Friday, June 18, 2010

Here You Are...Wondering...About Darkness And Light...Richard Avedon

Photographers explore darkness and light not just in terms of contrast for their images, but even more so in regards to the light and the dark side of life. Richard Avedon is one of the best and most famous. Here a wonderful nine part documentary - each video is about 9 to 10 minutes long.

If you don't have time for the documentary skip down to the tenth video which is a sampling of his photographs over the last several decades.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Here You Are...Wondering...About Neckties (not an actual line in Here You Are)

Meet Mat


Matt looks like a happy guy. He is a college student who writes a blog about...neckties! Every post is about neckties - one way or another. It's pretty funny and entertaining. He asked me to let my readers know about his blog, so, here you are! Father's Day is just around the corner - you may need a necktie and can buy one from him, too.

I liked the post showing the many ways one can alternatively make a necktie cake for those Dads who don't need any more ties for Father's Day, or the post about what your necktie color choice may communicate about you - whether you planned it or not. Check it out. There may be a few colors missing in your rainbow!

And, Matt - don't forget to tell all your readers about Here You Are :-). If you wrote: "Thanks for being my Dad. I wouldn't be here without you" in the front of the book, it, too, would make a great Father's Day Present. Maybe Amazon can still get it delivered by Sunday.

Product Details

Here You Are...Wondering...About Day And Night...Bill Cosby

...or Night and Day.

The better version of the video below that includes Bill Cosby, had the embedding code disabled so you have to go directly to YouTube for this classic treat.

Mrs, fun, smart, fiercely loving mother and wife, lawyer...Michelle Obama comes to mind. Couple that with our first black, not Bill Clinton, but Fox's David Palmer  ( Dennis Haysbert)...and you know why even Republicans voted for Barack Obama.

The Cosby Show contributed greatly to breaking down racial stereotypes in this country... and so did Fox. We live in interesting times. Day and Night keeps turning into Night and Day. Newsmax, for example, another part of the Fox empire, is outright revolutionary when it comes to Alternative Medicine information, taking on the medical and pharmaceutical industry and their many scams, even exposing the harm done to our health by meat consumption, vaccines and antibiotics. Something old hippies could only dream of, thirty years ago. It takes the powerful to challenge the ones in power.

Or, just a great sense of humor.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Here You Are...Wondering...Why Am I Here?

"To love, of course."

This was the answer from a little five year old girl in the middle of the night at 2am when she couldn't sleep and had picked Here You Are off her bookshelf for her mother to read to her.

Her mother, who was going through a violent divorce, reconciliation, and second divorce with the father of the girl, had never taught this to her daughter - except in the way she lived her life. Both mother and daughter were loving people. They loved the father who was violent and a drug user, but needed to get him out of their lives. The mother feeling badly about the constant fights was surprised that her daughter knew that life was about love in spite of all the fighting she had had to witness since babyhood.

Here You Are doesn't really teach children anything as so many children's books try to do. It simply puts out the fundamental human questions, and confirms in children what they already know - and so often to the utter surprise of their parents. My own son - in spite of declaring by third grade that he was too old for Here You Are - kept asking sheepishly for it until the end of fourth grade whenever he woke up from nightmares.

Then there are the tattooed, Oxycontin popping teenagers who love Here You Are - but that's another story - for the next "Why Am I Here?" post.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here You Are...Wondering...Who Made Everything?...Show Me God...Papaji

"God, of course!"

This is the response of many children to this page in Here You Are ... and with glee at knowing this, and even sometimes with a hint of exasperation that one could ask such a question - even if their parents never taught them about God. I cannot count the many raised eyebrows and astonished expressions of parents I have seen, when they hear this from their children. This keeps surprising me, too.

God needs no description or definition in a child's mind. It/he/she is just the explanation for everything. With this answer they simply return to the peace of their hearts before the questions arose in the first place. Not even the faithful gain such peace from their beliefs of God as such and such, nor Physicist from their idea of a singularity, nor atheists from their idea of no-God-at-all, as a child does from just the idea of "God". It is the first question in Here You Are because it is the first question almost every child asks when they are very, very young. By five they have forgotten that they once asked the question and feel wise and grown up "knowing" the answer :-)

Trouble starts when adults talk too much about who or what God is. "God" is a good answer - in and of itself - to everything as long as we don't add endlessly to this answer, but instead remain in "not knowing", or as Buddhists call it "Beginner's Mind",  a child's mind. It is OK to remain with the mystery and wonder of it all, and our inner knowing of what Papaji used to call "that", or what Jesus called the kingdom of God within. Children are so close to the kingdom of heaven, because they are aware of what is beyond words, thinking, believing, denying, etc. and their love and trust is still perfect in its innocence.

It is better to simply see God than to believe or know or say anything about God. All we have to do is wake up. Suddenly all we see is God, while before the world was full of good and evil and everything in-between.

This video shows how hard and how easy it is to drop one's mind, and to stop lying (re-lying on logic), so God can come into plain sight. To be fair, I have seen Physicists laugh like that when trying to explain quantum physics. All religion, and all science, is logical only to a point.  It is a good sign when we find ourselves suddenly laughing again like children!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Here You Are...And Everything Is So Great, And So Beautiful...IO

This line of Here You Are took me to an Iroquois word definition. It is interesting to me because in the original text of Here You Are it only said "beautiful", to which my then five year old son objected, saying that girls are beautiful, but boys are great. So I added "great" after a failed attempt to find a word that meant both "great" and "beautiful". Seems like I am not the only one who has tried to figure this out. Turns out... everything is so io!

"Io", derived from the word wiyo, means good to the Seneca and great to the Tuscarora. Now, the word tends to be translated as beautiful (as in Ohio - beautiful river) but originally it meant great. There are various spellings of the word such as wiio and yiio. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Here You Are...With The Air Smelling Sweet...

This line of Here You Are took me to the blog, "First Nerve", written by Avery Gilbert, a sensory psychologist whose specialty is olfaction. He is the author of "What The Nose Knows".

The post was about mysterious sweet smells appearing over Manhattan and other urban areas. Hmmm....not exactly what I meant in Here You Are.

My book

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Here You Are...With The Sun Warming Your Face... Irish Blessing

Ahh...this line in Here You Are brought me to this old Irish Blessing I love so much.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse
Than the happiest day of your past.

May the roof above us never fall in.
And may the friends gathered below it never fall out.

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

May there be a generation of children
On the children of your children.

May you live to be a hundred years,
With one extra year to repent!

May the Lord keep you in His hand
And never close His fist too tight.

May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Walls for the wind,
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks beside the fire -
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire!

May God be with you and bless you,
May you see your children's children,
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May God grant you many years to live,
For sure He must be knowing
The earth has angels all too few
And heaven is overflowing.

May peace and plenty be the first
To lift the latch to your door,
And happiness be guided to your home
By the candle of Christmas.

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Here You Are...With The Wind Blowing In Your Hair...William Kamkwamba And His Windmill

Easily the best story I have come across in a long time!!! Sure makes it seem silly we can't solve the energy problem in the US. All we need are some smart and crazy boys and girls.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Here You Are... Among The Flowers (Marlene Dietrich...Where Have The Flowers Gone)

Many people have sung this song, but it is hard to beat this old version. It is the way my mother sang it. Peter, Paul and Mary managed with beautiful harmonies, but everyone else I have clicked on on YouTube seems to have too much ego, vanity, or political agenda in their performances. It seems to me that in spite of all the advances we have made since our parents generation, the one thing we have lost, is our humility. Humility is such a relaxed and deep vibe. I miss it in most of today's and my generation's music. Humility is so adult, so mature. Our present culture seems mostly to be full of opinionated teenagers, even if they are in their fifties and sixties.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Here You Are...Among The Trees...Photography By Sean Kernan

One reviewer on Amazon doesn't like that the author didn't say anything about the trees or the location of the trees in his book. The next reviewer says - well - you didn't get the intention of the book, clearly stated in it, which says:

"Because this book is not simply about seeing pictures of interesting trees, it is about shifting our minds and awareness to experience the world and ourselves differently. For all the variety of trees, the book is really about the experience of being in among them."

This experience of being among them - without thoughts or lables - is what a child experiences, and the same experience I try to take the reader to in Here You Are.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Here You Are...Under The Big Blue Sky...(Frances Drost Music Video 2000)

Did you figure out my new project, yet? I am googling every line in my children's book Here You Are and let it take me all over the Internet. I am all excited where it will lead. Here is a woman with a beautiful voice singing about the union we often feel, just noticing that we all live under the same beautiful, big, blue sky.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Here You Are... Standing On The Ground

A new idea popped into my head...about how to write this Here You Are blog. If you have read the book you will get it right away, otherwise, well, you'll figure it out pretty quickly.

If the video doesn't play through go here to YouTube where it plays through. Cool piece of electric guitar music. And don't forget to send Nick some love in the comment box on YouTube if you like this piece!