Monday, December 31, 2012

Daily Zen - Monday, December 31

And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.

                ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weekend Zen, December 29-30

People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.

                  ~ Thomas Szasz

Friday, December 28, 2012

Daily Zen - Friday, December 28

At the center of your being, you have the answer;  you know who you are and you know what you want.

                          ~ Lao Tzu

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Daily Zen - Thursday, December 27

There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.

                ~ G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Daily Zen - Wednesday, December 26

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other path, no other way, no day but today.
                   ~ Jonathan Larson

Monday, December 24, 2012

Daily Zen (Light Week) - Monday, December 24

We didn't talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough.

               ~ Stephen Chbosky

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekend Zen (Light Week), December 22-23

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

                ~ Maya Angelou

Friday, December 21, 2012

Daily Zen - Friday, December 21

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. 

Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

                 ~ Albert Schweitzer

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Daily Zen (Light Week) -Thursday, December 20

We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.

                  ~ J.K. Rowling

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Zen (Light Week) - Wednesday, Dec 19

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.

           ~ St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daily Zen (Light Week) - Tuesday, December 18

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. 

               ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

A kind comment from my friend Andrea Lueken, the upcoming Christmas holiday, and the bittersweet celebrations of the lives of twenty first-graders in Newtown, CT this week have all inspired me. 

Each day from now until Christmas, we'll feature quotes about light: the light we have inside us, the light that shows the way, the unbearable lightness of being.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekend Zen, December 15-16

There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.

                ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, December 14, 2012

Daily Zen - Friday, December 14

Today we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.

                   ~ George W. Bush

Thoughts and condolences to the community of Newtown, CT.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Daily Zen - Thursday, December 13

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
                   ~ Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Turn It Up - Ravi Shankar and the Magic of Norwegian Wood

Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar died today in San Diego at the age of 92. Shankar, a celebrated figure in world music for decades, was best known for influencing The Beatles.

Shankar integrated the sound of classical Indian music into western pop throughout the 1960s and 1970s. My favorite example of Shankar in pop music is The Beatles' Norwegian Wood. It's a simple folk ballad that Shankar's sitar turns into something elegant and mystical. RIP Ravi.

Daily Zen - Wednesday, December 12

Everybody has a right to like or dislike anything or anyone. From a flower to a flavor to a book or a composition - but it is very sad that in our country we actually fight over such things in an unseemly manner.
                     ~ Ravi Shankar

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Daily Zen - Tuesday, December 11

Optimism with some experience behind it is much more energizing than plain old experience with a certain degree of cynicism. 
                       ~ Twyla Tharp

Monday, December 10, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekend Zen, December 8-9

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. 
                     ~ Jim Morrison

Friday, December 7, 2012

Daily Zen - Friday, December 7

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.
                     ~ James Thurber

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Daily Zen - December 6 (Dave Brubeck Edition)

Jazz pianist, Dave Brubeck
(Dec 6, 1920 - Dec 5, 2012)

I'm beginning to understand myself. But it would have been great to be able to understand myself when I was 20 rather than when I was 82.

                   ~ Dave Brubeck

Safe travels Dave, and thanks for this...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Daily Zen - Wednesday, December 5

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

                  ~ Walt Disney

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Daily Zen - Tuesday, December 4

If you want something you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you're willing to risk failure. 
                      ~ Phillip Pullman

Monday, December 3, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hunter Parrish's Stunning Performance of Beautiful City

Actor - Hunter Parrish
Sometimes a teen heartthrob is so much more than just a pretty face.

On my writing retreat in Arcata last month, I had no WiFi or cable TV. After long days of editing and writing, I rested my brain each night by escaping into an assortment of movies and television shows on DVD. There were several I enjoyed, but none more than the Showtime original series Weeds.

Weeds is a half-hour comedy-drama that stars Mary Louise Parker as an unlikely pot-dealing soccer mom, whose shady "business" deals and questionable parenting decisions constantly put her family at risk.

But this post is not about Weeds, or for that matter, about my time in Arcata. This post is about Jesus. Kind of.

Weeds co-stars a young actor named Hunter Parrish. In the series, the twenty-five year-old Parrish plays Silas Botwin, the oldest son of Mary Louis Parker who joins the family marijuana business.

Silas is not a character with great depth, and he's seldom given the best lines of dialogue in the show. His character is not especially bright nor does he possess any particularly interesting talents, with the notable exception of having a pot grower's green thumb. Oh, and a well-built torso that the producers wisely find ways to showcase every few episodes.

I don't mean to imply that Hunter Parrish lacks talent or that he turns in an inadequate acting performance. Weeds is well-written and Parrish makes the most of the material he's given as he brings Silas to life. But truthfully, after watching four seasons of the show, I assumed he was mostly cast as Silas because his blonde hair and buff physique were a good match for a shallow SoCal pot-growing college drop-out.

All of this is to say - I was shocked when I recently discovered through Twitter that Hunter Parrish also played the role of Jesus in the 2011 Broadway revival of Godspell. Based on his portrayal of Silas, I would not have guessed that Parrish was mature enough for Godspell or Broadway, and I certainly had no idea he could sing.

Just before I drifted off to sleep last night, as I lay in bed taking a last gander at Twitter for the day, I stumbled on a few references to Parrish's Broadway work. Those tweets ultimately linked me to a YouTube video of his performance of the song Beautiful City from Godspell.

Hunter's performance was so profoundly moving that I wept as I listened to him sing. I watched the video a second time, and I wept again.

This morning I researched how the song fits into Godspell. After Jesus (Parrish) becomes angry and turns over the tables in the temple, he walks away from his disciples. When he is later reunited with them, Jesus sings Beautiful City to try and restore hope to his followers. I watched the video clip again, and with the added context of the song's meaning, found it even more impacting.

A performance like this is a remarkable unexpected gift from the songwriter and the singer, and I for one, am grateful. I hope you like it too.

Weekend Zen, December 1-2

You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. 
                 ~ Rabindranath Tagore