Fathers

This is my seventh Father’s day. Yesterday driving along the lakes in Tellico, my two young boys next to me, it felt warm and home like. The inner dialogue, which I tried to silence couldn’t help but rattle off thoughts about love, and family – a narrative still fumbling and working hard to stick with me.

When my oldest son was born I remember promising myself I wouldn’t allow my family to split. Three years after its break up, I’m still very much asking the universe to guide me to myself without the foundations of my kids, and the idea of family, or what I assumed my experience would be like. And its ok…I’m not an unhappy person, quite the contrary, I’M ALIVE.

Not seeing my sons every morning is crushing. The little things, a mannerism, the soft smiles of innocence, the skipping, and tripping over invisible lines – I miss a lot of it. And it hurts. But it’s also an opportunity for my own life as an individual. Even when we have families and become parents deciding to take care of other humans, it doesn’t mean we give up on ourselves. We have to develop our own dreams and follow our paths to be good parents. Society will trap you into thinking what being a “good” parent means, but I’m looking to be there for my kids as a friend, and a father when they need that too. For me to do that I have to welcome them into my world by not subtracting from what makes it different. They want to know who we are as people.

The other day my oldest son said to me “its because you’re like a kid Dad, you’re like us” in response to my excitement over a character we were discussing or something. That made me so proud as a Father.

Being a parent is hard y’all. This isn’t a movie with an editing room. We mess up, we blow it big time, and in the aftermath we have a choice. The teaching moments come when we too make mistakes, and those are the chances for us to teach our children, to allow them the respect to be human by inviting them to our personalities so they can see being human has nothing to do with perfection, and everything to do with learning from being flawed.

For me, that’s what I’m enjoying – having the awareness to see our friendship beginning.

I-N-D-I VIDUAL

Writing to this…

So there it is, up in the air, movements for the currency. I’m just a dude with mad problems or no problem at all, the why and the how – a fixated thing commingling with strength – a new face with armor for amour and what not. You see, I’m just a dude raised by that which makes me individual. I – N – D – I – vidual.

“Did you think too much today?”

“Yeah man, I did, shed a few tears as my car rolled through to see ya”

“What’s it mean?”

“Don’t know… I asked God in my note app for help, felt things pouring off me”

“You believe in God?!”

“I want to, I cry for God, I yearn to feel its universe take me over and set me free”

You see, we just people, without much true definable balances. We just people, fractions and experiences giving us the bumps and gold that we are ourselves asking for.

‘What do you want?”

“Want? Hmmm,..to feel this weight in something other than anger, to accept everything I cannot change, to punch a city block with my fist and watch it explode…to hug my cat outside for the first time. To stand up in a crowded space and yell “what are you really thinking?” I want a lot of things, but I already have so much of what I wanted the last time we spoke”

“Yeah its been a minute. What’s next if you don’t really want anything? You should def stand up and yell that sometime”

“I might…No clue really, maybe just some clearing for my head, for a day, maybe,… I need some new shoes fella, maybe a rich older women who will let me be a house cat”

You see, no matter what the differing languages or narratives that are fiction…Its all just a game. Others around us feed off our contemplation, life being life, an excitable risk but a hurtful immediacy for the ones living it. Although the very art of living it, means you are experiencing the major gift afforded to a human being – to know you’re alive means to feel being alive. To know you feel means you are being yourself…the rest is the rest, and the low frequencies of communications don’t stick, hell, they don’t even register a wave of any kind. So forget’m

“Are you down?”

“Yeah man, I’m down, exposed, and raw, ready to be vulnerable and tough, so I guess I’m not all the way as you said, down”

“Whatcha gonna do about it?”

“I’m going to put one foot in front of the other, and keep walking through doors dude, one day at a time”

“Ha, that sounds like a self help mantra”

“Right…I mean, everything out here is some form of “Self Help”, even the shit we do that doesn’t help, it all goes back to that place,  either way you swing it.”

“Good point”

You see, I’m a man who is still, but inside me is a current that gives, and loves, and works. Its the ocean, its the animal vibrations, the camp fire rumination, and the words I stutter when they make me nervous. And I get nervous, and I’m still here. Thats effort, that who is me, and me who is him – a complicated pulsing body of energy just waiting for the next story, in this book that has absolutely no dust on it, because its used, a favorite, A “I can’t put it down” top ten, favorite – existence, full bodied expression, a sun a moon, and the damn dirt to burry the bullshit. Don’t forget your shovel.

“You believe in Flow?”

“Like what…if it flows, then it goes?… yeah man, thats how I’m out here now, flow, or bye in all directions, but nervous, def nervous, or i was taught to be”

“How do you know though?”

“You don’t, its about listening to the awareness you’ve worked for up until now, and testing it, learning, failing, creating a remedy to improve”

“That seems like it could get too passive, or hell, even lonely”

“Well, as applied to being with girls or friends in gerneral, yeah man, it can be tricky, but you just feel it, you know, a sense of it, if its too hard, or nerve racking, then its just not happening…ha, I say that but its complicated, I’m open to all suggestions, I have no clue what you do once you step out of the philistine cage”

You see, the faces are planted in time I cannot reach anymore, no reasons, no rhymes, just bankrupt old news that fuels the epiphany curriculums for these new pathways. Give me an edge and I’ll  put it on a sword, place it into a stone, then watch it shoot out colors of imagination. Your storms are not negotiable. I am I-N-D-I VIDUAL, all the  thrills, highly original. Turn the page please.

“You ever regret things, surely you regret something, right?”

“Regret?, yeah man, I regret talking to you right now, no but for real…yeah, I regret things. I mean, I’m alive and thats gonna come with a lot of regret, a lot of contemplations, so much wonder about the “what if,” and the “should not”, but its too late for any of that. The regrets aren’t real, they don’t exist. I can be anyone I want to be, at any moment. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t feel for those situations I could regret. When we regret it means a part of ourselves is out in the world and that narrative we fear belongs to the mind of someone else, we fear those versions of ourselves that no longer belong to us, and will never be us again.”

“I think I know what you mean, like…opinion, or reputation?”

“Sure, or anything really, that moments you regret is frozen, and frankly they are gifts to others who need them to feel better about their regrets, we have to be the villain as much as we have to be the victim, or the hero, we owe debts for each”

“Now I’m lost”

“Good, because you’re too young not to be lost”

You see, its all moving and changing and circling back to a different you in this point in time. Nothing matters anymore but the next step forward, the ego is dead, so redundant in its exposure, its lack of care, its general sense of black hole dispositions, just dead. The prancing taps of your feet can pull you up from the grown swirl, then you can shoulder that shit, let it dip, push it with the hip, then brush it off with your newest versions, tighten up your fancy for the next episode in what is sure to be a regret or a win, or the story you feed yourself for your future. We just change, nothing more. We just are now, nothing more. Next phase please.

“Good seeing you man”

Yeah, it was, thanks for letting me express things, I needed it today buddy”

“Don’t thank me, Its fun to see you passionate about something” 

“I love ya”

“Love you too”

“No matter what”

 

 

Necessary Illusions – Nomadic Firs

Necessary illusions Artwork

The original design is a painting I created last summer, For the song art I made edits using photoshop – adding negative space for a minimal feel. 

Among the wide range of things I enjoy doing, music is probably the one area I spend most of my time. Well, at least for the last decade or more, two decades if you count my start in the DJ/Promoter world. Both of which I have plans to get back into in the next year. My “to do” list is getting quite full these days, grateful for that.

I just released “Necessary Illusions” from my project Nomadic Firs. It’s the first single from a brand new album. It will be out early next year, and it’s called – What’s The Narrative?  The new song along with all my previous releases are available on all major streaming sites, including Spotify – here.

The vocal was recorded five years ago, but the music around it has changed a dozen times.

 

Lyrics

“Every time you fade awhile”

Verse 1

“One more shot for the way you feel, its out there in the way its falling. I heard you running wild, thrilling the way you look for smiles. If you need some concentration everyone is out there at the gala. We can only be free if we set it off for awhile.”

“Every time you fade awhile”

Verse 2

“Everytime you fade awhile, I can be nothing but the silent. Running to the alley way, figure out what to say is right. I don’t need no one for me, everyone is wrapped up in illusion. You can be waiting for, the right person, your whole life.”

“Every time you fade awhile”

 

There will be a slew of singles released before the album is out in full. The new record will have guest singers and will go in a variety of different directions.

Temple

The two drink hangover is a new phenomenon in my experience. For once I opted to leave early, take the exit to ensure a quality nights sleep before my early morning class the next day. In the past I would allow the moment to pass by me, knowing I should leave  but opting for curiosity – a continuation to explore what the night might bring.

The evening was relaxed –  I needed the drink and chat to come down from a five hour round trip car ride through the mountains of North Carolina, then back home to Tennessee – a perfect day for a drive. I met a couple of friends I haven’t seen in over a year at Public House. I bonded with her last summer, and felt our time together could bring more than it had  – energy not living up to its full potential – deeper friends. They are both good people, working tirelessly to figure out there love dynamic – what they are, want, or need. We chewed on relationships, I gave my verbal dance of opinion, felt a bit over cooked after the exchange but a text today made me realize I was over thinking it. When I get around people in public spaces my hands and arms get active – I begin to feel like a magician whose trying too hard to sound smart. And I’m trying to figure out my own head space for love. The times shared felt good though  – a safe space with untamed energy bubbling underneath potent honesty.

Earlier in the day I took my sons to a Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) where we sat with friends listening to music, and a sermon. I sat next to an elder, not sure if thats what to call him. He translated the sermon in my right ear, and the lyrical themes from the two musicians who came in from Chattanooga. He is a kind man, gracious in his delivery – understanding I had no real clue what was taking place. Other than a few political science and religious courses in college, I didn’t have much to latch onto for what was taking place – I was disarmed in my pride around ignorance. I asked him where he was from, he had a puzzled look on his face. He said “I am from here, came here in 95” “But I was born in India”. Being the person I am, for a moment I felt bad, like I had offended him – but once I reminded myself that it was ok to ask that question, it was ok to not know anything about the Temple. In this mind set I was able to see it from unfettered eyes.  Everyone treated us like family, hugging my children as their own.

When you enter the Gurdwara (residence of the guru)  you take off your shoes and cover your head to show respect. My sons never questioned it, just followed my lead. After the sermon, large bowels with prasad (similar to cookie dough) were passed around – a blessed food received with cupped hands as a gift from God. We had three helpings, and others shared more with us – my kids loved it. After the sermon we all walked downstairs to eat together. The food was dynamic, enriching, and whole, not vegan but vegetarian – potatoes, rice, garbanzo beans, and other things.

All together we were at the Temple for five hours. In the past three months I have been to three different kinds of Sunday worship – Universalist, Christian, and Sikhism. I’m looking for it, ready to engage in a self that has deeper meaning, one that will vacate the notions of singularity – the hope that through God, or the universe, my intent as a human being will find a true sense of the word love. Going inward toward discipline feels better than continuing the wild notions of nothing.

One Shake To Go

IMG_1102.jpg

It was Black Friday – there we were in a sea of locals getting ready to watch the annual lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony. In all the years I’ve lived in Knoxville this was my first time. Not sure why in the 14 years I’ve  lived here I’ve never made it – Especially since the house is a short drive away.  We parked at my folx new condo just outside the central downtown area. Taking the short walk up the hill it felt really good to be in the mild air, faint raindrops started coming down as we took our stroll though the holiday festivities. Since it was raining we hopped in The Pharmacy for one chocolate/vanilla shake to go, we share’d it. My sons are very well behaved, you can take them anywhere and they just hang out – no fuss, no problems. A new friend met up with us just before the lights went on. We stood behind the tree on Gay st – the main show was in Krutch Park, in front of the tree, but I knew getting in the crowded mix with my little dudes wouldn’t be worth it for us. We just wanted to be close and have room to breathe. As soon as the lights went on the fireworks started raging. We all jumped out of our shoes. I had no clue they did fireworks and we were directly underneath them. The volume of each ricochet reverberated between the buildings, bouncing like a metal ball with military rhythm – Valley was scared. I held my hands over his ears for the show, pulling him close to me so he knew we were ok. At one point both of my sons clung onto me like  a gift that needed to be wrapped, it wasn’t scary but the tension was enough to bring our love together. I felt larger than life being their Father, hip even, solid like a rock. They are my guys, we are a family and I’m grateful I belong with them. Kids aren’t for everyone,  and I get that, but I can’t imagine being able to feel what I feel with them if I wasn’t a parent.

After the ceremony we strolled to the old city for east coast style pizza pie at Davincis – super clutch food for the moment. The four of us split a large pepperoni, laughing and replaying how loud the fireworks sounded. Truth be told, I’m not much for the loud banging noises. Not sure when it started, there’s something odd about a bunch of people gathering for this type of stimulus. I’m glad we went though, it gave us a reason to be in the center of the holiday spirit – People everywhere, families in the south doing what they do.

Living in a small town has always been on my old guy to do list. I picture a small loft above a hardware store, next to the local diner where everyone knows your name. I sit in my space writing, recording music, then popping around the block to catch up on the daily hellos, maybe walking my pup, or catching a coffee with my person. I never thought of Knoxville this way until last night. It’s a small city with support so it feels bigger. While it has a real vibrancy to it, you’ll see familiar faces every time you navigate an event. Its cool, feels tight knit and communal.

Our Thanksgiving found us starting a new tradition with our family friends. We’ve known them for years, but have yet to really get into the center of each other’s lives for the holiday spirit – that all changed this year. The atmosphere was comfortable, effortless, without forcing the issue. It helps when the people you’re bonding with are interesting, bringing an equal half of the conversation coin. You can feel love-growing, friendships that go beyond the small time chatter – A genuine care for each other’s welfare, freed from any one person trying to be the center of everyone’s attention. They had never met my sons, so it was nice to finally bring such a big part of my life into the circle.

There’s a security that comes with being a parent. Yes it’s hard and can be complicated, especially as a single parent. But when I’m with them I feel the strongest aspects of my individual self. I genuinely feel strength, pride, and love. My sons give me courage to walk freely, understanding who I am, while not being afraid of anything. They make me feel human on the biggest scale. They’re so kind and loving, curious, and willing. It reminds me of the attributes I seek to master – you just live when you’re with them, no thinking, no worry, just being. Maybe its just my head coming out of the scarring that has been my last couple years – like that stabbing pain in your side while laughing, months after having pneumonia- one day its just gone. Maybe I’ve finally learned how to sit up right for the big wave – existence with balance? Doubtful.  I’m not sure why I feel this way these past couple days.  Its as if the long walk through the woods finally let up and I see a clearing, a next level (if you will) in all the previous work of “self” that’s been done. I have no answers, but I feel it. The last year in my life dealt so much with patience, being still, observing, and trying to figure out which instinct to run toward. I think one day you realize you can’t always take care of other people, or try to save them. At some point you have to be the center so when you turn toward others you’re a whole person – strong, ready, capable. In this moment there’s a centering, some kind of release from the mental prison I was nestled in for almost two years, a black hole the last 12 months. There is less of a  weight on my chest, and my soul finally smiled for the first real time in a long time.  If I didn’t believe in something greater than myself I’d say at a certain point you’re just done with worrying.  Done wondering, done looking for whatever it is you think you are looking for. Thankfully, I do believe in energy greater than my own – Love on the grandest scale, God, Art – how infused as one are all powerful.

Part of me sees that my failures have been putting too much emphasis on how much I can feel from anyone else, when the whole time the context is larger – a wider lens that requires you to find the proper focus before looking. No experience is a bad one. I’m weathered from my lessons, silent still, even more laid back. Impossible to imagine the person I was before now, arriving here, and maybe it’s fleeting like so much of life can be if you narrowly see your own experience. Regardless, in this moment the presence I have prayed for, the existence I have chain smoked while starring into the dark distance of parking lots, backyards and open plains for, has shown a still shot of peace.

“Shuttering, his eyes caught a glimpse of the one he was waiting for, himself”

Of course, having my sons with me is the most obvious answer why I feel different. When they are home (with me) I can rest from wondering, rest from shame or guilt. I made myself a promise when my oldest was born, that no matter what I did in my life I wouldn’t stray from my kids – as my father did to me. The hard part is accepting that I can still keep that promise… it just won’t look the way I pictured it. The past is the past.

“We are the lab rats of our own experience”