An Ancient Proverb Which I Just Made Up

For the runners:

Ancient proverb says, ‘when lightning strikes, second mile will be faster than first!’

Actually, now that I think about it, that’s for all of us. Life can move us along sometimes, can it not?

Clear Intentions in Songs and Life

The best songs are transparent. The level of complexity may vary, and there’s a spectrum of literal to abstract, but with the good stuff you can always feel a clear intention. As in music, so in life.

“you were my best four years” — literal
“one particular harbor” — picture
“seasons will pass you by; I get up, I get down” — evocative

All so different, all so beautiful. Like our lives.

Habits: They’re Not Just for Nuns Anymore!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Does that work for you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me too.

Perhaps there’s another way to think about it. Let’s try this:

Short term – goals rule. Long haul – systems will get you there. Both are important, neither is sufficient by itself.

Is there a practical link between the two? Something you can do right now that will generate better results? Glad you asked! It’s actually very simple.

Let’s all do this in 2018:

1. Create five affirmations of constructive habits in the form of gratitude statements.
2. Speak them morning, noon and night.
3. Actually do the hard work that leads to transformation. Ha! I promised simple, not easy. I also promise that it’s worth it.

That’s it! Let’s do this thing, and I’ll meet you back here in January of 2019 for a celebration of our success.

Here are my 2018 statements. I’d love to hear yours.

1. I am grateful for healthy habits.

2. I am grateful for the habit of speaking kind and loving words.

3. I am grateful for the habit of prospering.

4. I am grateful for the habit of expressing appreciation.

5. I am grateful for the habit of trusting God.

Mighty blessings my friends for a wondrous 2018!

P.S. Bonus affirmation in a slightly different form: ‘more outdoors, less internet.’
Can I get an amen?

Carry Me, Carry You

A lot of Boomer generation folks are finally waking up to the idea that we’re going to, yes, die. I don’t know if we were the first generation to think we were immortal, but we certainly have tried to extend our childhoods as far as possible. That’s over now, as we see our parents through their last phases and find ourselves burying friends, too many friends, our own age.

I can be a selfish man, I admit it, but in these days I’m finding that the idea of serving is coming forward a little more, and I’m gradually letting go of me. The perennial Boomer question, ‘what do I really want?’ is being supplanted by a different question: ‘God, what do you want?’ Hey, I’m as surprised as anyone! But grace beckons and you know what? It’s a relief.

The beautiful little irony is that “putting away childish things” opens up more freedom to be childlike instead. Born again, indeed. Thank you, God.

Click here for sheet music. All rights reserved, but feel free to play it and sing it! Just please give credit, and let me know how you like it. Mighty blessings.

Carry Me, Carry You

Christmas Spirit, Come Tonight

(c) 2017 Mike Davis

It’s Christmas Eve and all we need
is a blessing for this house
Peace and plenty is what we see
for everyone … for everyone

so Christmas Spirit come tonight
bring us love and light
and bless this, bless this world, holy world

We are waiting for love tonight
to be the blessing of this house
We are ready to hold and shine the light
for everyone

so Christmas Spirit come tonight
bring us joy and light
and bless this, bless this world, holy world

Christmas Spirit come tonight
bring us peace and light
and bless this, bless this world, holy world
our holy home

Hold us in your arms
Be the loving arms

Christmas Spirit come tonight
bring us love and light
and bless this, bless this world, holy world

The Child Who Changed the World

(c)2016 MikeDavis

Now let us greet this lovely child who will
change us all forever
Peaceful and still, the night is ready
for the child who changed the world

He shows the way, no greater love
could ever be imagined
the scene is set, our souls await
the child who will change the world

Love has come here tonight
we open our hearts to the light
We welcome the light, welcome the light!

Now be the light, be that lovely child
who will change the world forever
The night is still, the light so quiet
Go change the world

be the child who changed the world

you are the . . .

Christmas Is Love (Amor Real)

(c) 2014 Mike Davis

Christmas time is the perfect time
to welcome the light
and remember that love will never leave us
The stars and the moon in that cold night sky;
the baby’s eyes so bright
and his mother smiling, knowing
that love has come tonight

Real love, real love by the light of that star
Amor real, such a beautiful, beautiful child
Amor real, a la luz del sol divino
Christmas is love. Love and light

Long time ago the stage was set
in the beginning was the word
The wonder and the mystery of all that is
In the vastness of the universe,
in the quiet of the void
the world stood still for an eternity,
and the sound of love was heard

Amor real, a la luz del sol divino
Christmas is love. Love and light

Someday soon we’ll see the truth
that love is all there is
And the glory of the light that shines
will show us the way

Sweet baby Jesus lead us,
we will follow your light
such a beautiful, beautiful child;
such a beautiful night

Christmas is love. Love and light
Christmas is love. Love and light
Beautiful child, be the light of love

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Imagine that you’re a young author. You’ve had a couple of successes, but lately you’ve had a series of flops. Your publishers are threatening to drop you. You have a big family and a lot of overhead. You’re in debt up to your ass, and Christmas is six weeks away. You’re desperately casting around for a book idea, something that you can write in time for the holiday. And oh yeah, you’ve got to self publish. Uh oh! You’re gonna have to borrow some more money. You’re cutting it exceedingly close here: it’s make or break time for real.

The really tough part is that you’re blocked creatively at the moment. Your past, present and future are haunting you (foreshadowing type hint, ahem) and there seems to be some kind of magical realism drama playing out around you: your friends and family, everyone you meet, really, start showing up in the guise of, well, spiritual beings in human form. Are they real? Are they specters, ghosts and phantasms? Never mind, they’re pretty interesting, and every one of them has a message for you. Write them into the book!

I won’t go any farther than that. Suffice it to say, this movie does not end like you might expect. It made me want to stand up and cheer, though, I will say that.

Ok, one little hint: it brings a new and much more profound meaning to the phrase “God bless us everyone!”

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Songs As Buildings

One of the endless and enduring fascinations of my life has to do with the structures of songs.

Songs are like little buildings: some of them are airtight and graceful with smooth lines and a floor plan that makes practical sense. Beatles, Motown.

Some songs follow a dramatic arc rather than a traditional song form because they’re in service to a story. LeMis and all its brothers and sisters. And you can call me crazy, but I think of Buffett and Springsteen as the bridge there. They create what are essentially miniature short stories using simple song forms.

Some songs are more on the hodge-podge plan, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, among others, have written some songs whose floor plans meandered about like a crazy gingerbread house or the country cabin in Wheeling that your uncle has been adding on to for years. They were great songs, of course. YES or Bela Fleck? Forget about it. Greater still, and you needed a map to get through them. As a matter of fact, it’s not a coincidence that musicians refer to the form of songs as the road map.

After all, if you’re a musician and you find yourself in a playing situation where someone puts a new chart (musician speak for sheet music) in front of you, what’s the first thing you do? Scan the road map.

You want to see where the various sections lie, which parts repeat, and whether there might be any unusual little signposts along the way, or maybe a musical snare or tricky turn to trip up the unwary.

It becomes second nature after a while, and for a working stiff musician like me who’s spent much of his life playing pop, rock, jazz and country music in a bunch of situations, a knowledge of the architecture of songs is an essential.

Did I just mix my metaphors? Never mind — architecture, road maps, it’s all good, and the rules of songwriting are more like the pirate’s code from those Johnny Depp movies. You know, more like a guideline, really. Shit, I did it again.