What if We Can Accomplish the Impossible Dream?  

(Please click on the Song “The Impossible Dream” and listen to it while you read my blog)

The Impossible Dream” –  MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972).   Music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion

dream-the-impossible-1-9To dream the impossible dream.  To have goals that no one believed you could reach.  To have a purpose in life that was divine.  To strive for more than you thought you deserved.  To challenge convention and defy the experts who told you that you could not do it.  To live the life that you believed in and to find the passion that touched your heart.  To die with no regrets because you lived the life you chose.

To fight the unbeatable foe.  To challenge those worth defying. To upset the status quo when it is wrong.  To battle authority and convention when it is immoral.  To rage against injustice and immorality wherever and whoever is involved. To protect the little person and stand up for right and fairness.  To be a human and champion humanity against injustice and greed.

To bear with unbearable sorrow.  To suffer the slings and arrows of injustice and ingratitude.  To become a pariah among others.  To endure insults and calumny.  To be shunned by friends and family alike because of your beliefs.  To be the minority in face of an outraged majority.  To be different when everyone else is going along.

To run where the brave dare not go.  To go where all say is foolish.  To challenge Goliath. To standup to the system that cannot be beat.  To believe that you can when all say you cannot.

To right the unrightable wrong.  To have no chance to win but to try anyway.  To choose your battles based on dreams_quote_2right and not possibilities.  To strive when all say it’s over.  To persevere in the face of sure defeat.

To love pure and chaste from afar.  To love right more than life. To love unconditionally. To love without reciprocity.  To care for others when they despise and revile you.  To believe in fairness and justice when they seem impossible.  To return hurt with kindness. To return meanness with love.

To try when your arms are too weary.  To find strength when you are exhausted. To pick yourself up when you are down.  To make one more effort when you have given up.  To push that last ounce of effort you did not think you had.  To make one more attempt when everyone said to give up.  To get off the mat, when the crowd says “stay down.”

To reach the unreachable star.  To reach for the heavens when you were told to stick to the earth.  To dream beyond fantasies.  To surpass expectations that chained you by birth.  To strive for the sublime instead of the mundane.

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

fallow your dreamsWhat will my life matter if I do not reach for what I believe in?  What value will I leave the world, if I do not try to change things?  Can I go through life simply doing what others expect and never exceeding their expectations?  Is this what I want from life?  Do I have the courage to expect more and to follow my passions and dreams?  Will I let others pull me back to the safety and security of the masses?  How far will I go to make a difference and to stand up for what I believe?

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

Do I have the will to die for my ideals?  Would I take the hemlock like Socrates to live my beliefs?  Would I suffer crucifixion like Jesus to make amends for the wrongs of the world?  Am I willing to risk being a martyr for the right cause?  What will I put my life on the line for?  Will I die for my family and friends if needed?

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

Do I realize that there are no guarantees in this world?  Can I live with only the certainty of my death?  Will I sacrifice the goal of security for the ideal of integrity?

And the world will be better for thisdreams_with_dolphins_by_dolcecaramella-d70to9l
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

What will humanity be if we give up our dreams in favor of reality?  What if we have no passions?  What if the profane takes precedence over the sacred?  What will we become if we sacrifice ideals for practicality?  What if all we strove and died for was what we could buy now on credit?

Time for Questions:

I think I have already asked enough questions in this blog but perhaps allow me one final one.  “What will you stand up for or die for to make the world a better place?”

Life is just beginning.

scary-optical-illusion-12“Too much sanity may be madness.  And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.”   ― Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraDon Quixote

 

 

Reflecting on Music, Variety and Risk-taking

I love music and I love the numerous varieties of music in the world from hip hop to classical, from Norwegian music to Chinese music, from Blue Grass to opera.  Like food, I have never met a music I did not like.  Of course, that does not mean, I have never heard a particular piece of music that I did not like.  Music is like anything else, there is good music and there is music one does not care for.  Karen plays music and is always more fond of learning a new instrument or taking part in a music jam, choir or sing-along.  She is a participant while I am an observer.  Alas, I have no talent in the musical arena and so I content myself with listening.

However, I think my listening style may be somewhat unique.  While others sip deeply from a fine piece of music, I enjoy listening to the same piece played by many different musicians and in many different styles.  I can sit for hours listening to the same piece played by an assortment of artists with a myriad of instruments, vocals and rhythms.

I find the creativity in how a piece can be played and the many different ways that a piece can be played to be fascinating.  I have sat and listened to the Ave Maria played by fifteen different artists and each one brings something different to the song.  I have listened to more versions of Carmen than I can think about.  From Bizet’s traditional Carmen, to the American Carmen Jones to Beyoncé’s Carmen, each version has its own virtues and vices.  Music makes the comment that “Variety is the spice of life” to be an absolute truth.  Today, I would like to illustrate this aspect of music with a song that I fell in love with called Malagueña Salerosa.   A short background on the song courtesy of Wikipedia:

Malagueña Salerosa also known as La Malagueña is a well- known Huasteco or Huapango song from Mexico, which has been covered more than 200 times by many performers.

The song is that of a man telling a woman (from Málaga, Spain) how beautiful she is, and how he would love to be her man, but that he understands her rejecting him for being too poor.

If, like me, you enjoy the lyrics to a song as you listen to it, the following is the English translation:

Graceful Malaguenan

What beautiful eyes you have,
beneath those two eyebrows
beneath those two eyebrows
what beautiful eyes you have!

They love to watch me
but if you don’t let them,
but if you don’t let them,
not even to blink.
Graceful  Malagueñan.

I long to kiss your lips,
I long to kiss your lips,
Graceful Malagueñan.
And to tell you, beautiful girl,

that you are stunning and bewitching,
that you are stunning and bewitching,
like the pureness of a rose,
like the pureness of a rose.

If, for being poor, you look down on me,
I agree you are right,
I agree you are right,
If, for being poor, you look down on me.

I don’t offer you riches.
I offer you my heart,
I offer you my heart,
in exchange for what I lack.

Thus, to illustrate my observation about variety and the endless ways that one can find variety in the world (for that is the real message of my blog), I have selected three versions of Malagueña Salerosa.  The important point which I see over and over again is that there is an endless variety in the world.  There is no limit to imagination, innovation and creativity.  Even the same song, can be performed endlessly and never be boring.  People often wonder why they should write on a subject when it seems that there are a thousand books written on any topic you can think of and perhaps now an additional million blogs.

My answer is that every one of us has a different and unique way of looking at the world. Your biography, your story, your view on ethics, your views on management or your views on child raising will be unique.  Just like your DNA is unlike any other DNA in the world, it is impossible for you to be a carbon copy of anyone else.  Even if you wanted to, you could not exactly copy anyone else.  So why bother to try?  The excitement we all bring to the world lies in learning to be ourselves.  It is a job I have been working on for over sixty years.  I sometimes think that there is a conspiracy out there to deny us the originality that we all possess.  We must struggle against the chains of conformity which are everywhere we turn.  Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery or the path to millions of dollars but it surely is not the path to creativity and innovation.

My three versions of Malagueña Salerosa include what I might say vocally is a “perfect” version sung by noted opera tenor Placido Domingo.  His delivery is masterful, his ability to hit high notes and low notes beyond mortality.  I have listened to Domingo and Pavrotti many times and while I enjoy both, I think Placido’s voice achieves a clarity unlike any other tenor alive today.  So please listen to a least a little of his version of Malagueña Salerosa before you continue reading:

Can you imagine a performance more hauntingly beautiful than that you have just heard by Placido?  If you wanted to copy or surpass his style and delivery, I would say it would be impossible.  That is why, our only choice in life is to be ourselves and enjoy our own uniqueness.  We must do what we have a passion for and do it as well as we can.  We can always improve ourselves but we can never be another Placido.

The next version is a more traditional version of Malagueña Salerosa played by three Mariachis.  This version has an authenticity that somehow I find lacking in Placido.  I can see this as being the “real” version that was song by the love-struck young man as he tried to win her love.  While Placido excels on the vocals, this version gives us a stronger set of instruments and more of the true Latino flavor that I find missing in the Placido version.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_1qHNc-vNk

The third and final version of Malagueña Salerosa is by the Mexican rock band Chingon.  They contributed the song “Malagueña Salerosa” to Quentin Tarantino’s movie Kill Bill Volume 2 and a live performance by the band was included on the film’s DVD release.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM0JVDqLYnE

You of course, will have noticed after listening to Chingon that they had no intention of imitating Domingo or any strolling Mariachis.  Their style is a blend of Rock, Mariachi and Ranchera, but they put their own stamp on it with their singing, tempo and beat.

I am not an expert musician and I could not begin to tell you why or exactly how each of these three versions differs from each other.  But while I may not be able to explain it, I can feel it as I am sure you can as well.  Like a good wine or a good meal, I may not know how to explain what I taste but I certainly know what I like.

I dread the thought of doing anything over and over and over again, unless it is for the sake of practice and to develop technique and ability.  Why continue experiencing the same thing, when I can savor and experience so much variety in the world?  Variety is one of the things I value most in life.  It has taken me years to be able to see how unique the world is.  No same old, same old, unless we are trapped in our minds and routines.  The world offers a smorgasbord of treats and excitement to those who are open to challenge, change and risk.

I leave you with one last short (1.5 minute) video which you must see.   If you have ever been afraid to experience something different, to go somewhere foreign or to listen to a new style of music, this video will help you to reflect on a life lived with no risk.  It is very effective at portraying the fear of risk but also the upside joy that risk can bring.  It is called Always Dare:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ2WbDahaaM

“No pleasure endures unseasoned by variety”– Publilius Syrus, 1st Century BCE

Time for Questions:

What variety do you experience in your life? Do you live a life open to variety?  How do you find “new” things in your life? What are your thoughts about going someplace new?  Listening to some new music?  Would you be willing to try raw oysters, truffles or pickled pigs feet?  Have you ever tried any of these?  Why not?

Life is just beginning.

 

 

 

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