Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When I Find Myself

In Times Of Trouble…
Times ahead are not going to be smooth sailing.

No matter what your circumstances or politics, all kinds of changes are coming, some big, some small, some that will feel good to you and some that will feel bad.
No matter who you are, keeping your balance, physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually, is not going to be easy. And losing your balance is not going to be painless.
Balance is not just an idea, it is a physical state.
Balancing is not still. (I prefer to call it balancing, since using balance as a noun can be inaccurate and misleading.) It is a state of dynamic tension that requires listening and constant adjustment to changes, external as well as internal.
It requires us to be present in our bodies so that we can sense these changes as they are happening…and it requires a kind of physical fitness, so that we can adjust and make the corrections that will continue to steer us in the direction of balance. This is true of emotional, as well as physical or psychological balance. It doesn’t require us to be Olympic athletes…but it does require us to be athletes of a sort.
We have to be ready to be firm. We have to be ready to be soft.
We have to be ready to retreat. We have to be ready to advance.
We have to be ready to yield. We have to be ready to push back.
We have to be ready to listen. We have to be ready to speak.
And all of these things happen in our bodies. Whatever else they are, all these abilities are physical too.
If we really want better balancing, we have to attend to our bodies because that’s where balancing happens.
Improving physical balance is not enough to bring balance to the rest of life…but it is a great start because it requires many of the things that the other kinds of balancing require and there is direct feedback regarding progress.
If you really want to improve your balancing generally, it’s a really good idea to improve your balance physically. Doing that requires good posture and alignment. It requires basic muscular strength and well as the ability to relax those muscles when needed. And it requires the kind of sensitive listening and adjusting that brings good posture and appropriate use of muscular strength to life.
Taking care of yourself and your loved ones is never a bad idea.
So take care of your own balance.
Take care of your own health.
As much as you can.
Whether you have health coverage or not. Do what you can for yourself.
That’s never a bad idea.
If you can’t, you can’t. But if you can, do.
Invest in your own balancing abilities and invest in your ability to take care of yourself.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ask for or receive help. Of course you can. But do what you can for yourself too.
You can still fight the good fight, whatever that means to you.
But if you want to keep balancing while you do it…get less injured…be less stressed…feel less collapsed…less hyperactive…not as agitated…attending to your physical balance can really help. It can be the foundation for a balanced diet, a balanced mind, a balanced heart, and a balanced life. 
I do it through T’ai-Chi practice, but there are many many other ways of improving physical balance. I urge you to find one that feels like a good fit.
So…the day after a particularly contentious and difficult election, I will do what I do nearly every day: I will train.
I will practice T’ai-Chi. I will teach T’ai-Chi. I will do some work with weights. I will do pushups and pull-ups. I will ride my bike on a short but challenging uphill road loop. I will eat well. I will rest well. And later, I will play at being seaweed. I will mix and match random movements from the various forms I know. I will dance and explore what my body can do and feel. I will practice striking and striking principles. And when it’s time to sleep, I will give my body to its rest as gracefully as I am able.
And along the way, I will connect with my friends and loved ones as I find them.
I might even sing if the spirit moves me.
I will invest in my own balancing. 
And get as ready as I can for the next wave…

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November News

From Gene Burnett

My new album “Love & Heartache” is not up on my site yet, but it shouldn’t be too much longer. It is available at CD Baby and will be available at other e-retailers of music soon, if it isn’t already. Here’s a link to the CD Baby page: L & H

I posted a few new videos this month: 3 Rogue Poetry Slam videos, 4 T’ai-Chi videos, and one Music video. See links below in the Video section of this post.

So here we go…I’m going to start with local shows in case you’re in the Rogue Valley and then proceed with the usual information about where to find my music, videos, and pictures, including information about new projects.

There is so much to listen to and watch on the net these days…I’m amazed anyone even gets this far in the newsletter let alone watches or listens to anything I’m doing. I’m sincerely grateful for every view, every listen, and every nice comment I receive. I’m happy if anything I post truly reaches even one person. I’m offering all this stuff in a “just in case you’re interested” spirit.

Upcoming Shows:

Wednesday November 2nd, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose CafĂ© & Bar. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of every month. This month's theme will be our “6thAnnual  Political Songs”, so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems, covers or originals, that are about or mention politics in any way. We're never too strict or narrow about the themes for this event. The main idea is to focus our attention a little to hopefully inspire and motivate us creatively. These are always fun community events. No Cover at the friendliest bar in Ashland. Sign-up is 7:30pm. Show starts at 8:00pm.
*A heads up for next month: Wednesday, December 7th, 2016: “6th Annual Holiday/Winter Songs”

Monday November 7th, I'll be playing at one of my favorite Ashland venues, Liquid Assets. A relaxed living room vibe with great service, excellent food and wine, and a really nice place to listen to music. I play from 7-9pm

Tuesday, November 15th, I'll be competing with many other poets at the Rogue Poetry Slam which happens at Caldera Tap House in Ashland. Sign-up is at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8. $5 cover, all of which goes to the winning poets. If you've never been to or competed in a Poetry Slam, I highly recommend this one. Come to watch, compete, or be one of the judges. Some people think of slams as hardcore hip-hop events or places where people are mean and talk trash, but nothing could be further from the truth. All kinds of poetry are welcome and people are very supportive. And it's so nice to participate in an event that is all about the words, or in my case, lyrics. For me it's really not about winning or losing, but just the fun of sharing my words with people and seeing what happens.

Saturday, November 19th, from 10am-Noon, my good friend Jesse Biesanz and I are hosting a Hacky Sack session at the Band Shell in Lithia Park. This will happen on the third Saturday of every month. We both miss the fun and camaraderie of a good friendly Hack Circle and…more importantly, we miss the practice! It’s fun, aerobic, cooperative, demands balance, coordination, quick thinking and accuracy…So whether you’re new to the game, or an experienced player who wants to brush up your skills, or an expert who just wants to meet some new players, come on by. Hacky Sack basically involves keeping a small footbag in the air, usually leather and fairly soft, using only your feet. When there are more than two players, it’s usually played in a circle. If the circle gets too big, it is split into smaller circles.

The only rules of this Hack Circle:

1. You’ve got to use your feet to keep the sack in the air and off the ground. No hands! (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

2. If you miss or otherwise screw up, you can’t say, “I’m Sorry.” (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

3. No serving to yourself. (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

4. No hotdogging. Meaning this is not about how many tricks you can do before the sack hits the ground, and it’s not about working obsessively on tricks. Tricks are fine but in general, we want to keep the hack going as a friendly group and keep everyone involved.

See you at the bandshell, rain or shine. The shell provides shelter from the rain and once a circle gets going, you’ll be plenty warm.

For more info about these and all of my shows, and to confirm that there have been no cancellations, click here: Calendar  

Since I'm putting this newsletter out once a month, it's possible there may be a cancellation of a given show by the time it happens. Please double check with my web calendar if possible to be sure the gig is still happening. I'd hate to have you come out for nothing. Also another gig or two might be added or times or locations might change, so do check the calendar for the latest info.  

Recorded Music

All of my over 30 albums are available for downloading free or with a donation at my website:

Videos In General

Overall Mission: I post a lot of videos on youtube, over 1000 so far! I'm not trying to build a fan base...In fact, I'm not trying to build anything. I'm not expecting you or anyone else to follow what I'm doing or watch all of these videos. Posting videos is just part of my overall plan to make my music (and my T’ai-Chi and Nature videos too) as freely available as possible and see what freely comes back. I think of each video as sort of like a message in a bottle...and more I toss out there the more likely one of them will land on a friendly shore and something good will come back to me. So here are some video links in case you're interested:

How to Find My Videos: First of all, I've set up a "Videos" page on my website ( with a menu similar to what you see below as well as a digital tip jar in case any of you want to contribute to my cottage industry. Every little bit helps and not just financially. 

I've also set up some blogs that make navigating and viewing my various videos much easier. You can go to any of these blogs and see thumbnails for all of the videos posted there. Scroll across the thumbnails and you will see the titles of each video. Click on it and a page will open that will let you watch the video right there without going to youtube. My latest videos are always in the upper left hand corner.

To see all of my Music videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Videos

To see all of my T'ai-Chi videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Movement

To see all of my Nature videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Nature

For a quick and easy way to sort through, listen to, or download all of my albums free or with a donation, click here: The Unforced Music

To see my regular blog “The Unforced Life”, click here: The Unforced Life

To visit my youtube channel and possibly subscribe, click here: My Youtube Channel

To see all of my youtube playlists click here: My Youtube Playlists 

New Videos

Four new T’ai-Chi videos:

Three New Rogue Poetry Slam Videos:

One new Music video:


I've stopped posting as many pictures on facebook, (for many reasons), and started posting them instead on Flickr, which I like much better.

Here's a link to my "home page" at Flicker: Photostream.

I have many photo galleries there but a few of my favorites are:

Small Miracles (mostly Nature related stuff)

The Dish Whisperer (I started posting a daily picture of my dish stacking work over a year ago. I recently crossed the 1400 straight days mark. I have no idea how long I’ll keep doing this. I’m so used to it, it hardly takes any effort at all to continue. I made a video for my song “I'll Do The Dishes Tonight” that featured a slideshow of the first year. I made it through my second year recently, and hope to create another video slideshow set to another of my songs. Stay tuned…)

"Head" and "Boot" (devoted to our two gerbils)


I continue to offer all of my albums for downloading, free or with a donation at my website: I started doing this about 8 or 9 years ago and considered it a 5 year creative experiment. Well the 5 years passed and I decided to start calling it my "ongoing creative experiment" as I have no plans to stop. Since I returned to my folk roots and stopped climbing, or trying to climb, the industry ladder, I've been enjoying music in my life more than ever before. And enjoyment, rather than achievement or worldly success has always been dearest to my heart anyway. So now I focus totally on what I love most: writing, recording, performing and sharing what I create. If other people like it, so much the better, but getting other people to like me or what I do is no longer my goal or focus. I'm out to please myself first. I want to do my music exactly the way I want to do it and see who likes it that way, not figure out what people will like and try to do it that way. I put it out there freely and see what comes freely back. So far so good. I've never had more success and appreciation than I have since I started doing it this. Go figure. 

Thanks, as usual, for your support and well wishes even if you don't make to any shows.