Posts in Musings
“Au...what..?” : How I Came To Work With Autism (Rick’s Story) : Wellness Story #6

An Unexpected Journey..

It’s been just about 5 years that I’ve been working with various special needs communities.  I didn’t set out to do this intentionally, it kind of just happened one day, and the fulfillment that it brought me was almost staggering.  There were some experiences earlier in my career that would hint at things to come, but those experiences didn’t initially fully blossom, instead they took root, and slowly developed,  and as I would realize later, they would set the stage in many ways for my future endeavors.

The Story Of Rick

One day I was walking through New Brunswick, New Jersey  doing promotion for my band Amber Blues. While cutting across a Rutgers Campus field I stumbled upon a man sitting on the steps of a building playing a guitar.

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Web Weaving

In business it is imperative that we weave webs.  That we connect the dots between communities, individuals,  associates, competitors, friends, and family, and really anyone else that is in our own personal storyline.  

It has ALWAYS been my belief that we can absolutely without a doubt discover hidden connections to just about any stranger that you may meet in your journey.  It’s like a call back to the old “Degrees Of Kevin Bacon” game, where the idea is to connect any random actor to Kevin Bacon in the least amount of moves possible.  Sound familiar? If so, you know what I mean. If not, give it a Google, and there will certainly be a more thorough description of how the game is played. The point of this is this:  Be a center point. Be a point where all other stands of the web are strung from and connected to.

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The Importance Of Kindness

Kindness, as a practice, feeds all areas of one's' personal, creative, and professional life. Practicing kindness softens walls that are not always needed – not to diminish the importance of boundaries, not at all – but more so the ones that do not serve us. Envy, jealousy, self doubt, low self-esteem, over-caution, trauma, and other low vibration energies are some such energies. Exhibiting kindness towards one's self as well as towards others helps one to develop feelings and thoughts of authentic self-joy and compersion (the sense of joy for another's joy). Having a frigid demeanor, where the warmth of kindness falls to the wayside, is a fast track road to dismantling all good things in one's life environment. Kindness MUST be an element in the formula, because left out, there cannot be authentic joy in any capacity. To be unkind is to breed hurt, and pain, and to further perpetuate suffering.

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Yoga Teacher Training: Wellness Story #5

…One of the major changes that I decided to pursue was to become a certified yoga instructor.  I didn’t choose to do this as a way to become a full-time yoga teacher, nor did I do it with the intention of opening my own studio; I wanted to be able to apply yogic principles and practices to everything I did in life, and primarily, with my services and offerings as a music teacher.  Systematic breathing, body awareness, mind-body-spirit balancing practices; . . . all of these appealed to me as a teacher of music, so I made the choice to take the plunge. Teacher training isn’t exactly cheap, and it’s a huge time commitment, and so I didn’t take it lightly.

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How to Manage Complex Projects: Part 2

A complex project requires a lot of resources, people, time, and as always, the almighty dollar. These components aren’t always readily available, but with solid planning, networking, and mindful frugality, anything is possible.

Often people are your best resource, and that’s because people often have their own resource pools and networks.

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Harvest Gathering (Year 1): Wellness Story #4

The next day after I was settled in, I had my classes and this is where the magick of this story comes in.  I was delivering sound healings using the crystal bowls, tuning forks, and mostly, my didgeridoo.  I fell into a trance-like groove while working with the bodies and the sounds.  I was scanning people’s bodies, using the didj essentially as a dowsing rod for injuries and areas in need of healing.  To my surprise, I was discovering all kinds of energetics intuitively, and with my tools.  

I recall scanning someone's body,  and stopping at their shoulder and asking, “What’s going on here in your body?”, and I was blown away when I was told that there had recently been a surgery in that spot and that it was in recovery. 

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How to Manage Complex Projects: Part 1

In the entertainment world, many people wear many hats; songwriter hats, manager hats, tour bus driver hat, graphic arts hat, musician or artist hat . . . and the list goes on and on.  I personally have a huge hat collection. It would seem like I have ten heads. I wear them all fairly well, but that is not often the most effective way to operate, even if you can. Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.  That is an important lesson to really learn over and over again. As artists we get carried away, and we get excited, so it’s not uncommon for us to dive head first into all processes. It’s not a bad thing to do, per se, but it limits the other areas to which your energy can go.  If you are an artist, and you happen to hate managing social media accounts, then consider, if you will, hiring a social media manager, and freeing up all that time to do what you do best, . . . create! 

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The Artist: Wellness Story #3

When I think of this person, it reminds me that you can’t kill the imagination sometimes, even in a place where medicated living is the norm, where the energy is heavy as a result of so many people struggling in life, and where one is confined to a limited space (though of course not like a 1 x 1 prison cell.  The grounds of the hospital are fairly large, and there are trees, and other soft features, but… the place is still surrounded by a fence. It’s an interesting contrast; barbed wire and gardens, but not to keep the animals out of the veggies, but to keep the people inside the walls where they are. Just remember that art can find root ANYWHERE.  In an abandoned alleyway, a grim war torn landscape, a garden, or even a psychiatric hospital. Never cease to use the imagination, and let it run free no matter where you are. 

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Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

This is one of the most common questions that a songwriter will get from an eager student or an enthusiastic fan, or sometimes from a friend curiously pondering as they listen to a song... 

“When writing a song, which comes first?...The words? The melody? The chords?”

There is an easy answer to this...

There is NO set method that is universally practiced by everyone.

The songwriting process is vast in its ways of manifesting and inspiring itself into existence with the help of a skilled (or not always so skilled) conduit.  The conduit for this divine outpouring is YOU, and it’s Me, and it’s every being with the intention and desire to make it so.

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Agreements for Collaborations

Have you ever found yourself in a collaboration or team effort spin-out? Have you ever walked away from a meeting with others and said, “What the hell just happened?” or “I don't like the way this turned out?” If you have, then likely you have either NO agreements in place, the agreements are not defined well enough, or the agreements were not honored. This is not good...but it is fixable and it is manageable, provided that all of the terms are stated, agreed upon, and written down. It’s really that easy. The hard part is nailing down everyone’s true needs, desires, and expectations. In this blog we will explore this topic.

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Reach Out Speak Out- Wellness Story #2

For nearly three years I have been working as a group facilitator at Reach out Speak Out Community Center in Trenton, New Jersey. The group has been primarily the same cast of folks since I started there, with the exception of some people that were regionally local temporarily, or in transit through other transitions in their journeys, but for the most part, it’s the same group. And what a group they are! I have seen their growth and changes over the last few years and it is quite amazing. Many of these people have histories within various aspects of state and county behavioral or mental health institutions, substance abuse programs, or other special needs and circumstance based counseling programs. I’ll tell you though, this group is an absolute hoot!! I have had so many laughs with these folks, and built up many many memories. It’s an absolute delight to serve them as a facilitator.

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How To Travel Well With Others (Part 2)

Sometimes, collaboration includes the element of travel excursions. For bands this could mean going on tour, for artists this could be traveling with an agent to a gallery opening across the country, for architects this could mean going to Europe to restore a historic structure, and so on. No matter who you travel with, it's important to travel well. This blog will explore travel dynamics and offer some tips gained from experiences I've had on the road.

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