Greg Murat (mur-rah)
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Journal March 2004 Journal Archive Flash Poem Archive
It seems like this month should be done. Just today seems like it has lasted about a week. I am listening to Freedom's album again this morning. There is some great music here. I still have a hard time getting over the way it sounded in the studio. The mix is incredible, but like any producer, there are things I would have done differently. Leaving Josh's solo in Bloom would be the giant one, because it would have gotten the words to people who need to hear it and would have been drawn into the song because of that solo. I think it delivered Spirit power that I miss very much in this version. I would have left the ride out on Angel alone and not put vocals there. The message had been given and the guitars take you to a meditative place of reflection that the additional vocal interrupts. But that is just Papa's opinion and no one is spending tens of thousands of dollars to mix my music so I think it will do fine without my input. I wish them the huge success they have been working towards for so long.
- March 30
I wasn't quite awake yesterday when I was writing in my journal. Josh came home from the Israel Ranch last night where he has been staying and helping our friend Mish prepare to leave her home of 22 years. I am proud of his efforts to lend a helping hand. He played me part of a new song he is writing and it was beautiful. I look at these grown up people in our home and have flashes of how they were once so small and vulnerable and lovable and new to this world. It is a question of balance to focus on the person standing in front of you now, with all the experiences and emotions they have acquired as young adults and leave the past in the past. I love my son so very much. I am troubled at times when we unconsciously slip into old patterns that separate us from the depth of love we feel for each other. He is a wonderful human being and so very talented and his heart is big and loving. I am blessed to have him in our home. I hope and pray the days ahead will bring us love, laughter and good music. You never know when your time is up. As for me, I am grateful for each new day. I am thankful to wake up each morning with my beautiful bride and I am humbled by her capacity to pour love out on our household. The beauty in her heart adds a glow to her already lovely face.
- March 29
It is always an adventure at our house: lots of people and lots of love and life. It is kind of funny how the mood can swing. It seems like trivial things matter one minute and then they come into perspective and then all seems well. Little things become little things. Andie and I spend a good deal of time being thankful for our blessings. We ponder ways to help ourselves and family members grow and feel good inside, to be responsible, to be caring loving humans, and to experience the joy of living and of being compassionate to others, and the importance of staying close as a family. I no longer spend time fretting over things that hurt me when I was a child the way I used to do. You know, I think that simple things in daily living are really enough to occupy the mind. I think we are given our parents for a reason. That reason may be simply to learn to forgive and to accept them for their humanity and all the good and bad that comes with it. As we mature in the lives we lead we will need to accept, love and forgive ourselves. That may prove to be an insurmountable task if we are holding grudges against our parents, or anyone else for that matter. We should give them a break, we may well need one ourselves one day.
- March 26
I am on my way out the door to a gig but I want to take a minute to remember my Uncle Frank whose memorial service was in Florida today. I wish I could be there. He was a friend to me as well as an Uncle. We had a spiritual connection that remained throughout my life. I felt connected to Frank although we almost never spoke. I remember him telling people that I came to visit him at times. I did think of him with all my might on many occasions. I remember his laid back nature and the love he had for music. He was going to chart my first CD for me. I never did get a copy of the charts but I know he spent a long time working on them. I am glad he accepted Jesus before he passed over. He was totally at peace in the last moments of life according to my dad and Maria. Rest in peace my brother. I love you always.
- March 25
We had winter again yesterday. Stop please. I grow weary of the winter chill. I am ready for the promise that spring brings. I would ask some prayer for Serious Israel, who is in the hospital in very critical condition Thanks.
I feel that little shadow of blues creeping in on the morning mist. Too bad for the blues because I feel pretty good right now. It is a blessing to have so much family around. Rob, Andie, Liz and I sat up late last night after our recording session and talked about Spirit, spirits, life and the changes we go through. Actually we stood in the kitchen eating stew and soup that Andie had made. It was 11 p.m., a great time to have dinner standing. It was a nice way to wind down after about 5 hours of recording. Bill Spies stopped by and got to check out Mike's studio. Rob worked for hours setting up microphones and dialing in the drums. It is funny how time is relative to what you are doing. There are times in life when it truly feels like it is standing still. I believe time does stand still. We simply pass through it. I wonder what eternity will be like. Rob was talking about feeling love and focusing on love when you cross over. Too many people go out focused on fear, that probably isn't that much fun. Living or passing I believe love is the meaning of it all. Love gives meaning to it all. To love is to live, as the saying goes. Love is the one thing we can wrap ourselves in always and forever. It is our shield and our carpet when we pass through the veil to Evermore.
- March 24
It was the kind of morning that everyone associates with Washington. It was raining so hard I thought my car had stalled midway through a waterfall. I could feel my whole body braced for impact from the tailgating cars. "Why does everyone have to follow so close and not allow for time to brake on the wet pavement." I spoke out loud to myself glancing lustfully at the empty commuter lane. That's when I saw it in the rear view mirror. It materialized out of thin air. A hovering craft that was 150 feet in diameter and had the shape of an overturned Tupperware bowl. It was aqua blue and rimmed with windows that emitted blindingly bright white lights. It appeared to be be spinning and standing still all at the same time. It began to suck the occupants of tailgating commuters from their cars and then dissolve their vehicles into vapor. I saw a tiny egg shaped head with huge blue oval eyes appear at one of the windows of the craft and grin gleefully as each of the space violators were extracted and the mist that had been their cars dissolved in the rain. I blinked hard twice and the craft was gone. Gone! As I looked around I saw that all the tailgating cars remained splashing through the torrential down pour. It was only a dream, or perhaps the after effects of medication I'd taken at the dentist's office yesterday. It was gone either way. I was at once relieved and disappointed. I continued on my way amidst the throngs of tailgating commuters, occasionally glancing expectantly in my rear view mirror.
- March 23
I was thinking about a trip to the Bahamas with Chani when she was pretty young. We went into Nassau and went shopping. She got a new dress and shoes and she looked so cute. Her hair was cut in a pixie, she wore black shiny shoes and ankle socks and a long sleeved black plaid dress with little gold chains on the collar. We were excited because that evening we were going to dance and stay up for the midnight buffet. We had snorkeled in the bay at Gilligan's Island during the day. She climbed right up on top of my head in the water when she first say a school of needle fish. She was petrified but quickly got over it after I assured her that they don't bite. We were pretty much sun baked and that tends to make you tired. We had our dinner and watched music videos and then danced for a while. Then we sat in the lounge where I played music in the early evenings and we watched more music videos. We both fell asleep on the bench and never made it to the midnight buffet. I remember waking up with her head on my shoulder and lifting her up and carrying her back to the cabin. That trip was one of my happiest memories with Chani when she was growing up. Even at that young age, she was never without a pen and paper. She was always sketching. She has grown up so fast and become an amazing artist and person. She has given me some of my best happy thoughts and I love her a lot. Happy birthday Chani.
- March 22
That was a busy weekend. And now I am at it again. The Washington Dinner Train was fun last night. I had them whooping and hollering and singing their hearts out. It was a good time. We met a nice couple, Jack & Cheryl and had some good laughs at dinner. We love to meet other couples that like each other like we do. At events like last night, I sometimes feel like I am outside observing myself when I am performing. I am really just a guide and trust intuition to carry me through and show me what to do. I fret about it a bit before hand and wonder what in the heck am I going to play to get forty strangers singing along, but it never is a problem when it comes down to it. Andie teased me about singing songs I don't care for a lot myself, but it isn't about me. We all sang for an hour and I did slip in a short version of Love Is Kind so I could share what I am about as a song writer. In what has become typical, I had no business cards and lots of people wanted to get in touch with us about parties. Maybe this year I will get better organized. We may do some more events with the Winery in the future, we'll see.
I stumbled on a radio station this morning that was broadcasting the story of Samson & Delilah. It was pretty timely message about knowing your strengths and your weaknesses and knowing that although your weaknesses may be dormant they don't go away. You have to pay attention if you want to keep out of trouble. I never knew that Samson got his heart broken early on and then went on to lead his people for twenty years. By all accounts he stayed out of trouble during that time. He had a weakness for love though. The speaker said it was a Hollywood kind of love. I have to wonder what he was thinking after each time he told the secret of his strength to Delilah, she attempted to bind him with the information. You would think he would ask himself, "What is up with Delilah? She might be a little shady." Men aren't famous for asking lots of questions when we are enticed, the brain will quickly fail. The story goes on to say that she nagged him nearly to death. One line she used was "How can you say you love me if you won't tell me the secret of your strength.?" He finally told her. Things went bad fast after that. It was interesting to note that the story says he told her all the things in his heart. At that point she knew he was telling the truth. She tested all the other false secrets he shared but when he finally poured out his heart she simply went out and sold the information, never doubting it was true. That is where the story ended. I thought it was just a reminder to pay attention in and keep in touch with God and your heart. God doesn't tempt us, it is the other buy who does that. I shudder at the times in my life that my brain was dormant somewhere while I was blown about like a leaf by the quest for pleasure. When you have been stung a few times while picking flowers you become more cautious and wise. The search for pleasure is never something that you can totally fulfill. I think that learning to love and stay was a hard lesson for me to learn. I am glad I learned it with Andie. She is a very big reason for me to pay attention and to know where I belong. I am glad when I pour out my heart to her she doesn't use it against me and I don't wake up in jail like Samson did.
- March 19
It is the weekend where I do my crazy 6 and a half hours of music Friday and Saturday night. I am getting too old for this. I have been thinking of how much I would like to hang up my technical coat and just play my guitar and sing. I think I have spent 1000th of my time making music and the rest struggling with technical challenges. I am ready to step away from the console and have some fun. Don Quijano is going to produce my next CD. I have tried to make as much music available as possible via live recordings and I will continue to do so. However I would like to make something I can feel has true artistic merit and production. Life is so many choices and this is one I want to make. I am going to start simply with guitar and vocal versions of songs. Kind of like the intention was at the beginning of Room With A View. I want the arrangements to lend themselves to the songs, and not the songs to the arrangements. It is all perspective. I want beauty and emotion. It is like looking out the window and seeing the mountains and the Puget Sound or just seeing the telephone poles and industrial smoke. I don't want to miss seeing the ocean while picking up sea shells on the shore. So much of life is push, push, push. I need a little more flow. I heard a calm talking to my dad yesterday that made me thankful again for his faith in Jesus. The way he encouraged me to be patient with the things that frustrate me and trust God to work it all out was very much a comfort. I am thankful for the gift of music he passed on to me and I plan to share it with as many people as will listen. Let it go and let it flow.
- March 18
I am listening to a Salsa band this morning El Caliente. I love hand percussion. I'd love to record some songs with these guys. It is really up my alley when it comes to Latin songs: flute, congas, bongos, shakers. I love the happy feel of the music. I don't understand a word they are saying but it sounds good. I am a little blank today. I am scattered when I try to decide what 10 or 12 songs to put on a CD. My brain starts to bounce all over because I have so many songs that I play all the time. I need to make a change in my routine and do like Andie. Workout. It is funny how when you are out of shape you have no energy. You feel really tired all the time and don't want to do anything. My brain protests at the thought of doing more stuff in a day. My brain is only part of the concern. It is the time tried effects of gravity on bodies as they age. Men's butts flatten out and bellies shift up and over the belt and then head towards the floor. It is a subtle process that can accelerate rapidly if left unchecked. So I am bouncing in my exercise ball as I type. At least that is a start. We will see where it goes from here.
- March 17
Last night I went to a father daughter event with Liz at her high school. It seems like only yesterday that she was small enough to use the sink for a little bath tub. She has grown into such a lovely young woman with a lot of heart and soul. She was very loving and kind to me last night and said something about me being her dad that really touched my heart. As a parent there are always so many questions and like the speaker said last night we are totally unprepared for the role. We wouldn't go to a dentist, doctor or surgeon who had no schooling. We have to fight the natural tendency to duplicate the experiences of our own childhood. He pointed out that at the end of our lives in the last few moments he doubted if we would be saying I wish I could have worked a few more hours, or watched a little more TV. That we would most likely miss the opportunities that passed us by to spend quality time with the ones we love. He gave a very useful acronym to guide us in the very tough job of parenting. I think it really can apply to all our relationships. It was this:
KINDNESS- the greatest thing we can give and receive in life as it is a pure reflection of love
INTITIATION-initiate activities and take time together, take the initiative
DICIPLINE-often boundaries are the very the things that are being asked of us. Often affection is the response we get.
SPACE-time alone and time together, time to learn and time to reflect, give room to breathe.
It was a very lovely evening with my daughter of the heart. Andie and I had planned for a few weeks to get together with our new friends, Phillip and Midori. I was very disappointed when just the day before I discovered that this event was taking place. Although I was unhappy about canceling our first get together with Phillip and Midori, and look forward to rescheduling, the only choice was to do so in order to take some time with Liz and bond. I will keep the note she wrote and gave to me at the beginning of the evening always. I am very proud to be her dad.
- March 16
The early am hours are quiet and still. I think I feel some isolation and consolation in them all at the same time. I have been having this feeling like my heart is being squeezed. I don't know if it is physical or emotional. It feels like both. Sometimes I just get that "leave me alone" kind of feeling. It is not my favorite. I have songs forming in my head and that puts me in a kind of nether world. My brain gets so focused on word plays and combinations that everything else seems kind of far away. I want to be there for my friends and family. I want to be close to my son Josh. I would like that. I believe in his talents so much and his good heart. He is so much like me in so many ways and that is the reason we but heads so easily at times. But the bottom line is just love, pure and simple. He is writing good songs and now is faced with the possibility of choosing whether or not to join his brother's band if the call comes. It is just one in many choices he will make in his life. I don't believe there is a right or wrong choice there. It just is what his heart tells him is right.
Sometimes my emotions flow out in these lines like they do in my songs. I forget that over 13,000 people have visited this site. The thing is, I think we all should track our lives and keep a journal of what goes on. Perhaps the best and deepest parts would be left out, perhaps not. I aim to tell some stories on this site, I just haven't figured out if I will add a short story page or use the journal. I like the idea of so many people being entertained or distracted from their own cares for a few minutes. There are so many memories. Like the time when my mother was walking her Yorkshire Terrier through a park in Atlanta and a very large man stepped in front of her path and demanded two dollars from her. When she attempted to walk around him he blocked her way. My mother was about 5 feet tall and very self assured. She stopped and looked way up into his eyes and said "If you don't get out of my way, I am going to braid your balls and feed them to my dog." I don't think those particular lines would have worked for someone else. He was dumbfounded and after a moment he began to laugh so hard tears formed in his eyes and he stepped aside. No one in that park ever bothered her again. Confidence and humor are good partners.
- March 15
Old friends are a source of grounding, belonging and history in life. It is good to keep in touch and learn what is happening in each other's lives. We scatter like autumn leaves and find ourselves swept away with the cares of our day to day cares. I want to travel more and visit people who we keep in touch. I want to visit Sedona in the next month or two and see Freedom's new space. Some one called it a little bit of Paradise. That wasn't our initial opinion of Arizona, so we will see.
I lived so many places in my life and there were so many people who came and went. I wish them all well and wonder what it would be like to see them after all this time. In most of my adult life my friends have been made in the musical world. Jamie, so full of life and underneath the tough persona, a very caring individual. Dale has played flute at so many of my concerts and shared so much time on stage, yet not enough time together off stage, just visiting and taking about what matters in our lives. Dana, who has been my friend, and who has put me on stage so many times for the wonderful opportunities of playing benefits. I still remember all those tiny children with leukemia who sat on stage with me while I played Love Is Kind. Their courage was profound. Dale and Kathy, who know more of my original songs than anyone, including me. Scott and Debbie, who did so much to help me find my faith. Jim and Penni, who saw me play and invited Andie and I to share their beautiful place in Cabo San Lucas for a week. Terri and Randy, who we met in Cabo and who then flew us out to Ohio to meet their very special family and celebrate our one and only Lobster Fest. Bill, who fed me such great food at Seattle Style and had me play at his restaurant completely unplugged. Maria who is reaching out after all these many years and making me smile with her calls and e-mails. Mike and Jim, the heart beat of my band. We did a marathon 8 hour recording session for the new CD last night, only to lose all the tracks in the end. We walked away with our chins up, well, sort of. Andie, who remains my best friend and my love. Each of my children grow closer in my heart as people and friends as time goes by and I am blessed by their presence. The people who time and circumstance have removed from my life remain in my thoughts and prayers.
I have so much to be thankful for, you'd think I would be more mellow and content. Sarah joked this morning that if I were part of the Israel family my name would probably be Peace. She said many of the names seemed to be ironic, so Peace would be good for me, since I have such a hard time finding it. I am at peace when I am singing and playing music though. It takes me where I couldn't go otherwise and lets me transcend time and space and be with old friends again and to make new ones as well.
Remember those close to your heart and if they are around let them know how you feel and maybe then you could say, let's stay friends forever.
- March 12
I don't know what the date is really. It is "tired-thirty" this morning. I feel like I am playing a part in an episode of the Twilight Zone. Getting up too early sometimes makes me feel like everything is in slow motion. Sounds are distorted and thoughts are sluggish. It is probably because lack of sleep can cause the veil between waking and dreaming to seem so thin that it is hard to tell the difference between the two. We do live in Late Land though, so there is always Espresso to kick start the day.
We are wondering what will become of Josh right now. Andie reminds me to remember what we were like at his age. I say I can't remember. She can. And lovely Sarah can't seem to see the wonder that she is. I wish I could open her eyes to that and fill her well with joy. I told her, "The past is an illusion, and the future is an intrusion that causes confusion in the here and now that, too soon, slips away." I was doing my Maharishi voice and trying to make her smile. She said, "Did you make up that crap?" Not sure if I had been insulted, I said, "Well, sure I did, on the spot." Andie and I still spend so much time talking and thinking about other family member's concerns that we keep falling off the event calendar for ourselves.
I talked to Maria yesterday. I miss my sister. She has that special tendency to want to fix everything too. God bless her for it. Andie & I are thinking of heading back for a very short jaunt to Florida. It has been old home week. We got to talk to Randy and Terri in Ohio and plan on seeing them in either Florida or Cabo. I also talked to Dana in Vegas. She says she's coming home to the Northwest. I have been spending more time answering e-mails and just dealing with the day to day, that it becomes more and more challenging to even keep my journal. Time out. That is what we all need to take and have. Time out for the things that matter. As Paul Simon said we're slip sliding away. Although I fall into the Zombie mode at times Andie reels me in and grounds me once again with her love. She invites me to wake up and live.
- March 11
- It is a beautiful Northwest day outside. Winter is chilling the air and seems to be saying "I'm not done yet." Spring replies, tongue in cheek, "Whatever." And so goes the shifting of another season.
- We have begun recording the drums for a new CD and I am really asking myself what I want to say more than what songs do I want to pick. It would seem like an easy undertaking but it feels different. I have written my way through war, love, life, broken hearts, (my own and others) and death. Since I was just a bit early to join the Beatles I haven't had the opportunity to distribute that much music. I have, however, written a steady stream from my heart for so many years. I believe the reason we are able to keep so many songs alive and fresh is that someone we know is going through one of those songs at one time or another.
- But I want to do the heavy songs with the light hearted. Give Us Free, 911 ( The World Moved On), shouldn't sit on a desk or remain only in my heart. I have my own walk, like all of us, and mine keeps me too busy to attempt to direct traffic for others. However, since I am fully aware of the source of my songs I am feeling like God is saying "You have had a pretty good time with the gift I gave you, now do something with it. Use it all." It could just be lack of sleep, but that is what I am feeling. If anyone has any ideas, and happens to be familiar with any of my music, or the music I have co-written with others, drop me a line with what you would like to hear on the new CD. How's that? Remember,God is watching.
- March 8th
I was listening to "Cats in the Cradle" this morning. There is a sad and too often true story in that song. I didn't get much sleep last night. You know the routine, each of our daily cares can seem so huge when seen from behind our eyes. There is so much truth to the saying that we should be fixing ourselves before we try to fix others. We can't fix anyone else anyway. It is a great slight of hand we can play on our own minds though. Look at him, look at her, just don't look at me. There are some things we can't even fix in ourselves, like addictions. Andie and I were talking, even agonizing over how to help family members and friends and came to the realization that besides giving love unconditionally, prayer is the best thing we can offer them. God must stand by shaking His head saying "Whenever you are ready to ask, I am here to help." But on we go, forgetting the most obvious and powerful source of strength and healing while we look everywhere else for a solution. I talked to my father this morning about the Passion of the Christ. I said I didn't see the point of watching a portrayal of Jesus's suffering. He said the point of the film was to show how much Jesus suffered for us to free us from the burden of sin. He said no human being could have endured that much and lived through it only to be finally crucified. The resurrection part is the part I like and that brings me joy. It is a mystery how people that are extra special get stomped on by life sometimes. Save up your treasures in heaven, as the saying goes. I guess I will go and see the film. Violence beats me up in movies though. I know, I will close my eyes on the violent parts. Oh yea, I guess I would pretty much miss the whole movie if I did. Better not go today though, I feel exhausted. Could you imagine having to say I did go to see the passion, "Yes,but I slept through it." Not good, not good.
- March 6th
My sister Maria sent me a little story about a baby being cradled in God's arms when she was too sensitive to be touched by human hands. It made me think of that time when Andie was in such horrible pain at the hospital. They had injected her with some dye that I had told them she was allergic to and she was smitten by such pain that she was crying out. She told me she had to go to Jesus and couldn't bare it anymore. It truly broke my heart to see her in such pain. And she is so amazing that she was apologizing to me for the fact that she thought she was going to die and leave me all alone. We couldn't get the staff to respond and give her anything for pain, they were heartless and insensitive. The nurse at Everett General Hospital even asked Andie ( When I was out of the room) if all that crying really helped. Andie eventually got quiet and peaceful and said she could see Jesus and he was holding her in His arms on His lap. She said all the pain went away and she just felt an incredible warmth. She just wanted to stay there but she came back for me and for the family. That is who she is. Her faith is an inspiration to me. I think that experience puts all the rest of this life in a different perspective. If we can hold true and just ask and believe God will take care of us and in the end the hardships of this life won't even be a distant memory. They will have melted like snow on the surface of the sun.
- March 5th
It will be a busy weekend with two band shows. Got the news that Rob will be leaving for Arizona the 1st of April. Easy come, easy go. It reminds me of the words of Robert Frost: the one thing I have learned is life goes on. I was also talking to a friend yesterday about music and dreams. That reminds me of the lyrics from Derrick Harrison's song, Full Circle. Not all of your dreams are going to come true. Sometimes I feel like this website is just a legacy. Though my lovely sister Maria and my friend Dale remind me that it is a way of staying close from a distance. I am a writer. My journals would be too long to read if I had more time because there is so much inside my heart and mind that want out that I would probably just type all day. All these cares of our daily lives are just like screens that pop up to block our view of what really matters in life. God, family, friends and caring for each other. I have to remind myself not to miss an opportunity to say I love you. Don't leave someone you care about wondering if you do. Let them know, while you still can. So love to you all and God bless.
- March 4th
Spring is starting to tease us. The tulips are sprouting and the sunshine does a drive by once in a while. Andie is not feeling well though and that brings a rain cloud into my day. Life continues, as it has. The question of balance is ever at hand. Work will dominate if left unchecked. We watched a film last night and I liked the coming of age speech. Honor, courage and virtue are all that matter. They make you who you are. And secondly, true love never dies. I have always believed that to be true. After this life when all this illusion fades, love will remain. I love the promise I see in flower stems reaching up from the earth where they have endured the cold of winter. Now they can soon display all the beauty that was sleeping inside those bulbs and brighten our days with a little bit of the many wonders God created for us. Bring it on.
- March 1 Another month through winter and I am ready for spring. Flowers are starting to pop up and it is getting a little less chilling in the mornings. We are into the Lent season. I haven't really known much about that but we picked up a booklet in Bellingham at the Vesper service last night and read some very helpful guidelines in becoming closer to God. It is always that time, to get closer. These daily cares are so silly in the bigger picture but they can keep us focused away from the spiritual side of life. I start thinking that all the things that don't matter do and the things that should matter don't. One thing we read last night was that we tell ourselves we aren't good enough or our past failures make us unworthy to call on the God. Guilt is a subtle thief that becomes an addiction in itself. Of course we can't be good enough on our own. That has been my challenge: thinking I will show God how tall I can stand on my own. Next thing I know I am face down in the dirt calling for help. Better for me to say here, please take the wheel make me a taxi for good will. Andie's good heart always inspires me to keep on trying to walk by faith.
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