“Love is gentle as a rose
And love can conquer any war
It’s time to take a stand
Brothers and sisters join hands
We got to let love rule”
-Lenny Kravitz, Let Love Rule
There are many things that get me fired up that I could write about. And I love to write when I’m angry. It’s more satisfying than punching a wall or screaming at the top of my lungs. Writing is my favorite form of anger management. But sometimes I have the need to tap into my optimistic, idealistic self. The “cumbaya” side of me, the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” side of me. I’m a total sucker for a group sing along, for those moments of camaraderie. We’re all in this together. You’re all my brothers and sisters.
My Utopian World would be a population of people free of anger and shame. A world where everyone looked out for each other, a world that is color blind, gender oblivious, accepting, forgiving. And my manifesto would be the album “Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz.
It was 1989, I was a Sophomore in high school. My best friend handed me a cassette tape he’d made for me, a copy of the debut album by a new singer. I went home, popped it into my stereo and sat frozen as I soaked up every sound, every word. I was transfixed. I was in love.
This album spoke to me like no other had. For me, this was the album that signified everything I believed and felt and wanted. This was THE album of my generation that spoke for social change, a new world view. I felt like Lenny was speaking to me, for me. I wore that tape out. My friend and I would ride around for hours in his car, driving down winding country roads, blasting Lenny. Sometimes pulling over to listen to a particular song and just absorb it.
Let love rule. A simple premise. Let your actions be guided by love. Let your thoughts be influenced by love. It’s so simple. But it’s so hard.
Here’s what I don’t get. We all want the same things. We may go about it different ways, but we all want basically the same things in this life. Who doesn’t want to be loved. Accepted. Included. Safe. Secure. Comfortable. At peace. So why do we do things to each other… hurt each other? Judge each other? Condemn each other? Shame each other?
It’s not a game of whoever ends up with the most marbles wins. It’s a quest for happiness.
Think of the things that made you angry today. The people you’ve argued with this week. Were these issues relevant to getting you where to you want to be? Or were they born of hurt and anger? Back against the wall? Pushed into a corner? We can always choose to step aside. Break the momentum of an argument.
Dear lord, I’m not preaching here –did I just say dear lord? I can bask in negativity. Anger. Irritation. But it sucks. I don’t feel better. None of that makes you feel good. It feeds on itself. It only produces more. More anger, judgement. More crap. Aren’t we all sick of the crap? I know I’m tired of it.
There’s a perverse joy in reading about a starlet’s divorce. There’s the satisfaction of you’re no better than us. Life can suck for you too. Theres’s the satisfaction of the wealthy neighbor who files for bankruptcy. You know, the one who would flaunt all his expensive “toys” and walks around barrel chested and smug. Ha. You’re broke too, asshole. But where does this all get us? It doesn’t make us any happier.
There’s the fleeting glee of righteousness, but it’s quickly followed by a hollow feeling. The voices echo and bounce around inside of us if we don’t fill it up with other crap. And so continues the cycle.
“In this garden
They’ll be no war
No racial prejudice
You’ll be my brother
Of any color
You’ll just be okay with us
We’ll live each day in peace
In hope that we will one day reach
The rest of the world
When they are ready to be teached”
-Lenny Kravitz, I Build This Garden For Us
There are no “others.” We’re not all that different. Some of us look different, sound different. Some of us walk different and talk different. Love different. Who cares. Deep down, we all want the same things. These differences are just superficial. They add interest to life, they keep the canvas from being bland. But that’s about it.
Why does it matter to anyone if someone practices a different religion or no religion? Why does it matter to anyone if someone wants to marry someone of the same gender? Why does it matter if someone is living their life in a way that is different from you? Let’s keep it simple. If they are not hurting others, who cares?
If a teacher wants to have a ring through their nose and purple hair… why should that matter? If a boy wants to carry a My Little Pony backpack… why does that matter? If a girl wants to wear her hair short and dress masculine… who cares? I have yet to hear any valid reason why we should care about how someone looks or acts or who they love.
I have heard many arguments, but none of them seem to actually answer the question. The are based on hypotheticals (“If people do this, then…”). Why does anyone care? Why can’t everyone just be o.k. with everyone else?
I want to go back to 1989. I want to ride in that little run down Honda and listen to the strains of hope. I want to think that a world like that is possible. I don’t want to be jaded and bitter. I want to look around and see you, my brother. And you, my sister. I want to want what’s best for you. Because what’s best for you doesn’t take away from what I’ve got. I want to feel joy for every good thing. I want to have patience and peace. I want to look around me and see people thriving because that means we’re all doing something right.
“But the only way for you to survive
Is to open your heart it will guide
You wanna stay in this world of music and life
You got to turn around and spread a little love and get high”
-Lenny Kravitz, Sitting On Top of the World
I’m with you. And I think there are an awful lot of people with you too.
Aside from all the baggage we all carry (known or not), we’re also raised in a culture where climbing to the top is prized.
And there’s also very vocal minorities that preach bigotry and hate.
All I can think o do in oppostion is to support those that are likeminded in tolerance, and just live by example.
I doubt it’s enough, but it’s what I have.
I hope there are a lot of people who want this. There’s seems to be an awful lot of judgement and condemnation going on out there. But like you said, the assholes are always the loudest!
I also was writing this to remind myself. I find myself getting caught up in negativity. It’s so stupid and a huge waste of time. But the people that judge others for being different… that I just don’t get. Never will.
I think the thing I love second most about blogging (first is writing, duh) is the positive bloggers I’ve met. It is such a good karma, feel good place, this blogosphere!
You know I saw Lenny in my reader and had to stop here!
Yes. Let Love Rule. This album spoke to me then. It speaks to me now. It saw me through my Winter Of Discontent depression.
I’m all for more positive vibes, especially on the Internet. I love being snarky and wiseass – but the truth is, I really prize the love and positivity of the blogosphere. That’s why I love our friend Guap up there – his blog is such a happy place. Have you been there on a Friday? There’s nothing quite like it.
A lot of critics called Lenny a hippie for his positive spin on life, for the messages he sent through the tracks on this album. Call it whatever you want, but the message was life, love, peace, acceptance, hope.
“Let Love Rule” is such a hot song. I love the way the first two tracks just melt right into one another. Thanks for the earworm.
You’re welcome, Sweets!
I have been popping in to Guap’s blog lately. He’s like the Ambassador of WordPress or something, right? Is Friday when he does the comments round up thing? Crazy! I can’t hang with the funny people that comment on his blog so I just read and laugh and absorb.
I remember critics saying Lenny was a Hendrix rip-off. Yeah, because he’s black and plays a guitar. People are so ‘effin stupid. Ooops. Probably shouldn’t say that on my positive vibes post…
And, you know I love your snark. It is never cruel, always hilarious and it always shows the softer side of you if you read close enough. That’s why it’s so perfect!
Very nice. 🙂
See, that’s where I would *like* to be, not angry or bitter. But I’m afraid I have a few more things I need to work through first. If I can get some decent rest soon, then there will probably be a few angry sounding new posts on my blog. But it’s like you said, for me it’s a kind of free therapy!
“Happy” posts will appear, eventually…
Being exhausted definitely doesn’t lend itself to happy thoughts! I really try to write based on my mood, I feel like that’s the only way I’ll really connect, if I’m being real. But sometimes I have to force myself if I feel like I’m getting stuck in a rut. That being said, I love reading a good angry rant! I say go with your feelings, let it all out! Writing really is the best therapy!
🙂 Really am so happy we crossed paths!
Writing is an incredible anger management tool– but you’re right. We need to be able to just stop, calm the eff down, and try to see the situation from a different angle.
I’m not typically one to explode (I build up over time… simmering… dangerously… haha) but these last couple weeks I’ve had two– count that, TWO– horrible email blow ups where I laid the smackdown on coworkers who (obviously) were too dumb to go unschooled. Normally I would have found a way to laugh at the situation and approach it in a better way but I just totally lost it. I need to take a lesson from your book and, you know… buy the world a coke 🙂
Maybe there’s something in the air… It usually takes a lot to get me angry, but lately I’ve had the irresistible urge to throw things. Something small can set me off (the kids not putting away the dishes, etc) and I want to just lose it! I don’t actually start throwing things (I don’t want to turn into Mommy Dearest) but it’s been real hard to resist.
I get verbally tongue tied when I’m angry but if I’m writing I can really unleash. I bet you felt SO good after writing those emails! I think I was kinda writing this one to try to chill myself out. I am trying to space out my angry rants on my blog but those are definitely the most fun to write!
Love this Gretchen (and I LOVE Lenny Kravitz too). I agree wholeheartedly…let love rule. I’m passionate about many things, sometimes even angry or sad about the things I see around me, but I try to remember compassion. Doesn’t always work! lol but I’m a work in progress.
Thank you Candace! I think Lenny has a little fan club going on in the blog world! I really did dream about growing up and getting married and raising a family like in “I Build This Garden For Us”. But whenever I would describe it to anyone it sounded kind of cult-ish!
It is so easy to get down with all the crazies and hatred out there. I’ve always been the type to see the good in people, but it gets hard sometimes! Honestly, blogging has been a huge help in keeping that optimism alive. The blogging community is good karma personified and so full of support and good vibes. Thanks for stopping by to read this! 🙂
With you on this one. Why does it matter is someone is different as long as they’re not hurting someone else? The only conclusive answer I’ve ever gotten is people are afraid of what they don’t know. And except for encouraging people to face that fear, I don’t have an answer. It’s easier to define self by what you’re not and many people never do the work to create an identity for themselves based on what they. They go based on what they aren’t and what they don’t change or don’t do and that means that the other, the different becomes the ‘other’. It’s sad really. Thank you for your post, because you’re right, it shouldn’t matter.
P.S. On anger management, writing really works! When I’m to mad to do anything, I journal is all out until I can think again.
Thanks Ciara! I agree, I think people are afraid of different. I think they’re also afraid that allowing (or not condemning) different will somehow threaten who they are. I think it’s all spurred by insecurity in who they are. That, and too many people just believe a certain way of looking or “being” is bad just because that’s what prior generations thought. They don’t think for themselves and just continue the same flawed thinking. And it’s just so stupid, really…
Agreed. Leading unexamined lives can be downright dangerous.
I read this earlier and then got distracted by a phone call…but I’m BACK. 😉
Love that you write as an anger management tool. I SO get that! I never really know how I feel about something until I write it down, does that make sense? Writing organizes my thoughts, and focuses certain emotions in a way I can’t get un-jumbled trying to speak them.
Also – LENNY = SWOON. I die. Love him to pieces and pieces. I listened to the song while I read your former post. Thank you for a little Lenny in my life today. (and thanks for your comment love over at my place. I’m digging your blog HUGE so I’m thrilled you found me!)
I know exactly what you mean! I sometimes don’t even know why I’m mad until I sit down and write about it. And my husband goes pale if I hand him a letter. I’ve only done it a few times, but he knows it means I’m highly pissed. I really can’t express myself verbally when I’m mad, so thank god for writing!
And Lenny is the man. I swear he gets hotter with age… lucky bastard!
I’m so glad you like my blog! I’m kinda giddy that you even stopped by! 🙂