Soul Food

Soul Food

Fast food; convenient, inadequate, it's fast.  Soul food; home cooked, satisfying, it's slow.  We want what we want and most often we want it now.  We prefer taking the short cut to avoid taking the route that guarantees a successful arrival.  We even fill our lives with "preservatives" instead of natural nutrients, in hopes of feeling satisfied.  I am guilty of indulging in fast food, literally and figuratively, and the outcome is always the same; I am still hungry.  I am left feeling empty and looking to fill up on something good, but "good" takes time, patience and effort.  It is hard to wait and even harder to choose to wait, when there are so many options that are easier; I had grown tired of always feeling empty, but full of unhealthy choices.  So instead of selecting items from the combo meal menu, I decided to take time and be patient with the right people and opportunities.  I decided to fill my life with authentic goodness and although a home cooked meal may take longer, it is most certainly better food for the soul.

Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

"My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist as they looked up at the moonless sky.  "Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself."(1)  Approximately three and a half years ago there was a shift, an uncomfortable shift, that was the beginning phases of transition and upheaval of a life I had become complacent with.  Reflecting on it now, the picture is more broad and I can make sense of what was happening, but during that time it was only a "gut' feeling that indicated a change was occurring.  It was the routine, the monotony, doing the same things expecting different results, settling into a life that I knew was at best mediocre; that indicated I had arrived at THE COMFORT ZONE.  It was comfortable, but not satisfying to continue cruising through the zone; it was like driving on a straight road where the scenery never changes.  You may hit an occasional bump in the road, but can see it coming so you can brace for it, go around or slow down to avoid any damage.  I have always been very ambitious, I took risks, but somewhere along the way I let the fear of the unknown creep in and steer me in a "safer" direction.  I had somehow surrounded myself with people that were also "stuck" in the endless cycle of the comfort zone and were paralyzed by its overwhelming power.  I continued gravitating to and building unhealthy relationships with people who had similar characteristics as people from my past that resulted in failed partnerships, but blindly expecting the outcome to be different.  I allowed the fear of rejection and failure, the judgement and opinions of others and my own insecurities, keep me caged like a bird who no longer had the desire to sing.  So when an opportunity presented itself to meet for music business in Seattle, I decided instead of flying I would drive from Chicago to Seattle; my entire being was craving and in desperate need of an escape route and this would be it.  It was taking the road trip to Seattle that I knew in my heart I was ready to be freed and little did I know, the process had begun.  In the beginning there were times I craved going back to my comfort zone and would make that u-turn to head back to "safety".  But it wouldn't be long before I would stop, re-calculate and continue forward.  This new path wasn't easy; taking risks, doing the opposite of the habits formed, following this new direction and keeping faith in hopes of reaching the destination I had charted out.  I was unprepared for many of the detours I encountered along the way, but with each, I gained more knowledge, power and strength.  And although the final destination was still in the distance, I could see more clearly why taking this way, was the best way.  I started to understand that in order to live an extraordinary life it would be impossible to take the easy way, I had to be better prepared and that meant facing obstacles that I would have to overcome and learn from.  When I first started on that road trip to Seattle at the end of February 2015, I had originally planned for a 10 day trip, not realizing that is was the beginning of a life long and changing journey. 

I am still on that journey and every now again may have to stop and re-calculate, but during these past few years I have seen and can feel the benefit of leaving the comfort zone.  I am deliberate about what it is I want out of this life and determined to fulfill my purpose.  But more importantly I have recognized that I am not the one in control, that when I thought I was in control things just never seemed to feel right or work out the way I had planned.  My purpose was in place long before I was and the most valuable lesson I have learned is that when I submit to the guidance of that higher power, it leads me to where I am supposed to be.  It reveals the people who are to take the journey with me, confirms them with an undeniable feeling of comfort and makes me aware of those that may be a distraction and detriment to my progress.  It gives insight into making the right decisions for business, music and every aspect of my life.  It makes me feel confident and reassured that no matter what challenges I face, as long as it remains to be my source, I will never fail.  So, three and a half years ago when I was afraid of the suffering I would endure if I ventured outside of my false sense of security, the suffering experienced while I was there was far worse than anything I have experienced beyond the boundaries of the comfort zone.  In fact, it was beyond those borders, my cage was unlocked, I have been freed and can sing again.

(1) Exceprt from "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo

Torn Veil

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Torn Veil

I used to hate being alone and would impatiently fill, what felt like an empty void with the wrong things and/or people.  The past year I have made the conscious choice to spend time alone outside of music and business.  To be quite honest, I believe it was a higher power directing me to a place where I could really evaluate and see clearly the path in front of me.  The veil would be torn and I would be able to determine the people who should walk that path with me, the ones that were a distraction and to understand that what is meant for me would feel right in my soul.  Being alone became a space that would enable me to become stronger by healing from past brokenness and pain and at the same time preparing me for what is ahead.  What I realized was, I couldn't give 100% of my authentic self to someone else if I was only emotionally functioning at 50%; I want to give all of me.  My past relationships and some tragic circumstances in my life caused me to build an impenetrable barrier as a form of protection from potential hurt, but simultaneously kept me from experiences all that life and love has to offer; I recognized I truly wanted the life and love God wants for me and that meant doing the hard work and going through the "process".  It meant going deep, dealing with myself and acknowledging the change starts with me.  It meant not avoiding the healing process, not getting involved in unstable/forced/superficial relationships as a means to stay distracted or temporarily satisfied; knowing that what is truly for me would be effortless and better than imagined.  It was difficult to distance myself from loved ones and people I care for deeply, but it is a process to go through alone to become a better version of myself, not just for me, but them too.  Now, I patiently walk this path witnessing everything in life falling wonderfully into place and am confident when the time is right I will no longer have to walk it alone.

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