The FEAR of falling


But what caused all of this? I’m glad you asked.

My family and I were attending a wedding. I was about 14 years old at the time. At this point, we’re at the reception. The Reverend asked everyone to stand, to say the food blessing. We walked in through the side door, having just arrived while the prayer was happening. A gentleman was passing out folding chairs. I took a chair unfolding it. I sat down. The chair collapsed underneath me, making a loud sound as hey said,”Amen.” Saying that I was embarrassed is putting it mildly.

I was mortified.

And to make matters worse, my dad asked,”Are you okay,” through his chuckles. I decided that day, that I would not let that happen to me ever again (no, really: NEVER again). I would be prepared. To this day, I still check the sit-worthiness of a folding chair before I sit down.

See that right there? I learned to be fearful of folding chairs at 14. That little experience made me more uptight. These and other episodes slowly took away my confidence and filled me with fear. Moving forward, I operated from a place of fear. Fears of this. Fears of that. The “what if” fears. The “it-won’t-happen-in-a-million-years-but-I’m-thinking-about-it-so-it-is-possible-right” fears.

Why am I writing about this now?

Well, there’s a reason for everything (but that’ll have to wait until next time).

Love & Peace

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FEAR: Prepared or Naw


Fear is like a damn bloomin’ onion; there are so many freakin’ layers.

I’ve been going through this metamorphosis as of the last two weeks. My mind has been shifting away from the idea of fear. But before I get to that, lemme tell you what I realized first.

I consider myself to be a pretty prepared guy. In fact, my preparedness is one of the attributes that my wife likes about me. I like that about me too, but that was before I realized why I was so anal retentive.

I was a super-planner because of fear. I would strategically hashout every, single, little detail. People thoughtthatI was the most prepared guy on the planet; I planned out of fear.

I would tell myself, ”You have to be prepared for ANY and EVERYTHING.” (There’s more to why I felt thisway, but we’ll talk about it later.)

That way, nothingwouldtake me by surprise. STAYing ready” has been my mantra for over 20 years. Whatif this happened? What ifthat happened? Don’t worry, because I wouldbe prepared for it-or so I thought. Butsomething still managed to go awry; something I didn’t think of. Instead of justgoing withthe flow, I wouldthink MORE for the next time. Thinking this way should make me tired, but I persevere in the face of the mental tiredness.

But what caused all of this?

This is a good place to put a bookmark. We’ll talk more about that next time.

-Love & Peace

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Fear Series


There’s a new category starting in Late October 2017; It’s called “Fear.” We all feel it, to some degree. It depletes our health, clouds our judgment and desensitizes our mind causing an ability to make wise decisions. I get it. I feel it, too (understatement of the year). So, this topic will be explored a bit, at my expense. There are some things I’m finding out about myself, and those roads lead back to fear.

So strap in because this guarantees to be one HELL of a ride!

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Lessons from my younger me.


I’ve heard people talk about their high school years as though it were the golden age of perfection. My mother would say to me,”Enjoy those [high school] days. I had some good, clean fun. You’re going to miss them when they go.” Being young, I heard her but those words didn’t resonate until much later on. I didn’t quite get it.

Looking back, I have come to cherish my high school days very fondly. I miss being carefree, throwing caution to the wind. We were ready to try new things and showed great compassion for others. We reverberated basic, inalienable principles available to all humans: compassion, love, and respect.

I’d like to think that we embodied all that was right in the world, or I at least feel like we did. There was little to no racial issues, although such things lurked outside of our school walls. We were free to explore, be who we were (unaware of judgments placed upon us).

Things were much simpler then. The biggest worry during my time in school was appearance and girls (the perpetual cycle).  No bills. No kids. No real responsibilities.

High school represents the hope for tomorrow; the way the country should be. Maybe my 18-year-old self (and his cohorts) knew a thing or two about what the country should aspire to be. Those friends that I had back then, many are doing world-changing things in their fields. It gives me hope that the things that we have learned collectively can be spread abroad in the world.

My hat goes off to us then and now.

Until Next Time,

Love & Peace

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Unfair Expectations


I expected my friends to support the things that I did because they’re my friends (the good things, of course).  I think that I’m a pretty good friend and I deserve the same type of loyalty and commitment that other people get from me.  Is that too much to ask? I can’t be the only one who thinks this way.

If you think that sounds a lot like entitlement, you might be right.

But wait: how I treat them is my choice; it has nothing to do with how they choose to treat me.

Was it fair for me to impose my unvoiced expectations on them?  Should they be subjected to that type of manipulation (yes, you read that correctly)?  Is that friendly?

I say manipulation because I live by the golden rule: “Treat others how you would like to be treated.”  It’s not read, “Treat others good so they can treat you the way you want to be treated.” See the difference?

People also expect you to drop everything and come to their beck and call. So, I became that person. I would drop everything and rush to their side. Sometimes, literally. Maybe I’d get a text message saying, “I need to talk.” I’d be on the phone right away.

Was that fair to me? Did I set and apply a fair expectation for myself and those around me? Life happens, and people can’t really be there when you need them: all of the time. People do have lives. In fact, I have a life, too.

I am beginning to understand more that people are who they are, and I should accept them as they are. Maybe they can’t support me, for whatever reason.

I am growing into my “that’s okay.”

Until Next Time,

Love & Peace.

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Jackson of all trades and a mastodon of none


or:

A jack of all trades, but a master of none.

Since about middle school, this phrase has haunted me. I didn’t want to admit it, but I have held myself back from doing other things because I wanted to be a master of something. Why do I have to be a master of just one thing anyway? Why must I be a master, to begin with? While I think I understand that the sentiment means to be the “best” at something, it still never sat well with me. I have fixated my focus on this idea for years, getting sidetracked along the way (and rightfully so, I think).Jackson 1

I’ve always found that I’m good at a few things, and I’m only adding to the feathers in my cap. I was speaking with one of my close friends, Theo the other day, and he helped me understand things a little differently.

Me: “You know how I feel about being a jack of all trades and a master of none.”

Him: “But Herb, what’s wrong with being a jack of all trades? A great producer has to be. You know how to pull out certain things out of an artist, or how to get [an instrumentalist] to articulate things a certain way.”

Me: “Hmm. I never thought of it that way. That makes perfect sense.”

Hmm. I never saw it that way before. My understanding has increased as result of that conversation. I have greater clarity. It brings to mind the saying,”We are the sum of our experiences.” In other words, not one ounce of my experiences will be wasted.

They will all be used for my benefit. I have greater inner peace now. This will make me a master of many.

Being a jack of all trades could develop me into a master of many.

Until next time,

Love & Peace.

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Keeping it Real


So, I haven’t been completely honest with.  While that sounds bad, lemme clean that up a bit: I haven’t been exactly authentic as I used to be.  When I first started this blog over 5 years ago, I was writing from a very raw, tender place. I didn’t care who was reading or why.  I started writing as a way to release my feelings. As things evolved, I decided that maybe what I have to say could help others: and it has. Somewhere along the way, I started becoming dissatisfied with my writing; this was largely in part of being envious of those who started after I did, but with greater “success.” Where did I lose my sense of purpose (as it pertains to writing)? Somehow, I lost my focus.

Honestly, I lost my authenticity.Keeping It Real

People responded (and read) more when I was expressing my feelings from a real, authentic place. My struggle of trying to figure out how to monetize what I do impacted my writing.  Am I saying that I need to have another set of raw experiences to regain my authenticity? Hell no! I think the tipping point of why I began writing in the first place was enough for me to only experience it once. No way; I’m good.

How did this talk of authenticity come about anyway?  I’m glad you didn’t ask but really wanted to know (lol). I was reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown. She was talking about being authentic (letting our true selves be seen), and how we choose to be authentic some days and on other days: not so much.

This next statement stopped me cold. “If I am full of self-doubt or shame, I can sell myself out and be anybody you need me to be.”  Damn.  Was she talking to me?  I felt like she had handwritten that sentence in a note addressed to me. Once I got past the initial shock, the sting of her words crescendoed in next. I understood exactly what she meant; she described me. “Is that really me,” I thought. “The nerve of her, telling me what my problem is!  Who does she think she is?” Once that thought was over, the real work began. She was right. I sometimes get caught up into people-pleasing, and as a result, I willfully give away my authenticity. That means I sensor my words, which leads to holding in my true emotions, thus leading to OVERTHINKING.  I’ve done this my WHOLE life.  The problem with “not being real” is that no one knows what I’m really thinking.  It’s almost as being bad as being unreliable, in a sense. Maybe I’m overthinking a bit. I don’t know. BUT because I’ve become more self-aware, I’ve learned to give myself space to be (with tack and care, too).

And now, I think I need some more space.

Love & Peace.

Herbie

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I am just a man.


I used to think of myself according to the above sentence. I felt like,” I’m doing the best I can; I’m just a man.”  If you think about it, it’s just a way to rationalize mediocrity. If I see myself as being I am just a man.just a man, I can fall back on the many fallacies of being “just” a man.

But, if those same words are arranged differently, there’s a new idea that emerges: integrity.

My Pop told me this example that was handed down to him from his father. He said,”Son, if a penny is left on the table, never take it. Even if the penny is left there for years and cobwebs begin to form around it: don’t touch. You didn’t put it there, and you can’t take it.”

I’ve also learned that character is who you are when no one is looking. That means if you throw something towards the trash and it misses, and hits the floor instead, will you pick it up or act as though it didn’t happen? If a cashier gives you too much change back, will you keep it or tell him/her about the error?

We all have opportunities to make better choices. Will you use your turn to press light and restore faith in humanity? Or will you squander your chance to “right” a “wrong.”

So: About those five words. Have you arranged them differently yet? I have and here’s mine:

I. Am. A. Just. Man.

Until next time,

Love & Peace.

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when there just isn’t anymore


when there just isn't anymore.png

I find that people sometimes treat friendships like a pencil. In fact, like their favorite pencil.

A fresh, new pencil is sharpened.  You anticipate that the abrasion on the paper will be sharp and crisp.  You love the new pencil. It makes you feel as though you could write 1000 words, or draw a picture for hours (the fluidity of my creativity feels like this when I hear new music).  You take in a deep breath.  And begin to write.  At this point, even your marks on the paper have a distinct sharpness to its sound.  You are enamored by this new writing utensil.  It feels power–full.  So, you keep using it, not noticing that it’s losing it’s incisiveness–at first. After some time, you notice the lines losing their accuracy. 

So, you sharpen it.  You don’t get the same feeling from the pencil as when you first started using it, but it’s cool no less.  You take it for another twirl.  Well, what happens next?  You stop using it.  Maybe you don’t use it as often: you just don’t need it as much.  Perhaps, for whatever reason, you just forget about it.

But then you remember.

So the cycle renews.

Maybe it’s texting a friend “just because.” On a rare occasion, it get sharpened….this could mean that maybe someone sends you a “checking on you” text or a phone call “just because.” So, the cycle renews. All the while, as a result of this cycle, the pencil is unknowingly becoming shorter over time…until there just isn’t anymore.

Love & Peace

-Herbie

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when do you know the dance has ended? (part 2)


What kinda friend am I? Did I really love my friend? *Plays What’s love got to do with it?* So, you decided to take the introspective approach, huh? How mature. Don’t you dare do that to yourself!  If you’re anything like me, you find a way to place the blame on yourself. Sometimes, things aren’t that simple.  I mean, sometimes, people just grow apart. And even still, people just abruptly stop growing together: altogether. But there’s no need to blame yourself.

Copy of when do you know the dance has ended- pt 2I find that life is cyclical.  Maybe there was something that had to happen, a lesson that had to be learned or an impart of wisdom.  After that exchange occurred, alas, the dance was over (and with it, the friendship).  There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing on the good times of the last dance. The problem is continuing to dance after the music has stopped and your partner has left. That makes you look, well, crazy. I’m not sure that’s what was meant by the expression, “dance as if nobody’s watching.”

What if this is just a transitional period between us?  Hmmm: You could be onto something. Changes are tough and effect relationships in all sorts of ways. Sometimes we prepare ourselves for the change; if we see it coming.  Then again, maybe we can’t be so lucky. And so you have to scramble to make some sense of it, as it unfolds (unsure how things will turn out). Don’t be discouraged. Things always have a way of working out for the better, even if it doesn’t immediately feel like it.

Maybe you’ve always known when the dance ended, and often the epiphany came while you were dancing….or maybe the record just skipped……or maybe a new song is melding into another one, giving you two the chance to get it right. No matter the outcome, it’s best to be at peace with the results.

But what do I know?  I’m too busy dancing myself!

Love & Peace.

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