Three Chords

Three chords and the truth is the melody of a life to be enjoyed.

Three Chords

Many times, less is more.

There is merit to the KISS principle:
Keep It Simple Sweetheart.

For music aficionados, the minors and majors add a dimension of emotion to the foundational key. Variety is the spice of life. Yet, the basics of scale and note must exist before flavor is added.

So, it is with melodies of the heart.

We can achieve harmony with a commitment to always: Honor the Past, Respect the Present, and Trust the Future.

The Basic Functions of Harmony

At its core, all music can be considered an interplay of tension and release. The degree of tension can come from dissonance vs. consonance, orchestration, dynamics, or a hundred other musical elements. The key to using tension and release is balance. With too much tension and no release the tension can become unbearable and the music unlistenable. On the reverse side, if the music is too neutral with little to no amount of tension it can be dull and lifeless.

The Perfect Country Song

He sits with his elbows on the table, mellow and relaxed. He smiles a lot, and his deeply lined face is dominated by serene brown eyes. “A lot of country music is sad,” he notes softly. “I think most art comes out of poverty and hard times. It applies to music. Three chords and the truth — that’s what a country song is. There is a lot of heartache in the world.”

Honor

We are the beneficiaries of those who have gone before. By their sacrifice — the blood, sweat, and tears of their effort — we enjoy opportunities, otherwise impossible. Everyone has done their best, with what they have known and the resources available.

Respect

Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. This is the only moment to boldly make our decisions. By setting aside the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the future, we can focus on the choices available at this time.

Trust

With preparation, comes opportunity and success. By doing our best to become all of which we are capable, we can confidently look forward and know that goodness waits for us. It might be in the form of lessons to be learned. Or, it might be a celebration of accomplishment. Either way, it will be right, for us.

Three chords and the truth is the melody of a life to be enjoyed.

For generations to come, that song will endure.

www.kimfoard.com

Finding Virtue

At the moment we choose to focus on the attributes of love, the sources of hate lose their power.

Finding Virtue

Every now and then, I hear someone muse, “I think God hates me.”

Odds are good, their spoken comment is a verbal manifestation of the thought all humans have, at times.

Usually, those times are when everything seems to be going bass-ackwards.

If you’re like me, we look for someone to hold accountable for our troubles. As frustration grows and temperament sours, I spot the rascal responsible for everything wrong in my life. As I prepare for a new day, there he is, in my bathroom mirror, scowling right back at me.

What a pathetic sight. I laugh at him and he laughs at me. Then, I’m reminded, “The world is what I make of it. If it doesn’t fit, make alterations.”

Often, we know the right things to do. In other words, we know What to do and, even, How to do it. Problem is we lose sight of Why it’s so important to be doing the right things.

Many times, we discover our favorites by experiencing the distasteful. Without the dark of night, the light of day is impossible to appreciate. Same thing holds true for the touchy-feely intangibles of emotions like love and hate. To recognize love is to understand hate.

There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests:

  • haughty eyes,
  • a lying tongue,
  • hands that kill the innocent,
  • a heart that plots evil,
  • feet that race to do wrong,
  • a false witness who pours out lies,
  • a person who sows discord in a family.

As I consider the list and think about the results produced by these seven causes of hate, I’m enlightened, empowered, and encouraged to focus on doing the exact opposite.

  • kind eyes,
  • a truthful tongue,
  • hands that heal the innocent,
  • a heart that plans righteousness,
  • feet that patiently choose to always do right,
  • a conscientious messenger who defends the truth,
  • a person who plants seeds of harmony and unity in families.

Oh, and that miserable funk in which I had been a participant of earlier, simply, disappears. The fog of resignation and despair lifts to reveal the sunshine of fascination and curiosity.

At the moment I choose to focus on the attributes of love, the sources of hate lose their power. If I have been the practitioner of the distasteful, I can change. If I have been the recipient of the destructive conduct of another, changing them is not an option.

What I can do is to choose my response.

As for me, I choose love.

www.kimfoard.com

Truth and Freedom

To avoid manipulation, think of direct, clear communication as the psychological equivalent of holding up a cross to a vampire.

Truth and FreedomIn the journey from childlike innocence to adult discernment, one trait requires a metamorphosis.

Naivety contains the seeds for discovery and destruction.

As to which we will nurture? That choice is within our control.

To fall under the influence and control of another person is dangerous. A lack of worldly experience and understanding can result in harm, to ourselves and others. Good judgment comes from experience — experience comes from bad judgment. Discretion is the better part of valor.

Yet, these are the naive qualities all children enjoy — and, we, older kids, can continue to practice:

  • Free from guile, cunning, or sham
  • Absence of complexity, artifice, or pretentiousness
  • Childlike directness, simplicity, and innocence
  • Spontaneity and freedom from self-consciousness
  • Sincerity and unaffected simplicity
  • Absence of insidious or treacherous cunning

As we practice the pure qualities of naivety, there is one, very, large caveat: Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. In other words, the Machiavellians, Narcissists, Borderlines, Histrionics, and Manipulators do not subscribe to a mutually beneficial Code of Honor.

To combat the scurrilous tactics of these Con Artists, only one weapon is required: The Truth.

Before we engage in daily interaction with the Disturbed Characters, the truth empowers us to be free.

  • Our conscience is free from regret and blame.
  • We boldly step through the doors of new opportunity.
  • The benefit of our actions lifts the spirits of all in our care.

From the book, Who’s Pulling Your Strings?, by Harriet B Braiker, PhD, comes this powerful observation:

Think of direct, clear communication — especially when it is about the manipulation itself — as the psychological equivalent to holding up a cross to a vampire. Most manipulators recoil in the face of being “busted,” and the air goes out of the pressure they are trying to create just as easily as it escapes a punctured balloon.

Direct, clear communication is just another way of making reference to: The Truth.

From the sages of old is this simple request: “I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!”

The truth will set us free.

www.kimfoard.com

Truth and Consequence

Truth is everywhere. It begs and pleads to be discovered. On bended knee, it offers rewards to those who will listen and receive.

Truth and ConsequenceFor every cause, there is an effect.

For every pebble, there is a ripple.

For every action, there is a reaction.

For every effort, there is a result.

For every choice, there is a consequence.

The question becomes, “What is Truth?”

In the simplest of terms, “The seed planted yields a harvest in kind.”

Judgment of Others

Don’t do it. Those who do will receive the same. What is given is received. The caveat, though, is not to waste what is precious on an individual who is content with filth. Goodness is not appreciated by those wallowing in a rut. They will attack anything and everyone representative of a better way.

Effective Requests

Persistence is the secret. To do is to ASK. Ask to receive — Seek to find — Knock to have the door of opportunity swing wide open. Children know to ask for what they want and need. Parents joyfully respond with good gifts to those requests. Older kids can do the same.

The Golden Rule

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”

Narrow Gates

No pain — No gain. Easy is hard — Hard is easy. Follow the crowd and complain about the destination — or, lead the way and discover new frontiers.

Trees and Fruit

As the twig is bent, so the tree grows. Eventually, though, mature trees are known by what they produce. Good trees produce good fruit. Worthless trees produce nothing. In the same way that trees display their value, people express their worth by what they do. Actions trump words.

Wise Students

Talk is cheap. Only those who do the homework assignments pass the exams. Education is the enlightenment to know what to do. Experience is the empowerment to do the right thing. The combination of the two is an encouragement to learn by doing and to have fun learning.

Solid Foundations

Storms will come. Those who listen and do are the equivalent of a home built on a rock. Those who hear and reject are the equivalent of a tent pitched on the sand. Rock vs. Sand — it’s obvious which will stand.

In Summary

Truth is everywhere. It begs and pleads to be discovered. On bended knee, it offers rewards to those who will listen and receive. The journey is not one of passivity — it is one of active engagement. This courtship requires a, daily, best effort experience in the arena of life to gain an education from the consequences of our choices.

www.kimfoard.com

Fifty-Five

Today’s the day. A birth day: fifty-five years ago, today. Born in 1955, I’m turning 55, in this year of 2010. Beyond the numbers, 1955 was a year of Classics!

Classic

Today’s the day.

A birth day: fifty-five years ago, today.

Born in 1955, I’m turning 55, within the tenth month, of this year 2010.

As a Numbers Guy, a Certified Public Accountant, I wonder if it was by design, or simply the hand of fate, that fifty-five is so rich in meaning.

Fifty-five has the interesting property that it is the 10th Fibonacci number and the sum of the numbers 1 to 10.  It is a heptagonal number, a centered nonagonal number, and a triangular number (the sum of the numbers 1 to 10) and a square pyramidal number (the sum of the squares of the integers 1 to 5). It is also a Fibonacci number (the largest Fibonacci number to also be a triangular number) and a Kaprekar number.

The common theme in the above: squares and triangles.

A couple observations are worthy of being dovetailed into this world of numbers and shapes.

Builders use a Square to keep their designs, and creations, uniform and true. From the foundations to the last piece of trim, square is the focus of precision. Thus, originates the professional tagline of Building Bright Financial Futures.

At the beginning of this building career and while attending a continuing education seminar, the presenter made a comment that there were a few of us in the room with arms folded across our chest thinking, “I can do that. In fact, I can do that better!” To this day, I’m impressed with his powers of observation and insight.

Then he went on and asked the room to draw a Triangle at the top of a page, a Square under that, a Rectangle under that, a Circle under that, and, finally, a Wavy-line at the bottom of the page. We were asked to place a checkmark by the image representative of our persona. I placed mine at the apex of the Triangle.

Desirous of the Truth; Passionate about Pinnacles: Yes, that is the sum of who I am.

To continue the great sport of 1955, Fifty-five, and Twenty-ten, I see that:

1955 can be massaged into 1 + 9 = 10; and, 5 + 5 = 10

Numerically, Fifty-five is 55; and, can transfigure into 5 + 5 = 10

Twenty-ten is this year of 2010; formed from the two tens of 1955 and the one ten of 55

Can it get any better than that?!

Beyond the numbers, 1955 was a year of Classics. From Chevys, to Fords, Corvettes to T-Birds, that year is one of distinction.

Classic

adj.

1.

a. Belonging to the highest rank or class.

b. Serving as the established model or standard.

c. Having lasting significance or worth; enduring.

2.

a. Adhering or conforming to established standards and principles.

b. Of a well-known type; typical.

3. Of or characteristic of the literature, art, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome; classical.

4.

a. Formal, refined, and restrained in style.

b. Simple and harmonious; elegant.

5. Having historical or literary associations.

n.

1. An artist, author, or work generally considered to be of the highest rank or excellence, especially one of enduring significance.

2. A work recognized as definitive in its field.

3.

a. A literary work of ancient Greece or Rome.

b. classics The languages and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Used with the.

c. One that is of the highest rank or class: The car was a classic of automotive design.

4. A typical or traditional example.

5. Informal A superior or unusual example of its kind.

6. A traditional event, especially a major sporting event that is held annually.

Whether a Square, a Triangle, or a Classic, I know for a fact that I’m one of a kind.

Just like You!

www.kimfoard.com

Two Things

When does One plus One equal more than Two? A fellow from ages past asked for these Two Things which can make our present a true gift!

Two Things

In the course of a journey of fifty-five years and serving the public for thirty of them, a simple discovery has been made.

While the hand of Fate is a constant presence in our life, a variable within our control is the power to believe and choose whether we do, or don’t; will, or won’t.

Much more important than the empire built is discovering that the fun is in the doing.

For the last two years, we have all experienced a New Normal. From financial to societal, things are much different, now. On the other hand is the premise: There is nothing new under the sun; things now are about like they have always been. While the only constant in life is change; human nature changes little.

A prayer, thousands of years ago, is as timely, now, as it was then:

And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me—
Banish lies from my lips and liars from my presence.
Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little.

If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’
If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God.”

Just imagine a world without lies and liars. Every hurt, betrayal, and wrong in the universe originates from us lying to ourselves, or others; and, others lying to themselves, or us.

Then, after the lies are told, the day’s thoughts and actions, typically, revolve around the fears of scarcity, or abundance. What if there is not enough? What if the excess is stolen?

There are no luggage racks on hearses. We take nothing with us when we go. What we leave behind is important. Let’s, all, pause for a moment and look at our ripple in the pond, our wake in the lake, of life.

While impossible to ever go back and have a new beginning, we can choose, at any moment, to write a new ending to our story.

These two things are true and fulfilling:

All we do begins with a thought.
The fun is in the doing.

By focusing on these two things, the answer to the prayer above is guaranteed:

Truth will set us free.
Doing trumps the worries about too little, or too much!

www.kimfoard.com

Freedom

We either nurture the character required to produce liberty and responsibility, or a society of selfishness emerges.

Liberty and Freedom At The Core

From the song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, Me and Bobby McGee, comes the line, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”

The powerful, rhyming, complement in verse is what I offer for consideration, “We all have the free will to choose.”

In the darkest depths of war and in the slavery of a Nazi concentration camp, Viktor Frankl discovered true freedom.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way—an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory….

More from the Wikipedia article:

He (Frankl) often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of men to exist: decent and unprincipled ones. These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. Following this line of thinking, he once recommended that the Statue of Liberty on the East coast of the United States be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West coast.

Quoting from the Statute of Responsibility Foundation:

The Statue of Liberty has served as a symbol of liberty, both in America and throughout the world. Its counterpart, the Statue of Responsibility, will likewise serve as a symbol – a visible representation and call to responsibility – both in America and abroad. These two principles – liberty and responsibility – when linked together, will help engender and secure freedom for the present generation, and for generations yet unborn, wherever a thirst for freedom exists. Only by balancing Liberty with Responsibility can Freedom be sustained.

In other words, our freedom to choose is not a license to harm others. Our choices must be within the parameters of what is: Right, Just and Fair.

Loss of Freedom

Granted, the concepts inherent within the words Right, Just and Fair are intangibles; hard to understand and measure. So, the temptation is strong to take the easy path of materialism. The accumulation of Stuff becomes a way of life. It is visible to all, very tangible, measurable, flaunt-able, and laughable. Because: We do not own things; Things own us. As a result, true freedom is lost.

A wise, farmer, friend brought to my attention the fact that Mother Nature hates a vacuum. In his words, “You either plant seeds to produce a crop of value, or weeds will grow.”

So it is with our life. We either nurture the character required to produce liberty and responsibility, or a society of selfishness emerges.

The secret to happiness and freedom is found in: A belief that we are wonderful chunks of conduit for the goodness from above to flow through us for the benefit of others.

Our value is not in who we are; it is in what we allow to flow at the core. We have the freedom to choose the object of our service. That choice will determine every thought and action.

Love Is ...

Some will gain the whole world and lose their soul. Others will embrace suffering and sacrifice in their journey to finding the true self.

The first group will be concerned about “keeping up with the Joneses” and “what others think about them”.

The second group has nothing to lose and everything to gain. They understand: The salvation of man is through love and in love.

As the song Me and Bobby McGee concludes, we hear the rest of the chorus: “Nothing ain’t worth nothing but it’s free.”

www.kimfoard.com