“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.”
The door opened and the curtains were drawn back as the king awoke to the admonition of a very concerned mother. Choosing her words cunningly, she spoke to him with regard to his standing in the eyes of the nation he led. Actions unbecoming a king would undermine his authority. If a king could not rule his own nature, how could he rule a kingdom positioned for world dominion? Jewish Rabbis recount a tale regarding an event with this king. On the day of his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter, the king assembled musicians from far and wide. As the festivities unfolded, a day of celebration progressed into a night of excessive drinking and revelry. By the forth hour of the following day (10am) the king was found passed out with the keys to the Temple under his pillow. It was then his mother went looking for him and the words at the beginning of this post were the start of what she had to say. Sometime later when King Solomon would narrate this proverb, it was said that scribes used a pseudonym to protect his character of wisdom.
While resolve declines in some quarters, there is a movement of those who desire to advance beyond the vices and shortcomings. Not everyone is born into greatness but everyone can position themselves for it. Though our feet are on the earth, our spirit is not subject to it. The confines of the natural can take precedence to the supernatural. There is a limitation placed by some on whatever is not quantifiable or qualifiable by scientific measures. I believe in systems of reason and logic, I believe in the sciences. But I also acknowledge that humanity is a work in progress and we do not know 100% of what there is to know about anything. Thus we should be growing and like King Solomon sometimes we need a voice of reason in our life to facilitate that growth.
Many choose to remain within the boundaries of their predisposition and knowledge base thus they never grow. These boundaries must be expanded and the territory must be extended otherwise progression becomes impossible. Ordinary sliced bread remained virtually unknown to the world for 15 years after the inventor first came up with how to do it. Otto Rohwedder limited his energies on the processes of mass produced sliced bread. It was Wonder Bread that took the concept to the next level through mass marketing the concept, thus generating the infrastructure for mass production.
Is there anything in your life that could undermine your position? Is there anything that stands in the way of your progression?
Whatever you wish to achieve in the future must be actively worked toward in the present. I was told that the farmers of the distant past set their eyes to a fixed object as they plowed their field. This would keep them plowing in a straight course. Sometimes we get off course by choices that evolve into things unplanned. When it happens, we need someone or something that can wake us and realign us with our purpose.
Copyright © 2013 J.M. Cortés
We are now on the other side of Black Friday which was preceded this year by the newly christened Black Thursday (formerly Thanksgiving). The big players in major retail hatched up another way to confiscate even more money from the masses; stores traditionally closed for the holiday once known as Thanksgiving would now be open. While I did not hear of anyone being trampled to death, some frenzied consumers did act out. Reports appeared of stabbings, assaults, shootings, and police dragged by cars driven by shop-lifters. Obviously the stores are not solely blamed but we can thank them for creating the environment. Oh well, there is a price to be paid for capitalism and some consumers are willing to do whatever it takes to save a buck.
I know it is cliché and all, every Thanksgiving the posts appear in the varied social media forums appealing to all to keep the thanks in Thanksgiving. It is ironic that an effort to preserve the traditional essence of the holiday is even necessary. A time for family and a time of expressing gratitude should come without effort. But the cultural climate has changed and traditional values in society have shifted. Dissatisfaction rules the day; people are unhappy with the jobs, unhappy in their relationships, and just unhappy in general.
Zig Ziglar has been heard to say “the healthiest of all human emotion is gratitude”. Gratitude is born of an understanding; understanding that where we are and what we have in life is the result of choices we’ve made. It is born of an understanding that things could be worse. It is the understanding that life is fragile and the future is uncertain. It’s understanding what the loss of everything and the work of rebuilding is like. The yoke of labor and sacrifice weighs heavy upon those who bear it. Yet from that heaviness strength arises. The earlier you learn to work hard for what you want and then appreciate it once it’s yours the sooner you will learn gratitude. “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth, he sitteth alone and keepeth silence because he hath bourne it upon him”.
When people fail to have or express gratitude it is because they overlook certain truths. It is the schedule, it is the struggle, it is the hardness that life brings. Yet what are we missing out on?
In 2008 a social experiment was conducted in a subway of Washington, D .C. on a busy workday morning. Award winning, Carnegie Hall playing violinist Joshua Bell situated himself in a high visibility area and for nearly an hour played classical pieces. In a region of the U.S. defined by sophistication and cultured tastes, it was predicted that masses would gather to witness such a performance. Even if skill alone did not arrest attention, surely the renowned musician would be recognized. But the reality was no one even noticed him. No one recognized his talent, no one recognized him, and no one even recognized his costly $3 million dollar violin. Other things had their attention. Schedules, the work place, finances, familial issues, health concerns, relationship matters, etc. Logically these things are not inherently wrong, but where does it end?
At some point, we all reach a place where we decide not to get caught up in the race. Detach from the temporal. Divest yourself of futile efforts. The masses are buying stuff they don’t need, with money they should not waste, to impress people that really don’t care. I shake my head when I think about ways I’ve wasted time, money, and energy in my life. I am now wanting to just be grateful for what I see and hopeful toward what I will soon see.
Copyright © 2013 J.M. Cortés
First it was a week, then it was two, then it was a month. While I was bothered by the second week, I was upset when a month had passed.
I am referring to the time that passed since I have written anything.
While I accept that writing for me is a diversion, I must admit it also serves as a creative outlet for me. Daily thoughts and ideas are at work in my mind but they cannot always manifest in written form. There is not a single cause for this but rather a combination of reasons. To write without invested thought is the same as firing a gun without aiming, hitting your target becomes nearly impossible.
In the moment of conception, a thought’s lifespan is not instantly known; it might abide awhile or soon dissolve as vapor. Regardless, until it evolves beyond a seed-like stage it cannot be trusted. It’s been said that hardest thing for a writer is writing and then William Goldman’s truth conveys the other side: “The easiest thing on earth to do is not write”. To my fellow bloggers and writers these words, without doubt, resound within your spirit.
We are not alone either; the musician understands, the painter can relate, and the public speaker knows. Regardless the medium, those who quarry within to mine out expression know the aggravation of creative stillness. Suppressed by schedules and censored by a full calendar the creative expression is there but it is captive. What will set it free? Time? Perhaps…however creative expression will not always embrace opportunity just because it’s there. Creative expression can have all the time it needs to manifest but only inspiration will truly set it free. Inspiration possesses the keys to the lock which holds creative expression prisoner. As the lock disengages and the chains hit the floor; creative expression takes flight with inspiration.
So first there must be inspiration!
When the well spring of inspiration flows unhindered, creative expression simply enjoys the ride. Surely you have heard of the lake called the Salt Sea also known as the Dead Sea. It is found at the lowest geographical point on earth situated between Israel and Jordan. The Dead Sea is a lake in which no fish can live and it’s water cannot sustain plant life. This is the result of having all inlets and no outlets. The Jordan River pours into it and other tributaries stream there; but they flow in and only abide. Thus the lake is known as the Dead Sea.
We can have plenty of things which produce inspiration but if they are going to live, they must have an outlet to flow out of us. We must remain in contact with those things which inspire and avoid the things which stifle inspiration. An open eye, a listening ear, and sensitivity to that which inspires will ensure our creative expression’s freedom. There are things which can damn up the flow of inspiration. Busy schedules have already been mentioned. But being busy and remaining inspired is possible. We just have to ensure the outlet (s) remain unobstructed. The things which contaminate our inspiration are like logs that pile up and impede the flow of a river’s water. The end result of this can be stagnation. Water than cannot flow will stagnate and inspiration that cannot flow will too.
Copyright © 2012 J.M. Cortés