It’s a GIANT subject… as much as I believe ‘school’ can be an extremely valuable tool for a joyful, fulfilling life, as a mentor/coach, one of the most common exercises I have to undertake with clients is dissolving the toxic conditioning that the typical North American ‘school system’ (I’m in Canada) has embedded: the freakily consistent “scarcity mindset”, arbitrary competition, and ridiculously limiting if not discriminatory definitions of success that stick stronger than any other cultural and familial influences.
Society and parents have accountability here too, however, I believe our reliance on ‘school’ as the default and primary ‘educator’ of our children on-mass without prioritizing the bigger picture of nurturing an individual’s ‘life’ journey, emphasizes too much: “if I win then you must have to lose – and settle for lesser than”. This creates a foundation of “lack” from which the 80% of kids identifying as “average or below” will always be behind the eight ball, regardless of the fact that the table never did have enough colourful balls (ie subjects and learning styles) to choose from and thereby enter the game evenly.
In reality, there is enough for everyone. “YOU ARE ENOUGH” – always – to take the next step towards whatever you want. Are there limits to what fruits your choices might come to bear? Sure!! But I’m betting, if you’ve entered an arena to explore interests, abilities and joy- with no one judging outcomes or emphasizing hierarchies, then you will exit it whenever it’s revealed that its potential no longer meets your personal goals (of say income, advancement or fulfillment)… and then, you’ll naturally course-correct to a new task/goal: happily!
Education: I’m all for it. The common North American school model?: its fostering of a ‘scarcity’ mindset puts it in my ‘Top 3’ biggest contributors to stress, ill-health and our struggling personal and worldwide economies.
Last time, I featured quotes from the late great and Canadian-born poet, songwriter/singer and all-round profound, interesting, thoughtful, provocateur Leonard Cohen. As a fellow Canadian, I was so proud that Leonard’s life of curiosity, observation, and vulnerability to openly express his perspective was due in large part to the rights and privilege of freedom that Canadians both feel and experience.
That was my patriotic auto-view of Canada in the heartfelt aftermath of Cohen’s passing, anyway, and while it’s not wrong – in fact it’s quite true, I know from being a life-coach that our national freedoms are also habitually strangled with socio-cultural conditioning. Superficial, stifling definitions of success pervasive in this ‘true north’ promotes comparison instead of mutually supported authenticity, breeding a norm of separation, fear and lack: common to many countries without our said ‘freedoms’.
As a life-long student of human behaviour, studying both the trends and research affecting us more intensively over the past twenty years or so, I do feel that the momentum of arbitrary values and dysfunctional conditioning (perpetuated predominantly via our archaic and misdirected ‘education’ system) has taken a shift: people are not buying into the old stereotypes of what constitutes happiness, and in fact, can see more clearly the paths leading us directly into rampant anxiety, depression, chronic boredom and unfulfillment. While boomers and GenXers have pretty much learned the lessons via a ‘crash & burn’ back into the calm and power of their inherently perfect selves, it gives me great hope to see that the biggest champions of this movement are now coming instinctually from a sub-section of our YOUTH. Whew! Whether they are being nurtured more consciously (please please please!!!), witnessed their elders’ craziness and said nuh-uh, not for me, or are indeed just intuitively tapping inner-wisdom – a natural deflector of bullshit, I thank the universe for this new breed of poets, singer/songwriters such as Canadian Alessia Cara who are unapologetically just: BE-ing, and modelling and communicating increasing safety for this burgeoning reclamation of simplicity to our kids – hell, to all of us!!
With pure relief that Cohen is not the ‘beginning-of-the-end’ of a breed of truly galvanizing Canadian poet/philosopher genre of songwriters, here’s a sampling of some quotes and lyrics expressed in twenty year old (as of May ’17) Alessia’s music: from where she gets her wisdom I am curious – but mostly grateful! I just want to support her to keep on growing within her own curiosity and expression – wherever that may take her. I look forward to the inspiration she brings to me – but should her view and mine ever part ways: I will remain excited for her journey and simply leave the party with a: Thanks for sharing, Alessia! Then I’ll be over there.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
I gain no financial benefit from highly encouraging you to support Alessia’s journey and to purchase her debut album “Know-It-All”!
Oh who am I kidding: any healthy, inspiring music/lyrics bringing hope and modelling “be your best you” without judgement, such as Alessia’s, are going to bring HUGE wealth to us all… trickling right on down to our pocket books – make no mistake about that!
Tune in to find my peace and solitude
These empty rooms spin, and I embrace the flaws of being human
The black and white… and sometimes the greys that stay for days
The in between time
The meantime that make this song of life sing
Play, rest, repeat, read exactly what is written on the sheet
“Don’t deviate, ” they say
But I will play what’s best for me
I’ll press the keys and pull the strings
Create a symphony that’s mine
“Scars To Your Beautiful”
She has dreams to be an envy, so she’s starving
You know, “Covergirls eat nothing.”
She says, “Beauty is pain and there’s beauty in everything.”
“What’s a little bit of hunger?”
“I can go a little while longer,” she fades away
She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it
Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface
Ah oh, ah ah oh,
So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within
Excuse me if I seem a little unimpressed with this
An anti-social pessimist but usually I don’t mess with this
And I know you mean only the best and
Your intentions aren’t to bother me
But honestly I’d rather be
Somewhere with my people we can kick it and just listen
To some music with the message (like we usually do)
And we’ll discuss our big dreams
How we plan to take over the planet
So pardon my manners, I hope you’ll understand it
That I’ll be here
Not there in the kitchen with the girl
Who’s always gossiping about her friends
So tell them I’ll be here
Right next to the boy who’s throwing up ’cause
He can’t take what’s in his cup no more
Oh God why am I here?
So much on my mind, I think I think too much
Read between these lines, unspoken weight of words
But time comes to rest when you are by my side, it blurs
Lay in my arms, why won’t you?
It’s been way too long / What you waiting on?
Cause I’ve been laying here
Learning what the memories won’t do
Oh and I overdose / Boy I want off of this roller coaster
You take me high just to bring me down
Oh, and you bring me down
Some nerve you have
To break up my lonely
And tell me you want me
How dare you march into my heart?
Oh, how rude of you
To ruin my miserable
And tell me I’m beautiful
‘Cause I wasn’t looking for love, no
And give a listen to “Seventeen”
(Did you have that maturity at her age: not me, that’s for sure! And if you actually read the above Know-It-All graphic/quote, I love her and this song even more!!)
Leonard Cohen…. poet, musician, songwriter, singer, novelist, painter, Buddhist monk, father… icon. As a fellow Canadian, I have tapped into the soul of this man to help me define the country, life and spirit that I want for myself: free, diverse… depth as it’s richness, strength through honouring vulnerability… simple, humble and completely wide-open to the power, joy, tragedy and dance of love. I don’t know exactly how I tuned into Leonard’s music in my teens: it was not ‘easy listening’ or the pop/rock that I generally gravitated towards- and his musical style can be an acquired taste. But I have always been a lyrics freak, and there is almost no better lyricist/poet than he; and although I know I wasn’t hearing the simple truths and metaphoric wisdom in his words initially: something in his soul hooked me. As I matured and gained life experience, I increasing- almost spookily – connected intimately to Leonard’s songs; the man became a poetry/musical deity in my eyes, and a true beacon of calm and light – even in his mania and darkness.
His passing on November 7, 2016 (age 82) was sad indeed, but really to my view, his legacy of his unapologetically and vulnerably explored, expressed and documented thoughts and feelings, giving us all safe-haven and complete permission to be our own beautifully unique and imperfect selves is really what a well-lived life is about – and there is NO sadness in that.
Google ‘Leonard Cohen quotes’ and just try- TRY and pick out your top 10: it’s IMPOSSIBLE!!! The more you remind yourself (or discover) the power of his words, and feel the resonance of his perspective… the longer you will spend surfing… and surfing…and surfing ALL things Leonard! Bet ya!!!
Well… here’s a few to start……….. do yourself a favour and start googling!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
“I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.”
“Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made of flesh.”
“Prayer is translation.
A man translates himself into a child asking for
all there is in a language he has barely mastered.”
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows the captain lied.
Everybody got this broken feeling, like their father or their dog just died.
Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates and a long-stem rose.
“At the very center of our culture is a crucified man,
a tortured man hanging on a cross of wood.
You have an image of violence at the very
center of our spiritual investigation.”
Well, you know, there’s “depression” and ‘depression’.
What I mean by depression in my own case is, that depression isn’t just the blues.
It’s not just like I have a hangover in the weekend … the girl didn’t show up or something like that. It isn’t that.
It’s not really depression, it’s a kind of mental violence which stops you from functioning properly from one moment to the next. You lose something somewhere and suddenly you’re gripped by a kind of angst of the heart and of the spirit.
“To keep our hearts open is probably the most
urgent responsibility you have as you get older.”
I see people allowing their lives to diminish, to become shallow, so they can’t enjoy the deep wells of experience. Maybe it’s always been this way, when the heart tends to shut down. If only the heart shut down and there were no repercussions, it would be O.K., but when the heart shuts down, the whole system goes into a kind of despair that is intolerable
“It’s the notion that there is no perfection – that there is a broken world
and we live with broken hearts and broken lives but still there is no alibi
for anything. On the contrary, you have to stand up and say
‘hallelujah’ under those circumstances.”
“All of us are footnotes to the words of Chuck Berry
If Beethoven hadn’t rolled over, there’d be no room for any of us.”
“The real weapons of mass destruction are the
hardened hearts of humanity”
(March 30, 2007)
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Okay…. maybe just one music video…
From 2016 Juno Award Winning Album of the Year (to go along with “Songwriter of the Year” accolades!): Travelling Light
(drop me a note if the video link is broken and I’ll upload from my own stash! thnx!)