Friday, August 30, 2013

The propagation of fear - What love can do




It was Sunday August 25th 2013 and Arlene and I were driving back on Route 52 coming from St. Stephen, SC.  We had just come from the canal on the Santee river which empties into lake Moultrie.  It’s one of our favorite walks although you have to be careful the dogs don’t go in the water without supervision…there’s many an alligator just waiting for a snarky border Collie and Wily Lab to just come passing by to make them brunch.

I was in a conversation with Arlene about New Mexico and whether her Aunt and Uncle’s stores they have there were doing well.  I was passing a large pickup truck, correctly I might add which was going a bit slower than my pace.  The speed limit on 52 in that rural part of Berkeley county is 60mph…but everyone does an average of 70+.  I must have been doing about 70 passing the truck very slowly.  Upcoming from the rear was a person in a white car taling me.  You know the type…no matter how fast you go they are easily going to outdo you by 10mph minimum.  Sometimes I will marvel at people sitting in a stiff position with a sort of a disconnected stare on their faces as they race past me at what appears to me crazy speeds.  I should talk…I used to be one of them. 

Apparently I was not passing the truck fast enough for the person in the white car so I sped up to pass the truck.  I learned (mostly from riding with my friend T.M. on motorcycles to just let people by.  He would always let cars by no matter what if they got too close. Thereby letting go of pride and the need to be "right").  It’s a great practice on a motorcycle and a great spiritual principle no matter what you drive….just let go.  So I sped up quite a bit and finally passed the truck, in making that pass I got up to appr. 80mph. 

Now this is where it gets interesting.  Usually the person races past you in the left lane and life is back to normal.  But sometimes you get someone that feels it is your responsibility to make their world go the way they want and think they need it to go.  So he does it…he slows down to confront me.  My window is open…it was a picture perfect day and one of those rare days the temperature was cool enough to keep the windows down in my wifes 2003 Rav 4. 

The interaction went something like this:

“Hey motherfucker, don’t you know what the fucking left lane is for?!  It’s for passing motherfucker!”  I retort:  “Yup, did you see the giant piece of metal right behind me I PASSED, they call that a TRUCK!” 

This is when he got really irate, it was as if I switched some “My dad made me feel like a fool and not good enough and what you just said is the exact way he did it" look.  He flipped out: 

“Fuck you!  I’ll kick your ass!” 

In which I retorded:  "We’re done!” 

And I turned and faced forward realizing to fuel this was not going to be a good thing.  He started yelling again in a car moving at 75 MPH right next to me. Why the hell was he so damn angry?  WTF?  I'm glad I don't feel that way much anymore.

…I glanced over and he reached down and pulled out a handgun and pointed it at my head...

  I swerved intuitively (A huge thanks goes out to Steven Jucks here.  My father in law who being a retired Police officer taught me that when your car swerves like that out of control always steer INTO the slide and not away from it.  I am not sure why but I remembered it flawlessly.  I hit the brakes as a second thought and he passed on.  But that was when I made the instantaneous decision to go after him.  It was not debated…I just knew it was the right thing to do.

Arlene being terrified was screaming “Stay away from him!  Don’t get close!”  I said to her…”This is just the right thing!”

And off I went, at first to just get his license plate but then turning into much more of an insight for me.  We were doing speeds of up to and over 100 mph, much of the time in 25mph zones.  I don’t know Goose Creek at all, we were driving at breakneck speeds through ;little neighborhoods with people out mowing lawns and kids playing.  By this time I was on the phone with 911 calling in every street we passed while he drove up on those same lawns people were mowing.  I had gotten his license plate but the 911 operator wanted me to keep going and let me know the major part of the Goose Creek police dept was converging on the area trying to block him off.  But at one point I glanced up and saw the 25mph sign and looked down at my speedometer.  I was doing 107mph…whoa.  I said it to her:  “He’s doing almost 110mph in a 25mph zone!”  She said slow DOWN sir!  I did and eventually lost him, only guessing as to where he went at the end of that road and the next. 

From there much happened and is still happening.  But the takeway for me is huge.  Here is a man who was engaging in fear (He had a gun ready to grab in the seat next to him).  He pointed it at me to scare me.  And I was the one chasing HIM!

Reap and sew
Judged, be judged
Measure it shall be measured unto you
Reap sparingly, sew sparingly
Reap abundantly. Sew abundantly
Living by sword, dying by sword
Speck in eye, log in eye

These teachings all came to mind plus many others afterwards.

I went home after the “ordeal” and took a nap.  Yup, I realized that every second after the reaction to swerve I felt no fear whatsoever.  I was calm (I want to see if I can obtain the 911 call but just found out I would need a subpoena) and he was contrastingly crazy in his actions and words.  In the world, you would have thought the one with the gun would have been the “powerful” one.  But here I was chasing him in my small Rav 4 on many deserted roads where he “could” have stopped and shot me or even scared me away.  But he ran…and oh did he run.  He lived in fear and his plan reaped what he lived in.  Karma means “action,”  you play in shit…you smell and look like shit.  You become shit.  I became more that just the man who was in the now or the guy whose mind wandered.  I was the observer watching it all occur.  This was huge for me, I saw the 3rd person we only become aware of in crisis situations and usually we are so traumatized we are not aware of that entity.

I am not saying this to toot my horn, for in fact I feel it is within all of us to find out with proof there is NOTHING to truly fear.  Yes we experience fear, but that is always a concept of future...but we do not HAVE to experience fear at all.  Since the truth is, there really is nothing to be afraid of "out there."

Arlene’s words before I took a nap were…”You’re going to take a nap.  He probably won’t sleep for a month.”

And I slept like a baby.  I actually forgot the incident until the sherrif called me 2 days later.  Wow, what Love can do.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I am Overcome

Holy Water in my Lungs.

Here we are only a couple of weeks past my Mom dying.  Arlene just called me 5 minutes ago to tell me that my brother in Law Albert just died today.

I am overcome...

Everyone up there is in shock.

I realize how useless it is.  If we are not in the now, we are not.  I feel a strange anxiety, like a pins and needles in my upper torso.

I know what to say, I know what to do.  I can't convey it, since you cannot speak through insanity.

It's useless.

Temporary, fleeting, yet eternal.  Endings, always endings and beginnings and endings.  Start and never finish.


What am I saying?

THIS, is the first 20 minutes.  A snapshot of the insanity of grief.  The ego speaking it's lies and my knowing speaking my truth.  I am in what "shock" would be for me.

Albert and I sort of grew up together...he was with my sister since 16 years old and he was like an older brother. I know on a deep level why and how this occurred.  I know why this happened.

A battle between philosophies.  Then will come my decision.  My decision to be happy.  But today is just a little more "so what" than yesterday...an hour ago...five minutes ago.

I am overcome....

There is absolutely nothing for me to do.  I can only deny the lie.  The stories that the ego tells me are just plain stupid at this point.  I am seeing this differently.  The hardest part is thinking about what someone else (My sister) is experiencing.  The loss, the horror, the emptiness...without knowing anything that I do.

I feel sadness for that.

But I always go back to my great beloved...My God.  I can feel a gentle stroke on my forehead.  It would be far too much, far too much without Him.  It also would make no sense.  Everything is going to be okay.

Funny.  I just thought of him Yesterday. For that, I am overcome.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I am prepared


I have always somehow been “prepared.”  I don’t know how to explain that really, I just know I have.

I was 24 years old and I had this new girlfriend.  Her name was Nina and at the time I thought she was the most beautiful girl on the planet, she was my Phoebe Cates look alike and I was going to take her out that night.

I stopped at home (My parent’s house) first and while walking in I was told to sit down.  My Mom had a cold look on her face like I had seen before.  Like something so overwhelming had happened to her that it was impossible to convey.  She began to convey to me how my Brother Scott had just shot himself and died.  This look on her face (and my Dad) was telling and something I would become more familiar with as I would see it not only on their faces for the rest of their lives but on many of my clients.  This look, this calibratory collection of signals has come to mean: “I am in crisis and am in the process of shoving everything into my unconscious mind right now” signal.  Only to have it rise up throughout your life to deal with it later. 

That night was strange for me and I cannot help but feel that even though I cried and acted quite crazy I was holding off the real pain (or the thoughts that create it) for a time I could deal with it. My Sister in Law was drugged to the hilt to desensitize her from the pain, for me it was completely surreal and would remain that way for many years.  Even though I didn’t “know” he was going to die that night, it is interesting to note I was the only one to contact him before hand, I made my peace with him, I had time to ponder him not being here, I had tied up any loose ends I could without even being aware of it…and this is a pattern that would hold true from there on.  When my Father died, when Arlene’s Grandfather died, When my Aunt died, when my pets died it was like I knew.  I would take strange and unexpected trips to see them before hand.  I find Arlene and I saying, “It’s amazing we went on that unplanned visit” or “Something was telling me this was going to happen.” I was always ready even if not in form.

So it is no surprise then that yesterday April 23rd 2013 I had clear thoughts of my Mom and brother and my niece.  They pop up once in a blue moon in my mind, but seriously, I am mostly in the now and this is a quite rare occurrence.

I found out my Mom passed away last night. 

I remember the last conversation I had with her.  She said to call a little more.  I was thinking what it would be like if she passed and I had not called.  It was like I was covering bases…working it all out before it happened.  I took an “unplanned” trip to NJ in late January (after not going home for Christmas) to see her specifically, I felt strongly I need to do that.  That trip was momentous even though at first I whined about going at all.  I made my peace with her on some level I cannot quite explain.  I said to Arlene after the visit: “I really feel good about this, I’m ready now.”  I was referring to the conclusion of some story that we both shared.  Some drama a person has with another that can play out for lifetimes.  Mine was complete with her somehow…

Besides for the weather (Are the clouds going to leave this year?) I feel good today.  Of course the ego is trying to have its say in all this.  Last night I remember thinking to one of its ridiculous diatribes: “I am going to feel wonderful in a month, 6 months and a year from now.  This will pass, so why not feel wonderful right now?”  It was almost as if I was supposed to be devastated about all of it and found myself about to play the role. I counsel my clients in all this…here I was walking the walk now.

In the book: The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker he attributes all Psychosomatic illness to our denial of death. Jesus would agree stating” Die not Son of God in which the dark dance of death delights you, die not…” The Buddhists spend a LOT of time on the concept of death and dying. There is something to this.

They are pointing something out.  Death is something we try to avoid our whole lives.  But in form it seems that it is inevitable so the key is to die before you die.  To realize you are not that which seems to die through that knowledge…to REALLY KNOW it. 

I feel I’m on the right path with this.  My life has been surrounded by death (I was fortunate to have older parents and be the youngest of 6).  I used to think that was a curse, I realize the blessing it is now.  How it is playing a significant role in helping me to deal with this crazy concept of death here and now.  Not wait until the “great cold surrounds my bones.” –Shakespeare’s Prospero

I realize this post is a bit scattered.  I have much along these lines to convey but these are my initial thoughts:

We do not die
There is no opposite to life
To believe it somehow means the God of life has an opposite and can end
This is not possible
Yet somehow it seems we end
So it must be that what we “see” is not necessarily life
It is something to pass itself off as life that seemingly can end
Thereby making the creator “wrong.”

I will not fold.
I will not budge.
I will not give a single inch on this matter.
It is a lie.

“The only correct use of denial is denial of the ego…” – ACIM


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I wake up to the sound of music...


Below are some quotes about my feelings on music.  I have come to realize very powerfully recently that I have always been and will always be a musician.  I have shed so much within the last 10 years...but music I just cannot shake.  When I went to research the connection I found these.  Some funny and some deadly serious...enjoy. - Keith Sudano

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“Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche


“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”― Albert Einstein


“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC” ― Kurt Vonnegut


“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
 ― Victor Hugo

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination
and life to everything.” ― Plato.

“Music is to the soul what words are to the mind.” ― Modest Mouse

“The only truth is music.” ― Jack Kerouac

“Music is ... A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy” ― Ludwig van Beethoven



“If music be the food of love, play on, Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die.” ― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”Friedrich Nietzsche

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”Maya Angelou

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ― Aldous Huxley, Music At Night: And Other Essays

“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
 Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems


“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it's enough. I really do because they've made me happy. And I'm only one person.”
 Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

“Some people have lives; some people have music.” ― John Green, Will Grayson

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats...”Albert Schweitzer

To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” ― Aaron Copland


“Music . . . can name the unnamable and communicate the unknowable.” ― Leonard Bernstein

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Because when he sings...even the birds stop to listen.” ― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games


“A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” ― Leopold Stokowski


“Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once.” ― Robert Browning


“I just can't listen to any more Wagner, you know...I'm starting to get the urge to conquer Poland.”Woody Allen

“Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

“I don't stand for black man's side, I don't stand for white man's side, I stand for God's side.” ― Bob Marley

“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can't.”  Johnny Depp

“I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants. Not 24-7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche or a blow job or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have a feeling that they can’t hide.” ― Rachel Cohn, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“For those of you in the cheap seats I'd like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry!”  John Lennon

“When you make music or write or create, it's really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you're writing about at the time. ”  Lady Gaga

“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that... I believe in what I do, and I'll say it.” ― John Lennon

“I've always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.” ― John Barrowman

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
  Leo Tolstoy

“Have you ever heard somebody sing some lyrics that you've never sung before, and you realize you've never sung the right words in that song? You hear them and all of a sudden you say to yourself, 'Life in the Fast Lane?' That's what they're saying right there? You think, 'why have I been singing 'wipe in the vaseline?' how many people have heard me sing 'wipe in the vaseline?' I am an idiot.”  Ellen DeGeneres

“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.” ― Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen

“So don't you worry your pretty little mind because people throw rocks at things that shine. “ ― Taylor Swift

“Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.” ― Robert Fripp

“I love the relationship that anyone has with music ... because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. ... It's the best part of us probably ...”  Nick Hornby

“There ain't no devil, only God when he's drunk.” ― Tom Waits

“The music is not in the notes,but in the silence between.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it's like to be human. Bach tells you what it's like to be the universe.”  Douglas Adams

“Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.”
 Johann Sebastian Bach

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”  Maria von Trapp


“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”
 Kahlil Gibran

“You have to, take a deep breath. and allow the music to flow through you. Revel in it, allow yourself to awe. When you play allow the music to break your heart with its beauty.”  Kelly White

“Music is everybody's business. It's only the publishers who think people own it” ― John Lennon

“Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it.”  Henry David Thoreau

“If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.”  J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

“If it weren't for music, I would think that love is mortal.”  Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War

“Music is an outburst of the soul.”  Frederick Delius

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.”  Martin Luther


“Music is crucial. Beyond no way can I overstress this fact. Let's say you're southbound on the interstate, cruising alone in the middle lane, listening to AM radio. Up alongside comes a tractor trailer of logs or concrete pipe, a tie-down strap breaks, and the load dumps on top of your little sheetmetal ride. Crushed under a world of concrete, you're sandwiched like so much meat salad between layers of steel and glass. In that last, fast flutter of your eyelids, you looking down that long tunnel toward the bright God Light and your dead grandma walking up to hug you--do you want to be hearing another radio commercial for a mega, clearance, closeout, blow-out liquidation car-stereo sale?” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Rant



“Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter -- to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.”Albert Schweitzer




“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn't resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.

I used to not like God because God didn't resolve. But that was before any of this happened.”
 Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality



“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.”
 Arthur O'Shaughnessy, Poems of Arthur O'Shaughnessy


“I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
 Speaking words of wisdom, let it be”― Paul McCartney


Yet when that dance becomes destructive, it does not mean that I am guilty, that I have corrupted my being. For the outer universe may dance to my music, but my inner being dances only to my Father's music, and He only sings of innocence. - Jesus/ACIM



Monday, February 4, 2013

Stop listening to others



As many of you know, I have always been a creator of music.  I have within me a profound desire to create a symphony every so often so intense that I have recently come to realize it will never just go away or vanish.  I have tried to squelch it in the past.  So many hurtful memories were associated with it and wrapped around it that I just couldn’t look at it; I would not allow myself to hear it. 

I take you back about 3 to 4 years ago.  I had little desire to play music.  I remembered the wonderful days long ago when I would adore it but to think about it a few years ago sent waves of pain through me.  It was one of my largest lessons in this world.  To deal with the regret and sorrow those memory traces held for me was my #1 Forgiveness subject for 10 years. But some strange thing happened back 3 years ago.  I started building a “music room” in my house.  The guitars made sense…I like guitars.  The drums made sense since I was a drummer for years when I was younger.  The keyboard made sense because I played some keyboards on the songs I made with the band and you can use it as a Midi sampler.  Now…the Bass was a little strange.  It is an instrument I have had very little contact with and resonance with.  Within the band I was the singer/ songwriter and composer.  I acted like a conductor at every stage.  Pre production was my middle name and there is a video I just placed on youtube from back in 1999 where my role is obvious.  As well as videotaping the practice session, I was guiding the music within the song…”my” song that they were playing. I was videotaping for an Australian TV station that wanted to do a feature on us and I thought maybe we could film and they would edit it and piece some things worthwhile together.  But why buy the damn Bass?

The next thing I bought was some rack gear.  Compressors, delays, Exciters, Limiters, monitors and Microphones.  Not dynamic mics (the kind you would use onstage) but Condensers (the kind you record with). I even bought digital multitracks.  Now THIS was all completely strange.  I knew how to use very little of it.  We always had a professional sound engineer in a professional studio.  But all that Gain staging, mixing, editing and mastering were foreign to me in many ways, I wasn’t paying attention…or so I thought. Why did I pick the equipment I picked?  Why buy it if I didn’t know how to use it?

I thought maybe I was just trying to feel better about myself, to recapture the past, or maybe even because I have been a compulsive Aries at other times in my life.  Buying equipment because it had cool knobs and it softened the blow of a past that still rang bitter in my heart. The music room (or “studio”) sat for a few years silent.  I spent very little time in there and thought I should just sell everything off and make it a spare guestroom.  I remember walking past it with a feeling of dread since I had invested so much in it and used it practically nada.  Something would not allow me to get rid of ANYTHING. I tried to post much of it on Craigslist about a year ago and the circus I had during that experience with illusive buyers and no shows was too stupid to be discussed. It was obviously for a reason.

Then about 6 months ago my mind started engaging in music again.  I had a feeling to go into Digital Audio Workstations (All computer based recording).  This particular idea made me feel nauseous.  I thought I hated technology when it came to creating music.  I was in reality scared of it. A client of mine mentioned she used a particular program to create a small piece for a show she had done.  I thought “If she can do that, why can’t I?”  So I stared to study music creation again.  Today I am taking online classes from the Berklee College of Music on full music studio production. And I am learning a great many things…much of what only the people who visit my office would understand. Yes I am learning technical mumbo jumbo, but mainly I am learning I already know what to do.

I was reading a book about 2 weeks ago.  It was speaking about “Near field Monitors.”  These are Monitors studios use to listen to tracks they just recorded and are especially important during mixdown where the type of speakers you use can determine a bad mix or a good one.  In this book the author, who was a very accomplished sound engineer, spoke about how having Monitors with Bass reflex ports was unacceptable to true music production.  He had tons of facts and figures as to “why” this was the case.  It was like a scientific dossier on why Carbs are no good for you with flow charts and dynamic polar patterns all included.  The author pointed at the fact that so many professional studios had these monitors. He was right, I remembered they did (or did they?)…at least I remembered seeing them in the 6 studios we recorded in. I felt like I was punched in the gut and I scrambled…I had bought monitors 3 years earlier that did indeed have Bass reflex ports in them. I felt a sinking feeling…I was going to have to rebuild this whole studio from the ground up.  I started searching for monitors without those ports…and they were EXPENSIVE (monitors are already pricey but these were just stupid). 

But something was speaking to me.  I was going to pull the trigger on a new set of speakers but I felt internally “wrong” about it.  All these years of listening within has taught me that is a sign you are about to do something not in accordance with the will of the creator.  So I waited and I was still plagued by the feeling of having insufficient equipment.  But I had this thought within my mind, it was small but relentless. I KNEW this “voice.”  I knew it had the same feeling of truth in it as I can have about so many subjects.  It was the Voice.  I immediately went inward and asked “show me what this is for.”  I somehow knew what I had was sufficient and right and that I was given all I needed. I was safe.

The next morning I was browsing the internet and came upon a page (not by accident) that has PDF versions of books and there were two books I had seen that stuck out.  One was “How to play piano,” and another was “Equipping the professional Home studio.”  The piano book was great, It spoke to what I needed without giving me volumes of notation lessons.  The other book was a serious sign and I scrolled through the pages.  And YES of course this happened…I found myself on the chapter called “The question of Nearfield Monitors.”  The author (another non slouch with tons of credentials) explained the difference between monitors. Here is the excerpt I stopped at:

“So, to bring this into recording studio context, which should you choose? Should you choose a closed box loudspeaker which will give you a more accurate sound quality and tell you what is on your recording, or should you choose a bass reflex loudspeaker which in fact is going to fatten the base content of your recording? This is one situation where we have to go against the doctrine of nothing but the truth. If you monitor on closed box loudspeakers, you are hearing something that is different to what the vast majority of customers who will buy your recording will hear. So you don’t really know what it’s going to

sound like on their systems. It will probably have too much bass because their speakers have more bass than yours. So for this reason it is usually advisable to choose bass reflex speakers as your studio monitors so that you’re more in line with potential listeners to your music.”

Wow.  So, here I found two completely different views on the same subject (Shocker!).  Two “experts” disagreeing once again…oh my Lord how is this possible? :-) There it was, the nonsense I had been doing all my life.  I had a pair of speakers that I bought for seemingly NO REASON and a studio filled with equipment I bought in a state of ignorance and I didn’t realize I was being guided?  I went immediately and started looking at the equipment I bought. 

I wrote down model numbers and was already reading another book on Home recording I was guided to. It was common for me to read about the need for a piece of equipment and go in and find I already owned it.  That happened so many times I started assuming I had it hidden already.  MUCH of the time I was right.  Whatever I did buy I didn’t really need, so Amazon must have been frustrated from all the returns from Charleston within a few months.  The equipment I already had was well received with 5 stars on Amazon across the board.  Wow, how did that happen?  Where the Hell was I the whole time? Of course it would be that way, of course.

I already had what I needed.  I had the voice within.  It is the same voice I amplify for my clients on a daily basis.  For some reason to apply it to music was illusive to me.  It is the battle between my egos need for “more” and never being good enough and Gods knowing I am fine and perfect with what I am and what I have.  So in short I feel I’ve discovered the secret to living simply. It is this:
Put your hands over your ears. Close your eyes. Now loudly say, “La la la la la. I’m not listening to you!”

I’m serious. Sort of.

The number one key to living simply is to simply listen to God and stop listening so intently to everyone else around you or that incessant voice within you that says you somehow need more.

Now 15 years later I am creating music again. I am actually smiling when I am hearing it coming through the studio monitors (With Bass reflex ports).  I feel like a little kid inside and saw myself jumping for joy the other day when I was playing drums on a particular song and it sounded…well…”right.”  I am so in the now, so present during the making of music that I cannot call it anything else but deeply spiritual for me.


By the way, I will be creating a CD of my new material over the next coming months.  It is high time. :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

But I don’t want to change



This may be a line I have never heard in all my years of doing this type of work.  But I am amazed at how often it is obvious to me that people that enter my office do not wish to change at all.  You may be thinking: “that’s just dumb, why would they waste their time and money if they don’t want to change.”  Well the answer is that they “think” they actually do.

Many times I get into mini battles within my office about this.  The fact is that I am in the business of stirring up people’s mud.  The goo at the bottom of their awareness they never wanted to deal with. 


Rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. 

Anyone who comes to see me knows this line well.  I use it right from the get go referring to our desire to change our outward surroundings to try and feel better or “be happy.”  Yes, we feel that we can make our situation “work” somehow by making something else change.  If that person, that thing or that event would change, or if it would have been different…indeed it SHOULD have been different.  I should have, could have and would have.  I needed to, wanted to, have to.   All these are forms of the same thing, attempting to rearrange our environment to alter our feelings of depression and futility.  The problem is, it doesn’t work. 

The only thing that will ever work is shifting your own perceptions about the world.  For every belief you have there is someone that believes differently…who is right?  We think WE are of course.  But if all of us think WE are right, who wrong?  Neither. Like I pointed out in another blog there is no work for “wrong” in Aramaic (The mother tongue), only “right” and “not right.”  If we see the same situation we should all see it the same way right?  If a situation is static and clear as day then we should see it identical, right?  But that is not the case, since we are adding our own perceptions, experiences, history and biases on top of everything we witness.  It is like we walk around with paintbrushes that paint only a reflection of what we believe to be us (a combination of our own experiences, history, beliefs, thoughts & Form) and we swipe it across everything we see all the time.  Is that car nice?  It’s just a car and has no inherent meaning.  But Keith comes by and swipes his “Keith brush” and paints it Keith.  Si now the car to him is either ugly or beautiful, impractical or awesome.  It sounds like Keith “created” the car…which on a deeper level, he is. So what is the “car?”  It is none of these things…it is just a car…and it may not even be that, but that’s another post.

So after years and decades (and more) of this mindset we feel depressed.  Our way doesn’t seem to be working.  So we hate the world for being so unreasonable and standing in our obvious “correct” vision.  We become more and more disillusioned with every year becoming more and more difficult.  We have many “tools” to deal with this type of pain though.  We keep busy, we occupy our lives, we buy too many things, we work too much, we have “isms” and “ologies” and we eventually desensitize to what our beliefs and thoughts are actually doing. 

Now we suffer more and more.  Eventually these beliefs bring us into an office like mine.  We are at the end of our rope…or at least we “think” we are.  In reality we are just going to begin learning how far that rope goes.  In truth we are not aware.

I think any person I have ever seen within my office can tell you they either:

A)    Had no clue on exactly how deep their own and the worlds issues go.  They also had no idea of the magnitude of the scope of those issues.  They begin to go within, a slow self journey leaving the deck chairs behind and now dealing with their “own” issues which they now see were always “theirs.” 
B)     Know exactly what is wrong with them, feel they know how it works and explain to me how if they could just change this or that symptom everything would be okay and they would be happy. 

“They never come for the reasons they think” – ACIM

Most people who start out as “B” eventually become A’s.  But there is a small group who are determined to stay with “B.”  Even if their lives are falling apart, even if I can see exactly what it is they are not seeing (which is the reflection you come to see someone like me for), even if they are suffering greatly.  These people will fight me to not have the problem “worked out” in any other way but the one they just “Know” is going to work. 

They eventually (sometimes within minutes if not before they show up) become combative.  It then becomes clear to me there is a call that must be made.  Do I allow them to abuse the situation or let them go so we do not ruin their chances later?  It varies, but more and more over the years I am allowing it to go.  To end it before it becomes a reflection back to them.  I am a reflection of what they want to see also…if they want to see someone punitive (which we often do to reflect our beliefs about someone else in our lives…or God, or a past relationship), they will. This is called “Shadow figuring.”

The ego’s dictum is to seek and do not find” –ACIM

So we hold onto our belief systems since it is what we believe to be our very life; our existence.  But we want it to appear like we want change.  This, we feel, makes us look innocent.  After all, we are seeking help to work on our problem right?  How many times have you started a project or venture or relationship and procrastinated?  You stuck to the idea though that you needed something more to continue?  More education? Another piece of equipment? The right circumstances?  Which never seem to happen.  “Just do it” is not happening.  Well, people also do that with their problems and their growth as well.  As long as the appointment at the counselor is there they don’t “really” have to deal with their issues.  It is just like another fallen New Years resolution…the intent seems innocent when there is a far more sinister mindset going on all the while.  The mindset they have is that they wanted to try and do another form of rearranging the deckchairs.It wants to never heal the problem…

This is why there is so little relative growth on that deeper level in the world.  We do not want it.  We all have friends and family we see complaining about their problems but always finding a way to remain in it.  It’s as if they love it when we can see so clearly what they are doing. But, be careful about saying that to anyone you know who does this.  To say “You don’t REALLY want to change” can elicit a biting response.  I am not saying to not call it out…but use it wisely if you are called to teach them.





Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Soldier of the Night...


No this is not some sort of reference to the Phantom of the Opera…that was “The music of the night,” and I wouldn’t be so cliché’. :) In addition this all happened way before I personally ever heard of the Phantom anyway.

I wanted to tell a story about listening, about what it is like to hear that “voice” within. 

Recently,(which is very odd) I remembered a huge part of my life and the significance it has had.  I am not sure why this information did not bubble up on a more massive scale sooner, I remember telling people about it in my office.  But at the time I didn’t realize the significance. 

I grew up near the beach, two blocks away to be specific.  A 45 second walk would be all it took to be on the Raritan Bay overlooking the New York City skyline with the two very obvious and iconic twin towers outside my bedroom window.  I remember when the World Trade center attack happened and people were stunned…for me it was like losing two friends I grew up with.  My brother helped build them and we had a 50 lb granite ashtray from the Towers right on my car port. I was devastated when that happened...I didn't know why I had such a huge reaction at the time, they were only buildings...

When I was about 14 years old I started a journey…at the time my Mom called it a “phase.”  But it was more than that…this phase lasted for 15 years and is still going in a various form.  I would wait until evening and then take my trek down to the beach.  I stared at the Ocean and one day I started talking to it.   I can still remember my first words; “Hello?  Are you there still?  It’s me, Keith.”  Part of my mind felt funny, strange and hokey but then there was this side of me that longed for something.  I was on some journey to locate a distant connection and it was not going to stop.  I believe there was a reason I would go at night though, I did like the atmosphere but that wasn’t the only reason.  What I was doing seemed even strange to me then and part of me was hiding it. Part of my mind wanted nothing to do with this ancient call, this relationship with the Ocean, the Dark, with...

After I put that question out there I remember this extremely short pause…and then, it spoke back.  “I am here, I’ve been waiting for you.”  I remember tears welling up in my eyes for some reason…I was losing control and it was a crazy feeling to experience it.  I let go…more easy than expected.  I imagined I went through many lifetimes where I resisted doing something like this, but now I was ready...somehow I knew this.  It spoke again:  “I have many things planned for you but it’s going to be hard, but always remember I love you.” I remember LOVING this voice IMMEDIATELY. I was blown away and in extreme awe. I lost all control.

“I know.” I said calmly. I've always known.

It was an androgynous voice, and the truth is it’s not even a voice so to speak.  It is a dialogue within your mind that IS a voice and NOT a voice and if allowed to flow it is quite profound.  I only can remember I ADORED it.  It was my best friend and my greatest love.  So for 3 years (and then for 12 years after) I rarely missed a night to speak with this “voice.”  I would go during rainstorms and NJ winter blizzards, I even went during Hurricane Gloria.  I would have a dialogue about happy things and sad things, the mundane and the important.  I recently found 3 binders of 200+ songs and 2 poetry books I wrote from 14 to 28 years old.  There is some telling material in there.  Somehow I didn’t remeber this “kid” doing all this.  I know when I hear the album “The Edge” I wrote for my band it blows my mind I wrote those lyrics.  I wrote most of it at 16 to 18 years old but didn’t record it with a band until I was 31 years old!  I get emotional hearing it and am often heard saying “I knew! HE knew! That kid on some level knew the truth.”  I was referring to myself it felt like it was another lifetime…

3 years later I got my drivers license.  There was this place on the NJ shore called Sandy Hook.  It is a long 3 mile beach I spent much of my time at when I was a kid, and now that I was able to drive I was there…yup…EVERY night.  I picked a spot (I know now this was my sacred space)  which was illegal to be in after dark (We are talking about NJ after all).  I would park my car outside and walk in the park along the beach for a mile or so to this spot at Northbeach.  Or I would park my car inside the park and abandon it at sundown so they would think a beachgoer just left the park with someone else…I wouldn’t leave until morning. 


“It does not matter if you do not believe in HIM, for He believes in YOU…” ACIM

It’s funny but at the time I remember having this outward aversion to the word “God.”  The reason it’s funny is because here I was going through hell and high water (Literally) to speak with God and I resisted the word…I never used the word “God” in all my time on those beaches.  Instead I used the word “Soldier.”  I cringe when I think of THAT now.  Many people cringe using the word God…I find myself in the opposing mindset now.  I suppose the word “soldier” meant protector to me and force of security.  I called it “The soldier of the night,” “Soldier” for me since I was on intimate friendly terms with him. :-)

“Hello soldier, it’s me Keith, how are you? I’m not doing too well, I met this girl Leah and I know what your going to say about it. I really like her but I know it’s going to be a problem.”

“Yes it will be a struggle, but not a problem, but you have to learn to let go. I want to you to try everything you like, but I cannot help you to hurt yourself.”

It’s crazy. It was a patience like I never knew and a Love that I only could dream about.

On and on it went, year after year.  All weather and all moods.  I would take the 45 minute drive and rush to the beach at 2 am to tell the Soldier about my good fortune and at times cry on the way to tell Him about my horrible day.  Either way, He was my main focus.  I had girlfriends, careers and suffered deaths in my family and He was my main and only confidant.  I would bring my guitar to the beach and play for hours for Him, to Him, with Him.  I LOVED Him.  I would always leave and say :  "I Love you with all my heart Soldier" and He would say: “Keith, if you only knew how much I adore you and I miss you. I will NEVER leave you.” 

I sit now and think:  “was I crazy?”  But No, I never doubted it, I never thought; “Maybe I’m talking to nothing and making this all up.”  I KNEW what it was.  But, to not use the word God meant there was a part of my mind that was still angry with Him, I was resentful for not being made special.  But when I changed the name I was allowed to Love Him…and Oh boy did I!

It’s important to note I never asked for anything…when I did I relented and He reminded me that I already possessed all I needed, I forgot this for many years but somehow on that beach it made sense to me all those years.  I was just overjoyed to be there. I know now I was speaking with God the whole time.

This went on for 15 years…from 14 to 29.  But when the band (read: false idol) was allowed to take prominence in my mind I stopped going to “My quite place along a holy shore,” (lyrics from the song Soldier of the night written in 1984).  He faded from my conscious mind in 1995 and I stopped going.  * At this moment I am extremely emotional since It brings back tons of bad memories about my feelings of abandoning Him.  WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!?” My band was taking off with our 3rd release of Mind Games in Japan and now we were getting tons of mail from these people worshipping us, worshipping ME especially; I was SO special and it would only get worse.

In 1998 after the release of “The Edge” the band exploded from within violently and publicly.  It was humiliating and devastating. I was dead inside and I felt there was no hope, within 5 weeks I lost ALL my friends, my money, my career, my Girlfriend of 7 years and my health (2 broken ribs).  I was hanging by a thread. It was my "crash," and it was the end of my life as I knew it.

But then HE showed up.  The cavalry showed up about 2 minutes after I fell and went to work guiding me and carrying me. I was bloodied and blown to bits and I was being healed.  Magical things started to happen some would call "Miracles" and I was consciously aware of only some of them.  I was numb, but I also remember that time as being wonderfully FREEING in so many ways…it’s hard to believe but I think of that devastating time of my life with smiles and reverence...wow.  What I was experiencing was what St John called: "The peace which passeth all understanding.”  In the light of what just happened to me, how can I feel this way? I thought.  How will I EVER be okay again?

He kept his word…he never left me.  Not once.  I left Him, but he never left me.  I have always been the most important thing to Him (As are you) and there is no way for me to change that even though I tried.  It is a Love that CANNOT be lost, but it can be forgotten. My loyalty for the “Soldier” goes far beyond what can be put into words…

I speak and listen to this voice daily...in fact it is "what I do." I am still in Love with the voice, it has told me everything I need to know.

Let’s just say I will always be on that “Quiet beach along the edge of time” for the rest of Eternity. 

Oh and by the way, yes this is where my band name originally came from.  Not even the band knew that.