Friday, July 25, 2008

Favorite Things

Went through my ITunes "purchased list" this morning (cursorily) and picked my favorite songs (below). I will probably add other favorites (songs, books, food, games, tv shows, movies, etc.) to this list. For now, here are the songs I have picked as "five stars" from ITunes. It seems to me that selecting our "favorites" is a way of understanding ourselves and others better.


  • We Shall Overcome -- Joan Baez

  • Over the Rainbow -- Karaoke version

  • No Place But Texas -- Willie Nelson ** (lyrics below)

  • Both Sides Now -- Neil Diamond *** (partial lyrics below)

  • It Is No Secret -- Elvis Presley

  • Always On My Mind -- Willie Nelson

  • Forever and Ever, Amen. -- Randy Travis

  • I Came to Believe -- Johnny Cash

  • Believe -- Josh Groban

  • Belief -- John Maher * (see lyrics below)

  • The Closest Thing to Crazy -- Kate Melua

  • Battle Hymn of the Republic -- Morman Tabernacle Choir

There are a number of contradictory emotions and beliefs expressed in these songs. I am coming to believe that the need for us to strive for consistency in our lives (as a means of achieving integrity) is highly overrated. Honesty and loyalty should not be diminished, but as circumstances in life change, one must be open to embracing new perspectives.

Striving for consistency (e.g., "holiness code stuff") leads to living in denial (or conscious hypocrisy). Our existence is filled with settings in which we are multi-polar, impure, contradictory. Neil Diamond's song "Both Sides Now" tells me of the ways our "conformity-urges" constrict our growth and expression. Humbly, we find freedom as we embrace the illusions of life--which somehow synthesize our experiences.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Lyrics "Belief" by John Mayer

Is there anyone who Ever remembers
changing their mind from The paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time

Everyone believes In how they think it ought to be
Everyone believes And they're not going easily

Belief is a beautiful armor But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching under water You never can hit who you're trying for
Some need the exhibition And some have to know they tried
It's the chemical weapon For the war that's raging on inside

Everyone believes From emptiness to everything
Everyone believes And no ones going quietly

We're never gonna win the world
We're never gonna stop the war
We're never gonna beat this
If belief is what we're fighting for

What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand
Belief can Belief can
What puts the folded flag inside his mother's hand
Belief can Belief can

** Lyrics "No Place But Texas"

God painted the bluebonnets in the fields
By a tough little scrub oak on an East Texas hill
And he plucked the star from a lone star sky
And he put it in the twinkle of a cowboy's eye

The wide open spaces he made wild and free
Texas as far as any eye can see
And he made her sons grow tough and strong
They still cry when they hear a sad song

No place but Texas
Would I ever roam
No place but Texas
My home, sweet home
No place but Texas
My home, sweet home

When I die I hope they bury me
By the Pedernales River 'neath a white oak tree
Where I can see the longhorns graze
And the cactus flowers blooming in the morning haze

No place but Texas
Would I ever roam
No place but Texas
My home, sweet home
No place but Texas
My home, sweet home

*** Lyrics: "Both Sides Now"
Rolls and flows of angel hair,
Ice cream castles in the air,
Feather canyons everywhere,
I've looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun.
They rain, they snow on everyone.
So many things I would've done
But clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow
It's clouds' illusions I recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.

. . . .

Tears and fears and feeling proud,
Say "I love you" right out loud.
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange.
They shake their heads and say I've changed.
But something's lost when somethings gained
Living everyday.

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all.