John Prine’s music has been instrumental in forming a generation of higher thought, providing us with a uniquely sardonic, poignant, and wise perspective about everyday living and how we as people are all the same. It’s at this time his words are needed more than ever.
Interestingly, we’ve lost several key wisdom-keepers of late like, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Prince, Robin Williams (there are too many to name). But perhaps there is a bigger reason these influential figures needed to depart at this time.
Through his music, Prine has set the stage for the shifts we must enact today. Let me explain, in his song Sam Stone, about a solider returning from war whose wounded by more than shrapnel, Prine shows us the truth of what war creates in the haunting phrase, “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes.” When one hears those lyrics, (and I encourage you to listen to the entire song), one can’t help but realize war is not a solution – it only creates bigger problems and we must figure out how to create peace in a peaceful way.
Same as in Prine’s song, Angel from Montgomery where he brings light to one of the biggest issues American’s face – Depression and the feelings of being stuck in our circumstances with no opportunity for advantage (if not from divine intervention) and the toll that takes on a person’s psyche. He depicted this well in the lyrics, “There’s flies in the kitchen, I can hear them buzzing, but I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.” Prine understood that hopelessness leads to inaction, and that if people are not given adequate education and opportunity, they flounder and are held back from living, let alone feeling happy – something we must consider if we want all people to be equal.
It’s not difficult to see that Master Prine gave us the tools to determine what is right-living and what is wrong-living – same as the other influential people I mentioned above. In that since, they were not here to be the change, they were here to provide us with the wisdoms needed to change ourselves.
As our idols leave, we consume their works again, submerging ourselves into the lessons they were teaching, the wisdoms they were imparting. It’s at this time their work is meant to help us grow – just as Prine is doing still, with his lyrics “Beautiful world, why do I hide? … Maybe someday I’ll wake up, and I’ll do what I should, write a song to make heaven and earth, go waltzing in time.
As we emerge from our pandemic state, let’s hear Prine’s words ring in our hearts and minds, empowering us to step up and do what we know is right so we can all live meaningful lives.
No More Business as Usual
As I’ve been saying, we cannot go back to business as usual. However, that means BEING WILLING TO LIVE OUR INDIVIDUAL TRUTHS! By that I mean, if you work for a company that doesn’t care about people and planet, and you feel that is out of alignment with your truth, now is the time you have to speak up and demand something different. Or better yet, form a group with like-minded colleagues and devise a plan for moving the business away from archaic ideals, while Prine and the others cheer you on from the other side.
There is no shortage of ideals and systems that need revamping. Prine and our other great wisdom-keepers have given us the tools and now we must save ourselves. Listen to Prine’s words today and figure out just what is important to you in the big scheme of things. Then when you have to get back to unrealistic expectations, you’ll have the power you need to take command and shift the standard to a healthier and more sustainable reality – lest we just suffer more of the same.