Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  September 2007

September 29, 2007
 Relax and accept that things are as they should be. We are being given lessons we need every single day. Today my lesson is patience.
  We are cruising along in the Caravan down the highway watching Thomas the Train. Kayden insists we both remove our socks and shoes. We have bare happy feet now. Andie is at the helm. Kayden is happy to be going to see his Grampa Noel, his great Grampa Noel. It is an overcast day here in Washington. The leaves are changing and adding the orange, purple, yellow, red and rust colors of autumn as a prelude to falling away from the trees they adorn. The cold is creeping in and I get a chill looking at Josh, Sariah and Christina in the pool. The thing about Ojai is although it is warm in the days in the autumn, it gets cold at night. It gets very cold in January when we visited early this year. I think of everyone having to move out of the house in Ojai, it seems strange. So much has changed since our last visit. We are not sure if they will end up in Oregon or Washington. I know their fist choice would be to stay where they are. They all love the sunshine. Kayden, Andie and I loved Santa Barbara. Andie just framed a photo of Kayden and I walking on the beach there. It is hanging above Kayden's piano. It is funny how much at home we felt the first time we got off a plane in Santa Barbara. Arriving at the tiny little airport, the cool breeze blowing in off the sea, stepping out of the terminal and then sitting in the grass waiting for Christina to pick us up all seemed so natural, pleasant, almost familiar. We were very happy to be there.
  Sedona never felt that way. Freedom once said that I have desert Karma and that is why so many things went wrong during our trips to Sedona. I did get to see an incredibly beautiful side of the landscape there when a group of us went for a hike in the forest during the time we had gathered for Cheyanna's memorial. It was in October and the leaves were a spectacular array of colors. It was a time for reflection and that comes from walking in the beauty of nature. I just got a call from Freedom and Anjali has gained back all her weight and is doing great. He says she is very happy and is thriving. Natalie's mom is in Sedona now helping out and Freedom said they are grateful to have her there.

  So life moves on and those who pay attention move on with it and don't look back. You have dreams, you have expectations, you look out and hope and realize that peace comes from within. It comes with accepting and loving yourself. It shouldn't really be that hard if you think about it, because that is the way you love. I am talking to myself too. That is the gift my children gave to me; the ability to love unconditionally, the ability to accept and love them just the way they are. It is the gift I am learning to give to myself. The night is quiet and I feel like one feels after a near death experience. Everything is really calm, peaceful and yet immensely intense. I can feel and hear the rain outside, not so much with my ears as with my soul, my being. Something died and something was born today. I received my freedom from the bondage I placed on my own destiny and life. This is a good feeling. Sadness comes from a lack of acceptance. I am no longer sad, I am letting go and it is truly liberating. I love and love comes full circle one way or another, full circle, all the way around.

Kayden on Lopez
           Kayden- Lopez Island Sept-07

September 25, 2007
  This day jumped and ran. I miss the days when I had time to write a poem and a journal entry all before 6 a.m. and then post it right away. If I am lucky I can still write in the wee hours but rarely have a chance to post before night time after Kayden has gone to bed.
  It was Liz's birthday today. Happy Birthday! We had a lovely dinner at Talay Thai in Lynnwood, a restaurant that Sarah Maria introduced me. Liz got a camera and some framed pictures of Kayden. He alternated calling her mama and "Lidabit". He made it almost through dinner and when he got rowdy he and I went outside and climbed up and down two flights of concrete steps over and over again. During dinner he tossed one of his Thomas the Trains and hit Liz on the head. He was upset that he hurt her and his little lip stuck out so far he'd have tripped over it if he had been walking. He couldn't get the words I am sorry to come out so he reached out his hand, she took it, and he signed sorry with his other had. There were tears in his little eyes. It was all better after that.
  Chani and I had planned a get together for about a week but I wasn't paying attention to dates so we had to postpone. I may try to stay up late and go out with her on Wednesday and check out a room where she thinks I should play a solo gig in Seattle. These days I seem to turn into a pumpkin pretty early.
Speaking of Pumpkins that time of year is coming again. I have very fond memories of last year. Kayden does too I think. He became ecstatic when Andie said it is almost time to go the pumpkin patch. I love the autumn, there is a calm I feel in my soul. It is a time of passage and of letting go. The leaves remind us how important that is every single year. I feel it and I am ready.

September 24, 2007
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams;
Who look inside, awakens. Carl Jung
  Casey Garland came by yesterday with his new musical friend, Elaine Skeffington, and we had a fine day in the studio. First of all Casey arrived early and we took a huge load of recycling and garbage to the county dump. What a Godsend his help was. I am grateful beyond words. Not having a truck makes that job a challenge at the very least. But I discovered that a natural preventative to the neighbor's dogs spreading garbage all over the yard. That is accepting the fact that our neighbors aren't responsible and then sprinkling our trash cans with cayenne pepper. Just a light dusting has quite an impact on an animal seeking a dirty diaper or a bit of compost that accidentally found its way into the can. We would have picked up garbage the last two weeks otherwise and on a daily basis. It works.
  Now to the recording session. First of all it felt great to be working in the studio again. Elaine is an excellent singer with a great choice of material to suit her voice. We recorded 11 songs using accompaniment that she brought on CD and two songs with Casey playing guitar. When Andie got home she made sandwiches for everyone. Casey and Elaine got to visit and talk about music while I was doing all that mixing engineering stuff. They did a tune by Corrine May, that is just beautiful; Same Side of the Moon. It is a love song, but I think the lyrics really apply to how I feel about people in my family who are far away.
Your night may be my day
And though the seasons change
We see the same side of the moon
That we'll be looking at when the world turns blue
And I know that time and space can't come between me and you
We share the same side of the moon
And though you'll never see all my tears shine through
I know I can't feel that far from you
If we're both looking on the same side of the moon
If you can listen to that song and not cry you are way tougher than me.
I haven't heard from Freedom again but I plan on calling to see how Anjali is doing. I was just going to call Lilly in New York and I realized that Andie took both of our phones with her to go shopping and out to the Casino for a little mother daughter time. She got Eddie and Scratch stuffed possums. You know the characters from Ice Age. They were throwing them in the air and running around laughing and screaming when I got home. Kayden has made so much progress in transition. He used to melt down in tears and crying at the slightest change of event or situation. I came into the house and said hi and then I said that mama's going to play with Grammy. He looks up and said "Bye mama," and gave her a kiss. I like that a lot better.
Chani is coming for a visit tomorrow. We are making plans for a project together. Kayden and I are watching"Signing Times," a wonderful DVD on sign language. I have to run and limber up my fingers. We are doing the alphabet.

Grampa and Sariah
Grampa & Sariah

September 23, 2007
  Make your dreams a little more realistic and you won't be disappointed. Andie :(
On the TV George Banks is searching for his children. Mary Poppins has not yet arrived to save the day. Andie and I are discussing the absence of whipping cream from our refrigerator, and the fact that that eliminates the possibility of having crepes for breakfast. You can't have crepes without home made whipped cream. Our little dog is hiding from Kayden in her igloo and the Washington skies are gray. I am so excited because my friend Casey Garland is coming over to record in Silent T Studio. And almost as exciting, he is helping me with a dump run. Not having a truck anymore makes a dump run a challenge. Interesting stuff, huh?
  By the way, I will always love my children. I will always be there for them, no matter what. Until my time on earth is done, and even after, my love will surround them up close or from a distance. I have been, and am blessed beyond measure by the souls who call me father and grandfather. You know the incredible thing is that they love me too. I am so often complimented on the amazing souls they all are. I agree. I am richly blessed. If I could just let stuff go, I would be happy. Anyway, it is off to the dump I go. Yippee!

September 22, 2007
  I got a call from Freedom's friend Lilly in New York yesterday. Her message was garbled as cell phones can tend to be. I haven't called back yet as I want to be able to sit and visit when I do. I also want to remember to ask her about Paris. I believe Freedom said she has lived there at times. It is funny she called because I was thinking about her and wondering if she could offer some guidance to Sarah about where to stay, what to see and so on.
    Freedom called today and said Anjali had lost weight and at 35 days old actually weighs less than when she was born. I was happy to hear that they are supplementing her diet with goat's milk and she has started to gain weight. I guess she got down to under her birth weight of 6 pounds. I am glad I got the call after she gained four ounces. Andie is chaffing at the bit to go see Anjali and I would love to see her too. The logistics are all haywire though. Also we have that ticket to Maui that will expire December 31st and we lose it unless we use it. We could go to Florida with it because that is where the airline flies. All that is irrelevant really. We haven't been particularly comfortable in Sedona and there is a great deal of energy that is antipositive. There are things I can accept and things I cannot all taking place in my own head. Like Mark Twain said, I have had a whole lot of trouble in my life. Most of it imagined. That is the bottom line. I think maybe something is broken, my heart perhaps, that keeps me from feeling a connection. Perhaps it is a feeling of needing to offer protection where I cannot manifest it. My father reminded me in a sense to let go and let God.
    I have nearly lost my mind over the last several months thinking about other people's lives. It is silly really. I have a life, we have a life and a ton of responsibilities of our own. We will probably make a day trip down to Sedona if we can work it out with Freedom so he will be around and we can get some time together. The last two or three times we have been in the same place we haven't really gotten to visit. It would be good to get a few minutes alone to catch up father and son, friend and friend. If it happens it happens. In the past we have been straight up with each other but it takes one on one time such a connection. It seems to be a rare commodity.
   But life is good. Kayden is thriving and Andie's arms have nearly healed. I am grateful each time I wake up alive and whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy. I am receiving all good things even though I don't know what they are. I am working in the studio again and that feels great. It is time for a new home. Past time.

   People matter. Still some people aren't able to see anything but their own needs, wants and desires and such people are a waste of time. People who only take are best set free from your heart, mind and thoughts. We own our feelings, and as Andie pointed out. When I was sharing my frustrations over such people, she asked me, "Do you think they mind? Do you think they care?" As that thought sinks in I am beginning to smile as I imagine drop kicking a blessing their way with love and praise. Who cares? I do, but less and less. I do care more and more about the things in life that matter and that is sharing love and joy and peace with as many people as possible, people who are glad to have your company and love you for who you are. People you can be there for and who will be there for you. People who , people who say thank you, return your phone calls, your E-mails and such, are a reminder that you matter. People who don't are saying something else. You know this all reminds of a story. I can't think of what it is, but it does. I can't remember the story so I wrote this one instead.


The Bully by Greg Murat

   There was a bully who came to a small town. Now he was a handsome rogue and he had a way getting people to do things for him, give him money, give him food, give him shelter, bring him clothes. It is uncertain why people did this. It is possible it was because he thought they should. But he was never thankful and if someone failed to meet his demands he punished them with words, deeds and blows. He only wanted more and more. He complained constantly of how hard his life was, both past and present. People were confused as they scurried about waiting on him hand and foot.
"How is it his life is so hard when we do all the work?" They asked.
" That is as it should be," thought the bully.
And amazingly everyone continued to cater to his every whim with no payment and no thank you.
The bully was the recipient of all this misplaced generosity for years and then one day an ancient Native elder wandered into town. Word floated around about the bully and the town and the whole saga of service. The elder listened and said, "Your love and efforts are wasted here. When so many needy go without you lavish service on a fully capable human being who slurps it all up like a black hole in the universe would. You do a disservice to this so called bully and to yourselves and your brothers and sisters who are really in need."
  *The town's people gathered and the town's people talked and everyone was in dread fear of the consequences if they stopped being slave to the bully. Still one by one as other opportunities of real need arose they abandoned visiting and servicing the bully. At first there were cries of outrage and words filled with venom flung at the community but they only responded with smiles and then set about doing good where it was really needed. One by one they fell away.
  Then one day the bully woke up homeless, hungry and alone. As he shivered in the morning cold he looked around and noticed the morning sun dancing on a dew drop and heard the morning song of a robin. He gazed around and became aware of the magnitude of every thing around him. He watched as friends passed in the morning, arm and arm, laughing. He caught their eyes and they smiled and waved. A sense of gratitude tugged at his hungry stomach as he returned the wave and the smile. An awareness of the emptiness of his past life seeped into his veins. He felt filled with hope for the opportunity to return the kindness shown to him. He vowed to make up for what he had done and how he had been. And he was true to his heart and word and from that day forward he never missed an opportunity to serve. He lived happily ever after.

Alternate ending
*The town's people gathered and the town's people talked and everyone was in dread fear of the consequences if they stopped being slave to the bully. "We will not be able to take the abuse" many people cried. So they all gathered in the night with torches and stormed the bully's house. They rushed in to drag him out into the street. They were shocked to find that indeed there were two bullies; twins. They promptly bond them both in heavy hemp, trussed them to poles and carried them out into the night where tar and feathers awaited them. The town's people called forth the elder and he asked the bullies if they would repent of their selfish ways. "What selfish ways?" they asked simultaneously. There was silence as every one waited for the elder to respond. He reached into a pouch that was hanging at his side and took out a handful of power. He whispered several words in Cree and blew on the dust. Everyone gasped as the two to them vanished.
  To the bullies there was a rush of light and heat, a sense of nausea, and a jaw jarring jolt as they slammed untethered into the ground. They gazed around, confused, dazed and then cried out at the sound of a whip crack and the sting of the lash. There before them was a bare chested man wearing a dark torture's hood over his face. He must have been close to three hundred pounds and was six and a half feet tall.
"Where are we? When are we?" they asked. "In 1671 the year of our Lord and in the service of Count Heinous the Brutal. Slaves ye are and slaves ye'll be," and with that he cracked his whip across both their backs. "To the dungeons."

September 20, 2007
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Victor Frank
Growth involves stretching the comfort zone whether we are trying to overcome negativity, accept situations we cannot change or simply come to love ourselves unconditionally. Changing is something like being tied to a cosmic rack with the wheel being cranked by reluctance, resistance or resentment. The wheel can be much less painful if oiled with acceptance and humility. The cranker of the wheel is only too happy to nap or nod off and leave us as we are. We can then allow all the thoughts we need to change to remain in tact and busy functioning and drawing into our lives all the things we do not want. Energy flows were attention goes. There is an excellent exercise in which you take a piece of paper and list all the things you do not want in your life. In most cases that can be easy to fill. In a column next to that list write down the opposite, or in other words, what you do want. Place your thoughts and energy on the I want list. Focus on an illness or being overweight and you will continue to be ill and over weight. Focus on health and being an ideal weight and you will draw that into your life. As I practice being aware of what I am thinking I find myself on a run away wagon on a steep incline, untethered and with no reins. I want to scream and leap off. I believe in time the incline will begin to level and the reins will return to my hands and the wagon will be tethered to a team of cooperative horses instead of frothing dragons. I am grateful for that. It is getting hot in here.

September 16, 2007
This is home, where the heart is, no matter where you are.
We had a stellar show last night, good sound, good performances, good food, good friends, a sunset and then a moonrise. Our show was from 7 until 9 but we played straight through until 10. We were having a great time. Big thanks to Shannon and Melinda Ramey for having us play at their gathering. The folks there loved the music too so we were all quite happy. Kathy, Dale and Tom came out to listen and for Kathy and Dale to share the evening of their anniversary with us.
As the poet says it was a good day.

September 15, 2007
  Hand in hand and side beside we'll go through this life, a woman and a man, a husband and a wife
The love we feel inside is timeless and it's true and I want the world to hear me say, I do
Breaking news for The Stay In Washington League, Josh, Sariah and Christina are moving back to Washington by February 11th, their birthday. Now that throws some spice in the stew. I guess we can take Ojai out of the picture. See how simple life can be when you let it be?
Happy anniversary to Kathy and Dale. It is great to see couples who have stayed together all those years and still manage to be nice to each other, or maybe it is because they are nice to each other. Many happy returns. They have spent a good many years listening to this gray haired pony tailed man play on their special day. Today will be the another anniversary we share since they are coming to the show.
  Jimmy Culler and I were in the studio until about 1 in the morning picking drum grooves for tunes we will be playing today. It was challenging finding preprogrammed parts. I like to write my own but I am not familiar enough with Dr. Rhythm to write grooves. We are doing a show today that was going to be a solo performance but Melinda opted to have flute and then bass and then percussion so it is now a quartet. I haven't played in ages and I am really looking forward to today's show and to seeing long time friends.
  I made Kayden banana blueberry pancakes this morning and he insists on having his pancake served whole and uncut. So far he has managed to eat about half a teaspoon's worth. At this rate it will be lunch time before he finishes breakfast. Now since he is not satisfied with his fork technique he is plucking the blueberries out with his fingers and eating them. Hey, he just forked one all by himself. The little thrills and successes in life make it all worthwhile. Do I know how to party or what?

September 14, 2007  
Go ahead, make my day. Dirty Harry
   I have been reminded a great deal of the finality of time on earth in the last year. The passing of our Cheyanna was a huge glimpse of mortality. More friends and family have passed. Just last week some one we know said good bye to their mate, headed off to work and came home to find their mate had died quietly of natural causes. How do you deal with that? It has reminded me again to continually work at a will, at putting things in order for this life has a number of days and that number is unknown to any of us. I would ask some prayers for our friend Nancy who lost Mark without warning and is left with much more to deal with than just grief. We would also ask for prayers for the friends and family of Tom Phalen. Tom also passed away very recently. There is more about Tom on the news page. We send our condolences.
   I am hoping the reflecting that I am doing at this time will lead to action so I can have a better future in place for Kayden and Andie when I jettison the planet. How do you divide your stuff? I know as hard as that is to think about, it is unfair to leave to chance, or even worse the state, who gets what. So I am starting to play with ideas of dividing things up and it is kind of fun. It is a good way of being in touch with a heart and mental picture of family members by reflecting each family member and who might want which things. What I hope to leave behind with everyone is love, the stuff is just stuff, but amidst that stuff there are many toys and tools for creating art. I have been blessed with so many talented souls in my family that I am learning to rejoice in that knowledge each day. In fact I am learning to rejoice more and more in general.
   Yesterday while chatting, Andie pointed out that on my path of life I am and have been protected. In the past I would have locked in on all the negative aspects of the information she was sharing. I wanted to skip the part about being protected and lock in on the harm that can (I almost said will) come to me only through my own fear and doubt. In the past I would have just glided over the protected part and locked onto the part about fear and doubt. Protected is good, fear and doubt is a choice. I am going to focus on protected. In line with protection I will make a plan for my departure, it is on the calendar, a calendar I cannot see. Meanwhile let's live and live fully. Today I saw an acronym that knocks the wind out of the concept of fear, uncertainty and doubt: FUD. FUD doesn't sound very ominous, intimidating or powerful does it? I am not going to give in to FUD any more. FUD off! You want a piece of this FUD?
Go ahead, make my day

September 12, 2007
Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Anthony Robbins
   I have been going through some changes just thinking. Andie is helping me understand some things about my nature, especially fear and doubt. What a pain to be so richly blessed with both. But as I so quickly point out to others, there is more than just an element of choice in regards to fear and doubt. It is like saying I had a rough childhood, my parents don't support me, my mom was an alcoholic, my uncle was crazy and most of us could go on and on and on. Since studies say that over 85% of families are dysfunctional, it doesn't make us that unique. Most of us could take a victim role while speaking of the past. It is more of the normal trend to have had a troubled childhood. As Jack Canfield says "So what." We can focus on a past we cannot change or on the present and make choices that will enrich ours and other people's lives. Andie was telling me that I have a lot of good that I can do for the world, I just have to believe. The spiritual path is where I belong and where I am happy. She is right of course. Most of my battles involve me and the rest of me. If I had a cerebral projector that would show my thoughts on screen anyone into drama would probably make some pop corn and have a seat and watch the show. It might be hard to separate the characters as they are mostly me. That is not completely true. The drama is different aspects of me engaging in some stressful mental interaction with someone else. Thank God for the blessing stone (a stone I press to project blessings on people) but I have misplaced mine. That is probably why I am having a hard time. Andie said the other problem I have is being one sided and being certain that my opinion is the right course. That is certainly one possibility however wrong it is. :) She also said I spend a great deal of time looking at and for other people's messes to clean up, figuratively speaking, while stepping on and over my own. There may be a grain of truth to that also. I can't really think clearly as my desk is such a mess. I will have to look into it and that is hard to do because there is something stuck in my eye.

September 10, 2007
  Laughter has the power to heal in squeals and peals.
It was a good day yesterday. We gathered together with Faith, Carrie, Nicole, RJ, Robin, Carter, Sean, Liz, Andie, Kayden and I at Howarth Park. We had a picnic of Fried Chicken, Macaroni Salad, Chips and Pop. There is a great view of the Sound from there on the hill. We watched battleships, tug boats, speed boats and sail boats out on the water. We brought a bag full of trucks and cars so Kayden was happy and he even shared with Carter. Other than the merry go round neither of them had much interest in the park slides or swings. Liz drove trucks around with Kayden and he was so happy to see and play with her. After we stuffed ourselves we Liz, Faith, Andie, Kayden and I went down to the beach. I say down but we climbed what seemed like 5 flights of stairs to get to the bridge over the railroad tracks and then down the steps on the other side. We all l made it, some of us more slowly than others. Kayden is part merman so get him near water and he lights up like the sun. He was right in the frigid waters of Puget Sound and for the most part only wanted anything to do with Liz. Andie, Faith and I were castaways. We were content to soak up the sun and sit in the sand for the most part. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was a nice birthday party and a good gathering.
I talked to Chani yesterday and she sounded great. I put a little blurb in the newsletter about her gallery showing in Seattle. She may come for a visit tonight. She and Knuck had a good laugh looking at the Ojai pictures. They loved the Johnny pictures for sure. I had to go take another look and have a laugh again my self. That was a bit of a strange trip that has still left some dust unsettled but I hope it it settles and the air clears soon. There is a lot going on in Ojai that makes the possibilities wide open for Josh, Christina and Sariah. They were talking about even moving to Corvalis Oregon. We are still pondering all the possibilities. We have wonderful friends and family right here in Washington though. Sedona is off the list of possibilities because there are rumors that the Freedom tribe will move away from there before too long. It is too far from the ocean for Andie, Kayden and I anyway. Josh was just telling me how stinking expensive rentals are in his area. We know, we have spent a lot of time looking on line. For now it is time to winterize the house and get ready for the coming cold. brrrr.

September 9, 2007
  Embrace life, the ones you love and let them know what they mean to you every day, every moment. You never know when your time is up.
Think before you speak. Careful what you say. No. Okay. Not. Maybe. Whatever.
I write. I am a writer. That doesn't mean I am right although of course I think I am. I am entitled to my opinion and so are you. That is a double entendre.
Anyway I think autumn is bullying its way into the mornings at least. It comes slinging chilled air and knocking leaves off branches. It is also beginning to splash colors at the remaining leaves and the sight serves as an anesthetic. It is like autumn is saying, "Winter is going to hurt a bit so soak up this beauty while you are preparing for what is to come." There are the hints of those Washington arctic breezes that blow right through however many layers of clothing you are wearing and leave you so chilled you feel naked in the wind. Ironically autumn is one of my favorite times of year. I have struggled for decades to finish a song about the autumn but still remain engaged but unfulfilled. Time brings all things right up until we are done. If you are still breathing you are not done. Hey autumn bring it on.

September 8, 2007
  I don't worry about maintaining the quality of my life because every day I work on improving it.
   This new day has brought some enlightening light on some things I have been pondering. Sometimes the innocent are not so innocent as they seem. If people don't step up when someone is out of line then in effect they are partakers. Partners can be very guilty this way. It is important to have checks and balance in a relationship and if your partner is being an ass to lovingly point it out, but not publicly of course. Andie does not have any problem in that department. "Honey, your butt is showing, zip it please. Take your Juice Plus." Anyway I grow weary of thinking about people and situations I cannot do anything about except of course pull out my Blessing Stone and fire away.
   We have a ticket to Maui that needs to be used before the end of the year so we may have to take a little trip and enjoy some sun. We will see. Kayden and I are hanging out on the sofa for a minute after playing tag, coloring, having a tickle contest and playing with the trains, cars and going in and out of the house. It is nice to have a relaxed moment. Last night we all went over to our friends Becky's and Dan's house and they cooked us a seafood feast. It was fantastic. Andie is not into seafood so we don't eat it much but boy did I last night. It was great. They bought a new boat so we are going to go salmon fishing soon with them soon. That will be a treat for all of us. Their boy Tyler is the same age as Kayden and they play well together. It was a nice evening. In the past when we have visited I have played my guitar and sang but we were pooped last night and Andie had to work today. This morning Kayden said "Bye Mom, sorry." I guess he was sorry she had to leave but happy to be hanging out with pop.

September 7, 2007
Your thoughts and your feelings create your life. It will always be that way. Lisa Nichols
I sent a note off to Freedom this morning. I woke up thinking about how hard he is working at his job and then coming home to spend four to six hours working on the remodeling of his home. That has gone on for months now. He is so proud of the work he has done and he never complains he just plugs away looking forward to being done. He is also taking care of Anjali, Sebastian and Natalie. He often sounds weary but he gets recharged by the occasional chance to go out and play music. Music is the reason he is here. He was spared an untimely and early death for the love and message and healing in his songs. I wish he was not so far away and was spending more time making the world a better place by making and sharing his wonderful music. He has a large network of people who support that aspect of his life but they are mostly not in Sedona. Now he has a beautiful new daughter, a step son and wife, all so very far away from here, to take care and provide for and he does it with kindness, determination and quiet dignity. I believe in his gift and his talent and the beautiful soul that he is. I know that the Spirit will lift him over any obstacles to his path and those that support him for who he is will be richly blessed. It is ironic that we all waited so many years for Freedom to settle and be married and when he did marry it was on Maui thousands of miles away. I kind of regret not having been a part of the ceremony or celebration. But Freedom means being free. And he ever shall be. It is my prayer that love and kindness will surround him, joy will fill his heart and he will be blessed with abundance, appreciation and peace, that those who would hurt him will be confounded in their efforts and then blessed with the same blessings. Life is an open door.

I remember when Freedom was a baby and would sit on my lap on the rocks by the river in Sultan and we would bang on rocks and chat Native Cree songs together. The spirit of music was in him even then. I see the same wonder in his eyes when he is holding his baby that I felt holding him when he was my first baby. I hear those early chants in his grown up songs sometimes.
The wonder goes on.

September 6, 2007
The difference between impossible and possible lies in a person's determination. Tommy Lasorda
  I love having web cams and being able to see and talk to the family from afar. We all had some good laughs last night. Josh says it is "brutally hot" in Ojai. I cannot imagine living some where like that without a pool in the backyard. At one point Josh went out and dunked his head in the water. He is such a good papa. Sariah was sitting on his lap and they sang several songs to us together. She adores her papa and it shows in her smile and her little songs she is singing with him. It is so nice to see how much love is in their family. Christina and Josh are respectful and kind to each other. I love visiting on line. It is the next best thing to being there. Josh said they spent the holiday at the beach and Josh got a sunburn. He saw dolphins and went boogie boarding. Sariah hates the sand I guess. It is funny how little ones come with their own preferences. She is loving the pool more and more though.
   I was just talking to a friend and I was reminded how unkind, even mean, some people are to their mates. I don't think they realize how ugly it makes them no matter what their physical appearance. Mean is mean however justified a person feels in being so. As the bumper sticker says "Mean people suck." I really struggle with people who are that way.
   On the beach in Santa Barbara I found a rock that is 1/2 an inch thick, 1 inch wide and 2 inches long. It is smooth, flat and oval shaped. At one end it has a white circle that stands out against the copper color of the stone. I call it my blessing stone. The white circle is the trigger. When I think of people I know who are really unkind to the ones who love them, or I encounter someone on the highway who cuts me off, I squeeze the stone and press the trigger releasing a blessing on them. Some people get lots and lots of blessings. It feels so much better than damning them. Mean people already live in a hell of self absorption anyway wrought with an insatiable desire to be waited upon and served. They are unencumbered by feelings of gratitude for the kindness shown to them. This is why blessing them is a really good thing. You can start with statements like "Please give that SOB everything he or she deserves" if that is the best you can do. Later you can add "please bless them with everything they deserve" and eventually work your way up to "please bless them" and then add something like with abundance, with gratitude, with compassion, with kindness, with wealth, health and peace. As you can see, as negative feelings are released, blessing someone becomes quick and easy. I find myself squeezing the stone and firing blessings off on everyone on the highway, at the store and on the street. I fire blessings at the neighbor kids when they scream for hours and it is much less stressful than swearing. Plus there is the added benefit that Andie doesn't fuss at me like she does when I practice my sailor vocabulary. Since everything ricochets anyway and comes back to land on the one who threw it, it is much better to be hit by a ricocheting blessing than curse. Amen. I recommend keeping a blessing stone right next to your gratitude rock and using both of them often.

September 5, 2007
I finally figured I would have to e-mail myself these pictures one by one from the phone so here are a few of Anjali. These were sent to us from Freedom' s cell phone. Starting about two hours after she was born. Miracles happen to people who expect them. What a smile.

September 4, 2007
How others treat me is their path, how I react is mine.
   It rained heavily last night. I have come to love the rain. Its sound is soothing to my soul. Andie and I watched a Discovery Channel show on Death Valley and we saw another side of rain: destructive and deadly. We also saw on the same show that when timed just right and in the right amount rain transforms the desert into a temporary oasis. Freedom has talked about how beautiful Sedona is in the spring when the rains bring all the wild flowers. I hope to see that next year. I am sure anxious to meet Anjali in person.
  The last time we heard from Josh and Christina, Sariah was getting braver in the swimming pool. She is putting her head under water. When we talked on the phone and it was evening there and still 90 there. I like the idea of hot maybe more than I would really like the reality. I think hot weather is great if you have a place to swim every day like they do in Ojai. We all love the water. I would love to be near somewhere with good scuba diving as well.   
    Looking at the picture of Kayden on the deck of Peter's cabin brings me a peaceful feeling. It is so quiet there except for the sounds of the seagulls and seals fishing and the pace is so very slow I wouldn't even call it a pace. When I asked the local log drum maker for a business card he responded by saying that "I am at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays if you want to buy a drum." In other words he wasn't really concerned with selling a drum other than at the time he was hanging out there. We noticed that the number of year around island residents has gone from 16 to over 200. We realize that we need several dwellings in several states to be with and see all the family. We did find a wonderful compound on Orcas Island with enough houses to set us all up and it was only 5 million dollars. We still look through the housing adds in several places almost daily: Ojai, Sedona, Clearwater, Ashland and even Issaquah. It's fun. Where will the next trip be?
  When we got home from Lopez we found a marble table top in our back yard. Andie's cousin Patrick came to visit us but we weren't there. It was quite a nice calling card he left though. Now I need to level a spot for the table in the Gazebo out back. We don't really use it at present. Kayden and I do when it is raining really hard. We will run for cover there. He loves to be out in the rain though and it is really me who seeks shelter and drags him along. Okay the truth is we both will stand there and get soaked in the rain, sing and be happy about it. We are water people.

September 3, 2007
These are the good old days.
  We spent the last three days on Lopez Island on McKay Harbor. It is like home to both of us every time we go to Lopez. We weren't sure about how Kayden would take it, no electricity, just lots of water and quiet. If we weren't convinced already by the time we left of how much he liked it then we are now. When we arrived home last night he threw a fit and shouted "No home! Cabin. Cabin!" It was so beautiful and peaceful. Sunday morning we watched a big papa seal chasing after a school of fish. It was quite spectacular. We saw what I think were dolphins the day before. I have to look for pictures. They were brown and swimming in arches with just the dorsal fin showing. The sunsets were gorgeous with a kaleidoscope of colors pinks, purples, oranges, blues, grays all sparkling on the waters in a rainbow dance. You fall into rhythm with the day's cycle very quickly when you without electricity. The adults do anyway. Kayden just wanted to stay awake and play. He finally went to sleep around 9:30 instead of his normal 7 o'clock bedtime and I was not far behind him. The first day in the cabin the mice didn't know they had house guests so they kept me awake almost all night partying and scampering around the cabin. It was Christmas for them as we had left a carton of tater tots (mexi-fries) on the window sill. The fries were gone in the morning and as if to say thank you the mice were much quieter the remaining nights we stayed.
  On Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market but it really was more like a festival of booths. There was a woman with a portal clay oven baking individual sized breakfast pizzas. They were delicious. There was a crepe maker and I was very disappointed with the crepes. Andie makes the best crepes in the world. I would really like to buy one of the hand made cedar drums we say. There was a hand drum that was $50 and a mallet drum that was $125. They were made from hollowed out cedar logs with skins stretched over them and they were deep and rich in tone. I could picture Kayden playing one or Andie playing while he sang and danced. He has that natural Native American chant and dance. He takes it very seriously. He likes his African Djimbes too but he tends to chant along when he plays.
  I heard from Freedom and Natalie and Anjali are doing great. She is very cute. We have phone pictures of her holding Freedom's finger. She is so sweet. He sent one picture of her little foot sticking out of the blanket. I got a nice message from him Saturday. He was getting home from work and tired but happy. He is now running the stateside operation of UniFaux. He has become quite the craftsman and artisan. He has remodeled his whole home in Sedona, all at the end of work days, on weekends and week nights. He said he is really looking forward to coming home at night and being off work. He is almost there. He also had a tremendous amount of help from the community. When Natalie went into the hospital to have Anjali people came and cleaned, nested, hauled stuff to the good will, people plastered walls and helped Freedom with his remodel. I am still amazed by the amount of community support they get in Sedona. I hope the good people know how much they are appreciated and what a blessing they have been to us all.
  Andie just made Faith, Kayden and I home made pancakes packed with freshly picked black berries and man were they good. I have to go check out the pictures she took on the Island and snag some for the website. Happy Labor Day.
  I got to spend a few hours at Mike Daily's Studio 04 this evening and listen to some of the work he did on Love You Naturally. It is sounding great. He is really responsible for moving this CD forward. I haven't had the passion or even desire to move forward. I got stuck in heart ache. I heal slowly and let go even more slowly. I would make a good snapping turtle.
  Faith had a good chuckle today as Andie looked on line for property on Lopez Island. "You guys are always moving wherever you have just been." It is a testament to how present we are in the moment when we travel. It is also fun to use your imagination.
  I knew Sarah would call from France this weekend and sure enough she did. We missed it. She is so rural now she can't really get on line so we keep checking Skype to see if she is there. I figured she was due by this weekend but the wilderness called and we had to go. While she was at a rock concert in Paris we were watching the sunset on McKay Harbor but bonded in spirit. Time to call this day good and say goodnight. Peace.

  Nursing, Alcohol and Tobacco. While browsing the Net I stumbled on this information on Breast feeding. I found it to be very sobering knowing how vulnerable a new born is. Reading of a connection between tobacco and alcohol use and life threatening health risks to a baby seems plenty of reason to abstain from the use of those drugs while breast feeding. I read a study that cigarette smoking may reduce the amount of milk your body makes. The fat content of your milk may also be reduced. Both of these side effects of smoking may cause your baby to gain weight too slowly. Smoking may also cause you to have to stop breast feeding (wean) earlier than you want. • Secondhand smoke can cause higher risk of SIDS, asthmatic child's conditions and ear infections. Breast feeding and alcohol use could cause a health risk for your baby. It is better to avoid drinking any drinks that contain alcohol while you breast feed. Motor development measured significantly lower in infants exposed regularly to alcohol in breast milk. Excessive amounts may lead to drowsiness, deep sleep and weakness for baby. Alcohol impairs a mother's functioning, and may make her more susceptible to depression, fatigue and lapses in judgment.
  I have spent a lot of time thinking about this information and the incredible responsibility that comes with parenting. It is funny how it comes so naturally for some and not at all for others. It is the great lesson in what magnificent unselfish creatures women can be when they are walking in the spirit of love and how much power they have for good or for bad. It is easy to make observations as a man and realize how clueless I am. However, if I thought there was any chance, any chance of causing harm to a baby in my care from exposure to nicotine or alcohol I would do everything in my power to protect him or her. We can chose, babies are at our mercy. Give me some mercy as the Flowmotion song says. The pay off is obvious: a better and healthier life.


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