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.




Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza and Joyful Winter Solstice.

I have had a wonderful year with my family and playing music around the globe.
I live a very privileged life, absurdly lucky as a friend says.
We are rich in every way possible in my mind. I grew up in a 4 family flat deep in south
St. Louis in a 5 room apartment with 5 people. I thought we were rich then,
so having my own bedroom today is quite a huge difference.
(although my bed always ends up with 4 people in it!!!)

If you have food today, a home to live in and someone to be close with - you are rich.
We are the fortunate few.
Anyone on this planet deserves the life I live, I was just lucky enough to win the birthday lottery.
I give thanks and then enjoy my blessings.

I am not a religious person, but I am very spiritual.
I am also a believer of "go with the flow".
If someone says Merry Christmas to me, I say Merry Christmas.
If they wish me a Happy Kwanza, I say Happy Kwanza.
Why not? Why be difficult to make a point? The best thing I can do is reciprocate
in kindness.

Laura, Zach, Riley, Sam, Sophie, Josie and myself would like to say thank you!
We wish you and your family the happiest of holidays.
Let's take time to be thankful for the abundance and hopefully share with others.

It just wouldn't be "Merry" without you!

Peace, Love, Zito

Monday, September 26, 2016

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

This is one of my absolute favorite times of the year.
I love spending time with family and enjoying food and life.
I like the fall colors, the colder air and the pumpkin pie.

We all have much to be thankful for, some more than others.
Anyone that tells you "life sucks" or "life is a shit show at best" is wrong.
The new idea that intellectual people are too cool to be happy is dumb and childish.
Don't let the world bring you down. Shake it off and come back to the top.
Don't be cynical or contemptuous, be child like and silly. Let things bring you wonder
and excitement. Find the inner circles of life where everything seems to happen for a reason.
Believe in the world the around you and the possibility of life after death.
Give yourself a break from the "realistic" point of view for sake of being a "grown up"
and be thankful for all that life has to offer a child like yourself.

"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here."

I am thankful today for my life. It is not perfect, but nothing is perfect.
Perfection is the height of arrogance, give it away.
I will enjoy this life today. I am so grateful to not live on the streets anymore and not live
with the horror of active addiction. 

I have no idea why we are here, but I am so thankful to be here with you.

"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy. "  Max Erhmann

Happy Thanksgiving - Peace, Love, Zito

Family First




"The Zito Family circa 1930. My father is the youngest on the right.
Those are all his brothers and sisters. My grandparents in the middle."

This has been on my mind a lot lately.
Probably because I am watching The Soprano's again in it's entirety.
But also because in this world we live in, if you're lucky enough to have a family
you better hold on tight.  Family is everything to me, nothing else matters.
I have friends and people I care about but they're not family, family always comes first.
Every decision I make is based on family.  Every move I make can affect my loved ones,
so I do not make moves lightly.  I consider whats best for the family and then take a step forward.
I do have people in my life that are family, but are not blood related.
They have shown loyalty to me and my family and I know I can trust them and they will
be there for me if I need them, I will be there to help them as well.
I have come to learn the hard way the significance of family, by almost losing it more than once.
Family means nothing if it means nothing to you, it's just a word.
But if you can get to the point in your life where you have a significant other, a real partner,
and you have children and brothers and sisters and in-laws and so on, you have got it made.
These people will look out for you and you would die for them.
My family is my life. I have a sincere partner in life that is always thinking about whats best for me,
who wants to help me achieve my goals and who truly loves me. I feel the same for her. Her happiness is much more important than my own.
That in itself is a dream come true.  I have children that love me and look up to me, that can't wait to see me and hug me......that is amazing.  For a junkie like myself, it is absolutely astounding to have so much in one life.  I am truly grateful for my family and the life I live.  In return I try to give my family the life they deserve. I work hard and smart and make sure we are on the right path financially and most importantly, spiritually.  My children will follow in my footsteps in many ways, but they will learn most from me spiritually.  How do I react? How do I treat others?
Thats really what matters most, and of course.....time.
Time is what matters most. Making time for my family, my loved ones.
I can make all the money in the world, but in the end if I spent all my time making money
I can't buy back the time I lost with my family.
I am aware of this now more than ever before.
I share a lot with my fans and friends, I am very open in many ways about myself and my feelings.
But I am also very private. You don't know everything about my decisions, my choices, and my family. You don't need to know these things. I have a very private life and that is the way I like it,
I only share what I feel comfortable sharing with you, and I am certain you understand.
My gut tells me you feel the same way with your family.

At this point in my life, every move matters. I don't have time to waste anymore.
My family comes first, always. Know one knows me like my family, that is the truth.
Every move I make, know that it is always based on family first.
I do not run willy nilly into the night, I am a considerate person. I consider what is the best decision
for my family and then I pray and make my move.
I have lost interest in what others think of me, my only interest is whats best for my family.
I do not pay so much attention to politics or issues. I know right from wrong, and my choices are already made before I make them. They are based on spiritual principles and what is best for family.
Some will say that life is not so cut and dry, but they are wrong. When you have a wife and children and your bond is strong and loyal, the choice is always whats best for the family.

I am truly thankful and grateful today for the absolute blessing of family in my life.
I could have easily lost this life or given it away in bouts of selfishness, but God saved me and gave me another chance at a life worth living. My family comes first, always.

Peace, Love, Zito