Sued, Drug Use, Apology, Confession, Caskets and a Monster

Those were a list of words that managed to make the top searches on the internet.

Usually a celebrity’s name will precede them (with the exception of the Monster, that was the one you’d think would be behind a big name, but sadly no….ha….it was a discovery of a sea monster) Oh and Caskets; that was something about Walmart selling caskets online. That one was so ridiculous. I shook my head once and moved on.

The other four words are classic grab words. When used in conjunction with a big name, you can get just about anyone to click on something. (don’t feel bad, I did not suck you in using them on my blog, you are just a regular reader here, right? Hahahahah—LOVE YOU!!!) ;)

On the flipside of it, many of you know I will click on just about anything that says "Puppies" or "Kittens". They are used to try and sell us everything too! Even though I never wax a car by hand, I might buy car wax if a Jack Russell Puppy is selling it to me. :)

I also notice big brand names affixing themselves to things that they have nothing in common with. A popular Cola or fast food restaurant sponsoring something that has to do with a Health event. (I’m not going to start pointing direct fingers) That’s really bizarre to me. You walk away thinking, "Oh Geeze, even though their product contains 10 times my caloric intake and 50 times my salt, I feel good about these guys! They are doing good things!"

What ends up happening with these kinds of advertising (both grab words and associating) is we tend to do one of two things outside of ignoring it.

*We click on it or read it because we are curious

*We throw stones at the wrong participants

But I think there are the people who don’t get enough credit here (don’t necessarily think good credit, but it could be) and that’s the person profiting.

When we click on an internet story that is gossipy with the grab words, there is generally a banner somewhere on that page. You may not necessarily click on the banner, but you at least peripherally see it. When you spot a big organization associated with something you already know to be good, you may already know that fast food chain or cola company is garbage but you are left with a feeling of "oh, a family run company" or "they assist with my son’s Little League team, they can’t be all bad".

I am all about people doing well at their business. I’m not trying to stifle profit. I am however very aware of things are not always as they seem.

As I have said before, I really just skim the news to stay current. I don’t dive in very far because I have become aware of how the negativity affects me. What I have been trying to stay attentive to(without indulging in paranoia or conspiracy theories) are the motivations behind advertising.

The words I listed in the title are colorful (they grabbed me initially) but they are negative. I actually have more of an issue with the people writing the stories than I do the people in the stories. It’s a catch 22; we read it; we feed it, they feed us; we eat it again…

Anyways, I don’t know how deep I want to go with this as it’s already been a long day. But I think it’s just good to be attentive to the negative wording in both journalism and advertising and steer clear as best we can. We can change our home page to something better and we can support companies we believe in.

It’s really just about choices.

Hope you have had a great week so far!
Karen :)

"I would be lying if I said the journalism doesn't reflect my own choices as a reporter and a writer: what to say, what to emphasize, how to say it, what is true or untrue." ~David Simon


The Responsibility of Being Happy

When I was going through my Depression, I had two specific people in my life that clinically helped me through much of it. One was my family doctor who I have known since I was 13 and the other was my Pastor who I had also been through a lot with.

Both of these men were in a unique position to be able to be a Doctor or Pastor. I think it takes someone very gifted to be in either of those roles because they really get dumped on too often!

Having known my Doctor for so long, I was really amazed he could come into our small town and take on so many clients. He was jovial, calm, smart and compassionate. I remember asking him how he could handle such a big responsibility and I shared how much I hated being dumped on when I was already so fragile. He was humble in responding and said it was his job, that he enjoyed it and that certain people could handle that and in fact it was their responsibility to help others. He also told me that the smartest thing I could be doing was concentrating on getting better first before throwing out a life ring so I wouldn’t drown in the undertow.

Well, fast forward to today. I saw a Beethoven quote. I am unsure of his exact context but he said,

"Off with you! You're a happy fellow, for you'll give happiness and joy to many other people. There is nothing better or greater than that!"

It made me think how many genuinely sad people are out there who need to have joy spread to them, but I think about how many happy people I know too. There aren’t as many perhaps (or maybe they are sitting quietly on a back porch somewhere and we don’t hear from them) but it reminded me how important it is to send thoughtful emails and pictures, to write letters for no reason but to say you are thinking of someone, to help someone at the store and to spend time with those who need it. While I think it’s smart to guard your happiness and take care of yourself so you aren’t pulled under by someone drowning, I do believe there are a small handful of people on the earth who have the greater capacity to stand a little taller with the strength to pull someone from the quicksand of everyday. You may not even know you are this person with this kind of responsibility, but the world needs you. Maybe some random act of kindness from someone who is depressed is good for their spirit too, but we all need it!

Not everyone is cut out to be a family Doctor or Pastor, Therapist or Counselor, but there are those who can legitimately and positively change lives. It’s not merely the right thing to do, but I feel deeply it’s the responsible thing to do. I am sure we all have a laundry list of people who have pulled us out and where would we be without them?

If you are one of those very few who has a good grip on their happiness, I encourage you to do what Beethoven said. We need you! :)

Or, your happiness may already come from helping others. ;)

Much love on ya!Karen :)

He also said,

"This is the mark of a really admirable man: steadfastness in the face of trouble." Ludwig van Beethoven


Stage Fright!

A friend of ours on here has a show coming up on Thursday and he asked me about ways to overcome stage fright. I think this could apply to public speaking etc as well.
Hi Joe!
My take on stage fright; Most fear comes from your body basically accumulating stomach acid and has a need to protect itself, impress someone or not be made fun of. An animal could actually get it too from the instinct to defend itself. Wild, huh?
What I had to do to overcome it was to get to the root of it all and have a deep reflection over what I thought was threatening to me. What was really making me nervous? Were the people in the audience going to swarm the stage and attack? Was there someone specifically I was trying to impress out there? Was everything on the line and I wasn't going to be able to make a mortgage payment if it didn't work? Is my fear based on anything real or am I just imagining a worst case scenario?
Stage fright although it feels damn real when you are standing out there, is a dream killer overall. If you think about it, when you are busy worrying about what people are thinking, you are ripped out of your creative headspace and a wall is erected so you can't do anything past being on the defensive. But, when you are on stage, being defensive is not a good role like in hockey or football. When you get up to entertain, your job is to emit emotion to people out there. You want to be able to give everything you have, not have a wall between you and them. (that is if your goal for making music is pure)
You can actually harness it too if all else fails. The extra adrenaline kick you get (like an animal gets to protect itself) could be part of what ramps you up, although my goal was to kill it altogether so I could control everything I was transferring. That way, you can be in charge of all you are doing in order to reach a higher level of your art!
Lastly, I had to ask myself, why am I even doing this in the first place? I had to question why I am sharing what I am doing. The answer was I wanted to build an intimacy with the audience where we could rock out and I could perhaps touch someone. It's what I try to do with writing too. When I write, I write because I need to get something out and then share later on. When you put your show together, the intent should be to be creative and then share...not do it to impress anyone. If you can get past caring what others think because music means a lot to you, you’re on a good path.
If your motive for making music is pure and your goal is to touch others, nervousness shouldn't be there. You should be fixating on giving everything you have to an evening of music. A lot of the time it’s these ‘get famous quick’ shows that teach us we have only one chance to make the impression, but you know what I have found? It’s not about making an impression…it’s about sharing. If you have the solid purpose to what you are doing, it should be about the purpose, not the adulation. It’s essentially a path to get back to purity.
Don't forget, with the exception of a few drunks who don't even know where they are, (ha!) your audience WANTS you to do well, they WANT to be entertained. They don't want to see you fail because there is a good chance they had a sucky work week and you are an escape for them! But for some strange reason, we jump onstage expecting that the world wants to laugh at us, not with us.

Have a great show on Thursday, above all…enjoy it!! You are making MUSIC!
Karen :)

"When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way." ~Wayne Dyer


LOVE Like You’ve Never Been HURT

Our friend Marc left me a comment on here with a quote he was questioning;

"The best way to love is to love like you’ve never been hurt."
He mentioned unknown author, but I believe its origins are from a Mark Twain quote, "Dance like nobody’s watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like nobody’s listening, live like it’s heaven on earth."

I think the reason why that part of the quote can come off as being somewhat confusing isn’t because the approach is incorrect, but I think we can feel like our hurts were ignored. "What do you mean like I’ve never been hurt, of course I have been hurt! Why doesn’t anyone see how hurt I am!" could be a normal reaction.

The quote is controversial, really. It could be argued that the kind of love we show when we are aware of past hurt is filled with more compassion. But overall, I get what the author was going for. Love in its purest form quite often happens before we are tainted by pain. I believe that Mark Twain quote is child-like, which for most of us was our happiest time! I don’t think everyone has to have experienced pain in order to show love.

It’s kind of like when someone is abused. The person can either pass the abuse along to their next relationship and children, or they can vow never to put someone through that again because they hated the feeling. Love buried without water or love can grow when fed…

For me, it’s been progressing in stages. I can still have buttons from my past pushed and old wounds reopened, but I feel like I am at least on the path to loving as though I don’t have the baggage. But for me, I have had to really take a closer look at what it truly means to love. I believe we are supposed to love without expecting love in return. I believe love is unconditional and free without penalty and interest. I believe love is not selfish and that love only wants the very best for our neighbors.

Overall, I am trying hard to show love because people need it, not because I expect it back. Some days are easier than others! ;)

Great thoughts Marc, thank you for sending it. It’s a subject worth pondering!

Karen :)

"You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love." ~Henry Drummond


Some Practical Thoughts to Combat Your DEPRESSION.

I was just reading an article that was talking about the difference between Grief and Depression.

GRIEF is categorized like this;

· Sadness, melancholy, or despair
· Low energy or fatigue
· Weepiness or persistent tears
· Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
· Poor concentration
· Guilt or hopelessness · Unbidden happy and sad memories

DEPRESSION is categorized like this;

· Worthlessness
· Exaggerated guilt
· Suicidal thoughts or plans
· Low self-esteem
· Powerlessness
· Helplessness
· Exaggerated hopelessness
· Agitation or restlessness
· Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
· Exaggerated fatigue
Now I am not going to try and play psychiatrist here. I have felt all those things and some added. But I do know the science behind it. Serotonin (the happy chemical in your brain) to make a long story short gets attacked when your stomach acids tend to run high (anxiety and stress).
(it is a way longer explanation, but let’s keep it simple)

I don’t want to try and one-shot to everyone’s depression out there with a cure-all, but while we are busy getting to the root of our problems, I do want to add a few quick ways to get your serotonin up (with or without the antidepressant-your choice, your call on those) Hope some of these I am sharing are helpful.

· Drink a ton of water. Your body is made up of 70% water. When you are anxious, upset and crying, you are dehydrating yourself and water can keep the high tension headaches at bay.
· Omega 3 supplements and fish oil naturally build your serotonin levels up again.
· Exercise also naturally builds serotonin and keeps your brain thinking clearly. I do morning hikes and they make my day way better.
· Keep sleep sacred. I started taking 10 minutes in my living room before bedtime to make a list of things I want to accomplish the next day. I leave the list on the coffee table so nothing on it comes to bed with me.
· Music; the number 1 healer. And ART! Whether I am writing it, cranking it or having it on in the background (especially when I was going through depression) keeps my thoughts busy. Sometimes too much thinking time can be bad.
· Stop engaging in negativity. This could be everything from negative emails to TV News, hanging out in negative circles to being part of criticizing groups. I try and keep my reading material light and positive now. I will read a few headlines to be informed, but I never engage in anything that is cutting down another person for anything. "Misery loves Company" is one of the truest sayings on the globe.
· FRIENDS! Call them up, they WANT to help you!
· Light! I understand the need to save energy, but while you’re saving energy by sitting in the dark, you run the risk of running low on vitamin D. Open some windows to let fresh air in too!

Hope some of those help, they in conjunction with each other, helped to save me!
Karen :)

"Depression is the inability to construct a future." ~Rollo May



You know when you get that gut instinct to put in a call to someone because your gut says, "Call so-and-so?" I had that gut feeling about a friend of mine who has been going through a rough relationship break-up. She is in Los Angeles and he moved to New York (job offer etc)essentially signaling to her that although he claimed to really love her a lot, he wasn’t ready to commit or be with her forever.

He moved there a few months ago, but he keeps reaching out to her but not with anything she needs to hear from him concerning their future together. While I think he’s an ok guy, I personally think her sadness over this past year needs to scale up to another level and move on to someone who does want a future with her. He seemed content with it being more casual with the hope of a future together ‘someday when he feels more ready’ and she really wanted to know where it was going. (It’s obviously a bit more complicated than what I could portray here, but suffice to say, the break-up is a good idea)They don’t hate each other, just a crossroads where their futures are not aligning. It happens. I think she should move on now considering they are technically broken up.

Well, back to this gut instinct of mine, I texted her and asked her if she were ok. It turned out unbeknownst to me that she was in New York with her family celebrating a birthday party and when I texted her, she was in tears. Well long story made short, she’s having a really rough time getting over him. (it’s like that while she’s here in LA too, it’s not just that she was in New York)

At this point, they have called it quits. But, because of their situation where they actually still talk, he let her know he was going to have a vacation in Spain. Well, she has this all dreamed up now where he is going to be swept away by some Spanish beauty and will have moved on with his life. It’s a natural thing to do, but we also talked about the fact that they are broken up which means you are not together and he can do what he wants. It goes to a dangerous place lying in bed thinking about what your ex is doing and while I wouldn’t categorize her as obsessive, we did talk about how it could go to that place when you still feel a sense of ownership like many do in relationships (I think that the initial possessive is even bad)

I feel that this is what happens when a person feels rejected. She doesn’t feel good enough for him and so it plain old-fashioned hurts when someone doesn’t make a choice to be with you and nobody else. You lie in bed wondering what they are doing, what they see in someone else that they don’t see in you. You dream up scenarios that may or may not be happening and in the worst case, your sleep (which should be absolutely sacred) is lost.

I’m personally excited for her because she has such an amazing future ahead of her so I do hope she can let this truly go. It’s important to realize in situations like this that we are all butterflies just hovering around from flower to flower. I think we are all trying to find our individual path and purpose in life and that someone else’s choice shouldn’t be viewed as such a personal attack, but rather sometimes our trails don’t match up. It’s important to let go of control and allow the world to function how it was originally set up to. I would love to see her mind be freer to do child-like things and be creative instead of fretting over something that can be so mentally damaging. I think there are certainly better things to be obsessive about.

I think the next graduated level of moving on is knowing your ex is with other people but you actually want them to be happy, wishing them only the best. But man, doesn’t that seem like an impossible thing to ask? I think it should be something to strive towards anyways.

Hope that your sleep is sacred and that your days are filled with HAPPY thoughts!
Karen :)

"The most exciting happiness is the happiness generated by forces beyond your control."~Ogden Nash


Confucius Say...

Tonight I was reading some Confucius quotes. Here are some that spurred some extra thought;

"A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions."

I really agree with him, but only understood what he meant by that in very recent years. I was used to being around bullies and people who spoke loudly and talked too much. I think the ‘actions speak louder than words’ quote came from that. I have met a few very specific people who epitomize this.

"And remember, no matter where you go, there you are."

This lesson I learned when I left everything and moved 3000 miles away. I purposely took very little with me thinking I could leave everything behind that I hated. It turned out some of the things I hated were inside me. It’s been better since focusing on those things instead of the exterior problems that were plaguing me.

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

I’ve always found experience to be bitter, but for some reason it works better like Buckley’s Cough Syrup.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

I worked so many jobs I hated at the same time in order to be able to finally do something I love. My days are longer than they have ever been and yet, I don’t feel like it’s work anymore. I mean, I work yes…but I like what I do.

"You cannot open a book without learning something."

I have been taking on a new attitude with reading. We are bombarded with news columns, magazines, emails, the internet. I don’t believe everything I read, but I always learn something….even if it’s learning what NOT to do and who Not to believe. ;) Or I see some cool word like you’d hear off the TV show House and think, hmmm what does that mean? The important lesson I am realizing with reading is to be open to learning, much like when someone is speaking…to be open to what they have to say.

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

I look for it mostly because he said so. HA! I suppose death can even be beautiful. I remember when Mom was dying, she saw snapdragons. Her dying was the most disturbing yet peaceful transition. I don’t see beauty in everything yet, but I am working towards it. Maybe he needs to clarify. Objects? Situations? People? The Earth? I could think on this topic for a long time.

"I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being."

This quote could make me cry if I stare at it long enough. I grew up in relationships and careers that wanted me to be something I wasn’t. The happiest I have ever been was when I made a very concerted effort to be me. I am still getting to know me…even still.

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

I used to equate being successful with going really fast. But I am learning to love the moments along the way…You know, life’s a journey, not the destination? But guess what, sometimes I stop…and that’s ok too…my heart is still beating.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

I think the fear of falling down (notice he didn’t say failure) causes many people to not try the things we’d like to. Basically, I am learning to just laugh when I fall and try to find the lesson in it.

"We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression."

Ah yes, oppression leading straight to depression. Would you believe I now find some enjoyment in sad moments? I think we all do to some extent, otherwise, why put on a sad song or read a sad story? Why rent a sad movie? I think it’s healthy to embrace those emotions if you are simply experiencing them. Where I see the problem is when you are overcome by them and it inhibits you from functioning.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

I do agree, although what I have learned is the difference between something being complicated and something being complex. The Earth is a complex place, but I am humbled by it and it causes me to trust that it will still work in the way it’s supposed to if I don’t harm it or interfere (which can complicate matters). I feel a sense of freedom knowing I don’t have to fix everything.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Karen :)

If Confucius were alive today, he may say to me; "Quote here; unnecessary." ;)