Two Minds

 “We have two minds.”  “We have our logical, analytical mind, and we have this other part of us where our emotions and feelings live. And that other part gets freaked out easily.”

We are responsible for our own actions, beliefs and responses. We can’t blame the economy, our parents or the weather. We are not necessarily in control of events, but we are always in control of how we respond. Even if we can’t change what’s happening around us we can always change the way we think about it.

Want to change your state of mind from hesitation to -confidence? Recall a time when you felt confident in the past. Look at the scene through your own eyes. Remember what you saw, what you heard and what you felt. These sensory memories bring the feeling of confidence into the present. You can anchor it there by assigning the feeling a specific word, image, or sensation, like touching the back of your neck. Next time you need to summon some pluck, just reach up and touch your neck.

Every moment, we are awash in a vast sea of information. We perceive that sea through our senses, but we’re only conscious of a few thousand of the 4 billion bits of information that we process every minute. We filter our world as if through a frame. -Day-to-day experiences shape our frames, too.

Reframe your own world.

Mental Programming

By becoming aware of the “programming” we’ve learned throughout our lives, we can alter unproductive behavior patterns and nourish patterns that are already healthy.

 

We are accustomed to -believing that change takes a long time, like the years of investment required for talk therapy. But people can change much faster than that; sometimes, in fact, transformation can -happen instantaneously.

Want to change your state of mind from hesitation to -confidence? Recall a time when you felt confident in the past. Look at the scene through your own eyes. Remember what you saw, what you heard and what you felt. These sensory memories bring the feeling of confidence into the present. You can anchor it there by assigning the feeling a specific word, image, or sensation, like touching the back of your neck. Next time you need to summon some pluck, just reach up and touch your neck.

Nobody Laughing

“Nobody laughing
All the good times
Getting harder to come by without weeping”

Instead of discussing interesting topics, you talk about your health. Everybody I know has cancer. Except for those too scared to go to the doctor. Believing if they live in denial they’ll be okay. But the Big C waits for no one. Do it now, go to the doctor and live, because if you think the sand in the hourglass is endless, you’re sorely mistaken. Turns out there’s not as much as you think. And you don’t want to live forever anyway, with all your friends gone.

“And I don’t know the answer
Does it even matter?
I’m wonderin’ how”

The question of the ages, the meaning of life. What is it? Damn if I know. Anybody who tells you otherwise is ignorant or a charlatan. In high school you want to live for yourself, make all your own decisions. As you age you look for the instruction book, the manual, you want answers, because you certainly have none.

But it’s all irrelevant.

Forty years ago there was no Costco. For all I know, forty years from now food will be grown at home in your 3-D printer. Just like you no longer have to go to the post office to send a missive, how you no longer have to go to the bank to manage your money, the changes come fast and furious, unforeseen. And you do your best to adjust.

And it does get harder as you get older.

And sheer will cannot fight Father Time.

And it is farther away as you get closer.

Just when you think you’ve finally figured it out, you find out you were wrong. The hurricane destroys your house, depletes your life savings. The earthquake topples your abode. You thought you were prepared, but life is laughing at you. Pray if it makes you feel better, but no one’s listening. Not God, not the government, not the media. You’re on your own.

Unless you’ve got a good record collection.

And someone to listen to it with.

Then you’re all right.

I think we are getting OLDER

We think we know where we’re going. We have a plan and stick to it. Or we fall into something and do our best to get ahead and then suddenly…time has passed, we’re older, we can’t get back to where we once belonged, we can’t start over, and suddenly we’re not sure we like where we are.

It’s the human condition. It causes firings, quittings and divorces. It’s our one and only go-round and we don’t want to make a mistake. And what they don’t tell you is it’s hard enough to accomplish one thing, never mind everything. Suddenly you take a good look around because you’re never going to be back. You lose your looks, you’ve still got the sexual fantasy, but not quite the ability, and the people at Costco are younger than you.

And that’s when you hear “See The Changes” on the radio.

That’s exactly what happened yesterday.

After seeing the two bedraggled men exiting the building wearing brand new bright orange Fila sneakers, on sale for barely double digits, after holding back from scolding the mother with the toddler balancing on the handrail of the cart, about to fall off, after seeing a 65″ TV for $3500, after realizing that while I was busy in my house trying to make it for twenty five years, everything changed, I tuned into the mellifluous sound of Stephen Stills telling me he experienced the same damn thing.

It’s hard to rearrange. That’s what freaks me out about my contemporaries, not their eagerness to diet and fit into children’s clothing, but their lack of desire to change. They like physical books, they abhor the DVR, they’re dead and they don’t even know it yet. They’ve given up. And what happens next is you’re discarded. Like the Republican Party, which couldn’t read the statistics, which didn’t realize the immigrant tsunami, the people of color, were going to bury them. Adjust or die.

And I was once young too, with an answer for everything. But now I hit countless dead ends. I know Verizon has better connections than AT&T, that all those using another provider are having a second-rate experience, but maybe they have a good sex life, maybe the connection just doesn’t matter.

I’m gonna be sixty – something…….

Unlike some in the press I’m not gonna shave a decade off my age in order to appear young and hip, because my hip hurts, you can get plastic surgery, put on a happy face, but you’re still your real age inside, you might as well own it, especially because once you die you’ll be…forgotten.

That’s the dirty little secret. You think you matter, that you’ll be remembered, but has anybody even mentioned Mindy McCready to you today? I think not. And that proves the point.

Surviving is difficult. All those musicians who O.D.’ed, they took the easy way out. Life is full of changes and challenges. Every time you think you know what’s going on the mirrors descend, the fast ball turns into a curve ball and you’re suddenly clueless. The only ones confident in their opinions are the youngsters, who know so little they think they know everything.

My friend went to Costco. I am not a member. Because I’m not…. We need people to rely upon, to point the way, to be in our corner. Otherwise life’s just too difficult.

I’m sure he enjoyed eating a strangely bland hot dog and then being confronted with scads of people much younger, beating the prices at the Albertsons right next door. I’ll bet it is so exciting, poring through the goods, more fun than being famous.  I’m getting older and just want to relax, be myself, not waste time, do our best to fit into life like an old worn-out shoe.

I can just see the girl stumbling around in the high heels. These I don’t get. You can’t walk so you’ll look cool to other women? Overpaying for the privilege of wrecking your feet? Or maybe I missed the memo, maybe I’m the outlier here, but I get turned-on by these suddenly taller females not a bit. Kind of like Stevie Nicks on Letterman last week. Teetering on high heels singing a song nobody cared about. It’s just sad. Having to emulate who you once were. As the rest of the world ages, adjusts, moves on.

“She has seen me changing
It ain’t easy rearranging
And it gets harder as you get older
And farther away as you get closer”

MAKING TALENT and RECORDS

You start with talent.
Then you make the record.
Today you make the record first. Your talent is social-networking, marketing.

OM

“And the word is…OM”

Yes, we’re meditating, we’re in the sweat lodge, we’re communing on a higher plane…OM.

For those who didn’t live through the sixties, who worship cash as opposed to sensory development, that’s pronounced…”Ahh–uuum.”

“The rain is on the roof
Hurry high butterfly
As clouds roll past my head
I know why the skies all cry
OM, OM, heaven, OM”

No Ferrari, no kicking to the curb, no us versus them, rather we’re all in it together, contemplating this wondrous universe.

Either you know “In Search Of The Lost Chord” or you’ll play it now and be both astonished and mesmerized…because it sounds like absolutely nothing else. That’s how music was back then, instead of trying to emulate, all our acts were on different paths.

If you are CONFUSED…….. THINK MOODY BLUES…

They were a beacon. The soundtrack of a generation….. Then again, they were not the only ones….

When it is COLD at college

Now you’ve got to understand, January is damn cold. And you wear the same jeans when it’s in the single digits as you do in the summertime. So other than walking to class and meals, you stayed inside. And truly bonded with your brethren, truly made friends.

And you know how college is… You know nobody and nothing and you make friends and you find out months later that they’re nothing like you and you ditch them for new people and are embarrassed when you run into the old ones for the next four years, at least at a college like Middlebury, where there were only 1600 students. We’d be walking down the path and discover an interesting bird, or something startling on the sidewalk in order to avoid eye contact with someone we used to talk to all the time but now wanted nothing to do with.

And my new friend, Denis, he had a whole different set of friends from me. And every night they congregated in another room on the second floor, where we listened to the Allman Brothers’ “Idlewild South,” Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla” and…the Moody Blues’ “In Search Of The Lost Chord”…and had sex all night. (Come on…. What do you expect from Music Majors)

Now I’d become a huge Moody Blues fan. But I only had the orchestral “Days Of Future Passed,” which I listened to on my Norelco compact cassette player on the drive to college in the fall.
Dave occasionally played “To Our Children’s Children’s Children,” which puts a smile on my face every time I hear it.

You know…

“Timothy Leary’s dead
No, no, no, he’s outside looking in”

Sounds hackneyed and dated, I know. But that’s the intro. “Legend Of Mind” goes on for six plus minutes, getting faster and slowing down, bending notes, ascending and descending, it’s like a drug trip, one so good you become firmly convinced all drugs should be legalized.
This is why we loved our albums. Because stuff like this was never made for the radio, but just for you at home, listening. There was no second-guessing of gatekeepers, this was the music the musicians wanted to make, and we loved it and them.

Want to make a statement? Something cohesive, that will enthrall the listener? Then be my guest, make an album.

Winter Term

Now when I was at college, we had something called “Winter Term,” a four and a half week stretch wherein we took only one course, intensively and…
Skied all afternoon and had sex all night.

I stumbled into my freshman winter term course, “Political Campaigning,” wherein you ran your candidate all the way to the election, managing the trials and tribulations, the twists and turns of a Presidential campaign.

Unfortunately, my team represented the Republican candidate, which was akin to running a Communist in the twenty first century. You see in 1967, everybody in college was a Democrat, we literally could point out the Republicans on campus. Our guy was a nonstarter. So I decided to drum up some action by claiming the other party’s candidate had fathered an illegitimate child. This just sank our guy further.

I love this stuff.

But little did I know this was what was commonly referred to as a “gut” course. It became clear upon the first meeting, when I noticed all the athletes in attendance. Who sat in the back and never said a word, if they bothered to come to class at all. And three books were assigned, which we didn’t have to read.

And I ended up with a lot of free time for the aforementioned skiing and sex.

I skied the first nine days of the term in a row. I beat that record after a four day cold in the middle of the month. That’s why I went to College, to ski!

I did not go to have sex. BUT………

No answers…. Just questions

How are you being affected by these times? How do you feel about your work? Do you find yourself buried in meaningless tasks? Do you find it hard to remember what you’re here to do? Do you feel your patience, generosity and compassion eroding? Or are you more committed to the people you serve, the causes you care about and the people you love? How crazybusy are you? How often do you feel profoundly tired? How much does your life leave you deeply inspired?

Every day I make a choice not to give up. That approach makes me a “warrior of perseverance.”

Our path is fraught with risks. “Maybe we’ll stumble, maybe we’ll fall, maybe we’ll just grow really weary, and we’ll have to sit on the sidelines for a while.”