The Eternity of Accomplishments

We were driving on Interstate 695 and passed the sign for Unitas Stadium at Towson University. I recalled when the stadium was renamed for Johnny Unitas after he passed away in 2002. Unitas Stadium is the third name this stadium has had. I wondered how long a sports figure’s name is remembered. How many generations will pass before someone says, “Who was Unitas, and why is this stadium named after him?” Taking that thought process one step further, if you don’t have family members or friends who are knowledgeable about sports, do you know – do you even care – who Johnny Unitas was?

I contrast that to people like Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Da Vinci, Monet, and Van Gogh – names hardly anyone can escape being acquainted with. These people and their accomplishments are eternal. Their music, art, concepts and philosophies are taught in schools, woven into fiction and non-fiction books, and become snippets in commercials. Their accomplishments in their specific fields are foundations for so many other things. You don’t have to be involved in music to be acquainted with their lullabies, symphonies, or waltzes. You don’t have to be an artist to have seen “Starry Night” on a book cover, t-shirt, or poster. You don’t have to be a philosopher, scientist, or mathematician to know of their theories and discoveries. And think of religious figures. There’s no way to escape knowing the names of people like Jesus, Gautama Buddha, Krishna, Moses, etc.

Circling back to sports, it seems that the sport itself is remembered, but are the names attached to the sports eternal? Do they only become eternal when awards are handed out in their names, foundations are created to continue their good works, or stadiums are named after them? And are sports figures more regionalized and not subject to becoming globally renowned? For example, does anyone in Mumbai know the 1942 Preakness winner and the jockey who rode the horse to fame? Who in Luxembourg might know the stats of the 1963 Football Hall of Famer from the Chicago Bears?

I guess the ultimate question is, what is the driving force behind those whose accomplishments become eternal compared to those who are more generational? It’s about spreading the word, networking, challenging their ideas – and could it be related to the period in which they live? Could it be that as we develop more and more methods of communication – telephone, radio, television, internet, social networks – that there is such a high volume of messaging in so many forms that the important messages may be getting lost in noise? Word of mouth and painstakingly slow written communications of the past meant being persistent if you wanted to get your message out to the masses. Suffering for the sake of your message was not uncommon. These days, we tweet in 140 characters and post blogs that may never be read unless you’ve got a handful of followers. Self-publishing, self-promotion are so easy that anyone can do it. Getting the audience is the difficult part. So when we’re flooded with messages day and night, how do we eliminate the noise, identify and focus on the important messages? How do we know that we’re not missing the art, the music, the philosophy, and the spiritual direction of the people who are supposed to be the next set of eternals?

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“You Can Never Go Home”

A sunny and very windy Sunday morning here in Westminster.  Reminds me of Chicago and the bitterly cold, windy days there.  I’m trying to think of what to write this morning, and a song comes to mind.

I open iTunes and start playing the Moody Blues’ song “You Can Never Go Home” from their album “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” and think maybe they got it wrong. You absolutely can go home again, especially in your thoughts.

“I don’t know what I’m searching for, I never have opened the door.  Tomorrow might find me at last, turning my back on the past.  But time will tell of stars that fell, a million years ago.  Memories can never take you back, home, sweet home.  You can never go home anymore.  All my life, I never really knew me till today.  Now I know why I’m just another step along the way …”

I think each of us never really knows our inner self until some epiphany occurs.  I don’t think it matters how old we are when it happens.  Some people are fortunate and figure it out when they are young; others (like me) are older and still searching.  As I read more and more about different spiritual paths, it occurs to me that maybe this is all part of the journey.

So now, I reconsider the lyrics.  Do they refer to the journey to enlightenment and not the earthly life we know at the moment?  Using that interpretation, I think what they’re saying is that we don’t go back and relive past lives (unless we haven’t yet learned what we’re supposed to learn in this one).  Yes, by the way, I believe in reincarnation.

Funny thing (and I think I have written about this before), when I was in my early teens in Chicago, I used to do yard work for a neighbor.  Her son was away from home (don’t recall if it was college or the service), and she would invite me to lounge in her son’s chaise with headphones and listen to his albums.  I remember being introduced to Santana and the Moody Blues there.  I fell in love with the MBs.  Now, all these years later, I’m finding entirely new meaning in their songs.  I wonder if they had already attained what so many of us are still looking for.  Based on some of their lyrics, it seems so.

Still trying to be mindful of everything around me.  Trying to take the not-so-nice things in stride, whether it’s insanely awful drivers on the roads, random things getting messed up at home, or filing my taxes and learning the results are highly unfavorable.  Everything happens for a reason, right?

Particles of Wisdom

IMG_0004I don’t know if it’s something to do with getting older or maybe it’s just that time of year, but I find myself searching for something.  I don’t know what that “something” is yet.  So I’m doing my best to be in a mindful state as much as possible, waiting for the universe to reveal particles of wisdom.  I hope I’ll recognize them when they appear.

Writing has always been a passion of mine.  I used to write a blog every Sunday morning back when MySpace was the cool place to be.  I’d write about anything and everything on my mind, including some of the guys I was dating after my divorce.  A few of the guys I wrote of were flattered; others not so much.

Years later I find I don’t know what to write about.  I took an online blogging course to help me find direction and gather tools for posting blogs.  People (like Seth Godin) come along with some very insightful blogs which prompt deep thought.  I find myself wondering what it really is I’m trying to do.  What is my purpose in blogging?  What wisdom am I trying to impart?  And I’m lost – I don’t really know.

I feel like the universe is nudging me along.  Since last summer I have reacquainted myself with things I used to love when I was much younger.  Metaphysical things.  Reading about different religions.  Reminding myself how much I love music and writing.

So maybe my purpose is to write about my journey?  I’m not sure yet.  I’m hoping the universe, and time, will tell.

Until then, I’ll sip my morning coffee on Sundays and work on redeveloping the weekly blog posts.  See you next week?