Authority Issues

Mars Opposition Saturn: Challenging Authority

Monday’s exact opposition of Mars in Gemini and Saturn in Sagittarius is activating our authority issues. How this transit can energize you to rewrite your life story…

Mars is the action planet. He heats up whatever he touches, inflaming passions, escalating aggression and anger, urging us to move. Saturn is the authority, the judge, the guardian of the status quo. He is cold, impassive, objective, heavy.

It’s probably worth noting that the word authority contains – and comes from the same Latin root as – the word author. The Latin auctor includes the meanings: “promoter, producer, father, progenitor; builder, founder; trustworthy writer, authority; historian; performer, doer; responsible person, teacher,” literally “one who causes to grow”. (Online Etymology Dictionary) Continue reading

The Hidden Meaning of ‘Speak Truth to Power’

women collective story

Choose your own adventure by chiaralily on flickr.

Power vs. Force and the Roots of Anger

I don’t know why the statement “We need to speak truth to power” popped into my head last week. But it wouldn’t stop rattling around in the old noggin so I asked myself, “What does it mean to speak truth to power?”

I did a little research and apparently the phrase first appeared in a book published by the Quakers (Society of Friends) in 1955, although it is also attributed to Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin.

I have a lot of respect for the Quakers. My great-grandmother was a Quaker in Indiana. I dig their whole non-hierarchical, non-violent thing. And I have a ton of respect for those who risked their lives during the Civil Rights movement to try to win equal status for African-Americans in our society.

This slogan may have been perfect for the collective consciousness in 1955. But its hidden meaning is actually profoundly disempowering in our time.¹ Continue reading

The Taboo Against (Healthy) Pleasure

Why the Revolution Starts With You

life is art

“Life is grim.”

That was one of my late grandfather’s stock responses to my mother when my mom was a child and couldn’t have or do something she wanted.

His other chestnut was a paraphrase of one of Jesus’ sayings in the Sermon on the Mount: “Into each life some rain must fall.”

We all heard things like this when we were kids. Often delivered either in a tone of mocking humor that demonstrated – consciously or not – the parent’s contempt for our desires. Or laced with enough anger to shut us up and back us down. Continue reading

Tales of a 4th Grade Cut-Up

Kids Creating Music

This is the story of how 12 fourth-graders with a smart, creative teacher wrote and recorded a catchy pop anthem about danger, pandas, Olaf the snowman, and electrical engineers…all in less than an hour.

rough mix Dangerous PandaLast April my daughter’s 4th Grade teacher, Miss Armstrong, invited me to teach a songwriting workshop to her class at St. George’s Episcopal School in New Orleans.

We explored Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of Flow and how making music and art gets us into the flow state. I introduced the students to the idea of cut-ups – a technique used by the Dadaists, Beats, and more recently by David Bowie and by Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

And we embraced limitations as a creative virtue. The limits we worked under included:

  1. We will write and record a song in one class period.
  2. Lyrics should relate to one of the four student-voted themes.
  3. Everyone who volunteers to sing gets included in the song.
  4. Create a rough mix the students could listen to by the end of the school day.
  5. Use only the sounds recorded and played in the classroom to produce the final version of the song.

Dangerous Panda!

As mentioned in the podcast, we did go off the reservation a bit regarding the chosen themes. I asked for ideas and my daughter wrote a list of about 10 potential themes on the chalkboard. The class then voted for four of them: danger, pandas, Miss Armstrong, and Olaf. As you’ll hear, several other themes found their way into the song.

4th Grade songwriters

The creative minds and voices behind Dangerous Panda.

But hey – the beauty of a creative philosophy doesn’t lie in how rigorously you can adhere to it. The beauty of embracing limits is that it forces you to focus so you can get things done. And then you can share your creative genius with the world!

Listen to the podcast:

Scorpio Full Moon – Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Reframing Your Life As The Story of You Finding Your Joy

mystery garden

Today’s Full Moon falls in the 21st degree of Scorpio, the sign in which the Moon is said to be in her fall. This is a traditional formulation that probably has more to do with the Moon being exalted in the opposite sign, Taurus, than it does with Scorpio itself.

However, the traditional cautions bear keeping in mind. The challenge with a Scorpio Moon boils down to Scorpio’s penchant for fixating emotionally on the object of its desire or fascination. As we’ll see in a moment, though, this can be a gift at today’s lunation. Continue reading

Clearing Mental Clutter

Making Room for the Big Idea

I’ve been working on a Big Idea for a while now. If I told you how long, I’d have to kill you. But let’s just say it has been percolating in my creative unconscious since at least 2014.

This past week, as Mercury stationed direct, I felt the gears starting to click into place. (There are a lot of moving parts here!)

My initial reaction was mild euphoria, followed immediately by suspicion: “Whoa! Can this really be it? After all this time? But what about…?” Continue reading

Soul Mantra

Positive Reinforcement

In times like these, I need frequent reminding that Life will take care of me if I listen to my soul and not to the voices of fear. This soul mantra is fun, upbeat and designed to hypnotize you into remembering that you are the center. May it lift your spirits and bring you back to what’s real.

Personalize It!

Soul Mantra 17Want a personalized version of the song? I’ll record your name at the start of the bridge (Hey, Mary, what you gonna do today to celebrate the beauty that you are?”) and change the “child in your soul” to female or male as you wish.

Order below (you can add pronunciation guidance for your name on the checkout page):

Personalized Soul Mantra – $10


Version:
Name:


Everything Is Perfectly Fine In This Moment

This meditative piece that turns into a happy little song in the last minute came out of a dark moment. One of those days when I felt paralyzed, stuck in the mud of unhappy thoughts. The Mind Parasites had brought their A game and me…? I felt like a total loser.

One of those days where you tell yourself, “Just play up your damn guitar – five minutes – and you’ll feel better.” But you just stare at it, across the room, knowing you’re too much of a chump to walk over and even pick it up.

And then this thunderstorm rolled in. It was a clear summer day and suddenly the sky turned dark, the lightning crashed, the heavens opened up and the rain came down. And I got excited about trying to record the thunder and the rain on my iPhone. I ran outside under the front awning. I ran upstairs to the little back balcony. I trotted down the hall to my studio.

And I spent the next few hours in creative nirvana….