Category Archives: reflections within


Disappear. Reappear. I would love to be like the bird. Buddhists say it is better to be human. Humans are kings of disarray. Messiness. I think it’s funny to think I should be entertaining people with this blog. Entertaining is precisely the thing I should not aim to do.

I am extremely full. It is a shame. I always feel empty if I am not stuffed. It is an endless see-saw. So predictable and monotonous. Eating, waiting, eating, waiting. It is these sorts of see-saws that must be studied. Seen for what they are – irrelevant. They are everywhere, if you’re willing to look.

Reading Krishnamurti is like this writing space. It evokes that special meditatively magic feeling. It is things like this, unseen things, which seem to be just as crucial as seen ones. Always simmering. Always there.

What did I just do? Why? I just played a concert. But why? It matters. It is unseen, it is unidentifiable, but it matters at least as much as the content of the experience. Otherwise I am just an empty shell once again. An empty shell goes through the motions of experience, but is doomed to repeat them, see-saw-like, for the rest of his life. Even the greatest experience, done more than once, becomes banal, death-march-like.

au naturel

Combining the two (or more) pursuits. Maybe it’s connected to the career path thing. I do one thing only. I guess I am in fact in the process of expanding my horizons.

I have put eating well and playing well at the top of my list. I seem to need lists. It’s an annoying grownup thing. Compartmentalizing. We were just talking about that with Cody. He doesn’t have to compartmentalize. He is just 6. He still has a pure connectedness to all parts of himself. Like a sinew. Everything is interconnected. They talked about that at Seacrest.

There’s an interesting question. Where (and who) would I be if I had been schooled differently. I suppose I would have had to have been raised differently in order to be directed towards a different sort of educational setting. So now I sit and journal, semi-publicly, in an effort to complete my existence which may have been stifled from early on. I feel a connectedness when I write. I could have written this way since the beginning. Was it something that wasn’t nurtured? Is that the problem?


I kind of decided enough was enough tonight. It’s not worth the pain. It’s not sensible or necessary. So then I really, seriously thought about the possibility of quitting. No more. Zip.

Then I thought, do I have a reason to be a cellist? Or to continue being one? An answer wasn’t immediately coming to mind. I guess I don’t really think deeply about that question. I just kind of do it. Maybe moreso in my old age? But I think I couldn’t even begin to address that question when I was younger and more naive. Life has given me some wherewithal to engage in productive contemplation.

So the meat of this thought process was occurring during the Brahms first piano concerto, with Grimaud and Andrey.

You see, last night’s concert found me in a different place at that moment. I was absolutely connected, in a semi state of nirvana, musically. I was in my typical state of discomfort cellistically, but I was soaking every bit of the Brahms into my pores. I don’t know if that gave me something in particular to draw on tonight. But I had been thinking this week about how I have spent much of my life as a listener to music, with the week’s program of the Brahms and the Schumann 4th Symphony as two of my favorites for cranking on the stereo. During the parts of the Brahms that the cellos rest, I was able to go into that state of immersion that I do when I listen off stage. I actually meditated to exactly that slow movement when I was in high school, during lunch period I think. I would lie down on the grass out in front with my walkman, and let Ashkenazy’s endless lines wash over me.

I wondered if the reason I am in this field is actually an extension of my love of listening to beautiful music, not really because I adore participating in its creation. This love has many physical and emotional side effects, mostly positive, but some negative, and I have frequently wondered if they are always an asset for the purpose of performing. Tonight I may have found a way through that question. It’s about passion. Finding my true passionate nature. It seems to be possible that my passion for letting music wash through me in fact touches a different part of my soul than the art of playing.

At the moment when these ideas streamed through my consciousness, something changed. It’s ironic, because the thought of quitting opened up something in myself that was trapped when I was supposedly sustaining my level of dedication, feeling I would never quit.

I have been trying to raise the bar on my overall level of well-being and happiness. Tonight was one of those nights where I felt the price was too high. The pain outweighed the pleasure. It’s possible that having now experienced the musical differentiation described here, I may find a way to live in tenuous balance with this art and craft.


Add new post. I can do that. Maybe that little suggestion helps alleviate writer’s block. I wish my arm didn’t hurt. It makes typing somewhat painful.

I had big plans to make a video journal entry about my recent epiphanies on cello. Or at least write about it here.

It’s hard to be shame laden. One hard thing is that you’re not only ashamed, but you feel shame about your shame. It’s a wonderful cycle. It inspires things like sarcasm. And unexpressed anger and rage.

I was thinking about Cody. Whether he would have to suffer the same mockery that I endured. That started me thinking about whether it was internal or external factors that led to my unpopularity. External – appearance, physical attributes and habits. Internal – self assurance, confidence, philosophical bent. I haven’t often thought it was internal. But maybe that’s what really carries the day.


All the self-medicating will inevitably kill me at a younger age. I am putting my body through the wringer.

The reason why you write is that there are words to be written and arranged. Once the words evolved through history, all future generations were required and honored and fortunate enough to utilize them. You can’t unlearn their existence. Once you know the difference between there, their and they’re, you feel an irresistible need to use them in their respective places, and not mix them up. There is a special kind of human clarity that is caused and experienced by the use of words and phrases. Once that is achieved, not making use of it is forever a form of devolution. Somewhere inside (and outside) of yourself, a price is paid for losing or squandering that clarity and expression.

The same holds true for music and music-making. Now that we have Bach and Mozart and Schumann, silencing opportunities for performing them has the effect of choking the human spirit. If you are a performer, you will forever be elevated by the act of performing great music, however that is defined. If you are a concertgoer, ending your exposure to live music-making removes an important outlet that enables emotional wherewithal.

I self-medicate for reasons related to this journal entry. I am not taking advantage of my humanness in some way. I am backtracking to my animalistic side. Maybe that is one definition of religion – elevation. Anything that elevates you taps into a spirituality. I do wonder if there are certain common experiences we can point to that would be able to be characterized as elevating – once they have been introduced to a society. The humanists would accuse me of making a false parallel from lofty human experiences to deities. Isn’t God just a word, though? Can’t I use it if I feel it fits the feeling? It’s a lot more succinct than a power greater than myself. My shrink would make reference to the chemicals swirling around inside us, that cause all sorts of feelings, and that you can invent magical explanations for.

Another question is, is it my responsibility to deny or apologize for my spirituality just because there are a bunch of assholes throwing around their God or Gods to rationalize their assholeness? I just want to be lofty. Not stuck in the mud. Can I please?

Why does it have to be one extreme or the other? Adam’s religion does not require such extremes. I don’t feel guilty for INTERPRETING the Bible. Not believing in it verbatim, nor completely dismissing its worth. It’s allowed to be an historic fable that moves me and helps me to find MY God. If my version of God happens to fall in line with many millions of others’, I still want to call it God. A God that I can connect with on my own. Or sometimes when I’m with others, too.

I feel like my only hope for not being a sheep is a path towards my truth. Maybe that’s redundant. But if it is, it doesn’t seem to be very popular.


Been awhile. I still adore you. I’ve had to do some solitary work, some secretive soul searching. At this juncture, I have taken to drinking (a bit), I am working my way through the Bible (just started Numbers), I’m uncomfortable with my long-standing 12 step philosophy, I just got a fabulous bow rehair from Goering, and I built a rolling basketball system as a result of Cody starting in a mini basketball team.

My Bible reading and uncomfortableness with 12 stepping are interconnected, as you might have guessed. I have been struggling with a definition and/or verification of a higher power since I began my spiritual/religious journey, but every once in a while I have gotten a whiff of a feeling associated with my childhood religion. So it wasn’t completely forgotten, apparently. It is in there.

I’ve really been trying to find the meaning in the 12 step programs. I guess when you’re seriously striving to do that, you dig deeper and deeper into your spirituality, otherwise it seems you will continually reach an impasse within the steps. So I kind of went to the source, as it stands for me. It seems the words and the stories and the chronology of the Bible have resonated quite deeply. I even have tried out a Bible study group. But along the way, I attended a High Holy Day service (Yom Kippur, post- the Kol Nidre performance), and it struck a deep chord, so I may end up becoming willing to convert back to my original religious persuasion. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am still deeply rooted in an atheist’s mindset and philosophy. So I imagine my version of Judaism will be unique, incorporating personal quirks that allow me to remain true to myself. I guess this wasn’t meant to be easy for me.

I’m also suspecting that it may not be possible to be a believer and a non-believer simultaneously. I mean, it is possible, but it’s not productive. It keeps your spirituality stuck in second gear. Are atheists supposed to possess spirituality? There’s a continuum, between atheism and religious devotion. What if you want some of each? Are you asking for the having and the eating of the cake?

On a different note, playing the Beatles tribute tonight was pretty religious. In the sense of the religion they espoused – love, love, love; peace; incredible harmonies, tunes and musical manifestations; fellowship; friendship. It was rather cathartic given what transpired in our country this week. I wondered what the largely Trump-supporting audience gleaned from it. It certainly made me wish the fab four were still around spreading their philosophy. We could certainly use it. I think I will have to do whatever I can to encourage those sorts of ideas and sensibilities in my circles.


Not believing in some kind of a higher power is a vice in itself.
It is a defect of character.
As I just witnessed with Cody, a higher power gives one a starting point for developing curiosity and wonder. It is a springboard for conversations about big questions which may be hard to pinpoint exact answers to.
Nowadays steps about the higher power force one to address the question of the age – science vs religion.
Why is writing this down so awkward?
I think “should” is not such the dirty word it’s been made out to be. Maybe that’s why god is ok to use, too. God implies responsibility to something, something to answer to all the time. Someone, even.
Faith without works is dead. Like written music without performers is dead.
I was thinking that even with all the good reasons to follow the steps – they work, they’re good for the world – the idea of “should” cannot be ignored. Because I said so. You have to truly believe in the things that you “should” do, but in the end, some of it is just because I said so. You are free to vacillate back and forth between finding justification for it and doing it out of sheer duty. Maybe you need both.
It’s like my eternal question about bridging faith and work. Or bridging a lot of things. Eating well and exercising for example. Not one or the other. Not one in spite of the other’s absence. You vacillate. You don’t count one out.
I have a million zillion vices. Where would I begin? There’s the problem. Identifying the problem is a great exercise. Practicing the solution – that’s the great part. Problem / solution. Multi-tasking. Right? Don’t be afraid. Be afraid. Ha. Go for it. Be utterly cautious.
The solution lies out there. Somewhere, someday, someplace. Somehow. In the ether. In the future. Futurepark. I see it. I have seen it. In my dreams. I live in the bright light of that special glowing place. I have tasted it. Here. There.
The solution is….. looking at my vices in real time, as they say. Trusting that a life without them is a better one than with them.

Accept except

I see a lot of good things coming from a belief in a HP. But in contrast, there is also a greater pleasure experienced when I disobey Him. But I must not be deceived – the pleasures cannot become my focal point. I must keep the purer goals foremost in my actions. See how judgmental I get? So bossy. So quick to make proclamations that don’t leave me open to growth. They may seem like good proclamations, but they aren’t really mine to make.

It may be my mood. This morning. Maybe it’s alright to make good proclamations. I hear Cody talking, and it’s distracting me, making it difficult to stay in the mist of my traveling mind path.

I mean, how easy do I think it will be to do what I am suggesting, to not use my newfound purity as a means to get more out of the guiltier pleasures? Isn’t it one of those challenges I’ve been discussing of late? Challenges that seem to be present even for the most pious among us. I like the idea of being a part of the human race. Why don’t I? Is it because of the great public school system? The one mom was touting. I know I experienced a great freedom when I escaped from academia. I could learn on my own terms and experience the world likewise. Did I need protection prior to that? People approached their educations differently. Some gigged a lot, thus feeling the breeze of the outside world during their time in the educational system. She doesn’t always seem to appreciate the winding and treacherous road I’ve traveled to be even slightly happy.

The interesting thing is that so many of these questions seem to have answers found in a solid practice of faith. I understand it’s not logical. I understand. I understand pleasures of the concrete world and of our senses seem to be the more obvious, reasoned choice. However what about the evidence? I am truly experiencing a burgeoning of wisdom the more I seek the unseen wisdom of a higher power. And not only wisdom. But a deep happiness.


Forgetting. Forgetter. What do you do if you’re the master of forgetting? I thought it was just certain things about which I am forgetful. But apparently not. There’s another expression – selective memory. You remember things in the way that you want to remember them.

I’d like to live my life in less of a fog. I’d like to wake up in the morning with a clear sense of what happened to me the night before. And I’d like to have continuity from the night to the subsequent morning. I used to have that. I feel it was stripped away from me. I think I am fairly thin skinned. Which could be a good quality when it comes to making sincere, expressive music on a cello. But a not so great quality when navigating life’s tribulations, when trying to make sense of life’s bizarre complications.

I pray for my HP to help me tonight. I’ve strived for so long to handle things myself, as perhaps I’ve been taught by example in my family of origin. Of course I admire them if they can indeed accomplish that. That is exactly why I have attempted it. It’s fantastic if managed. But is it not also admirable to admit that I am not indestructible, impenetrable? To admit what is more representative of reality? That I need? That I have needs. That I need others.

Sitting there in that meeting tonight just felt good. It felt good and right to lean into the fellowship there. To allow myself to feel community. And by extension, to feel my god. A power greater than myself.

Isn’t god a little bit more comforting than a functioning modem? I should seriously consider that choice. I should consider a lot of choices. I should not just forget. I should reconsider. I should remember. I should recall. I should reconnect. I love my HP. With all my mind, soul, heart, and body. Just as a good jew should. I don’t ask for much. Just that my HP can hold my hand. That (s)he can guide me from tonight to tomorrow morning uninterrupted, unfettered. That (s)he can be there for my memory, my memories.


I don’t know if it’s really from 1995, but I found some notes I scribbled on the margins of “French Toast for Breakfast.” It’s copy-written 1995. They are as follows:

Can I retrain the messages I am receiving and had received? Hasn’t it been a short enough time since I was little Adam? I just didn’t know how important and vital it was to trust me. I am the source, and the soul inside me is my conscience and spiritual guide. No matter how wonderful or powerful things or people are around me, I must always include and even prioritize my own feelings and guts and dreams. I must permit and nurture me, grant me access. Activities happen to be more or less conducive for this openness. Some activities you are ashamed of are in fact conducive to openness whereas some you are proud of and open about block the inner self and prevent growth and living.

As a little child, you don’t know which habits will turn out to be healthy and nurturing and which will turn on you. You aren’t sure how much independence you will be required to have later on and thereby how best to care for yourself. I do need to harken back to a young age to find sources of behaviors.

It’s always interesting to see what I was thinking about in years past.