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The Registrar Snickered But I Became a Philosopher Anyway

I was having coffee with a friend awhile back who is a professor of philosophy. I told her that I knew early on I was a philosopher and while still in my twenties I also knew I wanted to be a writer. I told her that about twenty years ago, I inquired with some universities here in Chicago about their PhD programs in philosophy. I was greeted with the academic equivalent of a snicker. “Well, in order to be accepted into the program, you need to be fluent in Greek and Latin. Are you fluent in Greek and Latin?,” one university rep asked, with all the snark she could muster. “Um, no,” I said. “I don’t know Greek and Latin.” I called another program and got the same, “Everyone thinks they can be a philosopher” response. My friend, who probably IS fluent in Greek and Latin said, “And isn’t that funny, that now, for your living, you’re essentially a philosopher? I mean, you’re a philosopher and a writer, both.” I smiled, and realized she was...

You Can’t Take the Old You With You, Darlin’.

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that just as I started taking action toward my dream and set a clear intention for my dream to become a reality, everything in my life began to slow down, stall and eventually came to a standstill. I’m talking everything. Money. Dating. Business. Zero. Zilch. Nothing. After a couple of months of this, acute problems began to emerge, like, “That’s a long time to go without cash flow. What’s going to happen to me? Am I going to lose my apartment?” Things like that tend to get your attention. I really think all of this happened to show me everything that needs to change for me to really get where I want to go. This is true with my dream of being a singer/songwriter, but also of where I want to go with my business and the kind of person I want to attract as a partner. That was six weeks ago. I’ve now had my biggest month ever in the history of my business. I’m not even scared when I think of my upcoming debut performance. I even have a band. As things fell apart, I had to make some really important choices. Not so much practical choices (that, too), but choices about how I was going to react to my circumstances, which for awhile looked an awful lot like tragedy, turmoil and chaos. Not only did I decide not to not worry about whether I would lose my apartment, but I decided to move to a luxurious apartment in a different area of the city that’s more vibrant and fun....

Hot Damn! I Have a Band!

Date. (Check.) Venue. (Check.) Audience. (Check.) At six weeks from my debut performance date, I just needed a band. As in, musicians. (Kind of important, huh?) The only problem was, I didn’t know any. Well, guess what? By the four week mark, I had a band and it was super easy to find them. And this is a group of people who are not only helpful and supportive but damned talented. I was so scared to play my songs for professional musicians. I was sure they would snicker or their eyes would get big as they thought, “Wow, she really is a beginner.” But guess what? They really like my songs! And you know the best part? Hearing my songs come to life. It is SO different hearing a mandolin go off into a riff in the middle of my song, and a fiddle echo the melody of my vocals. And it’s so cool to hear them all together: bass, guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. And the vocal harmony that we’re creating, too. The fun part was how easy it was to find my band members. I just asked one or two people, and boom, they appeared in my life. I didn’t know what to pay them or anything. I didn’t know about PA systems or whether we even needed one; I figured that out, too. When you set your sights on something, there are things that are your job, and things you can let the divine take care of. The trick is to ask for help. That’s really when things start happening fast; it’s when you are willing to...

The Bullshit Question the Ego Loves: What Is My Life Purpose?

Today I responded to a post on Facebook that really pissed me off. It said that talents + helping others = your purpose. This seems really wise upon first glance. Everyone responding to this post was like, “Yes! I agree!” Except me. I bought into that idea for many years and it disempowered me so badly. Not everyone needs to live an altruistic life, yet everyone serves humanity (or the earth or life) in some way. “Helping others” is such limited thinking. Life purpose is the quest of the ego, not the soul. It is the ego trying to show the world how important it is. The ego needs purpose; the soul wants to fully self-express. Hire someone to help you find your life purpose and I can almost guarantee you what will happen once they “reveal” it to you (and I’ve noticed that almost everyone gets the same answer: “You were born to heal others / heal the planet. You’re a healer!”). Upon learning the big reveal, your ego will do one of two things: 1) It will go, “Finally! Now, I can leave the security behind I’ve created and create the drama I love. I’ll send you on a wild goose chase that will keep you stuck for years!” or 2) It will go, “Really? THAT’S my life purpose? That doesn’t sound like me. I’d better keep seeking.” And then it will go ’round and ’round in circles trying to find your purpose. And when it’s done seeking, it will seek some more. Because the ego doesn’t actually want the thing it claims will make you happy....

My Life Has Come to a Standstill. Am I Really That Scared?

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I’ve set a date for the first performance of my original songs. (I have sung on stage before but always someone else’s material, and it’s been almost two decades since I sang in front of an audience. That’s a lot of time for your mind to play all those fear tricks on you.) I took a bluegrass ensemble program in January and February, and made a lot of progress, but when that ended eight weeks later, everything stopped. I’m talking complete stagnation, not just with my music, but everything. My business is at a virtual standstill. I’m not dating. My life has essentially stopped. With my music, I’m not practicing, not finishing my songs (they need bridges, some of them). I’m not hiring a songwriting or vocal coach. I’m not getting my voice in shape. I didn’t take the next level of Bluegrass Ensemble because I told myself I didn’t have the cash and immediately created a situation where I didn’t, and wouldn’t for just enough time until it was too late. With my writing, I’m doing almost no writing for pure enjoyment and self-expression, which for someone like me is like saying, “I’m drinking almost no water and eating almost no food.” Yesterday something strange occurred to me: ever since I acknowledged singing and songwriting as one of my big dreams a few years ago, I essentially stopped listening to music. My life has become a virtually silent life where I dole out fun like it’s a war ration. Writers read, all of them. It makes them better writers,...

I Took a Leap and Here Is What Happened Next

In early December, I took a huge leap with one of my dreams: I set a date for my first vocal performance ever where I’ll perform my own songs. I immediately felt a strange mix of fear and exhilaration. My dream finally had forward movement. I figured being six months out, I would have plenty of time to figure out the details. I floated along for a month basking in the progress I’d made. I’d set a clear, definitive intention (a big step), and I knew having it come together was possible. Yet inside, I felt isolated and doubtful. For instance, I don’t even know any musicians. How will I ever form a band? When I told a few friends and family, 25 of them immediately began booking travel arrangements. I’m talking airplane tickets and hotel rooms! (Evidently, people had been waiting a long time for my first performance.) Also, I don’t have a venue. I haven’t sung harmony pretty much ever so I don’t even know how to direct other vocalists in how to sing my songs with me. My voice was out of shape. I have a few original songs but don’t know much about arranging and I haven’t sung with a mic in almost 20 years. And what about things like equipment? I’m clueless about that. By early January, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do this by myself. I took another huge leap and joined a bluegrass music ensemble at a school here. I did it before I could really afford it, because registration was closing and I wasn’t willing to wait...

Love Stories: The Girl Who Sprinted Down the Stairs

When I was a child, my family lived in a home that was quite lovely, set back from the street with a long driveway, with a lush yard that was surely at least an acre. The home was built into the side of a hill with a picture window in the back. It had three stories: the basement – where the rec room and garage were – the main floor, and the top floor, where we girls had our bedrooms. At some point my dad installed one of those electric garage door openers, and when someone pressed the button to open it, you could hear it even up on the top floor. When I was in fourth grade, my uncle Ed passed away and Dad made his way upstairs where he gathered all of us kids in my room to give us the news. (Ed was my great uncle, actually, as both my parents are only children, so I have no aunts, uncles or first cousins.) It was a heart attack, it seemed. I began to cry. I then felt that strange feeling one only feels when remembering the mortality of being human. This would be my first funeral, my first relative passing away, my first experience with how suddenly things can change. I was not especially close to my uncle. He was not like a grandfather to me or anything like that. He was just a really nice person and he happened to be married to one of my favorite relatives, my great aunt Nina. Ed had a slight build and was a man of few words. He...

The Boy in Copenhagen, Version 2 (If it had happened now)

(To read the original version, click here.) It’s one thing to have the fairytale end, and yet another to have it end after you’ve flown to Europe (which sounded much more romantic than it turned out to be) – short on cash with three days to kill until your plane ride home. How on earth had I gotten myself into this situation, especially when I had other financial priorities than to be flying off to Denmark? Why had I been willing to do this for someone who had not shown me he was emotionally prepared to have a real relationship? Was I really that desperate for someone to love me? And how had I attracted this particular person to begin with? He was like a love leach. No matter how many times I ended things, and no matter how firm I thought I’d been, he would not seem to completely leave my life … and I would allow him back in. (And how could I have allowed this to happen, especially when very early on, my intuition was screaming at me, “Run!”?) The first inkling something wasn’t quite right was when we had first met via online dating. He bragged about his charity work and sent me a photo of himself receiving a humanitarian award. This is a very bad sign as far as one’s character (and a major symptom of narcissistic personality disorder). My radar went off, but it was only a little blip. I ignored it, telling myself what a good person he was. In short order – about a month in – intuitive message number two...

Love Stories: What My Mother Taught Me on Valentines Day

When I was a little girl, every Valentines Day morning I would rub the sleep from my eyes and go downstairs to breakfast. Awaiting each of us kids would be a gift from my mother. Somehow, each year I would forget that this would happen and be completely surprised and filled with glee as I opened my present. The favorite Valentine gift that I remember receiving was a set of Holly Hobby sheets. I was in third grade, and I was over the moon. The thing that made this tradition especially important is that Valentines Day is the day after my mom’s birthday. I’m not sure we ever made the big deal about her birthday that she made about us the day after. Sadly, this is probably still true today. Why just this week I made a mad dash to the post office the day before Mom’s birthday, mad at myself, knowing that the card would not get there in time. I mean, how hard is it really to get a card off with three days to spare? Evidently, for me, really, really hard. (It might make sense for me to simply change everyone’s birthdays to seven days early.) Anyway, even with all the late birthday cards over the years, my mother has never stopped this Valentines Day tradition, though the gifts now are often checks or a bit of money stuck into the card, probably because of how far away we all live from her. The real gift for me – whether Valentines Day or my birthday or Christmas – is the card. My mother is one of...

I Wonder Where Michael Is, and Whether He Is Okay

Yesterday, someone I dated a long time ago came into my awareness. I had no idea why, so I Googled him. Within a minute I had found an article he’d been featured in. The article was in Norwegian, so I ran it through Google Translate and could not believe what I read. Let me back up a bit. I had met a man, Michael, on Matchmaker.com in the fall of 2000. Although he had lived in the U.S. for extended periods of time and spoke many languages, he was raised in Norway. He was handsome, successful, and because his mother had moved to Utah, he was looking to relocate to the states. It seemed important to him to have the stability of a relationship if he was going to move. (He did not seem to be looking for a green card, as he had plenty of other ways he could have become a legal resident, especially through his career.) Did I mention he was cute? Knees-wobbly cute. At the time we connected, he was living in Amsterdam. Coincidentally, I was leaving for Amsterdam for a weekend trip a few days after we first talked on the phone. Turns out, while I was there, he was to be in Utah, and he was actually scheduled to depart on the plane I was to arrive on just two hours after. He offered that I could stay at his place, and that he would add a day onto his trip and fly through Chicago and see me once I arrived back in the U.S. We would do the house-key handoff at Schiphol....

Love Stories: A Girl and Her Dog

For most of my life, I was confused about what love really is. I thought I knew when I was younger, but I was wrong. I learned how quickly my own feelings toward others could go from total euphoria to totally cold and shut off. Is that love? That we flip a switch and *poof* it’s gone? I have experienced glimpses of love, both in moments of giving it and moments of witnessing it or even receiving it, but I think what we call love is often not love at all, but a rush of feel-good endorphins, and like any chemical high, it eventually goes away, leaving you feeling the pain of its absence and craving more of it. Before my spiritual awakening and for some years after, the romantic love I experienced in my life wasn’t love at all, but an addiction or unfilled need that another person met for me for some period of time. I had romantic relationships that grew into real love long after they ended, but I really don’t think I had ever experienced love itself while in a relationship with a man. I know a lot better now what it is and what it is not. In fact, I really think a fundamental problem in the way we view love, at least in the West, is the idea that love is a feeling. Loving is a verb, not an adjective. “She’s such a loving person.” I’ve said it about people many times myself. What does this really mean? One who loves? A true act of love, to me, requires continuing to accept and...

Don’t Dim Your Child’s Light to Make Other Children Shine

Recently I went to the piano recital of my best friend’s child. It was much different than the recitals I’d played in as a child; ours were basically district competitions; lots of pressure and preparation, with a panel of judges. Scary stuff. This was much less formal; it was held in a nice coffee shop during the holiday season, with each child playing a Christmas or Hanukkah song. I often go up to my friend’s house to play her baby grand piano and the piano has been something her daughter and I have bonded over. We even played her Christmas song as a duet the week before just for fun. This recital was held with only three weeks’ notice, and since my friend already had plans to be out of the country, I went in her place, sort of. While the child’s father would be there, I wanted to videotape the performance for my friend (they are divorced). Just a few songs into this recital one thing became clear: This was no district competition. Most of the children had not practiced much, and none of them had memorized their music. I embraced it as a chance for them to get experience performing in front of others and for all of us to celebrate the holidays, that is until I had sat through around fifteen of these songs. To be frank, I was getting tired of watching children essentially practice their song at what was supposed to be a recital. Parents were embarrassed for their children, apologizing as they brushed by me – a total stranger – saying, “She didn’t...

I Was So Scared I Created a Pseudonym

The other night, I said it out loud to another human being: I’m holding my first performance in June. Very quickly, the reality set in: I have committed to a performance in only five months. My voice is in shambles. I have no band, no equipment, no venue and no idea what the hell I’m doing. All I have is some songs I wrote. The person I told was my teacher in my bluegrass ensemble. He looked startled, and I don’t know why. My teacher suggested I connect with a particular songwriting teacher at the Old Town School for private lessons. Good advice, I think. As I drove home, the details of what I’ve committed to started to wear away at me: How will I get a band together? Who will these people be? Will they like my songs? (Or when they hear them, will they snicker?) Can I repair the damage to my throat and restore my voice to anything like it was by then? What the hell have I gotten myself into? Can I ever be ready by June? After class, I went home and pulled up my songs. As I listened to each one, a wave of embarrassment came over me as I imagined the songwriting teacher hearing them. Most of them are so simple, it’s almost laughable. The lyrics are too sappy. Many of them were written before I knew what a bridge was (a “second movement”). I’d have to add in the bridge to each song before I could have anyone hear them. It’s just too embarrassing otherwise. “Maybe I’ll just sing covers!” I...

The Boy in Copenhagen (as written when it happened)

March 2002 It’s one thing to get dumped, and another to be literally dumped off at a hotel in the middle of a strange city – with no explanation as to why the relationship is ending – with no money, no plan and three days until my plane ride home. I had given him too many chances, though. That was on me. This was not the first time in my life I’d been abandoned, but being alone in a foreign country with an empty pocketbook somehow made it feel worse. The cruelty of it scarred me for years to come. Carsten and I were two peas in a pod: we both desperately wanted to be loved. We were addicted to the need to be loved and like any addiction, we enabled each other’s dysfunction. This is how it is when you allow someone as screwed up as you are into your life. I have since come to believe that there is only room for one hot mess in any relationship — whether it’s a financial mess, an emotional mess or a physical mess. I spent most of that night sobbing. In the morning, I went to breakfast and listened to a British man call the French kids “bloody monkeys” as they ran around the dining room unsupervised. Clearly Carsten hadn’t dumped me at the Ritz, which was probably good since he didn’t even feel obligated to pay my hotel bill. I went back up to my room and cried some more. I called and left him a message, “Would you please just call me and explain? Talk to me...

I Actually Did Some Singing and the World Didn’t End

Last night was the first session of Bluegrass Ensemble at the Old Town School of Folk Music (the best music school on earth, I might add). It is called an ensemble because it’s a bunch of musicians who come together for the purpose of creating music as a group. The ensemble has six guitars, four banjos, two fiddles, one dobro, one bass and me, who is just a singer. I am not proficient enough at guitar to play it with the group, and I’m pretty sure being bluegrass my piano skills are pretty much useless here. So I brought my voice. I was not surprised at how nervous I was but I still don’t really understand where all this nervousness comes from. Sweaty palms, heart beating fast, the works. The last ensemble class I took there was 15 or 20 years ago. (I am shocked at how much time has gone by, caught up in my fear. It just floors me. The last time I set foot on a stage, I was still in my twenties for Pete’s sake. Where did the time go?) It was a jazz vocals ensemble program, and I took it several times. At the end of each eight-week program, we each performed at a real jazz club. It was a great experience and truly prepared you for being a jazz singer if you wanted to be, and wonderful for the musicians who wanted to learn how to back up a singer. I didn’t love jazz, but they didn’t have another ensemble at that time that involved a vocalist. It was good. One of the...

Never, Ever Sway. Swaying is BAD.

When I was in college, we had an annual show on campus called Varieties. It was basically a gigantic talent show, and any student could audition for it. I decided to audition, and to sing a song out of the Gershwin songbook. I’ll have to think about which song it was; at present, I can’t remember. During the audition (which was for the same panel who would judge the final performances) one of the judges said, “You have a beautiful voice. You should really do this up as a torch singer … put on a dress climb up on the piano if you want to. I can see it now!” Oh. My. God. This would have been the perfect way to do the song if I was my friend Cindy Ashton, but putting on a red satin dress and climbing up on the piano just wasn’t me. Oh yes, now I remember. “Someone to Watch Over Me” was the song. Anyway, it came time for the final rehearsal which was basically a mic check for each performer, making sure everything was working right. I stood there singing my song, and afterward, the Varieties director walked up to the stage and very sweetly and politely called up to me, “You were swaying.” “I was?” I said. “Yes,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if you were aware of it, but you were swaying back and forth as you sang.” She even demonstrated it for me, hips flying in either direction. “Oh dear,” I thought. “I’d better concentrate when I’m in the real performance on not swaying.” Swaying must be bad, I...

Maybe the Divine Is Trying to Tell You Something

A couple of weeks ago, I was babysitting Q and J at my sister’s house in Arizona. My dad and step-mom were there, too (it was a team effort), when our plans went willy nilly. We had planned to take the boys out for pizza – it was our only chance for quality time along with them – but when we arrived at the restaurant, we discovered that the pizza place we’d researched online was a takeout-only location. Our plans for anything resembling undistracted time together deteriorated before our eyes, but we went with the flow as well as we could. We settled on takeout sandwiches from the sub shop next door. After the five-minute sandwich-eating time, I settled in to watch Despicables 2 with the boys, an animated featured with something called minions. The boys had seen it before, and promised me I would simply love it. Didn’t matter to me what we did; this was about having time together. They quickly grew bored with the movie and I suggested we play our old standby, Hangman. Good for their spelling, I reasoned. We even got Grandpa involved. The movie was still rolling but before long, they had abandoned both the game and the film and opted for Minecraft on the computers, leaving us to our own fate. I turned off the BluRay to see what was on TV, and accidentally hit a button on the remote. Kristin Chenoweth appeared on the screen. She was all glammed up, and singing her heart out. (She’s a petite powerhouse of singing, acting and comedy who has won both a Tony and...

My “World Famous” Apple Pie

You will know for sure you really mean something to me when I bake you a pie. This summer I baked two pies per week! While I bake a lot of pies all year long, mostly, I give them away. You have to understand, though, that when I give the pie away, the recipient tends to insist I stay and enjoy a piece with them. Even limiting this to slivers and skipping the ice cream, let’s just say by September, I had some pie on my hips, belly and other places, and it was time to stop baking for awhile. This year, we had a potluck Thanksgiving at my sister’s house in Phoenix, which made it easy for the hosts, since there were to be 17 guests and lots of good cooks. I offered to bring my “world-famous” apple to the gathering – the world-famous part an obvious joke – because I know apple pie tends to be a Thanksgiving food and people seem to like my version. My host replied, “How could we refuse an offer like that?” I proceeded to shop for ingredients. Honeycrisp apples. Check! Secret ingredient. Check! Lemon. Check! Pie crust … no check! What? No Pet Ritz pie crust? I tried three stores. A big fat strikeout. (I don’t make my own pie crust, because I am unable to improve upon Pet Ritz pie crust. I have never baked a pie using Pet Ritz and not received a gushing compliment over the crust. Flaky. Yummy. Simply the best.) It seems that in the entire city of Phoenix, no one stocks Pet Ritz. They stock...

Lyrics Edit: Counting Crows, A Long December

Tonight I’m going to see the Counting Crows at the Chicago Theater with my fellow kookoo Lisa (that’s what we long-time Crows fans call ourselves). I’ve seen them around a dozen times; had my music budget been full over the years, that number would be more like 50. Now, I love me some lyrics and have written some decent ones, but being such a big fan, it pains me to say that my least favorite lyric of all time is line two below from “A Long December,” a darn good song: … The smell of hospitals in winter And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls <=== detest this! Nails on a chalkboard! Dorky at best! All at once you look across a crowded room To see the way that light attaches to a girl … I should give you some background. First of all, I love editing lyrics. I love making them less clunky and easier to sing, and it’s honestly pretty rare to find a lyric by someone I regularly listen to that needs editing of any sort. Through most of the 90s and well into the aughts, I was a huge fan of Counting Crows. In fact, I listened to their music to the exclusion of all other music for over two years and I belonged to their fan club – as a human being in my mid-thirties – and actually met up with other fans in various cities, some of which are still in my life. My first Counting Crows concert was at the Old Saint Pat’s Block Party circa...

What Spiritual Awakening Is Really Like: a Step by Step Account

In 2002, I experienced a spiritual awakening while reading the book The Power of Now. Here is a re-cap of what happened next: 1) Holy crap, I am not my thoughts! In fact, I am two: the mind, and the spirit. I go into bliss. 2) Oh my God, this is so cool. I’m pretty sure I’ve reached nirvana! 3) I want something, and notice that it immediately appears in my life. Wow – I create my own reality. I am no longer a victim of life. What a relief. 4) I have awareness of my thoughts and my self. I become the observer. I notice that I spend a LOT of time re-hashing the past and seeing the future as the someday that will save me from my misery. When these thoughts come up, I simply choose the now instead, a thought-free zone. Of course, dwelling in nirvana, this is easy. Other things I want appear in my life almost instantly. Cool. 5) I now have awareness of others’ behaviors, thoughts and choices. I can see the big picture, but they cannot. Wow, people are idiots! Why don’t they awaken? Why do they choose to suffer when they can be in nirvana? 6) I give advice to everyone for everything, especially before they ask. After all, I’ve reached nirvana and everyone else is asleep. How can they make such stupid choices? I want to save them from their suffering. 7) My ego officially sheds the identity of the screwed-up human in favor of the spiritually-superior human. 8) Being in bliss all the time, I desire nothing, so my...

Fumbling In the Dark, I Found My Soul Again

  Today I did something I haven’t done in a long time: I sat down at a piano. First I played a Strauss tune called Morgen (Morning) that’s beautiful the way Clair de Lune is beautiful. It’s one of my favorites. I always play a bit clunky, but it’s just for enjoyment, so who cares, really? Then, one of the first songs I ever wrote popped in my mind, because recently, the man who the song was named after (and who helped me record a rough demo) sent me a text out of the blue that said, “I think you should record a real demo of that song by the end of the year and release it.” So I played and sang my original music. Or, at least I tried. The shocking part, other than how flabby my voice has become, is that I hadn’t allowed myself to sing or write music or play piano in so long that I couldn’t remember all of the chords to my song, or even the lyrics. I couldn’t even remember how my song started … the melody for Pete’s sake. So I la-la-la’d it for awhile and came in at the refrain and fumbled my way through the chords. At least it was in the right key; that was easy. I always write in the key of C, then transpose inside GarageBand, a music recording software, to accommodate my vocal range. It’s just easier that way. How can a woman forget the first song she ever wrote, that she even recorded a rough demo of? And while we’re at it, where did...

Overheard: Three children interact with their mom

I’m sitting here at my best friend’s house writing and reading, and smiling because I’m listening to her interact with her three children in the other room. Here is a snapshot of things I have heard in the last 15 minutes: “Mom, would you please get some bagels?” “Sure. What kind would you like?” “Cinnamon raisin.” “Okay.” “Thank you.” ==================================== “Starr, you look really nice in that outfit.” (Uttered by a 14-year-old boy to his 8-year-old sister.) ==================================== “Would you please put your dance shoes away?” “Okay.” “I don’t see my hip-hop shoes, though.” “They are probably in the car.” “Okay, I’ll go out and get them.” And then she did. ==================================== [Did not hear the question.] But the answer was, “Yes, please.” I heard this several times. ==================================== I also heard this uttered eight times: “Thank you.” ==================================== Peace, respect and manners … good stuff....

Lyrics Edit: Dave Matthews, Grace Is Gone

I LOVE Dave Matthews’ “Grace Is Gone” and had a blast belting it with all the other concert-goers last summer at Dave’s show at Charter One Pavilion, but every time the refrain comes up I am just itchin’ to make some slight changes. My compulsive need to edit song lyrics borders on mild mental illness … but it’s all in fun. These first two lines are so meaningful, but to me, just a wee bit clunky. When I hear them, my mind fills with an image of Dave bellied up to the bar, wishing he could fast forward past the hurt and feel good again, but at the same time I wish they rolled off the tongue easier. Original lyrics: Excuse me please, one more drink Could you make it strong ’cause I don’t need to think She broke my heart, my grace is gone One more drink and I’ll move on ====================================== Lyrics edit: Can I have one more drink Make it a strong one ’cause I don’t want to think She broke my heart, my grace is gone One more drink and I’ll move on ====================================== What do you think? Original version? Or Edited version? Play the song and give the new ones a try before you...

Intuition + Self-Expression = No Regrets

I believe intuition + self-expression would quickly save humanity, or at least a whole bunch of relationships, and definitely would save folks a lot of money on therapy. I’m talking about finding the guts to say what you really feel, and the words to express it just right. Not way after the fact, but in the moment when you feel the nudge from deep down inside to express something. In my dream world, nothing would be left unsaid and no one would die regretting they didn’t tell someone something they felt in their heart. Lest you think I’m a courageous-self-expression pro, let me assure you, I have a whole lot of things bottled up in there I want to say but don’t have the courage. Some of them are mushy, and some of them are more in the stand-up-for-myself category, a.k.a. telling someone off. A few years back, I heard a man named Kody Bateman tell the story that I still cannot tell out loud without crying. It is the same story people have been telling since the first humans roamed the earth: I felt a nudge to say something /do something, but I didn’t, and now it’s too late. Mr. Bateman and his wife were moving from Utah to New York City where he’d accepted a position at an advertising firm. As a recent college graduate with a wife and baby, this was an exciting time for their young family. The moving truck was loaded up, and they were about to drive away when he looked to his left and saw his brother, Kris, doing some work in...

Ten Ways to Say I Love You

One of the top unsaid phrases throughout the human experience is “I love you,” and yet one of the most basic needs of humans is to feel loved. So many people need to hear it and never do (not expressed through actions or gifts or some other way … but hear the words) and so many folks can’t seem to bring themselves to say it. There is a vulnerability in those particular words (to those who give the three words the sacredness they deserve), because to love someone isn’t to like them, or to feel infatuated or even to care about them. It’s way, way more. It’s allowing them to be themselves and allowing them to be vulnerable and receiving the whole of them into your life. It’s one of my top unsaid phrases, I know that. It goes through my mind and my heart, sure, but rarely comes out of the mouth to human beings over the age of five, unless I’m saying it back. Saying it back is much easier, don’t you think? So, in case you have a hard time saying I love you, too, here are some ideas: 1) Say it in passing … you know, like when your beloved / father / mother / child is sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, and you pass through the kitchen on your way to the shower. You can even sprint through the room if you want; you only need one second. 2) Say it first, instead of saying it back, every once in awhile. 3) Say it in another language … sure, a bit wimpy,...

Five Air Travel Changes Needed Immediately So I Don’t Go Insane

Judging from the title, you might think this essay will be bashing the airline industry. Far from it. I actually think they do a pretty good job of transporting me from here to there. For instance, just yesterday, I flew from Phoenix to Chicago’s O’Hare airport in about three hours. Three hours. Do you know what a miracle that is? To go from Arizona to Illinois in the time it takes to have a long lunch with friends? I did this while sitting in a comfortable seat in a tube five miles above the earth. The crew was pleasant. They made sure I didn’t die of thirst and even offered me the chance to buy a snack in case I was too dumb to eat at the airport. The plane was equipped with clean restrooms in case I needed to relieve myself while flying at over 500 miles per hour, or splash water on my face, even though I would never put the water from an airplane restroom anywhere near my face. But it was nice that it was available just in case a bucket of paint dropped from the overhead bin and spilled all over me or something like that. That’s pretty amazing, when you think about it. My beef isn’t with the airlines, the airplane (which didn’t even break down mid-air, killing us), or the pilot, who got us there safely and stood in the cockpit saying a friendly goodbye as we all left the aircraft. What’s needed are just a few minor changes by the airlines and a few major changes by airline passengers. This is...