Day 9–A zoo story

*Today I’m grateful for my friend, singer/songwriter/musician/motivational speaker David LaMotte, who has agreed to share a post from his site with us. I met David when I was a college student. His music spoke to my heart, and I told him so.  Not many performers will take the time to eat McDonald’s breakfast with you at the White River, teach you how to pray Quaker-style, and listen patiently to part of your life’s story. David is just that kind of guy. He is full of love and light, and I’m grateful to know him.*

David LaMotte

David LaMotte

Please click on this link to read “A Zoo Story” by David LaMotte. If you’ve ever wondered what matters most to the people who love you, this post might provide an answer.

For more about David LaMotte, visit his website for booking information, tour dates, and music.

 

 

Day 4–Spirits of love

*Special thank you to my friend and singer/songwriter/musician Oona Love for serving as today’s guest writer for day 4 of the “28 days of love project.”*

Gratitude-

Noun

The quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

 

Oona Love singing her heart out

Oona Love singing her heart out

That seems simple enough.

A few weeks ago, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr., at the small Episcopal Church I attend in Virginia. There is really nothing like a bunch of white folks trying to sing “We Shall Overcome” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” with an 80 plus year old organist, but it was lovely, all the same. The spirit was there if the “with feeling” was not. You cannot expect white middle and upper class Episcopalians to truly understand those songs. How can they grasp the oppression, the struggle, the pain, and the joyful hope through tears that those songs embody? Sure, there are some there who marched for freedom and stood on the Mall in Washington, D.C., who are moved by the power of Dr. King’s speech, but the music was a little lost on most.

I left that day with a sense of great joy and sadness. Joy that the struggle for civil rights for ALL people has come so far, but sadness that we have not yet achieved a society in which we are truly blind to color, gender, orientation, physical limitation, and image. There is so much more work to do. I was also sad to feel that some of the people around me had not embraced what the day was to have meant.

It was with all of that floating about in my head that I walked into the Kroger after church with my mother. I go to church with her, and then we either have lunch or stop by the market afterwards. I needed dog food and she needed cheese, so we made a quick stop. As we made our way through the aisles, I spotted a man who looked to be in his late sixties. He had a white ponytail pulled back from a receding hairline, kind eyes behind round silver rimmed glasses and a camel colored corduroy blazer with suede elbow patches. On the lapels of his blazer, he wore buttons with peaceful slogans. As, I passed by him, I was compelled to do one thing… to hug him. I left my mother standing with her cheese and followed him. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I’m sorry, but I am going to hug you.” I threw my arms around this man who embodied, in his energy and presence, everything I had missed about the morning. In my mind, he had walked alongside Dr. King. He had fought for civil liberties, and for one moment I was so grateful for this man that I had to embrace him because he erased all the sadness that was heavy in my heart.

A lot of people who know me personally would not be surprised by this random act of hugging in the Kroger; nor would they be surprised that in the moment of seeing this man, whom I did not know, I immediately had a story in my mind about what kind of person he is and what his past had been. I have often been told my imagination is far too vivid and that I do not live in reality, but those are topics for another time. What really matters is that I was grateful for this man, regardless if the story I had created in my mind was real or not. That one small moment of recognition was real to me, and I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for him.

My mother, my poor mother, was mortified by this display of oddity in the Kroger. We encountered him, one more, as we were leaving, and she apologized to him for my weirdness, as she called it. He just laughed as her words tickled the Buddha inside of him. My heart was, again, full.

When I arrived home that afternoon, I described what had happened to a few of my closest friends. They, just by my description, knew the man with whom I had shared the moment. It turns out, the story in my head wasn’t that far off base. He is pioneer of the anti-death penalty movement, a social activist, unafraid to speak his personal truth, to speak for those without a voice, to stand for justice through peaceful means. What a blessing he is to this world and to me that day in the Kroger.

So, with that, I suppose, what I wanted to express is that we must not be afraid in moments of joyful gratitude to express them. In this world of negativity and judgment, I see people every day stifling the grateful, joyful, loving spirits they are because we are shaped to be what we are intrinsically not. We are not beings of anger, hatred, and selfishness. We come into this world as beings of pure love and joy. The experience of this world tarnishes that. So, I challenge you to find your spirit and let it shine with loving joy and gratitude for this life and the incredible spirits who share it with you.

 

Oona Love
Singer/Songwriter/Gypsy Musician
On the Web:
www.oonalove.com
www.facebook.com/oonalovemusic
www.myspace.com/oonalove
www.reverbnation.com/oonalove
oonalove@yahoo.com
Management:
booking.oonalove@gmail.com
(423) 404 5671

Let love

I’m grateful for my friend, singer/songwriter/musician Oona Love, for agreeing to serve as our guest writer today.
I have been struggling to write this blog post for the past few days. To concisely say everything I thought I wanted to say seemed like a large undertaking, but today in reflection of the events in my own life over the past few weeks, it seems simple. The same things I talk about daily are the things which I feel need to be shared here.
A few weeks ago, I was standing at the fish counter in a market, waiting for someone to help me. It was a Sunday afternoon, and after a while, I thought maybe no one worked the fish counter on Sunday afternoons, and maybe I couldn’t buy that crab that was on sale. I stood up on the red railing that was on the floor so I could lean over the counter and made a cute “ding-ding” noise. Still no one came. I looked to my friend who was shopping me with and shrugged. Just as we were about to give up on the entire idea of crab, a woman came from behind the double doors. She was sobbing, weeping as if someone had just died. I looked at her, the crab completely forgotten and asked her if she needed a hug. I walked behind the counter and held her while she cried. I assured her that all would be well and tried to comfort her. I still don’t know why she was that upset, but within a few minutes, she was calm, smiling, and I not only had my crab, but also had an amazing feeling of joy for being able to comfort someone.
In my life playing music for a living, I am blessed to meet so many people. It is joyous to be a part of the tapestries of so many peoples’ lives. At times, it can be heart breaking and challenging, too. There is an epidemic of suffering in our world. Suffering, I believe, we can only overcome if we all learn to love truly and fully and if we learn to lead lives based on love.
There is a wonderful concept called the universal consciousness. You can see it in birds as they fly. If one changes direction, so do the rest. Look up next time you see a flock of birds, and watch, it really is amazing. I think this kind of consciousness exists in us, too. Every thought we have have, every action, every word- they all affect the world in which we live. So, if we are able to let go of our hurt, our anger, our pain and live with love in our hearts, speak with love, and act with love, we could change the course of our collective world. A lot of people think this is just silly “hippie” talk. Believe me, I have heard it all, and yes, I have been known to wear patchouli and at this very moment, I am wearing a purple tie dyed skirt, but that should not really matter. The concept, I think, is valid.
It is the driving course of my life. No matter the pain or hurt I have endured, I made a conscious decision about fifteen years ago that I would try to live a life full of love and joy. I am not always successful. I am a big crier, and often I try to carry the weight of everyone in my life–another lesson I am desperately trying to learn in my life, but I am far too stubborn to accept. Love is, in its essence, the only thing we have in this world.
So many times I have been told I do not live in reality, and I tire of hearing it. I tire of hearing the argument that one cannot live on love alone. These are pessimistic ideas, and they do not embrace love. Love, like God, or Goddess, or Universe, or Dog is the only thing that can truly feed our souls. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Trusting in love, giving yourself to love will indeed provide. Love has no boundaries. It opens the body, soul, heart and mind to all kinds of experiences and opportunities. They key is being open to them. We have to embrace LOVE as a way of living.
The place where this begins is the hardest. It is a struggle for everyone I know who is on this path. It begins with loving ourselves. We cannot give love without loving ourselves, too. If you have ever been in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love her or himself, or if you have not loved yourself, you will understand this. I am not talking about ego. I am talking about allowing yourself to be imperfect, loving, and accepting of who you are, the gifts you were given, and the soul you have. Be perfectly imperfect. Embrace yourself. Know that there are times when you will fail, not only in life endeavors, but also in living a life of love.
We are raised to be such judgmental creatures. We judge each other, and we judge ourselves. To let go and let love puts an end to that cycle of abuse. If we can all embrace one another with love in our hearts and minds, we lose the judgment, we lose anger, we lose hurt, we lose envy. We become authentic souls walking on this earth sharing in the human experience.
So, that’s my blog. This is my gratitude for living and sharing my life with so many people. I attempt to live each moment with love as the guiding force. I try, every day, to share love and give love to those who need it.

Oona Love
Singer/Songwriter/Gypsy Musician
On the Web:
www.oonalove.com
www.facebook.com/oonalovemusic
www.myspace.com/oonalove
www.reverbnation.com/oonalove
oonalove@yahoo.com
Management:
Holli Tucker, hbt3842@hotmail.com or booking.oonalove@gmail.com
(423) 404 5272
(423) 404 5671