Monday, December 22, 2014

How Music Helped Me

During the past three years, and in fact most of my life, there has always been a small amount of items that I find to help me through a rough time.  One item that I tend to have forgotten way too much, is the belief in something greater than myself.  Usually when I forget about IT, IT seems to slap me in the face in some way to remind me.  No, I’m not saying that IT can be vengeful, hurtful or anything of that nature.  What I am saying is that when we go off in a deep dark space, we have forgotten what IT is and how IT relates to us. 

That IT can be a thousand different things; God, Yahweh, Inner Peace, etc.  IT is what you believe is greater than you are.  It is where you find your strength, your faith, your understanding of the world around you.  To me IT is LOVE!  Not a physical love, or solely an emotional love, but a LOVE that grips you and makes you to want to be better then you are.  LOVE is knowing that you have to do something in a Positive way to help change lives, to help improve the world for Everyone.

When one is centered in LOVE or IT, they show love towards everyone and everything.  They act in a way that is unselfish, that is given freely, that is positive.  It is when we are not centered that our love becomes tainted and negative.  That’s when people are injured physically, emotionally, and when people die.  When we are not centered, it is when we act from our selfishness and do things that we want and not what is best for humanity.

During those times that I am off centered, I usually can be brought back to by my surroundings and in many cases, those surroundings has music playing.  I am a man who loves to hear an upbeat song, a song that reminds me that LOVE is greater than I am.  And during these past three years, there have been many songs from my past, and in my present that remind me of how off centered I can be.

Music, has always been there to help me through my path, my trials and tribulations.  But, I know there are songs that can be negative, and have no positive value to the world at hand.  People express themselves in a variety of ways, for the place and time that they find themselves.  I do the same by choosing songs that are about LOVE.  It is at those times that I can find my way back to being centered, and at peace.  And yes, I will admit, it may take days or months of listening to a lot of songs to get myself back to where I should be.  But, oh it is so worth it.

Over the past few years, even right before I became homeless, I had started to work on a concept of a Spiritual Musical using songs that have a dance beat.  There is nothing more enjoyable than sharing joy through dance.  To dance to a song that is uplifting and inspiring is to me a way of sharing the LOVE, to show ones desire to be in the moment and to show joy.

Thus, I have been compiling a collection of songs that I believe will tell of a story of loss, understanding and finding of ones centeredness with LOVE.  Will it ever be made, I sincerely hope it will be. I have even thought of the staging, who would work with me to meld the music together and a fun and joyful beat.  But, if it is not to be made, I at least can enjoy listening to the music and daydreaming of what it can mean to millions of others that are off centered and just need a reason to remember who they are and to celebrate that joy.

As part of this concept, I had created the Freedom Dance event.  Sadly, finances kept me from doing it more than one year.  On July 4th, 2013 I held the only event in Austin TX.  I had worked towards a second event and found a great dance song that I know would touch many people in different ways.  I still hope to make these events happen down the road once I have more money to spend on creating it.  Until then, I know that IT will share the concept with others who will create something similar to what I created.  Joy and Love should always be shared, especially during the dark times of one’s life.

Let music guide you to your peace and joy.

Life goes on…I go on

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What is Your Motivation to keep Going?

What is Your Motivation to keep Going?

This question was recently asked of me by my Aunt.  She has followed my struggles over the past few years, and knows in more detail of my ups and downs, then I have put on this blog.  I was at first taken back by the question, but I guess I should help explain why she asked the question in the first place.

My aunt, like many people today, is going through a rough time of her own.  In fact, for the past five years she and her husband have been struggling to get out of bankruptcy, refinance their home and to keep their business alive.  They live in California, so that may help explain why she is having a rough time.

She has commented to me a few times that she sees me as an inspiration for her, which for me is a bit bizarre for me to understand.  She’s a few years older than I am, and so I can’t see why a younger man, who has not lived a very successful life could be an inspiration.  But as I have been thinking back over the past few years, I have done my best to keep living.  And that is the key, and why I believe she sees me as an inspiration.

My family never had money, we were always just above the poverty line, well most of the time we were.  My mom had worked hard to earn a living and support my sister and I.  Not an easy task for anyone to do.  She never had the opportunity for college, so like myself, we could not advance through company structure as one with a college degree can do.  No matter how smart she was, and she was very smart in her industry teaching her male bosses how to get things done properly, she never really earned enough, nor was given the opportunity to advance.  While I’m no genius, I do have the knack for learning things that I want to learn, and excelling in my own way.  But again, one of my perceived short comings is no college degree.

Even so, I have seen people worst off then myself, even now as I am homeless.  I see others on the street barely surviving.  I see people who have good jobs totally losing it when something bad happens to them.  I watch the news and read about people who commit suicide because they believe their life is not worth living for.  And yes, I too had those thoughts at times.  I mean, who wouldn’t.    You lose all physical belongings, a place that was considered a home, your income and faced with little to no help or the possibility for help.  Why continue to live?

That’s the thing, while you may have lost everything, you haven’t really lost it all.  Just look around and you will see people in worst shape then you are.  The homeless, the uneducated, the ones that seem to be kept down by others, and so much more.  In addition, there is one thing that NO ONE can take from you that really does make a difference; Your Spirit, Your Soul!  Until that is taken away from you, then life is worth living for.  Even if it seems like you are in hell. 

While this is cliché to say, ‘from the ashes rises the Phoneix’, ‘God only gives you what you can handle’, ‘from this, you will become stronger,’ and so many other sayings.  It’s true!  But it all depends on YOU!  Do you want to become stronger, better, wiser?  Do you want to survive?  Do you want your life to mater?  Even if your answer is a small squeaky yes, it’s worth trying.

So while I continue to look around and see people who are in worst shape then I am, I am grateful to be where I am, and to know that I am moving forward.  There are times that something happens to me that makes me feel as if I have gone backwards, but even in those times, it is only temporary.  I am 54 as I write this, and I do not believe my life is over.  I do not believe that I do not still have something of value to give to this world to help make it better.  I REFUSE to believe that I am done!

For that reason, Life goes on...I go on

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Progression of my bed

Over the past three years, I have had many sleeping arrangements as a homeless man.  While there have been moments of joy in sleeping at a hotel room when I travel for work, the reality is really what I sleep on the most in my storage unit.

Below are pictures showing the progression, while the bed coverings have remained the same for the most part, the quality of the bedding continues to improve.

For the first week of being homeless, I slept on this park bench that was alongside a run/walk trail at Lady Bird Lake here in Austin.  Luckily, money came in quick enough that allowed me to get my first storage unit, a 5’x 10’ unit, where I curled up against my boxes in an extremely small space for sleep.  Since I was unable to lock the door while I was inside, I had to be careful not to kick the unit door open by accident as I tried to get comfortable, and stay comfortable during the course of a night’s sleep.

After three months of that small space, I was able to upgrade to a 10’ x 10’ unit, which allowed me space to stretch out, while also giving me a little more peace of mind about accidentally kicking the door open, as this new space had a roll up door.

I had quickly purchased foam bedding that people use as an extra cushion on a mattress and slept on that for over a year.  I was then able to buying a folding cot.  This simple luxury lasted only a few months, as cots are not really designed for daily use.  The springs soon started to give out to my 200 lb weight and by the end of six months, I lost half the springs, which meant the material sagged heavily, not giving me much to sleep on. 

Instead of buying a replacement cot, I used the metal frame and bought a piece of ply wood to go on top of the cot.  The 1” thick bedding material from the cot, and the foam egg shell bedding didn't make the hard ply wood easy to sleep on at times.  But, I was off the floor, not having to fight with roaches, spiders or other bugs that crawled on the floor at night.  So, no matter how uncomfortable the ply wood was, I was still happy to be off the floor.

I have been building my credit back up since the bankruptcy and the loss of my business, and because of that, I have been able to buy my latest bedding on credit; a roll away mattress.  The mattress that came with it, in addition to the egg shells bedding and cot mattress gives me a much more comfortable sleep at night.  It only took three years for this progression, and though it’s still not a formal bed in a home, it is still an improvement and one I am grateful for.

In time I know I will be in a home of sorts, and I will be able to buy a formal bed.  Until then, I keep working towards a bright future as I work at my day job and work my non-profit helping people achieve their goals.

Life goes on…I go on