December 1, 2016 and wouldn't you know it, but I'm listening to music from the 60's and thinking of John Lennon... I've written poems of Leonard Cohen and Walt Whitman, but never John Lennon... and it is certainly true that Lennon has been the far greater influence on my life...
Living is hard. I've read biographies of each Whitman, Cohen, and Lennon and it is evidentially true that each experienced significant interior turmoil... And like all great artists, their personal turmoil informed their art: but isn't that also true for every artist? Indeed, turmoil informs every human being: turmoil not only leaves its mark upon us, but it is also the process through which our souls are truly born: until we confront our natural brokenness, we are only partially awake and only marginally alive...
Living is bliss. Our brokenness is precisely where "the light gets in" (Cohen). We can only sing the body electric or imagine paradise through the empty spaces in our hearts... Some people suffer and grow hard and mean. Others hunker down into weak attempts to forget that they are going to stop breathing -- perhaps sooner rather than later. But there are a few who enter into the "silence" of the empty breath -- before they die -- and come out of it more fully alive, genuinely awake and ready... This "awake and ready" is the bliss of art and rEvolution...
I dare you to listen to Leonard Cohen sing "The Window"... then leaf through Whitman's democratic handbook "Leaves of Grass" and read even a few lines... and finally, listen again, to John Lennon sing his "Imagine": do this and know that this very moment -- even with Mr. Trump soon to become President -- is our moment! Each one of our moments -- from here on out -- can become our contribution to art and the rEvolution: by our passion for beauty, creativity, community, justice, equality, compassion, and our activated wills to regenerate this precious blue Planet, we will write a new story that will change our human history: the billionaires in the White House, loose on Wall Street, and warring against the Planet and around the world will not have the last word!
Imagine: Write it! Work it! Sing it! Create it!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.