Look For Erle [on KS Friday]

erle cover copy

When you pull up Kerri’s page on iTunes you’ll notice that they have a hard time placing her music in a category. New Age? Easy listening? Classical? Country? One does not easily fit into the filing system until one can be clearly labeled. How can you be effortlessly labeled?

It’s a challenge all of us face. What’s the label? How do you fit? And (here’s the rub), it’s bad enough that the greater-world-filing-system needs a label to locate you, the real confusion comes in the labels we impose on ourselves. Are you a dentist? A liberal? A conservative? A mother? A foodie? Self-made, dependent, injured, Christian (which branch?), Muslim, agnostic, vegetarian, cowboy, rich, poor, retired, globalist, nationalist, capitalist, socialist? Do you “know?” Are you the righteous? Professor? How do you place yourself in the greater-world-filing system? Never mind how the “the system” attempts to squeeze you into a role, what’s the little box that you try to squeeze yourself into?

Is that who you are? Is that little box where you belong? Is it the totality of your being?

Sometimes I think we spend most of our lives dividing ourselves so that we might fit into a very small box. And, what we do to ourselves we most certainly do to others. They. Them. Not us.

Divide. Label. Locate.

Reduce. Contain. Shelve.

Although there is a certain amount of safety-feeling when living in a very small box, there is also very little vitality. Little things look big from the vantage point of a tiny box.  Little things look threatening from the confines of a too-tight label. Little boxes are petri dishes for big fear.

We bandy these words about and paste them on the walls of our too-little-boxes: mindfulness, wholeness, vitality. “This life is not a dress rehearsal.” “You are infinite potential.” “Today is day one.” Maya Angelou, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Peace.

These ideals, all of them, wonder, magic, love, artistry, unity, harmony,…truth…crackle beyond the label. They are there – outside the box – and they are never found in the direction of division. They are always present if you care to put down the label-maker.

Get out of your box and turn around. Maybe spin around and around and lose your balance like you did when you were young and less needy of location. Look at the mystery that chases you and chase it. Play tag with this life. Remember how you laughed just because? Reach.

Kerri stood on the edge of a canyon and, although afraid of heights, she threw open her arms. Kirsten called me to tell me. “Mom’s on the edge,” she whispered into the phone. “I’m really proud of her.”

note: this composition has nothing to do with what I just ranted about except for maybe this: the only locators that really matter are the people who love you and show up for you. Your friends along the way. This is the label I am most attached to: Kerri and I are very rich in friends.

OLD FRIENDS REVISITED on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART is available on iTunes & CDBaby


read Kerri’s blog post about ERLE


muddy boots blue website box copy


old friends revisited/released from the heart ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

erle ©️ 2019 (and beyond) kerri sherwood

Fruit Or No Fruit?

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

I have a photograph of my grandfather dressed as Yasser Arafat. It was taken many years ago when he wintered in Florida at a trailer park for seniors. When I first saw the photo I thought he was dressed as Mother Theresa. He was standing in the middle of a group of elderly ladies dressed as harem girls but I missed the context completely. “Why was grandpa dressed as Mother Theresa?” I asked. “Things were wild in that park,” my dad said without raising his eyes from the newspaper. He turned the page and added, “They were always up to mischief in that place. It was crazy.”

My mother came over to look at the picture. “That’s not Mother Theresa, he’s Yasser Arafat,” she said, pointing out the picket sign grandpa was holding. It read, “Cheap Oil!” I’d wondered why Mother Theresa was holding a sign about oil but decided not to ask; there are some things in life that are best left unknown. Grandpa had a smirk on his face (isn’t that an interesting phrase! Like he had a bit of food on his lip, he was eating a smirk and left some traces on his face…). I recognize that smirk because it’s the same look I get on my face when I am up to no good – which is not often. I’m a very serious guy. Really.

“Was this Halloween? I asked. I like the idea of my grandparents trick-or-treating. “No, this must have been New Years,” my mother said. “Yeah, one year he was in a big diaper because they chose him as the New Year’s baby,” my dad said, licking his finger and turning the page. “Do you remember the time he was Carmen Miranda?” mom asked. “Good god!” my dad exclaimed, “He looked funny! Was that Carmen Miranda?” “I don’t know,” she replied, making a cup of tea, “He wore fruit, didn’t he?” My dad looked up from his paper, puzzled.

“No wonder I have an inner sociologist.” I thought, watching my mother slowly dip her tea bag trying to remember if grandpa had fruit on his head before she continued, “Maybe he was Mae West.”