My song today is ‘Blue Skies’. This popular song was written by Irvin Berlin in 1926. The song was composed in 1926 as a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical ‘Betsy’. Although the show ran for only 39 performances, ‘Blue Skies’ was an instant success, with audiences on opening night demanding 24 encores of the piece from star Belle Baker. During the final repetition, Ms. Baker forgot her lyrics, prompting Berlin to sing them from his seat in the front row. In1927, the music was published, and during that same year it became one of the first songs to be featured in a talking movie when Al Jolson performed it in ‘The Jazz Singer’. The song was recorded for all the major and dime store labels of the time.
Notable others to record and cover the song included Benny Goodman and his Orchestra: Bing Crosby: Count Basie: and Willie Nelson (my favourite recording of the song).
We associate blue skies with fine days and good prospects. Because grey clouds hang heavy with the prospect of miserable weather, blue skies seem to represent a better day ahead. What better vista of nature is there for a summer stroller on a fine afternoon walking the countryside than his own blue sky above, and his own green land all around. While the woodland in the distance beckons the walker on towards the cool stream that meanders through its centre as it washes the small stones embedded in the earth beneath its watery coat, the clear blue skies above herald a glorious day ahead.
Some of my youthful years that I spent learning to walk again after a bad traffic accident, was spent during warm summer afternoons walking to ‘Bluebell Wood’ about two miles away from our council house on Windybank Estate where I grew up. There was a three-year period in my life between the ages of 11-14 years when I had been unable to walk because of a damaged spine I incurred when a wagon knocked me down and ran over me. The one discipline that helped me the most at this critical stage of life was learning meditation methods and relaxation training. Relaxation Training helped me to mediate and cope with high levels of body pain that I would experience for the rest of my life.
Relaxation Training and Transcendental Meditation became the bedrock and foundation of my road away from a life of ‘learned helplessness' after being medically told that I would never walk again after I had damaged my spine. The wagon wrapped me around its main drive propellor shaft beneath its undercarriage, leaving the bone structure of my legs and torso in a mangled mess. However, it was imagination exercises: the power of positive thinking: learning the crucial importance of positive self-talk: the significance of belief systems: adopting the correct breathing pattern and body posture dependent upon the activity undertaken: and learning about the brain/muscle connections that helped me to walk again. All these combined disciplines gave me a renewed purpose in my life. They also enabled me to help thousands of people with too much stress, anger, and fear in them, and too many problems to cope with during later years of my working life.
When I arrived at Bluebell Woods during these young years of improving my walking, I would make my way up toward its centre, where a large oak tree stood. At its base, the oak tree was surrounded by an area of soft, lush grass and scattered wildflowers. There, I would lay at the base of the oak tree and look up into the clear blue sky above peeping through the top of the tree branches. For an hour or more I would frequently relax in the warmth of the afternoon beneath my oak tree, where I would do my breathing exercises, my muscle tensing and release exercises and my imagination exercises. As I relaxed, I could hear the nearby woodland stream and birds tweeting, along with other creatures like squirrels rustling through the leaves and branches of nearby trees. My body would gradually wind down until it seemed to sink into the ground upon which I lay, melting my very being with nature itself. I would invariably fall asleep, and when I woke up, I would feel totally refreshed.
Over the years that followed, I would become one of the leading authorities in the country on the discipline of Relaxation Training, having practiced it for 67 years since the age of 11 years and having been a Relaxation Training Instructor for 50 years. I would later make a Relaxation Training Tape which was freely given to over 10,000 people since 1970 to help them both change their behaviour and to assist them in pain reduction and to assist poor sleeping practices. The scene used in my Relaxation tape would be of the Bluebell Wood to which I travelled regularly as a young teenager regaining my walking ability. Anyone wanting to access the tape free, plus other Relaxation information please access. Please note that people with brain damage are not advised to use the tape:
The above account is how I managed to turn my grey skies into blue skies.
Love and peace