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



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Pleasant....

I listen to a lot of podcasts.
I enjoy conversation and learning, since I am not so educated.
I spend a lot of time on the road, or on a plane and I love to listen and learn.
"Stuff you should know" is my absolute favorite and "WTF" with Marc Maron is the top
of the list as well. They are both a little different in format but equally fun and interesting.
Marc Maron's show is an interview show with guests. Mostly comedians, but musicians, actors, directors, and even President Obama have been on his show.
"Stuff you should know" is exactly as you would think, it is two guys telling you about something,
whatever the topic is - "Snakes" or "How the Civil War worked" or "what is head trauma?"
It is really anything topic wise, but always fun as they are entertaining.
My point is, I have time on my hands when I am traveling and I need distraction.
We all do from time to time. I watch shows on Netflix and HBO NOW, I listen to music and I
read books, listen to audiobooks and podcasts.  It's not that I do not enjoy traveling, I do, but my
mind wanders so easily and gets caught up in madness if I don't keep it in check.
I have learned from my OCD that I need to find a preoccupation for my mind, or it will find one for me. The obsessions my mind chooses are not the kind I would choose for myself.
My mind immediately goes into "resentment" mode and I think of all the things people have said to me that was wrong or rude or whatever and what I should've said back to them....sound familiar?
Then I go through the entire process of forgiving them all over again and realizing they probably didn't mean it the way I took it.....UGH. Wasted energy and for no reason whatsoever, other than I am mentally ill. Oh yeah, I'm mentally ill.....thats right. It is a constant cycle that has certainly gotten better over time. but it is still annoying and frustrating at times. Thats why I have found that being regimented and strict with myself while I am on the road works best for me and my illness.
I go straight to bed after the shows, no hanging out until 6am anymore. I get up early and eat breakfast and pray and stretch. All of these things are very important to my sanity.
I need to stay focused, at the same time I need distractions when I have free time.  When I am having a day off I watch tv shows, go for a walk, go to a movie. When I am driving or flying, I listen to podcasts and audiobooks. I also am quite the nerd I must say. I constantly watch videos on guitar effects pedals and demos. I love that shit.
I also try to feed my mind with positive, light hearted content.
If it's heavy, it better be spiritual in nature, not political or angry.
Thats why listening to podcasts is easy and gives me something to think about. I learn about medical procedures, history, how the body works.....tons of useless information that helps me relax and enjoy my time alone. I try to treat myself with care and consideration, that way I will treat you the same. If I am tired and I have not prayed or eaten well or lazy then I will not be in a good mood for the day. I will be grouchy and mopey and treat others that way. Life is hard, but much harder when I am not prepared and ready for the day. I am still openminded but I am not dazed and confused and resentful. Recently I listened to WTF with Marc Maron and he had Rob Reiner on the show. Rob Reiner is a very famous actor, producer, director and son of Carl Reiner. He has seen it all and has had quite a life. His words of wisdom to Marc was "Life is long and Life is short, seems like we could all try and be pleasant. Why go through life not pleasant?"  I absolutely agree. It takes more energy to be an asshole, and it comes back on you ten fold.  Today I will continue to try and be pleasant.
Peace, Love, Zito

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Just Pray

Sorry it's been a minute since I have written my blog.
It has been a very busy summer and a lot of moving, when I get a minute
I make sure I pray and read my books.  I'm home now enjoying a much needed
break with my family. Of course thats when I have time to look back and think about
the world around me.
I know things seem a little crazy right now, a lot crazy.
I am always saddened by the killing in our streets. I understand the frustration of people
who have been abused and treated like second class citizens. I can't imagine the strength
it takes to patrol our neighborhoods and cities.
The political world is set afire with so much propaganda and misleading information on
24 hour news channels, it is difficult to make sense of it all.
I am not writing a blog to tell you who to vote for, to side with Black Lives Matter or Law Enforcement, to tell you to give up your guns or my take on immigration.
I am writing to share my feelings in these crazy times.
Things do seem "crazy" right now, but they are not nearly as crazy as they have been in the past.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes, and change is painful and it's a process.
History is one of my favorite subjects and it shows us that the greatest changes that took place
were painful.
The media would have us believe that it is the end of the world, but it is not, not even close.
The media helps to divide us, separate us from each other, thats how they appeal to us.
They sell us based on very broad strokes. Smokers over here, non-smokers over there.
If anyone is at fault today, it is the 24 hour media empire. It is misleading and shameful.
When I watch the news in the morning, it looks dim outside, dreary and scary and awful.
But when I leave the house and go out into the world, it looks beautiful.
I see people at the grocery store and the gas station and they smile and they're happy.
I see black people and white people enjoying music together, enjoying themselves.
People are people and we are all exactly the same.
We want to live in peace and be safe. We want our families to have food and shelter and we
don't want any trouble. Anyone who does not want these things, that want madness, war, killing....
they are mentally ill. They might sight religion as they're reason to kill, but they are suffering gross
mental illness. "No one in their right mind" would do such things unless provoked to do so.
I am not naive to the world. I understand that people want power and they want to take other people over and they want to rule, I understand, but most people do not.
Just keep that in mind every time you see a news story about Muslims killing people,
or Police killing people.......whatever the label that the news puts on a group of people, that does not include EVERYONE in that group.  In fact, it is very FEW of those people.
Again, they want to divide us into groups, but we are just people, Human Beings.
It does not matter what religion we belong to, what profession we are, what color we are, or where
we come from....we are all exactly the same.

Just pray. I pray everyday and more than once. I mostly pray to be safe and to get along with those around me.  I try and see that people are not so different from me, but mostly the same.
I cannot change things in far off places so much, I have very little influence in the big world.
But I do have influence in the world around me.
I try not to argue my beliefs to those who believe differently, that usually does not help.
I try and understand why they believe this way, they must have a reason.
Again, when I consider that someone is just like me and wants to be safe and happy, I must consider
why they believe differently if they want to achieve the same result.
If we would all take time to try and understand one another and communicate with those around us, the world around will become a better place.  It sure sounds campy and corny, but what else can we do?  If you are my friend and you believe so deeply about an issue that is exactly opposite of what I believe yet we continue to be friends, then we have more IN common that we do not.
So I try and understand your side, your belief is of interest to me. I may not want to argue with you, but I would like to know why you feel that way, because I am not always right.
My opinion is not 100% correct and I try and be open minded and understanding.
It's not easy, but it can be done if we are practicing spiritual principles.

Life is good and the world is changing and it is not all bad, not at all.
It is amazing this world we live in and I am excited to be alive.
When people say what kind of world are we leaving our children, I can only believe that is
a much better world than the one we were born in, by far.
Anyone that wants everything to be the same forever is unrealistic.
Mathematics shows us in the Chaos Theory that things will always change and only stay the
same for short periods of time.  When things are great for one group of people, they are not always great for other groups of people, and over time that changes hands and thats the way it needs to be.
Life is perspective.  Let's stop bitching and try and be thankful and grateful.
I don't know everything, but I know we can be good to those around us.
It does not take much energy to be happy and share a smile or a kind word.
I try and see life with child's eyes, in wonderment and amazement.
I don't have time to fight for everything I believe in, so instead I will try and compromise.
Compromise will allow me more time to be happy and enjoy my blessings.

Just pray. It is that simple. When things are getting tough, when the I am not feeling 100%,
just pray. Turn off the news, turn off Facebook and social media, give it a break.
Don't believe every meme you read, every headline you read or news story you see...not at face value.
Do some research. If it sounds too cray to believe, it is probably not all true.
Let's be good to each other and whenever we need help, just pray.
You don't have to be religious or even believe in God to pray.
Just be calm for a minute and consider love and hope and peace.

It's a beautiful day.