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  • Writer's pictureTerry Pace

Turn off the News (Build a Garden)

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

By Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

This song was released by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real in 2019. This is the folk-rock version of the song. They also offer an acoustic version that is equally wonderful. Yes, Lukas is the son of Willie Nelson and has developed an amazing style of his own music, though labeled as country he offers more of a country based folk-rock sound to me. Yet, his father's voice is also powerfully present in him. But what a song this is! How perceptive of our times are the lyrics. Some cultural observers believe many of the nation's and world's current problems began in earnest with the advent of 24/7 cable news and talk radio in the 1980's, where all of us were easily hooked into our own silos of favorite personalities and views. How the competition of for profit media forced them all into seeking their own audiences and thus more and more narrowed, biased and sensational news, with full outrage from "news" casters and talking heads for us to join in; it's enough to make you sick, and I fear it has infected us all. We seem meaner, more impulsive, with shorter attention spans and greater selfishness, we are more divided, we seem to be of narrower minds and are often utterly ignorant of the alternative experiences and views of our fellow human beings. We need recovery and we need change. That change can only start with a beginning. One powerful place to begin is to simply alter one's usual behaviors in some small way and allow the mind to adjust; it will begin to open up slowly, new insights from this change will gradually grow, empathy will sprout and flower, and new understandings will emerge. Turn off the News. This does not mean be uninformed, the opposite, as one is more purposeful, mindful, reflective and allowing for greater calm and quietness in one's life, we will start to build in depth, compassion and critical thinking and only then will we be able to bring forth new fruits, new works that authentically care about and effectively improve all our lives. "Turn off the news and build a garden with me!" A garden is of course a real thing, a place of calm and challenge and beauty and sweetness and change, always change. A garden can be small, just a couple of plants in pots on a window ledge. Or it can spread across acres and be wild and fantastical. Both are wonderful and in my mind, sacred in reality and in symbolism. A garden can also be a metaphor for life, for work, for relationships; for all things that matter and need care, that grow and sustain us. A family, children, a work place, a community can be gardens we care for and spend mindful time with. I challenge you to turn off the news and build a garden, be it a tangible place with growing plants or a place of new commitment and new care that you nurture and water and defend with love.

Finally, I want to thank Will Ivey, my dear friend for 50 years for his recent Facebook commentary about these ideas and his experiences with these types of positive changes in his life. His essay is posted on my blog under Essays. He reminded me of this song I have been loving over the past year. Also if you wish, please read my earlier post on my blog under stories, entitled One Day In My Garden.

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