A quick hello and some thoughts on peace
Hi friends!

I hope you're doing great. 

I was going to do a video for y'all, but videos make me start thinking left brain (data, performance, production, editing) and right now I'm in "creative" mode and don't want to throw off that game. I figured that, of all the people in my life who would "get that", you would be the ones to do that.

I am SO THANKFUL for your patronage, and tis the season, but still, seriously...your gift towards my art is why I get to take some time like this to create where otherwise I'd be playing some restaurant where no one was listening to get the rent taken care of. I'm sorry there hasn't been lots of content this month, but it's been a month for reflection, and changes, and creativity...and when I started feeling bad about this, I realized "hey wait...this is exactly, EXACTLY why they're patrons. So I can make art." So, I assure you, this has NOT been a month in vain. It has been a month full of good, and painful, and beautiful, art-making. (And a big tour at the start of November, which was lovely, by the way.)

You saw in the last video that I was going through a bit of a personal thing. It's very complicated and full of weird emotions and I am NOTHING IF NOT AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE. :-)  So, it's been a very raw month, but also a place, in my life anyway, where beauty emerges. 

A lot of these new songs are about taking risks, and caring enough to adventure, and caring enough to make a change even if it's hard. Bottom line is, I couldn't be writing about those things and yet too scared to make my own life changes, too. 

Even with a slower month though, expect a song demo by the end of it! :) 

Okay, enough about all that - I still wanted to offer something to you, and so here's a short essay of sorts. A few words on peace.

I've been thinking a bit about the difference between being at peace, and being cold. I think a lot of people imagine peace as this place where nothing is happening. A straight line on the earthquake scale. It's cool, man. All cool.

That kind of definition of peace comes from this idea that when something is happening in life, it's "Bad" or at the very least "Unsafe". So a lot of folks end up chasing the day when, eventually, nothing bad is happening at all. And whenever anything bad does happen, they run away from ever experiencing that again, and try to not react to it emotionally, or to respond LESS each time something bad does happen.

However, I think that better describes a 'cold' person. A cold person has had feelings that have hurt; and so they've decided to stop feeling anything altogether. Better to feel nothing at all then to have a risk of feeling something bad. 

But, that's not real peace. It's limiting...your world becomes smaller and smaller as you start closing up every section of relationships, emotion, etc that has hurt you before. Eventually you can get to the point to where, when something bad happens, it doesn't affect you emotionally, but what you'll find is when something GOOD happens...it doesn't affect you like it used to either. 

I think someone with real peace is a person who embraces the whole thing, who feels the whole spectrum of emotions, who rides the roller coaster, but has an inner center - a confidence within themselves that, even when everything isn't alright...it's alright. We aren't the only one who feels this way. People have been through worse and have smiles on their faces. And in fact, some people have had everything "perfect" happen to them and show up on TV shows super unhappy and insecure and full of fear. So whatever the journey hits you...feel what you need to feel. The tide rolls on. 

Another thing, too. The good kind of peace doesn't sway when other people, or groups, or political figures, try to defy your self worth. It doesn't mean you sit still and do nothing when someone comes with anger, lies, etc about you or those you love. It just means, you NEVER let those angry, small words define you. You don't let them TOUCH the core of who you are (which, if you don't know, who you are is loved, forgiven, with the potential to be an incredibly powerful and good force in the world.) You look that kind of anger, hatred, etc in the face, and you say to that darkness the actual, real truth of it: "You're afraid, aren't you? You're afraid of being loved, or love itself...but you're scared, and that's all your words are telling me." All unrest is fear, disguised in the many masks it tries to disguise itself in (anxiety, depression, guilt, pain, anger...all fear.)

This peace also frees you up to enact justice when you need to. It doesn't need you to stand still in order to keep feeling peaceful. You can feel peaceful while standing up for yourself, fighting for the downtrodden, and pursuing your dream. Peace isn't a straight line; it's being ON the roller coaster, being IN the hot air balloon, being in the MIDDLE of the break-up-ish-sort-of-thing-you're-going-through (clears throat) but keeping this larger sense of the world, and yourself, and this swiftly tilting planet, in perspective. And, using that perspective as a strong firm foundation to go on the adventure with a sense of security, deep down, not tied to any place or family member or thing.

I think I wanted to say that now, of all times, because the holidays bring up lots of stuff. People we've lost, relationships we had that did or didn't work out, the ever-complicated family. It can be wonderful, but it can be rough. So when/if something happens, or if it already has, don't shut down, limit yourself, or start avoiding/running from your feelings. Slow down, feel it. Pass through it. On the other side is a bigger world of peace.