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Rae's Latest

Filtering by Category: Just Livin' Life

I'm Thankful For...

Rae Hering

A list. A very short list, but an honest one.

I'm thankful for my hanging succulent plants. Every time I look at them I think about how they started out as one small plant. I think about how we all have the potential for such abundant growth!

 
IMG_9041 2.jpg
 

I'm thankful for my patrons. The connections and friendships that are forming on Patreon literally keep me going every day.

I'm thankful that dark chocolate exists. 

I'm thankful for the challenge of learning new things, like how to make my own album artwork. I never knew that's a thing I could do until it became a necessity and I did it! Funny how that works...

 
 

I'm thankful for my husband Jonathan who has the rare ability to think up creative ways to help me with my music career and who has believed in me from the beginning.

I'm thankful for Simon the Cat who has a talent for being the perfect cuddly reprieve when I'm working too hard.

 
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I'm thankful for warm cups of tea and comfy clothes at the end of the day.

I'm thankful for intermittent fasting, which keeps me healthy and grounded and feeling totally not guilty for the big Thanksgiving feast I'm about to it!

I'm thankful for YOU. Thanks for spending some time on my website to read this post.

What are you thankful for this year?

Happy National Farmers Day! 🐮

Rae Hering

October 12th is National Farm Day and I thought I'd celebrate the occasion by sharing with you one of my absolute Loves in life outside of making music: local, organic foods!

A few weeks ago my friend Trista invited me to join her for Fall Farm Day at her CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, which is a group of individuals who pledge to guarantee a farmer's crop financially and in return receive shares of food weekly or bi-weekly. It's a great way to live by the seasons, have an adventure in your kitchen every week with seasonal produce and support your local farmer! 

So, let's begin our virtual tour of Rosie Belle Farm, an hour or so south of Nashville in a town called Pulaski, TN. (All photos taken by me or Trista except if otherwise noted).

 

Meet Pat and Paul Schertz, the farmers of Rosie Belle. Overall-clad and sporting a purple bandana, Pat greets us with a warm smile and leads us through the flower gardens up to the Farm House which was built, along with its outbuildings, in 1894. Once I step onto the front porch I have an overwhelming urge to just sit, sip, and stay here forever, but I fight it back and head on inside...

Photo from the Rosie Belle website: www.rosiebellefarm.com 

Photo from the Rosie Belle website: www.rosiebellefarm.com 

The first thing I see when I walk inside is this amazing staircase. I can honestly say this is the most unique set of stairs I have ever seen. And yes, those are real yard sticks.

Just to the right of the staircase the house opens up into the main sitting area. Past the wood burning stove with fresh rosemary foccacia bread waiting to be devoured (Pat is an extraordinary cook by the way) there is a heaping pile of apples sitting in the light of the window. Go ahead, take one! I've already had three...

We head outside on this gorgeous autumn day and start exploring their 65 acre backyard. Can someone please explain to me why farm buildings make such great photography material?? 

Oh, there's Trista, chillin' by the pumpkins...

There are plenty of farm animals running around! Eleven dogs, many of whom were rescues, are making good use of the open space. And look...wasn't it nice for the pigs to line up for a family photo?

And how about those goats! They're certainly eager to eat my purse and...I KID you not, this actually happened...later on one jumps on the table as I'm eating and head straight for my plate! 

All I have to say about this shot is that Diana Ross's "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" somehow starts playing softly in the background...

And what Farm Day would be complete without cuddling with a baby duckling?

Lunch time! After three rounds of appetizers (we're being fed like Queens!) it's time for the crispiest fried chicken I've ever tasted, farm cheese and tomato sandwiches and yes, even the ice cream on the ice cream sandwich is made from scratch.

It really has been a perfect day. Thank you to Pat, Paul and the whole crew at Rosie Belle Farm for your hospitality and generosity!

If you live in Middle Tennessee, become a CSA member of Rosie Belle Farm! Live somewhere else? Find a CSA near you and start supporting your local foods!

Now, I leave you with Trista and I laughing because Farmer Paul is acting like he doesn't know how to use an iPhone (he did a nice job though!)

 

Did I just take happy pills?

Rae Hering

It’s inevitable. Around this time of year, every year, I’ll start waking up a little more refreshed than usual. I’ll think, “hmmm, that’s nice…” and go about my day only to realize that everything seems to fall into place, I'm bumping into friends left and right and even cracking jokes and starting to think I'm actually funny. Soon inspiration is flowing and I start to think I really must have hit my stride in life and WOW! am I doing a great job at being an Awesome Human Being when suddenly it hits me…ohhhhhhhh, it’s the nice weather.

!!!!!!!!!🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼🌷🌼!!!!!!!!!

So I guess it wasn't that power smoothie I've been making for breakfast after all.

Nope! Just good old Spring. Open windows, vibrant flower colors, and the sunlight, oh the glorious sunlight again!

!!!!!!!!!☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎☀️😎!!!!!!!!!

What I find fascinating is that this scenario happens, without fail, year after year. I forget how it feels to live in a springtime world. My body, slowly and willingly adjusts to the overcast skies and lack of precious vitamin D and just…copes. Sluggishly, it comes to think that this is how it always has been and always will be. That is, until that warm air starts moseying on in...

I have to chuckle at myself. Did I seriously think it was something I had done to make me feel so great? Uh…NO. Some remedies just take their time to come back around, and you can’t do a darned thing to rush it.

Lesson learned, until next year that is 😉.

 
 

P.s. - Why Imagination in Bloom? It a lyric from my song Red Red!

 

What?? It's Women's History Month?!?

Rae Hering

Alright, all you Procrastinators, if you haven’t gotten around to doing anything for Women’s History Month yet, or heck, didn’t even know it was going on, now’s your chance!

(Note: being that this blog post is on the last day of Women’s History Month we can all tell who’s the Biggest Procrastinator of all. Uh…yeah.)

Actually, I’ve been thinking about notable women throughout history a lot lately. Not because it’s the month of March even though, hey, it’s nice to get some yearly recognition for our gender, but the real reason is that I’m working on a concept album inspired by fascinating women from all different time periods and backgrounds whom, quite frankly, I’ve never heard of and maybe you haven’t either!

I’ve written five songs so far and oh my goodness! these women have truly become my muses. They’ve entranced me thoroughly with their triumphant valor, bloodthirsty schemes, charismatic wit and unearthly resilience. Are they perfect examples of what humanity should strive to be? You bet they aren’t! But that’s what makes them so beautifully interesting.

Which leads me to sharing with you this magical wonderland of a website I found in my research, www.rejectedprincesses.com. Expect to find (and I’m quoting the site here): “Women too Awesome, Awful, or Offbeat for Kids’ Movies.” Let me introduce you too:

(All artwork by Jason Porath)

Creator Jason Porath sums up what he does this way, “I illustrate and wax poetic about interesting legendary women you’ve probably never heard of.” (Got that from his Twitter profile. He also has a Patreon account you need to check out.)

And I’m totally sucked in. The way he writes about these women’s stories is completely engaging and his animation-style images make each come to life. Suffice it to say I have a lot of food for fodder here for my concept album and I hope you dig in, too! Once you get acquainted with a few of these colorful characters you may want to check out his official Rejected Princesses book that just came out late 2016. 

OK folks, Happy Last Day of Women’s History Month and enjoy the good reads!

Notes on My Fridge: Success Is...

Rae Hering

I like to keep little notes on my fridge to help me be mindful and reflective throughout the day. Here's a quote by American humorist Evan Esar that I've been thinking about:

 
This little quote came with a beautiful  Judith Bright  necklace I got as a present.

This little quote came with a beautiful Judith Bright necklace I got as a present.

 

I'm mulling over how different, yet connected, the terms success and good fortune are. To me, success conjures notions of hard work and determination to reach a sought-after goal. Good fortune makes me think of happy accidents and favorable circumstances we all wish would fall into our laps. 

Oh, so many times I've been envious of people that just "seem lucky" while I grumble to myself about how I have to pull myself up from my bootstraps and keep my chin up...LOL!! Haven't we all had thoughts like this?? The thing is, hard work and luck go hand in hand; the more perspiration we put into our aspirations, the more lucky breaks we seem to come by.

Now, I've heard some people say they don't believe in luck, or at least that they don't need it. As long as we put the effort in we get results back, right? While I would love to believe that I'm in 100% control of my destiny I think Evan Esar's quote reminds me that that's not entirely true. In fact, the things in life that we can't control are often our most important motivators. Desperation can lead us, albeit painfully, to stumble upon serendipitous inspiration!

Easier said then done, for sure. But I figure with all the times I open my fridge in a day it'll start to sink in :)  

Nothing working for that sore throat?

Rae Hering

What’s a musician to do with three shows this week and a raspy throat that makes her sound like Scuttle in the Little Mermaid??  Well, let’s open up the pantry…zicam, airborne, lemon, honey, zinc, garlic, chicken broth, vitamin C, throat coat tea, neti pot, cough drops, apple cider vinegar…

OK, I’ve got enough vitamins and superfoods to start a homeopathy side business, but even still, sometimes a cold manages to kick my I’m-sick-so-I-get-to-sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-Netflix butt! (Hey, any excuse will do 🤧 😬)

Point is, this up-and-down weather’s got me keeping Kleenex in steady business this year and it’s likely you’re in the same 2-play boat.  Thankfully, I learned of a new trick to bolster my medicine bag when I visited Music City Tea yesterday… 

 
Jenny, owner of Music City Tea, pouring me up some tea to taste.

Jenny, owner of Music City Tea, pouring me up some tea to taste.

 

First of all, I just love visiting this locally owned and operated teashop.  I go there to stock up on this killer Black Water Fairy Oolong that's sourced straight from the Chinese province that the owner, Jenny, comes from; her family has been making green, white, black and oolong teas in the Wuyishan area of the Fujian Province for over three generations, and it tastes like it, too!

So I was about to head out the door with my oolong when Jenny noticed my hoarse voice and suggested Farmer’s Tea.  Well…OK, let’s give it a try!  Another great thing about this teashop is that you can try any of the teas before you buy.  Believe me, if you sit down at her tea table the teas will keep coming!  

 
Looks like  Simon , my Persian kitty, likes Farmer's Tea, too!  NO CAFFEINE, steep in boiling water for 5-10 sec.

Looks like Simon, my Persian kitty, likes Farmer's Tea, too!  NO CAFFEINE, steep in boiling water for 5-10 sec.

 

So I sat down and she poured me up some Farmer’s Tea with fair warning that it does not taste good.  After following her instructions to slurp (yes, noisily slurp), gargle, swallow, and repeat two more times I can say that indeed, you don’t drink Farmer’s Tea for the flavor; however, it doesn’t taste horrible.   

As yesterday progressed and a few hours went by I’ve gotta say my voice started doing much better!  Guys, I think I’ll be ready for my shows this week!  Next time I feel a cold coming on I’ll make sure to get the Farmer’s Tea out right away.

To check out Music City Tea’s various teas and tea sets, visit: www.musiccitytea.com

A brush with Death, a Chopin Nocturne and yes...Thanksgiving!

Rae Hering

The other day I was talking to my upstairs neighbor.  She told me that a friend of hers, only 25 years old, had a massive heart attack; no one saw it coming and no one knows why it happened.  Her friend died, was resuscitated, and then remained unconscious with doctors predicting that she would be permanently brain damaged.

Woah.  That’s heavy stuff.

Two days later she woke up and started talking and laughing…with no signs of brain damage at all!

At this point in the story my jaw is halfway to the floor and I’m flooded with all kinds of emotion: shock, sympathy, relief…and lots of thankfulness.  A close encounter to death, even if it’s just hearing about your neighbor’s friend, has a way of making the important things in life crystal clear.

Needless to say, my neighbor has been on the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime and is exhausted from spending day after long day at the hospital.  But here’s the part that really got to me: she said she stopped by the apartment one of those worrying nights before heading back to the hospital and heard me playing a Chopin Nocturne.  It was just what she needed to hear in the midst of all the turmoil.  It was a comfort to her, hearing that melody, and she told me thank you for that song.

Well, besides the fact that I’m relieved my neighbor actually enjoys my music and doesn’t file noise complaints on me, I’m thankful for this reminder of how powerful music is - how music can offer a moment of reprieve from life’s problems and can calm a storm of negative thoughts.  How it can resurface emotions that we’ve stuffed away and can sort through the ones that are tormenting us.  Music certainly is a subtle and mysterious healer.    

With this in mind, I’m thankful to be one of Music’s willing and able conduits.  I’m thankful for my neighbor’s friend’s recovery and I’m thankful for the gift of Life, in all its fragility.

Below is a video of me playing Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb.  Chopin has always been particularly close to my heart, and now I have even more reason to love his music.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Why I color INSIDE the lines

Rae Hering

First thing’s first: I LOVE to color.  And yes, I mean that I color in a children’s coloring book; me and the Sesame Street gang have spent A LOT of time together and no, I’m not 8 (at least not on the outside…) 

Somewhere in my early twenties I got the notion to return to this childhood mainstay and quickly got obsessed.  I love picking out a page that reminds me of someone I know and coloring it for them; I even colored a page for a man I met on an airplane once.  People will see me coloring and break out in a smile or a light-hearted chuckle.  I get the feeling it brings them back to simpler times when coloring felt as necessary as washing the dishes.  Well for me, it still is that way…or at least, I’ve prioritized it to be that way. 

You see, I’ve come to see coloring as a form of moving meditation: as I focus on this one simple task my mind clears and relaxes.  I’m not worrying about my to-do list or my personal anxieties and I am completely at ease with life.

But in order for this to happen, I need to color INSIDE the lines.

It hit me one day that the reason I’m addicted to coloring is because it’s one of the only times where I allow myself to take a break from attempting to be original and adventurous. 

Society is constantly telling us to color outside the lines, think beyond the box and forge our own path.  We’ve learned to praise innovation as the greatest good and to see following the pack as something for the dull-witted masses.  While being different or innovative is not bad in of itself, I think there's value in trotting the beaten path as well. (Mind you, this is coming from someone who's life's ambition has been to buck the system!) 

When I color, I follow the lines in front of me and use a limited set of pre-existing colors.  Consequently, my expectations of making “great art” are lowered and the burden of “being genius” is lifted (as though that were a real issue, ha!)  The paradox is that when I put down my coloring book, I am able to better create and innovate in other areas in my life, like songwriting.

The pressure to be different in our world gets compounded with the multitude of choices we have in front of us on a daily basis.  In this great NY Times article about the dilemma of having too many choices, the author says that according to research “an excess of choices leads to us being less, not more, satisfied once we actually decide.  There’s often that nagging feeling that we could have done better.”  What if we all took a little time to give ourselves limited options?  To be satisfied flowing with the river beneath us?  To color inside the lines?   

Only in this past year did I realize there’s a growing community of adults that are discovering the benefits of coloring and can’t get enough.  There are now even coloring books for adults!  My favorites are by Johanna Basford - I have her magically intricate “Enchanted Forest” book (thanks for the Christmas present, Mom and Dad.)  Here’s what I have so far: 

 
 

So how 'bout it?  Color INSIDE the lines!

Ouch!! I'm tearing off my Emotional Band-Aid

Rae Hering

Band-Aids are kind of “an issue” in my household. 

The other day my husband Jonathan notices to his delight that I’m sporting an adhesive bandage (newsflash: that is the real name, read all about it here.)  He breaks out into a smile and claims, as he always does, that I have an emotional attachment to Band-Aids.  My natural defense tactic is to deny, deny, deny!…but then I break down and admit that it’s kind of true.

So we get to talking about what this “emotional attachment” really is.  On the surface, it means that my average brush-with-death scrap requires a quick Band-Aid application every time.  But as we go deeper into that wound I realize it really means I’m attached to the immediate sense of resolve I get from uncomfortable feelings – and I’m talking emotional discomfort here.

Example: I get into an argument and say some nasty words that I immediately regret.  I’m feeling guilty.  Instead of my first thought being, “oh man, I hurt that person – I’m really sorry” it’s more like, “oh shit, I need to explain why I sounded like a big fat a-hole and set the record straight that I’m not usually like this.”  Gotta get rid of the guilty feelings with a quick Band-Aid, right?

Sometimes we put the Band-Aids on other people.  A friend calls you up and says she just broke up with her boyfriend.  Your first reaction is to say, “you were too good for him anyhow - you’ll find someone better!” or maybe even, “I never could understand what you saw in him…”

Some Band-Aids are applied every weekend watching TV or drinking beer to tune out the stress of family life or the thought of going back to an unfulfilling job Monday morning.

Now don’t get me wrong, comfort is a good thing; however, comfort can be misused to numb the pain rather than relieve us after the pain has been fully experienced.  You see, pain is a good thing, too.  When we put Band-Aids on uncomfortable feelings, we rob ourselves of the full experience of life.

So with that, Happy Discomfort everybody!

Simon Says...

Rae Hering

The King of Lazy is here to defend his throne.  So, what do you think Simon is saying in his dreams?  

Notes on My Fridge - The Gray is OK

Rae Hering

I write notes on my fridge to help me stay mindful throughout the day.  Lately, I've been contemplating that "the gray is OK."

“The gray” means questioning what others believe and your own beliefs.  It means living with indecision and uncertain outcomes.  It means feeling constant contradiction, and most likely being misunderstood for that.

When I was in high school, I wrote a poem about taking a black and white photo of the world.  Instead of having a crisp, well-defined B&W aesthetic, my photo turned out gray.  It was a metaphor for the murky color of our current society’s morality. 

My vantage point has significantly changed over the years of experiencing those murky shades and hues of this world.  Where at one time I loftily looked down upon this gray world through my metaphorical camera lens, I now am looking much more closely at the gray within myself.

This is because I don’t always know what I believe.  Or rather, I see multiple sides to an issue, which may lead to multiple beliefs.

The black and white mindset tells us that if we are not white, then we must be black because…what other option do we have in a dualistic world?  Do you like cats or don’t you?  Are you a republican or a democrat?  Do you believe in God or are you a non-believer?  From the small considerations to the really big ones, even when we’re told to question beliefs there is usually an expectation that we must land on one side or the other eventually. 

What if living in the gray is an acceptable place to be?

The point I’m trying to make is certainly NOT that we should be opinion-less.  On the contrary, it is to be comfortable with having multiple opinions simultaneously.  It is to question our own beliefs and to consider that our beliefs may, someday, even change.  Mine certainly have!

 

I Feel So Painted!

Rae Hering

Ugo's painting
Ugo's painting

Thank you to Ugo Paradiso, a talented (and super friendly) artist who made this kicking' painting of my image:

Ugo is working on a series of musicians and their instruments.  Personally, I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

Also, thanks to fellow blogger and painter Mary for introducing us.  This is the meaning of strengthening the Creative Communities around us!

A Health Tip You Would Have Never Considered - But You Should

Rae Hering

2007-08-10_salmon-vegetables
2007-08-10_salmon-vegetables

I've always been told to never, ever skip a meal - especially breakfast!  I've even believed that if I go more than 5 hours without eating, my body will go into starvation mode and conserve fat (check: false).  So what if I told you that NOT eating could actually be very healthy for you?

The idea is to fast.  There's lot's of ways to go about fasting, but the method I'm excited about and am in the middle of trying is the 5:2 fast - 5 days of regular eating, 2 days of fasting, where you consume 500-600 calories.

Obviously, you'll loose weight taking in less calories in a week (hip hip hooray!), but the real good stuff is that fasting is linked to longevity and overall health.

Here's a snippet from Michael Mosley's documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGHDBIaibok&w=640&h=360]

Idle Minds and Window Shrines - Preludes to the Creative Space

Rae Hering

My music room
My music room

In the moments before creation, there is stillness.  I’m standing in front of my keyboard, but I don’t play.  Instead, I find that I’m staring out the window again.  Not wasting time, no, no no.  I'm...resetting the brain.

a_girl_hanging_upside_down_from_the_couch_1883099
a_girl_hanging_upside_down_from_the_couch_1883099

I remember summers as a kid – I would hang upside down off our sticky leather couch and stare up at the ceiling.  In this seemingly awkward position, I would imagine how wonderful it would be if the ceiling was the floor.  How clean and tidy it would be!  Nothing to pick up or trip over - expect for those twirling fans.  I’d stay upside down until the rush of blood to my head would make me woozy or until my mom would find me.

Looking back at this memory, I realize I was probably just giving my mind some transition time.

The window in my music room provides that much needed transition time in my writing process.  Here, I enter the slippery space between feeling the tinge of inspiration and actually opening its creative coffer.  I give myself time to zone out (which is, as I've recently learned, an essential part of the creative process) and forget about the menial tasks of the day and enjoy the view:

Jonathan and I live in an apartment complex in Berry Hill, TN – a small town that is actually right in the heart of busy, bustling Nashville.  I love living here.

Popular-Wooden-American-Style-Window copy
Popular-Wooden-American-Style-Window copy

The daily activities outside my window are excellent fodder for the creative spirit, but what’s on the inside of my window is inspiring, too.  My windowsill is one of my favorite spots in my apartment.  Without being too conscious of it, it’s become an assembly of meaningful nick knacks and trinkets.  I’ve made a creative shrine - a concept I first read about in Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” a year or so ago. It’s funny how I came around to making one without even knowing it!

IMG_0577
IMG_0577

The Accordion Angel on the right is a gift from my good friend Jen.  It reminds me of the support I have in my friends.

When I first got the succulent plant I almost killed it.  There were but a few specks of green left when, with a little tender care, it started coming back to life.  It reminds me to always hold on to hope.

If you look really closely on the left hand side of the plant, you will see a needle sticking out – this is an acupuncture needle.  This reminds me to not forget about maintaining simple practices for health and vitality.

Next are the dried avocado seeds.  I used to etch patterns into them and try to preserve them as art.  Although I could never achieve the full effect I was going for, these seeds remind me to keep experimenting and dreaming up new ideas.

Then there’s the bicycle.  I think I picked this up at a thrift store.  Years ago I wrote a very whimsical and playful song inspired by this toy.  Now, it reminds me to always keep my playful creativity close to my heart.

Here’s the song if you want to give it a listen.  It’s called “Bicycles Go Woosh!”  (And mind you, it’s only a work track.)

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139062188" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Do you have a way of resetting your brain before your creative process?  Do you keep meaningful objects close by to inspire you?

Simon Says...

Rae Hering

CAT NIP!!!!!!!! (It can't be that complicated, right?)

What do you think Simon is saying?

Engagement - Isn't That a Warfare Term?

Rae Hering

A year ago, I got engaged to my fiancé, Jonathan.  We were uncharacteristically sitting at a hooka bar when he told me that when I was ready, he would marry me, “no matter if it’s one year from now, five years, ten years, or even twenty.”  (Insert SWOON!) I couldn’t believe what had just happened.  For a few days I existed inside a surreal bubble filled with love, rainbows, lemonade and big red balloons (Jonathan was like, “does this imaginary happy place really have to be a little kid carnival?  This is kind of creepy.” And I was like, “YEP.  Live with it, sucker!  You’re mine now!”)  I have never been more elated in my life.

DSC09176
DSC09176

And then the buzz kill came when I told my parents.

I imagine a day many years from now when I’ll be able to fully appreciate the parallel between my life and the countless comedy films with “wedding” and “parents” in the storyline.  But right now, things are still a little raw.  Basically, my huge Life Step marched right onto a land mine.  My engagement triggered all the hidden issues my family and I had been ignoring.

I spent a good half a year convincing myself I was A-OK and that I wasn’t freaking out about planning a wedding.  But the more I tried to please people who weren’t excited about us getting married in the first place, the more I realized I was practically half naked seeing how much I had completely unraveled.  I love my parents dearly and I know the love is reciprocated, but man, it’s been a tough year.

Brawling my Brains Out
Brawling my Brains Out

One of my good friends told me that engagement is one of the happiest times I’ll ever have, and to relish it.  But bawling my brains out was no way to spend the happiest time of my life.  So I decided to seek help through a therapist.

The second half of my engagement year has been a slow uphill climb in learning how to separate my happiness from the fulfillment from my parents’ expectations.  And I can say with confidence that my parents are working towards coming to terms with how I’ve chosen a different path than the one they envisioned for me.

Now I want to show you the illustration that inspired this blog post.  My talented and impossibly sweet friend Chris Longs is doing the album artwork for my forthcoming double EP, “The Shy Gemini Sessions.”  It’s still a work in progress, but he sent me this as a preliminary sketch.  I fell in love with it immediately.

Dark Cloud Sketch
Dark Cloud Sketch

When I look at this illustration, it feels as though I’m looking at my reflection for the first time in a very, very long time.  It’s as though I have been wandering through a world without mirrors, unable to truly see the person I have become until suddenly, now, I encounter myself again.  There I am!

Puzzle piece
Puzzle piece

I can’t stop staring at it.  I’m incomplete and scattered, but my lines are formed and that’s all I really need. I don’t need to be whole right now, I just need to be in the process.

Going through this tumultuous engagement year, I’ve lost perspective, composure and a little bit of sanity, too.  Thank goodness for music though.  I was able to inject my emotions into the songs that turned into “The Shy Gemini Sessions.”  And now, here I am, on the other side, looking at who I’ve become.  A rough sketch, but I think it’s turning out beautifully.

The Art of Resting in Motion (When There's Just Too Much To Do!)

Rae Hering

Photo from Wikipedia.
Photo from Wikipedia.

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133254573" params="color=00aabb&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The process of recording an album is different for everyone.  Some musicians complete their album in a week’s time, maybe it takes a couple of months, or if you’re Miles Davis, you can knock out an album in just two days – worked out beautifully for his 1959 album Kind of Blue. I’m not that kind of musician - at least not yet.  Teaching lessons during the week pushes recording time to the weekends.  And the fact that I don’t tour consistently means it takes longer to figure out how the song should sound on the recording. Nonetheless, I’m happy to report that the tracking for “The Shy Gemini Sessions” is now complete!  This marks the end of a six-month period where Jonathan, Bobby Holland (my

Here's Bobby and I working out some parts. Photo credit: Jonathan Morse.
Here's Bobby and I working out some parts. Photo credit: Jonathan Morse.

producer and engineer) and I have spent almost every Saturday and Sunday exploring parts, experimenting with instruments and hammering out details.  We sure have had a lot of fun working our butts off!  Time for a break, right? Silly Rae, recess is for kids!  The moment I start thinking that I have my weekends back for a little R&R, I remind myself that when it comes to being an independent music artist, weekends simply aren’t for relaxing – there’s a LOT more to do.  In fact, I’m frequently saying to myself there’s too much to do.  For those of us that are moving towards bigger visions for our lives, there’s always going to be too much to do.

library.defenderdirect.com.
library.defenderdirect.com.

But I try to keep in mind what Rory Vaden eloquently states it in his book “Take the Stairs.”

Successful people “understand that there’s no real finish line, no magic moment when they will ‘arrive’ and get to rest on their laurels. Discipline is a perpetual process, and the growth is in the journey.  Simple, but here’s the part that you won’t want to hear – you don’t get a day off.  Ever.”

There have been plenty of times where I feel like I’m running the hamster wheel, never getting a chance to just finish something.  But when I have the discipline to stay active with moving my music career forward, I realize that I’m rejuvenated by staying active, NOT from taking a break!  I find that maintaining this state of being wipes away that craving for “zone out” time in front of the TV, luxurious weekend spa treatments, or drinking the weekend away.

juliacameronlive.com
juliacameronlive.com

In her book “The Artist’s Way,”Julia Cameron depicts this idea perfectly when she urges her readers to learn to “rest in motion.”  It’s a counterintuitive truth that I think we all have a good grasp of already.  Think of it this way: exercising our bodies requires energy, but it gives us a whole lot of energy in return.  Exercise gets our blood flowing, which delivers oxygen throughout our bodies – oxygen that’s required for making energy.  In short, we spend a little energy to get a whole of energy back (now that’s my kind of investment!) “Endless” is a song about continuing to move forward even when it feels like there’s no where to go.  (Please keep in mind that this is a SNEAK PEAK unfinished version!)  Now that a milestone has been achieved with recording “The Shy Gemini Sessions” it’s time to tell myself, “good job!” and then quickly tell myself to keep moving. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133254573" params="color=00aabb&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The History of the Wishbone and Other Wishful (but not wishy washy!) Thoughts

Rae Hering

I’ve had a wishbone (yes – that kind that comes from an actual chicken) sitting on my kitchen counter for months now.  Why you ask?  Am I supposed to be able to answer such questions??

OK, I admit I have an unusual fascination for “little found treasures.”  For instance, I regularly pick up small objects I find on the ground and collect them in the pouch on my car door.  I came across this particular chicken charm while making homemade broth (which, by the way, is super easy and very good for you!)

DSC09010
DSC09010

Every now and again I would take a quick glance at my wishbone, thinking I might coerce Jonathan into having a little superstitious fun.  But I never did because, honestly, making a wish on it seems pointless and silly - where does the idea of breaking wishbones come from, anyhow?

Well, according to Matt Soniak at Mental Floss, “The custom of snapping these bones in two after dinner came to us from the English, who got it from the Romans, who got it from the Etruscans, an ancient Italian civilization. As far as historians and archaeologists can tell, the Etruscans were really into their chickens, and believed that the birds were oracles and could predict the future.”

Isn’t it AMAZING how long-lasting these ideas are that become woven into the fabric of our lives?? 

The Etruscans (800-400 B.C.) would dry out the wishbone, or furcula if you want to get scientific, so as to preserve the mystical powers the bird possessed while living.  People would use wishbones as treasured spiritual objects, stroking them and making wishes on them.  The act of actually breaking the bone was a variation developed by the Romans when they crossed paths with the Etruscans.

Etruscan_Art01_full
Etruscan_Art01_full

Back in my kitchen, I’m staring at my chicken bone thinking of what to do with it (if you’re still wondering why, I’m just going to say that I’m weird!!)  I’m certainly not going to carry it around stroking it (...I’m not that weird…)  I could just throw the damn thing out so I don’t have to look at it any longer – I’m sure anyone more sensible than me would gladly choose this option.  But I’ve always been a pack rat and pack rats just have a tough time with that whole “throwing out” thing.

So, I take my beloved poultry collarbone in hand and decide to give this age-old symbol some new significance:

Don’t just make wishes – make wishes happen.

DSC09038
DSC09038

If I wanted to take my chances at having my wish, I’d snap this wishbone faster than you can say Chicken Little. But I’m not interested in taking chances with my precious future.  The potential to achieve my wishes comes deep within the person I am actively cultivating, not anything else.  The more I am aware of what I want out of life, the more I am able to attain those things.  In fact, I can even “feel it in my bones” – an idiom which speaks of having intuition about one’s circumstances.  The more I am aware of myself and my surroundings, the more I am able to guide myself by the strength of this intuition.

As a musician moving her career forward, I know I have to have pretty tough skin, but now I realize I have to have some pretty strong bones, too.  A lot of singer/songwriters (myself included here) rely on the “wishbone method” of getting discovered.  I’ve put myself through plenty of hell and torment because my wishes hadn’t been granted.

I’m keeping this wishbone to remind me that I’ve tried the wishbone method, and now I know it doesn’t work.  Dropping coins down the wishing well, blowing out candles and wishing upon a star, they all don’t work.  And they’re not for me.  What can I say?  I actually want my wishes to come true.

Make wishes!  But don’t rely on the wishbone – rely on the intuition in your own bones.

Accordion Case Kitty Cat

Rae Hering

Simon the Cat, cuddling up in my accordion case.
Simon the Cat, cuddling up in my accordion case.

Brrr...it's cold out there.  Simon the Cat sure knows how to stay warm and comfy.  What do you like to do on a cold winter's day?