Positive Inspiration for A Post-Pandemic World 

I am going to talk about the positives of the largest global catastrophe I have ever witnessed. 

I start each day with a meditation and a run through my neighborhood. 

Families walking the streets, playing with their kids. Neighbors waving to one another… beginning to recognize the familiar faces. Far fewer cars to worry about. I don’t have to spend hours of every day of my life driving and adding to the pollution problem. My friends who are normally struggling to hold their families together amidst the life of a touring musician are now homebound getting to spend every day with their kids. I see people going out of their way to spread positive vibes and practice random acts of kindness because everyone is going through it together. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have massive intense waves of stress, grief, and concern for the wellbeing of humanity through all of this. My Mom is a nurse and has been researching and keeping us informed since before anyone else was talking about it. With every new story of its intensity, spread and potential impact on society, a new wave of anxiety hits. Then I work out, meditate, play music and prepare myself. 

Those of you who know me well enough know that in the last few years I have experienced multiple bizarre and out of the blue events that have been anywhere from life-shattering to world-changing, traumatic, and life-threatening. What I found was that every one of these experiences forced me to level up and really think about what was important to me. To conjure all of my focus and do the absolute best I could in the moment. To find within myself as much psychological stamina as I could muster. Because when you are in a crisis, there is no room to fail. There is no room to get overwhelmed with emotion. There is no also no room to bottle it up and act irrationally. You have to stay calm, grounded, and keep all the energy flowing through you. You have to take good care of yourself so you can perform at your best, and then find everything you can do to help those around you. 

Every one of these events in my life was followed by an enormous growth spurt. Yes, there was an unprecedented amount of pain, loss, heartbreak, anxiety, financial burden, and uncertainty. Through this, there was also focused energy, manifestation, hard work and soul searching. Each time, the growth in the aftermath was so explosive that I come back stronger in the end. Farther along than where I was before. With a newfound perspective that keeps me in a state of constant gratitude. 

For the last year or so I’ve been living at the foot of these gorgeous mountains of Pasadena. I jog through the neighborhoods, admiring the unbelievable beauty of the snow-capped mountains with palm trees swaying in the breeze in the sunshine in the foreground. I think to my self, ‘one day, way back in the history of the Earth, plates collided and those mountains were formed. That could happen again any day.’ Enough out of the blue things had already happened to me that when I found myself getting caught up and stressed in daily life bullshit, or stressing over what I’m doing with my life or whether I’m good enough or working hard enough or all the myriad of things that eat away at our 21st-century minds... I’d step back in my perspective and think about the day those mountains happened. 

There are some amazing things happening that sadly may not have happened without a catastrophe to bring it out. In no way do I say this glossing over the horrifying impact of it all. I have some wonderful friends in Italy and in China that I have been extremely concerned about, and many friends in the United States with family in these other countries around the world. As I start to see communities in our country struggle, I don’t take for granted anyone’s safety or wellbeing. Oddly enough I had 3 people that meant a lot to me pass away in the couple of weeks before this hit the US so the feeling of not taking anyone’s presence in this world for granted is extremely fresh. 

This type of giant psychic shift that everyone is undergoing to process stress and readjust their expectations would only happen on a mass level if a global situation like this prompted it. I see people getting creative. Working together to find solutions. Coming up with inventive new ways of staying connected despite physical isolation. Enjoying the abundance that has actually been surrounding them every day that they never had time to notice. 

The challenges are going to keep mounting, no doubt. I am praying every day for the masses to level up to the challenge, rather than become savages in the stress. Every little thing makes a difference in this, every person’s efforts make a difference. So, you know, if civilization crumbles then perhaps we’ll at least have some more positive inspiration and examples for when we rebuild. What can I say, I like to look for the positives.

Let's Enjoy 

Let’s enjoy. Positive energy. The world needs it. 

I just put up a bunch of bright lights across my building. I live on a hill, I called some friends up a half mile away to confirm that they could see from all the way over there. Yup. Infectious cheer. It may be a somewhat ghetto rent controlled little pad, but it holds fabulous potential to spread some wintery cheer. 

An object in motion tends to stay in motion. So if you take a positive direction the positivity will grow. If you take a negative direction the negativity will grow. It is a decision. Strength or weakness, productive or consumptive. Set your course and get ready for the ride. At the end of the day, you have yourself to thank, one way or another.

#aebness #losangelesmusic #flute #handpan #fear #yoga #motivation #beaboss #positivevibes #yolo #firedancer #ableton #synthgeek #singersongwriter

Live it up folks. Fear only has what power you give it. 

It is hard to think under great stress. Learning to remain calm is key - people act stupid when they are afraid. Learning to recognize fear is critical - it is often sneaky and disguised since no one enjoys looking it in the eye. Though I must say, I have developed a little bit of love for it, because I have now faced it enough times in enough different situations that I have learned how marvelously liberating it is to conquer even a little fear.

I would have thought myself insane in the past, but after studying my fears and my tells I felt confident that trusting my life with an inch wide strap, hung by complete-stangers/brand-new-soulmates over a 2,000 ft chasm in Yosemite was definitely what I wanted to do.  I was most definitely afraid to do it and I was most confident that I would be happy with the feeling of walking away having done it rather than shying away. What a fabulous image to have in my mind forever. The doubt and second guessing is the hard part.  You can torture yourself indefinitely if you lag in the fear, but if you are absolutely decisive about facing fears they're not so bad in the end.

All that and it's hilarious that I still have to give myself this pep talk over little social anxieties and the mundane day to day fears that are constantly before us. That's all stress is - little mundane fears, or larger fears being hinted at by mundane circumstances. But if it weren't for studying all of these challenges, big and small, those magical moments when I have a huge opportunity and respond by stepping up would never happen. Live it up folks. Fear only has what power you give it.

#aebness #yosemite #losangelesmusic #flute #handpan #fear #highlining #yoga #motivation #beaboss #positivevibes #yolo #firedancer #ableton #synthgeek #singersongwriter #statecollegepa #pennstate

A social experiment in music and food stamps 

Today’s social experiment… 

I was going to the grocery store to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving. A situation absolutely ripe for guilt tripping. Sure enough, a woman comes up to me. She explains she is not a beggar but she is just really trying to get some food for her kids (who are standing next to her). Food stamps haven’t come through yet, blind father is inside, etc etc. Either this woman is in dire need of help and I’d be an asshole to turn her down, or she’s really the lowest of the low using her kids as bait to pick up some free cash in the season of giving (and the season of consuming). I decided it was worth the risk of getting ripped off to help her, but wanted to find out where her heart was really at. So, I gave her $20, she gave me her phone number and said she’d pay me back on the first. The $20 is not a huge deal, I told her not to worry about it. I called her when I got home, and asked her if her kids wanted to learn music. If her situation is real, and she actually gives a shit about her kids, she’d be excited at being able to offer them an opportunity they couldn’t normally afford. If that’s the case, I’d be happy to help. Unfortunately, people are often so stuck in their heads and the immediate drama of their reality that they can’t see to step outside it. She may or may not see. Her kids may or may not see. I can put a door there though. It’s worth it for the possibility of us all - me, this woman and family - to be pleasantly surprised. 

Wishing everyone a week full of gratitude, open mindedness towards the good that can be and a joyfulness in taking the risks to find it.

#aebness #losangelesmusic #flute #handpan #fear #highlining #yoga #motivation #beaboss #positivevibes #yolo #firedancer #ableton #synthgeek #singersongwriter #statecollegepa #pennstate

Responsibility Is Freedom 

Responsibility is freedom. The two cannot exist without one another and when they are embraced they fuel one another. 

We live in times of great uncertainty. As a songwriter, an American, a woman and a member of the global community I have watched massive unrest play out on every level and it only shows signs of becoming an growing energy rather than a passing phase. 

So, I look at, “what can I do?” “what control do I have over my own future?” I ask myself these questions on a daily basis. Sometimes with a very sobering sense of gravity and sometimes playfully, like a game in which each time I get through one level I chuckle to myself and say, ‘f^ck it, let’s see what else we can do!’ These ups and downs, darks and lights, they’re all part of it. 

Yes there are forces at work that affect all of us, and it is critical that we be able to work together in order to not self destruct as a people and a planet. However, if every single one of took as much personal responsibility as we can figure out how to for our own survival, our own families, and our own communities. Responsibility for our own protection, our own judgement and problem solving, conflict resolution. Responsibility for our own education. All of this would create a solid foundation on which greatness can be built. It would give every individual the first hand experiential wisdom upon which they could make sound decisions. It would foster a sea of ideas and fertile discussions. 

The more you can do for yourself, the less you have to worry about what everybody else is doing. The less anybody else has to do for you. The personal satisfaction of life is greater because you built it yourself. If you have a great idea for what policies should exist, try them in your home, your neighborhood. If you think you’ve got the greatest song ever, sing it. If you find it disturbing that it’s so hard to make a living as an artist in this day and age, step back and really think outside the box about how to make yourself useful. You can think in dollars, barters, gifts or whatever other creative medium you come up with. Money represents energy, and with an open mind the energetic force of music can be unstoppable. If you’re worried about the future, learn survival skills. 

If you can master yourself you can master the world. Most importantly, remember to have fun doing it.

#aebness #losangelesmusic #flute #handpan #fear #yoga #motivation #beaboss #positivevibes #yolo #firedancer #ableton #synthgeek #singersongwriter #statecollegepa #pennstate

Christmas Lights, Cop Lights 

Tonight has a particularly interesting energy in the air. Lots of noise and pedestrian traffic. Black Friday coming to a close, street vendors of Christmas dolls and toys are hanging in there to make every last buck they can. I'm walking over to the neighborhood liquor store, greeting all the neighbors as I pass – being a chic in the city there's nothing better than knowing the neighbors have your back. Christmas lights deck the fronts of ruddy apartment buildings. Somehow those lights bring more warmth to the street than all the California sunshine of the daytime.

My block is quiet but the protesters have been quartered off 2 blocks down the road from me. Their is a rumbling breeze from the helicopters circling and I must have passed 10 cop cars zipping over there when I was on my way home earlier. They kept the protests off the highway. I hear they are arresting people now to break it up. I hear racial slurs from those irritated at the traffic situation being caused. Some of the arrests are related to tagging, some are just round ups. It's all mixed up. All witness' accounts are mixed up, police and civilian alike. When the people are at war with the police it's all mixed up.

I'm not here to make political statements. Culture observations, however, fascinate me. There's something to this that reminds me of Occupy. People are passionate but nothing about it is clear. With Occupy the reason was unclear, with this the reason is clear but the story behind it is not. It's easy for people to agree that change is needed and change is in the air. It also speaks to the state of affairs that so many people don't have enough in their lives to miss by going out into the streets. It's easy to agree on discontent.

As usual I'm not sure where I fit in this picture. I work on myself before I try to change the world, that's been my M.O. for a while now and it's still keeping me busy. I guess that's my own movement. The secret is I do believe it's powerful enough to change the world. I wait and watch before I speak, I like to observe. I feel right at home taking it all in and writing it into songs. That's my piece, wherever it ends up fitting into this picture... That angle is only for all of you to see as you piece together the puzzle.

'Tis the season of scary monsters... 

Facing fears. This is a notion that is so often thrown around and very infrequently elaborated on. It brings to mind the image of slaying a dragon. 'Facing our demons'. Conquer our fears. These ideas permeate our collective psyche.

Fighting though? Battling and conquering? I fight with myself when I'm afraid. I feel like a f*cking 2 yr old. Fussing and looking for excuses and tear prone. When it comes to dealing with fear, courageous or heroic is the last thing I'm feeling in the moment. It's a lovely fantasy but rarely (if ever) have I told myself to step into a hero suit and found myself feeling full of confidence and poise.

Sure there are those rare and precious times when pure human impulse compels one to black out fears (and most other senses) and do something extraordinary and save the day. Usually when people black out feelings and act on impulse though the results are more along the lines of stupidity and don't get charted in the story books.
My experience of facing fears? Acknowledging them is the really hard part and at least half the battle. In fact that says it right there. But to move beyond them I must walk beside them. Every brave thing I've done has begun with every step it takes to get to that battle field where I get to slay a dragon. That's one long walk. Once you're there you're in it and you've got no choice but to follow through. Getting to know your fear though, through every step leading up to your summit, coexisting with it and remaining calmly focused on your own intention. That is the warriors path. Staying in the moment up until your moment. You won't be there unless you're ready.

Photo courtesy of http://www.cartoonshdwallpaper.com/hero-cartoon/broken-heroes-superman-s-epic-fail/

The invitation, the coyote and the vagrant. 

This blog is about music art, thoughts, experiences and people I am inspired by or just plain fascinated with.

I find attention precious, something to be respected, and if I am so fortunate as to win yours for a moment than I'd like to make it worthwhile. I, for one, find myself inundated in information and searching for meaning. Weighted down and looking for the humor in things. Inundated in activity... some amazing and exciting, some mundane. All around I'm in a constant thrust of either repetitive motion or habitual exertion and recovery.

Part of the up and down is that I am often a very lazy person (hehe, it's true!). It's a real life saver that I've got as much will as anyone I've ever crossed paths with. I'm always looking for ways to happily put one foot in front of the other, day after day, whether it be for what I want or what I feel needs to be done. I like to focus on what I can affect. I will always be included in that. I may not change the world, but I can always find a way to exercise more bad-assery than the day before.

And so, with out further ado, I welcome you and invite you to keep checking back. Amidst chaotic and intertwining trains of thought, this gal is a lil midnight rider of tangents. The quirky moments, life-changing experiences, song lyrics in the making and ability to talk a blue-streak about it all are in no drought this year. There is in fact so much noise that I'd stay quiet for the greater good, but I know that wouldn't actually help...... so fuck it.....

A hundred pairs of eyes see a hundred different worlds, and what you see is what you get. My field of vision has evolved to include the things I really want to see, and I offer that as my gift to any and all like minded souls I am lucky enough to encounter.

My motivation to write is not to “create content”. I write because, well, I do anyway.

As for today's little morsel, I'd like to share the scenery of a recent evening....

One evening I pulled into my driveway after a long haul through rush hour traffic (Who, me? Rush hour? Driving? Naaahhh....). I stepped out of my car and began unloading guitars and grocery bags. I felt a presence and looked up to see a coyote watching me from the road. I glanced over my other shoulder and saw a homeless man crouched in the medical building doorway across the street. It was dark, but I smiled anyway just in case I was visible, as if to say 'hello', and went on with my evening.

I sometimes forget the quirkiness of life, the things that become commonplace to one being so completely out of the ordinary for another.

I'd in fact love to hear your moments of bizarre juxtapositions.... things that make you stop and say 'only in my life...'