Sunday, July 19, 2020

I Don’t Believe In Yoko - Observations of the Quarantined Life

What does the observation of a quarantined life have to do with Yoko Ono?

Now, I’m asking myself the same thing.

Oh yeah. Follow the thread – it took a few turns to unfold.

Number one – I was given the task of commenting on living in this quarantined world – my experience on this planet while much of our society is shut down due to the response surrounding a COVID-19 virus. What I came up with was the memory of my mom who would talk about growing up in the upper peninsula of Michigan, in a town so small that it’s still designated as a “village.” De Tour Village.

She would talk about how, during the 1930s and 40s, she and her brothers and sisters would simply have fun with each other since in those years the family didn’t really have television, radio or the other amenities to which we are accustomed today.

Even in my childhood I would ask the questions.
  • How could you live without running water in the house?
  • How could you live without music?
  • How could you live without TV?
All that really mattered was that they had each other. I couldn’t imagine such simplicity. Well, I couldn’t imagine it until recently. Within four months, after the lock-down orders started to hit in March, all of the sudden we had no sports to watch, we had no outings save for walks in the park, we had no new television shows, we had no clear and present distractions.

Yes, we have running water, music in the home, and even computers that can continue complicating the airwaves. But something simple is arising. It hearkens back to a simpler time … when what mattered most were:
  • Relations
  • Real conversations
  • Connections
  • Family
  • The real reasons we come to this physical world
It’s in moments like these that some monuments and myths do begin to topple. A lot of what held value in the past, just doesn’t carry the meaning any longer. It’s like when a loved one dies, and any other surface thoughts and considerations just fade away. I’m reminded of a song by John Lennon from his first solo album in 1970. The song “God” ended with the biting commentary of a person who was done with all the BS of glorified myths that were supposed to be bigger than life … but were not. Lennon barked out:
  • I don't believe in Kennedy 
  • I don’t believe in mantra
  • I don't believe in Buddha
  • I don't believe in Elvis
  • I don't believe in Beatles
At the end of the song, Lennon sings, “I just believe in me. Yoko and me. And that's reality. The dream is over.” If the "dream" is the tendency to value distractions over what’s really important in life, then I can concur with these sentiments, as well as support the demise of all false idols. And it’s inspiring me to sing my own song…
  • I don’t believe in Bono
  • I don’t believe in politicians
  • I don’t believe in Newsom
  • I don’t believe in tyrants
  • I don’t believe in Hollywood
  • I don’t believe in CNN
  • I don’t believe in rock stars
  • I don’t believe in Lennon
  • I don’t believe in Yoko
Sorry Yoko, nothing personal. Sorry John. Just a nice twist on your song. Plus it just sounded funny. I’m sure you’d agree with the concept.

After some reflection in this time of shutdown, I believe what really counts is that which lasts well beyond any shelf life of a political platform, moral gesture, or shiny and dancing distraction.

What is reality?

Family, Jennifer, Hennessy, creativity, connection, love, light, God.

As these are all more than enough to fulfill a life, and fill this heart. In the end, it may be the only thing that really matters. 

James Anthony Ellis can be found at home and

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