I stumbled upon this image today. It seems fitting on this Monday after graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) yesterday. I think this is a feeling that we have all experienced, though it is not always so clearly understood. Sometimes we don’t recognize it as the absence of another and eat whatever is closest. Sometimes we recognize the loneliness and eat through it regardless, desperate for anything to make us feel full. I think at one time or another we all eat our way through a lack of love in our life. The key is not to punish ourselves, to swear up and down that it will never happen again and then to beat ourselves up when it does. I tend to think that awareness is curative. When it is allowed in on a deep enough level awareness in and of itself manifests change. Simply bringing our awareness to the many ways in which the way that we feel affects the way that we eat and the reciprocal ways that the things that we eat affect the way that we feel is a bold step towards a healthier and happier existence.
Being a holistic health counselor trained at IIN guarantees that one is bringing their awareness to these and many other ways in which food is an integral part of the complex web of our lives. Our relationships, our careers, exercise, spirituality, our environment, society, all of these things must be taken into account if we are to truly understand our cravings and how they can be sated. Rather than being a complication of the already hard to comprehend nutritional theories that we are bombarded with, I think that most who embrace these ideas experience a simplification. There is an immense freedom to be gained by jettisoning the usual confines of yo-yo weight loss and gain that accompanies other, less comprehensive and more prescriptive approaches to health. Once we take into account the many factors that are both in and out of our control we begin to see that it is not massive feats of will and grueling dedication that allows our health to flourish. It is not about attempting to fit our body into a particular mold, or eating within the confines of a particular diet that works for someone else. It is about addressing the situation with an embrace that is open enough to allow for all of the many factors that impact our sense of hunger and emptiness as well as recognizing the many, many ways that we can be full-filled.
A deep breath leaves me feeling centered and grounded. Social awkwardness can leave me cold and jittery. A hug brings warmth and gratefulness into my heart. A paycheck can be empowering, a bill in the mail deflating. I could achieve all of the emotions above and so many more through food or it’s absensce. Sometimes, when I don’t recognize the emotions that my body is generating for what they are, I can confuse them with hunger and either deny myself or indulge in food as a means to try and control the situation. Times when I can simply pause and recognize what my body/mind/spirit are saying are the times when I can honor these emotions and choose to nurture myself appropriately. Of course, sometimes I’m just really fucking hungry.
I feel blessed to have studied with all of the amazing people in this program and am truly excited to now be sharing these tools with clients. If you are reading this I would love to work with you. If you are ready to feel powerful in your choices and are excited about the possibility of listening to and trusting what your body is saying to you than my program is aimed at you. It does not matter where you are at now (not even geographically, I am in NYC, but so far most of my clients I work with over the phone). Please reach out for a free consultation. If you recognize that there is room for growth in your life, if you want to send increasing amounts of light into the areas of your life that have been in shadow too long, than let me offer the possibility that working with a health counselor is exactly the type of support that will empower you to live the life that you are capable of, but may have been denying yourself.
In November I broke my pinky finger hanging temporary shades with wine. I put one foot up on the radiator and the other on the arm of a reclining chair. The chair tipped over of course, and I caught my fall on the top of the head rest of that chair creating a ‘minimaly displaced fracture of the distal fifth phalanx’. When I looked down and saw the tip of my left pinky finger bent back a bit beyond a perfect 90 degrees I immediately grabbed it with my right hand and SNAPPED it back close to straight as I collapsed with a scream down to my knees. It didn’t quite make it back into place. My pinky was still curved a little bit backwards at the tip. I sat there for half an hour bending my finger over the back of a spoon trying to get it to pop back into and stay straight; all the while thinking, “this is going to make recording the rest of my guitar parts really f*$k!@& difficult!” Eventually Amy convinced me to go to the E.R. to get it looked at. They looked at it, x-ray’d it, declared it broken, declined to snap it any straighter, put a $0.50 splint on it and told me to go the Drug Store down the street to get a better one. They also sent me to a hand specialist to get a custom splint made. Apparently hospitals don’t specialize in splints. Everyone was amazingly nice to me, cut me deals, slowed down and were present with me (who has no health insurance) and honestly seemed concerned about my musical ambitions. I felt somehow blessed to live in this place.
My finger is still crooked………………………. but I can play just fine 🙂
I made the page of ‘Nine Fingered Tasks’ above listing things that i could accomplish on the album while on the plane ride to London ten days later that only required nine of my fingers (no guitar). I did some pretty intense time correcting, granular editing, mixing, vocal comping and arrangement of parts. All in all, The album ended up taking about a year and a half, from deciding to start writing to CD in hand. Not too bad me thinks.
About a year and a half ago I showed up at David’s house in Boston with a contract which we signed with each other stating that we would write and record a CD within a year and then give away 1,000 copies. This included us each writing a song a day for the first 30 days. I live in New York City, David lives in Boston. The plan was to make this a The Postal Service style project sending each other pieces of songs to work on, except instead of the mail we used ftp transfers, email attachments, shared google documents, flash cards, notebooks, skype video chatting and any other means available to communicate. We even got together in person at times to write and play.
Directly upon returning from that initial trip to Boston I found out that my entire building had been vacated. Basically, over 200 people, largely artists living and working in loft spaces we had built out, had been kicked out of our homes and work spaces by the department of buildings. So I found myself suddenly homeless, though my cat Agape was actually padlocked into my aparment. For the next 30 days, while staying with my sister, friends Amy and Logan and in hotels and while at my office I wrote, recorded and sent David a song a day……for well over 20 days. At some point it just became ridiculous (the laptop I was using for recording died). But the time was fruitful for both David and I. Many of the 19 tracks that made it onto the album came out of this time.
David and I met back in 2000. I was DJing at raves and clubs around New England and looking to get back into making my own music as opposed to just playing others. David was making noise in various bands and looking for a more spiritual project to engage. The first time we got together to play the very first thing we did was write a song. I said something to the extent of ‘fuck playing covers, let’s just write something’ and then started strumming chords. David just started singing and within a short while we had written GA, which later appeared as a hidden track on the Hunger Dreams soundtrack. We wrote songs, scored theater, played shows, collaborated on the recording of another project and then went our separate ways for a while. I had moved to North Carolina, dug into my career a bit and recorded some bands on the side. David became a Jewish Studies teacher and later the director of a Jewish school, got married and had a daughter and played in a few musical projects of his own. This album represents us asking the question of whether or not music is still an integral part of our lives and our relationship. I think the answer is a resounding yes.
Over the last year and a half we worked with 25-30 songs exploring themes of love and spirit, of loss and despair, of transcendence and embrace, integration and dissolution; reaching a new level of collaboration between us. This manifested as an amazingly fluid writing process. We co-wrote both the music and the words on this album with an intense openness, vulnerability and clarity often times tearing each others work down only to get together and rebuild it. We recorded in Brooklyn and in Boston and finally had it mastered in Manhattan. We are now in the process of giving away 1,000 CD’s. We invite you to find us on Facebook or on MySpace, become a fan or a friend and ask for your free album. You can find David in Boulder, CO this week and in the Boston area after that. I am in and around Brooklyn, NY. We would love to share this music with you. If you go to www.NoAffiliation.com and make a donation of $5 or more to cover shipping I we will send one to you.
A number of years back Anthony Schwartzman approached me to write a song or two for a theater piece he was working on for his theatre company Oblivion Productions. When all was said and done I had worked with him and David Wesson to write, record and perform the score for Hunger Dreams. David, who I had been collaborating with on our DaVerse project, worked with me and the cast as a vocal specialist extraordinaire. The cast sang and flew (sometimes simultaneously). Ed Fians banged on junkyard parts as our live percussionist. We performed Hunger Dreams at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama (fucking amazing room) and at the Brooklyn Lyceum. What you see above is a trailer built from live footage of those performances that Tony put together and I scored in anticipation of the second coming of a story which has yet to be fully told. Some of the music is from the original score, some I wrote for the trailer. Something tells me that the journey is not yet complete.