Mental Health For Musicians – iBroke (A Communications Story)

I broke my phone.

I’m not proud of it but what’s done is done.

It’s far better to be able to talk about how you feel.

But, talk as you may, you’ve got to feel like you’re being listened to as well.

A Communication Breakdown can lead to to broken phones and other mishaps.

Watch the video and don’t let it be you.  When you’re done, please subscribe for the Hexie Dose newsletter which should go out about once a month.

Thanks!

 

Mental Health For Musicians – Green, Yellow and Red Zones

ROAD RAGE!

As musicians we’re all sensitive people with so much to give.

Understand me, Sugar.

For real though.  We need to chill.  Enough of this 27 Club.

Enough of swinging from a noose.

In this video I describe a model of mental states that might help you NOT become the next headline.

Actually, let’s be honest – you won’t become that headline unless you’re famous.

So, let’s make a pact: dying in obscurity is no virtue.

Chill out, watch the video, subscribe and be here next week for more great content.

Peace.

 

Mental Health For Musicians – Intro

“You’re crazy…

…and that’s where I come in.”

That should be my new pickup line.

It’s not, though.

What it is is the intro to a new video series intended to help musicians overcome mental health challenges.

I plan to fill a playlist with videos containing, tips, tricks, techniques, strategies and tactics for making it through the tough times.

Being a musician can be a perilous journey through oceans of the blues.  It can be a safari through a jungle of substance abuse.  It can be boring and it can be awesome.

It’s definitely not like working at an office.

So, if you’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts then watch my video before you do something rash.

I’m not a doctor so take all my advice with a grain of salt.  I just wanted to share what I’ve been going through so others can possibly benefit.

Cheers.

I Am Here

Hey guys.

Thanks for coming to my site.

Getting about 65 new visitors each month.  Imagine two people a day coming to your house asking about your passion.  Pretty amazing!

I’ve been going through a lot.  Depression, social growth and the rest.  I know a lot of you music makers can relate.

Turns out that most of what people want from me on YouTube is music-making-related infotainment.  That is to say funny videos related to gear, music production, instrument techniques and the like.

They say it’s easier to sell people what they want than create a great product and convince people to buy.  I agree.  Therefore I’ll be making more talking videos.

One topic I want to cover is Mental Health for Musicians.  I see tons of posts about this.  Being that I’ve struggled with this, I can definitely relate.  I also feel I have something valuable to offer on this topic.

I’m going to upgrade my YouTube production setup and then make a playlist outlining some mental strategies which have helped me during my darkest times.  Hopefully this will be of assistance to you all.

I hope to make some actual money by doing this so I’ll be starting an email list.  I’m going to provide for you guys a lot of valuable free content and then make a sales offer.

I really think that everyone should have a shot at doing what they love and enjoy.  By making a purchase with me, you’ll be helping me to live location and time independent.

It’s really the greatest gift you can give.  Especially because I plan to sell my book for about a dollar.

That’s it.  No affiliate links, no links at all and not even images for this post.  I’ve been silent for about three weeks and I wanted to let my most interested fans know what’s been going on.

All is well and is unfolding as it should.

Thanks.

USA

Say what you want.

I hear a lot of talk on YouTube:

“America is the laughing stock of the world.”

“Stupid Americans…”

Yet, when all things fail around the globe, where come the refugees?

No one is running to Indonesia, Britain, India, Russia or China.

Yes, it seems that Uncle SAM leads the way as it has since the beginning.

You might hate Americans but they are YOUR grandparents (and their descendants) who favored life over judgement and death.

Think of these things next time you talk shit.

P.S. To you “Americans” who self righteously call this “your country”:

Stop creating artificial boundaries.

I was at a bar where the bartender called me a “half-assed American” (or some shit) because I’m half Mexican (Aztec, actually).

But, genetically, I’m half Cherokee, Polish and Scotch-Irish which all predate America’s independence.  That’s besides this land being primarily Mexican as well.

Wait, there’s a song about it.  I guess I am a musician, after all:

If you like this post then buy a song from Amazon.

Or support me on Patreon (although I can’t get that page to load).

Honestly, and I’m no genius, it’s time for the bullshit to end.

Bye.

 

 

100 Subscribers!!!

Ok, 98 fml

…99…

woo hoo we did it 🙂

I currently have 98 subs on the Hexspa YouTube channel.  Kind of exciting.  My first video was uploaded around late 2009.  I started with a namesake channel but I deleted all the stuff off of it so now it’s just Hexspa.

I remember when I made my first penny through adsense.  It was a cool moment.  I’m not raking in millions just yet but maybe one day.

The channel has gone through several ages and phases.  Currently I’m trying to emphasize original music and updates specific to Hexspa.

I wanted to do something special so I made this video and in it I do 100 pushups in sets of 10.  Each 10 set lesson is related to mental strategies that can be applied to anything but project-based creative activity (like making YouTube videos or producing music) especially.

I’ll post the 10 lessons here and make a short commentary then you can go on your merry way all the richer:

Hexspa’s Ultra Wise 10 Life Tips 

  • 1. Little Things Add Up

Any time I talk to someone about what I do they generally seem to emphasize how hard music is or how they wish they had time to play.  I always say the words, “little and often.”  You’ve heard about consistency being important but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with that.  It’s like the Japanese One Minute concept but even less rigid: just do a little and do it often.  Forget about big numbers like 10,000 hours or 10 years etc.  Just know that every little bit counts.

  • 2. Keep Going Even When Things Aren’t Going Your Way

A lot of times I feel like nothing is going my way.  Realistically, that’s just a feeling.  It reminds me of the Zen story about when an upscale Caterer went to a Butcher shop and said he needed the best cuts for an event.  The Butcher replied, “Everything in my shop is best.”  This is a life philosophy.  Emotions might be rough but try to remember that, in this Butcher shop, everything is best.

  • 3. Make Use Of Imperfect Environments

Related to the last point.  You might have seen that I have relatively extensive acoustic treatment happening in my place lately.  You might think, “Well, I don’t have that so I can’t work.”  That is false.  This environment has loud neighbors, ants, spiders and they stop selling beer at midnight.  Despite these negative factors (especially the last one – ugh) I work with it.  Harsh environments can strengthen you or defeat you.  News flash: It’s not the environment who decides which outcome occurs.

  • 4. Always Be Promoting

The closed mouth doesn’t get fed.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  Yes, in Japan they say that the outstanding nail gets hammered but you know who else gets hammered?  Porn stars and those people get paid to do what I’d do for free.  So who’s the real hustler?  The point is if you don’t let people know who you are and what you’re about they’ll never know.  You must at least be findable.  Yes, they say the cream rises to the top but it won’t if it’s buried under the sour milk of your insecurities.  Therefore, let people know what you’re doing.  Who knows: you might run into someone who actually gives a shit.

  • 5. Aim High

I actually learned this in Driver’s Ed.  The human being seems to respond well to challenges, met with confidence, that inspire.  Often, when I’m encountering a difficult period in my life, I’ll have quiet moments when I cry.

lol not.  Motherfucker, thugs don’t cry!

Ok seriously what I actually do is reflect on why I do this shit at all.  They call it “Your Why”.  I kind of hate these self-help bookish catchphrases but, if you can put them in your own words, the ideas can be helpful.  It comes down to this: if you can align your behavior with your values then you have a powerful motor behind you.  You will live according to your truest values regardless.  So if your true value is to express yourself on a high enough level that people like your stuff then you’re going to find a way to push through the darkness and make it to that final goal.  On the other hand, if you’re aligned with fads or someone’s approval then your motivation will be weak and you won’t get passed your breaking point.

  • 6. Work With What You’ve Got

I’m not gifted.  I had early exposure to music and I had luckily found a bunch of bandmates early on.  Despite these, and other, advantages I am nowhere near the success level of some other artists.  That’s ok, though.  Maybe I’m lazy.  Maybe I’m fat and/or ugly.  It doesn’t matter because I’m going to do this work regardless.  I don’t have infinite financial resources (who does?) etc. but instead of focusing on that I try to focus on what I want to do.  I don’t use the word “accomplish” because it’s future-oriented and that kind of thing inherently brings anxiety.  I’m talking about a freedom of expression in the moment.  Besides overcoming obstacles, real or imagined, there’s another virtue to this point which is what I call “keeping your hand in one place”.  Not that place you sick fuck but “in one place” of the sense good guitar players and keyboardists use economy of movement to make chord changes.  These guys rarely bounce around the neck like an overexcited adolescent.  What I’m saying is to not look toward Mars for inspiration since it’s probably right there in your fingertips, dirty toenails or bad social skills.

  • 7. Work Through The Awkwardness

Part of being a human that pursues their own path is a sense that you’re going against the grain.  While I don’t advise making an ego out of this I do say that you should expect, and become accustomed to, extreme social discomfort.  Singing is like sex, for instance.  Same hormones, same health benefits.  However I haven’t met too many girls that fuck at the top of their lungs.  You do have to sing like that, though; at least occasionally.  In other words, doing creative work is going to make you feel like a total fuckwad.  Get used to it.

  • 8. Get It Done Ahead Of Time

Sort of like Aiming High, do not plan to finish your project on the day it’s due.  Try to allow a couple days to rest and return to it for a final check.  This will either help you get things done more quickly, have time for final revisions or give wiggle room assuming something comes up like a free giveaway at Coldstone.

  • 9. Work Even If You Miss The Deadline

If #8 fails then just turn it in late.  The key here is to not rush.  Rushing is the worst thing a human can do besides pushing it.  Don’t push and don’t rush.  If you’re late, you’re late.  If the people can’t wait then fuck ’em.  If you can’t fuck ’em then kill ’em.  lol jk.  Thou shalt not kill, m’kay.  For real tho, don’t be a gerbil on a wheel for nobody ya heard?

  • 10. Work Before Beer (In The Clear)

Don’t be a drunken idiot unless you’ve put in some work for the day.  Next topic.

  • Bonus 1: Work While They’re Sleeping

You’ve heard it said in the motivational videos on the internet: “You might miss parties, your graduation, your mom’s funeral or the night you lose your virginity but, goddamnit, WORK while all the other fools do that crap.  You’re a winner!”  I think that’s tripe made up by people with no friends.  Well, I have no friends but let me put it to you like this: there are myriad ways of sleeping.  TV, games, meaningless arguments, fruitless anger, FOMO etc.  You can do anything you want – yes, even losing your virginity – but if you’re constantly drunk with the mainstream consumerist lifestyle then you can be guaranteed to have a life devoid of meaningful creativity.

  • Bonus 2: Just Finish It

…and on that note I’ll see you next week.

Give me a sub if you haven’t.  Or go to Patreon and give me a dollar if you like my work.  If you do happen to prefer consumerism then please buy some garbage on Amazon and I’ll make a profit.

Bye.

Chasing the Dragons

No one wins the game.  With high divorce rates, rampant cheating, lying and deception it’s easy to see why.  Even within so-called happy marriages there is bound to be discontent.  Why is that?  It’s because it’s something of human nature to be discontented.  People say, “Either game or be gamed.” Well, I propose an alternative – witnessing.

I think a game is a game until you’ve become emotionally invested.  I can’t speak for all games but, for instance, becoming emotional in poker is the first step toward going on tilt.  The same thing goes for jiu jitsu – you get emotional, you tense up and become more easily defeated.  There are arguments in favor of “beast mode” but for the most part good game is played cool-headed.  I’ve found the sociosexual game to be quite pulling on the heart strings.  It’s a very difficult game to play and remain calm.  Unfortunately for men, we never get over a breakup 100%.  I could say the same for even minor trauma.  It’s a very risky endeavour and I advise against it.

The man is generally always a loser when it comes to sex.  He has to initiate, risks rejection and ultimately is rewarded only with an energy-draining experience which is quite short.  I won’t even elaborate on disease or any other sex-related disorders such as marriage or kids.  I can’t speak on behalf of women but I’m sure many guys are either triggered by this or nodding their heads.  Probably depends on how many women they’ve slept with.

Anyway, I want to suggest witnessing as an alternative.  Instead of “gaming” and getting wrapped up in whether you’re winning or losing, just observe your reactions to being up and down – because you certainly will be both.

It’s better to master yourself than sleep with every woman on the planet.

The True Israel

If you are dominated by the sun you will be aggressive, madly aggressive, ambitious, political, hot, burning will, desire and passion.  If you are dominated by the moon you will be cool, non-ambitious, non-aggressive, receptive, peaceful, silent.  But both have to be transcended because both are lop-sided.  One has to come to a moment where one can say, “I am neither man nor woman.”  That’s when a man becomes a Buddha or a man becomes a Christ or a man becomes a Krishna when he is neither man nor woman, neither moon nor sun, neither “is” nor “ra,” neither yin nor yang.  He simple is, purely is.  All formulations have disappeared.

But this happening happens only by and by.  First you have to drop the principle of “ra” – the principle of the sun, the male energy – and you have to move into the feminine, into the female.  And from there you have to move into the beyond.

-Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 2, 1977

Political America

Can everyone shut the fuck up for one damn second?

People protesting in the streets, burning flags and waving them like ninja swords.  People in glass houses throwing stones while planning their exodus north.  It’s ridiculous.  They act like they’re saints and everyone who disagrees is a sinner.  Do they always get their way by yelling and screaming like wet infants?  It’s funny to me that all these college-educated people are in the streets shouting, “Fuck Donald Trump.”  It’s great those high-level English classes helped them so much.

Listen, the cliche is that no one is perfect.  I’ll add to that and say no one’s perfect except an immature person that doesn’t get their way.  Or even worse – a mob of immature people throwing responsibility on another’s shoulders like the way a person’s personality changes when they get behind a wheel.  Everyone has flaws – once that fundamental is grasped we can move forward to point two – empathetic cooperation.

For each person missing work to burn shit out on the boulevard there is another person that is silently being alienated.  It could be your neighbor or friend.  When I was in the Army I learned that so much more can be done as a team than alone.  If all these smart people could remember that basic truth then we could all start trying to put it into practice.

As a side note, I find it ironic that some minorities can act patently racist against whites – even less-educated people, and get away with it.  Strange to call your enemy a racist while being one yourself, isnt it?

I understand it feels good to belong.  However, a lot of inclusivity includes exclusivity.  In other words, the more you hate the other side the more resistance you’ll beget.  So, please be quiet.  Try listening.  If you are superior then act that way.

And for god sakes stop burning shit.

Everyday is Overrated – The Case for 3 Times a Week

“Let come what comes, let go what goes.  See what remains.” – Ramana Maharshi

You’re pulling yourself apart like a giant piece of string cheese. The phrase “tearing out your hair” must have some truth to it. We live in a culture that favors the ambitious, the wealthy and tend to overlook the subjective experience of those idols. We forgo aesthetic, present living and artistic fulfillment. We forgo religion and patience and instead pair with aggression and absent-mindedness. We’re competitive and yet we go nowhere.

Some of us rebel against the mainstream. We become outsiders, outcasts, burnouts, drop-outs, ironic hipsters or addicts. We see the frosty landscape of humanity and decide it’s not worth thawing out. We turn our affections toward bitterness and cynicism in the name of creativity. But are the artists really even living? It’s tough to feel completely fulfilled when you’re at odds with half the population. Not being able to see the doctor for lack of funds has it’s own special kind of downside.

What I’m proposing here is a marriage between the fighting yoga and the loser bhoga. I think that whenever we pick, we necessarily decline half of our being. I guess this is a call for choiceless awareness. Maybe it’s time we stop fighting and denying our whole being and learn to float between two banks. A perfect metaphor, or rather concrete example, of this idea is in the balance between work and play.

Let’s say you want to work on something full-time.  Maybe you’ve found your calling.  Maybe you want to get ahead at work.  We all know that this approach leads to burnout and lack of inspiration before long.  Creativity needs space and rest.  Science has shown that the brain works in two ways: one tense and one diffuse.  Focusing is like a sprint; it can’t be done forever.  The recovery period is where you really grow.  Plus your best work is done when you’re happy.  The longer you drag on, the worse you feel, the more you’re creating an imbalance in the natural flow and your work, and chutzpah invariably suffers.

You also want to eliminate bad habits.  You throw away all the cheese in your refrigerator.  You wake up early to work out.  But before long you’re tired.  You’re lacking the vibrancy that those extra chocolates used to give you.  Cranky and sleepy, you know you can’t continue this forever.  You’ve cut yourself off from your childlike flow so you become bored, anxious and full of conflict.   Cheat days give you fun and diversion.  The downtime helps spawn new ideas.  But partying can be taken to an extreme.  If you do it every day it dampens health, becomes less exciting and less inspiring.

Mentally, we always want to do our best.  But the mind makes a better servant than a master, as they say.  Instead of working on the same thing every day, be willing to give up a little progress in the name of balance, diversity and enjoyment.  Whether it’s work, art and hobbies or a few soapy pints – too much is too much.

Hence, rest and labor balance each other.
Do not favor one or each will suffer.
Work when you feel you’re able.
Rest when you feel like resting.
Leave the rest in the hands of the unknown.
Then your path will be inimitable and you’ll feel whole.

-m