God’s Words Speak in Any Language

This Psalm is a staple of the faith, The Lord is my Shepard etc,,,, but even if it weren’t, and even though I don’t understand the language, if it were evening, low lights a candle or two, or three quiet still of the night, even a quiet Sunday afternoon, God’s words can still penetrate the heart, spirit and soul.   If you happen to find yourself on vacation, somewhere where you don’t speak the language, even a Jewish Temple, an Orthodox Church, don’t be afraid to go in, because God will speak to you no matter what the language being used that day.  


Comes Naturally, Likely Your Calling

soaring eagle

September 22nd we have our Concert at Most Precious Blood and it is in connection with San Gennaro, and as I began taking the information I had found and working it into a poem, it was so easy for me to do, happened immediately.  Then from there I started thinking of song, of improvisational song stuff.  I thought of the importance of music to share the faith, how important the arts is as a tool to share the faith and culture.

Taking something, turning it into a poem, a song, improvisational performance, coming up with a song on a theme right there and then in the moment with just a single line or phrase given to me, no problem, easy breezy.  Give me a bible passage with some basic background on who the intended audience was at that time and right then and there, I can give a lesson on that passage, on the layers of meaning, come up on the spot with a song.  A show, spoken word, song, lecture, no problem, give me six weeks, preferably eight and I can put it together, fine a venue to sell tickets, promotion, not a problem.  These things feel second nature to me, and when I am doing them, they bring joy to me, true joy, not for me alone, but because I feel I can impact lives for good, not out of some sense of anger, bitterness and all that.  That is never a good reason to do anything, not anger that comes from bitterness, not destructive hateful anger.  I realize that if that is the case, that if all this brings me joy, and I feel I am impacting etc…, coming from a good place, then that is my path, vocation.  As for anger, yes there is righteous anger, but even that you have to be careful how you respond.  Creating further division, separation, hate all that is not okay as a response.  Forgiveness, educating, working to bring unity in and through Agape Love, mutual respect, also change in one’s own behavior and community behavior is crucial.  Even when we use the arts as a way to impact, we need to be careful what we are transmitting to youth, to millennials.  Are we teaching hatred, anger, division, violence to others as a way to handle any rejection of sin, or current political activity for example? I realize that my path in the arts and ministry means I have to really be aware of how my artistic work and all I do is presented.  It is I think a wonderful calling and I hope I do The Lord proud in my journey.  I hope I am blessed soon with a life partner to share in this journey with me, a man of faith, of the arts.  



Protocol, Preparation Critical, Why?

Life and Liberty, God Bless America

The light shines within., going out in connection to the Divine Creator.

See that light, that beacon, that lighthouse, that’s the Protocol and Preparation Lighthouse of life, vocation, relationships and faith.  For all the free spirits out there, those who chafe at the mere thought of protocol as I use to and really wanted to always wing it in life, and be a free spirit, now that I have actually grown up, realizing free spirit still needs some kind of boundaries, but why?  The inner child is throwing as does the inner child in all of us the preverbal tantrum jumping up and down and screaming “why why why!”  As one whose greatest strength is to be an improvisational speaker, poet, songwriter-singer, right there on the spot, free spirit, go with the flow, with the moment, don’t plan or worry so much seems like a really awesome thing, live in the moment.  I pretty much did that most of my life, lost in the maze of figuring out my way out of the confusion and crap borne out of my childhood, my parents’ tug of war and mess with me in the middle, and my mom’s bitterness about the divorce, my dad’s family, all that jazz.   It didn’t work out well for me, not even as an artist.  Recently in my capacity as Music Associate and Coordinator for Most Precious Blood in organizing a benefit concert my colleague and I had a meeting with a group that was supposed to perform for us, as a service to the community, however, there was not enough preparation, not for lack of trying for the event and the meeting.  The first impression made on the person who came for the meeting was not a good one and they backed out, but we have managed to secure other talent and I will be meeting with them this week, so all is not lost.  However what it did teach me is what life has been teaching me and that is that while you can be a free spirit within your artistic framework and your work to an extent, there still has to be protocol, coordination, excellent preparation in other respects.  Let me address that.

When you are dealing with others, if for example you say you are going to be meeting and for whatever reason that meeting then is not going to take place, you communicate that to that person.  If you do tell someone you are going to have a meeting with them you hold yourself to that, you keep your word, you don’t then suddenly change your mind and just not show up or not have the meeting with them after you said you would.  Common courtesy, common protocol, common sense and manners.  When you are going to meet with someone, be sure you know their background if it’s a professional meeting, that you have looked over what they have send ahead of time, make the time.  Have that info with you or take highlight notes with you and be able to access the full files if necessary..  Be very well prepared, as first impressions will make or break you, your team and your organization.  If you are organizing an event, for friggin goodness sakes, do not put your team or colleagues in a position of having to rush through planning, plan all events at least 8-12 weeks in advance, including promotion and ticket sales, if not 12-16 weeks. Lots of good planning, coordination and communication, you and your team, no exceptions or excuses.  Be sure you communicate and if you say you are going to meet for a meeting an introduction etc.. and you can’t or there is a change, you let people know, you have that courtesy.  Common courtesy protocol.  This is also true for any relationship.  If you give your word, keep it, barring a medical or other emergency, keep it.  This is why being a busy bee butterfly is problematic, quite problematic and being someone who can’t say no who feels they always have to say yes, can’t turn anyone down can be problematic.  Who and what to say yes to has to be carefully determined, schedules carefully worked out, one can’t say yes to everything and everyone or one will end up breaking one’s word to everyone or a number of people.  This is one reason I have withdrawn from most of my meet up groups and even Israel support groups because I know I want to dedicate my time to the church, Hadassah and the Petrosino lodge, so what is the point of trying to commit myself to a whole bunch of other things if my heart is with these groups, these people?  I will end up having to break my word, back out of things when their schedule conflicts with events at the church, Hadassah and Petrosino, so what is the point?  The artist and minister who always rebelled against protocol, wanted to be a purely free spirit know realizes there is not such thing and that protocol, coordinating, planning are essential to life, though we can within the framework of our vocation be free spirits in some way and that is a good thing.





Now To Make a Living With It

fruit tree

Big picture, did my first “gig” just me and the piano man, was awesome, loved it, have the gifts to do solo gigs and shows, love music ministry, all good, love my faith, all good, but there is debt to pay off, and time’s a wastin, so now comes the tough part. What’s that?

Well, going from planting to the  harvesting.  The trees now have fruit and the fruit is ready to be harvested, but question is how do I harvest the fruit for my daily bread in a way that I earn my daily bread not throw away good harvest?  I know I have the ability, gifts to be an inprov artist, singer, and I am a talented poet, songwriter, so It is a matter of figuring out the best way to set up my own gigs, where to se them up, how often to have the shows and then promote.  This is going to be an interesting journey, and finding clarity for this journey is important so this particular prayer is an important one in my journey and in all our journeys of life.

Perfect, or Perfect for You?

Baptism of Fire

When we think of a career, friendship and even a life partner, we can often create this list of requirements and often it can be based on what others deem as perfect or what we have come to perceive as perfect. Good luck with that.  

Are you supposed to settle for a crappy, even toxic, unhappy, void, empty as a dark hole career etc..? No, but perfect, well how do you define perfect? Who defines perfect in regards to your life? I realize that now even for my own life.  It’s not about perfect, not at all.  It’s about perfect for me, perfect, happy, healthy, peacefully sublime, sweet, and a few other things, perfect for me.  In my spiritual path, my Italian-Catholic heritage and a Classic Liberal Conservative Worldview are perfect for me.  As for my career, vocation, that is tied into my faith and that anchor which is my faith, so being coordinator of music for the church and volunteering for the church feels like a perfect fit.  Do I also hope to find an outlet to supplement my SSDI, of course I do and I hope it is within the realm of the artistic, that past seeds sown render fruit and that I am inspired to plant now that will bring fruit, and still be manageable in regards to the fibromyalgia. To honor my path, my fit, it needs to be music and ministry, that’s my fit, my perfect fit and community.   I have found my home, my groove, life is good.  What about in terms of someone to share my life with?  It would be nice to have that, no doubt. The person I want to share my life with is someone who will be doing what I am doing, being part of the church, and have an artistic streak and we will be a great team, compliment and synergy, and it will be truly sweet, that is the word I envision for my life partner and I, our union, sweet, very sweet, kind, yet we also challenge each other to be better people in the faith, to grow with God, with the faith.  It will be someone who is not perfect because I sure as hell am far from perfect, but he will be perfect for me.  It will be a healthy relationship for both of us, that is the most important thing.

Perfect, perfect for me.

Doing What Needs Doing

Holy Ghost

I find that the Holy Spirit speaks often to me, gives me flash of insights as to what to do, as to possibilities for different situations etc.. and I then have one that I sense is the best option based on long term goals and keeping alignment to my faith.

I see where my parish is, am given a strong sense of what it urgently needs, and as concerned parishioner, as well as music coordinator, artist etc… I realize fundraising is the first thing we need and that well organized concerts several times a year can help with that.  We have monthly concerts, but they haven’t rendered fruit, so I decided when asked to manage them this summer, to reach out and try to find artists that would donate their time for us to do a benefit concert.  The director of the Downtown and Select Chorus at BMCC reached out and offered to put on a concert, show for us and provided dates in August they were available, the 9th and now has offered the 16th.  I am not the producer, and not the program director, so I knew I had to have him okay it and all that so I presented the first date option, but no response back, and to hire artists, well the cost is not not feasible.  Frustrated I reached out to the Downtown Chorus director again to ask if there was any other date and they presented now the 16th of August as an option.  This is where the taking the bull by the horns comes in, and where I had to decide that priority was what the parish, what the church needed and I had to go ahead and say yes.  I explained in a message to the producer why I did so, how it would be nuts and foolish to turn down this offer, that they would be long term partners we could work with artistically.  

I realize this could create friction, they might feel I am being pushy, but that’s not it, not about being pushy.  It’s about seeing what need to happen for the sake of the organization, the greater good, doing it, even if it means people are temporarily pissed off at me.  I can only pray that they realize I did was done for the sake of the big picture.  I care very deeply for my Catholic faith and Italian cultural heritage, for this parish, so when this opportunity came up to do something that could benefit it, I had to grab hold of it, couldn’t wait around for endless contemplation before deciding, I had to act and act fast.  Is this something I want to see repeated where I have to make these snap grab hold decisions and repeated often? No, but I also am determined to help save this parish, so if that means I have to push a bit, make in the moment decisions all that jazz, then I will.  If that is what the Spirit leads me to do, then so be it.  If that means people are temporarily pissed, okay.  As long as I am doing what the Holy Spirit is guiding me to then that is what matters most.  I am taking the bull by the horns, organizing benefit concerts, High Mass, whatever it takes in the context of the liturgy and such to make this church thrive, share the beauty of the faith.  All I can do is pray it is understood in that way, context, not in any way as me trying to be pushy or anything like that.


Knowing When To Walk Away

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

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We all have dreams, we all have things we feel passionately about, have invested so much of ourselves in, our hopes into, so how do you just walk away from that?  When is it time to walk away? Whether it’s a relationship, a project, they are like our children, a part of us and we have such high hopes for them to succeed, to thrive, we may put so much time, effort, resources into that relationship, that project and yet it yields no fruit, it withers, it doesn’t blossom, so how long is long enough and how do we discern whether it is time?

Take a relationship, let’s start with that one.  A relationship should be a two way street, one where both are sharing to the depth of their heart, spirit and soul, sharing the good, the bad and the sad without hesitation day in and day out, be each other’s inspiration, best friend, rock of Gibraltar so to speak, and if you are a Christian, in and through Christ as a team.  Both should be in tandem in regards to goals, hopes, dreams for the present and the future, sharing that on a day to day basis, having lots in common, even if they also have certain interests of their own.  They should make each other feel good about life, hopeful about stuff, but also be able to issue tough love to each other, not in a mean way, but in a loving way and feel really comfortable enough to accept it from each other.   If all that is shut down, non existent, there is no way to have that, attempts have been made, failed miserably and both parties are miserable together, make each other miserable together etc…, live as strangers, as two ships passing in the night day in and day out, well not healthy for anyone, might just be merciful to part ways and build new lives apart.  Doesn’t mean you don’t care on a general human level and can’t wish the best for each other, you should.  that situation might be one where all the signs are there and time to part ways.

What about a project, a career choice?  If you have initiated a project, a vocational path, are doing everything you ought to be doing to be successful, and I mean crossing all the T’s, dotting all the I’s etc..and yet nothing is moving, nothing is succeeding with that project, that vocational path, that bud is not blooming, seed is not sprouting, nothing, zip, month after month, year after year, a pow wow with the Holy Spirit, all the angels and saints might be in order.  It might be that what you are doing is your great awesome idea, but not at all in line with what The Lord, the Big Kahuna as I used to refer to God when I was younger and watched Franki Valli films might want to see happening.  We might have some really great, awesome ideas, for projects, for our vocational path, such as I had for my artistic path to be a singer-songwriter, but God had a different path of ministry in mind and if I had not been stubborn in wanting to succeed my way I would have been a minister of the arts within the church a long time ago and fulfilled what God knew was my strength, coaching, guiding, coordinating, writing.  I see around me the stubbornness of people wanting something very much and thinking how as great an idea it might be, it might not be what God wants to see happening.  However, each of us has to make the journey and learn in our own way, so all I can do is pray for the proverbial “ahha” moment to come to all.  I hope I will have my such moment in all things very quickly and know when to walk away, that it always be sooner rather than later, so that I can then be doing God’s will, in his infinite wisdom not that of my own ego.