10 Sep 2014
The Angels of Mercy
There is no greater level of courage, no deeper measure of compassion, than that shown by those who rush willingly headlong into harm’s way to illuminate the darkness brought on by evil’s black fire with the pure white light of their brightest angels. It is to these brave souls that America stands forever indebted. Their actions have strengthened our resolve to answer the challenges of aggression and terror and defeat them at every turn. They have deepened our commitment to our country and our compassion to our fellow countrymen. They have done no less than to lift a nation swollen with pride to greater heights with the ever-rising wind swell of freedom. Our hearts are at once heavy with the great weight of loss, yet our collective spirits rise easily upon the wings of these gallant Angels of Mercy.
(Dedicated to the firefighters, law enforcement personnel,
and others who faced the unspeakable horror of terrorism with
immeasurable courage and compassion.)
First of all let me start by wishing you all a healthy and happy Halloween. A ritual that has it’s own history that at it’s core deals with transitions; from one season to another; from one state of mind to another and indeed, from one state of being to another. Marking a connection between life and death and all that symbolizes this contrasting state of being. Indeed, what we now know as Halloween, went through it’s own transitions and evolutions over time and across cultures and still does so today. It seems, for example, that neighborhood trick or treating door to door is giving way to organized parties where all the ghosts and goblins and hosts of ghosts dwell. It’s all good and it’s all fun. Personally, I’m more of a Thanksgiving and Christmas kinda guy, but that’s for another day. For now, it’s a period of transitions, and transitions, more often than not, are accompanied by deep philosophical undercurrents of joy, release and acceptance. This as we all learn one of life’s toughest lessons. Just how to hold on, while at the same time, letting go; to morn while we celebrate; to come together in both the darkness and the light…giving candy, to a gool.
Transitions also evoke contrasts. From light to dark but also from warm to cold. From seemingly unending bright yellow summer days that hang in the haze, to their contrasting sisters where long flowing shadows of mystery are more the norm. The summer would have us believe that she goes on forever, however, the approaching chill reminds us in a very healthy way that time is still passing. And that while rest and recreation is a must, that there comes a time to move on again. That time is our friend if we nurture her , but can be onerous if she is left ignored. I strongly reject the notion of some that say “time is a fire in which we all burn”. It’s more accurate to say that time is a light that the wise ones choose to follow; the essential ingredient to our very humanity and yes, our mortality. Perhaps it is both a strength and a weakness of the human condition. Two opposing sides of the continuum where the fulcrum of living deliberately holds vigil between the two, both securing and preserving a living balance. To guide us with equal measure of joy and restraint; with rapture’s yearning and the surrender of satisfaction. In this way our very mortality teaches us of the true gift of life, and this is the crucial point, the gift of life WHILE IT IS OURS TO SHARE. Understanding that as we have fewer hours of light in a day than we have dark, each hour therefor becomes more valuable. The darkness and cold teaches us the urgent value of the NOW, and of TODAY, and that NOW IS FOREVER. Acceptance and transition are intimate friends of growth. Let us all grow together. Happy Halloween!
29 Sep 2013
I love this time of year. I love the way it looks; the way it smells; the way it tastes. It’s great to see how people start to rearrange their lives, taking their lead, once again, from mother nature, rearranging the stage our lives play out upon. Nature dresses up the out of doors in a decidedly different and celebratory state of attire. Full vibrant colors for deep contemplation of the richness and treasures she freely grants those of us who are willing to take the time to drink in and to consider. We follow her lead and change our look as well. I’m not an expert on fashion by any means, but even I can see the change in texture, tone and contrast; indeed, I can taste it. From the clothes we wear, to the sleeping grass, to a hillside set in such delightful repose, so beautiful yet so shy she blushes, I can sense it. From the chilled air that transforms words to mist, dew to crystal and whispers to the ponies, “you are all racers! Run ponies run!” It’s time for everyone and everything to play “dress-up” and play like the children that we are, but seldom allow ourselves to be. This, my friends, is rebirth.
This time of year things just “look” differently. The sun’s angle relative to the earth while always changing is now noticeably different. The shadows are longer; the days shorter. A gentle caring nudge is a great signal to all of us that it is healthy, once in a while, to pause and change our approach or outlook to things around and within us and our relationships to them. How do I effect the lives of those I care about, or people I have just recently met. How have they affected me. “How may I be available to you?” How have I grown? What have I learned? What changes would be good to consider, and of those I’ve considered, which should I cast aside? To what or to whom will I commit myself to in the coming year and why? What spaces still lay empty in my life and how will I fill them? All this, as a result of autumn’s gentle approach.
It’s good then, I think, to welcome this gentle season of change with humility and grace. To recognize that we all cast our own shadows by the light of creation, and that that very light still shines deep within each of us. It offers us a chance to simply celebrate “being”, and whispers to us all “you are all racers children! Run children, run!!!
Happy Autumn Everyone, and as always, Peace!
30 Aug 2013
Hello again everyone and don’t look now but August has come to an end. I remember the song about the “lazy hazy days of summer”, but somehow that just does not apply to this past summer at all. It’s been an eventful summer for nearly everyone I’ve talked with and the pace seems to show no signs of letting up. Since the changes going on are all good news in one form or another I say let’s keep it up!
As you know by now I have released my CD entitled “This Is Chris Mentch” this past month and it is available on I Tunes and just about every other entertainment media services known to man for those interested in the musical facet of As I See It. It is a personal treat to write, record and share this work with you. I was fortunate to work with very talented musicians and producers and simply love the chance to share it all with you. Music is perhaps the most powerful manner of communication so no collection of work meant to touch or inspire would be complete without that musical component. I am trying to touch the heart and spirit with the entire body of work that is As I See It, so whatever the topic, it needs to be addressed in the language of the soul; from my heart to yours.
This past month we also celebrate the kinship of As I See It with The Wild Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary director Mr. Pat Craig gave a warm welcome and support to the release of the album and to As I See It and was also kind enough to allow us to post links between our websites. This is a seminal moment indeed for it is a shining example of the tenacity of the human heart to constantly seek out and embrace compassion and compassionate people. This is how single voices become a chorus, in rather short order, all on the wings of a simple yet profound idea; to deliver desperate souls from a life of despair to a loving home with a bright future and to give a voice to those who perhaps have no voice in this world at all. It is with great pride and a joyous heart that we support the people and the spirit of The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Keep up the lovely work my dear friends!
The month of August also has As I See It beginning a series of short videos on You Tube as we continue to explore other creative outlets to compliment our efforts here. I am excited about the future I see as we broaden the creative facets and find still more opportunities to share. I hope you find this continuing journey a complete pleasure.
I will be posting new material both lyrics and poems this fall so please check in again soon and let us know your thoughts.
28 Jul 2013
Hello everyone and let me start by saying thank you so much for your wonderful responses to As I See It! Your comments have been as generous and complimentary as they have been insightful. I am grateful for your time and the unique perspective each of you bring to the larger conversation. Some of you have been a bit shy about posting to the comments page, but there is no need to be shy here. The comments page is for everyone who would like to join in the discussion, that broad perspective can benefit all who visit. I am gratified to find that As I See It has found a home in each of you.
This month, as you know by now, we have announced that we will release my CD in August on iTunes and other entertainment services. The CD is a cross-section of material in that it contains acoustic, electric, unplugged and full band songs. It represents the first musical facet of As I See It, and since I wrote all the material, the writing style may seem familiar; however, the content is fresh. I was proud to work with a number of fine musicians and two fantastic studio producers in Mr. Pratt and Mr. Order. We hope you enjoy the collection and you know where to post your feedback.
I’m glad to see that on the poetry side of the site, you enjoyed the range covered by the first full wave of pieces. Ships in Bottles, for example, seemed to resonate with folks who at some point in their lives where carrying some burden and often not knowing where to turn for help, until some event or person made a difference in their situation or self-perception. Whatever was the catalyst, what they remembered was the person or situation and the feeling of release and joy that in an instant made all things seem new again. I had a stand-out experience of my own a few years ago as well, so in the interest in getting things rolling in our chat let me share that with you now.
I was at a local grocery store here in Southern California, standing in the checkout line of my favorite cashier, Jan. (Doesn’t everybody have a favorite cashier?) Ahead of me was an elderly woman who was having her treasures rung up as she fuddled in her purse for her checkbook. This to the chagrin of the folks behind me, glaring back and forth franticly at her, then back again at their watches! There must have been something very exciting goin’ on somewhere that I didn’t know about because everyone was in a rush, armed with fast track paying plastic of every breed at the ready for warp speed checkout. I noticed that this lady was buying an inordinate amount of beef, steaks, chicken, all sorts of barbeque trimmings as well as candy, cakes and on and on. I thought if it was all for her she would surely explode! I also noticed that despite the large volume of groceries, that there was no husband around or any helper at all. I thought, maybe she’s a widow. Perhaps a bit lonely, and throwing a party to get family together. It was then, that no sooner than I got an idea in my head, that cashier Jan through me a look that said she knew I was up to something. She could see the wheels turning in my head as I slowly pulled the divider from between the lady’s groceries and mine with the skill and guile of Copperfield. She noticed nothing as she had nearly rescued her checkbook from the very bowels of her handbag. Jan shook her head and smiled and continued to ring things through, the woman’s items then mine. Jan knew because I have a bit of a history for such hijinks, and I thought that if I ever do a video for my song “These Fences” I’m putting this scene in! Finally, both her and my items were totaled. By now she had found her checkbook! She looked up at Jan, Jan looked at me, I looked at her and the people behind me looked back at their watches! It was like the scene in an old western just before a shootout. I said, ” my name is Chris and if you don’t mind I’d like to buy those things for you today”. She looked at me, a total stranger as if I had lost my mind. Then her expression warmed to me and the idea. An eternity passed in the next two minutes as I am sure the watches on the folks behind me just stopped. She said, her voice breaking under the weight of a tear that then fell from her eye, “that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” She asked what’s my name again and I told her that that wasn’t important but what was important was that, “you don’t eat all of that at once, just pace yourself, OK?” Her tears yielded to a smile and another of my grocery store favorites, Lauren, finished bagging the woman’s things. (Everybody has a favorite grocery store bagger, right?) I went back there a few weeks later and the women had taken the trouble to leave a card for Jan and Lauren to give to me as a thank you. That day, I was the one with the tear in the eye.
I suppose everyday we all have the chance to be the “Child King of One Kind Deed” like the character in Ships in Bottles, with the ability to make all things new again for a stranger with one simple but meaningful act. Kinda makes you feel powerful doesn’t it? Well, it should. You are powerful! As long as you have a choice and you keep your brighter angels within reach, you can be the King or Queen for a Day! So choose wisely.
So, let me close out here by thanking you in advance for all the things I’m about to learn from your experiences. All your comments and conversation on the material and how it relates to you or your lives or anything at all that comes to mind as you read or listen is fair game. No judging here. I eagerly look forward to hearing from you all in the new “Your Voices” page, and until then, of course, Peace.
26 Jul 2013
Chris’ first monthly review and responses to visitor comments is coming soon.