Welcome to my Garden

Hey internet,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. It’s been a… busy year thus far. Loooots of drama has ensued that past six months, and it has been incredibly difficult to bring myself to write again. For a while there I wasn’t sure if it was even worth it to me do it again.

I mean, it’s not a particularly big site and its not like I have the most followers in the world. I could totally get away with just dropping off the face of the earth and none’s the wiser. Then I got to thinking, Why did I start doing this in the first place?

To make a statement?

To stick it to the man in my own little corner of the internet?

I figured out that it’s kinda a mixed bag for me. However, there was one thing I did end up remembering. The reason I started doing this in the first place. Just like every single person who has walked on this earth, I have a dream. That dream is to be a rockstar.

When I first realized my dream, I was ecstatic. I was gifted with new sense of purpose that took the form of this tiny, fragile, seed. This seed held within it my dreams, my hope and passion. I wasn’t sure what to do with this new little life that I held so delicately within my palm. So I look around, hoping to gain some guidance from others by observing what they had done with their seeds.

Everywhere I looked it seemed like a majority of people had taken their seeds and shoved them deep into their pockets or locked them far away in a safe somewhere. Others I had even seen take a hammer and crush their seed till nothing was even left of the poor thing. Sometimes I even saw people robbed of their seed by others who had lost their own at one point or another.

Then I was approached and was told that I should do the same before something bad happens to me. That the seed was dangerous. I followed as I was told and tucked it away in a corner somewhere. Pilled papers and junk on top of the little seed. In hopes of never seeing it again.

Until I saw someone do something different.

One day someone new walked up to me. They greeted me with a big smile and grabbed me by the arm. Pulling me close, they whispering excitedly into my ear “I need to show you something!” and lead me to a garden. A garden that was filled with plants and flowers I had never seen before! All filled with colors as far as the that stretched as far as the mind could imagine. I was overwhelmed with the warmth of this place. “You think that’s cool?” She continued to lead me till we reached the center of the garden where we were greeted by a colossal tree.

It was the biggest tree I had ever seen. It’s massive trunk was followed up by strong, think branches. Branches that held the most unique and captivating creatures I had ever seen. Some with beaks, some with tails, some with scales. All of them unique. At the end of the branches were but only the most vividly colored leaves. Not just green, but purple, yellow, pink, orange. All flowing seamlessly together.

“Is this yours? How did you do this?” I uttered in amazement

She simply smiled and responded “I planted the seed”

I ran home pealed back layers upon layers of debris from a corner of my room and found a tiny, dusty, seed. I plucked it from it’s tomb and gazed upon it. Brushing the dust off it I found it had become weathered and dirty, but I could still see the distinct spark it had from when I first discovered it.

She came up behind me and told me “Careful. It’s more then just planting a seed. You have to commit to it. You have to water it. Protect it from hungry birds. Sometimes even from other people.”

I looked to her, seed in hand “Will it be hard?”

She nodded “Yes, and it requires patience. Sometimes it feels like you may go through all the effort of caring for it with not a thing to show. However, little do you know that, inside, something powerful grows. And when you see that first little glimmer of green sticking out of the ground, it will all feel so worth it.”

I studded the little miracle of life and observed it’s little crevices. In each one of them I saw beauty and joy. Color and change. Most of all, I saw hope.

I dug a little hole in the dirt and placed the precious cargo into it’s newly created bed.

***

I do this because I have a dream and I know you do too. And it feels so easy to fall into the mind set of living in shame of dreams and passions. To keep to the grindstone and forget the rest. The thing is, where would we be as a culture if no one ever pursued their crazy dreams? What if we all just did what we were told and kept our nose clean? Probably all living in a cave somewhere afraid of the sunlight. Living in fear.

Personally, I have had enough of living in fear.

My name is Mark, and I am no different from you reader. I am just some guy sitting at a computer writing. I am not special. I am not particularly gifted. I am in no way better than you or anyone.

The only thing I have done is that I have decided to plant my seed and am working hard to have a garden some day. I say all this because I don’t want to hide anymore, and I want to show you it’s possible. The garden may not end up the exact way you would like. It may have some hills. It may grow next to a lake that is home to a group of hungry geese that you have to fend off regularly. But it’s your garden. Yours to create and shape. It all starts with a decision. Are you going to stow away your seed and ignore it’s existence, or see what magic you can make happen?

Don’t worry. I’ll get the dry cleaning bill

You guys ever been to six flags? Or an amusement park in general? Well for the five of you out there who haven’t, there are these things called roller coasters. They are basically trains with teeth. You sit in a cart that is just a smidge to small. Typically sharing it’s occupancy with some big, sweaty, fat guy who clearly has never even heard of this mythical invention called ‘deodorant’. So you and, we will call him Boris, are sitting there forcing small talk until all the other sweaty people hop on board the tiny train. Once everyone is aboard you start your journey on a thin little track. It’s all pretty straight forward at first. Just going straight and up.

Eventually great anticipation starts to settle in and you start to ask a few questions. ‘I wonder what’s going to be around that bend once I reach the top? A fall downward? A corkscrew? Loop-de-loop?’. After what feels like a an eternity, you reach the top and you can see the entire park. You are the freaking king of the world for half a second. Then the pace picks up and you are hurtling back toward the earth at breakneck speeds. Only to be broken out of your crazed decent by and even crazier bend that leads to another accent. This one not nearly as controlled as the first. Immediately afterward you are hit by a reverse corkscrew then a followed by another sudden drop. This decent into madness continues until you are slowed down and hit the end of the track. ‘But there is no platform. Why did we stop? This can’t be the end of the ride.’ You think to yourself, until you realize that you are starting to move again. This time in the opposite direction. Doing the whole thing again… in reverse. One hell of a thrill ride but not for the faint of heart. Like your cart buddy Boris, whom at the end of all this has gotten sick on your shoes.

It’s easy to make fun of Boris. The large flabby man who couldn’t keep down his corn-dog after one loop-de-loop. The truth is though, we have all been in Boris’s shoes. We think we can take the ride despite the fact that we just had a nutritious meal of hot-dogs, fries, and a nice cold 52oz coke. I can feel for Boris. I’ve been Boris for the past few months, and I’ve just gotten off the ride, and I just barfed on your shoes… and I’m sorry.

A lot has happened since I last wrote you my beautiful people. There is much to fill you guys in on. Things I couldn’t possibly even attempt to cram in one blog post. Some, I’m not quite ready to share yet. What I can tell you guys now is that I’m back. You could say it’s been one hell of journey. If by ‘journey’ you meant feeling like you’ve been kicked in the nads repeatedly by a seasoned Brazilian soccer player with steel cleats than yes, ‘journey’. Regardless, life goes on, wounds will heal, and the Punk Musical will once again live.

So, I invite you guys, once again, to join me on my travels as I assent the stairs to rockstardom. One clumsy step at a time.

New Year’s Resolution – Not what you may think

Happy 2016 everyone! If last year was a suck fest, now you don’t have to worry about it any more! Because 2016 is a new year, a new opportunity, and a new resolution to fulfill.

A New Years Resolution is the best way to bring in a new year. Making new goals to accomplish, in order to become a better you by next years resolution. But to make our new goal, we need to look at the bigger picture. For example if you are writer, you may be attempting to write your first novel in this new year, or if you are over weight, attempting to reclaim your health by going to the gym regularly.

The big picture is what some people need right now, maybe even most people. I know the big picture is what I needed seven months ago when I lost my corporate job. Its good to have a sense of direction and purpose.

Myself, I feel like if I go anymore big picture, my mind will actuality explode. For you see, I never really left planning the big picture from seven months ago. At almost every opportunity, I am organizing and planning in an attempt to achieve my end goal. Rockstar-dom.

Here is the funny thing about constantly planning for the end goal, you burn yourself out before you even get any where near it.

Guys, this is how bad I get. This past year I had the privilege of exchanging a few messages with a hero of mine, Ariel from the band Icon for Hire. In this exchange I was telling her about my various plans to achieve rockstar-dom and if she had any advice. I will never forget what she told me. “Remy, let me tell you from someone who has been there, you need to chillout. Because when you are so fixated on the end goal, you miss out on all the little moments along the way.”

Just like with everything, there needs to be a balance. We need to have a goal to motivate us, but we need to remember to live in the moment too.

So that is why this year one of my own resolutions is to remember to live in the moment a bit more. If you are a perfectionist like I am, you may know how difficult of an undertaking this can be. However I have already discovered a few tricks that have been helping me out. One of which is to be still.

Literally, don’t do anything. Don’t think about yourself or what you ‘should’ be doing. Instead just think about your surroundings. For example, the strange woven texture on your bedside lamp shade that you never noticed before, or why you think that tree in the distance grew slightly sideways.

Another tip I have discovered is that repetitive motion helps to process thoughts and emotions. It’s one of the reasons I love running. One foot, then the other, then the other, so on and so forth. If running is not your thing, then walking. Especially night walking. The serenity of the night, breathing in the fresh, cool air, and just walking for no real allotted amount of time. Allowing yourself to not stick to a clock for a while so you can have room to just process.

The last one is breathing. I mean past that whole, ‘needing it to live thing’. Taking a moment to physically stop, draw in a deep breath through the nose, and out through mouth a few times can be a huge attitude changer.

New Years can be a great opportunity to create some new goals and maybe even make some huge changes in our lives. Changes big and small. However for me, I am going to take a step back from planing and learn how to chillout.

(Photo Credit: Flickr.com)

…Fuck It

Six months ago I worked in a restaurant as a manager

Six months ago I was on the steady track to ‘success’

Six months ago I had a plan

Six months ago I was miserable

These past few months in my life have been some of the most incredible and growth filled of my life, and to think It all started out with my ‘awesome management’ job being taken away from me for reasons out of my control. Then deciding to follow this crazy, irrational, dream of mine to become a rock star. Since then, I have met a guitar master, whom I’ve gotten to study under, bought a website, met all kinds of colorful, inspiring, loving people, met my personal hero and since have had several exchanges with her, and most of all, discovered myself.

For the first time in my entire life I feel alive. Before now, every new year filled me with dread, because it just felt like having to do the same year all over again just with a new digit slapped on it. Not any more. For the first time I feel excited to simply be doing what am doing, and seeing where it takes me. For the first time, I feel hopeful.

And none of this happened because I had a plan.

I’ve been making this shit up every step of the way. Don’t get me wrong I certainly try to have a plan. In fact, I was even under the impression that I had one. To keep my head down and keep plugging away at my music till I became some sort of master…

NOPE

I have recently been given a new job in a music store that has, seemingly, been the answer to a lot of prayers. A music store where I can work closely with music and musicians, and get discounts on much needed equipment.

Not only that, but I have met someone. Someone who has been changeling me and making me face some old demons.

All of these are beautiful, amazing things. All of which I needed and all of which weren’t according to plan.

We can make all the plans we want, but ultimately, life is going to take you wherever the fuck it feels like. Our entire lives we are standing in an open field coated in fog. Most of the time we find ourselves just standing there, in the one spot, trying to plan our first move. All the while lying to ourselves. Telling ourselves that conditions will get clearer and then we can move, but the fog will never lift and the conditions will never clear.

Eventually we just need to say “fuck it” and take a step forward. Even though we may not even be able to see the ground in front of us. It’s a risk and it’s scary. That first step may land you in a lake or a tree but it will be a step worth it all the same. I know my first step was off a cliff. No job, no money, seemingly no future, and totally worth it.

Today I am just making by

Today I face demons

Today I have no plan

Today I am finally alive

(Photo Credit: Ian Furst)

Peace in Pain

Every Saturday I usually swing by the bank to drop off my cash tips, that I’ve received from my delivery job, for that week. If any of you guys have ever worked a commission based job before, you know that you can never really plan around what you may get. Some days you may make near a couple of hundred, and some days, nothing. It’s a gamble, but I have found a good medium to shoot for and, typically, manage to hit it.

This month, though, I’ve been running short on cash due to holiday expenditures. So I was hoping, praying, that maybe I could do a little above average this week. To catch up on some bills. After counting through my weeks wages once, twice, four times, I found I didn’t make enough… in fact I didn’t even manage to break anywhere near even.

The short answer being, unless in the few remaining work days I have left this month I manage to make out like a freaking bandit, or I have a wealthy uncle in Peru, that I didn’t know about, who would love to send me a million dollars, I won’t be able to afford rent this month.

Needless to say, worry has been eating me inside out this morning.

“I don’t understand, I took extra shifts, I tried to take good deliveries, I stayed longer at the restaurant. I even applied to other jobs just to get no response!”

“Why this time of year? Why did I have to get hit with this shit now? During Christmas? The time of year when there is supposed to be peace on earth or some shit?!”

I meditated on this thought for a while. ‘Why would this be happening now? How am I supposed to be happy when I am experiencing so much pain and worry?’

Then I discovered something. This is what Christmas and the holiday season is about. Finding peace in pain. Joy in adversity, love in death.

To realize this, I really had to think about why the holidays are when they are. In the winter. The season that, for most of human history, has been associated with death.

Think about it. Winter is a depressing season. In winter, crops die, the trees are barren, and everything tucks away into a hole to seek shelter from the harsh weather. Before more modern days, If you didn’t prepare for the winter during the rest of the year, you were straight up dead come January.

So what do you do when faced with such extreme adversity as when the very elements turn against you? You find a reason to celebrate, to be thankful. This is one of the reasons why we as a species we decided to hold our biggest festivals at the end of the year, during the most depressing season. To find joy in the midst of pain. Because this time will pass, winter will end and the flowers will bloom again.

We just need that reminder. That, just because there may be death around use, doesn’t mean we have to be. If we live in life, live in joy, then adversity will lose some of it’s sting. Time still passes and another season is just around the corner.

***

I hope all of you guys out there have a fantastic Holiday season, and thank you so much for joining me! It has been an incredible year full of change and growth, and 2016 is just going to be better! Until then, enjoy some eggnog and a little Irving Berlin.

With all the love,

Remy

P.S. Keep kicking ass

(Photo Credit: pixabay.com)

Life Lessons with Daytime TV

So we finally broke down and got Netflix over at my place, (which I guess makes me officially a young adult now) and it’s, admittedly, amazing. I’ve had a ton of fun poking around in the Netflix-averse, and experimenting with different shows to see what I might like.

Though I love seeing what all I can get into on this thing, I also love rediscovering some old shows from my childhood. Shows like Seinfeld, Fraser, NCIS (I was a weird kid, I know), but there’s been one show in particular that I’ve re-kindled my love for, Scrubs.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, then stop reading this and look it up on Netflix, it’s amazing. If you don’t have half an hour to burn then I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Scrubs is a comedy/drama(ish) show that follows the story of a medical doctor, by the name of John Dorian, and his many misadventures he and his friends get into while under the roof of their hospital, Sacred Heart. The story starts with his first day, fresh out of medical school, interning under the terrifying/lovable doctor Cox. Leading up to when he is teaching his own students by the end it all.

The show lasted for about nine years, and, just like any long running series, you really got to know these characters. More then just the people you watch live their lives for half an hour, but it became more like hanging out with a group of friends. You knew these people in the show. They where your roommate, your collage friend, your girl friend, mentor, co-worker. These where people you hung out with outside the nine-o-clock reruns on NBC.

Not only did you know the characters, but you knew their struggles. Heart break, disappointment, failure, and some days, paralyzing fear. However, the thing that always got my attention in all of this, is that they kept going despite all that. Daily these group of friends were looked down upon because of their rank, had to manage eminence amounts of stress, and, sometimes, death.

I suppose the most appealing thing about the show for me is getting to witnessing the journey. That these group of people had a goal to help people and be the best doctors they can be. Some days were easier than others to do that, but despite the pains they encounter every day, these doctors still cased their dream. With more vigor than anything.

In a way I have felt more encouraged in my own journey by re-discovering this series. Like the doctors in the show, I also have a powerful passion, to be a musician and to help people, and, like them, I am going to screw up and learn along the way. No one knows how to shred a guitar or preform a heart surgery out the gate.

The skills can be learned, but the important thing is to find that passion, your reason to do all this before you do it.

You can’t ‘teach’ passion. You can’t attend a ‘dream’ seminar. It’s something you have to discover, then everything else will fall into place over time. We all start out as awkward, naive, interns that have nothing but the bag on our back and head in the clouds. We will struggle, make stupid mistakes, and someday’s have our faith’s seriously shaken. The thing that helps though, is to know that it’s natural to feel these things, and that you’re not alone.

Whenever we do something worth doing, we are going to encounter opposition, and one of the opposition’s greatest weapons is isolation and loneliness. This feeling of that you must be the only one feeling this way. That, somehow, everyone else must have had an easier time making their dreams happen or, that you personally are just not equipped enough to do what you love.

Let me tell you right now, all that shit is a lie. You know what else, I think you know that already.

We all aspire to reach a magnificent goal, but we have a lot of growing to do. And growing, is never easy. The important thing to remember is that it can be done. Others have been in this exact same place and they have come out the other side, and so will you.

It has been done, and you can do it too. Don’t buy into the lie that you are the only one struggling to do great things. Because we’re all dreamers baby, and we all feel the pain.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Faith and Fear

I am not used to slowing down. I find myself more often then not, either working or thinking of a new project to work on. Stopping, is not a thing I do often. Not because I would be opposed to taking a break, it’s more because of all the change happening in my life and my desire to keep up with it. In a way, running along side the change to see where it leads me. I’m a dreamer, it’s how I operate.

But dreamer or not, you can’t evade reality forever. Bills still need to be paid, people still need to be tended to, and life happens. Every time, completely throwing you off your rhythm. Often these things happen in spurts, and sometimes, all at once.

That is where I am right now.

Next year, in January to be specific, is the time I plan to start playing open mikes at local venues. January is also the time I am hoping to leave my delivery job. Due to restaurant management completely falling apart, and possibly causing the entire branch to be closed soon. It also turns out that January may also be the month where my housing situation may get a bit more complicated. Not to mention that same month, is already going to be incredibly financially tight due to the holidays.

All that to say, I’m feeling pretty fucked.

This feeling reminds me of looking at the beginning of a sand storm. The moment when it hasn’t hit yet, but it is just this wall. An orange wall of dirt and rocks, all hurling towards you at nearly triple digits.

Then there is that moment. That moment when the world slows down and the severity of the situation really hits you. You realize that you can’t out run this thing, you can’t hide from it. There is not a thing you can do to prevent this thing from hitting you.

That moment where there is no plan or prevention to be made. No words to be said. You are completely powerless.

We all have sandstorms and some of us may even be in the midst of one right now. Many probably more severe than myself. Regardless, when we face these storms you have two choices. A) Worry and freak out about what will happen, or B) Accept the situation, buckle down, and maintain hope.

I may not have been on this earth as long as many people out there, but I have figured out one thing. Worry gets you no where. The amount of energy we put into being anxious over one thing, a thing we probably can’t even control, is ridiculous. All that time meditating over the issue, dissecting it, begging for a solution, for what? Nothing. Nothing other than probably an ulcer.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t be afraid. It’s ok to be afraid, that is a natural reaction to seeing an endless wall of sand barreling toward you. However, don’t let that fear control you. Instead choose to hope and to have faith that this hell will end. Because the storm will end, but it is up to you if you are going to come out stronger, or let this storm destroy you by worrying so much about it.

The clouds will eventually pass by, and there probably will have to be rebuilding. However you will ultimately make it through the devastation. The rebuilding may not be easy either. It may even take years, but it will end.

Until then, choose to have faith. Choose to have hope. Because if you choose to worry and grow anxious over this thing you can’t even control, it will destroy you.

In complete honesty, I have no idea what my life will look like in a couple of months after this storm hits. How I will pay the bills, if anyone will care for my music, or where I will even be sleeping. I know one thing though, I will pull through this stronger, and so will you.

(Photo Credit: pixabay.com)