Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Now is Good Times

I got an invite from the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, asking me to come down and sing some songs in May. They’re having a salon – their term – and the topic is Getting Thru Hard Times.

And then, I think just to be sure (unconsciously) that we’re sharing their pain, they added a clarifier: Getting Thru Hard Times (That’s Now Folks).

I got to thinking about it because frankly I do not believe that Now, the only Life moment we have available to experience, is hard times, nor should be considered hard times.

I know the traditional argument – “look around, man – these are hard times”. Recession, a stupid president, war, a stupid president, George W. Bush, a stupid president, a ridiculous congress, a stupid president. I understand all of that.

But I got to thinking about how I don’t ever have anybody on the street come up to me and start asking for help, and telling me their story of hard times. I don’t have one person do it, nor dozens, nor hundreds.

I only hear these stories on the news. In the media. And from organizations that want to wage war based on their story. The War on Hard Times. Oh no. Not again…

It struck me then, as I made coffee – a very patriotic Americano I might add – that perhaps by being proactive, inclusive, and nonjudgmental in my art/career/outlook for the past so many years, perhaps I have developed a different perspective. The folks I primarily share music with are seen by most in our society as living through hard times. They’re seniors, tucked away in nursing homes and living facilities, disabled adults and children in hospitals, care and day facilities. I used to look upon their Life situation as something akin to a hard time. I used to get that “what a good boy am I” feeling as well, fighting the good fight to make these poor folks forget about their hard Life for awhile.

The thing is I outgrew that point of view. I evolved beyond it. I understand now that all of humanity is truly created equal. And so I share my music with all men, all audiences, without judgment. I don’t judge their condition anymore. Would they tell you, if asked, that they would enjoy more visits from community members like me? Sure they would. But would they start up a society to recognize, broadcast, dwell upon and wage war on their Hard Time Lifestyle? No. Not to my knowledge. I don’t know of any such organization.

I don’t ever get to see the side of these folks that complains. They don’t complain. Others do that for them, pointing to them as miserable, less well off, and needy. Calling them all sorts of questionable names. Names I have for sure never heard them call themselves. Perhaps it’s because I simply love them as they are, and share with them as they are. They don’t have to drive designer cars, drink designer beers and hang out in a trendy nightspot to be in my audience inclusion model. And they don’t have to be a special, suffering charity case in my mind either, before I will share my music with them. Perhaps because I do not judge them as lesser than, or worse off than, I do not experience them that way. I don’t know.

But it occurs to me now that I also should not judge anyone else’s Time, or Times, as being hard, or harder than mine. Nor should I decide that someone else made my Time harder than it should be, and I now need to get through this awful Hard Time. And could they please change their ways so my Time will be less hard?

Time is mine, to do with as I please and choose, which means to perceive as I please and choose. I perceive there to always be only one useful moment in Time, and that is Now. I do not perceive it to be useful to decide that Now is somehow harder to “get through” than it used to be.

I just can’t do it.

I think I’ll go sing One Choice Thing for them, and explain to them that Time is a choice, not an obligation.

It’s an Opportunity.


One Choice Thing

When I said this before, somebody called it cliché
but there’s one choice thing about love I come to relate
Well all I can do is all I can do, & it’s all that I could have done then
if love’s the end I desire, isn’t it the begin?

There’s one choice thing about – peace that I came to suggest
But whenever I do, the fighters are put to the test
The best I can tell you is all I can do – basic. simple. clear.
if peace is what I would have, I won’t start a war.

There’s one choice thing about – changing the world I can say
But whenever I do, blame gets in the way
Well all I can sing is all I can say, & all I can play is my part
if change is the end that I would have, maybe it’s also the start

There’s one choice thing about – god I was charged to remind
But whenever I do, ideas go on trial
Well all I can do is all I can do, God knows I continue to try
if god’s the track I am on, is belief the train I should ride?

There’s one more thing about – love I come to share
But whenever I do, I wonder what do they hear?
Well all I can sing is all I can say, I’ll probly sing it again
if love’s the end I desire, doesn’t that make it the means?
if love’s the end I desire, isn’t it the begin?
if love’s the end We desire…


from the CD It's Time That Time Was Overthrown

copyright Greg Allen

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