Topsy Turvy Jellyfish Tattoo 

Rich and I were discussing Einstein’s theory of relativity today because that’s the sort of conversations we have when I already have a headache. I have my own theories of the relativity of time, and how when drama happens, a day can seem like a week. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Einstein’s theory – or does it? Do time and space slow down when you are in the grip of occurrences that bring you sorrow, or “gravity” if you will? Does the gravity of a situation glue your feet to the ground in a way that makes you gain the weightiness of it, making it harder and taking longer to carry across the day? 

I lost people that were close to me these past few weeks, and it’s brought space and time together that has me sifting through childhood memories, the decades that followed and a future without loved ones that were a foundational force for good in my life. That’s for another blog. 

Amidst all of the unexpected grieving, I had scheduled my first tattoo with @chiahtattoos at Stay True Tattoo. Here it is… 

Why a jellyfish? Aside from the obvious reason, i.e. Jellyfish on the Moon, I wanted to get a tattoo on my forearm so that when I play guitar, it looks up at me and it reminds me that I can do big things. Putting out an album, promoting it, working hard to get DJs to play it – especially when you are doing it yourself, takes a lot of a certain thing that comes naturally to people that don’t have ADHD. That thing is “executive function”.

ADHD is something I have to manage, and it is manageable for the most part – I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t. But oftentimes, it is difficult. It makes life seem more troublesome than it is, and has me feeling, well . . . topsy turvy, as the song says. Wait, what? Still haven’t listened to the song? Click here for links!

So it is bright and colorful, and reminds me that so is life, filled with its unknowns, its ups and downs, its ability to make me feel topsy turvy more often than most. I look down to it when I play guitar, and it reminds me I can do big things. Just wait and see.

#Tattoo #jellyfishonthemoon #jellyfish #NASA #singersongwriter #songwriter #jellyfishtattoo

This is my bed now 

I'm going to warn you, I'm very random right now. But I should mention my livestream on Wednesday, January 26th at 7:30 pm ET right here: Lisa Jeanette Every Wednesday But One

My singer-songwriter friend, Brian Theoret, posts pics of his dog with the hashtag #thisismybednow because, Porter . . . at least I think that’s his name, likes to make his bed from whatever he decides at the moment might make a nice bed. 

That phrase “this is my bed now” came to mind this morning as I had a bad night health-wise, not knowing if I had a reaction to my meds (likely) from eating some of the wrong things (even more likely) or maybe I had COVID (less likely). Like most, I live in fear that the dreaded disease isn’t glomming onto me and I try to keep it at bay for as much and as long as possible. 

Still queasy, exhausted and sleep deprived, I took time off from work today to recover. Looking around me at all the things left undone, processing once again this constant feeling of being in some limbo state for an indefinite amount of time but knowing full well that this isn’t limbo. This is life. 

I love the imagery from Dandapani, Hindu priest and former monk, who says that the mind and awareness are two different things and that the mind doesn’t wander, awareness does. He imagines awareness as an orb of light that illuminates the part of your mind you send it to. 

My orb of awareness tends to want to disengage with whatever takes me the furthest at the time, whether it is binge-watching Succession on HBO, pretending I’m an interior designer playing Redecor on my phone or eating comfort food. This often keeps me from living my best life, i.e. writing songs.

I must interject that Wordle is probably one of the healthiest diversions as it is not an app, it only lets you play one game, and then it doesn’t let you play again for 12 hours or so. You cannot binge on it. It is a one and done 3 to 10 minutes of distraction available to you twice a day. Finito.

Speaking of distraction, I have spent quite a bit of time and resources of late to better understand focus, which is where Dandapani's course Unwavering Focus is helping. I am practicing focus every day - I really have to at this point. Quarantine life has exacerbated my ADHD/ADD, and it is a priority to understand it and battle the effects. The podcast "Hacking Your ADHD" is something I've been listening to a bit as well.

For now I’ve concluded, as my song Portrait says, that “this is the frame I belong to”. Or as Porter thinks, this is my bed now. It might not be my choice of bedding, but it’s what I’ve got available. 

We all have our struggles. I wonder if you have also found ways to cope over these past two years, and how you are dealing with it. Let me know in the comments and share any tips you have found. 

In the meantime, please enjoy my hippie nutcracker - yes, it's still Christmas at Casa DeAngelis!

 

#hippie #hippienutcracker #wordle #ADD #ADHD #Dandapani #Focus #Succession #Covid #BrianTheoret #Portrait #Songwriter #SingerSongwriter

Cover you, cover me 

Every year our local songwriting group to which I belong, the Philadelphia Area Songwriters Alliance (PASA) has a holiday “Cover Me Party” where area songwriters are invited to participate in a concert where they cover their fellow local songwriters. Every songwriter covers another in the group, and everyone gets covered. This is accomplished by a herculean effort from the PASA leaders, who ensure everyone gets the gift of hearing one of their songs performed by another songwriter. 

This is hands down my favorite holiday event of the year. Not only do I get to hear one of my songs performed by someone else, I get to hear lots of other peoples’ songs unwrapped just like a precious gift should be, sometimes in a very tender fragile wrapping one would give a blown glass ornament, sometimes in a big red bow one would put on a new sports car. It is really a spectacle for the ears! 

I covered my dear friend Nancy Huebner’s song, “What Music Means”, and covering Nancy Huebner is no small feat. Her songs are indescribable and are events of their own making that you just need to experience personally. You can check out her music here: https://www.reverbnation.com/nancyhuebner 

I want a do-over, and it looks like I will get my chance since PASA is letting us re-record our songs. I will share that when it’s ready, but also will play “What Music Means” at next Wednesday’s livestream.  I was covered by Two of a Kind, i.e. Jenny and David Heitler-Klevans, who did a better version of “Never Been To War” than I do, and Rusty & Jan who covered “Portrait” which was sung so beautifully by Jan Alba, and by the inimitable Heidi Wolfson, lead singer of Cubizm, who gave a passionate and searing version of “You Don’t Look My Way”. I felt like I was being honored at The Kennedy Center – it was intense! 

I am so fortunate and proud to be part of such a supportive community of artists in Philadelphia. Each member I’ve connected with has truly taught me the meaning of being in this sort of community. As a self-subscribed misfit, I somehow fit here. 

Here’s some highlights from 2020: 

Here’s me covering the wonderful Heidi Wolfson’s song “Harvey” in 2020.

And here’s Neal Philips covering my “Like You’ve Never Gone” in 2020 – I was completely crushed.

If I had  more of them to share, since each one of them is a gem, I would, but this is the best I could find. Check out PASA’s YouTube, PASASongwriters, to hear others. 

I hope you receive wonderful gifts and heartfelt joys this season. I sure have.

An Amazing Life 

Lisa Jeanette Rearview Mirror

I haven’t been writing much. I’m not one of those who are very disciplined about writing and force myself to write every day. Maybe if I wrote songs for a living I would, but in the place I am right now it’s all I can do to keep it all together, and there are a few things that get prioritized over writing, like exercise or Netflix (what?). I’ve never been very good at discipline, and it’s something I work on. 

I recorded the “Adele One Night Only” show when it aired, but just got around to start to watch it today. She began to talk about her process, and how she doesn’t know how she accesses the songs and seemed bewildered about how it all happens. And just like that, she accessed that part of me. I began to cry. 

I do not cry easily, and I wish I did because tears provide a release and relief that I am often needing. But Adele talking about the mystery of accessing the muse totally resonated with me. Her talking about “Hello” being her younger self talking to her older self – again, totally resonated. There are times I wonder where all this music is coming from. I hear people talk about how music moves them, and I often seem to be unmovable. 

We toughen ourselves up to be able to meet the bumps in the road we’re on, and sometimes we become so tough that accessing our own vulnerability seems a fool’s errand. “Don’t go there, Lisa – you may never return! You are a survivor, an overcomer, and you need to be strong, in control, productive, smart, capable, busy” – all those things one is conditioned to believe are the goals in life, and eventually you learn that none of them sets a good bar of a life well-lived. 

I’ve been listening to Dandapani, a Hindu priest and former Hindu monk, who I have become completely enamored with as of late. He talks about his guru on his deathbed looking back on his life and saying, “What an amazing life. I would not have traded it for anything in the world.” 

What will you say on your deathbed? We often hear inspirational speakers say that we won’t say we wish we spent more time at the office. But never mind that, what will you say? 

I think about this as I realize there are places to where I have arrived, and there are lots of places I still want to go, and my time on this earth becomes more and more finite with each passing year. Those passing years pass more swiftly in the second half of this journey. 

I want to be able to say, “What an amazing life. I would not have traded it for anything in the world.” I want that for you. I want that for everyone.