Living The 'GOoD' Life!

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Commentary/Articles/Reviews by T.F. Hodge

 

 

 

Positive, Harmonic, Energetic, Cosmic Flow: The Power of Music to Influence Life!

 by T.F. Hodge

 Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  -Berthold Auerbach 

 

 

For those who aspire to enjoy this opportunity in time and space to rise above negative perceptions, many forms of positive expression, in this divinely orchestrated cosmic universe, make themselves available to us at any given moment. So easy it is to get caught up in unwanted dramatics that lead further down the road to more deception. Mindful of the power of both negative and positive force energy; one can, and should, guard against the trappings of everyday 'life', by simply changing one's focus – from what is to what can be. Far too often we make the mistake of allowing negative vibes, in whatever form(s), to penetrate and scar our [naturally] positive states of well being. Whether it's suffering from unhealthy relationships, grappling with the effects of an unstable economy, or witnessing injustice – the artist outside of you, as well as within you, has the power to transform how one feels, even in spite of what we choose to believe with regard to events that seemingly signify displeasure. While there appears to be many escapes to higher [positive] exaltation, such as meditating, praying, writing, reading, exercising, or engaging in various forms of recreation, I find great relief from the perception of undoing in giving my attention to musical selections that immediately transform my state of being – from disconnection to direct engagement with higher consciousness. Though we all have particular tastes in whatever form(s) of creative expression we choose to enjoy, the following poetic, metaphoric 'GOoD' vibrations seem to propel me to higher heights during times of internal and/or external challenge:

 

       1.    Natural Mystic - Bob Marley

       2.    Happy Feelins' - Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

       3.    Golden - Jill Scott

       4.    Fly Like An Eagle - Steve Miller Band

       5.    Harvest For The World - The Isley Brothers

       6.    Just Like Music - Erick Sermon featuring Marvin Gaye

       7.    We Are One - Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

       8.    Try Jah Love - Third World

       9.    Stars In Your Eyes - Herbie Hancock

       10.   Be Alright - Zapp & Roger

       11.   Quiet Storm - Smokey Robinson

       12.   One Love - Bob Marley

       13.   Love - Musiq Soulchild

       14.   So What - Miles Davis

       15.   Ridin' High - Faze-O

       16.   Everybody Loves The Sunshine - Roy Ayers

       17.   A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke

       18.   And The Beat Goes On - The Whispers

       19.   Closer - Goapele

       20.   Keep Your Head Up To The Sky - Earth, Wind & Fire

       21.   Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield

       22.   Zoom - The Commodores

       23.   Magic - Robin Thicke

       24.   Golden Time of Day - Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

       25.   Jammin' - Bob Marley 

 

As energetic thoughts become words, and words compiled together become lyrics or poems, once added to rhythm and beats; the vibrational waves of harmonic [internal] peace can even drive away the ill affects of physical 'dis-ease'. While lyrics speak to the soul, melody reinvigorates the body-temple. When's the last time you examined the types and kinds of music you subject yourself to, in relation to the positive or negative manifestations you experience? In this era of 'keeping it real', one could argue that music, song, and spoken words, which illustrate or portray negative realities, is valid and necessary when describing one's present circumstances. However, while this may be valid with regard to one's experience, one must be mindful of the difference between highlighting one's [current] reality, and contrasting it with a new hopeful, positive manifestation. In other words, the more we focus upon any negative imbalance the longer it remains a recurring experience. On the other hand, though 'reality' may seem dismal at times, we can choose to sing a new song, paint a different [positive] picture, or dream a better tomorrow. Had former slaves neglected to pray, write, and sing songs of freedom, their endurance and deliverance from such an evil institution might not have manifested.

 

Believe it or not, thoughts, words, lyrics, poems, spoken word, and music all have the power to transform and sustain individuals, families, communities, villages, neighborhoods, groups, societies, cultures, and nations - for better or worse. No doubt, one can always find a relationship between war and peace or harmony and dysfunction, and the dominant themes in any societies' music or creative expression(s). If a culture's music is filled with negative energetic subject matter such as deception, lust, crime, punishment, thievery, shame, abuse, abandonment, denial, disgust, or decadence; one can expect to find a culture mired in these powerfully negative elements. But when songs, music, and poetry combine to express the positive attributes of all things (internal, external, and eternal) – one will discover a land and peoples' of beauty, peace, respect, and love. Determining whether or not life imitates art or if art imitates life is a futile and endless debate. The truth is, one cannot be without the other. Thus, both life and art, equally, imitates one other.  My good friend, Jerry Masters (legendary recording engineer, musician, and author) discusses the intertwined relationship between music and life in his book, Hanging From A Tree By My Knees: The Jerry Masters Story - "Let It All Hang Out".  

 

Don't ask me why, but “there's a natural mystic blowing through the air.” And, “I've got myself to remind me of love.” No matter how many dark days we've seen during this time and age of becoming, the golden rays of the Sun remind us, each day, to embrace our natural born freedoms. So as “time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future” - choose as does the eagle....and fly! For the time of the world's harvest shall be witnessed by all who breathe life, though “half of us are satisfied, half of us in need.” But “to relax my mind, so I can be free, and absorb sound that keep me 'round” - God's gift of music will adopt me, until the day we all realize – in thoughts, words and deeds – 'We are one'!

 

The silly games we play, “I can't understand why we treat each other in this way.” But once I tried Jah's love, “that speaks to me when I am in temptation,” I understand the ways of humanity because I was reminded by Herbie Hancock that “no matter how far the future seems” - I have stars in my eyes. If I must succeed alone, then so be it – but I do know that “together we can make this journey.” A “quiet storm blowin' through my life,” I look forward to the day of fulfillment. Just as it all began - “One love! One heart!” We all must take heed to Musiq's expression of 'Love'. Though we may find ourselves divided miles apart - 'So what'! As long as we keep 'ridin' high' above and beyond physical barriers, folk's will “get down in the sunshine.” No doubt, “a change is gonna come.” “And just like the river,” the flowing consciousness of divine wisdom, and 'The Whispers' of ongoing beats will inspire you to “close your eyes and see what you believe.” So let us keep our heads to the sky, “cause you need faith to understand” why “I've got to keep on pushin'.” “I may be just a foolish dreamer, but I don't care.” I am an abolished commodore, now transformed to command the fleet who will witness the magic and proclaim “I can bend metal with my mind.” And yes, we're 'jammin' on the One, 'cause it's 'The Golden Time of Day!'

 

T.F. Hodge

Copyright 2010 - All rights Reserved. 

 

 

 

The Spirit Is Not Made for Procrastination, It Is Suffered From It  

by T.F. Hodge 

 

"Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking."  –William B. Sprague

 


The earth is belly full of one procrastinator after another who

constantly quips, “I'll do it tomorrow!” And that's perfectly

okay, I suppose, as long as those same personalities find no

fault with the minority of positive, enterprising, productive

citizens who choose to give no time to thumb twiddling. What seems to be morbidly

unacceptable, from the perspective of well being, however, is the negative attitudes that

far too often accompany those who persistently flounder in the murky waters of dilly-

dally. While some may charge that I have great nerve in shining the spotlight of judgment

upon those who choose to take up residence in the neighborhood of self sabotage; I most

certainly do. I once lived in such a place, and no one forced me to get comfortable there,

in my slumber.



Therefore, having donned the garment(s) and blindfold(s) of irresoluteness, once upon a

time, I bring to this discussion more than my share of opinion(s). I bring my direct

experience as a former repeat offender of procrastination. And as the former self

appointed, metaphoric mayor of the [delusional] City of 'Procrasticantsville', I hereby

denounce my once pitiful affiliation to such a debilitating habitat. Although I divorced

myself from the league of dilatoriness some time ago, this is the first time I've made my

declaration publicly.

 

 

My grandmother used to always say, when it came to handling important matters, “get

right on it!” No doubt, what may be important to one, may not be as important to another.

Obviously, this notion is applicable to any aspect of life. True indeed, we all are different,

not only in our habits, but also in our perspectives and perceptions. Where we do share

commonality is a longing for fulfillment – happiness....and sometimes – sadness. Even for

those who choose to define happiness as a desire to be miserable, this too is a thirst for

fulfillment.



So what is the base ingredient of fulfillment? I submit nothing can be fulfilled, or realized,

without first having inspiration, or being inspired by a vision rooted in consciousness. Yet

once this incredible seed is planted, and the rising opportunities seem to spring forth

everywhere one looks, some resist opening the door of progress, while few not only open

the door; they immediately begin harvesting the field of advancement – and digesting the

fruits of sweet manifestation. Looking out at the field of blessings, many who choose to

delay handling 'biz', find it quite easy to create magnificent excuses to NOT pursue their

appropriate wants and desires, time and again. Why? While some would argue fear is the

culprit, I strongly and respectfully disagree because there is no such thing as “false

evidence appearing real.” If it is false, how can it be a reality? Instead, rather than

blaming something that does not exist, the truth is this: procrastinators suffer from the

effects of negative learned behavior; the conditioning of complacency.



While there is certainly nothing wrong, at all, with 'being' satisfied, the controversy occurs

the moment one begins to 'feel' dissatisfied. Therein lies the internal battle of greater

becoming. As spiritual entities, we have physical bodies equipped with receptors and

transmitters (known as senses), which become stimulated by what it perceived. Unless we

close our eyes and ears, cut off our fingers and toes, for instance, we will always respond

to external stimuli. In other words, it is only natural that the state of indolence be a

temporary one. All things (animals, insects, plants) in nature teach and abide by this

principle, or law. The consequence for procrastination, ultimately if not reversed, is decay.

Creative beings (earthly god's of the most high, 'Divine Creator' of all things) are meant to

expand – even beyond limitation(s). Refusing to do so is the daring rejection of the limitless self [internal] and purpose of life eternal, in this third [3rd] dimensional realm,

and beyond. Drafting creative claims like “I need more time”, “I don't feel like it”, “It's

too cold outside”, “I don't have the money”, “I don't have the energy”, “I'm waiting for the

right timing”, or “the right situation”, to name a few, is simply nonsensical. As much as

one must take the time to rest(ore), eat well, breathe deeply, plan, and focus to maintain a

healthy balance; the beauty of taking action once inspired is the fulfillment and promise of

greater becoming!



The process of writing these thoughts, for instance, was inspired by the quote at the top of

the page. Had I decided to take the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years to figure

out how and what I would say, you wouldn't be reading this message. When I speak truth,

from within, I don't require outlines, drafts, revisions, etc. I just go with the [spiritual]

flow of greater consciousness. Hopefully, it has been enlightening and inspiring.....or at

least worthy of your attention. So get it 'crackin', snap-snap, chop-chop, get energized,

jump-for-joy, give it all you've got, dance-it-up, keep-it-movin', shake-a-leg, mush-mush,

fire-it-up, bounce-rock-skate, and continue to push the line towards greater becoming of

your internal [true] self. The self that waits not, but creates in spite of uncertainty; that

would be YOU.....remember?

 

 

T.F. Hodge

Copyright 2010 - All rights Reserved. 

 

 

 

Wall Street's 'Top Greed' Market Makers' See No Shame in Shorting Main Street

by T.F. Hodge

"The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure.”

 – BC Forbes

 

Yesterday, I put off a few well intended tasks to view C-SPAN's (live) coverage of the U.S. Senate's Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations hearing, regarding Goldman Sachs and the 2008 financial crisis. As I began watching, I couldn't help but recall the numerous times I witnessed budget discussions as a former member of the finance department of the Los Angeles Unified School District. As former senior assistant to the budget director, I felt it was part of my responsibility to educate myself regarding matters that would, no doubt, have an impact on issues pertaining to school finance.


Although educational finance differs, significantly, from those of the financial investment market(s), my interest in global finance having a direct impact on the American tax payer is obviously justifiable. Without question, the actions of the affairs on 'Wall Street' and the U.S. Congress is the most pressing issue facing the economy. Specifically, the challenges faced by the mortgage industry and it's negative impact on the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression of the 1930s is worth paying attention to. While some would argue that the recession has subsided, the positive effect on the average working American has yet to be realized.


Mortgage holders are still foreclosing on their properties, while community banks struggle to remain solvent. So who's to blame? Even though one senator acknowledged that Congress shoulders some responsibility for not actively regulating Wall Street investment firms, according to the discourse which took place during the investigative hearings on Tuesday (April 27 2010), it became obvious that large investment companies like Goldman Sachs (GS) appear to be indifferent to the plight of struggling Americans. When asked by committee members if they (GS) felt, at least, partly responsible for the financial melt down, their conflicted response(s) appeared less than compliant. In other words, while a few admitted that their decisions, in hindsight, may have been mistakes in judgment, others viewed their actions as non-regrettable. They argued that, in the context of 'market-making', disclosure about exercising their election to bet against securities (in this case mortgage investment) products they knew were in decline, was in the best interest of 'the firm', for example. In fact, “Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told the Senate panel that there was no conflict of interest in their dealings involving mortgage-securities and that they had no obligation to tell clients about their business practices.”


As they repeatedly described their [business] practices, in technical terms, as ethical; senators' equated the actions of the panel of corporate executives to Las Vegas bookies. Although terms like 'big short' and 'synthetic CDOs' were often quoted, committee members simply weren't buying what representatives from Goldman Sachs were selling. The longer I watched the constant defensive posturing of the panelists, the more my 'street' instincts kicked in, as Goldman Sachs officials began to appear as well dressed, fat pocket, opportunistic hustlers – touting the scheme of the decade. A preponderance of the evidence presented by the hearing committee showed that these 'good fellas' were well aware of the impending (real estate) bubble burst, as they sold mortgage securities to unsuspecting clients who had no idea that Goldman Sachs was, at the same time, betting against the success of the very same investment(s) they were pushing.


All the while the economy suffers and job opportunities continue to decline, billions of dollars in Wall Street profits are usurped from Main Street. I'm not sure what 'type' of conscience these guys have, be it Wall Street or federal power brokers, but I'm certain their very questionable deeds will not buy them a seat in heaven. Obviously, they overwhelmingly succeeded in meeting the goals of their financial expectations, or of failing to act appropriately on behalf of the public - profiting from the suffering of countless hard working American citizens. Though it is uncertain blame will be discovered in the halls of justice, divine judgment, however, will certainly prevail in the final outcome.

 

T.F. Hodge

Copyright 2010 - All rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Comparing Black and White Student Academic Achievement - Not!          by T.F. Hodge

 

To compare ones education to that of others is futile. Comparing any standards to self is appropriate. For too long, the black, or African American community has allowed itself to be compared by the standards of others. This has, and never will prove positive. Pursuing an education is a CHOICE. Achieving academic prowess is also a choice that, if supported at home, usually results in higher achievement among students of any ethnicity. It comes down to values, which leads to an unending hunger for growth and personal development. No matter the circumstances, available resources or lack thereof, learning and acquiring knowledge is something that must be positively reinforced at home.

 

As an experienced athletics coach, tutor, teacher's aid, and former senior assistant to the offices of The Budget Director, Deputy Chief, and Chief Financial Officer(s) of the second largest school district in the United States [L.A. Unified School District - LAUSD], I know - from experience - what students can do, once he or she makes up his or her mind to acquire knowledge and set academic goals far beyond what's expected. The rewards of receiving a good education is a matter is perception. Some of our students perceive education as something that won't result in material wealth, or benefit. Some, simply just don't care about the benefit of learning. Others don't believe there's a "good" job waiting for them once they achieve, academically; thus they opt not to pursue academics. This has nothing to do with intelligence. If young people can remember rap/hip-hop lyrics, as I and most of my peers used to, they can remember academic facts, figures, and theories. Again, it's all about choice and what they choose to learn.

 

The motivation to learn and achieve, academically, is no ones responsibility but the individual - young or old. Ignorance is not bliss, it is a result of simply avoiding to expand ones base of knowledge in order to affect a better and brighter future. I only know this because I once was an under achiever. I made every excuse for not wanting to achieve, academically. Based on my thinking and beliefs about learning, I created circumstances that manifested in negative learning experiences. This was no fault of anyone else, but mine. Once I allowed my attitude to show me other [positive] possibilities, my perception changed and I began to love learning. Once I started turning off the TV and filling my head with such an abundance of nonsense, I went from earning C's and D's to earning A's and B's. It's all about attitude, perception, thoughts and manifestation. It's all about loving the [true] self - from within - over falsely perceiving the love for an external matrix of fears.

 

T.F. Hodge

Copyright 2010 -- All rights reserved.

 

 

                                  

Michael Jackson: Cosmic Alien

by T.F. Hodge

 

Ever since the spiritual graduation of the entity the world recognizes as the 'King of Pop', I've been reluctant to share my thoughts about the life and times of the greatest entertainer - Michael Jackson. I figured there would be countless writings, pontifications and opinions; mainly about the, mostly negative, superficial aspects of his journey through this experience we call life.

In other words, I was hoping to read or hear much more about the greater meaning and significance of the life of the 'gloved-one'. Although his many outstanding achievements and highly publicized trials and tribulations are nothing short of legendary and at the same time pitifully sobering, I find myself wanting us to realize what I have about this often misunderstood entertaining 'alien', who is gone too soon.

When I first heard the news of his passing from family and friends (because I don't watch much television) I didn't react with any measure of passion worth noting. But as I began to recall my days growing up in the 1970s, I started to feel, more deeply, the real life purpose of this giant of a spiritual being. He is much greater than we have seemingly yet to allow ourselves to recognize.

Beyond the fascinating ability to moon-walk, or the epic trend-setting video productions he performed in, or the mountains of philanthropic donations he personally gave to charities; I still see far beyond the world of magic and make believe he so profoundly manifested for our collective and hyper emotional enjoyment.

Though he dazzled us with his awesome flex and rhythm, the prodigal son was trying to teach us all something far less shallow and deeper than setting fashion trends, for example. MJ, all along, was telling a story, in each and every song, of acceptance, joy, peace, understanding, inclusion, gratitude, respect, praise, healing, humility, introspection and compassion, to name more than a few.

What he wrote in the form of lyrics while sitting in Neverlands oak tree, were cosmic universal poetic metaphoric messages about the internal, higher true self - the 'man in the mirror.' If we seek to continue dissecting all the external, material aspects of his reality, we are certain to loose the message he personified; the message of the great eternal spirit - the message of love, agape!

So as we look to the days ahead, for confirmations of things that ultimately matter not, I am comforted in the promise that Mr. Jackson's message will rise above the perception of scandalous gossip and take spiritual flight in the hearts of those who know, from within, the essential meaning of his ultimate becoming.

For those who willingly insist on beating the negative drum(s) of judgment and aim it at the one who suffered silently, but smiled anyway, I would say to you, bless you....and so would he,I'm sure.

May you rest in eternal peace Mr. Michael Jackson. And thank you for loving a strange and fearful planet. One day, as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, we shall know, internally, what you were so well aware of. Until that time comes, I'll keep "living off the wall!"

 

T.F. Hodge

Copyright 2009 -- All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Greater Than Your Awareness of It

by T.F. Hodge

 

Growing up watching Bruce Lee movies was an all time favorite field trip to the theaters downtown. I was a total fan of Bruce Lee's incredible power, speed and dominance. As a child, I was so fascinated by Bruce I pretended to be a mini version of him. Unfortunately, a few too many drop kicks, at school, landed me front and center in the Principal's office.

Unfortunately, far too often, I was too passionate about what Mr. Lee represented. Had I been taught to view and seek knowledge from the internal (perspective), as well as the external, I'm certain I wouldn't have had to make so many visits to see Mr. Furamura for corrective action. I was caught up by the sensationalized dramatics of the master’s skill(s) on the [big] screen, but lacked the understanding necessary to gain knowledge of Bruce's 'inner-persona' perspective.

Obviously, I couldn't have such a level of understanding at such a young age; or could I? I could have, in fact, but learning to seek understanding from an internal, rather than or in addition to external, perspective was the state of my ignorance - at the time. Like the overwhelming majority of American youth, who later become American adults, I was taught to learn utilizing [only] the five (5) primary senses. Not until later, during my first year in college, did I become aware of seeking understanding from within. Huh?

It's been a long journey, so far, to recognition of the internal self. Bruce knew all too well the simple understanding of the creative power of the internal self. Though I am far from mastering such an understanding, I've come a mighty long way in recognizing the awesomeness of "this great creative and spiritual force within me."

It is a force whose laws are universal and always working; regardless of our ignorance to the fact. The challenge, in order to create a constant flow of positive well being, is learning to quiet the mind and the succession of thoughts that seem to overwhelm ones brain. Though it takes practice, quieting the mind and opening up [self] to the larger body of collective spiritual consciousness is a way to realizing the true and infinite power of the human spirit!

To help realize the power of the internal self, you must, first, want it. This requires humility and total submission of self -to self- and the divine order of universal law. Next, you must seek, and be lead, to the meditation path that is best suited for you. When the mind is still, quiet, empty the soul/inner being is open to receive and accept that which you desire - negative or positive. Although it often seems the mind is in control, it is not. Like muscle, the brain, too, is subject to habitual redundancies.

The inner self - the soul - is master! The brain is controller. The heart is regulator. Out of order, or in disharmony, these elements can, and will, lead you in any direction - challenging you, time and again, to repeat [in different form] the same lessons.

Until one learns to listen, silently and with openness, to the internal self, not your own understanding, you will continue a life that seems full of inappropriate circumstances. Those, like the great Martial Arts Master - Bruce Lee, who understand the creative power of the internal self, are those who experience a constant flow of positive peaceful fulfillment. Let no one, especially you, still your flow and quiet the awesome creative power that is born within you!

 

T.F. Hodge

Copyright 2009 -- All rights reserved.

Article featured at: http://www.soulcast.com/waterbearing        

 

 

 

Marketing/Web Content Business Review Article

by T.F. Hodge

 

According to thefreedictionary.com's definition of the term amoeba, “a microscopic single-cell creature that is able to change it's shape”, this definition doesn't bring to mind an aquatic creature, but rather an earthly one, in the form of Amoeba Records in Hollywood, California. I first discovered this unique music retailer, and record label, in 1989 and have been returning to it, anxiously, like a kid revisiting Disneyland!

True to the definition, there's no other record company I'm aware of that has changed it's shape, for the better, like Amoeba has! With three actively enthusiastic California locations (San Francisco, Berkeley and Hollywood), I wish they offered an affiliate program, so I could benefit from their obvious and ongoing success. Be that as it may, I do benefit, in many other ways, from return visits to their Hollywood location – at 6300 Sunset Boulevard.

From listening to very talented live performances, finding my favorite, and some times hard to find, genres and artists like Earth, Wind & Fire, The Bee Gees, Faze-'O', E-Rule, Eric B & Rakim, Mos Def, Curtis Mayfield, Brothers Johnson, Eminem, Tupac and many others, making money selling my used products (CD's, DVD's and LP's), chillin in their listening lounge, to meeting an incredibly diverse group of music loving fans; my adventures at this highly energized mecca of musical wonder, is like being inside of their equally interactive website!

It's isles upon isles of music and media; a super huge mega storage warehouse of listening enjoyment. With a motto which reads “Peace Through Music”, I totally understand why Amoeba's transformations attracts visitors the world over! 

 

T.F. Hodge

Copyright 2009 -- All rights reserved.

 

 

 

...and yes, I do ghost write.

 

 

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Riveting, provocative, enlightening, inspiring, and a great read! An excellent gift for student athletes, at-risk youth, troubled souls, and struggling families. A true story from a very 'real' perspective. No matter what life challenges one faces, the author - T.F. Hodge, illustrates how God always delivers  the promise of internal peace to those who discard the ignorance that is ego, and look within for eternal, universal truth. Get the paperback version of the book, 'From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph over Death and Conscious Encounters with The Divine Presence', online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com - or by request at your local book retailer!



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