What is the worst thing you've ever lost?

I received my fifth message this week from someone who lost data. I heard about a girl who lost 6 dozen songs from her mini recorder, someone who lost a hard drive of art work, another musician lost all his tracks from his record, a friend’s laptop was ruined and just now another friend lost all the work on her camera.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Why don’t these people have back-ups? The answer is simple. It happens to almost every one of us at some point. It’s inevitable. I had all my music backed-up and how was I supposed to know that someone (who was supposed to have loved me) would single-handedly destroy them all in a rage? So yes, of course we should back things up…but life just has its circumstantial moments.

Having been in the recording industry for as long as I have been, I hear about these catastrophes periodically, but I have never seen such a domino effect around me all in the same week. While I have no plausible evidence to support my ridiculous theory, I am going to go ahead and put it out there anyways. “Maybe the Universe is sending a bigger message.”

Ok, had someone said that to me upon learning of my data loss way back when, they would have had a door slammed in their face. Knowing that, I hope to be sensitive to those who feel exasperated this week.

The reason I say it could be a bigger message is to not be all mystical and supernatural about the logical answer that ‘it’s technology we are dealing with so of course things mess up’ but to perhaps put some perspective on it. Let me share what I learned.
When my songs were maliciously destroyed, I seriously considered packing in my music career because I just simply couldn’t imagine ever starting over again.

Now of course this vindictive act against me could not compare to what happened to the woman up the highway from me around the same time. She and her husband took her children to her Mother’s for dinner and came home to their house being engulfed in flames. She looked up into the top windows to the flames ripping out of her children’s bedrooms, took a gasp and said, “OMG, the boys could have been sleeping there.” It was faulty electrical work in a very old house….another advanced thing we had in society that eventually broke down.

Since that happened, I have learned that she lost a job, was separated and has since been paralyzed by a snowmobile accident. She now lives in a wheelchair. That is certainly a good look at perspective.

But please understand, I tend not to diminish someone’s pain by suggesting they aren’t starving, but this situation did allow me to consider a life-altering look at the Universe and how our world works.

Have you ever had people say, “God works in mysterious ways” then they walk away and you are still left staring at the broken technology in front of you? Some statements simply aren’t helpful. Encouragement can be empty without help. We smile and appreciate it of course, but sometimes the thirsty person just wants a drink. I just wanted my songs back! When this woman lost her home, I went and lied down on the living room floor in my perfectly fine house and cried for her but I also felt a bit ashamed. I realized that the world wasn’t out to get me. Some things fall under Physics. To say God works in mysterious ways (or insert Nature or whatever word you are more comfortable with) isn’t very accurate. Looking back, my entire experience and revelation wasn’t enveloped in the mysterious, it was well-balanced in logic. Nature didn’t cause my relationship to fail or for my partner to trash my work. Nature didn’t ensure the faulty wiring in this woman’s home would fail. Putting wiring in a home to begin with puts you at risk. Putting work on a hard drive is almost asking for it to be destroyed. Why? Because technology doesn’t work with nature. It’s an extension of our own imagination…it isn’t an extension of Nature.

Do I embrace technology? Absolutely! But I do not place any emotion in it now. If I went out shopping and came home to my place in flames, I would certainly be sad and mourn the situation, bummed that I would have to rebuild…but Nature, God and the Universe will not get the blame anymore.

I believe when we invest too many of our emotions in technology, it is pretty much the same as being in a relationship with someone who has a temper. They may be fine every single day for years, but some malfunction or hiccup may make them break down. If you knew this going into it, you would know the risks. Yes, you’d be upset when it happens, but with realistic expectations, we can minimize our disappointment.
“Maybe the Universe is sending a bigger message.”

The statement is actually ridiculous. The Universe seems to have the same message which like a 24 hour news channel, we just tune into when we want. The big message is always there.

For me, the message was, “There are bigger things ahead of you, quit looking backwards. You have a big job to do.”

I understand your pain everyone! It’s usually very painful for musicians and artists because we feel like our heart was inside the physical thing we made. But really, the true artistry lies inside our spirit. These ashes can serve as amazing gardens for future flowers to grow.

Staring at the ruins too long takes our focus off our bigger purpose.

I think the worst loss of all is the death of our inner child…that’s why I am focusing on getting it back. The rest is whatever to me. ;)

Karen :)

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” ~Leonardo da Vinci


  1. Some good thoughts here, Karen. I've lost a large number of songs that I wrote many years ago, but like you mentioned, I'm looking forward and not back. Most of the material was written when I was young and really broken and hurting. Perhaps it is best to let the past just go sometimes.

    As far as new music and writings go, I have an external hard drive that I frequently back my stuff up onto. It won't help if the house burns down, but it will if lightning hits the computer, the hard drive fails, or the computer gets a virus/crashes. And of course it helps to keep the external drive completely unplugged unless it is being used or else it'll most likely go down with the computer.


  2. Personally I lost many digital files in two different situations (the first one was a virus attack and the second when the HD of my computer died of old age).
    Oddly the biggest loss I had wasn't then but when an ex-girlfriend never gave me back a notebook where I wrote many short tales.Still it was okay,because then I learned to keep creating and let art be free.Because,you know,creativity is like a bird:it's better to let it sing outside for everyone rather that let it die slowly inside a cage.