30 August 2012

Trust Your Intuition? - part one

OK, then. Your emotions aren't to be relied upon. But what of other feelings? Do you think that some people possess an innate form of intuition? Perhaps a sort of natural Spider Sense?

Let's just explain what I mean by that. I'm not talking about super powers! But I am talking from experience. Some say that it's your inner self picking up subtle non-verbal cues and creating feelings of assurance or unease to guide or warn you. One psychologist I read recently said this is a survival mechanism hard-wired into all of us that is trustworthy. Others have been telling me this is something that comes naturally, but only to certain personality types (especially mine - I'm an INFJ). Others simply stray off into the supernatural realm and call this sort of thing ESP!

As I mentioned before, I admit that I've had experience of this and it can be very off-putting. Like when you are in the middle of a situation and that familiar but irritating feeling sounds off, warning you (sometimes screaming at you!) not to trust a certain individual. Or times when I'm in an uncomfortable situation and my whole being keeps telling me to run away. But should I trust this instinct? Ignore it? Or, as a Christian, to use this as a cue to seek prayer support about it?

Feedback is welcomed - part two on this topic is already in draft and is to follow...

29 August 2012

Trust Your Feelings?

Time for some really deep questions... Are we, as human beings, designed with some sort of inbuilt defence mechanism to protect us? Should we therefore follow our feelings, our instincts?

I've been giving this question some serious thought during the last month, during my monthly break from blogging.

You see, over the past few decades it seems to me that it's become socially acceptable to follow your feelings. It assumes that something deep within you will steer you right. If you feel strongly about something, it has to have some meaning. It's also become part of our popular culture - Luke Skywalker is encouraged to "trust his feelings" in the original Star Wars film (1977, pictured above). However, how logical - and therefore, how safe - is it to let your feelings control your behaviour?

Some clarity first - when I talk about "feelings", I'm making a clear distinction between emotion and intuition. Blindly following your emotions is clearly not a good idea. If we continue our comparison with the Star Wars movies, you will recall that characters are warned that emotions can lead you to the Dark Side. I can't argue with that in the real world, either!

The problem with feelings is having a sound base to start from. If our thoughts are based on incorrect information or on false assumptions, then consequently any feelings associated with these thoughts are bound to be equally distorted—and hardly to be trusted. For example, if you truly believe you are in a "hopeless" situation, the subsequent feelings of despair that you'll experience could well be overwhelming. On the other hand, you might truly believe that you can have anything you ever wanted - that "the world is your oyster" - so it's clear that you will probably feel unfairly treated the first time that anyone says 'no' to you.

Both of these situations are based on a false assumption - therefore, any consequent feelings cannot be reasonably justified. Hence, we should always try to seek the truth first. However painful that truth may be.

More later... as I unpack this further.

Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

28 August 2012

Burning Your Bridges

(The title of this blog entry is based on a military tactic of burning a bridge you have just crossed to prevent the enemy from crossing it after you)

Ever feel just like getting up and running away? Sure you have. But what about never coming back?

Yep, I can identify with that. Although moving to something new is inherently scary, once I've made my move I must admit I couldn't ever consider retracing my steps to turn back. And it's such a strong sentiment; it must be profoundly deep within me - because I reacted so strongly when my thoughts brought this little gem to the surface.

For example, I can't ever comprehend how someone could ever leave their job and then return to work there, some months or years later. The very idea of it seems so wrong to me.

I had just finished drafting together a blog entry about this very subject - when my wife and I went along to the Corps Bible Study Group. Last week's study was on the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). During the evening the group was challenged to consider where we are in relation to this passage.

Mmm... I guess that if I was the younger son - I guess that I'd still be stuck in that pig pen. Unable to even consider turning back. Having burnt my bridges...

Oops. Need to unpack this a bit more, I think.

27 August 2012

Catch Up

Well, it's back now to regular blogging after the Summer break. Thought I would let you know what's been going on in my mind since July by letting you know what paperback books I've been reading on holiday - whilst I've been sitting in a campsite in Suffolk:

The Avengers (novel adaptation of the recent movie) - read this in an afternoon. I thought I wanted something light to read - however this turned out to be far too light, it didn't do much for me, even though I'm a long standing Marvel Comics fan.

Mud, Sweat And Tears by Bear Grylls (autobiography) - my main read of the holiday, the story of a real man of action, the current Chief Scout. The book details how Bear became a member of the SAS (an incredible story in itself), how he suffered a horrific free-fall parachuting accident, then fighting his way back to health, and only eighteen months later becoming one of the youngest climbers to scale Everest.

Mood Mapping by Liz Miller (in an effort to understand and get to grips with my moods). Still digesting this one, but it's already given me some food for thought which I'll try and unpack here in a little while..

I've also been doing some research on feelings and instincts and reading a bit around the subject - secular and Christian authors - which will be the subject of my next few blog entries. Stay tuned!

26 August 2012

Z is for Zerox

Some early day Adam And The Ants to finish with. This was the band's second single, released in 1978.

"Lock up your brain
Because I'm here again
I'm never bored to steal your chords
Ooh-ooh Zerox Machine
Ooh-ooh Zerox Machine"

25 August 2012

Y is for Yahweh

Tal and Acacia is a contemporary Christian musical group, two sisters who sing together. Here's one of their better-known tracks, from their debut album 'Wake Me'.

24 August 2012

X is for Xtras

Okay, I admit it. There's not a lot I can say about songs beginning with X, so instead from all the others here's a track from 'Little Shop of Horrors', a wonderful musical about a killer plant from Outer Space. It's entiled Downtown (Skid Row) and has some great lyrics, too...

"Someone show me a way to get outta here 
Cause I constantly pray I'll get outta here 
Please won't somebody say I'll get outta here 
Someone gimme my shot or I'll rot here!"

23 August 2012

W is for We Are Detective

Another great Thompson Twins track!

"Somebody's watching me
And now I'm nervous and I shouldn't be
Somebody's got their eye on me
Perhaps I should invite him up for tea?"

22 August 2012

V is for Video Killed The Radio Star

Historical fact: this hit by The Buggles was the first video ever played on MTV. It's also one of the few tracks beginning with V on my iPod!

21 August 2012

U is for Up The Junction

One of Squeeze's most popular hits, this rather tragic story was the third single released from their second album, 'Cool for Cats'.

20 August 2012

T is for Time After Time

A choice of listening for you now: which one do you want:

Cyndi Lauper's classic 1984 hit?

John Barrowman's cover of the same song?

Or Brent Spiner's version of the Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne jazz standard?

I have all three on my iPod!

19 August 2012

S is for Sergio Leone

An unusual one, this. Took me a while to find it! Performed by The Fibonaccis, an 'art rock' band from the 1980s, this is the instrumental theme to a lesser-known sci-fi movie called 'Android' (1982), played on guitars, and named after a composer of spaghetti western music. Brilliant.

18 August 2012

R is for Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town

Written by Mel Tillis and originally recorded by Johnny Darrell in 1967, it's the cover version of this country song by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition from 1969 that most people will remember.

17 August 2012

Q is for Quantum Leap

There's a fair number of TV themes included on the collection on my iPod. The theme for the Quantum Leap series (which first aired in 1989) was written by Mike Post. A soundtrack album was released in 1993.

16 August 2012

P is for Pencil Full Of Lead

A change of pace now with Paolo Nutini's dynamic song, released in 2009. Understandably I can't quite get all the lyrics right but I'm working on it.

15 August 2012

O is for Oh To Be In Love

And songs by the lovely Kate Bush are of course well represented on my life soundtrack, too. This track is from "The Kick Inside", Kate's debut album which was released in 1978.

"Oh! to be in love,
And never get out again..."

14 August 2012

N is for No Peace For The Wicked

This Thompson Twins track is definitely part of the soundtrack of my life. I've worn out two copies of the tape version of 'Into The Gap' due to constant repetition! Hopefully the MP3 versions will prove more resilient!

"(There's no peace) No peace for the wicked

We're dancing till we drop

(There's no rest) No rest for the wicked

And we're all too scared to stop..."

13 August 2012

M is for Marvin

This is a song voiced by Stephen Moore, the actor who originally played the eponymous 'paranoid android' from the radio series of the Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Produced in 1981, the single only reached number 52 in the British Charts, a fact Marvin would have found apt.

"Solitary solenoid,
Terminally paranoid,

12 August 2012

L is for The Last Farewell

In 1971, Roger Whittaker had the opportunity to host a radio show, where he invited listeners to send in lyrics which he would then turn into a folk song. Ron Webster, a silversmith from Birmingham, sent Whittaker his poem entitled The Last Farewell. The subsequent song has sold over 10m copies world-wide. I particularly love the chorus. My wife knows what I mean.

11 August 2012

K is for King Of The Road

A 1964 country song, written and recorded by Roger Miller. Although it's arguably an overly romanticised account of the life of a homeless man, it does help convey an attractive sort of freedom - possibly why someone would initially choose a 'travelling' lifestyle.

10 August 2012

J is for Jenkins

Katherine Jenkins is a beautiful Welsh mezzo-soprano, with many styles of music in her repertoire. This includes "Abigail's Theme", sung as part of the Doctor Who Christmas Special in 2010, which was Katherine's acting debut. The song was written specifically for her. Superb.

9 August 2012

I is for If That Were Me

A particularly thoughtful song from Melanie C's album "Northern Star", which became a top 20 hit in 2000. Written by Mel and Rick Nowels, with some challenging lyrics!

"How did you fall?
Did you fall at all?
Are you happy when you are
Sleeping underneath the stars?
When it's cold is it your hope that keeps you warm?"

8 August 2012

H is for Hey Ya!

A really catchy song released in 2003 by hip hop duo OutKast, written and produced by André 3000.

"Now, what's cooler than being cool? Ice cold!"

7 August 2012

G is for God Gave Rock And Roll To You

Actually entitled "God Gave Rock 'N' Roll To You II", this classic track from rock legends Kiss is a 1991 reworking of the original song by British band Argent that was produced in 1973 (which I'm looking to get!).

The reworked song was featured on the soundtrack to the movie "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey". In the film, a 40 second guitar solo is played by Steve Vai which wasn't released on the soundtrack album... Thankfully, my version has it!

6 August 2012

F is for Forever Autumn

Another from Jeff Wayne's "War Of The Worlds" album; this one's a beautiful ballad sung by Justin Hayward. Can you believe that the melody was originally written by Wayne as part of the soundtrack to a Lego commercial? Lyrics were added by Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass:

"The summer sun is fading as the year grows old,
And darker days are drawing near.
The winter winds will be much colder,
Now you're not here..."

5 August 2012

E is for Eve Of The War

Awesome track taken from the "War of the Worlds" album by Jeff Wayne. It was released in 1978, retelling that classic SF story (written in 1898 by H. G. Wells) using rock music, a string orchestra and some great lyrics!

4 August 2012

D is for I Dare To Be Different

I love the sentiment of this Salvation Army Songster piece, written by Commissioner Harry Read and with music by Commissioner Dick Krommenhoek. The version I have on my iPod is from the International Staff Songsters.

"I dare to be different, I dare to believe;
I dare to be different, God’s Spirit receive.
I dare to be different, my life sacrificed;
I dare to be different by living like Christ."

3 August 2012

C is for I Want Candy

Although written and originally recorded by The Strangeloves in 1965, it is the 1982 cover by punk band Bow Wow Wow that I recall; this version was heavily featured on MTV during the early days of the station.

I smiled when I heard the version by Australian R&B singer Cody Simpson that was featured on the movie soundtrack of 'Hop' (2011) which aired on TV recently... as that has led me to discover yet another version by Mel C which I'm looking to purchase soon!

2 August 2012

B is for Boadicea

A stunningly beautiful melody from Enya, taken from 'The Celts' album, which was released in 1992. Wonderful stuff.

1 August 2012

A is for Army Dreamers

Released in 1980 by singer/songwriter Kate Bush, 'Army Dreamers' depicts a grieving mother who mourns her young adult son, killed in military service.

"What could he do? Should have been a rock star...
But he didn't have the money for a guitar.
What could he do? Should have been a politician...
But he never had a proper education.
What could he do? Should have been a father...
But he never even made it to his twenties!
What a waste.
Army dreamers."