step out of the race and take a stroll, real or through memory, to those rich and sunny fields beyond hurry-up and go-go-go.

 

MEANDER from the album AS IT IS (track 3) iTunes

MEANDER from AS IT IS (track 3) on CDBaby

read Kerri’s thoughts about Meander

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

MEANDER from AS IT IS ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

 

Look At The Pictures

photoH’s wife passed after a long illness. This afternoon we went to the vigil and Kerri sang Amazing Grace for the service. We looked at the photographs of her life.

This summer, at my grandfather’s funeral, there was a similar board of photographs showing the span of his lifetime. They are a record of moments. He posed for some of the shots. In some, he had no idea that a camera was pointed at him. We are different when we know a camera is aiming our way. We put something on, a kind of mask, an attitude or assumption.

The photographs on the board served as a history of technology, black and white to color film, and then a jump to the proliferation of digital images. What was difficult became easy. What used to need chemicals and processing became instantaneous. This capacity to snap photographs and see them in a moment has changed us. Selfies abound! Once, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, I watched with fascination as people posed to have their picture taken with Van Gogh’s painting, Starry Night. They rarely looked at the painting. They just knew it was famous and wanted their picture taken with it. They primped. They smiled. They mugged for the camera or looked serious. Proof of life? Just like a handprint on the wall of a cave, those photographs shouted, “I was here!”

We are among the first people in the history of humanity to have this extraordinary window into our lives. I looked at the photo board of H’s wife and saw H at age 30, at age 40, and 50 and 60 and 70, 80, and I know him now at age 90. In the photographs I can see the cocky young man, the father, the achiever, the dreamer, the man who stopped resisting, the surrender,…each phase of his (and his wife’s) life. More to the point, he can see it. He can see the progression.

Two hundred years ago a photographic record of a life span was impossible. No one posed because there was no need. An old man remembered his life but did not have the window to see his path. No one had the opportunity to see the growth and process of age through the phases of their life. It changes us. And, it is a sword that cuts both ways. We can see. We can record. We can story ourselves like no other time in history. We can be known to future generations. We can talk to the future and the future can hear us. We were here. We had something to say. We had so much to share, so many rich experiences of living! And, we can miss our moment in the recording of it.

Kerri asked H what was his favorite photograph on the wall and he laughed and said, “I don’t know. We had happy times. Look at how much I weighed back then!”

“You need to eat more, H!” Kerri admonished and gave him a hug. He began to cry.

“I’m trying,” he said, laughing through tears. “I think I just need to drink more Frosties!”

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Look At All The Stories

My Stuff

My stuff.

It is ironic to me that I spent the previous two years divesting myself of stuff. When I moved to Kenosha last October, the truck was filled mostly with paintings, art supplies, and books. If I excluded those things, I could carry my worldly possessions on my back. And, I did for months. I now know without doubt what is essential and what is luxury. Mostly, my story is no longer entangled with my stuff. Well, in truth, there are still a few things that are sacred: the box that held DeMarcus’ brushes, a treasure or two from Bali, grandpa’s nutcracker, Bob’s tools. I gave away many useful things because of the story they held!

Since moving I’ve been helping Kerri clean out her house. Each week we take stuff to the Goodwill or place bags on the curb. She has been twenty-five years in her house and raised two children. The things we sort through have layers and layers of story. Children’s toys and books, sporting equipment, old electronics, and clothes; everything comes with a memory. More than once Kerri has held tightly to a box or shirt, saying, “I can’t get rid of this! Craig used this when….” We’ve saved many things, not for usefulness, but for story.

Several times we’ve made the trip to Florida to sort, box and store the contents of her mother’s house. Kerri spends hours each week on the phone with her mom, Beaky, as she pours over an enormous list of her possessions. Beaky is now in assisted living and will never return to her home. She wants to make sure that each item goes to the right person and that the story held in the item goes with it. In fact, the designation of recipient often has more to do with the story than the item. She is reaching into the future attempting to build a story link with the past.

A few weeks ago we walked by an open house. It was an estate sale. People were lined up out the door to go in and buy stuff cheap. The people in line were anxious and jockeying for position; they wanted to get in before all the good stuff was gone. The stories associated with the stuff died with the homeowner. The new story begins with a bargain found at an estate sale.

Last week while in Denver for my grandfather’s funeral, I crawled under Ruby’s house to pull out the boxes that Bob had stored there, mostly things they hadn’t used in years. Ruby said, “I didn’t even know that was down there!” Forgotten stories resurface.

My parents’ house is filled with the accumulated possessions of a lifetime. Their sedimentary layer of stories includes children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They’ve added no small amount of my grandfather’s possessions now that he has passed. The layers of story sediment compounded. “What are we going to do with all this stuff?” my dad asked. “Someone must have use for it!” He might just as well have asked, “What are we going to do with all of these stories. Someone must have use for them?”

It’s the question Tom asked when he found a trunk plastered into the walls of the family’s ranch house. The trunk contained the worldly possessions of an ancestor, a young boy named Johnny who died a century earlier. Little slips of paper written by his mother accompanied the layers of clothes and toys. “She wanted to keep his story alive,” Tom said. “What am I going to do with it?” he asked when he knew his life was on the glide path to the finish.

Someone once said to me, “You are not your stuff.” No. But we are people of commerce. We are people who identify ourselves through our stuff. We place great value in what we accumulate and what we accumulate becomes the vessel for passing on our value and our story. Look around you. Look at all the stories that surround you! Stand in your home, close your eyes, and spin around. Open your eyes and look at any object, any thing. What’s the story? What is essential? What is luxury?

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What Happened?

787. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Today was too beautiful to stay inside. My pals kidnapped me and took me to the beach. We ate chicken salad, looked at the waves roll in and talked of things past. We talked of changes in our lives, particularly the changes in the narrative we tell ourselves. The story of my life in 2013 is drastically different than the story I told in 2003 or in 1993. I have changed and the story I tell about myself has changed with me.

Personal change happens when we change our story, when we change our relationship to the story we claim as our past. Growth is not possible when we hold onto the story as we’ve always named it. Growth happens when we can open our hand and let go of the story that says, “can’t…” or “will never be….” Growth happens when we suspend the judgment and see the choices and opportunities.

Once I metaphorically lit a backfire so I might survive the forest fire that was roaring toward me. At the time I thought my actions were cowardice. Now I see them as wise. I survived.

Once I stood alone and without friends in a new city called Seattle. I had no job and no reason to move there. It was a pretty day in September so I decided to stay. “This is where I am so why not here?” I thought. At the time it seemed so arbitrary and without consideration. Now I see it as destined. It was the right choice at the time. Now I tell myself, “I was supposed to live in this city.”

Memory is a construct. It is a story that changes in the re-membering. It is not fixed in time. It is not truth. It can be contradictory. What once seemed so difficult, so painful, is now a story of potent learning. What once seemed so important is now insignificant. The smallest gesture can leave the greatest mark. The sequence of events is malleable. Memory is untrustworthy. It is unreliable. Memory is fickle. We create our past again and again and again.

We create ourselves again and again and again.

What if the story you tell yourself is neither true nor false? What if it is simply a story with multiple interpretations and you get to choose which version you claim? What would it take for you to open your hand and let go of the old story? What would it take to tell the story of thriving and fulfillment? As Megan recently reminded me, “What would your story be if you assumed the entire universe was conspiring for your good?

Receive

704. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

In the past several weeks I have traveled many places. I’ve spent some time in the house where I grew up. I walked the streets of my boyhood and revisited the sacred sites of my childhood. The houses in the neighborhood seem so small. I’ve had the opportunity to revisit memories, to stand in spots where life seemed to bring overwhelming experiences; these, like the houses, now seem so small. I’ve chuckled more than once at monsters that I used to tote and how, from this vantage point, they seem like stuffed animals, cuddly toys. That is the power of memory, our great capacity to re-member our lives with every visit to the past.

In my walk-about I am consciously pulling down the barriers. I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. I am astounded by a generosity of spirit that greets me everywhere I go. I am learning to receive and the curious thing about receiving is that you need do nothing but open or perhaps surrender. The only requirement to receive love is that you show up. Who knew!

During this period of wandering I’ve been working again with the Parcival story and thinking about the moment in the story when Parcival removes his armor. Armor protects but it also restricts. Armor is a great way to not be seen. In order to want to take off your armor you must first put down your sword; you must change your idea of the world and your place in it. Carrying a sword is a great way to keep love away. After dropping your sword, you must be lost for a while and break your rules. Parcival’s sword shatters and he weeps. He removes his armor and follows a hermit into the woods. He stops seeking, stops trying to prove, suspends the fight and starts living moment to moment. And, when he’s forgotten about roles and knights and proving, the Grail castle reappears. He steps inside unprotected and claims his inheritance. He becomes the Grail. Love finds him when he stops looking for love.

Sometimes we wear our past like armor. We hang onto injustice, we identify ourselves by the trauma, and we claim our limitations as if we were born to bear them. I’m learning that these are the barriers we erect against love. To drop the armor all that is required is to let go of the past and re-member. The love, like the Grail castle, is waiting for us. As the hermit says to Parcival when he turns and discovers the castle, “Boy, it’s been there all along.”

Truly Powerful People (443)

443.
Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Brain science tells us that memory is not the recall of an event; memory is the configuration or reconfiguration of sense elements. It is a story, perhaps familiar, but a story that we assemble according to the meaning we assign to the assembly. That’s why, over time, we reassign meaning to our memories. Old wounds become current strengths.

Because we like to believe that memory is fact, an actual event that happened just as we re-member it, we are also given to the notion that a memory is a fixed point in time. Lately I’ve been thinking about single points in time – particularly times that I was afraid or steeped in a story of betrayal or injustice. I stand in that point and for the fun of it, I take one step backwards in time. And then a step forwards. And, for a real kick, I take a step to the left or to the right. Here’s what I’ve learned: the initial point, the fear or injustice, makes no sense. From the initial single fixed point of view, the fear seemed meaningful. From any other angle, there is no sense to be made. Move past any moment and the story changes, the investment falls apart.

Deep in the woods at night when I was a boy, my brothers, father and I spent half the night stoking a large fire because a very large creature was circling our campsite. Trees rustling, branches snapping; we were terrified. Take one step forward in time. The large creature circling our camp…moo-ed. It was a wayward cow, a bovine escapee from a nearby ranch. We laughed at our assumption and told ourselves it was better to be safe than sorry.

Our fear made sense from a single point. Take a step forward and it is now a great family story. Mahatma Gandhi tells us that fear has its uses and I think that must be true. It can be fuel for action. It is certainly an opportunity for transformation when we are capable of taking a step to the left or the right. Mark Twain wrote, “Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.” Now, when I am particularly dark or afraid, I think, “Why wait until later! Step left. Step right. What do you see now?”