Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
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Journal May 2004

Ty and Josh

Outside Sedona

Andie & Freedom

  • May 31-Memorial Day
       Memories are the theme of today. I see the papers and signs saying today we recognize and remember our fallen countrymen. I remember John Wesley today. The sad part is I don't know his last name. I only knew him for three days and after all these years I still can clearly see his face and recall how full of life he seemed. Andie and I traveled to the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington DC and tried to find his name. I thought his last name was Wesley but we couldn't find it on the memorial.
       The time in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam is such a blur to me that I am not sure when John was killed. It wasn't the monsoon season, I do remember that much. At times, when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and wave the poor me banner, I remember the day I last saw John. The choice of one person separated our paths and that choice meant death for John and life for me.
      So each day we arise to new chances and new choices. Of all the things I experienced in Viet Nam, the look on John's face just before he turned away to follow orders, still has the most impact. I know John knew his time had come when I looked in his eyes. Time is what we are given freely in this life. Time is what those we remember today don't have anymore. Let's spend wisely.
  • Remember those who are beyond the touch of time, but are ever tethered to our hearts,
    Till veils is rended and life departs and so starts the next adventure.
    Remember those who are beyond the touch of time.
  • May 29 
      It is yet another rainy day in the Northwest. It is funny how the weather changes in the course of a day and over a few miles. It can be pouring down rain and sunny 10 miles away. That's what makes it different though. Mark Twain said that San Francisco was the only city where you could experience all four seasons in the course of a single day. I don't think he spent much time in Washington.
       Josh and Ty are off to see Flow Motion at the Folk Life Festival. I think those boys will probably make national waves someday. I think the same is true of Flow Motion. I have a rare few moments of quiet here at the house. I can hear the fountain. All night long I heard the soothing sound of rain pouring down on the leaves outside. This morning I felt rested and like I could have slept away the day. Instead I went in the Studio with Bill Spies and had a rewarding day working on his tune, Eternal Love. I can feel the forward momentum on his project. His music has the same message and intent as Freedom's music. It is nice to have the chance for Andie and I to chose to work on projects we believe and not be tied to taking on music projects that we don't feel in our hearts. I have some friends who spend their time in their studios recording music that they don't even like. I am glad that is not the case here. We are not really bent on being a commercial studio anyway. Just recording the tunes I have written would be a full time job. I just haven't figured out how to make it pay that way.
        Still, I feel a peace today. I am enjoying playing at the Cafe de Paris. I wish they would throw in some food though. It isn't like playing at a concert there, but it is a chance to shine some light and love on people I may never meet. You never know the impact you can have on a person's heart or life with music when it comes from your heart. That is why we have the gift, to shine Love on the people whenever we can. Music balances out the rain.
  • May 28 
    It is a Bosa Nova morning with Stan Getz and Diana Krull keeping me company. I love the music of Brazil. I love the culture of Japan. Maybe I should write a song called I'm a Little Bit Japanese and a Little Bit Portuguese. No! There is something joyous about Latin rhythms that makes the rain disappear. You can almost feel the ocean breeze as cares just slip away.  I grew up listening to this music and it has a special place in my heart. I love the timelessness of the Jazz Standards that Dianna Krull sings. Just like all the emotions we feel, they continue to live on from one generation to the next. In much the same way as the lyrics of these songs, life continues to go on and on. The same questions arise. Who can teach anyone about love? Who knows anyone else's timing? Listening to these songs I realize love is still the great mystery and will continue to be a source for songs till the end of time.  Make mine Bosa Nova please.
  • May 27
       The rain pours down and cleans the air. The cool wetness makes Sedona seem like a distant dream. I listened to Freedom's new CD this morning and pondered the way time races by with a seeming stillness. I blink and a week has passed. Wasn't it yesterday that I was breaking brush in the woods with Freedom in a baby back pack. The weight of war on my heart and the preciousness of life on my mind. We walked in silence and in wonder of the beauty of the river and the cedar trees. I sang him the chants I learned from the Cree Elders in a Sweat Lodge Ceremony I attended for a week in Oregon. I hear those early melodies reflected in his songs now. I have become the White Buffalo, the elder in the tribe, more prone to reflection than action, as the years build up on my brow and in my heart. Was I ever really that young man who ran barefoot and shirtless along side a half tame horse on the farm, swung myself up and rode without saddle or bridle. Life is but a moment. And then another, and another until we reach the next great adventure. I have been blessed with many golden moments. I have been blessed by freedom.
  • May 25
       It is beautiful here this morning. Mt. Rainier was radiant in the morning sun. The skies were clear and it was the kind of morning that reminds me why I live in Washington. I love all the green we have here. The cost is clouds and rain but well worth it I believe. When it rained last week I began to miss the sunshine though. I think there is something to say about the effect of sunshine, it makes for happy feet. It is difficult to determine how we'd feel if we lived somewhere like Arizona because we were hanging out by the pool and wining and dining. All that heat in a work day might be overwhelming. I do love to walk about at night in shorts and a tee shirt though. Maybe you get the feeling you are secretly on vacation, even when you are working, if you live somewhere sunny.
       I am feeling pretty even keeled, a combination of meditation and Juice Plus +. I am still working through the book Bill Spies lent me on the art of meditation. Grace is the great comforter and grace is what takes away the wanting what you don't or can't have and provides contentment with each moment of life. I want to feel that grace. It is the foundation on which to build our lives and our dreams, I believe. In the still of the night, in the cool of the morning, I feel the Spirit Wind.

  • May 20
      This has been quite the week. I am not sure what it all means, other than the fact that the old saying holds true, if it doesn't kill you it makes you strong. I am thankful that Andie and I aren't swept apart by the less than intelligent actions of other people. The good news is all we need is Grace and we are never alone. We have so much love in family and friends. It was so good to get away and spend some time in Arizona. The desert is awesome. I think we are too much in love with water to live there though.
  •  We are seriously looking at Camano Island. With all the businesses we have that may be getting a bit far out in the boondocks. I love the countryside though. We would like to be able to see some water and the sunset from our house because both are such healing visions. And day to day, with all the cares we encounter, some healing is a good thing. I try to remember: life goes better with kindness, to take the time to soak up the wonders of the world around us, and make sure to let the people we love know you love them. 
  • May 19
    Obladi, life goes on. I spent some time with a book called the Art of Meditation. It is not a quick read, but a powerful one. In Sedona I was reminded of the importance of listening to God, that His temple is around us and inside us. There are so many beautiful things on this planet. It is far too easy to focus on the bad. When we do, we get bad feelings. Imagine that. When we soak up the many ways our Creator displays beauty and wonder we are healed and renewed. We feel good. What a choice!
  • I feel a silent strength growing inside me as I reflect on the words to Freedom's song: Wake Up and Live. The impact of the people in our lives and the choices we all make are all a part of this journey. So many times I wondered, as Jimmy Buffet put it, "Is this really heaven here or is it really hell?" In the end, I think it is a bit of both. There is a high road and a low road to life. Twisting and turning or straight and narrow, we choose our paths. We choose our paths. When we are aware of that fact, we pay a little more attention to where those side roads are going to take us. If we traced our steps back from the point we found ourselves wounded or stranded along one of life's highways, it all began with a choice. Thank God each day is a new start and we are free to choose again. I have learned in time that those choices go better with God as our guide. If we, like in scuba diving, stop, think and breathe. Except when listening for that still small voice, we need to stop thinking, breathe and listen.
  • We want to express our gratitude to Doug and Carrie Hamilton for the hospitality and invitation to come to Arizona. Doug and I wrote many great songs together and I keep that closeness alive by continuing to perform those songs after all these years.
    May 18
  • Back in the saddle again and feeling refreshed and ready for change. The time we were gone passed in a blink. It was time for feeding the soul. Watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon in its many layers of beauty I felt a peace inside and a sense of the power of the Infinite. I saw the inner peace Freedom has as he hung his leg over the cliff on one of the peaks we climbed. Sitting in the living room of the house in which Freedom lives and looking at Thunder Mountain, I thought of how he has trusted in God to guide and provide for him so he can share his music and He has. Always through people who care for him but it is God, just the same. Take the time for music or music will not find the time. Doug and I never got to play a note. We were both too tired and I wish we had had some moments of sharing music again. Well, next time. We certainly had fun visiting and making merry. We all felt such heavenly welcome and comfortable rest and I am so grateful. Doug still gets the best micro brew award. Andie took many spectacular photos and we will put some up for viewing soon.
  • Our friend Dana wrote a note that said when we die our souls are set free. How can we send a healthy soul to the heavens if we don't take the time to feed it for the flight. Amen to that. This week end was definitely flight food.

    May 17 Preparing to leave for the airport. Everyone is silent. This part doesn't feel the same as the departure from home. It has been a whirlwind of relaxing time. I am so grateful for friends and family who made this time possible. Till the next time we will keep these memories of closeness in our hearts as we keep the ones we love near us in spirit every day of our lives.

    Thank God for the time we take out to live and to bond and to share this time we are allotted.

    We are looking forward to seeing Josh. I greatly missed sharing this time with him.

  • May 16
       The last night of the journey has come to a close. We spent a day and evening in Sedona. What a magical place that is. We visited the band house and the house that Freedom shares with Natalie and Sebastian. Their house looks straight out at Thunder Mountain. All that red rock has a silent majesty that seems to call to the inner soul. Stop, listen, and breathe. We climbed some rocks and walked out in the wilderness near the road. It was a gradual climb over what looked like mystically landscaped terrain. There were flowers, bushes and cactuses that abounded along the make shift trails. There were small plateaus of red rock. The rocks had cracks that were surgically precise in the straight lines they formed.
  •   Jim was very gracious to drive us all day. We had the full crew with Rob and Freedom and Sebastian and I in Jim's car and Mish, Liz, Sarah, Andie and Pure in the other car. We didn't waste a minute and spent the day soaking up the beauty and wonder of Sedona. Rob told me to put my hands on the rocks and release all the "stuff" I am carrying. He said it was safe to let go of that kind of energy in a place like this. It is just reabsorbed by the earth, he said. I did kneel down and put my hands on the red rock and pray to release the burdens, real or imagined, that I am carrying. I could feel a release when I did. Freedom said he used to camp out in the countryside around Sedona. I could see that there is so much spiritual energy in that whole area.
  •   We had some food and beer at the old trading post and eventually made it back to the house after shopping.
  •  We spent the evening visiting at the band house. Rob, Mish and I sang Give Us Free and 911. We had a grand feast and a laid back evening. We spent the night at Natalie's while the party went on without us. We realized as we went to bed that we really didn't feel like we gave ourselves enough time, but it was good time that we gave. It was good for the heart to see Freedom and Natalie together. They make a beautiful couple.
      The previous day we went to the Grand Canyon. We soaked up every scene with heart and soul. We watched the many colors unfold before our eyes as the sun shifted across the sky. The wind was blowing and the air was much colder there than in Phoenix. We saw a huge Raven that followed us around. He was the size of four crows and he had one white feather on his back. A coyote walked right up to our car at one of the points we stopped along the road. At the point when the sun was setting, we all snuggled up with a sleeping bag draped over our laps. It had gotten so windy and cold at day's end. It is a different kind of hot an cold here than back in Washington. When it is 92 degrees it doesn't seem that hot and when it is 68 degrees it feels very cold. We laughed about being cold at 70 degrees.
  •    It looks like Freedom's time is coming to shine. It looks like they will be going to perform in Amsterdam at the Freedom Festival. They will be playing at the Meltdown at the end of July. They will be moving to California, much to our surprise. Freedom said that is where they need to make connections to move to the next level and get this music out. I am praying for their success. I am glad I am not in that business. I believe in the music and the message. Their needs to be balance and there is so much darkness is so much music I believe we will find a way to help the Freedom Tribe shine their light..
  • May 14
       This is our second day in Phoenix with Doug and Carrie and family. It has been quite a good time. I wish I had more time to talk with Doug. He is always great to visit and he is so passionate about anything he has to say. We had an incredible Vietnamese dinner last night, and I had two pints of Doug's Micro Brew and when we got home I just fell asleep on the couch. I am pretty run down I guess. Then I spent the night in stress filled dreams. What is that about?
  •   I dreamed I was in Everett at a restaurant and lots of friends and family were there but no one could hear me when I spoke. I saw a van hit a parked car outside and push it into the intersection. I saw Jim Culler and he could hear me. I had thought that it was my car but then I realized I had driven another vehicle. I had also put my laptop in what I thought was my car so I ran outside and got it back. I thought that I better call Andie and let her know I would be headed home soon, but then I realized I hadn't gone to work yet. Hmmm. No work, no phone call. I was probably in trouble. I then said to Jimmy,"Are we in Everett?" He said, "Yes." I said, "I can't be in Everett, I am in Arizona. I don't have to go to work because I am on vacation. Maybe I am dreaming." Jimmy said,"Maybe you are."
  •   That was the easy dream, the other's were just mind beaters. I told Andie if I explained these dreams they would probably lock me up. Do you ever dream so much that you wake up exhausted? That was the kind of night I had.
  •   On the waking part of the dream, that is to say, life. It has been fun here so far. We got to see Torrie's new horse yesterday. It is fun to see so but unbridled joy on the face of someone. She is so full of love for Sugar. The Hamilton's have shown us so much kindness and hospitality I feel really touched. I hope Doug and I get a chance to play some songs together before we head back. Today it is off to the Grand Canyon.
  • May 12
       So much to do in these days, I am glad for my dad. He has found a purpose in helping orphaned children in Nicaragua. The organization he is working with has all volunteer staff and all of the funding goes to support their efforts to take care of these homeless children. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could get 87 billion dollars from Congress to help our own homeless population and to address the poverty in our own country. I would like to use the music we will be making in the future to support efforts for the lost souls in our own communities. I think there is so much good we could do. I loved doing the benefits I have done in the past and want to pool our knowledge an marketing skills to really make a financial impact on the causes of hunger and homelessness.
    I saw a picture that belonged in a horror show. It was me tuning my guitar at the anniversary party we were attending. I looked like I had died 4 or 5 days before and no one informed me. Yikes! I am in need of some rest badly. I think that time away from the day to day, and some time with a book Bill Spies gave me on meditation, will help me get back into being and feeling alive. I haven't felt that way for a while. I still can go there with music but lately even that has been hard. I feel like I am pulling a freight car with a shoulder harness. The funny thing is that it is all imaginary and there are quick release straps on the harness anyway. Press the release and walk away I say. Walk away. Breathe deep and soak up the love and life around me.
        I am looking forward to getting the whole band together when I get back and moving to the next phase of making music. I am praying for more of me left after work for more of life. That would be a good thing.
  • May 11
       I am going to make it to vacation time. I am going to make it. Sometimes reflection is required to see the things that are good and feel the wonder of life. It is all perspective anyway. I seem to forget that a lot. So things happen like seeing people who have touched my life in different ways like Ellen, who stopped into Cafe de Paris. I hadn't seen her since the days of the Morning Show. Jamie and I played on King TV a few times and that is where I met Ellen. She shared with me that this gift of music is healing and comforting in lives in ways I probably couldn't imagine. You know, in my heart I know that and that is why I continue. There are times when I feel like I will lay my guitar down and walk away and every time someone special, like Ellen, will come along and remind me why I do music. Crystal is another person who touched my heart by sharing the impact the music that comes through me had on her life. I am truly blessed to have this connection with people to shine a little of God's grace and beauty on the planet through music. I realize at some of my darkest hours, when I walked in dark shadow lands and felt totally alone in the world, that I was em belay with God through music and that lifeline saved my life more times than I can count.
      Sometimes the connection to the Source of all creativity is so strong and clear that I feel like a mirror reflecting the light that is lovingly and freely given to me. Why? To share. As I grow older and whiter of hair (if that is possible) I realize that music isn't about me. It is about us. It is about we. One of the things that comes with the gift of writing is empathy, only stronger. At times I feel like I am looking out through the eyes and feeling from the heart of the person whose story I am telling. That is a source of both joy and sorrow. I wouldn't change the gift, nor forgo any of the emotions that come with being a messenger and comforter through music. I thank God each time I am blessed with a new song, or revisit an old one. Music heals me too. Sometimes this life gets in the way of making music. At days end there is little left but that will change over time, especially as I continue to slowly learn to let the little things slide and maybe even listen to the words of my own songs.

  • May 7
       My how time seems to fly. Here it is Friday. I spoke to Grampa Joe yesterday and he sounds great. He is going to go to Nicaragua on a mission. Mean time he is working in the office of the mission organization. He sounded like he feels really good about what he is doing. I am so glad to hear that he is.
    I got instant messages from Maria yesterday. That was great! What a surprise to be chatting across the continent with my lovely sister. That is one great side of technology.
  • Mother's day is coming and we will be going to a wedding anniversary. I wish it was on another day because we have traditionally spent that day with Andie's mom and I enjoy sharing that time with her. She is mom to a great woman. I will miss Sunday, but we will make it up to her. I am still stumped on what to get Andie but I have a few ideas.
  • We will be heading to Arizona next week. Josh can't remember that we asked him if he wanted to go way back months ago when we booked it. He said he never wanted to go back to Arizona. I almost felt that way after the last trip. It was so cold and overcast. I thought it deserved one more chance and I look forward to seeing friends and family there.
  • So I am wondering what I have learned this week? I think that patience is a good thing to have, deep breathing is important to help delay what might come out of your mouth in a time of crisis. I have learned that God is watching over us and his plan is still a mystery to me. I have learned that He gives me the strength to go through the changes of every day and I have learned to continue to trust that He will lead us onward. I continue to learn that other people's lives are their own responsibility and that boundary setting is a daily process. I have learned that God still does miracles and I am grateful for that because we need one. Now. I have learned that I am blessed beyond expression by the love of my wife and family and humbled by this gift. I have learned that so far the everyday stress hasn't killed me and I hope I am learning to step outside and let it roll by sometimes. I have learned to be grateful for each new day.
  • May 5
       It is Cinqo de Mayo. In olden times I would have been playing in some bar tonight. Instead some musician friends will be getting together at Studio 04 to record and play some music and socialize for awhile. I caught a glimpse of my grandfather's heart yesterday. He left one day for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. It is just that the highway seemed like the only place to be for awhile to drive away my troubles. I just wanted to silence all the thoughts on war, poverty and work. My days of running away are over. After all, no matter where you are, there you are. But sometimes there is just too much going on in my head. I drove 50 miles to Camano Island State Park. I turned off the car and parked overlooking the water. The rain was falling in a steady rhythm. I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of raindrops landing on the leaves and felt my worries wash away. I thought of Freedom's song, Northland Home. "Cedar trees, on their granite throne." In what seems like another lifetime, I used to drive to Troublesome Creek out by Index and listen to the rain. I would stand beneath the tall cedar trees and watch the raindrops drip from the sodden branches and fall silently to the ground. The turbulent waters of the creek wrestled with the river rocks and my cares were churned into perspective while watching their ancient struggle. The cascading water flow created a white foam and gave an aqua marine hue to the creek. There was something very healing in that blue color, in the silent majesty of the cedar trees and the rushing of the river. It was like listening to God's heart beat, and that is a good thing to do while worries wait.
  • May 3
  •    This weekend was full of life, to say the least. Live and learn in the business arena. Play and live in the music arena. Scratch your head and wonder in the family arena. I went into the weekend at the extreme low end of the emotional spectrum. I hit bottom and bounced a few times and slowly began to get some lift and take off. Unfortunately , I never did get much wind under my wings on Friday and most of Saturday. When we began to play on Saturday evening I could see the ground coming from above in the distance. It wasn't long after that that I could feel myself emotionally and spiritually lifted off the ground. Thank God for music.
  • I saw some old friends, Betsy and Dave Haber. We haven't see each other in decades. It is great how music can bring old friends together. It also makes me happy that they saw where I was playing by looking at the schedule on this website.
  • Not long ago I was talking with Jim and Mike about doing more shows with a band. I said, I want to but we need a guitarist and a percussionist. How can you do this music without a good hand drummer. John foots that bill perfectly. Mark fills out the rest. God is good. So I say, bring it on!
  • May 1st
       We are now into May! We did the gig at Taildraggers and we packed them out. By 11:30 the place was empty. I am retiring from music very soon. We had some moments but I was fretting over things at home and didn't feel like I ever really arrived. Mark was great! Dale was his fun self and played with that joyful island style. I am really wondering at life and some of the statements I made when I was a young and foolish man. I once said in my youthful arrogance that I would get by in life and get over relationships that waned. The only thing that could really smash my heart would be my children. The first part of that statement was not true, wounded hearts are slow to heal. But the second has proved to be the great prophecy. Dale told me he hard a saying that when you are a parent you live outside your heart. That would be a neat trick. Maybe that is a way of saying Don't sweat the small stuff. That's all good, but what about the big stuff. I see, as time passes, the need to learn to let go and accept the moment. Mistake made cannot be unmade and you cannot make your children's or your friends or anyone else's choices. Just your own. You can make amends when possible, but you cannot undo. So what does one do to learn limits and boundaries of your own heart. How do you move on after you hit a wall. How do you get around it. I am going shopping for a helmet meanwhile.
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