The Bliss of Honest Effort

Like everybody else, I’ve been watching Prince videos this week. So much beauty in his work and so many amazing collaborations. Sheila E. and the Purple One performing “A Love Bizarre,” (wittily tiled after John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme)” blew me away. She was his Ginger Rodgers, singing, dancing, and co-owning the stage. I’d say like Ginger she did it all, except backwards in heels, but they were both in heels. They were both dedicated and committed to serving the audience. They gave full-tilt honest effort and in so doing, transported themselves into a transcendent state of joy clearly visible on their faces.

One clip I saw bugged me though, because it demonstrated a state of affairs I have noticed. When you get to be an old fart like me, you begin to see the world you live in with some of the same concern for its well-being as you do your own family. And you want the best for your family.

We have become too lazy, self-absorbed, and expectant of being spoon-fed, rather than doing our homework. I would like to see a return in our culture of consideration and work ethic. The expectation that we make an effort and care enough to really do our best… and that as we do we recognize “the other.”

How does a journalist assigned to interview Prince’s near and dear at Paisley Park,  not know who Larry Graham is… and ask him to spell his name?

Same deal with the person who posted the clip. How does the headline call him a “bandmate”? He was more than a bandmate. He was a musical collaborator, very close friend, and strong spiritual influence on Prince. Larry Graham is an iconic funk star in his own right. Bassist for Sly & The Family Stone, creator of a unique style of playing, leader of Graham Central Station, and vocalist as well as bass player.

We have become a culture of people who expect awards for just showing up, as if doing our best is an unreasonable expectation or even an imposition, rather than a privilege and a source of pride and joy. We can do better. Let’s do better. There is so much to do and that’s not all. We owe it to ourselves to let go of our resentment of and resistance to life. Life is always calling us to service and that’s where the bliss is!

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