UnFolding By Words

Error Of My Ways 

When a man finds himself over 30 and asking the question “What am I gonna be when I grow up? That man better sit down and give life a really close look. Hence...

...“Error of my Ways”

     You can’t become somebody of character without looking at the errors of your way? When I turned 30 I looked at where I was, with honesty not pride, and found a mountain of shame staring down at me. It took me awhile to traverse this mountain, but when I did I was able to look at that which was most important to me. Identity, spirituality, relationships, career, beliefs, meaning... The reality of life sinks in quick, and when it does it’s not easy to focus on that which we discover to be important. Many times I’ve looked back dumbfounded at the consistent breath of progression and regression. And despite my best efforts to let go and grow, I find the struggle to live by the standards I’ve intellectually embraced quite impossible. The greatest blessings in my life came about as a result of looking at the errors of my ways and then seeking to do something about them. I guarantee that anyone willing to look at the errors of their ways will find the confrontation of a fearful and beautiful choice to let go of those errors, and when they let go the inevitable consequences ensue.

      The consequences of letting go reveal fear and its origin. Fear for me came when I asked how I was handling letting go of certain things in my life? And what I did with the results is a book in itself? It took very long and hard days, months and years to learn from the results. I believe if I didn’t make an effort to learn from what came out of letting go then it would’ve been completely pointless.

    I used to have an incredibly pessimistic outlook on life. I believe this in part was due to the constant struggle with my flesh and spirit. As I grew to face the reality of life and death, becoming more aware of the inevitable fate of my flesh, I gave my spirit a closer look. Which is interesting cause I always considered myself spiritual. Honestly I had no idea how unsearchable and enormous the spiritual realm is. You know it’s harder than I thought, to ask myself what kind of man I’ve become especially when starting to look through the lens of spirituality. I mean how does one be honest with themselves when the consequences of their actions face them every single day. The foundation I rested on started to materialize right before me and I was not comfortable with what I was seeing. Coming face to face with the reality that even what I do in secret affects people. Even if they never found out. They didn’t need to find out, because what was happening as I gave in to that which my soul hated was affecting the eyes of my soul blurring the connection that makes me human giving in to seeking a feel good and comfortable existence. After so much time I found it harder and harder to care for people and my soul starved and starved. Weakened by the actions I took to satisfy my impossible cravings, I broke.

      I remember looking in a mirror one day just disgusted with myself. Disgusted with my lack of control. I had lost so much time, hope, peace, love, relationships... You name it. Anything good, I was losing it fast. There was no hope. I remember being downstairs in my bathroom and looking in the mirror and I couldn’t take it anymore. I embraced the hope of death. A death to end the pain of which I was causing myself and so many unknowing family and friends. The shame was paralyzing! I got in the shower fell to my knees and wept. For how long I don’t know. In the darkness of my mind I cried out. Help! Help me please!

     Who was I even crying out to? It was crazy that amidst so much hurt and guilt and shame I was still thinking about the almost silly scene I was making. Here is a full grown man by himself in the shower crying out and simultaneously questioning who he is even crying out to. Did something happen? Oh yeah something happened. Did I see a light? Nope. Did I hear a voice? Nope. Nothing happened other than I became very aware that I was no longer alone. What I became aware of was that someone was in the bathroom with me. And to be honest my heart ache was so intense that I didn't even raise my head. I remained on my knees with my head on the shower floor weeping. My heart was doing something interesting, it was allowing the moment to happen. I didn’t try to stop my tears. I didn’t try to buck up and be a man. I just let the moment wash over me the whole time aware of the presence of someone. The moment lasted a good hour maybe more, I’m not sure. I let my mind and my heart converse. Slowly my heart quieted and my mind eased up, and I sat there in silence listening to the water, feeling it wash over me. Just silence and water.

    The person never left and I never looked. And when I finally raised my eyes to get up I was as a new man. I was still very aware of my actions. I was weary and tired but I had a resolve and it was to stop trying to be somebody by my own strength, and I would now start looking around me and acting upon what I saw, not just what I craved. What I felt from the person in the bathroom with me was nothing but love. No words spoken, no touch to calm me, no scare to change me. What I felt was an incredible peace and longing to get to know. An initiation of relationship I guess. I had to know more. I felt love and it was good.

       What is it that will move a human to love and joy and meaning? I believe the answer was beginning to reveal itself in the realm of little to no attention. The answer revealed itself in pursuit? When we begin to consciously observe that which we pursue we begin to understand the value of becoming? What we seek to become requires following. When we follow we become exposed to and progressively aware of the inevitable errors we’ve made. And as we look at the ones we follow we find the answers to questions of change, strengthening and empowerment. Whether we’re learning what not to do or what is good to do is determined by the amount of wisdom we obtain in understanding that which we seek and whom it is we are motivated to follow.

      By looking at the Errors of our ways, free of condemnation, we are able to build upon the foundation of life with a growing hope and confidence. I’ve come to realize that the greatest leaders became great only because they followed someone worth following. They listened and they obeyed those whom they chose to follow. My greatest hope is that you see value in facing the pain and struggle it takes to become someone of worth. Becoming someone of value is a long hard journey that requires selfless sacrifice and a God like humility to often go unnoticed. Integrity is not natural to us, but it is attainable.

      ...Next time I will be touching on the creation of the song “Golden Eyed Man”. This is the journey of revelation to worth and discernment. I knew the value of following a good leader. Now I had to find someone worth following.

        Thank you so much for spending the time to read an old man's tale. I love you very much and hope to spend some time with you. Please reach out if you are at all interested in carrying on a conversation over a beer or coffee or a nice long walk.


 ...I know that becoming is a direction not a destination. Or to say it as Anais Nin "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state.”  

How beautiful a gift the ability to think.

Linger on that reality for a moment...

   Today was an interesting day for me.  I have been on a journey of discovery. And like some people I’ve been talking it out. One area of discovery has been human relationship to church, mainly what it was, what it has become, and what it’s becoming. So naturally I spent some time chatting with a pastor of a local church here in Ogden Utah. I asked him what his vision for the church was and is. Then I observed him struggle through a state of thought while the winds and waves of intention played their familiar melodies. He attempted to navigate the difficult task of sharing his vision. I did not see his words through eyes of anything but curiosity. I love this man. I am becoming more aware of the immediate limits surrounding that which we seek to understand.  Vision, a word I will touch on later in the year, but for now I will stick to a short thought. 

   Our ability to understand the meaning of “vision” often supersedes the physical, thus we are lead to ask questions with the potential for truth revealed.  And truth revealed is the foundation upon which meaning rests. Every word used in describing that which we attempt to understand refines the vision we have to better navigate the many waters, seasons and conditions of our lives. 

 You know one of my favorite things to witness are those moments when a person sits back and says, “Let me think about it.”  And they actually ponder the idea. I love how their eyes dart back and forth as they, like superheroes, navigate the universe of thought searching for a way to put into words whatever it is they’re trying to get me to understand. It’s such a trip to witness the universal beauty of humanity in action. I believe humanity in action reveals our identity, Imago Dei, a term I’ve come to embrace. Image bearer of God. I embrace this identity not by somebodies words convincing me, but by the penetrating and dangerous love of God himself. So my words and opinions mean nothing apart from that which is far above me. 

  What does this have to do with music?  It has everything to do with music. We all bear a responsibility to put to words that which we understand and believe to be most important.The actions of humanity speak louder than the words from the mouths of mankind. When we create we move, whether progressively or perniciously is determined by the motivation and observable outcome. This is a universal. So are you listening to that which is human? Every person who has ever spoken what they understand to be meaningful, do it as only humans do; artistically.  We ponder, think, meditate or obsess on that which we seek to understand. Then we build continually atop the foundation of our understanding, mortared with faith, leading us to worship. Every human that has ever walked the Earth walked as worshiping beings revealed by their actions not their words. 

  This is in part why I believe becoming is a direction not a destination.  I learned a valuable lesson on becoming from a very early age. I just didn’t know I learned the lesson till way later. I had to ponder, think and remember my past which was very difficult for me, often leading to emotional distraction. One memory in particular came about when looking back on my budding and insatiable love for music, mixed with pain and misunderstanding. 

    When I was in 7th grade I composed a piece of music on a little electric piano. This piano had basic recording capabilities with multiple track options. I would sit at the keyboard for hours and create music. I did not think then of what I was becoming, I just created. I loved the thrill of listening back to every piece, note and instrument I added to each piece. Like a puzzle from another world, I never knew what it looked like when I started, and to finish was such a huge challenge. That’s the beauty and frustration of music, finishing it requires insane amounts of focus. Over time my pieces of music became more complicated and difficult to capture. I would spend more and more time creating. I would always repeat a sort of mantra to myself when I wrote, “Simply complicated.” One week I spent almost all my free time creating a classical piece.  It was beautiful with movements and dimension. It’s harmonies complemented one another offering tension and release with elegant resolves and a big finish. I remember being absolutely ecstatic to show my parents. I was going to show my mother first because she had a huge impact on my love for classical music. She always had such amazing stories and I loved hearing her heart for the greats. So to share this song with her was a huge moment for me. This was the first time I would ever share a completed musical creation with anyone. As she came down the stairs I didn’t waste any time and played the song. I remember looking at her, observing her every twitch, blink, breath. Her hand movements and body language, all as I listened with her, not wanting the moment to end. 

    Disappointment was what I took away from that moment. I was so confused as I played back, for years, her response.  No sooner had the song finished than she told me to stop taking up space on the piano and to share with my siblings. She deleted the song without pause or acknowledgment to anything I had done. That was the last song I showed my mother. 

  It took me a long time and five children of my own to understand that my mother's response was more complicated than what I saw as apathetic betrayal. To become a musician and not be destroyed by the many failed responses, took me years to overcome. But to BECOME a musician you cannot avoid the inevitable reality of getting knocked down over and over and over again. It’s in the picking ourselves up that we gain muscle and are forced to confront the question of value. Is this worth doing? 

 What I’ve become through my many trials is a man, husband, father, friend and musician. Creation is in my blood and music the avenue to discovering the depth and meaning as God intended. It’s with great intention interwoven with hope that I create, for in creating we discover the unsearchable beauties of life. This becoming hopeful as a musician lead me to writing the first song on the album Water River Home; “Error of My Ways”. 

...Next time I will go into the creation of Error of My Ways and how it exposes more than I would like to share about my struggle of addiction and its attack on identity. This struggle has often lead me to memories of being in nature. One specific story I want to touch on is the moment I sat on top of a rainbow in the rockies of Wyomings beautiful mountains. This album hits at the core of both humanity and nature. 

Thank you all and I hope you have a beautiful day.

Second Minute Hour and Day 

  What I plan to do with this blog is capture the journey I've taken and currently am on, involving the deep exposure and discovery of self in being a musician. as well as the challenging dance of engaged perseverance throughout my life. To those of you who love to read and listen to stories in real time I plan to keep this going every week. I hope to inspire and encourage you to grow in strength and understanding the value of that which is most important in life. And not by my words but by your own discovery as you sift through my limited gift of creating proper expressions through words that have become most beautiful to me. 

   I've always read about moments in other peoples lives where "everything changed", I always thought I had ignorantly missed mine. To some degree we all wish we were never given clarity to direction in life and the cost it comes with. To take chances and hope for success you have to give in to the inevitable reality of failure.The reason I had thought I missed my chance was due in part to the way I looked at my failures. The mirror of life reveals who we are and honestly most of us aren't content with who we are. That is why we hold tight to that which we hope to become.  This "becoming" was the first big word I sought to understand.  What does it mean to become a musician?  

  Discovering the true identity of words has become a sort of adventure. I seek adventure often and when opportunity allows I seize it. The beauty of words is in the meaning and the meaning exposes vast depths of dimension. Words tie together all our senses, and even with their limits they lead us further into a place of inexpressible understanding. Understanding is the platform we find ourselves traversing, leading to an insatiable desire to share these discoveries hoping to affect the world around us. This is why everyone has a story to tell and a voice with which to speak. Even though many people are intimidated to not share their stories, those that do always tend to dive deeper into the beautiful abyss. 

  Now on to the word "become".  I know that becoming is a direction not a destination. Or to say it as Anais Nin "Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death." 

More on my becoming an artist next time...

10:30 pm January 16, 2019