Category Archives: song

Getting Up on the Bright Side of the Bed

beautiful Tortoise on the bright side

beautiful Tortoise on the bright side ~d nelson

Dear Ones, with the agony & joy of having no internet service at home all week, I’m re-posting this piece originally posted on May 10, 2013.

Slowly I rolled over and got up on the bright side of the bed this afternoon, well actually, the massage table. So wonderfully relaxed in this body. While the humble Chinese man’s experienced hands found and worked acupressure points, I followed the in and out breaths with a smile. Breathing in, feeling pressure along the shoulder-blade. Breathing out, letting go of tension there. “Such a joy”, said my body, in its unspoken language. And what could be better, asks the mind. Perhaps soaking, relaxingly, in really hot water, it replies.

Meditation generally keeps my thoughts and feelings at ease. Stretching and yoga releases physical tightness. But having help to work out the kinks, undo the knots, flush out the lactic acid is quite a luxury. I’m feeling grateful for the conditions that allow for such a healing offering to the body at an affordable price. It can also be a beautiful gift to the one next to you.

When getting off the table I remembered a song I wrote back in 2000 to celebrate coming out of a painful and dark period. I was fortunate to record it with some Hopi School 4th graders. And it became a modest hit on KUYI Hopi radio, in part due to the Hopi translation of the chorus. I recall the translation is getting up facing the direction of light. Years later a music video of the Bright Side of the Bed featuring the original recording was produced and can be seen below with some beautiful young sisters from Amsterdam. It is easy getting up on the bright side of the massage table. May you get up on the bright side of the bed every morning.


Offer Kindness: a tenderness of the heart song

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~Dalai Lama

offering kindness

offering kindness

Tuff guys with edgy attitudes
brought whimpering to their knees
from tiniest of desert thorns,
minuscule micro organisms,
even unpleasant sounds, as words.

Yet, new possibilities
in each fresh moment
are created with kind actions
of body, speech and mind.

Intention to love
instantly changing the channel
from unpleasant, annoying sounds
to calming and healing tunes.

I’m offering my heart-song
to those who will listen.
Created in a moment of inspiration
with friends and some interplay.
Hope you enjoy watching!   (Lyrics below)

Living things are so fragile
so easily hurt
smiling to life from sky down to dirt

Offer kindness
tenderness of the heart
offer kindness, gentle kindness

Sometimes I feel so fragile
so easily hurt
so quickly I forget life’s worth

Offer kindness
tenderness of the heart
offer kindness, gentle kindness

New possibilities
can you see?
New possibilities, new possibilities

Living things are so fragile
so easily hurt
let us live in harmony with earth

Offer kindness
tenderness of the heart
offer kindness
new possibilities
Find forgiveness
new possibilities
offer kindness
gentle kindness.

Thanks to Kim, SunRain & Meena for your support
singing and videography at the exotic Berkeley happening!

Oowhee Baby, Love is Real

Thoughts of love for myself for you, & others, as I’m just returning from a whitewater river
paddling communion in nature 🙂



Do not be afraid to love. Without love, life is impossible. We have to learn the art of loving. Love by the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you eat. Learn to love yourself and others properly. ~Zen poet Thich Nhat Hanh

Decided I’d treat myself to a pizza the other day not knowing that thoughts of love would be a surprise ingredient. Cycled to the nearby Papa Murphy’s which prepares pizzas (veggie supreme), then it comes home for extras (added garlic, hot chili) and baking. During the few minutes of waiting I sat and watched ingredients tossed into colorful patterns on dough. Out from the young worker’s boom box was a hip hopping pop song with strong beats. Best I could tell the words were something like, “ooowhee my baby girl, my earth, my sky, my world, you’re everything to me, I’ve got everything you need.” Eyes closed I…

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Hey, wait a minute Mr. Postman, here’s my love letter!

When we come into contact with the other person, our thoughts and actions should express our mind of compassion, even if that person says and does things that are not easy to accept. 

We practice in this way until we see clearly that our love is not contingent upon the other person being lovable. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Ukiah post office for sale

Ukiah post office for sale

I’m grateful for love letters received. Memories of finding a friendly looking envelope in the mailbox addressed to me. Sometimes with cute drawings. More than once heavily scented. Sweet words of love hand scripted from the beloved’s heart. And I’ve written letters of love, myself. Humbly trying to express deep feelings of connection and gratitude. Thank you for being in my life at this time. Writing it down. Licking the envelope. Putting a stamp on it and mailing it. Then being as patient as possible before it arrives. A sweet secret, then surprise. Hoping it gives the right impression. Tenderly watering seeds of happiness and compassion.

Is this offering of one to another become too old-fashioned? I suppose it’s easier to send a text or e-mail. Perhaps there are tweet love letters, less than 124 characters each. Maybe some send love letters on Facebook. I’m told its possible to send out love letters to all or your thousands of Facebook friends at once. If that is happening I hope people are not reading them while driving.

Berkeley post office protest

Berkeley post office protest

It’s sad to think that someday soon it may not be possible to send a real love letter, that’s if post office’s keep getting closed. A service citizens have received throughout this country’s history. It’s nice to hand deliver a card, but sometimes the beloved is far away and our love letter must be mailed. They say it will all be privatized. All for profit.  I feel solidarity with those who are trying to save post offices despite the trend to close them. Here is a story about the failed effort to keep the old post office open in Ukiah.

Friends in Berkeley offer a familiar tune with new words to try to save their historical building from the auction block.

May we all give and receive all the love letters needed for happiness and well-being.

berkeley-times PO

berkeley-times PO

safe air, healing breath

I read the news today, oh boy…

Then I went outside with the road bike for a quiet rural road cycle. First ride in nearly two months since bronchitis’ grip and resting towards recovery. Air fresh, clean and cool filled my lungs, that happily strained to fill fully and take in the oxygen my legs progressively burned. Taking it easy, taking it slow. Along the way horses, cows, a few deer and I glance at each other briefly. Getting to the end of the canyon road, turning back and enjoying the pleasant winter moment, peddling closer to full rehabilitation. An hour and a half of happiness to have a body that mostly works.

My cycle may not make any other news, beyond this blog. But I’m feeling safe knowing that most people in the world are doing their best to make good news happen for themselves and others. May they succeed! My music video above is a wish that all feel safe wherever they are.

I Feel Safe with You Here

Feeling safe meditating in public

Feeling safe meditating in public D Nelson

On spiritual paths towards letting go of our small sense of selves and move towards something bigger, a group of us ended the calendar year, bringing in the new with an inspired sounding of 108 bells. Big ones, little ones, loud and soft ones. Sounds to let go of feelings, habits and complexes that bring about pain and fear. Sounds to stand and face what is difficult and usually averted. And now in the quiet and dark I feel an ease, a soft reminder that this moment is a miracle, a most wonderful moment. That fleeting moment passed, a new, just as miraculous one, appears. Within a breath or two of having a negative thought arise it is possible to again come back to the truth of what is happening, at least within my extremely limited experience and view of world. But hey, it’s all I’ve got. Another moment of wonder. Sky dark, moon and stars shining.

With heart open, forgiveness and compassion arises for my self and others. An open heart allows life’s fleeting beauty to shine clearly, even if just a flickering moment. But to grasp at least flickering moments is wonderful. Best doing it now, before my own light blows out.  Yet, it’s interesting how quickly the mind forgets to pay attention; to experience the beautiful wonder of life. Just like that a negative thought or feeling arises despite all the wonderful conditions of happiness that are already present.  Breathing, check. Seeing, check. Physically comfortable, check. But because I’ve been hurt by certain people or in certain places, seeds of hurt can easily be watered and manifest into pain, even if it happened long ago. A past that keeps playing on my personal, internal movie screen. The movie is not really there, yet it produces real feelings and more thoughts. Visions of the future appearing on my mystical crystal ball. Mindfulness brings stopping, breathing and watering personal flowers with appreciation. Accepting regret for mistakes, the constant parade of mistakes. Forgiving those who hurt me. Recognizing their hurt, and how they believe that they are victims, which coerces them to behave as a victim. May they feel loved. May they be well, may we all be well and happy.

And as a living being I’m affected by what is happening now in the world of people, animals, plants and minerals around me. There’s a collective awareness we have lived through another year of extreme weather — from the melting of the Arctic to Superstorms. “Woo ah, mercy mercy me (the ecology), Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no”(Marvin Gaye). Unwise leaders have pushed society to the edge of a fiscal cliff and most certain worsening economic hardships. People no longer able to contain generations of suffering, committing acts of meanness, such as throwing out a loved one as if they were trash, or even the most unthinkable acts of destruction with weapons. Oh, and I’m not even ready to think about what is going on in other societies across the globe. Back to the in-breath and realizing conditions of happiness exist alongside endless suffering. Peace and calm existing inside, with my breath for this moment. And with this moment I send out Happy New Year 2013.

As a personal aspiration I’ve written a song to help bring about feelings of safety. To move towards fearlessness. To recognize our interbeing nature. To responsibly face life’s difficulties with grace and dignity. A wish for a more beautiful future. My music video, “I Feel Safe with You Here”. Thanks to Adrienne, Elise, Lyn, Patty, Polly and Sharon for singing with me.

Wow for We Players performance of Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT

Shipwrecks, Mistaken Identity, and Unruly Love in Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT

credit to iStockphoto

Enjoyed the 2.5 hour We Players of SF’s comic performance on the Hyde St. pier; the actual pier and on a couple of the ships moored there. As part of the audience walking with guidance along with the cast from location to location, it felt like actually being a participant in the play, without having to learn any Shakespeare lines. Oh my, they delivered the lines, sang and played with heart. Worth the bay’s wind and chill for the Immortal Bard done well, live and on-location (jacket and hat are a good idea). Thanks to Clara for inviting us to the dress rehearsal, and for her wonderful performance as Olivia. More info at:

Dialog flows quickly. Many moving passages in this play including this one:

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die.
That strain again, it had a dying fall.
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour. Enough, no more,
’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
[Music ceases]
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there,
Of what validity and pitch so e’er,
But falls into abatement and low price
Even in a minute! So full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical.”
(Act I.i.1–15)