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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Don't Touch my Drums

Spilt Beer// Static Mic

Spilt Beer// Static Mic

Trembling on stage,
Did I forget something,
Is she watching me?
What about that couple up front?
The one sipping wine around a sea of Lone Stars,
 Welp! Just messed up,
You think they noticed? Probably not.
Minor flub, Minor flub,
Ok, Lyrics, damn forgot a word.
Mumble through// Transform it to something "good" sounding. Something unpredictable.

Music loud. Won’t notice. Most definitely, right?
Ok back in the moment. I’m playing remember...
Just relax. But what about that one friend I haven’t seen in awhile.
He’s hidden in the back. It’s dark, I know. What’s he thinking of the show.

Ok.. Solo. Now is the solo. Just don’t think about it so much this time.
Let it flow man. Just let it flow. Ah, gotta piss now. I can hold it.
Halfway through. I’m enjoying myself. Am I just telling myself that again.
I’m just distracted. This is great. Euphoria. Loving it. In the moment.
Here we go! Either 5 people or 50. Going to keep going. Living off the energy.

Just putting it out there.

Many times. Packed or not. It’s not about the room man. It’s about playing.
I’m sweaty. It’s hot up here. That post show drench feels so good.
What will they think when we’re done? Good question...maybe bad question.
Doesn’t matter really. Giving it my all. Even if a few mistakes.
The drummer made a few. The bassist for sure.

Good energy overall. This is living.

Guitarist spills beer. Part of the show. Just avoid the wires and outlets. We will be good.
Small shock from the mic. No biggie. Been through worse. Sound is ok on stage. Head a lot worse. Pretty good mix overall. No reason to complain. Just so great to play. To 1 or 100. It’s good. It’s all good. Why am I talking like this? What will pay be like.

Shut up.

Pay doesn’t matter. I’m loving all this. The people around me. The screams from the small crowd. Everyone is playing together. In this together. Pretty amazing if you ask me. I’m picking it apart. Why? No reason. What good does that do? What good does explaining it do? Am I missing this whole freaking experience?

You always do this. You always try to take things apart. Just be with it. Let is pass. Finish this garsh darn solo. Look out into crowd. Maybe move your hips more. Maybe make some eye contact. Enjoy the mistakes. Each show different.

Do a random bend here.
Good job.

Smile. Song over. Take a drink. Look at drummer to start the new song.

Begin again.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Hail Ramen

Oh the Temptation!

I’ve noticed something interesting.

There have been several times where I have taken a break from alcohol. A month or so or maybe more. I didn’t necessarily do it because I was out of control, but I felt like I needed to re-center my life, choices and have a clearer sense of self. Of the times that I have been sober, it seemed as if alcohol was more abundant and free for my taking. People were more gracious in offering free drinks and generous with their finances. Of course, I had to tell them that I was taking a “break”. Some people responded with surprise and others were quite supportive. I refused to get very dogmatic about it and I didn’t see a point in trying push my beliefs or goals on other people. It actually gave me a fresh perspective on how people in my life interact under the popular liquid influence.

This isn’t about alcohol. This can relate to a multitude of things. Maybe you were or are trying to give up sugar, carbs, complaining, masturbating, sex, cream cheese, Netflix, old Full House reruns, YouTube binges, Television or drugs. It seems that we notice it more and more when we make a conscious effort in abstaining or simply curbing it from our current lifestyle. We know that cupcake will light up our pleasure sensors, but we also know that in an hour we will regret it. That regret may spin us into a shame spiral where we hold on to our ideals and punish ourselves for deviating from our no sugar diet mission statement.

“ You’re on your second day of no sugar, but Suzy brought donuts into the break room at work. You tell yourself, “ Of course this happens when I decide to give up sugar”.”

( You notice these things because your mind wants to trick you. When you make a conscious change, these “temptations” are merely just small awakenings that you weren’t necessarily conscious of before. Think about it. If you are so conditioned to a certain pattern, routine or ritual, you thread that in with daily tasks that soon become unquestioned and relatively unimportant in your development. )

Some of us like to punish ourselves. It makes sense. Pain and pleasure go hand in hand and we might get some great pleasure from the pain. We might get enticed by the burn of lifting weights and tie ourselves to a strict and disciplined routine. Does that do anything for us? When pain becomes pleasure, how are we using it to expand our consciousness or grow internally? Our mind loves it. It loves the structure, routine and the continual and persistent pushing of our pleasure buttons.

Is it our resistance that gives the illusion that our abstinence is harder to achieve?
Does temptation become stronger because we are depriving ourselves from the bad habits that we ingrained into our past lifestyles? Most certainly yes.

When we get stuck in patterns that are unhealthy, we get use to them and ultimately become unconscious to the effect it has on our health and lives. We overlook addictions and see them as just ways of coping through our internal and external problems. It creates negative feedback loops. Booms and Busts. When any ounce of insecurity arises, we quickly and unconsciously gravitate to for instant relief. We see these patterns as small habits that we should break, but the work to change it seems way to arduous and daunting.

When we become conscious of our addicting and unmindful behaviors, we tend to demonize them. They become our hurdles. Our enemies. The things that are in our way and must be consciously and vigilantly avoided. We label them as “bad” or “wrong”. We put up more defenses and walls around ourselves instead of simply relaxing with what is going on within us. When we get so use to lustfully grabbing for instant reliefs from discomfort, we drift farther from our authenticity and vulnerability. When we are vulnerable, we can open up and really be curious and not critical of the illnesses of our body and mind.

If there is a certain thing you want to stop doing, there are some simple things that don’t require you being aggressive or resistant to your inner turmoil.

The First thing is not to demonize your vices. This places you in a victim-hood and grievance mindset that will ultimately play you like an old stringed puppet. It is important to simply feel what it does to you. Recognize it, but don’t try to “analyze” it. When you analyze something, you are picking it apart and trying to escape the effect it has on you. It implies division and measurement which is all part of the monkey mind. This traps you back into the “ Resistance is persistence” model that you have so conditioned your mind and ego with in the past.

In fact it is all about being one with that craving and feeling. You may feel it more in your head, your stomach, your neck or your jaw. These cravings and impulsive thoughts have direct effects on the body. Just think about how all of your passing moods make your body feel. Now think of all the times that you have simply tried to reject or escape those feelings. You suppress and repress them. And they come back a knockin’!

So Feel it. Feel how that craving arises. Don’t bother trying to intellectualizing it. That would be escaping it. Bypassing it. Putting a critical eye in order to get rid of the craving.
Simply tell yourself out loud or in your head that you are feeling that triggering craving again. It may be weird. It may be uncomfortable, but the first step is stepping outside of your rigid and routined comfort zone. Accept with your entire body, mind and breath that you are feeling what you are feeling within that moment. Don’t be drastic in trying to get rid of it just yet. When you can accept what is, you start living more presently and with more attention and awareness.

“ Lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil.”

Most of us have heard this phrase. This goes against pretty much all I was just talking about. When we label temptation as evil, we are escaping and demonizing it for the sake of control. There is no good or evil on these terms. There is only self. The self that is product of time. The self that is the frappe of the unconscious, subconscious and what we sometimes think of as “I”, “US” and “ME”.

Temptations like many things in life, are our teachers. Teachers that allow us to awaken to new opportunities in every moment. Teachers that lead us into self knowledge and the willingness to observe with a non-judgmental eye.

Temptations are the tricksters that take us from “What Is” to “What should be”. You see them as temptations because your self is holding your “self” to a higher standard. A standard based on illusion. A standard that all of us what to work towards for the sake of our “Future Self”. We think that is we simply cut out, give up, or minimize these so called temptations, we will be more productive, virtuous, content, able, willing, kind, helpful or stronger. It is us saying, “ I must stop the things that do not work for me in order to achieve a new level of consciousness that I not now possess.” See what is going on here? Refrain from analyzing it or picking apart. Let is soak up in your sponge brain. Let it sit there without trying to find and answer or a curve that completes a circle.

We all feel like we could be better. This is remarkably human. It is there for a reason. We all know that there are certain things that do not “serve” us in our consciousness. In our current situation or mindset. It seems to ring true that if it doesn’t serve you, you should certainly drop it. Sometimes the idea of “dropping it” is a form of resistance. We imagine these thoughts ( which we now know to just be “thoughts” ) as a crumpled piece of paper that has no value in our life. But what if it has more value than we think?
It may not bring us happiness, solace, joy or the advancement of self knowledge, but it does bring us an opportunity to awaken. Awaken to the present moment. Awaken to the progress of self knowledge. So all in all we may realize that what we think doesn’t serve us, does serve us in the most important way. You sit in the darkness to let the light shine in.

As you unravel your mind coil with the power of self knowledge, you will see that that one piece of pizza will not set you back. A couple of drinks become less daunting and more enjoyable when enjoyed with your attention. You can invite those temptation demons in and have drinks with them in your head. Make them laugh. Enjoy their company with kindness. See what happens. See how those temptations act when you don’t meet them with resistance. Oh the temptation to succumb to temptation! Let the temptation tickle you with its tentacles. Let is come in and spread out. Don’t act on it. Don’t resist it. There is no use in trying to destroy it. It is simply passing through like a lonely octopus, but if you try to poke it, his/her eight slimy tentacles are no match for your delicate and protected fingers.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Blessed to be stressed.

You're stressed. I can tell. I can tell in the tone of your voice and the way you hold your body. You carry it on your shoulders and in your posture. Don't worry, you still look marvelous, but there is no escaping the stress I see. But why are you stressed? 

Is your schedule overwhelming? 
Are you trying to put out fires left and right? 
Are you trying to juggle the lifestyle you want with the lifestyle you have? 

Hey, it's all understandable. 
The drive and strength that possess is rather admirable, but your lack of effienciency is yet to be desired. 

Stress is created in our mind. Our cortisol levels rise and we reach for things that ease us. Short and pleasurable things. Sugary substances. Small screen distractions. It's the constant escape from ( you guessed it ) the present moment. 

It's there. Oh it's there. Always there. You may visit it couple times of day, and retreat to the monkey mind that so consumes your perception of existence. We are running a primitive software on our brains that is trying to cope with the modern rat race. How can we upgrade? 
Well, that's not really the point.

The point is is that you let yourself he stressed. You confuse it for working hard don't you? You confuse it with things like "being busy" " achieving goals" and "hustling". You think by disciplining yourself into a rigid mindset, you can achieve new heights and reward your pleasure and accomplishment centers. 

Sure, some stress can be good. Let's flip the coin. Create a new way of integrating the stress into our life. Not the hamster on caffeine on the wheel stress, but the stress that has made you ( whether you are conscious or not ) who you are today. 

Humans adapt quite well to challenging environments. They thrive with cooperation, competition and the challenge to overcome physical and mental hurdles. A majority of stress comes from the irritability of the Amygdala ( flight or fight response) and the pre frontal cortex ( the ability to reason/ empathy). All in all it is literally chemical reactions in our heads that are felt through our entire bodies. Our stress bodies. Those stress bodies will take any chance they get to use us as hosts. As flesh suits to accomplish their manic and unconscious actions and ramblings. It's really quite amazing.

When you say you are stressed, what are you really saying? You are describing how you feel in a sense, but you are really clinging to a sense of identity. It is not you who is stressed. It is the ego taking over your consciousness. You simply feel stress and embody it. It is almost a surrendering and yielding to a rather obnoxious scapegoat. Do you get what I am saying? 

Stress doesn't happen to you. It happens for you. Let us elaborate. 

Stress is there to make you more conscious yet we see it as a hindrance. We try to drown it with drink, block it with food, distract it with sex and so on. It becomes more stressful for us when we try to resist stress! Don't you see it?  It is the pain/ pleasure paradigm! It is the vicious cycle of us repeating compulsive behaviors in order to get into a desired state. It is the yin and yang so to speak. 

We say to ourselves.

" I hate being stressed. I want to escape it. I want to release it. I do not want to experience this stress for it is such a burden and inconvenience ." 

Sound familiar ?

We never let us consciously experience stress. Feel it for its all. Feel the power it has over us. When we resist it, it persists. We swat at it as if it is a fly and then hours later, 2 or 3 more flies come. Then we try to reach for a bigger swatter and become more irritated. See the compulsive cycle ? See the insanity? 

It matters when we see it and how we see it. Once we become conscious of stress arising, we can simply appreciate it. We can see it as a valuable teacher. Welcoming it and not pushing it away. We can say "hello!". We can offer it tea and biscuits in our prefrontal cortex. It is that welcoming of our stress demons that makes us grow. Makes us be kind to ourselves. We can simply say..

"I am feeling stressed and I am ok with that." 

Thank you stress for allowing me to reawaken in the moment. Thank you stress for allowing me to return back to my center. To breathe. To accept with ease. To simply relax. 

What at amazing opportunity, stress offers us. We can still turn to healthy alternatives. We can offer our physiology instead of thinking ourselves out of
Stress. ( that never works ). Get movin!  Even for a minute, then reflect back inward and feel what your stress feels like now. Is it less intense? Is it more intense? Don't be so quick to try to get rid of it. Just recognize and be present. 

When you are present for yourself, you can radiate that presence to the people around you. They will jive with your vibe. Then you can see the stress levels melt and the bodies relax. All in all. When it benefits you, it benefits others. 

Although it may be hard to realize and say at the end of the day, but you are so Blessed to be Stressed. 



Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Toasted Bagel of Uncertainty

The Toasted Bagel of Uncertainty 

How do you like your bagel? 
Buttered? Cream cheesed? 
Do you always go for the same carb discus? The same old combination that fuels you with glycogen and spikes your
Sugar levels. 

I get it. You like what you like. You've conditioned yourself to choose the same bagel at the same place for quite some time. It just became part of your routine. The mundane trudgery that almost acts a ritualistic start before your day descends to to certain or uncertain chaos. Maybe that bagel is you trying to hold on. Psychologically gripping onto the instant carb gratification and a chance to be alone with you and that elusive bagel. 

Are we holding too tight that cream cheese spread of security? It's predictable. It's safe. It gives us just enough energy and allows us to fall into a routine that we can look forward to.

You want everything, so you choose an everything bagel. It's the comfort of not having to try something different. I mean what good with that do? You've been choosing that warm everything bagel for so long that it becomes part of your life blood. You wouldn't want a new bagel experience to ruin your day, would you? 

This is where we find that wall. Our comfort becomes the propagator of the monkey mind. It's the safeness of doing the same thing out of efficiency, security and the mindset of not going outside of that "zone". I mean choosing that same bagel everytime is easier than trying to decide on a new bagel, right ? 

That monkey mind loathes that discomfort. It will use anything to try to escape it. The idea of making a new decision creates a new atmosphere of conflict. Should you go ahead and try that new honey butter instead of the cream cheese? Will you regret that choice if you don't like it? There you go sliding into that rollercoaster of compulsive thought. You're uncomfortable. You're experiencing discomfort. This stray from the hamster on the wheel routine has thrown you for an unconscious mind spin. 

So there it lies. You are waiting in line waiting to make a decision. Do you stray? Do you go out on a limb and try that onion bagel? Do you go for the classic that you have always got? That routine carb loaded guaranteed safety net. Or do you take a chance? You'll know that that classic combo of yours will still be there. It's not going there, but how will you know until you try? I hear you. You're concerned with bagel regret or bagel remorse. Well, there in lies an amazing opportunity for growth. An amazing opportunity to learn what you like and don't like.

It is that uncertainty that allows us to grow and unground ourselves. To reach deeper from within. Conflict arises when we resist that uncertainty. When we fear it and see it as threatening to out mundane lives. It's not against us. It's for us. It is shifting from the " I gotta control everything in my life" monkey mind to a wholehearted sense of vulnerability. The switch from unconscious desire to attention, awareness and the ability to simply listen. 

You see that bagel right? It's got that hole in the middle. That hole of uncertainty. That void that allows you to awaken and to not resist. The bagel is you. It is keeping that void empty for love and compassion to filter in. It is not there to try to stuff from outside sources. Your bagel hole soul is like everyone else's. The moment you try to fill it with something, it will create conflict and suffering. It is about allowing the uncertainty to permeate your inner relationship with yourself. When you see the endless void, you can surrender to what is without trying to fill it for the sake of comfort.

The toasted bagel of uncertainty, 
Allows you to simple bee, 
To accept and forgive, 
To cooperate and give, 
To surrender to what is. 

So with this discomfort, 
You can feel it, 
Not try to resist and persist it, 
When there's nothing left to cling to, 
You'll rest easy in you, 
Knowing that this uncertainty will always be there. 


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Appreciation over Apology

" I'm sorry I'm being annoying, but I'm having a hard time understanding you." 

When we say sorry for the little things, we are unconsciously submitting ourselves to self pity and a sense of devalued self worth. Why do we apologize for the way that we are? We may feel like we are too needy, too high strung, too needy. We preface our statements with what we perceive to be our "faults". We make the assumptions that people will perceive us the way we perceive ourselves. This is where we fall victim to our own dull and fixated mindsets. 

The first step is to stop making so many gosh darn assumptions. We must surely realize that we cannot get into other people's heads on what they think of us. Do you get what I am saying? If you see yourself as pestering or annoying after asking a multitude of "inconvenient" questions, you are drastically distracted by your own ego. You are coming from a place of victimhood and grievance when you preface a statement or question with a self perceived illusory weakness. 

You hold yourself to your own standard. 
Comparing yourself to others is highly unintelligent and will only drive a stake deeper into the false sense of self. Your sense of heirarchy and authority is simply an illusion driven by the belief that you are less than, not equal to, unworthy and less intelligent than others around you. Worrying about what others think about your personality keeps us in a prison of our own making. It is fundamentally the lack of self knowledge and self acceptance. 

" What shall one do to become more confident and less apologetic?" 

It's not about confidence or the avocado mask of "self esteem". Trying to be more confident is just building up a wall around your sense of self. It is the opposite of vulnerability. Faking confidence has the same effect of confidence because you are trying to mold yourself into mindset that is only focused on the preservation of the self and outcomes that are a means to an end. It is not about trying to answer a problem with solution, but to understand if there is even a problem in the first place.

The problem lies in that you want to become less of something to become more of something. It arises from insecurity. Doesn't that make sense? You want to become more likable, so you try to mold your mind into a mechanical and contrived process of thought. You quite literally put on a mask that distracts your from your inner workings and turmoils. You must ask yourself, why do I want to become more or something different from what I am? Why must I keep trying to escape who I am at this moment? 

Acceptance is key. 
From acceptance arises an appreciation for all of you. You can accept yourself unconditionally at every moment. At every mood. At every conflict. You can make the conscious decision of understanding the conflict of your mind. Do not label it. Do not pick it apart. Do not scientifically analyze. Feel it in your body. Let it be your teacher. 

Appreciation over Apology.

What does that mean? 
Is it just a catchy primordial platitude that is designed to reconfigure and recalibrate your thought process? In a way, yes. It is not all about finding a solution, but to allow you to be more conscious. It is certainly not focused around an end goal. It is the continuous process of expanding self knowledge without an agenda. 

Here's an example of an Appreciation over Apology conscious thought process. 

Here is the apology/ lack of self knowledge model: 

" I'm sorry that I'm asking so many questions, but I don't seem to understand your point." 

What's wrong here? 

Well you are apologizing for something that has no bearing or warrants an apology in the first place. You are coming from that victimhood and grievance mindset and not a position of self ownership. You are apologizing for nothing and operating under the assumption that the person or people you are talking to you in the first place are hurt or inconvenienced by you. 

It is also coming from a place self importance. You operate under the assumption that by apologizing you can ease your discomfort and sense of self. You do this to protect yourself. To protect your ego.

You unconscious is informing you: 
" If I come from a place of apology,
It will be perceived as being courteous and kind." 

That's it. Society and our minds have conditioned us to take apologies as a sign of not being rude. Sure there are points where an apology is warranted, but in the constant daily interaction with people, it's highly unconscious and detrimental. It is not constructive, creative or proactive. 

It's not about trying to be courteous and kind. Trying to be anything is still building walls and a distraction from authenticity and self knowledge.

So instead of the apology mindset, we can transition into appreciation. How does that work?  It first acknowledges the appreciation of the other person. This may be hard for us. This may be uncomfortable for us. This may go against all that we have learned. 

Instead of saying, " I'm sorry for asking so many questions". You can say' " I appreciate you being patient and willing to listen." There it is. Simple. You are appreciating the other person(s). It is coming from a point of gratitude and self empowerment. By appreciating others, you are appreciating yourself since the inner is a reflection of the outer. 

This works in all interactions. You actually don't need a reason to appreciate the other person. If you did, you would be just fulfilling a goal. A check list. An illusory sense of self worth. You can be irritated with a person and still appreciate them. When you always come from a stance of appreciation, conflict will not have room to arise or explode. 

I've heard the saying," Being kind for an end goal is not doing kindness, but doing business." So much truth! 

You embody gratitude.

I can simply accept and appreciate that I do not agree with you. I can simply accept and appreciate that I am feeling irritated or insecure with a certain situation.

Deep down.
When I appreciate you, I am appreciating myself and making myself for vulnerable and able to cocreate and inspire!