Stephen's Stirrings

Writings, songs, poems, thoughts, opinions, visions

The Climb To Higher Consciousness

The Calling

There comes an inner impulse
A stirring of the soul
A kind of divine disturbance
A challenge of the heart
Which calls for a broader vision
A wider horizon
A deeper inquiry
A questioning of the prevailing paradigm
An unveiling of the concealed
A quest revealed
A course correction
A path selection
A choice upon deep reflection
Where the voice of guidance 
Gives undeniable direction
Calling for surrendered liberation
As an instrument of inspiration

 

The Climb To Higher Consciousness

We are all instruments of inspiration. To be inspired means to breathe in spirit. The question is, what do we do with that spirit? We are called to climb to a higher consciousness. It is like a divine magnetic pull, we all have it – Spirit will guide us when we are open to it. But we all don’t recognize it and act upon it. To act upon it means to enter into practices such as yoga and meditation, which lead us to that opening where spirit can guide us. The practice in yoga terms is called “Sadhana.” One can never achieve mastery without practice. A master is master of practice. There’s a great menu of practices that come from all religious and philosophical traditions. We are here like students on scholarship, and the scholarship includes breath, heartbeat, body and consciousness. The curriculum is trial and error, and the great teacher is experience. We grow through our experiences and as we tune into our higher consciousness, we learn to be of service to others and to the planet and we gain in fulfillment, love and peace.

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Escaping the Loop of Violence

In driving around Los Angeles recently, it was astounding to see how many blaring billboards and public advertisements there are promoting films and TV shows that are absolutely filled with violence, rage, animosity, cruelty, hate, horror, and abject nastiness. Why is our society so stuck on violence and why do we continue to promote and perpetuate violence? Violence sells? I don’t believe for a minute that human beings are inherently violent. No child is born violent. I believe that violence is a learned behavior and a reactivity based on traumatic imprints that have overwhelmed the love, goodness, and the instincts for nurturing, kindness, caring and holding each other that we are naturally born with.  We have become so addicted and overtaken by our penchant for blood and cruelty that we have developed a psychosis that manifests itself in allocating huge budgets, creativity and resources which result in such egregious exploitative outpourings where greed and the dollar wins. And this reflects the madness of the military/industrial/corporate complex keeping the world mired in continual instability, fear, war and violence. We are stuck in a loop of ignorance, greed, and fear manifesting a mirror back to us and then magnifying that reflection back again and again in perpetual self-defining. The question is, can humanity escape this loop before it destroys us all as we are destroying our own life-support system; the Earth? The answer begins within each and every one of us in a commitment to non-violence, peacemaking, and earth stewardship as a way of life, and extends through our families, communities, nations and world. Only a loving and compassionate response can heal ourselves individually and collectively. This begins with a devoted commitment within each individual for deep self-examination and healing and extends into the collective consciousness of humanity. Non-violence is an educated, compassionate choice based in love.  It offers a powerful response to the world’s problems. Non-violence reflected in public policy requires emotional restraint, correct information, clear-minded intention, spiritual empowerment and appropriate strategic action in impactful, public ways,  which can help change the prevailing paradigm.  It must have a basis in integrity of conscience, respect for basic human values and rights, and a spiritual attunement that connects us in a common heart. The spiritual journey is the journey to a more loving consciousness. In this journey we learn to recognize, amend and delete our emotional packed dysfunction, stabilize ourselves in healing process, and rethink, readjust and reinvent the basic way in which we live in this world. Violence must no longer be an option.  We must stop promoting and glorifying violence. We must learn how to talk to each other across our differences in nonviolent, respectful ways that allow for better understanding, forgiveness, and reasonable, non-violent resolution. We must do this to move forward into a new paradigm of a peaceful, abundant, sustainable future. We must do it for our collective well-being. We must do this for our planetary survival. This new paradigm includes a transformation of the basic root assumptions and narratives of our civilization, a transformation that moves from.

  • Fear to faith
  • Hate to love
  • Greed to generosity
  • Subjugation to liberation
  • Victim-hood to wholeness
  • Selfishness to service
  • Exploitation to stewardship
  • Mine to ours
  • Shame to grace
  • Blame to forgiveness
  • Violence to nonviolence
  • War to peace

Human beings have the capacity to change, to redefine and rediscover who we are. We are blessed with breath, with heartbeat, with the ability to think and reason, to envision and build, to transcend and transform old patterns, and, to love. We have been given all the capacities, all the resources to live abundantly and peacefully in this world. Mother Teresa has said, “If there is no peace in the world, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” We are placed here to be together, to support and help each other grow and reach the fulfillment and blossoming of our lives. In this journey we find our higher self, we find God, however we individually or collectively define that divine presence. And in God—called by any name or no name—there is love, there is one humanity, there is one people, one planet, one heart that transcends differences, overcomes walls and brings us together in the common ground of this shared planet and shared humanity. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” —    Rachel Carson, Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson *Portions of this blog are excerpted from two of my books, The Art of Peace, and upcoming The Call to Interfaith.

About the Rain

raindrops

We in California are so thankful for the rain; desperately needed. We are, after all, mostly water. Our clean water, air and land are essential to our survival and sustainable future. The rain wakes us up, cleanses us, replenishes us and brings us to life. We, as a human species, need a good dose of awakening to pull us out of the depths that we have fallen.

A Prayer
By SLF

Soothe me wind
Wash me rain
Nourish me soil
Shine on me sun
Plant me Lord
That I may grow in the garden
Of Thy Heavenly Grace

Close Guantanamo Music Video, Dedicated to Pete Seeger

Dear Friends,

Here is a music video project, Close Guantanamo, which I have just completed with videographer Robert Corsini. The project is based upon the song, Guantanamera (I have changed the lyrics to fit the cause), and is dedicated to Pete Seeger.

I only had the privilege of meeting Pete Seeger a couple times, but his life, presence and way of delivering songs made a lasting impression upon me and I have modeled much of my performance style after him. This project would be something that I’m sure he might do himself, or support and endorse. At this time of his passing, I feel his spirit with this project.

I first heard the song, Guantanamera, from Pete Seeger. The lilting, romantic melody immediately captured me and the song was unforgettable. It was a popular song in Cuba, descriptive of the writer’s romantic vision of a young woman of Guantanamo. Over the years, the song became the framework for poets and musicians to express themselves. Often the expressions reflected a romantic closeness to the land, solidarity with common people and those who are less fortunate and oppressed, social sentiments, as well as capturing the tonality and melodic beauty of the place.

At a meeting of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP), when the subject of Guantanamo prison was being discussed, Reverend Ignacio Consuela suggested that, “Fiske should write new lyrics to Guantanamera reflecting closing Guantanamo.” I took the challenge and with the support of ICUJP, the result is the music video, Close Guantanamo.

Guantanamo Prison represents the lowest levels that human intention and endeavor can reach. The violence, the war consciousness, the torture, the inhumanity, the violation of rights, the damage of the spectacle to our international relations, the cost in dollars, and the emotional and psychological cost to the collective consciousness of humanity should never be what a democracy creates. Guantanamo sits like a cancerous tumor metastasized through the military/industrial/corporate system, which builds empire through the war machine. Any righteous human being of conscience and some semblance of humanity would condemn the nightmare of Guantanamo.

Please listen and watch, and if you wish, share it in your communities and circles, and remember how Pete would say, “Sing it Out”. As President Obama inches closer to his pledge to close Guantanamo, may this work serve as some small catalyst in that direction.

Yours in Peace,
Stephen

Close Guantánamo

“Close Guantánamo” Vigil and March, Santa Monica – January 11, 2014
Performing song, “Close Guantanamo,” sung to the melody of “Guantanamera.”
Words by Stephen L. Fiske.
The 12th year anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo prison and the human rights violation it represents; including torture, detention without charge, unfair trials, Islamophobia, and impunity for crimes by the U.S. Government officials.

Stay tuned for the music video soon to come…

“Close Guantanamo” Lyrics

 

On this beautiful island
Where the shore meets the shimmering sea
There is a nightmare upon us
A deep plague on our humanity
A house of torture, of cruelty and pain
Which every day brings the USA shame

Chorus: We’ve got to close Guantanamo, we’ve got to close Guantanamo
Close Guantanamo, we’ve got to close Guantanamo

Detainees held without charges
In a legal black hole to plead for their plight
Locked in indefinite detention
In violation of all human rights
In violation of international law
In violation of all conventions of war

(repeat chorus)

2.7 million dollars per detainee
454 million cost annually
taxpayers bilked for the spending
to see the war machine run without ending
only making our longest war longer
only inciting the hate to get stronger

(repeat chorus)

Stepping Into the New

Every day we step into the new.  This day has never happened before. Every day is a new opportunity to to grow, to learn, to create, to blossom and to serve. The universe moves in a continuum of infinite variables. Change is inevitable. Life is a flow of unending adjustments.

Why should we limit ourselves by restrictive mindsets that keep us stuck in old patterns that no longer serve us in an ever-changing new reality?

Change can be traumatic, as deeply entrenched beliefs, embedded systemic structures, and long-held addictive pathologies are uprooted. Change never comes easily as the old clings and fights for its survival and the new clings and fights for its arrival. Only through embracing change can we step into the new. Change implies risk and nothing great ever is achieved without a degree of risk. When we risk, we step into the new. Let us embrace risk, let us embrace our fears.

For every mindset, belief system and behavioral pattern we find ourselves framed in, we must have an exit strategy where we step into new territory and place ourselves in situations where we can expand our consciousness and find new challenges, new horizons where we express ourselves creatively for positive change benefiting the long-term good of the whole.

Basketball Scene

Here’s what people are saying about my new CD, Basketball Scene:

“I started playing organized basketball in my late teens. The first thing I did was go into LA and play pickup basketball every Saturday morning.
I believe Stephen Fiske has captured the essence of the real sport, basketball without referees, in Basketball Scene. He takes me back to “the day,” and it’s a wonderful experience. Thank you, Stephen. “

-Swen Nater; NBA, ABA, UCLA Player (John Wooden)

 

“Basketball Scene is a spot-on portrayal of pick-up basketball characters who will be recognized by all who play the game. The title cut “Basketball Scene” as well as “Old School” and “Lady of the Court” are my favorites. A must-have for anyone who’s ever played pick-up basketball.”

-Roger Trammell; LAUSD Teacher, Basketball Player

 

“Brilliant! Love the groove you got going with Basketball Scene and the lyrics of Heart of the Game are so inspiring..beautiful stuff..this is something that can stir the soul, allow people to go deeper in the spirit and heart of the awesome “hoops” game.”

-Brian Hilliard; Former Oregon State player, Writer’s Coach

 

“Stephen’s latest release, “Basketball Scene”, is the biography of all of those who have aspired to succeed in basketball.  The lyrics that he chose to create this album are right on time and the music is at the rhythm in which the basketball players play.  Thank you Stephen for including all of us in your album.  Continued success in both basketball and your music career.
-Robert Scotlan; Player Coach of Oakland’s Finest Basketball Team

Questions

Does stream define the bed
or bed define the stream?
Does dream define the person
or the person define the dream?
Does mind control the senses
or are senses to the mind
like streams that flow to rivers
an ocean soon to find?
Are oceans unconnected
to the source where starts the stream?
Is mind an unconnected source
from whence appears a dream?
Or are we really aiming
like raindrops towards the ground
delivered from a higher source
to nurture what we’ve found?

Thankfulness

In the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers wrote that “We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  By endowmwnt it means a gift, that we are provided and equipted with abilities,  talents and intelligence. By inalienable it means that these gifts are  inherent in what it means to be a human being and that it can’t be taken away.  We are given the gift of life, we are given free choice or free will to pursue happiness in any way we wish within the law that in a democracy should represent the will of the people.  By using the term “Creator” it means that no one name of god or brand of religion shall dominate, that we have the freedom to worship as we choose, or to not worship in any particular way.  For these freedoms alone we should be thankful, and although democracy is an imperfect work in progress, we should be further thankful that we have the opportunity to participate with our brothers and sisters in the pursuit of building a peaceful and sustainable future that works for everyone.  We all have an inherent calling to develop our talents and gifts and to be of service to humanity and our planet.  True happiness comes when we serve a cause greater than ourselves.  For this pursuit of happiness let us us cultivate thankfulness, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.  Have a blessed and most fulfilling Thanksgiving.

Failure is Fertilizer

The creative attitude accepts and allows for failure, is unafraid of risk, of making mistakes and sees that all experience gives lessons in the path of learning, accomplishment and growth.

Sometimes events that are the most painful are the most fertile for growth. We learn to dig these experiences into the soil of our lives so that they enrich us as fertilizer,  rather than detracting  or leaving us feeling victimized or less by the sense of failure.

Learning to embrace failure, rather than fear failure is a key component to any successful creative endeavor.

Fear can be a friend, as we learn to channel the fearful energy into a constructive possible solution, rather than attention-filled reactivity. The creative attitude sees fear as the challenger; keeping us alert, on our toes and engaged.

We are here to grow into our fulfillment. All our past experiences enrich and teach us. When we see failure as fertilizer,  teaching us and bringing us to greater understandings and success, we also see our inspiration comes from the whole of our experience which includes failure.  Accepting failure is a necessary ingredient in the creative process.

Creativity is about discovery, not playing it safe. Creativity is about exploration and improvisation. Creativity is about working with and through obstacles, challenges and failures. Creativity is about allowing our inspiration to lead us onward to the fulfillment and flowering of our lives.

“Inspiration”

I wait
a single sentry at a distant outpost
scanning the open land
perched on the edge of myself
a lifetime traveled to be here
each breath dying in the mist
searching for a sign, a word
a point of contact
with you
mysterious inspiration

My heartbeats echo in the wind
thoughts dissolve into silence
I see shadows move
colors converge
images emerge
as the artist approaches the canvas

Thrusting brushstrokes across the landscape
sculpting form from dust
the path opens
and awaits my footsteps
risking the unknown
I go forward on faith
anticipating your call
your guidance through the terrain
bridging the distance between us
You in your eternal ambient disguise
me in my flesh and blood
seeking a passage, a channel
that finally discloses you to me

I dissolve in your palette
fulfilling my desire
to release myself
to lose myself
to surrender 
serving your intentions
mysterious inspiration