PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 17th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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PoHymn The Cost

The Cost

Ferocious mini-mongols

Topple my waning empire

Soggy dreams of nonsense

Dripping, can’t catch fire

Blinded eyes, hear the scream

Enlightened words, swell the dream

Cankered sores, leprous pain

Sense the brain become insane.

Sucking swill, peace be still

Lie in wait for my fate

Scattered pins across my mind

When I seek what will I find?

Scared to life, a deadly threat

Cast my lot. place my bet

Woven within the tapestry

A golden thread of what is me

Yet frightened to lose my sense of will

Listening for comfort, bombarded by shrill

Colossal failure, limited success

Cleaning the cup, leaving a mess

Precious is not the price, you see

But rather, the cost in evolving me.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Three Ways to Remain Calm… January 8, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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family photo album bigger

For all of you who are waiting for things to get better, let me tell you, I will be here to give you a quick hug when they don’t.

Things are not going to get better. We can get better with things.

I had a phone call last night from a gentleman complaining to me about being mistreated. Basically, he explained his situation in the first two minutes, but then went on for another twenty, reinforcing his points on how upset he was and how much revenge he wanted to heap on those who had offended him.

  • At no time did he ask my opinion.
  • He was not pursuing counsel.
  • He wanted to vent.

At the end of the twenty minutes, he thanked me for listening and told me it really helped. I said, “No, it didn’t. You just took the past twenty minutes to convince yourself that you are right and everybody else is wrong. You’re not calm. You’re a loaded gun with the safety on.”

Most of us are fully prepared to explode into a fit of rage if someone cuts us off in traffic. So what should we do when we find ourselves feeling attacked, and our instincts to hurt others come to the forefront and create a billowing sea of turmoil?

1. Pull out the photo album.

I guess nowadays, it may be opening up your computer and checking the wall of your Facebook.

Look at pictures. Don’t react. Don’t fester. Don’t think about what you want to do. Look at pictures of your living history. Remember feeling devastated? Then take a minute to realize that you weren’t. You survived.

Look at the wonderful tapestry of a life you have woven, and consider that there is no reason to destroy it just because you’re having a bad day.

The reason we lose our cool is because we don’t appreciate the hundreds of photographs which have brought us to who we are today.

2. Clean out a closet.

Anger is an energy. It triggers all sorts of chemicals in our bodies, causing us to become feisty and vindictive. Literally, go into your closet and start folding things up. Put your hands to work in a constructive way. Otherwise they will itch to strike out.

You can cuss in your closet. You can slam things around. You will be breaking no laws of either nature or God. And after you’re done and you’ve burned off some of that unnecessary froth, you will also have a clean closet.

3. Write a letter.

People don’t do it anymore. The lack of penning our thoughts to another person is turning us into a bunch of emotional cripples. Actually take a piece of paper and a pen and write a letter to a friend who has stood by you and knows you are not a loser.

You may never send the letter, or you may choose to find an envelope and a stamp. Either way your feelings are on paper, and when they are in ink and you read them back you will be astonished at how clear your thinking will be.

So consider your history. Life has been pretty good.

Use your energy to be constructive. Hang up your clothes.

And find a creative way to communicate your disappointment by using pen and paper.

It is arrogant to believe that what we feel is really all that important. If it were important, we would continue to feel it.

But because it comes and goes, we should find a way for it to go when it comes.

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Tapping Tapestry… December 31, 2011

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Jonathan in Miami

John Candy died. It rattled my soul to its depths.

It wasn’t just because I enjoyed his work or relished his comedic wit. More importantly, he was just about my size and my age. It made me think about my own mortality–especially when a mere two months later, I fell ill. I had been sick before–you know, where you cough, blow your nose, recover from a sprained ankle or have a headache that goes away with a few aspirin and a good night’s sleep.

This was different. This was a sickness that grabbed onto me and wouldn’t let go. It not only infested my body with pain and discomfort, but sent shock warnings through my mind of the seriousness of the situation. I tried to ignore it; I attempted to medicate it. I even tried to exercise it away. It got worse. There was a sense of ill will throughout every member of my faculties. Finally I relented to go to the doctor. I was immediately placed in the hospital, where I stayed for three days as they tested me, but failing to discover precisely what the problem was.

Meanwhile, one of my sons decided to brighten up my room by bringing in a Christmas tree–even though it was June. He knew how much I enjoyed the holiday. My wife brought in a boom box and a few musical cassettes for me to play. I really didn’t want to hear anything. I just felt … horrible. Half of the medical staff was convinced that some of the problem was in my head, while the remainder of them persisted in their examinations. Meanwhile, I flirted with depression, ready to have a full affair.

It was especially bad at night. During the day, I kept my chin up (both of them) and remained optimistic. But nighttime in a hospital may be the closest thing to solitary confinement that I ever want to  experience. The blinking lights on my Christmas tree, intended to cheer me up, resembled a warning beacon of the doom lying ahead. So one night I reached over, picked up a cassette, and dropped it into the boom box. It was Carole King’s Tapestry.I do not know whether I was just vulnerable, needy or finally open enough to hear the music, but as her album played, I just laid in my bed and cried. When she sang, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? I wept because I wondered if there would be a tomorrow.  Her song, Far Away, made me yearn for the freedom to be out of the hospital and back to my life again. Too Late, Baby caused me to hope that I wasn’t. Way Over Yonder gave me the promise that no matter what happened through the diagnosis, I still had a future. Even Smackwater Jack put a little feisty fight into my soul. I just kept playing that cassette over and over again, energized every time she sang Beautiful (…“you’ve got to get up every morning, with a smile on your face …”) I even teared up over Natural Woman, although my manliness was completely intact. And of course, You’ve Got a Friend saved my soul from the desperation of giving up on possibility.

Carole King became my ministering angel. I recalled that some people didn’t like her, thinking she was a singer that couldn’t even win an audition for a glee club at a small junior college, but I didn’t care. Her songs were anointed with spirit, hope, humanity and tenderness and in that darkened room, with Christmas lights flashing, I found God through Carole King.

About four days into my ordeal, they discovered I had two large abscesses in my body that needed to be removed. I was so relieved to find out that I was really sick. They told me that the operation was serious and that I could lose the ability to take care of my own bowels–and maybe end up in a wheel chair. But I didn’t care. Because as it turns out, it wasn’t “Too Late, Baby,” and I was going to be “Loved Tomorrow,” and God’s grace was not “Far Away” and life truly, truly was “Beautiful” ,,, and “I Had a Friend.”

I will never forget that experience … when I had the opportunity of Tapping Tapestry.

And I learned that day something I know to this very moment–that prayers have value. Bible reading is intriguing, but until spirituality is released creatively through human talent and made into something tangible–something we can understand–it is merely a promise instead of a reality. Since then I have written songs, plays, symphonies and movies to try to dissolve God into an elixir that can be drunk deeply by humankind. We are not supernatural. But we are fully capable of receiving the natural in a creative, super way.

So thank you to Carole King for allowing herself to be a vessel, taking real emotion and passing it through her talent and delivering it to this pilgrim, who was broken and nearly defeated. Because Carole is right.

 People are gonna treat you better. You’re gonna find out–yes you will–that you’re beautiful … as you feel.

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Jonathan wrote the gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, in 1985, in Guaymas, Mexico. Take a listen:

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http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

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