Monday, July 5, 2021

Independence of Thought

Most men, I am convinced, have an unmistakable feeling at the final moment of significant choice that they are making a free decision, that they can really decide which one of two or more roads to follow.

-Corliss Lamont

As the United States just held its Independence Day celebrations, I'm stuck wondering what real freedom is.  Our country has a horrific history of slavery, genocide, and racism.  No, I don't hate my country, I just don't get caught up in all the national pride.  

As a global race of humans, I'd love more individual independence as we consider the ultimate goal of bettering each and every one of us.

Monday, May 24, 2021


 Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling.

Deborah Day

Things people tell themselves:

"I'm here to just to heal from my past"

"Be patient with me, I have a lot of past trauma"

"I invite all these opportunities in my life."

Okay great, however, but what constitutes real change, a true sense of renewal.  We love to spout off these pseudo-therapeutic, feel good, motivational chats.  

Yes, trauma is real, I don't want to gloss over the real effects of that. Others have unsupported underlying health issues, so I want to be sensitive to the variables.  However, there really is a point when someone's bad behavior is consistently scapegoated by their past.

My encouragement to people is to stop letting their past dictate their constant emotional roller-coasters.  If we are truly trying to renew ourselves, we need to look ahead, not flounder in past transgressions.  Our lives are beautiful and short. :)

Maybe renewal is about a "reset."  Acknowledging our past, but moving forward.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Anger Towards Those We Love

Anger Towards Those We Love

 “Once we are honest about our feelings, we can invite ourselves to consider alternative modes of viewing our pain and can see that releasing our grip on anger and resentment can actually be an act of self-compassion.”

― Sharon Salzberg, Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection

A dear friend of mine is suffering from COVID19, but even worse, her father with whom she's had a falling out with, recently passed away from the same COVID that he gave to her.  She asked me recently,

"What am I supposed to do with this anger?"

"That's a difficult question to answer." I replied.  It differs for everyone.  

Her father knowingly had the symptoms of COVID19, but continued to preach at his local church, giving this disease to the congregation, including his daughter.  Now she is understandably angry.  She continued to be angry at him until his sudden death.  Now there is no proper reconciliation, only the knowledge that she carries bitterness and resentfulness to his grave.  

This I do know.  Her father loves her dearly.  She also loves her father.  He had foolishly done many selfish things in the past, yet people forgave him.  Maybe undeservedly, but as he continued to preach the forgiveness of Christ, he brought many people to forgive others and themselves for past transgressions.  

I personally struggle with the concept of forgiveness.  I feel as though I can live a perfectly peaceful life knowing some people don't deserve forgiveness.  Even if they die, if they've never sought's not my responsibility to forgive them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Every Single Day we Exist, but is it Worth it?

The slog

We pretend to be excited
but everything is boring
Cautious laughter, 
it can't be that adoring 
Cute puppies, just atoms 
Little children, delighted
The past flew by, 
memories but phantoms
Come quickly sweet death,
There is no purpose
Take my last breath,
All my talent and charm,

We can choose to look into our own self-worth and compare our happiness to others, our financial status with our friends, our attractiveness with others on Facebook.  We can get our endorphins through Instagram likes, Facebook comments, YouTube likes on our videos.  There's plenty of things to be sad about, we can watch the news and all seems hopeless, the world hasn't evolved yet.  
All of this --- nobody cares.  Nobody cares how you feel.  Even those close to you want you to feel better, all so they don't have to put up with your shit.  
"Don't be depressed" 
they may say, only because you are dragging them down.  
Is there hope?  Sure, if we imagine a life free from suffering and death.  That's the allure of heaven.
The life we live now, maybe in our hurting state is something we can enjoy moment by moment.  Every breath is a gift, an opportunity to make someone else smile.  Treasure time, give back to people, enjoy all you can.  That's the secret to happiness.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

For those struggling with depression, suicide, anxiety and ptsd

Personally, I understand.  For the first time in my life, I experienced anxiety along with my depression.  I'm still working on it.  It causes crippling back pain, muscle soreness, and fatigue.  I would lay in bed in pain and if I could get the pain managed, I would sleep most of the day.
I wish there was a quick way to train our brain to shake this, but I haven't found one.  Sometimes all that gets me through is composing the next piece or practicing cello for the next project or gig coming up.
Recently, I've discovered many of my personal friends are struggling with something similar.   This struggle isn't easily admitted, but after seeing some concerning FaceBook posts and after private messages; the constant battle, the cycle of pain, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts is very real and struggled with every day.

Here's a story from one of my friends....

"Hello, my name is ______ and just over a year ago I was diagnosed with major depression, general anxiety, PTSD, and suicide ideation. A year ago on August 18th, I went to ______ hospital thinking that I would just try out the outpatient program. After discussing with a psychiatrist, and a nurse practitioner, I was essentially given the option to either willingly check into inpatient, or unwillingly do so because they could not legally let me leave knowing that I had suicide on my mind every minute of every day. 

I had previously brushed that bit aside thinking that I was in control, but now I was scared. I was scared because I knew that I was suicidal, I was just frustrated, and in so so much pain, and now I realized that there was nothing keeping me from acting on the urges other than an occasional distraction. I would burst into tears for no reason, and all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and bury myself in a deep hole. 

So I did inpatient, and they tried me on a few different meds for my anxiety and depression. This was when I was diagnosed with major depression, general anxiety, and PTSD. I had been seeing a counselor each week for those things, but now it was so bad that not even that helped. I did inpatient for about two weeks, all the while just going through the motions. This was when I started to cut myself again. 

Everything "sharp" was taken away from me when they found out, but I was too creative and too good at hiding it, so I still managed to continue on my destructive path.  I was pretty much forced into leaving by a psychiatrist who I saw during the last few days of my stay, because my regular psychiatrist was the "head/main" one of all of those that worked there, so he was busy. So I left. Not a week later, I was still cutting, and then I reached the bottom of my fall, and I tried to kill myself for the first time. I didn't tell anyone for a long while, and when I did, I was thankfully surrounded by dear friends. 

My depression was still so bad that, even though I was being so so loved upon, I still felt completely empty of anything other than pain. I left and went home, and when I got there I realized that I had reached it, the point where I didn't care anymore. I didn't want to fight the battle for another minute, let alone another day. I didn't want to reach out for help and find nothing there. I felt like no one could save me except for God, and I didn't want to wait for Him any longer. 

I knew that if I let myself have the time to stop and think about it, that I would take my life without a second thought. So I decided to stop thinking and start doing. I had spoken with friends, and every one of them urged me to (if it would help me and keep me safe), go back to ______. I spoke with my counselor and she said the same. So slightly begrudgingly I went back.  I was honest with the intake interviewer, telling him with apathy about how I would kill myself if given the chance, and how I was only really there because others wanted me to be, and I was immediately admitted. 

While I was there I would attempt suicide a total of eight more times. I cut myself over a hundred times, and had gotten into the habit of punching the faux wood floor so hard and so frequently, that my knuckles were more often than not swollen, purple and yellow, and I wouldn't be able to completely open my fingers. I was at _______ for the second time for about three months. There's a lot more to the story, and believe me it doesn't end there, but this post is already too long. 

I just want to let others who are struggling like I did, and honestly still do, know that they are not alone.  I don't mind if you think less of me because of my mental illnesses, I am stronger because of the struggles I have to overcome. 

This is me, this is the face of depression, anxiety, and ptsd."

I really am amazed regarding the abject courage this took.  I hope others can speak openly about this so others can be aware.  It's a selfish world out there, and often we feel no one cares.  Some of us do care, and you aren't alone.  Many of us struggle also.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The all encompassing Mahler Symphony #1

I import often as a cellist for symphonies, along with writing and recording music.   I just played the Mahler symphony with the Helena, Mt symphony.  I've considered Mahler to be a master of orchestration, he knew every instrument and its capabilities.  

I inspire to create, but this masterwork runs the gamut of emotions. Many of the misfortunes of my past were conjured up as I played this with the Helena Symphony this last weekend. I always knew Mahler was a master orchestrator, but the depth of this work is beyond words.

Please listen to the wonderful work...with good headphones or speakers.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Meditation in time of Chaos

If we find ourselves lonely, hurting...depressed.  Take time to process the world around us.  This piece represents the noisy life around us, but transforming this noise into something beautiful.
I took the sounds of car horns in Argentina and produced this piece.  It represents how I think of the world.  Every moment, no matter the noise can be peaceful.  It's how we process this journey, this information...the outcome is what we make it to be.