Arm Yourself With Love

Watching the news nowadays has really morphed into quite the traumatic experience. Wherever we turn, we are inundated with images of the darker side of humanity that nobody likes to make eye-contact with: Modern day lynchings, the manipulation of an otherwise beautiful faith to justify the unjustifiable, and a global audience who refuses to act unless it is profitable for them to do so.

These atrocities, so dreadful in nature and absurd in number, have unfortunately lost their shock value and have become commonplace.

I dream, of course, of the absence of such depravity, perhaps in vain.

But one can’t help but wonder: How on Earth did we let it get to this point? Why has such violence remained so central to our global infrastructure?

The human race is supposed to be this sparkling result of millions of years of evolution, yet we as a civilization still adhere to fiercely to that old adage of fighting fire with fire.

Now, I’m no scientist, but I’m fairly certain that fighting fire with fire does nothing to reduce the size of the fire. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it only produces a bigger fire. Which, of course, only necessitates more fire to put it out.

Violence and aggression often work this way, on any level, whether it be a family rivalry or a world war. Our gut instinct is to react to bitterness and aggression with bitterness and aggression which, no surprise, only results in more bitterness and aggression.

What we often fail to realize is that, most of the time, bitterness and aggression spawn from one of two places: fear or pain. We are still very much like our ancestors in this aspect: an animal, when cornered, is prone to lashing out. Most of the time it means no ill will, and the creature is only concerned with self-preservation.

So, then, shouldn’t we reconsider our response to such hostility? I’m not the first person to ask this question.

In fact, a large part of Martin Luther King’s legacy is centered around his preachings on the futility of violence and the poignancy of meeting aggression with love. He often thought of his approach as a type of armor, saying that “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”

Now, that’s a lovely sentiment and all, and I’m sure it would go wonderfully in a Hallmark card, or in a fortune cookie. But, make no mistake, Martin Luther King’s words are not only thought-provoking and touching, but they are incredibly effective in practice as well.

With this philosophy, Martin Luther King flourished, and led the African-American Community to victory during the Civil Rights Movement. It was this philosophy that allowed Mahatma Gandhi to lead the Indians towards independence from Imperial England. This philosophy enabled Mother Teresa to reach millions of people through her mission in Calcutta. It really is amazing what a little compassion and understanding can do.

Yet, we still insist on resorting to violence to solve our problems. And look where that’s gotten us.

In times like this, I often ponder the words of the great Eleanor Roosevelt. She asked: “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”

I can only hope that this will be the generation that can scrounge together enough courage to say: enough is enough.

Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation. It is up to us to break the chain today.

So, my challenge to you, and myself, is this: To meet anger with sympathy, cruelty with kindness, and contempt with compassion. Greet grimaces with a smile. Forgive and forget about finding fault and seeking revenge. And in whatever adversity you man face, may your wisdom be you armor, and your compassion be your sword. For it is love, not hate, that is the weapon of the future.


Consuming Quiet

A universe lies behind every smile,

masking galaxies and dimensions new.

To just travel through would take a great while

and even then you would have seen merely a few.

Surrounded by vultures hungry for blood,

the delicate don a noble facade.

But like a decrepit dam against flood,

negative affliction will soon pervade.

As I am one of the most fragile kind

who had once believed that death had no sting,

I vowed from that day on to be not blind

to the fledgling dove with a broken wing.

Defy these contracts to which we are bound.

Please, feel for those who suffer without sound.

“Dance Me to the End of Love” -The Civil Wars


The most tender, passionate, intimate love song I’ve ever heard. One can only hope to truly understand the lyrics one of these days. Take this song, savor it, become entwined in the enveloping harmonies and dance along with them. An unforgettable musical experience if there ever was one.

Is it too much to ask for?


Could I just have someone to be there for me? Someone who would cradle my head on his shoulder after a rough day at school, someone who would just let me cry if I wanted to cry, no questions asked, and would be there wholeheartedly and unconditionally to support me? Someone who wouldn’t mind sitting through three seasons of Sex and the City while eating apple chips and peanut butter, solely because it makes me feel better? Someone I could be my truest self with so that I wouldn’t have to put up these ridiculous “super woman” fronts day in and day out? Just someone to share everyday life with, a loyal companion that I can depend on, sans four legs and body fur? Someone I can, dare I even say it, trust?

Is that really too much to ask?


Days like today, where you can barely keep your head above water, make me painfully aware of that fact. Nobody sees you struggling, it seems, no matter how obvious it is, no matter how clearly distress is pasted across your face… Outsiders are simply blind to the wrinkles that emerge on your forehead, or the reflective sheen that suddenly washes over your eyes. And whether or not this dismissal is intentional or not, I’m not so sure; however, one thing I do know is that there is no single act more degrading, more belittling, and the worst part of it is that nobody even realizes that they’ve done so. Sooner or later, you walk away from the situation feeling alone, overwhelmed, and feeling like you’ve got nobody to turn to that you can lean on, much less trust. Even numbness seems like a distant oasis, teasing you with its blissful, lulling sedative.

I feel like this wouldn’t happen, or at least happen to the extent that it does, if I just had somebody. Boyfriend, best-friend, girl, guy, the format it comes in couldn’t matter less. As long as they can offer loyal and compassionate companionship and are willing to do so for the long run, I don’t care if you have one eye or a triple-tit. Honestly. Life is a long journey, and I’m desperately searching for someone to ride shotgun. Simple as that.

I’m so familiar with this yearning that we’ve basically been on first name basis since practically fourth grade. It’s just one of the things I can’t seem to bypass, no matter how hard I try; I just can’t find a way around it, and I really can’t figure out why.

I mean, why is the world so lonely? It seems like a paradox when you think about it, the loneliest generation also has the most friends, so why can’t we find someone who will stick with us in the long run? Why must we?

Loneliness, the most universal sensation on the planet, remains a truth about life that I’ve tried repeatedly to wrap my head around to no avail, and it leaves me feeling strangely suspended. And fed up.

Someone, anyone, please. Be wholly and unconditionally mine.

Is that really too much to ask?

The Power of Lyrics

My Love

My Love (Photo credit: Jennuine Captures)

Ok, so allow me to make myself perfectly clear:

I take my music SERIOUSLY.

A simple beat doesn’t justify adding a song to my collection, oh no. There’s so much more to it than that. You see, when I look for new music, I’m looking for something you scarcely see in today’s top 40: quality.

The lyrics (99% of the time) have to be meaningful to some extent, and it must provoke some kind of  emotion  within me. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, for example, is a fairly simple composition in terms of technical difficulty; the intervals are close together, the chord progression is common and predictable, and the notes fit comfortably within everyone’s vocal range. However, the heartfelt lyrics about King David’s mistake and the equally heavenly and  agonizing nature of love and lust takes this song from a catchy tune and, almost magically, turns it into a beautifully crafted masterpiece that tears your soul clean in half, with one part transcending above all earthly limits into heaven and  the other, anchored in hell. It is only when you’ve spent some quality time with the lyrics that you will realize and appreciate the unparalleled beauty of “Hallelujah”. Here’s a few of my favorite snippets:

“Love is not a victory march, It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah”

This line presents a sentiment that I believe we all can identify with. We’ve all experienced pain in a relationship, whether you’ve fallen in love with your best friend who’s in love with someone else or you’ve just discovered that your partner had betrayed or disappointed you (For whatever reason, you decide). We all know that feeling where you’re being put through so much emotional turmoil for the sake of this one person who you’re wholeheartedly and unconditionally in love with, that you’d willingly suffer copious amounts of pain because you can’t even bear the sheer thought of living life without them. Love isn’t always torrential and romantic, mind you. Love can and will at times be excruciating. Embrace it.

“Remember when I moved in you, and the holy dove was moving too; and every breath we drew was hallelujah”

Now, this particular phrase can be interpreted in several different ways, but I think that the one thing that remains constant in translation is this: When you’re finally with the one you truly love, the one that you’ve waited for and longed for, there’s this passionate moment between you and your partner where the attraction becomes so overwhelming and so consuming that you begin to feel something much bigger than yourself swell within you. I would go as far as to say that one is inspired at this moment. “Inspired?” you scoff, “But how?” I’m glad you asked. And really, the answer is quite simple. See, to be “inspired” means to be “breathed into by God“….  And as such, wouldn’t you agree that this moment of trembling rapture is the personification of inspiration? Completely in sync with each other, expressing your love with divine breath filling your lungs. So deeply connected on a physical and spiritual level that, for this moment, you are one….. and if that’s not inspiration, then I don’t know what is.

“And even though it all went wrong, stand before the Lord of song with nothing on your tongue but hallelujah…”

And this is where I was ever so slightly thrown off, but once I wrapped my head around it I fell even deeper in love. I absolutely adored the use of the word “Hallelujah” in this context. Whereas in previous verses the song’s title was associated with love of the flesh on both ends of the pleasure spectrum, the word’s usage in this phrase hints at a slightly different meaning. This time, in my opinion, it carries the connotation of desperation and of surrender; like the cries of a broken man on his knees confessing his sins and pleading, begging, for forgiveness (sound familiar?). But what does it mean to “stand before the Lord of song with nothing on your tongue but hallelujah”? Does it mean that you need not attempt to conceal your sins in front of the Father? Possibly. Perhaps it means that you should be downright terrified of your Judgement, or that you should beg incessantly for mercy. Ehh, it may, but probably not. Personally I think that, even though you gave in to temptation and done many a dastardly deed, you can rejoice in the fact that you are forgiven. God has had mercy on your soul, and you are forgiven. You’d approach God with nothing on your tongue but “Hallelujah”, simply because no other word could adequately express the immense joy and relief coursing through your body after realizing that you are forgiven, and that you are no longer bound by chains, but free.

Behold, the power of lyrics.