Saturday, April 18, 2015

Disposable Youth - Henry A. Giroux - Hardened Cultures and The War On Youth

As a former Youth Care Worker for over 20 years, I often have used the description 'disposable youth' when referring to society's attitude toward youth. My ears picked up immediately when I heard the Ideas program tonight on CBC Radio that had scholar, Henry A. Giroux talking about " Disposable Youth ".
And here all these years I thought I'd come up with that term! Lol

Anyway this guy sure got my attention.  It is rather disturbing what he has to say, visionary really, and he brings it all into focus when it comes to the war on youth and our hardened culture.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"The Age of Love"

Ageism stinks! Having an older mother who was 41 when I was born, I never thought about her age. Even when she got into her 70s and 80s I never thought of her as old, but just that she was getting older, with grace, and in the natural way. My mother was very young at heart.

I've always been drawn to older people that have an ageless attitude. They never let age define who they are  what the do, or how they behave. It's what keeps them young and inspiring. Life is an adventure to them.

They pursue dreams, never saying, oh I'm too old to do this or that. It never seems to cross their mind they can't do what they want to do. I really admire that outlook.

In the last few years it is really wonderful to see more open and changing attitudes around aging. The documentary called Advanced Style by photographer and blogger by Ari Seth Cohen certainly is exactly the kind of creativity that helps to redefine what it means to age.

Now here's something I am really looking forward to seeing, the movie produced and directed by Steven Loring, called The Age of Love . Here's the trailer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"What To Do When People Do Your Wrong" - Mercy Tools

Early on in the day when I was thinking about what to blog in my post, I wrote down these two words in my journal,, mercy and tools.

I have CBC radio on just about 24/7. This morning was no different. I wished the news was better. More often than not, you listen to news casts that have more bad news, than good. I expect because it makes better copy for the media.

Today I heard a particular story about a women and her 19 year old son who had been severely beaten while in jail. He had been in a coma, and now was awake, without the ability to speak or move. He was suffering serious brain damage and was completely incapacitated. The correctional authority would only allow the young man's mother to visit with her son for an hour a day, as opposed to being able to have unlimited visits, which she had, when he was in a coma. There were now correctional guards at the door, round the clock.

The young man in the hospital was suddenly considered a threat once again, and was being treated as the prisoner in custody, prior to his hospitalization and complete incapacitation, unable to move or even speak. His mother was desperately pleading to be allowed to see her son, more than one hour a day, in order to assist in the healing of his serious brain injuries, supporting her son, close by his side. It was heart breakingly sad to hear her express her deep despair, and sorrow.

What really struck me was the phone call that came into CBC Radio, in reaction to this situation. The person that called , was so full of what sounded like aggressive, vindictive resentment toward this mother's plea. The caller went on at great length to explain in vehement anger, and self-righteous disgust, why this mother should not be allowed to have more time with her son, regardless of the circumstances. She then made a statement put in the form of a question, asking why didn't she spend the time with her son when he was getting into trouble with the crime that put him in jail in the first place, and where was she then. It left me feeling very sad. I say this because, to me it is a microcosm of what is happening in the world today, that initially starts within in the family, and spreads outward into the community and globally from there, systemically in the form of love and mercy, or in hate and vengeance toward others.

My first thought was disbelief in how merciless this kind of attitude seemed to me. Some folks think that punitive measures toward children who have become involved with criminal activity, should include and extend to the parent as well, in what every form or however judgmental it is.

In my other life before becoming a full time artist, I was a Youth Care Worker for approximately 20 years, with youth at risk, young offenders and with the adult population in custody. I have seen first hand the correlation between dysfunctional families affected by poverty, mental health issues, substance and sexual abuse, racism, addiction, and systemic socioeconomic problems that are all in some way correlated if not directly the antecedents to criminal behaviour.

 It seems the person who made that phone call into CBC Radio, not unlike others I have known, is searching for someone to blame. Fact is, we all must take responsibility.

Vengeance, blame, resentment, even hatred without mercy or forgiveness, are certainly not tools for change in a seemingly hopeless situation or world.

So, it was timely that I found this video today on the topic of forgiveness, by Marie Forleo entitled, What To Do When People Do You Wrong.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Carla Bonnell - She Made It Again To The Second Round!

I kind of like to think of my sweet cousin Carla Bonnell, as a female version of Canada's Stompin' Tom Connors, only prettier. Sorry Tom. But believe me when I say she's knows every song and then some!Like Tom her music resonates through the stories she communicates and she knows how to make a connection with the everyday person.

I'm proud and happy to tell you that Carla has made it to the second round of the CBC Search Light competition, for the second year in a row. Please vote for her again in this second part of the competition, will you? Thank you for your support. Here's her bio. I think you'll find it colourful.

Here is the link to vote:

North Bay, ON, CANADA
Bio ABOUT CARLA ….Canadian recording artist Carla Bonnell brings depth, diversity and colourful storytelling into play with her songwriting talents, that touch on folk, blues, country, bluegrass and roots elements that fuse together to become her special and unique contribution to the music scene. As a singer-songwriter, Bonnell wears her heart on her sleeve, which is channeled through her lyrics that express universal themes that everyone can relate to.
As a follow-up to her 2013 Nashville recordings, an inspirational Country release called "Back To You", Carla felt a calling to go back to her roots in the Maritimes and craft a very earthy collection of songs and record in the region where her and her musical family have flourished, for many generations. Thus her 2014 album release titled "Liberator" was recorded in Nova Scotia and produced by journeyman east coast performer J.P. Cormier (Jimmy Rankin, Rita McNeil). The album is a testament to her tenacity to be herself and share her thoughts and stories with fan base that has grown in various regions of Canada via her live performances in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, including the "New Brunswick Country Music Showcase" concert series. Carla Bonnell has performed with band members of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison on some of these select tour dates, who embraced her natural talent and stage energy, as well as live performance collaborations with Juno Award winner Lawrence Martin.

With numerous radio interviews and airplay for her Nashville release, Bonnell subsequently took her career to a new level with a national radio campaign for "Liberator" along with live performances in cities that embraced the new release. To date, “Liberator” can now be heard from coast to coast on over 30 radio stations (and still counting) and  has charted on a number of Top 10 Roots/Folk charts including CFUV (Kamloops, BC), CJSF (Burnaby, BC), CFBX (Kamloops, BC), CFRC (Kingston, ON) and CIBL (Montreal, QC).

Carla Bonnell has always given back to her local communities by performing benefit concerts, even if it means travelling great distances to do so. She was recently recognized in her hometown of Minto, NB on the "Minto Country Music Wall of Fame" alongside many N.B. Country Music Wall of fame inductees.

Radio personality Brent Buchanan, Morning Show Host, Country KHJ says, "Carla really hit a homer with this new CD. You can relate to every song, and that’s what country music is all about right, way to go Carla.”

Carla inspires her fans with her honesty and integrity and is currently writing new material for her upcoming 2015 album release. Bonnell is focused on bringing her music to new audiences and is booking her 2015 tour and applying to select music industry showcases, to achieve her vision of spreading her musical wings into theatres, select house concerts and premiere listening rooms across the country.

Carla’s music has many elements and influences. The album titled “The Liberator” is inspired by Calling Me, which is an upbeat folk song with a country flair that will sweep you over the hills of Cape Breton in your imagination.  Swing into a 50/60’s style rock gone country with For A Fool. The Letter will instantly tug at your heart strings and draw you into an ethereal state of losing a partner and a way of life. The western style guitar in Cariboo Express touches on traditional country sound, singing of dedication of a girl’s memory of a father now passed. Two Little Towns is a local favourite playing with bluegrass beats and licks. Rain shakes it up with a Canadian aboriginal beat, telling a story based on a true to life narrative of the sometimes political struggle to have treaty rights recognized and respected. Feeling introspective? Wishing Well will lull you into deep introspection with its poetic lyrics and hypnotizing melody. You will soon wake up to a new day with Gypsy Heart, incorporating the traditional country sound with a hard blues back beat to tell a story of dreams and desires of the heart. The Drive slows it down again in Leo Kottke acoustic guitar style, enticing the listener to feel the heart ache of losing a long term relationship. Bless or Curse the Tide wakes you to attention with driving fiddle, expressing the mood held in the lyrics of folks who makes choices to bless or curse their lives. Often described as the jewel of the album it’s the Last Train with its completely Canadian lyrical experience and folk country acoustic sounds. The harmony in this duet has been described as eerie and long lasting. The hidden nugget of the album is a short little jig with banjo, fiddle and guitar. The Kitchen Party celebrates the Canadian weekend culture of jamming with family and friends fondly known as the kitchen party

Monday, April 13, 2015

I Thought This Would Be A Quickie But It Wasn't

I had one of those 'I ain't got nothin' kind of writing days, when I suddenly received an email from Marie Forleo who was telling me she was having the same kind of day. The heading in the email said, "Everyone Loves a Quickie". As I read the email, I could see the message was meant to really encourage me, to simply start writing something, anything, when feeling like I had nothing to write. The next thing you know, you have something written, a post even, maybe a whole page. It was a timely email!

Well that didn't happen. I got completely diverted into watching videos up until now. Not cute kitty you tube videos, but two in particular that kind of left me feeling energized and I learned a lot.. Then I joined a webinar from Melbourne Australia about Tarot, which I enjoyed.

The first video I watched was an interview done by writer, Tanya Paluso  who wrote the bestseller Open Your Heart. Her guest was one of my very favourite writers and mentors Maureen Murdock, who wrote The Heroine's Journey, an amazing life changing book.

 I have posted this video. It's not a quickie, but very worthwhile watching in my opinion, about the ancient Sumarian myth of Inanna's descent. Pretty scary shit!

The second video I watched was by Sara Avant Stover, whom I'd never heard of until tonight. She has a powerful story she shares, and wrote a book called The Way of The Happy Woman. Sara is a kind of a pioneer that shares what she has learned through her own dark descent, along the way of the heroine's journey to reclaim feminine power, which for me, is creative power.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Living Life Creatively Means Living With Hope

I have for many years been a person who attempts to live my life from the perspective of hope. Living life creatively means living with hope.

I am always searching for messages of hope. Not only in written word but especially through the example set by those who are hopeful, not in spite of the struggle or difficulty they have not simply survived and encountered in life, but they have thrived because of their experience, strength and hope, becoming strong and transformed into hope filled individuals that freely share their hope with others.

This inspiring essay read by Parker Palmer, written by Victoria Safford, about hope, lifts my spirits, and is a kind of hope injection, that makes me feel really good, and it reminds me of the prayer of hope. I think it just might do the same for you if you listen.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Diamond Lil - The Transformational Power of Music

In our small community it is truly the kind of place where people really do know their neighbours, and help one another. Last night there was an Open Mic fund raiser for a young couple who have a little one in hospital, a new born who is just weighed just three pounds. We all came together as a community, and had this event, that was well attended, with some of us local entertainers, and folks from away who came out too. It was a grand time to get out after a long hard Winter, and there was a good amount of money raised. There are regular monthly Open Mics through out the Summer months, and are great celebratory, joyous, and fun gatherings.

Before arriving at last night's event, I picked up my 88 year old friend Lil. We had practiced a song the day before, that we would perform together. She is very musical, plays piano, guitar, and has been a singer all of her life. She is a great inspiration to me, and I know also to others. On our way over to the building, she and I had a talk about music, and how powerful it can be. We both agreed that music can sustain and transform our lives. It not only brings community together, it heals, helps and is great fun to boot.

My wise friend said something to me last night that I have been reflecting on. She said, "Don't ever give up on your music, because it will be your salvation as you get older, and will keep you going." It was very obvious to me, this is just what has happened to her. Over the past year or so, Lil has been attending these Open Mics and it has been such a transforming blessing to her, and especially to those of us who are younger and aging.

My dear friend Lil, (we call her Diamond Lil) made me think about my own mother, who was a singer, and how after playing piano and the organ all of her life, music was always her joy. In her later years she developed macular degeneration causing the loss of her most of her visual ability to read music. Although my mother never really played by ear, and always depended on reading sheet music, when she lost her sight she adapted, playing  music by ear, from this point onward.

The music was my mother's soul, and she was able to remember all her favourite tunes. She played her piano every day up until she died. She always had gratitude and never dwelt on the difficulties in life. I think her love and appreciation for the joy and beauty that music brings, gave her great strength, comfort, and happiness. Music is a transformational, a life affirming gift, and a blessing we are all given if we are open to receive it.