Monday, July 24, 2017

Putting it out there

I've had a pretty wonderful summer, I have to say.
I spent 6 weeks on the road with my oldest son, Zach and my band.
We had a great tour of Europe and the NE United States.
It is a dream come true to have my son by my side onstage with me every night.
He is a very sweet, talented young man and I am excited to see what his future brings.

Being in Europe means not having normal phone service.
My phone works, but even at best it's not what it's like when I am at home.
The wifi is also very spotty.  This is mostly ok for me as I get a break from the hubbub
and just enjoy whats around me.
After weeks of not really being involved much in social media, I return to find the same old,
same old. People fighting about politics, fake ads and stupid IQ tests.
It is what it is, it's "social" media.
It's free. It started out awesome and became shit, just like everything else that is free.
You used to have to pay for music and it was awesome, now it's free and it's shit.
(but thats another story)

I notice a lot of people getting their feelings hurt because of social media.
They talk about what they believe or how they feel about something and then someone comes along
and ruins there day. They get their feelings hurt and run off sad and confused.
First if all, no one in the world would even come close to saying things to us the way they do on social media if we were in front of each other. It is easy to hide behind the curtain online.
Second, why even share your feelings or thoughts with anyone online if you're not comfortable putting it out there.  Someone is going to disagree. Someone is going to make snide, snarky remarks
sometimes just for the sake of being contrary.

People suck. They do. You know it and I know it, it's just the truth.
We are not always nice to each other. Everyone has been an ass online at sometime or another.
Luckily not everyone sucks at the same time.
We take turns being assholes, which makes it easier a cross to bear.

Really the important thing here is mostly on those of us who choose to share our thoughts or feelings with the world online. The word to focus on here is "choose". No one is making us share our feelings,
we are doing so willfully. If we "choose" to share our political beliefs, religious beliefs, recipes, movie critiques, and so on, we need to accept the fact that somebody is going to give us a big thumbs down. Someone will be trolling and see our share and decide to crush our dreams. It is going to happen, so we might as well be prepared. I mostly have taken the side that I don't share all of my feelings and beliefs online. It's too painful. The idea that somehow people are suddenly going to become rational and understanding is a dream. They're not.
Again, it's mostly on me. I should know that plenty of people do not believe what I believe and that is ok and good. We should not all believe the same thing, that would be weird.
I am more than fine with the "Live and Let Live" mantra of life.

The most important side of this to me is if I truly believe in something, then I will put it out there
and stand beside it, no matter what anyone else thinks. Who cares.
They are just people like me. They're not better than I am, we are equal.
When I sing my songs, I mean it. I believe in it. When I play my guitar, I am being 100% honest.
If you don't like it, I don't care. I am doing what I believe in my heart.

Girls being fat shamed is wrong. Kids being bullied is terrible.
But parents need to let them know that this is the world we now live in and it's not real.
Social media is NOT the real world. 99% of people would NEVER have the nerve to behave
they way they do online if we were face to face.

I love going online and seeing what my friends are up to. I want to see your baby pictures,
your kids playing sports and funny memes. If I see something I don't like, I skip through and continue on, just like real life.  I share stupid, silly shit and keep things light hearted.
When I get on a soapbox, I share how I feel and I know someone is not going to agree.

If I decide to "Put it out there", I take responsibility for the aftershock.
Chances are, I know what I am posting is going to ruffle some feathers and I am looking for a fight.
That is the bottom line.

In real life, I am all for putting it out there. I do not hold punches and I go for broke,
cause what the hell are we doing anyway. This life might end tomorrow and every breath counts.
I am not going to sulk around behind the trees hoping everyone is nice to me and likes me, they don't.
I am going to be me. I teach my kids the same thing.

To thine own self be true.

Until you know what that means, you won't be satisfied. Find out who you are and be it 100%

Spiritual principles teach me to be kind and understanding. I do my best.
Not everyone is living the way I do. I don't judge them or condemn them, and I certainly don't
stop living the way I do to accommodate others.
I just let them be. That is the hardest thing to do.......live and let live.

Put it out there. Be real and show the world what you're made of.
Just know that some asshole is going to come along and post a snarky meme below your thoughtful insight.  Forgive and forget....

Peace Love Zito.......


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I don't have to live that way today

I was reminded yet again of how blessed I am.
I played a show in Houston last week at the Heights Theater and stayed overnight in the area.
When my son and I left in the morning we found our car with the window broken and a good portion of my equipment stolen.  I was furious for about 30 minutes or so and then I calmed down and got some perspective.  I know the drill, this isn't the first time this has happened to me over the past 20 years.  I have learned what to do and what not to do the hard way.  We stayed at a good hotel, I parked in the light by a hotel room window and near the side door.
I backed the vehicle all the way up against the wall so the backdoor was not accessible.  I take in all of the guitars and gear that I can and cover the rest with a black blanket. (Now you all know my secret!) Whomever broke into the vehicle, had no idea I was carrying musical gear.

I took a video of the aftermath and posted it on Facebook to help get the word out in case our musician friends in Houston might see the gear in a pawn shop or music store.  I was inundated with an amazing outpouring of love and concern from fans and friends.  People offered to let us use their drums and amps or to buy us new instruments or give us money. It was crazy!  I became overwhelmed with all of the love and positive vibes we received.  After I calmed down a bit I realized it just wasn't that much stuff - a few amp heads, some cymbals and some effects.
Oh, they also stole our banana's and coffee.........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hats off to my band - Matt Johnson and Terry Dry. These guys are the real deal.
They had replacement gear for us to use in Dallas that night in less than an hour.
They are so supportive of me and helpful all the time, the definition of team players.

I finally realized that more than anything, this is just a hassle.
Yes I have insurance and yes we will probably get the gear back as it was very specific and
most of it has my name on it.  We had to have a new window installed and clean out the car.
In the end, it just wasn't that big of a deal.

I started to think "I guess they needed this stuff more than I did."
I have plenty of gear to continue playing music, some would say too much (but they're crazy).
The man that replaced the glass was as sweet as he could be.  We were on the road to Dallas and only an hour later than expected. I thought... at least I didn't have to steal today to survive.

There were many times in my life when stealing was always an option and how I got by.
I hate a thief because I was a thief.  I would steal money out of someones purse, lie about where it
went. I would run out on a check at the restaurant, and eat food at the grocery store while walking around (because I hadn't eaten in days).  I always had an excuse for my behavior, and said I would make it up someday.
I know what life is like when you need to steal to survive......it sucks.
I am in no way excusing these folks, I want my shit back and they're deadbeats, plain and simple.
This just reminded me that I don't have to live that way today.
I have had the bondage of addiction lifted and I can be thankful.

My life is so different today. I sleep inside a nice house and play with my kids.
They stole a few things from me and I have so much more than I need.
Shit happens and it's not the end of the world.

More than anything I am thankful of the reminder of how good I have it today.
I guarantee the folks out stealing to survive don't have it this good, not even close.
I will pray for them and move on.

Today I don't have to steal to get by, I can be a productive member of society.

Peace, Love, Zito

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Service Work

When I first got clean and sober I had a lot of time on my hands.
I was unemployable, and the only thing I did was go to meetings every day.
So I learned to show up early and make coffee, clean the meeting room, and I stayed late
and talked with others and took the trash out.  On Saturdays I would meet other newcomers to
clean the room. Sweep and mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, do the dishes.
I was told this was service work and in order to stay clean I needed to be of service.
It was literally all I had to offer.  It put me in a state of mind that I have never lost, thankfully.
I began to understand and I brought that idea of service home with me.
I was living with my girlfriend (Laura) in her apartment in Port Arthur, Tx. I had no money to
contribute to food or rent or any of the other bills, so I began giving back with service.
I cleaned the apartment every day, did the laundry, cooked the meals, did all of the chores.
Again, it was all I had to offer, but I made sure I was doing everything I could.
Just because I was broke didn't mean I was broken. I was able bodied and capable.
If I contributed with service I wouldn't feel like a heel, it worked.
About 90 days into recovery I was asked to go with a group of people to the Franklin House
in Beaumont to help share a meeting. The Franklin House is a halfway home for addicts and alcoholics. So we would go there on Saturdays and have a meeting and share how the program was working in our lives in hopes that these folks would come join us at our meetings when they got released.  I was told this was service work and to be of service to my fellow man.
I was told I would feel better if I did something for someone else, it would help me forget how
crappy my own life was at this time. It worked absolutely.
As I continued in my own recovery I began to understand that being of service was a way of life.
I had lived an entire life of "what can you do for me?" and I was learning now to live life like "what can I do for you?". It has stuck for the past 13 and a half years.  Life is always about doing for someone other than myself.  Being of service to my family is very important. Making breakfast, cleaning the house, paying the bills on time, buying clothes for my children rather than buying things for myself.  I have to work to keep this family going, but I don't have to work 24 hours a day. I have learned to put work away and spend time with my family. I make sure I am not working too much, cause what's the point? I am also of service to my band members, to the people I work with.
I sincerely try to be of service every chance I get and in every aspect of my life and it is not easy and I do not always succeed, but it is a way of life I learned in recovery and I am thankful.
Being of service makes life so much easier and peaceful. Rather than taking so much, I just try to give away as much I can, whats the least I can live with? I sleep peaceful at night and have very little stress when I give it all away.  Funny enough, I always get back so much more in return.
I literally get back double what I give. Double the love, double the money and double the happiness.
Life is wonderful when I share it with others and it is dark and bleak when I keep it to myself.
I can't do everything I want to do, but I try my best to make sure I am of service everyday.
I bring it with me everywhere I go.  The less I need, the easier life becomes and ultimately death will
be an easy transition. That is the goal.

Peace, Love, Zito

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Interdependence

My sponsor tells me last week to do some study on "Interdependence".
It is very important in our world and the life around us.
We can never go it alone, even when we think we are doing so......we are not.
In the new day of Patriotism and self reliance, we need now more than ever to be mindful
of our interdependence with each other and our world.
From the Billionaire who says he made it on his own and doesn't want to contribute back
to the society that provided roads and business infrastructure to help achieve all of that money,
to the poorest of the poor who is stuck in a cycle of poverty with fear that there is no other life....
we the people are all connected. We are not only connected to each other as human beings, but we are connected to the animal world, the insect world, the aquatic world and the planet itself.
We are all dependent upon one another and our home, Earth.
We as human beings should care as much for each other as we do for ourselves, maybe more.
When we are doing good but our fellow man is not, that affects us. It affects us spiritually, emotionally and physically. We should be willing to do whatever it takes to help our fellow human beings.  Obviously we get so caught up in getting more for ourselves, we forget about sharing with those less fortunate. We label the less fortunate to make this greed easier to digest.
They are "Lazy" or "Dumb" or "Black" or "White" or "Muslim" or "Christian" or "Democrat" or "Republican". None of these labels actually exist. They are all made up by other fearful men.
Fear of losing control, fear of losing power, fear of losing money.
We disagree on how to help our fellow man, what is the best course of action - but we must not disagree that help is necessary for all.
In the end, when we die we will all go to the same place.......in the ground.
What happens on the other side remains a mystery for every single living being on this planet.
No one has the exact answer to life after death, all we can know absolutely is that we will die.
Everyone has a belief that they have acquired through conditioning or experience.
Whatever that belief may be, it is just a belief. It is not certain.
Faith is certain.
"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1
With true faith comes humility. I am not certain of the unknown, but I have faith it will all be wonderful. In the end we will all be in the same place. We are human beings, the same species.

Interdependence teaches us that we need each other. We need to help each other and have genuine concern for those around us, not just our close loved ones. We need to love those that we don't understand the most. Pray for them. Help the poor, share what we have with anyone in need.
The oxygen provided on this planet is the only reason any of us are breathing.
If we do things to jeopardize the oxygen, we are jeopardizing our own existence!
Don't let politics separate you from others. Don't let politics make your moral choices.
Love everyone as God loves.
Disagree, but know we are much more in agreement on a molecular level than we are on a political level. Politics is nonsense.

Interdependence is life. Everything, everyone has a place and a connection to one another.
That is truly awesome and amazing.
Everything we do affects everything and vice versa.
We are all truly connected.

"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. "   The Desiderata - Max Ehrmann

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sensitive

All my life I have been called "sensitive".

I get my feelings hurt easily. Thats what my sisters always told me.
My father said it was because I cared to much what others thought or said of me.
My mother said it was because I had a "tender heart", thats why I was a good singer
and musician.  Emotions were a part of who I was even at a very young age.

I think the word "sensitive" sounds like someone just cries all the time.
But this is not true at all.
The definition of the word sensitive is: "quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences."
And of a persons behavior: "having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others' feelings"

I have had musicians I played with, co-workers, spouses, teachers, friends, family and the lot all tell me at one time or another and on many occasions that I was so "Sensitive".

It is true. But it's so much more than just getting my feelings "hurt" or getting upset with someone
because of something they said. It's more based on my "sensitivity" of the situation and others feelings that I pick up on very deeply.  I am aware.
When I was young I could feel the tension that my parents had been fighting and were not happy
with each other, even if I wasn't there when it happened. I could tell something was wrong.
The tone of the voice, the way a person walks, the cold still face that does not smile.
I see it all, feel it all, and it affects me immediately.
Sometimes I wish it did not, it would be so much easier to not "feel" so much of the world around me. I used drugs and alcohol for years to numb that sensation of awareness and feeling, but alas,
I have an allergic reaction to mind altering-mood changing substances.......who knew.

Since I can remember, I have been an antennae for emotion.
I am also just plain old "sensitive".  I want everyone to like me, and when they don't
I get my feelings hurt and I wanna know why.  Many actors and musicians, songwriters and authors
have this same affliction.
I believe it is why we "perform", to seek attention and people pleasing.
We give more of ourselves than most, in hopes that we will get something in return.

When I cleaned up from drugs and alcohol I began a process of eliminating my old personality
and beginning a new.  The old one wasn't working anymore.
What happened was slowly over a period of time I became who I was before I ever used drugs or drank.  I was a child again.
Over the years of early recovery, I spent time with musicians and friends joking and being mean and teasing and getting tough again.  I loved to call someone out and give them shit, I was the toughest
one of all.  If they gave any back I would cut them down with some quick one-liners and they knew where they stood.  BUT.....as my recovery continued, I learned that this behavior was juvenile and hurtful and mostly a waste of time and energy.  Why tear others down for amusement? I should be lifting others up. Slowly my behavior changed and I learned to grow up.
Spiritually I was maturing, but I was not "tough" anymore.
When I spent time with my old friends, they behaved as they always did.
When they got to me and gave me a good teasing....guess what?    I got my feelings hurt.
I was still sensitive but I was not tough anymore. The spiritual principles had changed my behavior
and I did not have it in me to fight back with hurtful words.  I did not want to behave this way anymore.  I didn't understand why my friends would want to treat me like this, why would they want
to talk to me this way?
They had not changed, I had, and I was still sensitive.

Once again, it's always me.

I could finally begin to work on my self-centered sensitivity. These people were not trying to hurt me or my feelings at all. They were acting the way we had always acted together, but I had changed.
I was not that person anymore.
So I learned to understand my feelings once more.
Mostly my feelings are connected to my ego and the first feeling that pops up when something
is said to me, is probably the wrong feeling.  My ego wants to get bruised, but I can now decide
how I will react. Mostly I just wait a second and "Think, Think, Think" before I react.
This always works.  It's still a daily operation that deal with, but much much easier today than a year or two ago.

I am still sensitive and will always be that way.
I don't think I want to change that about me. It helps me to write songs and play my music
from the heart.
I will always seek attention, but mostly in a positive way today :)

I have learned to let it go. When something is said to me and it feels hurtful, I just stop a second
and remind myself that I'm crazy and it's probably me and the way I am interpreting the words.
My interpretation is most likely more harmful than the words and intention itself.

Unfortunately, sensitivity and self centeredness are a bad combo.
The idea is to let go of the self centeredness and focus on the outside world around us.
Try and understand that most of it has nothing to do with us, as the world does not revolve
around you or I.
I try today to use my sensitivity for the positive. Writing songs, sharing my feelings, being compassionate and tolerant of those around me. Understanding what others are going through.

If everyone was a little more sensitive to the world around them, it would be much easier
to get along.

Peace, Love, Zito

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Transition

Times they are a changing......

Change is life. Nothing ever stays the same, nor should it.
The good old days, are gone.
(btw, they were just old days- all days are good.)
I resist change like everyone else. I am set in my ways, and as an addict I am very much
in need of structure. But I have learned that the structure I need is in my mind and my perception
and not necessarily repeating the same day over and over doing the same things.
I have learned that my brain is a computer, more or less. Scientists insist that our brain is the most powerful computer we know of and they cannot quite explain how it works.
In my experience, my brain computer can be trained to follow patterns.
Just like the sidebar ads on facebook that try and sell me the guitar I was just looking at
on another website, my brain tracks everything I do and don't do. It also tracks subconciously
everything around me.  When I put in bad behavior and wrong thinking, it begins to process
this as how it functions now. Obviously the same goes for good behavior and right thinking.
Any patterns of behavior and thought will eventually become the norm in my thinking brain.
If I am taught to be racist, my racist thought patterns will immediately emerge when I see
a black person or asian person. My brain is trained from the moment I arrive on planet Earth.
But I have also come to understand that there is another thought process inside of me and it is
not always connected to my immediate brain, my spiritual mind.
My spiritual mind is the voice deep inside that is trying to reach me, my spirit.
My spiritual mind is my connection to God's will.
Some people find this connection easily and live a life immediate with the will of God,
others (like myself) do not make the connection right away. It takes time.
A set amount of circumstances and learning must take place slowly over a period of time for
this connection to be made. Once this connection is made, I can begin to reprocess my brain computer. Just like a virus or malware on my laptop, I can clean the computer of unwanted ads
and forced viewing. This does not happen overnight, like running some virus software.
This can take a lifetime.
But once the connection from Spiritual mind to my brain is made, I will want to spend the rest
of my life cleaning and reprocessing my computer.
I know this all sounds silly, but it is the most accurate way to describe the inner brain and spiritual mind.  I have two thought processes today - One is the thought that my brain throws up on my screen
because mathematically this the most correct information it has from past experience -
and then there is the spiritual mind thought that takes a minute to consider all of the options and which is the best choice.
The more I make the right choices spiritually and bring God into my life on every decision,
my brain computer will begin to process that this is the new behavior and how we will respond in the future. My brain computer begins to change and present these new options when engaged automatically. This takes time and many years of making the right choices after years (in my experience) of making the wrong choices.  This reprocessing will take a lifetime of change.
Slowly my spiritual mind will be the leader in my every decision.
At this point the details don't really matter anymore. What matters is at the core, my spiritual mind.
I begin to be open to change around me in the physical world, because the structure my addict mind seeks is found in my spiritual mind. The only routines I need to repeat are prayer and meditation.
The world around me can change and become turbulent - but I do not change in my spiritual mind.

Everyone is fixed on the transition in the Presidency this week.
Some have said they are so worried they cannot sleep.

Faith in God and a trained spiritual mind gives me the confidence to sleep well.
I have no worries of this world, I trust the Universe is in control.
Certainly I hope for the best, I am involved in my community and I stand up for the rights
of all. I cannot live on that pink cloud.  But at the end of the day, when I have done all I can do,
I sleep well knowing that my spiritual mind is connected to my every thought and movement.
I am one with my spirit and I am following God's will to the best of my ability.
I let it go and let God.

Change is always for the good. Even when it seems very bad. Something good must be on the other side. Transition is happening all around us.
I am thankful for the transition I have had in my heart and my soul.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Goodbye to Romance

Happy New Year!

Resolutions anyone?
Oh well, me neither. I am just trying to continue to try harder, be nicer and grateful.
"It's nice to be important, but it's important to be nice"
A lot of people were hell bent on blaming 2016 for a lot of pain and suffering, but it seems to me
that a number doesn't really have any feelings, so it probably doesn't care.
I have to say, I had a great year last year and I look forward to an even better year in 2017.
I'd say most of my happiness came from within in 2016. I learned to let go more and to stop
people pleasing: giving priority to people who did not give me priority in return.
Clean house, move on.
Thats not to say I am still not obsessive, but I am not compulsive as much anymore and thats huge.
Obsession ruled my mind for most of my life. But with help in recovery and prayer (and maybe some medication) I have learned to turn my obsessions elsewhere.
When my mind gets too wrapped up on one thing, I pray. I stop and breathe and try and clear my mind and then I pray.  If I am obsessing on a resentment with someone, I pray for them.
That almost always works. I pray that they have all their dreams come true and get everything in life that they wish. If my obsession is on which guitar pickup I think is the absolute best and that I have to have in everyone of my guitars right now and I can't stop the madness before I start spending money I do not have......whoa...I stop and breathe and pray.
It happens.

I have learned that obsessing over guitars and all the geeky elements of guitar is ok today.
It helps me to have something to focus on in life that is mostly harmless. (unless I break out the credit card) It is so much better than obsessing on sex or drugs or alcohol.
I heard an interview with Kirstie Alley and she suffers the same obsessive mind.
She said today she just enjoys "wanting" something.  She doesn't even really have to have it anymore,
just enjoys the wanting. I know exactly what she means.
If I get excited about a piece of guitar gear that I just have to have, I begin looking it up online.
Stalking it, craving it, dreaming. I watch videos on youtube of guys demonstrating how it sounds,
what it looks like. I really, REALLY enjoy that excitement. Once I make the purchase and it's on the way, I start to lose interest. When it arrives and I get it in my hands and I try it out, I don't like it near as much as I did before I had it. It has lost it's luster. The colors are not as beautiful, it doesn't sound like I dreamt it would, it's faded.
It's best to just enjoy the wanting, the dream.
This is fine when it is musical gear, but it is not good when it is sex or drugs or alcohol.
If I obsess over another person other than my wife, I am doomed.
It will end badly. Especially if I know this person and have access to them, not good.
If I have obsessive sexual feelings, I direct immediately to my wife.
I focus all of that energy to my partner in life. I think of how beautiful she is and sexy she is,
and how much I can't get enough of her.
If I begin to even think about how much I might enjoy a beer with my friends, I put that shit to a halt pronto. THIS will not end well at all if I go any further. I play the tape forward and think about what will happen if I drink one beer - I will drink 10 beers, then some whiskey, then buy some cocaine or crack and stay awake for the next 5 days. That is what ALWAYS happens when I drink "one" beer.
So, I immediately pray. I focus all of that energy of wanting to feel different to my spiritual life, my Higher Power. I always feel better when I pray. The energy I receive from my spiritual life is the greatest feeling on Earth. No drug or alcohol can even come close.

The "wanting" is part of romance. The romance is not a bad thing, it just needs to be directed today.
The romance was lost years ago with drugs and alcohol.
It's not funny, it's not cute and it's not romantic......not for me.
I am only romantic with one person on this planet, my wife, and it is the greatest romance I have known.

The romance continues with guitars and amplifiers and pedals and strings and picks and cords.......
(although I have become monogamous with most all of these, to some degree or another)

The wanting is part of life. It's who I am.
Prayer and Spirituality have taught me to "want" what I already have.
Remember why I wanted it in the first place and make it great again.

The greatest romance of all is within. I have learned to love myself inside and out.
I want to be me today, not anyone else.
This is how I look, this is how I feel.
I like me. I am a child of the Universe and I have a right to be here, we all do.