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You might say, feeling down, or blue, in the dumps, out of sorts, having the miseries, hucky, low, off the beam, not myself, struggling, or in a funk.

When Jimmy Carter was president he held a fireside chat at the White House in 1979, and said there was a malaise in the nation. At the time gas prices were sky-high and majors shortages of gas curtailed travel and supply chain delivery and misery was up:

I first met Jimmy Carter in the fall of 1968 after he lost the Governor's race in Georgia to Lester Maddox. Over the years I bumped into him a couple of more times. He seemed thoughtful and approachable. A man of faith, he often speaks of spiritual awareness. He offered that malaise was an infectious crisis of the collective spirit of Americans–back then: Dis-ease says Shakyamuni Buddha.

As all is impermanent, changing and bumping into each other, and there is no thing, unto itself, not made of the same parts as other “things” How must we see this? Well, that the wobbly nature of existence is the norm. It is not the pretense of a steady-state, which one may say once attained, then no more change. We are constantly balancing to such a degree that it is not noticeable until it is not so. That being the case how we affix our self to the situation unfolds our feelings.

Craving is holding on too long. Holding to what is moving away, trying to hurry that which is coming, and shedding what is in front of us, this mental manipulation of the current conditions becomes vexing and we get out of balance with a sense of “falling” becoming a sense of “failing.” We can’t make life work the way we want, and each day brings the same merky state of affairs.

Rev. Meredith Garmon suggests we might try the Blues:

Birth is unpleasant. Aging, sickness, death, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, despair, being around what you loathe, not being around what you love, not getting what you want – all of these are experiences that we all have or will have.

This is reality, and reality is never depressing. Denying reality can lead to depression -- the exhausting struggle to avoid facing what is there eventually can leave a person depleted, enervated. When we face the bumps clearly, our life can be much better.

And that is the wisdom of the Blues: When we face the bumps – the pain and grief – clearly, without trying to deny them, or push them away – when we “meet them at the door laughing and invite them in” (Rumi) – it makes life better. Through music and song, the blues addresses squarely the dukkha of misfortune, betrayal and regret. You lose your job, your mate falls out of love with you, your dog dies. You can try acting like everything’s fine when it isn’t. Better is to recognize that we need sadness.

Please join us Tuesday night April 5, 2022 as we play the blues…

108 bows


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