Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Power of Lyrics - "Dreams Are Nothing More Than Wishes..."

"Dreams are Nothing More than Wishes, and a Wish is just a Dream you Wish to Come True."

- Harry Nilsson ("The Puppy Song" from the album
Harry -1969 [Click for Video])

A line that whenever I hear it, I begin to repeat it over and over - each time ever so-much slower - in an effort to analyze what Harry was trying to say. As a preface for anyone who maybe unfamiliar with Harry Nilsson, he was a brilliant singer/songwriter [Click here for a Biography], a favorite of The Beatles and a man whose voice was slowly ravaged as the 70s progressed due to drugs and alcohol and who died much too young at age 52. "The Puppy Song" is from is third album and opens with this fabulous phrase.

"Dreams are Nothing More than Wishes..." to me points to the fact that if dreams are generated by the subconscious mind, then dreams are your mind making a wish. But this is so literal it takes the beauty out of the phrase... words just as Dreams and Wishes are sentiments that make one reflect, smile, tilt one's head to the side and look upward at the vast expanse of an infinite sky. Your Dreams should be as infinite as the sky. We wish them to be. We need them to be. We should always have Dreams. But once attained, a Dream becomes Reality and is therefore no longer a Dream. This is a good thing as it now allows us to make another Wish and Dream even bigger.

"...and a Wish is just a Dream..." is not simply a reverse phrasing of the initial thought, but a reminder that your Wishes should be as pleasant as your Dreams. Which means that if you use your Wish in anger, like when you are furious at something and you wish for something bad to happen in retaliation, THAT is not a Wish... it is more of an Angry Possibility that you are imagining. So let's discard that use of the word 'wish' and get back to our use of Wishes as always referring to a Fond Desire. Dreams are the same thing (similarly, bad Dreams are Nightmares and therefore, not what we're talking about). Pleasant, hopeful, empowering. Those are the Dreams we're referring to.

" Wish to come True." Isn't this the ultimate hope? You Wish for your Dreams to come True. Everyone does. Dreaming of a brighter future or a positive change in your life is not worth a damn if you don't desire it so much that you Wish it to become your Reality. Whatever you are truly Wishing to be your Reality is your Dream. But all of this means NOTHING if that's all you do is Wish and Dream. You need to take Action.

Once you realize that, you can achieve anything. You know the Goal. You know your desired Endgame. You see the Light at the end of the tunnel that you want, desire, Wish to head for. Go for it. Follow your Dreams. This is what your subconscious Wishes to do. Wants to do. Your subconscious has desired it, craves it, needs it. Listen to your subconscious. It is after all kept alive by your Heart. Therefore by extension, this is what your Heart desires, craves, needs.

Follow your Heart.

"Dreams are Nothing More than Wishes, and a Wish is just a Dream you Wish to Come True."

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Power of Lyrics - "Life is What Happens to You While You're Busy Making Other Plans."

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

- John Lennon (from the song "Beautiful Boy [Darling Boy]" from Double Fantasy -1980 [demo version - Click for Video])

A sentiment that John Lennon proffered to his young son, Sean.

This more than any phrase or thought is one I now try to live by. When I get overly wrapped up in something or when I delay a decision or put something off until a certain number of pieces are nicely place, or decide that the time isn't right to do, buy or change a facet of my life... this phrase is the one that pops into my head, smacks some sense into me, wakes me from my stupor and forces me to move forward.

But it wasn't always this way. Between 2001 and 2005, I made three monumental decisions using this phrase as my guide. My first was to get out from under a mountain of nearly six-digit debt. How had I gotten there? Simple - I was trying to live my life as a normal person, hoping that a change would someday come to make it all right. It never did.

Once the dust settled from that, my second change was the hardest of all, and that was to acknowledge fully who I was and choose to live that way. That had its own challenges and skins to shed.

Finally, with my life settling back into a groove of calm once more, I took the last piece - my employment - and shook it up by taking a 40% paycut in order to move into a job that would make me Happy and be more fulfilling.

"Life is what happens to you..." Everyday this is the thing we are all experiencing. Whether we wake up and sit in traffic for an hour only to then end up in a small poorly lit cubicle slogging through piles of meaningless papers, or if we stay at home tending to our progeny. We go to an office, a store, the stables... plow a field, analyze data, work on a cure for HIV, teach, firefight, dry clean, deliver mail, arrange flowers, drill teeth... this is your Life. It's happening to you right this moment.

Every single being on this planet has a Life. But is it one you want? Is it one you enjoy? If not can you change it? If not, then find some way to enjoy it.

Time is marching forward and cares not whether you liked Today or hated Today. It's bringing Tomorrow, ready or not. And soon what was Today becomes Yesterday, Yesterday becomes Last Week, Last Month, Last Year... next thing you know, a Decade has gone by and somehow those plans for a better tomorrow have yet to materialize.

"... while you're busy making other plans." Do you recognize that you are in your Life? Or are you simply going through the motions of tedium, dreaming of a better tomorrow? That better tomorrow (for now) IS just your other plans. And while it is wonderful that you spend time thinking about them and working toward them, you may never get there if you don't take some time to enjoy your present Life.

Find something small that gives you joy. Find ways to enrich your Life. Maybe instead of being stuck in traffic, hop off an exit or two early and drive past a Park. Pull over, get out and stretch for five minutes, breathing in the air, listening to the birds or watch a squirrel.

This IS your Life and it is currently happening to you and plan as you might for a better tomorrow that will make you happier, make sure you take a few moments to enjoy your Life - Today.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Power of Lyrics - "The Love You Take, is Equal to the Love You Make."

"...The love you take is equal to the love you make." - Lennon/McCartney
(from the song "The End" from The Beatles album, Abbey Road -1969 [w/solos - Click for Video])

The final song from the final album (yes, I know - Let It Be was released after Abbey Road, but as you all know, Abbey Road was recorded last.) This is not only an apropos swan song for a band that preached love and peace, and the only one that features instrumental solos from all four Fabs (especially Ringo's renowned solo), but a lyric that is oft-quoted and a sentiment that we all should embrace. Yet as much as this lyric speaks to me - and far (far) be it for me to second guess The Beatles - upon closer analysis I find the thought - as phrased - a bit flawed.

"The love you take..." is a harsh thought that makes one think of force. I would think a better phrase would be "The love you receive" or "The love you get back" - I believe either is closer to the intended sentiment.

The remainder of the phrase " equal to the love you make." makes it sound like simply "you get what you give" which in and of itself is OK, but not as encompassing as it could be. You get a dime because you gave 10 pennies. To me it makes love sound like it needs to be or it is nothing more than an equitable exchange.

Knowing Beatle lyrics as well as I do, and having read and listened to hundreds of hours of interviews and personal writings by the lads, I feel that what they were really meaning to say is not "The love you give is equal to the love you receive in return" but
was more along the lines of "The more you put out there, the more your efforts will be rewarded."

Right or wrong this is what I take from the phrase. It's not about the receiving or the taking of Love. It's about the giving, the making. We should be putting it out there, regardless of whether it is returned in kind. Interestingly, in the 1939 MGM Film, The Wizard of Oz, I find a similar sentiment in a similarly mis-phrased thought (to my thinking): "A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others." This is what The Wizard tells Tin Man when he bestows the silk heart. This also seems to point to the merits of 'taking love' over 'giving love' - the flawed sentiment that seems prevalent in our society (or in mankind in general).

But back to The Beatles. The intent of their lyric seems to me to be more of a wish for us, along the lines of: "may you receive as much love as you give (if not more)" - a reminder that you don't get it if you don't give it. So give it... freely and often. The more you love, the more you are loved in return.

"And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Power of Lyrics - An Introduction

Anyone who knows me, knows how powerful I find music to be. I walk around whistling; always a tune in my head. I listen to music at the gym, in the car, at work, at home. I aurally consume dozens of hours of music a week.

Usually, I couldn't tell you what the song is about, I don't hear the lyrics, I hear and feel the structure of the song... oh, and it has to be a structured song. No Jazz or Classical tends to do it for me. It's a structured song: Verse-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge with a Key Change-Chorus to Completion.

If my mind doesn't necessarily notice it, my body does... be it a head bob, foot tap, finger wiggle... I feel it. And no, I can't Dance either... I don't seem to have that sort of Rhythm. I even use it to concentrate - I abhor Silence. To read a book, I need some music playing. When I worked in the Legal Department, I needed to keep one half of my brain entertained with music while the other half of my brain typed out the contracts.

But every now and then, a Lyric jumps out at me. It need not be timely nor profound, it doesn't necessarily relate to something going on in my life, but something in that simple, concise string of words grabs me at that moment. You'd think with my appreciation of lyrical phrases, I would be a fan of Poetry as well. Let me put that to rest. No - I am not a Poetry fan. (Though there are a few exceptions to that - I mean, why is the Snark always a Boojum?)

So today I begin a new exploration of Lyrics. As a phrase catches my ear, I will jot it down and the expound on what I might mean to me or why it may have caught my ear at that moment.

I hope this will be fun.