I hope you had wonderful holidays with your families and friends.
When I got clean and sober in 2003, I had no idea how to live.
I had no idea how to function in life without being a thief, a liar, and a cheat.
I was very uncomfortable in my own skin.
I came to understand that I had a serious personality problem and was highly insecure.
Through time and hard work I began to understand who I was and how to live in society.
I began looking people in the eyes when I spoke to them and slowly became comfortable
with the sound of my own voice. This has been an ongoing process for the past 14 years
and everyday I become more at ease with myself.
Playing music once I became sober was even harder.
I could hear ALL of the music. I could hear my "mistakes", others "mistakes".....
I could hear everything. There was nothing to hide behind anymore.
I had to learn how to perform and play my instrument all over again.
What sounded good to me in the past did not sound as good now and what began to sound
very good to me, I was not very good at. I would get frustrated with myself easily and with others.
I also noticed that when I played my guitar......I held my breathe.
This was a HUGE awakening for me.
As soon as I stopped singing and began playing the guitar as a solo instrument, I held my breathe.
I held it all the way until I was finished or I could not hold it anymore.
The music did not flow out of me, it was stifled and stiff and choppy.
I couldn't understand why, I don't think I ever did this before......which is probably true.
If I was drunk, I was loose and carefree so it just all kinda came out. I was not so concerned with
how it all sounded, I just played what I felt because I had no inhibitions.
I tried to not hold my breathe when I played and it was awkward and out of rhythm.
I began to notice that I held my breathe a lot.
When others talked and I wanted to interrupt......I held my breathe.
When I had sex......I held my breathe.
When I prayed.......I held my breathe.
When I did not get my way.......I held my breathe.
I literally held my breathe almost all of the time, except when I needed air so bad I would let go and breathe....but only when it was do or die.
It was a revelation. It changed my life. I realized that it was me, I don't do anything until it's do or die.
I was so stubborn and self centered and rebellious that I couldn't even breathe properly until it might kill me to not do so. Everything slowly began to make sense.
I was not partaking in the miracle of life, I was holding my breathe like a spoiled child until I got my way......and I have no idea what I thought I wasn't getting.
So.....I began to play my guitar and breathe. It was like starting all over from the beginning.
I practiced breathing and playing. I would continue to hold my breathe onstage, but I was more mindful of it now and when I did catch myself, I would let the air out and take big breathes while I was playing. It changed everything. I began to play slower and more melodic. I began to take my time and not be in such a hurry, mostly because I could not be in a hurry with my simple, slow breathing. I did this with everything in my life, When I listened to others I diligently took slow, easy breathes in tempo. When I prayed, I would breathe slowly and deeply. It affected everything in the most positive and peaceful way. My life began to change.......but this is one paragraph that is sharing 14 years of a process that is still ongoing.
I still hold my breathe everyday, but I am much more aware of this and I let go and breathe deep when I realize what I am doing. Slowly over a period of time, I breathe more easily and maybe more than I hold my breathe.
I have learned so much from breathing.
Air is life and without it we are dead. I have to take part in the breathing process whether I want
to or not. My body will fight my mind on this one and do it all by itself when I am not looking.
This air is all around me and I cannot see it, but I am in the middle of it all of the time and I am breathing it in and out to stay alive. When I breathe and realize the process, I am overcome with peace and calm. When I apply breathing to making love, the love comes through me.
When I apply breathing to playing my guitar, the music flows through me.
Love is like air, it is all around me, it is what this world is made of. Love is the 5th dimension.
When I let love into my heart and share that love with the world around me, I am taking part in the world and the world is taking part in me. When I cut myself off from the love, I am cut off. I am on my own, choking and gasping. I can't feel the energy and I have nothing to share. The music does not come from me, it comes from the Love. If I hold my breathe and play my guitar, it starts out ok but ends badly with a bunch of notes that make no sense. It doesn't move you and it serves no purpose other than my ego. When I breathe and let go and play what comes through me, I will become more open to what the Love wants to share. When the Love is shared through the music, you can feel it and it I can feel it and we have an other worldly experience. This is true with all of life.
Playing music isn't important, the Love is important.
Breathing is important, it saves my life every second.
When I stop breathing, I begin to die.
I am cut off of the Love, the air that flows through us all.
This may all sound very hokey and cheesy to some of you and maybe even silly,
but not to me. I used to idolize Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, SRV, and others for being crazy on drugs
and alcohol when they played music, thinking they were "otherworldly".
But I realize today, they were trying to find the Spirituality in the music, to play from somewhere
other than themselves. It's in the air, it's all around us, we just have to be open to accepting the Love.
The drugs and alcohol do not work, not in the long run. They might open your mind at first,
but they will only go so far and they will stop working if you use them long enough.
The deeper, more narrow path is spiritual. It is where the true Love can be found.
It all begins with breathing.
I try not to judge myself today, I play what I feel.
I breathe and let it go and be of service to the Higher Love.
Peace, Love, Zito