I’m sitting in Rhino Market & Deli struggling to write. I am also hosting an open mic (well, I’m sitting by the P.A. making sure it doesn’t feed back as random people and friends take turns singing and playing guitar: I am loosely orchestrating the event). I might also be keeping an eye on the PFO Slam Poetry GroupMe texts. I catch myself and smile: I remember vigorously complaining about having too much to do back when I wasn’t doing half as much as I am now. How did I get here? Well, in a way, depression.

Things get a little dark and sensitive for me periodically and I’m hypoglycemic so I have to constantly eat and eat pretty well (healthily) or depression can creep in and stick around for longer. Somewhere along the way I realized I am actually a people person: except when depressed. Isolation is a no-no for me in this state, but if I’m in the beginning stages of depression all I want is to be alone. Winter months are the hardest because of the Holidays: most everything shuts down for long periods of time during the moments I need to stay the busiest because the less I have to do the less I wanted to do anything at all. So, I learned: keep busy and interact with people more often than not. So… two bands, full time dad of a teenage boy, full-time job, host a weekly open mic, and suddenly PFO walks through the door. An opportunity to help create art, hang out with new people, give of my gifts, inspire and be inspired, and get paid for it? Of course I said YES! I’ve been stretched pretty thin ever since and I’ve never been so happy about it.

I came in ready to help some teens focus their gifts on philanthropy and inspire them to make great art. I figured I’d get satisfaction from that and learn a little something along the way. I had no idea I’d be the one being inspired to make greater art and feeling like I’ve been given to over and over again. My practice of developing my Attitude of Gratitude has become more and more of a habit because these teens continually give me moments and things to be grateful for. I’m not having to make any effort: I’m just grateful.

The connections I’m making with the other adults would have been enough to make it worthwhile. It’s amazing how much faster an Attitude of Gratitude is developed while in the midst of such amazing heart-centered people. A motley crew of artists hell bent on making a positive impact on the youth is powerful on paper. I am grateful for the opportunity to live on the same page.