Unite.

Good evening reader,

September was a whirlwind for many of us, and this month has started off no better. Following the events of Sunday night, my hands have clung to my guitar, and my mind is swirling with lyrics and lines and “why’s” and “when’s” and “what the hell is going on? is this the end?”

Please know, you are not alone in your anger, fears, shock and sadness. This is the time to unite with those around you who share a common goal and passion. This is the time to create, get involved, and speak up. This is the time to express, cry, and rest.

How can anyone do all of these things? Balance. Boundaries. Love.

Balance can be difficult to experience on any given day, and requires deep insight to begin the work of becoming a “balanced” person. The need to feel balanced encourages us to assertively state our needs, and to prioritize tasks between mandatory and ‘if I can get to it.’ And don’t forget, we have to consider the needs of those around us like our family, friends, community, city, and the country that we live in. The hard thing to accept about “balance” is understanding that we will never achieve lasting balance.

Boundaries are very important in regards to becoming a “balanced” person. This means being able to set limits for yourself and to set limits on what others can rely on you for – emotional energy, time completing tasks, etc. Many people struggle by taking on too many tasks, setting high-expectations for self, and difficulty delegating to those around them. These difficulties lead to hidden resentments which can damage relationships, negatively impact self-esteem, and decrease productivity overall. Other struggle with low-motivation, trouble setting goals, and difficulty following through with tasks to completion. These difficulties produce the SAME issues. Why? Feeling out of control – imbalance.

Love – as corny as it sounds – is the ultimate solution. This means self-love, and love for others. This means unconditional support of your dreams, confidence in your abilities, and making sure you are a priority! This also means love for others. I am talking about not judging others’ decisions, supporting individual strengths, and making sure those close to you know that they are a priority too! By uniting in love, we can feel balanced and in control in this crazy world. Love allows us to feel safe, comfortable, and strong. We can create plans, achieve goals, and make a difference.

So my challenge for you today reader is to reach out to someone who shares a passion of yours, and schedule a date. Process that craziness that is happening around us, and create a plan for how to make a difference – even if it is “small.” Your meeting alone will change your spirit, and in turn, positively influence the culture around you – just like magic.

With love and light,

B

Some political punk noise for your tired hearts:

https://endlessmikeandthebeagleclub.bandcamp.com/

https://lissvictory.bandcamp.com/releases

https://cousinboneless.bandcamp.com/

Grounding

Good evening, dark hearts!

Today we are going to talk about grounding. Since the last post, I have met with multiple people in an attempt to re-connect, balance, and form an understanding about the emotional shifts I have been experiencing. Not only do I require my Reiki sessions from Rad Ritual, but also I also finding healing in tarot and oracle readings with dear friends or skilled practitioners. Every single person has highlighted the fact that I have been oscillating between emotional highs and lows lately, and not experiencing many “normal” days. I’ve either been feeling extremely productive and energetic, or totally exhausted and cut off. What to do, reader? What to do?

Grounding has many definitions in the spiritual world, and the mental health field. I prefer to think of it as a healthy way to distance yourself from emotional pain, and re-connect with the present and safe space. Imagine being able to switch the radio station of your mind to your favorite song, and allowing those lyrics and beats to fill you up.

The great thing about grounding techniques is that you already use some of them! The necklace around your neck that your grandmother gave you, the mantra hanging by your bathroom mirror to remind you of the beauty in the world, your favorite cherry flavored Chap Stick, or the enjoyment you feel when petting your cat. You see, the idea of grounding is to FOCUS on your senses, and learn to tolerate your current reality. The pain is NOT who you are – it is simply a feeling that WILL pass.

What do I mean by “emotional pain?” Grounding is useful for anxiety, low mood, racing thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, difficulty breathing, nausea, anger and more! Emotional pain and physical pain are so VERY linked, that your emotions can lead to physical issues like nausea or heartburn. If this might be you, then try some grounding before taking that “purple pill.”

The magic in grounding is that it can be done ANYWHERE, and no one would be the wiser. This tool is very powerful, because only you can make it stronger, and only you can wield it. With practice, you will have the power to quickly address emotional pain, and re-balance yourself. A-BRA-CA-DAB-BRA – BYE BYE PANIC ATTACKS!

I often use grounding before I perform on stage with my band. Typically I am feeling anxious about our set, and the expectation to expose my vulnerable side (up there for everyone to see). This past weekend I helped run a fundraiser for Ramming Speed Pictures, and was elated to share the stage with my friends from New York City. Watergate went first, and their music was upbeat and energetic. Watching a dear friend smile while playing the drums was mesmerizing, and I was able to calm by fully engaging with the crowd. I love to FEEL music. I want the noise to surround me, and tickle my skin. I want the hairs to stand up on my spine, and my body to rock with my friends. Kid Midnight was up next, and they brought something to our city that was fresh and unique. Electronic beats, angelic vocals, and catchy lyrics had everyone dancing together, and begging for more. I was able to wash away the rest of my nerves with this music, and prepare myself to share my “feels” with the crowd that kept me grounded all night.

My favorite part of the evening was witnessing and experiencing so many connections with old friends, and new. I discovered that the NYC drummer lives in Crown Heights, which is the title of my drummer and friend’s (Erik Pitluga) recent Single, which he wrote after a visit – a song I’ve had on repeat for a few weeks. Erik has the ability to sing with his fingers, and it is AMAZING. I shared my secret hide-a-ways and favorite local spots. I danced with strangers and ate yummy pierogies. I provided shelter for the bands, and made new pals. I felt connected and grounded thanks the beautiful people sharing space with me.

There are many ways to help yourself remember to practice grounding. One method I prefer is having objects like jewelry or a hot cup of tea. My favorite grounding objects are crystals, especially rose quartz (see necklace below)! I will always have gemstones in my purse, pockets, or worn as jewelry. A grounding object is most useful when it is something interesting to look at, something interesting to feel, and something that can make a sound. It can also be helpful to carry an object with a scent or taste, especially if those are your strongest senses. I would suggest an essential oil necklace for scent – very calming!

My challenge for you reader:

Find an object that has meaning to you (even if it’s a rock you find on the ground today).

Check in with your body, and from a scale of 1-10 (1 being calm and 10 being the worst stress you’ve ever felt) give yourself a number.

Do this exercise for 3 minutes while taking slow breaths in and out of your nose.

Hold your object and feel it. Look at it. Notice its colors, shape, textures, and temperature – what it is. Can it make a sound? Does it have a scent?

Check in with your body, and give yourself a number 1-10. Did the number go up or down? Did it stay the same?

If it went up – try a different grounding technique next time as this one may not be for you. If it went down – great – keep practicing! If it stayed the same – that’s okay – practice will only make you stronger!

Until next time…

Embrace the light and the shadows,

-B

 

PS. Resources

My favorite grounding coach Lisa: https://lifeafterwardotorg.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/grounding_techniques-1.pdf

Watergate: https://watergate1.bandcamp.com/

Kid Midnight: https://www.facebook.com/kidmidnightband/

Erik Pitluga: https://erikpitluga.bandcamp.com/

Ramming Speed Pictures: www.rammingspeedpictures.com

Rad Ritual: www.radritual.com

Supports & Resources

Welcome back!

The past 2 weeks have been full of so many mixed emotions. Reader, you can thank the moon of July for the ups and downs – the waves —for some of us, tidal waves. I know that I am very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful friends, and a vibrant music community. So much so, that I wasn’t sure what I would focus on for this entry. Then, the Clam Jam 2.0 happened.

“Build Supports and Resources” is a phrase often used by a therapist when encouraging someone to cultivate healthy friendships, join a group, or ‘find your weirdos,’ as I say. The idea of support is to surround yourself with solid bonds (with humans or fur-friends) that provide a safety net for the days that feel hard, and the moments that test your strength. Supportive pals are everywhere, but it can be difficult to find keepers sometimes. Resources, on the other hand, is the concept of having places that you go, hobbies that you enjoy, activities that keep you sane, and habits that move you forward towards “success” – whatever that means to you – yes, I said it – WHATEVER – meaning not what your parents, boss or Tammy next door thinks you should be doing with your life! Remember when I said to ‘find your weirdos’?

This mer-witch has been gathering weirdos since she could walk. I’d be scoping out the playground from the swing set looking for the loner kid to play hopscotch with, and share a juice box or two. And today, you can find me completely surrounded by the beautiful people of the Pittsburgh music scene and beyond. These people are MY weirdos.

My latest lovers go by “The Clams,” and August 4th, 2017 we held the Second Annual Clam Jam (Clam Jam 2.0: An Evening of Lady Jams)! This night was PURE magic. There was not a single moment in which I couldn’t taste the excitement, respect, and appreciation floating around in the dining room of Hambones. By 7:30 (before the music even started) every seat was claimed, and Jess Klein had to pull chairs out of the back room.

The Clams have been in communication for the past year, and our group chat provides a safe space for not only sharing music, but comfort when being harassed by others, guidance when facing a challenge, and motivation when feeling low. Comfort – Guidance – Motivation.

Friday night we shared the stage with each other. This includes jumping up to sing harmonies, borrowing each others’ guitars, complimenting one another, and igniting the space with love and light.

Often times I will look to my tarot cards as a resource when I cannot connect with a support. Or I can meet with a skilled reader to share in the exploration of this over-analytical mind. A few weeks ago I attended a Spirit Faire and had the pleasure of sitting down with a woman who encouraged me to find others that are equally as invested in developing their spirituality and sense of self. This includes creating music, because making music is a VERY exposed, honest, religious experience for me. Writing is cathartic. Singing is healing. Playing is an out of body experience. Performing is a universal – shared- MAGICAL – moment.

The best way I can describe this feeling is true connection. I feel truly connected to my band mates, the audience, the floor, the space, and beyond when I am experiencing this magic on stage. Even though the music is loud, and my body is emoting, there is a stillness and sense of understanding flowing from body to body. I now know this happens because a friend will share about what they felt, how a tear was shed, when chills ran down their spine, or why this song lifts their mood.

This is magic. The power to share body to body, and we are not even physically touching. The ability to influence the biological system of another through sound. Words altering connections in the brain to inspire new perspectives, and give hope. The Clam Jammers are some of the most magical women I have ever met – and it was felt by EVERYONE in attendance Friday.

So my challenge for you reader is to connect with your weirdos today. And if you feel like you are alone, then walk outside and find a loner that is looking for some comfort, guidance and motivation. We are out there. Looking for you. Looking for a shared, magical moment.

Say hi to the gentlemen at the bus stop, buy the gal in line with you a coffee, sit next to the kid on the bench at Friendship Circle and strike up conversation about our quirky city.

Explore. Connect. Create. Share. Be brave.

Be a weirdo.

 

Best,

B

 

P.S. Some links to connect with The Clams!

– Jess Klein (https://www.facebook.com/jkleinmusic/)
– Sadie Freund (https://www.facebook.com/SadiesMusic/)
– Amy Mmhmm (https://www.amymelissenmusic.com/)
– Tai Chirovsky (https://www.facebook.com/Tai.Chirovsky1/?pnref=lhc) (Photo above)
– Liss Victory (https://www.facebook.com/lissvictorymusic/)

Mindfulness

Mindfulness seems to be the hot trend this year, and as someone who has struggled with racing thoughts and an inability to completely entrench myself in one passion, it is a technique I must practice.

Mindfulness is our ability to fully experience where we are and what we are doing in a single moment. This means sensing the cooling of my body as my skin sweats because I’m in a pool of dancers in front of a local band. I am feeling the rhythm of the drum as it slows down my heart, and the low frequencies of the bass guitar as it shakes its way through my feet and up my spine. Instead of being lost in my thoughts, I can be completely surrounded by a song.

This is magic. Energy soaring through the air and my body soaking it in. This invisible resource is released from the guitars on stage, and is shared with the local punks through the words of the writer – the poet – the storyteller.

Our innate ability to connect with others, to feel others, to empathize, is healing. Our words have meaning and power. Our music is magic. I can only hope that this blog will encourage you to be connected with others, and share the magic in your life. This blog will act as a space for me to tell you about my friends, my experiences, and my growth.

First up is the recent release of “Replacement Therapy.” An album mindfully crafted by Cameron LeViere of Lawn Care. Cam put on an amazing performance this past Friday at the Glitter Box, which ignited the crowd and energized the space. (See photo full of movement and love below). My favorite part was screaming along to “Hard to Change.”

But you’re trying
Oh my god you’re trying
To live as if it’s worth it
Yeah you’re trying
Oh my god you’re trying
To live as if you want to live

Cam’s lyrics create change. These words allow others empathize, connect, and know that none of us are really alone. Together…we are trying.

A wise pal once said, “You are fabulous and beautiful – you are a velociraptor.” So be mindful of what you take in this week, as well as what you are putting out into our world. We are magical.

 

My challenge for you to try reader:

Wherever you are sitting right now, take a deep breath

Place your feet flat on the floor

Notice the sensations in your legs and arms as you breathe

Look around and acknowledge the people or animals near you

Do not judge anything, just notice what is

Love and light,

B