I have been having a great time teaching for the College of New Caledonia over the past four months. It is a great college with a great faculty and staff. I have been teaching online English courses, but alas, the term will come to its conclusion today.
In between times since my last post, I have released a couple of songs and related videos. The first release is my song “On the Road to Toronto” and the next one is my song “South of the North Saskatchewan.”
I have also recently published an article in Canadian Teacher magazine: “Reflections on Student-Centred Teaching.”
My new book on the Tarot, is nearing completion!
I am looking forward to publishing it soon.
Life is good, and I hope all is well with you and yours. Let’s keep hoping and praying that our world will stay peaceful and open up again with all the wonderful things we have been missing during the past year with COVID restricting so much of our way of life and our basic freedoms and human needs.
Marv Machura Releases New Christmas Single and Video
In Time for Christmas 2020
Marv Machura has released a video to follow-up his recently produced Christmas single: “First Christmas Without You.” The video is available on his YouTube Channel.
The song, written, produced, and performed by Machura, is somewhat appropriate for this lockdown Christmas 2020 where many people are not being able to see friends and family, unlike any other Christmas.
Machura says that he did not write the song specifically for this year, but he admits that its theme is timely. “I wrote the song while on a Christmas Eve walk a few years ago in Penticton. It was a quiet and beautiful night with the snow falling and no traffic.”
Machura says, the song is about getting through and carrying on in spite of heart-break and loss. It is a theme that runs through many of Machura’s songs. “I always write songs that have rays of light and hope in them.” Machura says, “If this song helps your spirit get through the tough time that a lonely Christmas can be, then my job is done.”
Although Machura is mainly known for his neo-folk songs rooted in Western Canadian experience and history, he has written many more-mainstream, popular music that follows in the singer-songwriter traditions of artists such as Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, and John Denver. He has published over 20 songs in Nashville, released 4 albums, and is soon set to release his fifth early in 2021.
Machura is also known as “singing guitarist” who continues to entertain audiences across the Okanagan Valley where he lives. He is, like all of us, looking forward to a return to normal. He says, “I miss playing live! I can’t wait to be back out there.”
Marv Machura releases a new single: “On This Beautiful Night”
Produced by Ken Hartfield
December 9, 2020
Marv Machura has released a new single from his upcoming album: “On this Beautiful Night.” This song, written by Marv Machura, was produced by Ken Hartfield.
Machura met Hartfield last year when Machura approached him after hearing Hartfield’s work with the Symphonic Rock Evolution, a symphonic rock band out of Kelowna. Hartfield’s band is a sprawling, ambitious, and successful project that features six vocalists performing with a large orchestrated band performing Hartfield-penned arrangements of classic rock songs.
Machura was looking for someone to produce some of his songs with bigger, more involved production and arrangements. Machura explains, “I love that sound of well-produced, orchestrated music such as The Carpenters and Neil Diamond from the 1970s. Ken is one of those rare people who has that ability to put it all together.”
They quickly began a project that has now come together and is released. The song, “On this Beautiful Night” is a romantic ballad written and performed by Machura who is known as Western Canadian Roots singer-songwriter.
Although Machura’s singer-songwriter reputation largely stems from his repertoire of neo-folk songs, he has been writing songs for many years, publishing over 20 in Nashville and releasing four full-length albums over his career. He says, “This song is just a beautiful piece that I wrote, and I wanted to give it a great treatment before I released it. I am thrilled with how it turned out, and I hope to work with Ken on more music in the near future!”
The song can be found on all of Machura’s online music channels including Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. Music video release TBA.
See www.marvmachura.com for more information and links to his music channels and YouTube video releases. Call 250-307-1505. Click on the image to access Marv Machura’s YouTube Music Channel.
Sometimes the future can seem like a locked iron gate that we cannot either open or break through. This feeling can stem from our reluctance to follow through with our plans of manifesting our will. Follow through is typically difficult. Follow through does not have the excitement of first steps of initiating a project or the celebration of the present when a project starts to take shape and fit nicely in our lives. Follow through also does not have the self-growth of our recent past that we may look back on in satisfaction.
This can be illustrated by renovation projects I have done on my home. There comes a point in the renovation where most of the big stuff is done and I can sit back in satisfaction looking at those newly hung closet doors, for example. But, the project is not yet finished. There are still transitions to install on the floor, baseboards perhaps to put in, or other stuff that needs doing before the project is officially done. This is the follow through. The toughest mile, so to speak.
We know it is going to be difficult and take time, but the difficulty is all in our minds in the present moment. After all, in the present, we have not even stepped forward to challenge that boarded up or locked up future, or final days of renovating, as the case may be. We are still in the present moment and mostly like in a good place with lots of reasons to feel good about ourselves and our work.
When it comes to big changes in our lives, such as starting a new business or career, we can get to a point where the future looks gruelling and scary, and we may want to stop the forward motion needed to see the project to completion. We may want to stay in the present or perhaps live in the past that has been full of reward and growth that has gotten us to this follow through point.
As a teacher, I have seen this fear of follow through in action. At the end of the term when my students are so close to graduating, there are always a few who drop out and do not finish the course. It is a fear of those future risks and potentially scary new worlds that will open for them once they graduate and also the worry of all the work that is still yet to be done! The irony is that after putting in so much effort to get to this final point, the remaining work is not that daunting as we may make it so in our heads.
I remember when finishing one of my CDs a few years back. I received the final mixes and was not happy with them. I was emotionally and financially drained from the project. In my mind, the thought of going back into the studio to fix things and get this record closer to how I had envisioned it seemed impossible. How could I do it? How could I afford it? Was it good enough? I knew it was wrong when I signed off on the mixes, but my mind had convinced me that I was done, over. Time to move on. I quit before the last mile was complete. I have been kicking myself for this mistake ever since.
I should have realized that all the barriers were in my head. I needed to step back into the studio and just kept going until it was as good as I could get it. It likely would not have taken too long or cost that much. Yet, like many of us, we fail when our mind creates these barriers for us that seem, but are not, impenetrable. Especially when we have come so far along the path forward already! By this time (when the follow through period arrives) we have already proven ourselves as powerful and capable. That mental barrier needs to go down as we step forward into the future we have created for ourselves. As the saying goes, others can stop us temporarily, but only we can stop us permanently. And it is doubly sad when we stop ourselves so close to that finishing line that will lead on to many other finishing lines down the road. So, follow through in that last, toughest, and perhaps bleak mile. Remember that the hardest struggle before we get going is all in our heads! Make those heels move. Follow through.
I find myself sometimes waiting for things to start happening. I find myself checking my email way too many times waiting for that response from some prospect or future deal/gig that I have initiated in the recent past. This is not good. Instead, I should keep my focus on the future and what I want to see in it. The future will not manifest itself unless we act in the present moment.
It does not pay to wait for that deal, person, or gig that may or may not come down transom into our life. Life is just like that sometime. Time keeps its own time. Instead of anxiously waiting, all that life-force energy could be focused on manifesting the future. Now is the time to put in an extra phone call and email or do something that will plant seeds of potential future engagement.
These times can be a period to envision the future, perhaps even re-envisioning it to better suit our spiritual quest and divine purpose. For me, sometimes I will pick up a new book to read or some totally different google search to see what rises out of the water. The point is to get away from “the wait” or the “weight” as it may metaphorically feel during these times.
“Take a load off Fanny, Take a load for free” is how Robbie Robertson envisioned the “weight” or the “wait” as the principal character in this song is someone just hanging around waiting for the weight to be taken off—and literally go someplace new and exciting where life is happening. He sings, “Catch a Cannonball to take me down the line, my bag is sinking low, and I do believe it’s time” in the final verse of his song. After all the verses of spinning his wheels, “just looking for a place to hide,” he realizes that it’s best to not be “waiting for the judgement day.” It is time to take the load off and catch that Cannonball down the road.
Miss Fanny is there down the road. She can be seen as a manifestation of what the narrator is looking or searching for. And just waiting for her to come to him or just show up in Nazareth is not going to cut it. He needs to catch that Cannonball and pick up his bags creating his future in the present and letting go of the weight—stop waiting and get going.
My main mantra throughout my life goes as follows: “Make the most of each moment.” At a very early age I realized how quickly time went by and that as it goes by, it does not return ever again. So each moment happens only once. So I should try to make the most of each moment.
This has mantra has served me well in that I have been engaged with my life in the present moments trying to do worthwhile things rather than wasteful things. This mantra has also helped me get through times when both the future and past look bad.
The near past can be full of conflict, sorrow, and loss while at the same time our future can look bleak and nearly hopeless. “Nearly” is the operative word because no one knows the future although we help create it in the present. Without hope, there is no future. So this leads me back to the present and making the most of each moment.
If we find ourselves in a position where our future is uncertain and bleak, likely a continuation of the near past that also was filled with loss and sorrow, we still have the present and precious moments to make the most of.
The present is a present and springs into being all on its own filled with possibility and beauty. Ever-changing, the present is rooted in the rhythm of the earth. Earth’s changes are what sustains life after all. Nature is balanced, but it is never static.
My advice when squeezed between the uncertain future and the certainly loathsome past is to connect with (or reconnect with) nature and the life force that animates and sustains us. All life pulses with the seed of germination and growth. Life thrives even in the dark—and darkness is needed for life, regardless. Plant something or metaphorically plant your desire and will. While it may be something that will lay in the dark underground in the present, it represents making something out of nothing and thus creating meaning and purpose in our lives.
Let the earth restore your hope. Try to align to the truth and beauty within you and that which is there in the moment. Be ready for action, prepare, hope, and make the most of these moments. Do not let that sorrow-filled past and that uncertain and wobblily future ruin your day! Sometimes it is up to us to step forward and create something from nothing, so to speak, and thus connect more closely with the deep cosmic creative force itself. And that is never a bad thing! Remember, the Universe loves us and wants us here for its own divine purpose even if we have these times when we are unsure of what that purpose may be.
There are times in our lives when we feel like we are trying to get somewhere better than we are at—we can see it through our windshields, but vehicle of our life seems to be stuck in such a way that we are getting no traction, and thus, no forward progress toward that better place. We feel frustrated, at best, and defeated, at worst.
Here is when we should look backward a bit on the road we have travelled to get to this point in a positive, not negative way. The positive energy of our past is with us during these difficult times and the primal seed of our purpose in life is still sitting back there in all its glory! All that we have done up to this point of unwanted stasis and potential burnout can not only propel us back into the fast lane, or at least onto the entry ramp to the fast lane or main road, but also provide comfort for the pain of the moment and hopefully keep us from abandoning our quest.
To take this analogy a bit further, it is useful to remember that a car can travel many thousands of kilometers when traveling along the open road even with many starts, slow-downs, and stops. (Without these natural braking, accelerating, slowing, cornering, and rough roads, a car motor could go even further without burning out!) But when we place our car against a wall or barrier and keep pressing on the gas, the motor is not going to last very long at all! So at times like this in our lives, it’s okay to take the foot off the present, look back to the past, and re-affirm our quest toward our future.
These times are primarily an intellectual challenge. Our mind can seem to be surrounded by so many negative forces that only way to break through them is with our emotional self. We could remind ourselves of the great unconditional love that the Universe provides for our lives and know that those pesky negative intellectual forces that stalling forward development and happiness are no match for this great love and life. Also, envision the future as full of great love aside from material and mental forces that can be a kind of distraction to the main goals of life.
Yes, our vehicle of life can seem hopeless stuck in the rut of maxed out credit cards, no job prospects, or no advancement prospects. We can feel the points of all these blades pointing our way as if we are surrounded by enemies trying to keep us down and in place. The way to cut through this difficult surround is to keep our minds focused on the main goal ahead. It is like if we were surrounded by six swordsmen and we are armed with a single sword, the best bet is to cut through an opening rather than fight them all at once. One swift step out of that circle of swords, then trusting to the inevitable push and pull of the Universe to keep us going. After all, the Universe is fundamentally a stable place, but its stability is manifested through change and as such, like the ocean tides as the moon pulls and loosens its gravitational grip on them, does not want you to stay stuck in any position for too long!
We should celebrate all completions! In fact, a day without celebratory moments and time-outs does not appear in the Universe’s day schedule. What we find also in celebrating our achievements is stability. Stability is good—and needed for harmonized leaps into the future as the world keeps turning and introducing new conflicts with which our mind, spirit, and bodies to struggle.
After a struggle comes completion, stability, and celebration. These struggles do not need to be epic! Or age-marking struggles. After I have engaged in trimming the grass in my yard, for example, I open my fridge, take out a cold beer, open it, pour in a glass, and enjoy! This beer tastes so good! It’s goodness is directly related to the celebratory nature that we infuse in it. There is a brief pause in the struggle of keeping a neat yard as I survey my handiwork. I feel as stable as my nearly-level lawn and neat trim lining the flower beds, fences, and trees. I understand that this feeling cannot and should not last. Even as I look at my grass in that almost-stalled and wonderful moment, the force of life is pushing alterations and growth that soon enough could/would/should easily obliterate this neat, stable, and tidy yard before me.
Ahhh…that moment to be enjoyed! We must remember to schedule it in our day plan. It is just as important as scheduling the daily struggles and challenges needed in our lives. I know that I have often neglected these precious and important moments as I feel there is just too much to do and this break-time can wait. And, up to a point, these moments when we literally break (or brake) time can be postponed—but they should never be forgotten or worse yet, forsworn!
When it comes to larger struggles that exist over expanses of time, there also should come times to feel completion, closure, stability. Recently, I was terminated from a long-term job. I was ready to leave it regardless, but it took a while for me to reach that celebratory completion that would have been there from the day of my voluntarily exit! As it was, it took me a bit longer to close and move on. It was a ragged experience in the sense that my fire kept going up and down in fits as I either metaphorically threw wood on the fire or let it burn down. By contrast, completion is the steadily burning fire. The moment I had to get to with this struggle was that moment when all the wood is burning perfectly in a circle of life/death. In the life and death of a fire this is when there is enough heat from the past and enough new wood for the present to reach that sweet spot where we can sit back and enjoy the warmth of our efforts, as time stands as still as it can be, and we are as stable as we can be.
We need these times because the Universe and our own spirit will nudge us onward toward the uncertain future, and when that inevitably occurs, it is best if we are rest-assured, thankful, and full of the love of creation as well as the wonder of self. These powerful elements will better impel and position us for the next phase, challenge, conflict, and growth.
It is better to have some closure and finality even if our satisfaction with the near past was not as self-fulling as it could be than to not have that closure. In spite of our natural restlessness and uncontainable quest for challenge and conflict, these moments of completion and stability are much needed and should be enjoyed!
Truth is something we find inside and outside ourselves. Truth is one of the primary principles of the Universe. It exists outside of us and in us. Of-course this is because we are children of the Universe, in spite of some lies to the contrary that we, as a species, seem to propagate.
When we forget that we belong here, and we are part of this cosmic magic, we drift into the abyss of the will. Another way to see this drifting is to imagine the nothingness or complete isolation from the contexts into which we are born and live. It is a place without colour and fellowship in life.
It is dangerous to be human because of our heads are so full of ourselves that this ego/will/head can detach from its bodily and cosmically joined heart and simply go its own way. It is possible for our rational minds to justify the most insane cruelties that hearts would never allow. It is possible for our heads to metaphorically detach and be held by the most cruel and negative forces that push truth aside with equivocations.
There are so many examples of this in our history such as Nazi Germany’s death camps. Imagine all those people who did unspeakable things to their Jewish brothers and sisters as detached heads held by a massive lie personified in the leadership of their country. A danger in using this example is that it can suggest that the head/heart separation only occurs in extremes such as this. But this is not so. All of us separate our heart and head when we allow our food animals such as chickens and pigs to suffer unspeakable lives in wire cages and sunless barns. Picking up that bargain eggs and bacon rather than sourcing from humanistic sources that allow these animals to have good lives–and just one bad day, is a type of equivocation contrary to the truth in our hearts that would not do this knowing the cruelty that is present in that breakfast.
As we understand the quantum theory universe (its all a cosmic vibration), we need to ignore the lying and equivocating head and listen to the truthful heart. When our will is properly directed it can be like the Queen of Swords (in some Tarot decks) lopping of the heads of those lying people and institutions and ideologies who have already separated their heads from their hearts metaphorically and practically. A truthful person will stand tall with his/her sword of truth that will cut down those heads who are so full of lies. An image on which to meditate may be something like a queen holding this sword (as a reflection of yourself) in one hand and the severed head of a liar in the other hand.
A wonderful future cannot be had through lies: only through truth. This applies to individual people as well as institutions and countries. So we need to hold that sword of truth, metaphorically beheading those liars that surround us and whom already have, tragically, dis-joined their heads from their hearts. It will lead to a future of us being able to shine and vibrate at wonderful frequencies that the Universe supports, emboldens, and wants for us all.
We all would like life to go our way. This is what is meant by manifesting our will. It may be a time in our lives when we are at the crossroads of some change typically forced on us, or something we stumbled into. This COVID virus is a good example of something that has forced many of us to that crossroads.
Standing there in a kind of limbo looking down the roads open before us and knowing that there is no going back to travel them all. So what can we do to start life going our way?
Step one is to clarify our will. We need to imagine ourselves with what we want and start today on using all the resources available to us to begin the manifestation. It is a good time to take an inventory of all the blessings/strengths to which we have ready access in the now.
Next step is to look back and inventory all the accumulated wisdom of our past. After all, what is life, if not an accumulation of wisdom? Perhaps some of us cannot get over the pain and anger of the past which forms a great barrier to benefiting from all the light and love hidden back there. We need to envision that in the dark cave of our past life, there is a wise hermit carrying a lantern holding our light of life ready to brighten and enlighten our present. We should not be afraid of this hermit in us. The hermit has so much wisdom to give!
When we manifest our will, our cups fill up with radiant energy, and we see our reflections as beautiful, full of character and grace rather than self-loathing and other very dangerous ways of looking at ourselves.
The future, past, and present are all connected intimately when facing these crossroads or multiple pathways. We should not wait to start the journey down a chosen pathway today. That pathway is formed by the Universe, of-course. But we are the free-willed children of this Universe. And the Universe loves us and wants us to be in harmony with its magic pulse. Our will, manifested, will shine light and create good energy and perhaps even help in the bringing forth of new, and beautiful life into this enchanted space in which we dwell.