Neighbors

The message of Father O’Donnell one Sunday morning had hit the spot, as the old Irish priest like to say. There was more than one parishioner squirming in their seat as he explained the true meaning behind ‘loving thy neighbor as thyself’.

He had been at pains to stretch the commonly held view of the term ‘neighbor’… turning the good Samaritan story into one of race, politics, gender, age and social standing, so much so that the person in trouble could have been anyone alive today… as could the person who reaches out to lend a helping hand.

Father O’Donnell returned to his modest villa on the outskirts of San Antonio believing that he had done all he could to explain this simple but most important piece of the gospel pie.

But as we know good reader it’s not what is said that matters, but what is heard.

Mrs Jones always sat on the front row of the Church. On that particular morning she had managed to drag Mr Jones along too and it was he who gave his good wife of 30 years a nudge in the ribs at the mention of loving thy neighbor.

You see, Mrs Jones had been at war with just about every neighbor in their street… for years. It could have been an argument over a fence that was too tall, a hedge that had over grown into the Jones yard, a garden or front lawn that had gone to seed, a political sign posted in a window promoting the ‘other’ party, the noise of other people’s kids playing in the street, the wafting odors of foreign cuisine, the barking of a dog, the dumping of rubbish in the local park, a late night party or two or, anyone who smoked, drank alcohol or cussed in public.

Not a regular Church goer by any means, Mr Jones liked the message so much that he considered coming back next week. On the drive home he turned to Mrs Jones and said, “And how is it you intend to reconcile yourself with any of our neighbors my dear. Shall we be the good Samaritans and reach out…”

But before he could utter another word, Mrs Jones interjected. “Father O’Donnell didn’t mention anyone like the people on our street. Not a soul. Let’s be clear. The message was for other’s who don’t yet know how to love their neighbors. Not us! My conscious is clear on that matter. Now, what shall we have for lunch.”

Sunday Afternoon’s

A pleasant Sunday afternoon, when not gigging or on tour, is to lay down on the lounge in the living room and, read a good book. As a rule, I read just about anything, but the Sunday read has to be one of a lighter nature; a Spike Milligan memoir, a spy thriller, A Rumple of the Bailey short story or, a who dun-nit.

If the week has been overloaded with work, meetings, people visits, gigs and ‘late nights’ then I’ll read but a few pages before I fall into the best of sleeps. I think this may have been why God invented Sunday’s… so that we could drift off into that beautiful dreamy sleep world… a realm in which the sub conscious rules supreme. These are the happiest of times and I wish more days would leave me feeling as relaxed and ‘glad to be alive’ as my Sunday arvo’s do.

Like the proverbial cat, I may sleep for just a minute, before waking briefly to the sound of a passing car, the ring of telephone, the noisy upstairs neighbor, before dozing off again, returning to my favorite town of Neverland.

I don’t need more than 15-20 minutes to find that ‘all is well in the world’ feeling and, for some time after, I carry with me a notion that I have been somewhere special.

It is in the waking from these cat naps that my eyes open to the shapes on the ceiling. My sub conscious still in charge, my child like imagination sees a world unfold above me. Were the plasterers of the 30’s aware of their handiwork? Were they leaving messages for some sleepy eyed musician in the next century to interpret? Is there something I am meant to do with all this information… write a song, tweet the president… or just relax and enjoy.

Right above me I see a lion in roaring motion. Looking into the face of the roaring lion and, very much unperturbed, I must say, is Leprechaun with a very long chin and a tall pointy hat… oh maybe he’s supposed to be Merlin, for I now see a very wobbly wand in his right hand. If I told my head to the right, the Lion looks more like a dolphin with the tail of a horse. The Leprechaun already knew that I guess… which was why he wasn’t worried about the toothy snarl of the Lion… which was really a Dolphin. I think it’s a mermaid who’s under the dolphin. Well that would make sense. But the Mermaid’s tail, if I tilt my head to the left is a bird in full flight. Oh there so much to ponder and… enjoy.

I wonder, is every ceiling a stage, on which men, woman, lions, leprechauns and dolphins are merely players?

I’ve only examined but a square foot of the ceiling when there’s a knock on the door.

My delightful sojourn into my very own Peter Pan moment is at an end.

Till next Sunday afternoon.

Take Some Chopin With Your Tea

Of course, I don’t need any convincing as to the power of music but when I read this piece on the brain in The New Yorker (the level of my bathroom reading has reached new heights of late)… I knew that I had to share  this with y’all.

It turns out, that when Dr Shewmon entered college (Harvard) he was an avowed atheist, but one morning, while listening to Chopin’s Trois Nouvelles Études No.2 in his dorm room he had an epiphany. The music had lifted him into such a state of ecstasy that he no longer thought it possible that all conscious experience, particularly one’s perception of beauty, could be (as is taught in 99.99% of medical universities around the world) a ‘mere electrophysiological epiphenomenon’. The music, you see, had transcended for him “all of the spiritual limitations of matter.”

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Shewmon would convert to Catholicism to study Aristotelian-Thomastic philosophy and, for the past 20 years or more, he has been, not just one of the world’s leading neurologists, but an annoying pebble in the shoes of all the ’sensible’ doctors and scientists in his field.

If you are in need of an epiphany yourself, may I prescribe a course of Chopin and then perhaps a long walk in the woods.

Fondue for the Soul

As our Party for the Soul tour continues, we are heading north to partner with our friends in Switzerland. From Dec 1st through to Jan 11 (2017) we will be ‘doing our thing’ in bars, clubs, Churches up and down the country… with a few impromptu House concerts thrown in for our very generous hosts… and anyone game enough to invite us in. With more events to be confirmed…

Here’s a little taste of some (very live) Fondue for the Soul…

 

Let it Go-‘Live’

I have been taking the “Let it Go” show on the road of late as part of the Identity Series.

Synopsis: In His presence… as I begin to let go of who I think I am, of the hurts and struggles of the past, of the sins of my father and the guilt and disappointments that have held captive my heart… I make room for the real me to emerge. Like Lazarus materializing from the tomb, once strangled by that deathly shroud of the old man, of my old ways, I come alive… I am reborn… to be the person I was always meant to be… the precious child God knew before I was born.  Jer 1:5 “Before you were born I knew you…”

This is a process of healing that begins in worship and continues with the learned prayer practices of Letting Go… of casting not just my cares upon the Lord but everything that keeps me in that prison of false or misshapen identity.

The Closer I am to Him, the closer I am to myself… the closer I am to myself… the closer I am to Him.

Here’s a video of a live session from CBC, the Church family that helped us move to California back in 93.

My bit starts at 4:41.

Cheers.

 

Let It Go from Capo Beach Church on Vimeo.

November 8, 2015
Chris Falson

A Piece of the Puzzle

I was thinking today of the deep sense of belonging I have when, after I am able to find the quietness in me, I can be still long enough to ‘enter’ God’s presence. All I need is a moment, and the weight of the world falls from my shoulders and I remember once again who I am… and that I have some value… and an important job to do.

 

I am not sure what your typical day looks like but mine is mostly one of chaos in which I am constantly battling my way through a jungle of work, stress, finances, emotional ups and downs, fatigue, ‘getting older’, other people’s expectations of me and my own distorted view of the path ahead.

 

When David so beautifully wrote “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…” he knew what he was talking about.
We are each designed to be an important part of a puzzle… of God’s great plan. The plan doesn’t make sense unless all the pieces of the puzzle are in place.
I need you to be you as much as you need me to be me.
We spend so much of our time not really knowing who we are or believing the lie that we don’t have anything of value to offer our community… and or we see more value in another and so then we try to be like him or her… and that doesn’t work… no matter how hard we try.This is why… the one moment alone with our “Dad’ is so imperative.
Without water we dehydrate, without oxygen we suffocate, and without some aloneness with His spirit we depreciate our own spirit, our identity and our value to each other.
So please do me a favor will you… put down your phone… and take a stroll along the beach or sit for a few minutes in the garden or hide yourself away in the attic, or turn off the car radio on your way home from the office… and be silent and try to enter that mysterious place of welcome, of identity, of permission… to be encouraged, to be reminded of the simplicity of who you are and how valuable you are to the rest of us.
I need you.
Cheers,
Chris

 

A Simple Practice of Letting Go

Cast all your cares upon him for he cares deeply about you.

Its a great little passage of new testament scripture but used more often than not as a cliche or throw away line from a ‘sincere’ care giver.

But this casting or letting go of ‘our cares and woes’ is a method that counselors and therapists  have used for centuries in the treatment of emotional and mental afflictions.

In essence, Jesus is offering to be our counselor… our therapist. An offer you should seriously consider… his rates are quite reasonable.

Here is a little prayer practice of mine that I use in my own quiet times and in larger group training sessions on identity and creativity.

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I’m Stuffed

Water-pourImagine your life as a bottle of water… full to the brim.

But you want more… more of everything…

The thing is… there is no room for anything more. You are full up.

May I suggest you pour out a little of your ‘self’ from the bottle… and make room for something new and fresh to ‘drop in’.

 

Falling in Love Again

A story of escaping the prison of professionalism after finding love inside the music.

I was raised to be a professional musician. To play all the right notes at the right time. Nothing more and nothing less. Do the job, take the money and move on to the next gig.Barry-300x300

Like a coal miner’s son I was born into a trade and a tribe that I would serve, through good times and bad for the rest of my days. They’d bury me with my guitar and my union card.

I had a dinner suit for the bigger clubs and casino shows, blue jeans, black T’s and doc martins for the smaller pubs and seedier clubs, an array of guitars and amps, skills and ‘guitar licks’ enough in the genre’s of jazz, blues, rock and country music to make a decent living. After several hundred club gigs I graduated up into the recording studio brotherhood and, as a professional I was on time, I played my parts proficiently and I got the job done.  I continued to rise through the ranks and soon I was performing on network Television.

I had made it and as much as a guitar player can be, I was model professional.

Now and then in the midst of this professional journey I would be foolish and play music for fun… on my own of course, in a room somewhere private… where no one could hear me… and I would fall upon little treasures that I didn’t understand or know what to do with… and so, I would keep them to myself and then go off onto my next professional gig, keep my head down and do my job.

But, like a child reading his first Agatha Christie novel… I could not put ‘the book’ down… or stay away from my closet musings with my guitar and these little noodlings or melodies of childlike lyrics… all of which… was very unlike the professional I was trained to be. For, without realizing it, I was falling in love… with music and these simple little musical ideas and chordal shapes.

imgres-2I would stumble upon a basic uncomplicated chord progression and begin to imagine a rock pool or a mountain stream and I would sit there and let the peace wash over me. Then I would hear someone walking down the hall towards my hideout and I would hurriedly put my guitar away as if I had been caught doing something naughty.

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Too Good to be True

summer-reading-006

Have you ever been offered a job that seemed too good to be true?

One organization chased me for years, wanting me to take on the role of their creative director. The job would have required me to uproot my family and move again… this time out of LA… away from where I believed I was meant to be.
After each polite refusal these guys would offer more  money and bigger perks.

Their last offer was kind of crazy…”They would pay me $150k per year plus a large deposit on a house of my choosing and all I had to do was be an influence over the creative team… I didn’t have to do any specific work or show up at any given time…

“Please… just live amongst us!”

I said no…  It was just too good to be true.

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