Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal  October  2006

October Happy Birthdays      Beth    Hope     Sean    Nicole     Phil   Casey     


 Cheyanna Sierra Angeline Byrd Murat
(July 19th 2006 to October 12 2006

October 31, 2006  
 Autumn is for falling . Fall to what you're leaning toward so when you fall fall forward.

The leaves are falling in free release. All that beautiful color falling to the ground. Making music as we walk. What a happy sound.
Just another season turning round and round and round. Coming and going in the dark. That is a strange part of the winter. I wonder if there is more day in Sedona. Freedom left a message that he and Natalie are healing as best they can. What better place to begin than Maui. They went horse back riding on a volcanoe crater today. I wish there was some release for us. It seems it is just more #@#% in the fan, but God is great and has a plan, even if it is unavailable to us mortal men and woman. I will be playing in Gig Harbor on Saturday at a benefit to raise money for kids in the Dominican Republic. I will be joining Scott MacGougan and Jimmy Culler said today that he would grace us with his presence. So we skip off into another season.
I have one picture of Kayden when we got home from the pumpkin patch. He put on my hiking boots and then would jump in the air. I was lifting him by the seat of his pants and he thought he was so big and bold. We both were just cracking up. Thank God for happy moments. I would not miss a one if I had my druthers. Not a moment.

October 30, 2006          
Reputation is character minus what you've been caught doing. Michael Alpaca

It was a clear and beautiful but freezing day today. Andie and Kayden had lunch with me in Seattle. We were supposed to hook up with Sarah Maria but it didn't work out. We were disappointed we didn't get to spend some time with her. She was taking care of her kitty. Kayden has been on the go so much he needs some at home time. He really was good especially considering all the stuff that has been happening. It is a chaotic time, lots of loss, a friend losing her sister, lost babies, lost pregnancies. Much sadness. Man this is not a safe planet sometimes.
  Jason and Blu entertained us on Sunday and made us a lovely lunch. We all sat at the table and played cars with Kayden. We know how to party I tell you. It was nice to hear more of their stories about Ireland. It really makes me want to go now. Faith came over in the afternoon to visit and stayed and made soup for dinner. So my the end of the day we could hardly move.
Josh has called a lot in the last week. It has been very nice to visit with him and he has had many kind words to say. He is so proud and full of love for his daughter Sariah. Why wouldn't he be for she is amazing.
   Jimmy Culler is available for work playing bass I heard. He has such versatility it will be interesting to see what comes next. We will see. Here is to keeping your hand out of the cookie jar, mostly.

Kayden in search of the Great Pumpkin

October 28, 2006          
There is nothing like the great pumpkin on a Saturday afternoon.

We had a great afternoon at the pumpkin patch out on Ebey Island. Kayden had a ball hugging and trying to lift practically every pumpkin he encountered. It was so much fun to see him having such a good time. He just took off running when we got to the open field that lead to the huge patch of pumpkins. Leave it to Andie to get us up and going and out of the house even late in the day like it was. A first pumpkin is a pretty big deal. I think my favorite part of today came when we got home and Kayden decided to put on my hiking boots. I will have to get those pictures up on the web too. It was hilarious to watch jump. I put my feet underneath the boots so I could lift him when he hopped. I love being a papa. I also love watching Andie with Kayden. She is such a great and loving mom.
 Josh called last night and made us laugh. He played us a recording of Sariah answering the phone. It was hysterical. I swear she said "who is it?". She is just coming up on her first birthday and we miss her happy little face. We spin in circles trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. How can we be close to that beautiful baby so she knows her grandma and grandpa?
   It is another quiet night and we are laid back doing the laptop shuffle. Andie is playing Spite and Malice and I am working on the website.
In other news. Freedom and Natalie are on Maui and soaking up some healing sun and waves. Bless them as they do.

October 27, 2006          
Learning to live is learning to let go. Sogyal Rimpoche

Look at the new day and breathe in and out. I feel stunned and sick at the thought of going backwards into what I have been doing for 10 years. Empty and sick. I am in a daze over the loss of Cheyanna and the pressures and worries of corporate life seem stupid and meaningless in context. Community and family is what matters. If you want to get ahead in life then find a way to work for yourself. I grow weary of making fortunes for other people while we struggle to get by from day to day. I don't feel like I have any more to give at this time. Any more at all. The more I feel this way the more I shut down musically and that is the one way I can always touch people and help make their lives better even if only for the length of a song. Who will sing for me?


October 26, 2006         
 Life is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint on it you can. Danny Kaye

Looking out on the overcast day I thought of the crystal blue skies of Sedona and asked myself how different does this feel? Dark and gray were the skies and so were the feelings in my heart. Still I met Chani for coffee and to return the belt and tennis shoes she left in Arizona. That was like a sunny sky. She is doing great and asking herself questions like Should she go to New Orleans or Santa Barbara and guest tattoo for awhile. Why not? We could up and away our own selves but for all the commitments and responsibilities. Still I want to create beauty. I want to search for and share that for the rest of my days. I want the freedom that comes with doing what you were meant to do and not what some one of something thinks you should. It is all balance, prayer and reflection, laughter and tears.
I miss the family that is far away. I am thankful for the nearness of the ones who are here.
I miss Cheyanna.

Kayden showing he can fill his Papa's shoes just fine. I love being a grampa, just wish I could see the other kids more too.

October 25, 2006  
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. Abraham Lincoln

   Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe in and breathe out. Repeat until finished. Sometimes life feels like that. This has been one of those times.
    Chani came over last night. She fought her way bravely through the ridiculous Washington traffic. I dubbed off some tracks of Josh and Mike Perillo and made a CD to send to him. It has been good to spend time with the family. Josh called and we talked at length later in the evening. Life is so fleeting as Cheyanna has pointed out. Here today and gone tomorrow. What a blessing to be loved, to make music, to have family. Too high of a pain tolerance can allow us to stay stuck somewhere we know we do not belong. And life goes on. Each of us will come to our final moment but life will continue. I listened to some of Josh's recordings last night and was once again blown away by the immensity of his guitar talent. He has that twisted sense of humor that can make you cringe while belly laughing in spite of yourself. That comes across in the jams with Mike too, especially a piece they call The Troll Song.
I spoke with Freedom and he said he and Natalie, Andy and Sagara will be heading off to Maui for some healing time and are likely to leave today. Last night Chani and I were once again talking about the love shown to us all in Sedona. The absence of drama was a refreshing experience. Chani said "I didn't think that kind of decency existed anymore." I agree that a combination of the closeness of my Andie and my family, the warmth of Natalie and Freedom and their friends and the special favor Sariah showed her Papa G made the experience wonderful even though it was wrought with the misery of losing our grand daughter. The routine calls us back to slip sliding away. Slip sliding away. Slip sliding away.
This is the day God has made, rejoice and be glad in it.

October 24, 2006                  
If you can't change your fate, change your attitude. Amy Tan  

   It is a little like a waking dream, being home in Washington. I actually felt pretty much at home in Sedona. So much of our extended family all gathered together and was a big part of that experience. It was also the new faces we encountered and the warmth and love with which we were received that made the time so magical. Andy and Sagara were like Warrior Prince and Princess or King and Queen as they orchestrated the experience we were all sharing. I walked in the door of Freedom's and Natalie's house some 7 or 8 hours after I got the call from Andy saying "Your son needs you." I called back and Freedom got on the phone and said "Papa my baby girl is gone." My wife Andie had me on a plane by 3pm that same day. I walked into the house in Sedona to a warm fire and heard Andy say "That was fast." There are too many people for my tired memory to name but we are eternally grateful to the community in Sedona and how they wrapped us all in their love, provided many in our traveling party with free lodging, and embraced us like long lost friends. We were all to cry, laugh and sing together over the next several days. Tears flowed like Washington rain and even now continue. Andie and Kayden followed me down after a few days. I will post some of the pictures, there aren't that many as I was not focused on picture taking. We ate and talked and drank and shared memories. I am so grateful to Andie for making sure we went down to see Cheyanna as soon as we could after she was born. I can always treasure the memory of holding her for hours in my arms. I am so proud of my family and how they came together in love and support for Freedom and Natalie. Josh, Christina and Sariah made an 11 hour drive from California and stayed on for the memorial. Chani was just a day behind me. She traded in a ticket to Alaska and another $180 from Lisa Marie and made the trip down. People were impressed with them so much. Every one was sad when Chani had to leave the day before the memorial. She had no one to watch her baby, her dog, Chaos.
   Andy and Sagara made all the arrangements for the funeral. The funeral home was transformed by the "fairies" and draped top to bottom with beautiful fabric and tapestries. Rose pedals were scattered on the floor from the doorway to the end of the hallway in the basement where the inurnment was to take place. Flowers, incense and candles filled every open space as did pictures of Cheyanna. A butterfly was hand carved and stained in just two hours before the ceremony. Cheyanna was on the butterfly covered by a silk scarf and dressed like an angel. Freedom and Natalie poured their tears and touches on her and each other. It was the saddest and most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. Josh came and knelt behind me and held me as we took turns hugging Freedom. You could feel the Spirit of the love in the room like an uplifting weight. Earlier when Freedom and Natalie arrived we were standing in a circle holding hands outside to greet them. It was so hard to believe Cheyanna was gone to the other side. But wings of love lifted us all as we shared one joy and one sorrow. The joy and celebration of how hard she fought to be here and the sorrow at her passing so fast. Freedom and Natalie stood up to the moment with love and grace and blessed us all in allowing us to share in this time. To all of you there in Sedona, California and here in Washington we love you.

October 23, 2006
In loving remembrance of our beautiful grand daughter Cheyanna.
We are just home from Sedona where we saw a miracle of love and support unfold for Freedom and Natalie at the loss of their lovely daughter. I have never seen my son so happy as when she came or so sad as when she flew away. Natalie and Freedom were heart broken as were we all. An entire community and many friends and family arrived to show their love and support. Josh, Christina and their daughter (our grand daughter) Sariah came. Chani came. Andie and Kayden came. Sarah Maria arrived via phone. Kate, Freedom's mom, came. Mish, Kestrel, Tenzin, Clarity, Tani, Josh and Sara. Natalie's sister Rhonda came from Nebraska. So many people, so much love. It is an epic tale which I will share but not just this moment. On her last day Cheyanna shined love and joy on her family. Papa Freedom held her in his arms, she smiled at him and fell asleep and woke up with angels. God bless all the people who poured and continue to pour love, generosity and comfort on us all, especially on Freedom and Natalie. I am so proud of the grace they showed in their loss. Freedom just spoke of how much she taught him in her short time. "I can't even get mad at God, and that would be easy to do. I can't because of what I learned from Cheyanna. My baby girl."
Love each other because the time to live is now.

October 8, 2006    
The measure of a man is not doing what is right when someone is watching,
it's doing what is right because its right.

Time rattles on and I am beginning to feel better each day. I did get a kick in the tummy from Kayden when he was in his high chair and I wasn't paying attention. Other than that is healing and when it is finally uncovered I am excited about having a belly button again. Oh the simple pleasures in life. It is gray here in the country and we woke up to a steady stream of rain this morning. I do love the sound of rain on the roof at any time of day. I think I would miss that tremendously if we were somewhere like Sedona. Now in Ojai I hear they sometimes get a half year's rain in 24 hours. That is when Christina's dad, Jeff, is out there rescuing people. I guess there is a plus and a minus everywhere. Where is the focus? Being home I am having reading time and reading about having enthusiasm for life and passion for everything. It makes me tired thinking about it all. They say you can fool yourself into being happy by smiling a lot. I may have to try that and see if it works. I have been wearing Eerore's shoes so long I might like to try something different. Give it all you've got, whatever it is you are doing. It makes sense really. Thinking never changed a thing that has passed. How you think about something in a new light can affect the way you react to the past. Sometimes it is nothing more than a matter of letting it go and moving on.

October 1, 2006     Today is yesterday's tomorrow
    New month and new life, new changes with the falling of the leaves and the coming of winter think abundance. Open up to all that is in store for you. Carrie Hamilton had a saying written on her fridge that said Miracles happen to those who expect them. It is so true that what we believe and think affects every aspect of our lives. As I have some time to heal from this surgery and to avoid re-injuring myself I am reflecting on and trying to absorb as much as I can about the open horizons in front of me and mine. I am thankful for so many things, my kids, grand kids, family and friends, my wife, my music, surviving another trip to the hospital. Kayden is sitting in his bean chair watching Elmo's world. He loves Elmo. I trust that all I have been through are all going to work together for whatever God's plan is for me to use what He has given me so graciously. As I work my way through Joel Olsteen's book Your Best Life Now I am claiming the blessings he gives in one of the chapters and realizing what I learned as a manager: you get more of what you focus on. So if you focus on troubles and have a poverty mentality you will get more of the same. Not what I had in mind, not what I am calling into my life anymore. So come on blessed autumn and paint us a beautiful picture of the passing season.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist