Blog Archives

Health, Wealth or Relationships?

Ultimately, we aspire to all three. But for the moment, I’m interested to know what your raw gut first reaction is if I were to say that, for this holiday season, you could be immediately granted just one of these three choices. Which would you choose at this moment in your life?

And please feel welcome to say why in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

 

Result Infatuation

I’ve recently come to realize something about myself. When I am fully engaged in activating a process, I feel quite content for the most part. But the moment my mind wanders to just about any perceived measurement of progress, my heart rate speeds up, my breathing gets more shallow and a sense of self-judgement begins to kick in. This seems to apply for home, work and recreation.

Result infatuation?

I’ll come back to that.

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I wrote recently about the challenge I find I have of balancing between planning and acting. And my creative mind loves to wander around in the abstract, dream, set goals and visualize. Ironically, it tends to do that most while I am going about the business of taking action. Doing things and being fully engaged seems to stimulate other inspiration.  The trouble is, those ideas inevitably end up manifesting into a sea of Post-It notes and other “to-do” reminders. But when I stop planning my act and am engaged simply with acting upon my plan, I feel stress-free.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I will often feel overwhelmed before I even begin, simply from the sheer volume of thoughts and ideas constantly passing through my awareness and accumulating at an impossible rate. Alternatively, once I pause my process to check sales numbers or revenue reports, or gauge response to a social media post, or even look at how many things I’ve done around the house versus the “to-do” list I had set out for myself earlier, I seem to instantly begin judging how I could be doing better.graph-841606_1280

And yet, intellectually, I know that the cure for this stress is to simply dig back in again. Choose one thing and take action. See it through to completion. Then choose another. And repeat. Simple, right? But how long do you allow yourself to enjoy the drive before you pull off the road, check the map and set a plan for where you’re going to stop next? I confess I sometimes wait until I run out of gas, or the engine seizes. And neither of those metaphorical ideas are healthy to either planning or acting.

And … why is there even a need to plan and act when you’ve experienced that real peace seems to be best achieved by getting quiet and still and feeling genuinely present and grateful?

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It’s quite remarkable to me. I find thinking about doing a thing far more stressful than actually doing the thing, no matter what that thing is. I sometimes wonder whether any other people are similar to me in this regard, because I don’t see many of my colleagues wrestling with the same mechanism as what I’m trying to describe here.

At least I am aware of it now. That’s come from many years of exploring practices like mindfulness, meditation and, quite simply, self-love and acceptance. I will keep working on it. At a deeper level, I’ve known for a while that the moment I assign any expectation to something, I seem to end up disappointed. I wrote about it with a rock song lyric I call “Crushed,” which has been kicking around since 2008. It goes like this:

I recognize the notion and it’s hitting me hard again
Never would suffice to take it slowly
I’m laying down the hammer but I feel I’m the nail again
Rigid, driven, beaten down and lonely

We started innocently with intent to behave
But quickly, curiosity will tend to accelerate
By and by, anticipation makes you a slave
Cause we want
And we crave

Crushed by the weight of expectation
Determination hanging over me
I never intended to be
Crushed
Result infatuation

Simple fascination suffocating me
I never intended to be crushed
It’s too much

Result infatuation. I love that line. And I appreciate it more now that I feel more of an observer to that lyric than a protagonist. But there still, clearly, is much more work to be done on mindfulness and staying present.

If you have any similar experiences and thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Song Blog, Vol. 1: “Broken Breath”

Well, I’ve finally jumped into something new. I’m calling it the Song Blog. It’s all explained, below, and on the new Song Blog page, which you can find in the drop-down menu under the “Kevin’s Music” menu item. It’s all explained below.

Up first, a song called “Broken Breath.” You can hear it and read about it, below, or skip all this and jump directly to its page by clicking here.

Enjoy.

– KB

Song Blog, Vol 1: “Broken Breath”
(c) 1997 – 2015 Kevin Bulmer Enterprises
Written by Kevin Bulmer (SOCAN)

I decided to start my Song Blog with “Broken Breath” because it’s a track that has come up in a unique way and has been referenced often in recent times. It’s been performed publicly at a few different events but has never been shared other than that. And in fact, at the time of this writing, I am scheduled to perform the song tomorrow at an event in support of the Southwestern Ontario Lung Association. I wanted people to be able to have the chance to hear it.

Lyrics:

When the lights go out in our younger years
All the demons dance so free
The night can be so frightful
Leave the door open for me

In the haze, a child will seldom understand
Just as seldom will they care
They think think they cause is not important
If the consequence is there

Won’t somebody help me?
I can’t breathe
The pain that’s in my chest
Has me at it’s mercy
Please, won’t somebody make it go away?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can do?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can say?

Now suddenly you’re thinking of
Maybe sending me away
They’re gonna take me from my home
But it’ll serve me well some day

Unconvinced, you packed my suitcase
And gift box full of toys
They were only a distraction
But you didn’t have a choice

Won’t somebody help me?
I can’t breathe
The pain that’s in my chest
Has me at it’s mercy
Please, won’t somebody make it go away?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can do?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can say?

The years go by and now I sleep
For hours, unpeacefully
Awake again with broken breath
I wonder what will become of me …

Won’t somebody help me?
I can’t breathe
The pain that’s in my chest
Has me at it’s mercy
Please, won’t somebody make it go away?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can do?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can say?

About the song:

In 1997, I was heartbroken over my favourite band, Extreme, having broken apart. To that point, I’d listened mostly to their music and other bands of that time (Saigon Kick and Thunder were two other favourites of mine from that era). But as the back half of the 90’s progressed, I entered into a heavy Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle phase. And I took great interest in their more morose, introspective material. In particular, it wasn’t the anthem-like arena party rock I liked from Springsteen. I was a “Nebraska” guy. I loved “Ghost of Tom Joad.” Those songs spooked me good. I loved them.

Naturally, I wrote some darker-sounding material at that time. I specifically remember wishing I had a song that featured a vibe similar to Springsteen’s “Shut Out the Light,” a brilliant track that tells the tell of a Vietnam veteran’s inability to re-acclimate to his life after returning home. In the chorus, he sings, “Oh Mama, mama, mama, come quick. I got the shakes and I’m gonna be sick. Put your arms around me in the cold dark night. Hey now, mama, don’t shut out the light.”

I am in no way trying to compare myself to Springsteen, of course. But “Shut Out the Light” most definitely was the original inspiration that got me writing what became “Broken Breath.”

Read more about “Broken Breath” by clicking here …

About the “Song Blog:”

Inspired by my favourite musicians, I began writing songs in the early 90’s. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of them but have only recorded, released or publicly performed a handful so far. I’ve struggled to decide what to do with the others.

I don’t write songs to try to become a hit songwriter or to impress anyone or be a “star” or anything I like that. I write them because they sometimes just seem to “show up,” almost as if they’re being channeled from somewhere else. As such, they reflect my own ideas, thoughts and opinions, and I’ve never felt that formula was one meant for any kind of mainstream consumption.

When a “channeling” happens, I just write down, hum or play what I’m feeling. Often times, that turns into a song. Other times, it won’t. It could be I get a little bit or a piece here and there, like a lyric line or a melody idea. And I’ll save those just in case, but for the most part, if a song is to become something I hold on to and treasure as a part of who I am, it usually comes to me fairly complete within 15 minutes to an hour or so, and then it’s just a matter of tinkering after that. And that tinkering sometimes goes on for years. I’ll forget about a song for a decade and then come back to it. It’s fun.

Read more about the Song Blog by clicking here …

 

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