James Story

It is finally done!! So this is something I have been working on. I had the privilege of interviewing my friend James  I am grateful that he took the time out of his day to speak to me and to share a part of him and his story. I talk a lot about the importance of sharing stories and how stories have the ability to change lives, build community, connection and provide moments of realization that we are not alone in our pain and struggle AND there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Things do get better. I ask that you listen to this podcast with an open heart and an open mind. That you forgive me for the bad quality of sound in the beginning but that you stick through it because the sound does get better (It’s my first interview ever so please be nice haha)

Here’s a description of our talk :
“I dove into a part of my friend James story and journey in life; Drinking and driving leading to a tragic loss. James transparently discusses personal struggles, hurts, his journey of healing and what he continues to do to heal from his past and care for himself. Choosing love over fear, choosing love over negativity.”

I pray that this resonates with a lot of you out there. That it touches your heart, inspires conversation, and creates a space and environment of hope, healing, love, and community. I hope that this inspires many of my friends and family to take the time to get to know strangers and their stories and that it gives you the courage to share your story.

Stories change lives

And if you’d love to be a part of this project and share your story, message me!

xo

James Garnes STORY

“Taking the bus home from my last final of the semester yesterday, I took some time for self reflection. Here’s two different perspectives from the same year in a life:

1. This year was hell. Taking on the house, after having waken up to find my mom passed away in the night, has weighed on me mentally and emotionally in ways I can’t describe. And home ownership has been a hard learning experience, especially when all the good and bad of it is still so connected to my mom for me. Over the summer the basement flooded, a couple months later the deck fell off the house, I have to remove a tree in the yard to fix the piping to the street in the spring. I overextended myself to frightening degrees at times, with responsibilities and obligations piling up in terms of school, work, two bands, landlord responsibilities, social obligations that I refused to miss because those same people were there with me through it all. My depression, anxiety, and ptsd have been at an all time high. I started smoking weed as a tool to just keep moving forward and grinding because there were times I felt like i couldn’t even function without it. Through it all I drifted from my recovery and self care.

2. This has been an incredible year. James and the Low rollers played their first show, my first time on stage in 7 years. I released a solo EP back in May, I took over a house and with the help of so many am turning it into a new home. Glorious Retribution officially changed its name to BRÖTHER and under this new moniker we’ve been making the best material of our musical lives together. Last Saturday we started preproduction on a 13 song album. I was able to show up: for birthdays, celebrations, breakdowns, heart to hearts, and every day responsibilities. I started focusing on self care a lot more recently: putting down the weed, quiting cigarettes, daily meditation, AA meetings and other recovery based groups, and I’m 8 months into therapy. I was able to get through another semester while working and with all the music I’ve dedicated myself to and all still without a lisence. I didn’t pick up a drink.

Perspective matters. I heard someone recently say that people who do a lot of good are trying to make up for the bad.

I think this is a worrisome outlook, because we can’t bury our past.

We can use it as a tool to grow and become a better person who wouldn’t make those same mistakes and whose accountable for them when we do, not just trying to tip the karmic scales in our direction. I stepped out of prison 4 years ago after taking the life of one of my closest friends in a drunk driving crash. I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and know I still have even farther to go. I’m not trying to make up for the sins of my past. I’m just trying to become the person and friend Toni deserved on that night so many years ago. I’m just trying to make my momma proud.

It’s been a terrible, wonderful, difficult, beautiful year. Bring it on 2019.”

-James Garnes

From an end to a new beginning

Sometimes you come across really great life changing books. Some of mine have been “The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho” , “The Wait – by DeVon Franklin” and “Battlefield of the Mind – By Joyce Meyer.” I’ve read some books that have helped me grow but these three that I mentioned definitely made an impact on my life.

Adding to that list is a recent book I’ve been reading called “Option B Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy – by Sheryl  Sandberg and Adam Grant”

I read a great article a while back that inspired me to purchase the book. The article was titled “How I got through the worst days of my life (so far) by Shane Snow.

Here’s the article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-i-got-through-worst-days-my-life-so-far-shane-snow

And I wrote a blog post about that article and how it inspired me here: https://healingbrokenheartsproject.com/2017/05/16/setbacks-of-life/

This is definitely a book I’d love to read a few times through. At the moment I am finishing up Chapter 5 (halfway through the book) and I came across a great quote:

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” – Roman philosopher Seneca

How true is that. I mean , I guess growing up I always had a really hard time with things ending. Friendships, jobs, relationships, passions, you name it. It always felt so absolute and tragic. After reading this chapter, I learned that it’s all about perspective and the end of something isn’t necessarily bad because it just means it’s the beginning of something else. We can choose to let our experiences sink us to the bottom of the lake or we can let our experiences become stepping stones to help us get to the other side.

Bear with me through this tough hump here but in this chapter the writer talks about post-traumatic growth, which in a nutshell is how people who are faced with a traumatic event can bounce forward. Psychologist found that some people respond to trauma by developing PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and face debilitating depression and anxiety, others would respond by being resilient and would bounce back to their state before trauma and even others would bounce forward.

Now what does bounce forward mean? Well the writer goes to explain that post-traumatic growth are people who grow from tragedy.

This seems to happen in 5 different ways per Joe Kaspers findings:

-Finding personal strength

-Gaining Appreciation

-Forming Deeper relationships

-Discovering More meaning in life

-Seeing new possibilities

Now I know a lot of you may think how in the world can I find any good from my loved one dying, being murdered, raped, insert traumatic experience here, and I would just ask that you please read Chapter 5 of Option B because it really goes into a beautiful explanation of each one and how if we’re ready, we can get through our trauma to see the other side.

Hence “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” 

;  (The Semicolon project has that same vibe)

It doesn’t have to end at the trauma or tragedy in your life. Instead of the book ending, that “end” can be a catalyst to a new beginning.

Let’s not end the book but start a new chapter instead… 

 

 

 

Life Lessons

I’m on my way back home from a little vacation that became one of the most humbling experiences for me. I learned a valuable lesson. Not to judge a book by its cover.

We hear this saying all the time. It’s the moral in children’s short stories and quite the lesson to be learned. I’m at a point in my life where I feel I’ve had many experiences resulting in feeling pretty confident with the decisions I make and my reasonings behind them. I can tell you what I like and don’t. What I want and don’t and so on and so forth. I’m pretty open minded but I’ll admit at times I’m a little too confident with myself and my beliefs which in turn makes me blind. Blind to things that may be right in front of me.

I think as we become more experienced in life , we tend to tell ourselves we know everything until something happens to make us realize that we honestly know nothing.

And that was what happened this past week. I thought I had everything figured out. I had an idea in my head and was sticking to it and quickly came to realize not only was I completely off with my judgement and beliefs, but for many years I had allowed myself to be blinded by my pride in feeling that I had everything and everyone figured out.

It’s quite sad really. Thinking that there may be so many opportunities right in front of our very eyes and the only ones keeping us from them is no one other than ourselves.

Sometimes we have this destination set in our thoughts. The perfect picture painted of what life should be and is going to be. The biggest problem with that is that when your senses are focused on the things you think you know you want , you fail to see the other options. In turn possibly losing out.

When we focus on how life should be and needs to be, that’s all we tend to see.

I read this very same idea in a book but had the nerve to tell myself, “I would never do that” I’m extremely open minded yet here I was realizing that I did that very same thing I told myself I wouldn’t do. I had become so focused in the direction my life needed to go and  what I was going to allow.  I created such an in depth check list of my life, my bucket list, my expectations , goals , possible future prospects, that if things and people I was exposed to didn’t fit the criteria, I immediately pushed it aside.
And throughout my vacation the whole ideal of having everything figured out and never being wrong kinda fell apart. I realized that life is full of surprises. I realized that for some time I had put myself above some people. Making myself think I was better because I did A B C and they didn’t.
And yet here I was coming to a point where I had no other excuses available. I was faced with a decision. Do I allow myself to go in the direction I had preplanned, or was I going to try something out of my element and comfort zone and see where I went?
When I finally made that decision, I saw the true beauty of living in the moment and letting things naturally happen without forcing them one way or another. It was by far a very uncomfortable and nerve racking decision to make but one I needed to make and I’m glad that I did. It was a nice relief that for a moment in my life, I was not focused on exerting all of my efforts and energy in pushing things in the direction I wanted them to go.

So please, don’t hold onto the past. Don’t hold onto all the things that have tainted and screwed your perceptions of life and of people. Put aside everything you think you know and everything you think you want out of life and allow yourself to take it all in. Allow things to happen. You may be surprised at what you find at the end.

Passing it on

I came across this photo on my Facebook feed and it brought back memories…

suicide quote

I remember one of the last times I had attempted to commit suicide I thought to myself that the pain would finally be over.  ((About 10 or so years ago )) I remember thinking that this time would be it. I was tired of drowning. I was tired of feeling like it wasn’t going to get any better but when the deed had been done I remember thinking wtf am I doing. I wanted to take back what I had just done but it was too late.

I remember this like it was yesterday, my mom approaching me her eyes so big and full of fear. She didn’t know what to say. She was in complete shock,  scared and shaking. Now my mom had always been and continues to be my superhero. She is the strongest woman I know alive, has been through SO much and continues to persevere through so much and on that night when I saw her full of all those emotions, full of pain, I remember thinking that if I ever made it through the night and didn’t die, that I would never want to cause my mom that much pain ever again. I never wanted to see her that way EVER.

It had never clicked in my head before but that night I finally understood what this quote says, that those who take their lives away don’t end their pain but pass it on to those they love. I thank God every day that I had that revelation that night. That I realized that I never wanted to hurt the person who meant the world to me that way ever again. Even if life sucked. Even if I felt like I was drowning. I made a decision to fight and get through it with God by my side and over 10 years later I can say that I did thanks to Him. I have hit rock bottom in worse ways than that period in my life but not once did I think about killing myself and that to me is something worth celebrating.

So it is not impossible! You can get through it National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255. They are there because they want to make a difference and help as many people as possible.

God was there for me and He is there for you too! 

Don’t give up! 

Taking care of YOU

I came across this picture on my instagram and think it to be so true and something we all need to live by! A lot of the time we focus on what everyone else needs to fix. We become professional advice givers and want to help change the world and the people in it BUT (drumrolllllllll) we don’t do any of that for ourselves!

We have to learn to take care of ourselves first.

We can’t truly love or help someone properly unless we learn to love and help ourselves first.  Work on you! Learn to love who you are mistakes and all. Learn to become confident in yourself, overcome those insecurities, work on being healthy, and becoming the best version of you. Learn to manage your time better, to save money, learn to get through your weaknesses whether it’s anger, impatience, or procrastination. Once that happens (and it will) then it makes helping others so much easier.

You have to fill your glass with water first before you can pour out to others

AND

every time your glass ends up empty, it just means it’s time to fill it again.

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From Thoughts to Destiny

As we go through our struggles , there comes a moment (at least for me) where I feet stuck. As if I was on a merry go round of ups and downs with the same crappy things happening over and over again. I came across this quote that really changed my perspective on things. I have included different variations of the same concept. The end result of our lives start with our thoughts!

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

-FRANK OUTLAW
Late President of the Bi-Lo Stores

The only way to change repeating circumstances in our lives is by doing something different, and that all begins with our thoughts. If we believe that we cannot do something, than guess what? We will not be able to do it. But if we believe that we can, and we wake up every morning believing that things can change and will change, than that’s when change will begin to take place.

So for this week, be conscious of your thoughts. Be mindful of what you are telling yourself over and over again and if you realize that your thoughts are full of negativity, switch it up. Don’t dwell on that negativity because as the quote goes, your thoughts trickle down and become your character. And if that is not who you want to be than start at the core with your thoughts. Start thinking of positive things that are going to happen no matter how unrealistic it may seem and I can promise you that things will begin to change. Maybe not right away or overnight, but with time they will. Once your thoughts change, everything else will follow.

The thought manifests as the word,

The word manifests as the deed,
The deed develops into habit,
And the habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its way with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.

-Anonymous

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We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.

-Anonymous

*

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

-FRANK OUTLAW
Late President of the Bi-Lo Stores

And if anyone finds the writer of these quotes, please let me know so I can give them credit.