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A Poem of the Newly Divorced

We had a good run
But what we had ran out
and you went and run away
 
But we can’t outrun the sun
and through our darkest hour in the deepest night
The unsingable name sang it’s song over everyone
and in the morning the sun arose and shone on us again
 
The days of blame & shame have come
but now they are gone
I gladly let them go to have their fun
to stain the lives of lesser ones.
 
We had a good run brown eyed girl
and now it time for us to run free
to run wild
and to run away
from each other
and so away I will run
to run free out of the dark
and into this new sun
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Vulnerability: The Birthplace of Joy, Love & Freedom

As a former Pastor, much of my sense of being was derived from the church I led for 10 years. Now nearly 2 years after my departure from said church, I am still struggling to detox from ministry and to find my sense of fulfillment and connection from who I am rather than what I do. In addition, I am also a  fallen Pastor with a “failed” marriage as part of my credentials, thus I am continually confronted by  shame, both from people who only know and see me in my former role as a clergyman and from my own inner accuser.

In her TEDx talk, Brene’ Brown describes her search search for connection and her journey through shame in her quest for Wholeheartedness.

This is one profound talk that is deeply relevant to all.

Brene Brown PhD is a research professor at the University of Houston.

She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Brené spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She asks: How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

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Four Life Lessons

Oscar Del Ben is a young Italian programmer and personal development guru who I ran across over a year ago. Oscar gleans from the teachings and experiences of others and shares how he’s applied them to his life. He’s not particularly philosophical or contemplative – Oscar is a doer and his pragmatism is the key to his appeal to me.  I find his simple and clear direction and his experimental nature to be quite refreshing. I get this sense that Oscar isn’t sitting around trying to think of deep things to say, instead, he’s constantly trying and testing things and applying them to his life. Not content to just exist, Oscar uses his life as a laboratory for exploring how to live a simple, full and effective life. For example, Oscar  has experimented with waking up at 5AM, living without a car, even napping. A frugal minimalist and self made man, Oscar share’s these four simple life lessons in his blog Freestyle Mind:

 

Farnoosh Brock invited me to write a post about what I learned in my life as a part of the life lesson series post. I figured that there would be too much I’d have to write here, so instead I’ll just write about four single factors which I believe are really important:
  1. Laziness is evil. What I really don’t want in my life is to die knowing that I didn’t do what I dreamed about only out of fear or laziness. Life is one, and it’s up to you how to live it. Don’t waste it.
  2. If you don’t do it, nobody will do it. I read somewhere that some of us are lazy because when we were young our parents were helping us in everything we did, so now we subconsciously think that everything is going to work like magic. That’s not true. We are the only one responsible foreverything that happens in our life, and it’s up to us to change if we want to.
  3. Delayed gratification is the path to freedom. Everything good in life needs patience and time. Unfortunately we live in a society where we want everything now, even though it rarely works out that way. If you want anything worth something, you need to allow some time for it to happen.
  4. Blaming is useless. Self discipline is the way to go. Self discipline is probably the most important skill you can learn. You need discipline to work on your most important tasks and avoid distractions. Self discipline is a skill that you learn with practice, and it’s probably the single most important secret to success.

I can think of many other things that I consider important, but I’m more curious to hear about your life lessons. Feel free to add your comment below and join the discussion.

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No Impact Man the Carbon Zero Hero

Mark Boyle hasn’t spent any money for the last 14 months. He lives in a small camper, makes or scavenges everything he uses on a day-to-day basis, and actually lives a pretty good life. Before making the big move to living without money, he made a list of all the things he uses and consumes and then figured out how to get by without buying.
He was pragmatic about his adventure — you can’t make solar panels from scratch, so he bought a set that provide him with enough power to light and run his laptop (another nod to pragmatism). He takes solar showers, does his business in a homemade outhouse, and brushes his teeth with dried crushed-up fish bone and fennel seeds. To eat he practices the fine art of Dumpster diving and cooks on a hyper-efficient rocket stove.
He’s basically No Impact Man on (organic, fair trade) steroids.
Swing over to the Guardian UK to watch a great video showing how he does it. He makes some great points about wasting food and how we really need to make it socially unacceptable for grocery stores to throw away as much food as they do.
Boyle also wrote a great article going into more details on why he made his radical shift in lifestyle.
By Shea Gunther from the Mother Nature Network: http://www.mnn.com
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On the Death of an Eyedea

This is the text from a segment that I did on the radio last week.

 

This past sunday I learned about the death of a local 28 year old rapper who went by the name of Eyedea.

Michael Larsen was found dead by his mother, no cause of death has yet to be determined. He was 28 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never been a fan of rap music. I frankly found its gangster imagery, machismo and mysogny to be quite distasteful and ridiculous as it represented a dystopic culture that had no relatable qualities to my own.

I found nothing enviable in its cast of characters and found nothing pleasurable in the music itself and live rap performances would leave me dumbfounded to its appeal. There would be, of course a few exceptions as even I could discern a glimmer of genius in Eminem and  in Jay-Z. What can I say, I’m a 40 something white man from the suburbs, deal with it. I was content to live my life comfortably separated from this supposed art form until late one evening I was driving home and happened upon the twin cities alternative station’s all local music show. I happened to catch the program just at the beginning of a block of local rap artists. Rather than immediately reaching for the dial, I found myself strangely drawn in. Instead of the cartoonish cookie cutter rap crap and the simple thub thub thub-thub bass lines I had grown to revile, I was confronted with smart, quick philosophical lyrics and layered diverse and innovated music.

And so it has become a recent discovery to me that Minneapolis has become a forge for a new kind of hip-hop music. Artists with names like Doomtree, Brother Ali, Dessa, Atmosphere, P.O.S. Toki Wright, Psalm One and I Self Devine.

Gone is the puffed-up, crystal driniking mysogynists with mouths filled with gold and obscenities and faces that only a mother could love. And enter the intelligent hip hop artist who’s rhymes and riffs pack more firepower than the glock wielding thugs they’re dethroning. But this isn’t some emasculated rap light.

All of the landmark swagger and muscle is still there but rather than communicating some survival of the strongest darwinistic down beat beating down the downtrodden, this new generation of minneapolis hip hop is open armed welcoming the tired, poor and heavy laden to a party of good will and great beats.

Now I had never heard of Mark Larsen aka Eyedea who along with his childhood friend Gregory  “Max” Keltgen aka DJ Abilities, nor of the hard edged rock hip hop music that Eyedea and Abilities created.

But there was something about his early death that pulled me into his story.

It turns out that Eyedea was a rap phenomenon, known for freestlying, this is where a rapping meets stream of consciousness in a seamless flow of rhyme. In fact he won national freestlying competitions and frequently appeared  on television. But it wasn’t until I heard the music of Eyedea and Abilities and read their lyrics did I come to know what the world had truly lost. One moment, I had no clue who this guy was and the next I was in deep mourning.

Like his mother, his friends and all those that were close to him and loved him, I too shared their desperate cry of NO and WHY.

Did I mention that I pretty much hate hip hop music? That I’m white, 40, and live in the suburbs?

Maybe this is what art is supposed to do? It’s supposed to provoke you and move you from a place of comfort and complacency and immerse you into the unknown while emotionally agitating  and invigorate you.

Some time art moves you and sometimes, it changes you.

Art awakens you to the existence of of unseen beauty and stimulates your dulled imagination.

Maybe too, there was something that I experienced that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Genius.

There are rare moments in life where you are able to encounter genius first hand. And when you do you get a glimpse into the possibilites of the world. Perhaps things aren’t as limited, restricted and stale as you had thought they’d become. And then in the rarified air of life, you sometimes get to experience them both. And in that sense of fulfillment where desire overflows with contentment and enlightenment overcomes fear. In that alchemy of discovery and promise, you realize that he’s gone.

You’ll have all there ever will be.

Such art and genius is seen in the song Smile from Eyedea and Abilities 2009 release, “By The Throat”

Eyedea offers these words:

This city runs fast,
no one has time to sit with themselves,
no time to look into our pain
or see the same despair in everyone else
its here, its there, its everywhere
tears soak each card the dealers dealt
But time taught me how to see every second as heaven
even though they’re perfectly disguised as hell
And I refuse to let past bruises cover the light
it ain’t all good, but its all good enough,
so I know I’m alright
agony is truth
its our connection to the living
I accept it as perfection and keep on existing in the now
I can only build if I tear the walls down
even if it breaks me
I wont let it make me frown
I’m falling
but no matter how hard I hit the ground
I’ll still smile

 

But when words like that is all that there will ever be, there’s more than enough. More than enough to keep us all yearning to be moved and ruined by beauty. More than enough to be awakened to be stricken by  Genius.

A memorial service is scheduled for next Thursday from 7:30-10 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown St. Paul. The musical tribute likely will take place at First Ave, and perhaps as early as Nov. 9, Larsen’s birthday.

You can here me live on Sunday mornings playing the sidekick role on the Doug Pagitt Radio Show. 10AM – Noon Locally on AM950 and live or anytime on http://www.dougpagittradio.com


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What’s Your ‘Plan B’?

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