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In the 1960s, Ray Stevens wrote a song titled "Everything Is Beautiful" and it won him a grammy. Perhaps it was the idealism of those times or maybe a personal philosophy that gave birth to this song. It starts out with children singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children", a song I remember singing in church when I was a child.
"Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world"

Like Disney's "It's a Small World", this song has a worm like infectious tune that rolls around in your brain like a marble in a barrel. A child, once he has learned this song, will hum it, whistle it, and sing it until adult ears bleed. Not only is the tune contagious, the lyrics are ideal and Pollyanna to the point of near myopic blindness.
After one chorus of "Jesus Loves the Little Children", Mr. Stevens' song moves into his "Everything Is Beautiful, in It's Own Way" mantra.
The notion he puts forth in this song is that everyone and everything is beautiful in it's own way. That if we CHOOSE to see the good, choose to find the positive, and choose to open our hearts to love, then …"the World's gonna find a way".

The first thing I want to say is, whatever you do, DON'T listen to this song on YouTube or anywhere else because it will stick in your head. In less than an hour you will be begging for some Beatles, the Who, or a good dose of Led Zeppelin.
But beyond that, I have a bit of a dilemma. I am embarrassed to admit, I actually agree with Mr. Stevens… in theory. I truly WISH it was that way. I WANT to believe the best of people. I WISH the world would live in love. Personally, I choose to live my life that way. I choose to believe the best of people, trust people, and see the best in them … BUT… at 62 years of age I can say it's not only incorrect, it's dangerous to walk through life with rose colored glasses.
I have had people steal from me, cheat me, and deceive me in many ways, but I STILL choose to believe the best. I choose to be this way because I cannot live my life in paranoid, bitter, and angry resentment for the few times that people have chosen to be dishonest, deceitful, or deceptive.
As the old saying goes, I can't allow "one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch" for me. I love life. I love people. I am happy when I see generosity in the world such as the relief efforts for the tsunami in Japan. I am happy when I see a child share a toy.

"Everything Is Beautiful in It's Own Way" is an ideal I wish were true, but when I go downtown Los Angeles, I won't leave valuables in my car and I won't leave it unlocked. What I WILL do, is be the best person I can to everyone I meet. I will try to add something good to the world. And through personal experience, I now have a fairly perceptive filter on who to trust.

The way I see it, not everything is beautiful in the world, but I can add my small part to what is beautiful and I can revel in all the beauty around me. People who refuse to love again because of having experienced heartbreak, are protecting and empty house. Love will teach us freedom and experience will teach us discretion.

Now if only I could get that stupid song out of my head. I'm going on YouTube and look for "Stairway to Heaven"!!! Yeah… gimme some Led Zep and a Heineken!
  • Listening to: the hum of the G5
  • Drinking: Heineken
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:iconartin2007:
artin2007 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012  Professional General Artist
As an antidote, please consider some big classical pieces, the roots of all our popular and jazz genres, after all. A good starting place is the Disney pieces in Fantasia WITHOUT animation or pictures.
They are called "tone-poems" for a reason....
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:iconmondspeer:
mondspeer Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I see the same tension between my decission to see people beautifull and the world in its pain and strain.
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:iconcomplimentarybrick:
complimentarybrick Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
MISTY MOUNTAIN HOP!!!
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:icongouv:
Gouv Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
As always, it has been a Pleasure reading your Journal. Thank you.
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional Photographer
thank YOU!
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:iconalexisquimby:
AlexisQuimby Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Student Filmographer
Now that was a beautiful thing.
Hah Led Zeppelin . . . sounds like my father.
Here is a good link - Dazed & Confused. This should clear your head
[link]
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:iconcurlandgrazes:
curlandgrazes Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The last bit where you talk about one's refusal to love again is only protection for an empty house (words along those lines). It reminds me of a quote I have tattooed on my chest: "La libertad solo existe cuando el amor esta presente" - Freedom only exists when love is present - Paulo Coehlo.
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:iconmaddysettle:
MaddySettle Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student General Artist
This is exactly how I feel.
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:iconmaxteg:
Maxteg Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
*slow clap* :clap: I to live this way because I was raised to be that way. To find the good in people, and yes we all get burned by it. But I honestly wouldn't wanna live all closed up and afraid of the good in people. Michael as always I find your journals as another story through life, and everyone of your stories makes me feel better about myself and my life. Thanks bud!
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:iconrotten-alice:
Rotten-Alice Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012
I think thats the best thing anyone can do. Hope for the best in people while preparing for their worst and doing ones best to spread positivity and live in love.
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:iconghosthunterwa:
Ghosthunterwa Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012
You know I was raised on Ray Stevens thank to my father, but I do agree; the song in its entirety is an idea that even today people would love to see. The problem being it is just an idea and, with the way things are today, we have to at least try to see the good in the bad. It's getting harder and harder to see it, that's for sure, but if we all tried maybe the idea wouldn't be so idealistic. Then, again, man is known for destruction before seeing the beauty. Maybe we should listen to Ray Stevens some more and enter the phase of The Streak, because a little bit of carefree time is always good.

I know you've heard this time and time again, but your work is amazing, and some of the models you have worked with from pictures are truly amazing because you all bring beauty into the world via a camera, lighting, and so much more. My point? You most definitely make the world a brighter place. :)
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:iconjohnnyjester:
johnnyjester Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Similarly...the song that made me wanna yak and would STILL get stuck in my head was "Jesus Lamb of God". In my earlier years I was forced to go to church and the church choir would always let the man with the Kermit the frog voice sing it. The chorus would sing"Have mercy on us". I was thinking...yeah, have mercy on us because this song is killing me! ;) I would imitate the guy after mass for my mom. I had her in tears because my imitation was spot on....luckily she has a sense of humor. I couldn't get out of going to church, though. The Lord has no mercy, clearly. :) Kidding! I know not of the Lord's mercy for he has yet to speak with me in any fashion that I recognize to be his voice. Unless that bird that shat upon me was a message? Perhaps I'm just dense. ;)

My sister and I would play games like counting how many tiles were in the ceiling and counting specific letters in the weekly pamphlet. Good Lord we were bored! Thank God for Buddhism! Oops. Shouldn't said that, right?

I agree that their is a danger in seeing the world with rose tinted glasses. Nice people get walked on everyday and it continues without fail until someone actually grows a pair and stands up for themselves. We are such cowards! I suppose it's a natural survival technique to flee ANY confrontational experience? That being said....it's always amazing to me how certain people think they deserve so much and seemingly have no awareness of people who actually DO deserve more. So many corporate entities are swimming in wealth but allow their ground level employees to work to non livable wages. Jesus? Have mercy on us, arleady....and to think that Americans have it EASY compared to people in other countries. The humanity! Or lack of, that is...
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:iconnomad005:
nomad005 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You know Pelicanh, I miss having you on here posting daily/weekly, I always enjoyed your insight, and the fact that you replied to my messages in my time of despair, the fact you took the time to reply says volumes about you as a person.

It hurts knowing that a good person like you, choosing to believe in the best of people has come back to bite you, but know that there are many people that enjoy you insight and company that would have never found it if you didn't.

If I ever get a chance to visit California, I will do my very best to look you up.

I hope all is well with you. Take care.
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:iconbeautykillslies:
BeautyKillsLies Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012
It's nice to see someone else put my thoughts into words. I have always been the same way. People argue with me that it's age and that I am just nieve. It has nothing to do with what age I am. While, with age comes experience, not all experience is based upon age. This is who I am and I decide whether or not I will be one of the few who still has faith in people. I love myself and I love this world and I feel we should all love one another. A Far fetched idea, but still one I feel is worth fighting for.

As always, I enjoy reading your words as I enjoy the person you are. Thank you for being you.
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:icongremlich:
Gremlich Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012
Skip the Heineken, go fo a high gravity Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale - 9%.

Quick, somebody "Rick Roll" Mike!!!
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:iconmysticangel74:
mysticangel74 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012
agreed
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:iconharrietsfriend:
harrietsfriend Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Professional Photographer
the best way to release this song in your head is give it to someone else, and evidentially you have,

eugene
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:iconburgandydreamer:
burgandydreamer Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The first thing that popped into my head when I read this was "Imagine all the people." Maybe some sort of mental defense system against my early child hood years. Now it holds no sway over me.

What you say is very true. Makes me think of Terry Pratchett I don't know if you have read any of his Disc World series but let me just give you a quote.

“Oh no,” said Carrot, “that’s a burial weapon.”
“I should think it is!”
“I mean, it’s made to be buried with a dwarf. Every dwarf is buried with a weapon. You know? To take with him to…wherever he’s going.”
“But it’s fine workmanship! And it’s got an edge like—aargh,” Vimes sucked his finger, “like a razor.”
Carrot looked shocked. “Of course. It’d be no good him facing them with an inferior weapon.”
“What them are you talking about?”
“Anything bad he encounters on his journey after death,” said Carrot, a shade awkwardly.
“Ah.” Vimes hesitated. This was an area in which he did not feel comfortable.
“It’s an ancient tradition,” said Carrot.
“I thought dwarfs didn’t believe in devils and demons and stuff like that.”
“That’s true, but…we’re not sure if they know.”

This quote sums up for me what you said. We look for the good in people. But we have to realize that not everyone is looking for the good in others/them selves.
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:iconhonzie1885:
honzie1885 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012
I remember the song. Reminds me of how Anne Frank wrote that she believed that people were basically good a few months before she was hauled off to a Nazi concentration camp.

I own a small professional office--clients have consistently not paid me, lied to me, tried to steal from me, and then lied to my professional regulatory board about me when I had the temerity to collect my fees from time to time. If you want to see someone's bad side, just try to collect money from them.

Some people see this as an excuse to descend to the level of those who attack them. Others, like you, seem to take the malefactions of others as an invitation to live by a higher standard.

Right on.
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:iconniteshifter:
Niteshifter Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012
There are no shades of grey, only degrees of black and white, there is no innocence, only degrees of guilt.

Everything has some beauty, some good in it, however, just because a car has a powerful engine, doesn't guarantee it'll go fast. Everyone has the innate potential for both positive and negative behaviour, unfortunately our society breeds a sensation of hopelessness, our society is essentially geared to make us believe that only certain people can make a difference, politicians, religious leaders, etc, that creates a hopeless feeling, and if you don't make a difference, why bother trying to help people?

It boils down to those who feel they can do nothing resort to doing anything, ultimately its a matter of intellect. Don't play the game people, play the players.
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:icononewingedjade:
onewingedjade Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012
I live life comfortably neutral, because I know every person has the potential to be the most inspirational person in my life, or the one who brings my downfall. It may be a bit primal, but I really rely on instinct and intuition.
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:iconeyepilot13:
eyepilot13 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! A very interesting journal that points out the two-sided nature of humanity. I believe that I belong to the side of enlightenment, commonsense and the "Golden Rule", unfortunately in my 46 years of observances the dark side of humanity seems to be predominant (and I just don't say this...I am a student of history and science); it seems the most ruthless, immoral/amoral rise to the top and dominate others....I have NO quest for authority or power...those that do seem the worst of humanity often. I am happy doing my part being a "good" person but the power seekers will even kill to get ahead....I often thought is this phenotype part of evolution? If it is it will be ultimately the death of us all... Just a thought!
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:iconbear48:
bear48 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional
Be well my friend
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:icontheefirstchildofsin:
TheeFirstChildOfSin Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012
Good to hear from you here. I was wondering if you and your friends were doing alright.
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:iconjohn-86:
John-86 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012
Wise, wise words :) I so admire your personality.
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:iconsamuraiotter:
samuraiotter Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012
Oh well, I guess its a good replacement for "greasy grimy gopher guts". You're right, a whole lot doesn't look beautiful to me, but if I concentrate on changing myself, its quite amazing how much beauty there is out there - especially in the middle of the ugly. As my baby boy was quoted by his principal during his High School Graduation ceremony last week: "Sh*t happens - Deal with it!" *proud father smile*
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:icondarkgoddessk:
DarkGoddessK Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
I don't like holding grudges, and in fact, not holding grudges seems to get me stepped over and ignored. But, with as much as I've learned about myself, I learn that I'm the bigger person for it.

That said, sometimes being the bigger person sucks. However, I can pick my battles and I've also learned I can pick which grudges are better for me to uphold. It's all about being good for you.
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:iconrojozorra:
Rojozorra Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I wish I could get my roommate to take what you just said to heart. Even if he's older than me in years it always seems like he's a crazy hurt little boy who just can't believe in anyone that's not myself or my boyfriend.
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:iconwallawallabigguy:
wallawallabigguy Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
We MUST live by the best code we know. And we should live with common sense too. I live in a tiny town in north eastern Oregon and I leave my door unlocked when I'm home with no worries. Doing that in a city would be foolish.
Thanks for the pep talk Pastor Pelican!
PS It's been nearly 50 years since I sang that song every week, but it still warms my heart.
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
Some things being a little older helps, eh??
Good to hear from ya !
Reply
:iconbaddreams55:
baddreams55 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
listen to some Steam Powered Giraffe, my friend. not only is it hard to get stuck in your head, but their music is addictive,
and you'll find yourself in a beautiful imagination utopia, filled with steam engines, clockwork, brass, and copper. Steam
Powered Giraffe is amazing. Check 'em out.
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
will do thanks!
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:iconbaddreams55:
baddreams55 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
no problem, hope you enjoy them. :3
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:iconwildmandrake:
wildmandrake Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Professional Writer
I have a great experience/metaphor for the positive thinking idealists. Crossing the street. If you crossed the street blithely ignoring the possibility of getting run over you'd be dead or maimed pretty quick. If you focussed only on the fear of an accident then you would go no where and hide away aggrophobically in your house. It is through balanced awareness that we can enjoy and participate in life. Knowing the negative, allowing for it, not hiding from it as so many preach, whilst still acting on the positive is the way to go. I think this makes a true optimistic realist.

PS. The Optimist says the glass is half full, the pessimist says the glass is half empty, the artist, the engineer and the Zen master says you got the wrong size glass. Change the paradigm
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
I like it!
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:iconandrewdro:
AndrewDro Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Living your life the best way you can is something that a lot more people need to do and grasp. However, ignoring reality doesn't help in any way; you can be all full of sunshine and rainbows, but sooner or later, someone is going to piss in your Cheerios.

Cautiously optimistic, I think is the best way to say it. Be happy, look for the best, try to help others, but lock your doors and keep your valuables close. The world isn't a friendly place and going into it naively will only end in tears. There's nothing wrong with being a good guy or wanting the best, but at the same time...

Nice to see more from you, always a good read. Cheers!
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
LOL..."Piss in your Cheerios"
good one.
I hope not!
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:iconbearerofdestruction:
BearerOfDestruction Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
At 35 years of age I like to believe that everything has a beautiful side, even if you won't ever see it. Maybe I'm still young and stupid.

But I do like Buddha's words: "If you steal from me once, the fault is yours. If you steal from me twice, the fault is mine".

Be good, but not naive, and everything will be fine.
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:iconperrygallagher:
PerryGallagher Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012
Your wisdom is beyond many lifetimes Michael.. Thank you:) As always, perfect timing with perfect pearls of wisdom.

OXOXO
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
well, you certainly make my life better my dear friend.
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:iconmuhminatali:
muhminatali Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
youre too good for this world.
smh.
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
awwwww
:smooch:
:hug:
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:iconmuhminatali:
muhminatali Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:blushes:
Mmmwua!~
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:iconnomad55:
Nomad55 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I feel the exact same way very well said.
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:iconcrawlingchaosmd:
CrawlingchaosMD Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:clap: Well said, man!
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:icontonykabuto:
tonykabuto Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
As i heard somewhere... you got to be good, but not stupid... people are good, the only thing is that they CHOOSE to not be beautiful by themselves... cheers! :)
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:iconratravarman:
ratravarman Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
To quote Emerson, "And as the eye is the best composer, so light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful. And the stimulus it affords to the sense, and a sort of infinitude which it hath like space and time, make all matter gay."
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:iconpelicanh:
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
LOVELY!!!
Ah....Emerson. My first wife was fond of quoting! I miss that.
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:iconratravarman:
ratravarman Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:)
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:icongeomac351:
geomac351 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Everything IS beautiful in its own way, just not to everyone at the same time. The things that are not are necessary as without them we would not be able to appreciate what is........Ying and Yang, Good and bad, hot and cold, beautiful and ugly, Without one you don't have the other.
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