Misfit Angels

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They’re the ones you rarely think about

They’re the ones you never praise

Until a time comes when you need them

You won’t give them the time of day

 

They’re the misfit angels

Heroes you thought could never be

Always taken for granted

Till they perform unexpectedly

 

They’re the ones you pass without seeing

They’re the ones who never win

You’ve tagged them deadbeats and rejects

Yet they help you again and again

 

They’re the ones who do the menial tasks

They’re the ones with no task at all

But they still hear, see, and feel

And often answer when you call

 

They’re the ones lost among the masses

They’re the ones; faceless ghosts who seem so small

Then desperation finally finds you

And those once small are now standing tall

 

They’re the misfit angels

Heroes you thought could never be

Always taken for granted

Till they perform unexpectedly

 

They’re the ones never seen with halos

They’re the ones never wearing crowns

Wingless creatures; yet you need them

For without them life’s sins abound

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“We finally got our wings.”

© JW Thomas

Honest Injun

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I awoke in L.A.

and was lulled back to sleep

with promise of the American Dream

I was told to work hard

and to save what I made

then my life would be Peaches and Cream

 

So I worked like a slave

with my eye on the prize;

I held down two jobs while going to school

My first future crumbled

when my first marriage died;

tried to be honest, while others were cruel

 

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

but wound-up as the fool

Grandfather tried to warn me

“They will abuse the Golden Rule”

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

Forgot how the rich man schemed

System’s made by the corrupt

so the rest of us get reamed

 

My second future fell

wounded in the Army

and finding out the VA is a joke

Next went all my savings

in the crash of oh-nine;

was about to retire but now I’m broke

 

I was left to flounder

to starve and disappear

while Uncle Sam bailed out the crooked banks

They say that each of us

will get a fighting chance

but the gun they give us only shoots blanks

 

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

but wound-up as the fool

Grandfather tried to warn me

“They will abuse the Golden Rule”

Tried to be an “Honest Injun”

Forgot how the rich man schemed

System’s made by the corrupt

so the rest of us get reamed

 

©JW Thomas

Creative outlets

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(Had to learn guitar to put music to my lyrics.)

Utilizing your creative talents can be just as beneficial physically as they are spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.

Pat Snyder, author of “The Dog Ate My Planner,” has taken her ability to inject humor and creativity into the stressful areas of her life, and organized it into a complete series of wacky workshops to teach others how to do the same.

There are numerous humorous books, CDs, and DVDs on the market to satisfy every personality and taste; such as Laughter from the Pearly Gates, Healing Through Humor, or any family-oriented comedy special. In fact, Healing Through Humor, by Charles and Frances Hunter, has been used by medical professionals during laughter therapy sessions. The forward was written by Dr. Francisco Contreras, who is quoted as saying, “Positive emotions invoked by humor have healing effects.” And Dr. Don Colbert claims, “Laughter is absolutely the best medicine as it charges the immune system and triggers the relaxation response.”

Here are some other positive effects from laughter:

  • Your heart and lungs are stimulated.
  • Your heart beats faster and your blood pressure rises.
  • You breathe deeper and oxygenate more blood.
  • Your body releases natural pain killers called endorphins, and you produce more immune cells.
  • You burn seventy-eight times more calories than when the body is in a resting state.
  • Your diaphragm, facial muscles, and internal organs all get jostled in what some professionals call “internal jogging.”

And after laughing your muscles and arteries relax, which is great for easing pain. Likewise, your blood pressure subsides and your pulse drops below normal: all of which researchers attribute to aiding digestion.

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(One of my fine art pieces called “Life’s storyboard #1)

However, creativity doesn’t have to be combined with humor to be beneficial at releasing stress, or for any number of other creative healing therapies, such as Veteran and Educational institutions, like Montclair University, having programs for veterans and military students to relieve stress and exorcise pent-up emotions through creative art and writing.

Dr. Marie Cascarano, Coordinator of Health Promotion for the University, claims, “Everyone experiences stress throughout their daily lives, but the key to managing daily stressors is finding a way to take breaks throughout the day to take care of you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Creating art and discussing the process can help you increase your self-awareness and relieve stress while using your creativity.”

JWT NEG ART #1

(My first attempt at negative etching.)

Another creative outlet used extensively by novice and professional alike is the various forms of music therapy: an outlet I utilize for stress relief and healing.

Sung-Chi Chen, BSN, RN, says, “Music therapy has shown positive outcomes on physiological and psychological well-being among older people.” However, music therapy is clearly beneficial to everyone, not just the elderly. For instance, on Art Drum.com there is a list of twelve ways drumming benefits students: everything from physical benefits to helping them focus and become better students.

All forms of music can be therapeutic, but I am strongly attracted to percussion and drum therapy, including drum circles.

When you have individuals like Babatunde Olatunji quote, “Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm,” it is not simply a statement off the cuff. These are words backed by thousands of years of human culture utilizing percussion instruments to communicate, celebrate, instill a strong sense of social community, worship, heal, and even bid their last farewells. After all, who of us does not know of the strong role drums have played in many communities like the African tribes, Australian aborigines, and Native American tribes?

Modern-day professionals, medical and otherwise, have discovered some fascinating facts regarding percussion and/or drum therapy. For instance, Ben Schwarcz, a professional music therapist with Alternative Depression Therapy, claims “Drumming Therapy taps into layers of the mind and body that other modalities cannot. Studies have shown that repetitive drumming changes brain wave activity, inducing a state of calm and focused awareness.”

Jerry drumming #1

(My favorite instrument to play.)

One of the best studies done backing the benefits of drumming was published in Alternative Therapies in January, 2001, entitled, “Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects.” Some of the key discoveries for this research are as follows:

“Both neuroendocrine and immunologic alterations were found in drumming subjects following this composite intervention compared with controls. These changes appear to be immunoenhancing (increased DHEA-to-cortisol ratios, increased NK cell activity, and increased LAK cell activity).” In other words, not only can it immediately reduce stress, but it “has the potential to produce cumulative or sustaining neuroendocrine or immunological effects that could contribute to the well-being of an individual facing a long-term condition in which elevated NK cell activity is known to be beneficial.”

It would literally require volumes of text to do this subject justice. However, there is enough evidence shown here to come to the conclusion that all forms of creative therapies or outlets have some form of positive effects that can be acquired through personal or group participation. So be sure to make some time during your week to let your God-given creative juices flow.

 

Works Cited

Bittman, Dr.Barry B., et al. “Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music Therapy on Modulation of Neuroendocrine-Immune Parameters in Normal Subjects.” Alternative Therapies. Jan. 2001 Vol.7 No.1 P.38-47 Print.

Hunter, Charles and Frances. Healing Through Humor. Creation House Press. Lake Mary Florida 2003. Print.

Phillips, Bob and Jonny Hawkins. Laughter From the Pearly Gates. Harvest House Publishers. Eugene, OR. 2004. Print.

Rodak, Denise Y. “Stress Relief Through the Creative Arts.” Montclair State Univ. Web. 8 May 2011.

Schwarcz, Ben, MFT. “Drumming Therapy: Healing Through Rhythm and Sound.” Alternative Depression Therapy. Web. 8 May 2011

[* Originally published on another blog in 2011.]

Paid to Puppet

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Paid to puppet… hands, strings, and things

Paid to puppet… horns or halos with wings

I’m paid to puppet all season long

Don’t forget the dialogue; gotta’ sing the songs

Paid to puppet

We’ve got the shadowbox and the silhouettes

We’ve got the hand puppets and finger-puppets too

We work with strings on the marionettes

And don’t forget the dummies, cuz’ they won’t forget you

Paid to puppet

Full-figure… half-figure… bust only

Black light… no light… don’t matter

Little boy… little girl… white pony

Fat cat… winged bat… Mad Hatter

Paid to puppet

You’ve got traditional, like nursery rhymes

They’re good for a laugh with the whole kid crew

And there’s original for contemporary times;

How ‘bout the shoot um’ up… we just got you?

Paid to puppet

Kid party… big party… buck only

Babe party… sex party… adult matter

Fantasy… fancy-free… skull boney

Shakespeare… Galahad… blood spatter

Paid to puppet

So much better to be a puppeteer… than a puppet.

© JW Thomas

The Empty Room

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I’m standing in the doorway

to the empty room,

viewing what remains,

hardly anything at all.

There’s a vase on the mantel

just above the fireplace,

and a set of velvet curtains

left hanging on the wall.

It seems so empty now,

compared to how it use to be.

Though appearance is deceiving,

it’s full of memories.

If these old walls could talk

I think of what they’d say

of all that has transpired

since we moved in that day.

An empty room is never empty,

it always has something inside.

It’s sometimes hard to see

in the times when it can hide.

The furniture is gone,

and walls are standing bare.

Yet eyes opened or closed,

I still see something there.

Like that old threshold

I carried you through,

to start a brand new life

that lasted many years.

There’s the window pane

that pains me to see it now.

‘Cause you stood there staring

when you couldn’t hold the tears.

There’s the winding banister

that we’d both slide down.

I’d catch you in my arms,

and we’d pause to embrace.

Nope… this room isn’t empty,

and it’ll never be,

for everywhere I turn

I still can see your face.

I turn to see you leaving

out the door that brought you in.

Heading down the walkway,

walking hand-in-hand with him.

I smelled your sweet perfume

when you slowly passed me by.

Did you feel me too,

for once again you start to cry?

Sadly, my time is up,

‘cause I know you’ll be alright.

You started life anew,

time has healed you from that night.

The night Toby told you

I was lost and could not be found.

Somewhere by the fallen bridge,

they say I must’ve drowned.

© JW Thomas

She’s Overlooked

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

 

as strong as her women

 

She’s overlooked and underestimated

But she’s solid as a rock and she’s only begun

She’s overlooked and underestimated

A loving woman that knows there’s more to be done

Those of this world may not think her so tall

But those of the spirit know that she’s not small

She’s stomped her feet, and stood her ground

And gave the devil his due

And more than not unselfishly

In support of me and you

She’s opened up her home to friends and kin

Leading by an example the righteous way to win

She reads the world, dissects it all

Then grabs hold of the truth

Sincere in heart, sincere in mind

Always willing to show the proof

She’s trustworthy, secrets are safe with her

She never puts on airs; you’ll always feel secure

She often smiles and rarely frowns

Tries to love one and all

Always taking seriously

The role of her chosen call

She doesn’t like to dwell upon the past

Knowing the future is the only thing that really lasts

What’s done is done; won’t be again

The future is the key

But only if your future holds

Mother’s love unconditionally

She’s overlooked and underestimated

But she’s solid as a rock and she’s only begun

She’s overlooked and underestimated

A loving woman that knows there’s more to be done

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© JW Thomas

Mother of Iron

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Mother of Iron… Mother of Steel

Goes through the hard times, but she can still feel

Keeping the faith… the faith alive

Keeping the faith… the faith alive

I’ve seen her with nothing

I’ve seen her with cupboards bare

I’ve seen her with good reason to be bitter

But she still finds strength to care

She’s stronger than steel

Yet softer than silk

And her love is far better for us

Than even natural healthy Mother’s milk

She is life giving rain

To weather beaten hearts

She’s sunshine dancing on waves

Nautically steering, while viewing her charts

She’s Proverbs thirty-one

To all those close to touch

No thoughts of ever changing

For as she is, we love her so much

Mother of Iron… Mother of Steel

Mother of Pearl from above

Mother of Sunshine… Mother of Rain

Bearing the burdens and easing the pain

Mother of Iron… Mother of Steel

Goes through the hard times, but she can still feel

Keeping the faith… the faith alive

Keeping the faith… the faith alive

© JW Thomas

[believe it’s a reblog, but cannot locate original]