Words That Help

How To Stop Living In Fear

Fear rules so many of our lives. Sometimes it’s silly little things like being scared of mice. That’s me. Mice really freak me out.

But sometimes the fears are bigger and much more damaging, like the fear of what other people think of us. We are so scared of not being accepted by people that we become overly cautious of what we let people see of ourselves. As life goes on, we start stock piling secrets like an apocalyptic survivalist hoards water and canned goods. The only difference is our stash is going to kill us, not save us.

So many of us cling to our secrets trying desperately to keep them hidden from the world. We are all so convinced that our closeted skeletons are so much worse than anyone else’s. We think things like…

“Yea, we all have problems but I’m REALLY messed up! No one would understand how messed up I am.”

Our fear is that if we let people see behind the curtain, they will judge us and think we are awful people beyond repair. Perhaps they will tell others how messed up we are or post our secrets on social media. Perhaps they will start talking about us behind our backs. Or what if they call the psych ward and have us committed?! We are constantly telling ourselves…

“If people knew the real me, I would lose all my friends and end up a hated outcast.”

The truth is people have way more empathy than we give them credit for. People want to see our flaws because it makes them feel better about their own. It also bonds us and brings us closer when we make ourselves vulnerable and share our inner most secrets.

Finally, we can’t continue to hold onto these secrets and expect to stay healthy and sober. This is precisely what has made us so sick in the past and if we expect to continue on a path of bettering ourselves, it is crucial that we put everything out on the table.

It’s time to clean out our closets. Our lives and our relationships depend upon our honesty and transparency. We need to not let fear rule us. We need to push on through and let the world see who we really are. It will help us experience a freedom like no other and people will love us for it.

P.S. I am giving away three of my most popular, inspiring songs for FREE. Just enter your name and email below and I’ll send them to you right now!

The Substitute

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For years when I was drinking and overeating, my biggest fear about quitting was “What will I do with the time? What will I have left to make me happy?” I always came up short, unable to come up with something. I was so scared my life would be empty and boring without my addictions.

Would I go insane without my comforts?

When I quit drinking, food became my substitute. Instead of alcohol, I just doubled up on food. And there was some comfort in knowing that I had a back up vice to turn to. At least I had one comfort left.

But the food was killing me.

Ironic how the substance that is supposed to give us life was actually taking mine. And all because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to find happiness without it. I had to let my overeating go but how could I possibly find any joy in life without it? With food being my final vice, what would I substitute this addiction with?

Then came OA. And I discovered a permanent substitute for all my addictions. One that really worked and brought joy into my life. Real joy. Joy that would last longer than a drinking binge or a 2 hour meal. One that didn’t include hangovers, guilt or shame. It was the answer I had been seeking for all these years.

The substitute was the fellowship of brothers and sisters I found in OA.

I finally found my people in the rooms of OA. We are the same in so many ways. Finally I am not alone. We are all in this together. I am surrounded by an army of people who get it. And I can’t overstate how much comfort I find it that. For years, I tried to overcome my addictions alone. It felt overwhelming and impossible.

But there is strength in numbers. I have meetings I can go to so I can stay connected to people who care. I have people to call when I am having a hard time. I get to serve my fellows by picking up the phone and encouraging them when they need it. There is also a lot of hope in hearing another’s story of struggle. And also hearing the stories of those who have overcome their addictions.

If they can do it, so can I.

I am choosing community and connection over isolation and addiction. There is so much more joy on this side. The fellowship brings true joy and peace that I never was able to find in alcohol or food.

I finally found the substitute I have been searching for my whole life. This is what true happiness feels like.

If you can relate to this, I would highly encourage you to check out AA or OA, depending on your drug of choice. The fellowship is waiting with open arms. You don’t have to do this alone anymore.

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How To Be Perfect

"I always thought that I was supposed to try to be perfect."

I am a perfectionist. Always have been since I was a little kid. Almost to the point of being obsessive about some things. I am very grateful that God made me this way because it drives me to work hard and to strive to be better. But it has also brought its challenges.

My goal has always been perfection. I don’t think I really realized that in my conscious mind for a long time, but in my subconscious mind that has always been what I was trying to achieve. And the reason is this:

If I’m perfect, then no one can hurt me.

If I have no flaws and I am superior at everything I do, then no one can say anything negative about me. Even better, if they do, I’ll know they are crazy because I’m perfect. I have no flaws. My pursuit of perfectionism was my defense mechanism. I know this is true because even to this day if someone says something bad about me or I feel inferior somehow, I get a drive in the pit of my stomach to go be the best at something. That’s when I want to practice the most, or write songs or study something. Because I want to be able to prove to them that I am amazing. So I go to work mumbling under my breath “I’ll show them!”

The real result of this mindset has been constant failure and a very deep, dark depression. I could never live up to my expectations of myself, therefore, I was always failing. Instead of being the best at something, I was a loser at everything. I began to hate myself because of this. And it got worse and worse as I got older. Until one day I looked in the mirror and I was a 500+ pound alcoholic.

I was frustrated and sad constantly. I could never accept love from other people because I didn’t love myself. I was lonely. Never good at long term relationships. I was finding comfort in food and alcohol. Like A LOT of food and alcohol! And I was barely hanging on to life. On the outside I seemed cool, laid back and fun. But on the inside I was steaming mad at myself, stressed out and angry.

Is this what being perfect is all about?

I finally had to accept the fact that I will never be perfect. Ever. It is hard for me to even type that sentence right now. But I finally know that it’s true. And I know it has been a big source of pain in my life. I have to let it go.

Now, I am striving to be perfectly imperfect. I laugh at myself a lot because I really love who I am. The pressure is off. I can be me and use all that energy I use to put towards trying to be perfect towards something that matters. Like making music that will change people’s lives. Telling my story to those who need to hear it. And being a part of a community again full of imperfect folks just like me.

I wrote a song all about my struggle with perfectionism called….ready for it…”Perfect.” If perfectionism is something you struggle with, I hope you’ll take a minute to check it out. I think you will be able to relate to a lot of it. And I think you may walk away knowing you are already perfect the way you are.

Coming October 1st, 2018!

P.S. Funny side note. I made a few short promotional videos announcing this single to the world. On accident, I misspelled a word in two of them. After publishing them to my Facebook page, I noticed I had misspelled a word. I could have taken them down and fixed it. The old me wanted to. But I decided to leave them up. What a fitting tribute to a song called “Perfect.” :)

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

The Promises In A.A.


Sometimes we feel lost. We feel unsure of our future. And I’ve found in my recovery from alcoholism and food addiction, these feelings creep up more than ever before. There are some days that I feel on top of the world. Those days are a lot of fun. And it’s important to enjoy them. But there are also a lot of hard days where I miss the comfort I use to experience from my old vices. Sometimes I feel completely empty with no substitute for these substances. I feel like I’m all alone. I feel like it’s unfair that I don’t get to enjoy the things that other people seem to be able to.

After I wallow in my pity party for a few moments, I pull myself out by remembering how miserable my life use to be when I was using. It’s so easy to forget that and to just over romanticize the good ol’ days. But the old days were not all good days. They were mostly awful so I have to remind myself of that fact.

The next thing I can do, is look to the promises of the Big Book of AA. These are examples what of others have experienced from going through recovery and just knowing that these await me is more than enough to pull me out of my pity party. On days that are really hard, I can hold onto these promises. You can find all of them on pages 83-84 of the Big Book. But here is a summary of some of my favorites.

The Big Book promises us that we will know a new freedom and peace that we have never felt before. We will not regret the past. We will see how our experiences can benefit others. The feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. Self-seeking will slip away. Our outlook on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will know how to handle hard situations. We will realize that God is doing for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

What amazing promises these are. They reassure me that I am truly living the life I was meant to live. These promises are the things I have been searching for my whole life. I am so thankful to finally be on the path to achieve them.

If you are having a hard day, I would challenge you to pick up a Big Book and read through the promises. There is also a great PDF with a list of the promises you can find by clicking here. There is always hope. There is always a better day coming. And knowing that other’s have experienced this fact, is often just enough inspiration to get me through one more day.

What is your favorite promise in the Big Book? Leave me a comment and let me know how it has changed your life.

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My Problem Is Fear, Not You!

Resentment is a powerful thing. It keeps us in a state of frustration and keeps us cut off from our higher power and other people. It steals our joy and ruins our life. Yet we love to hold on to it. We love to be mad at people. And we love to tell anyone who will listen the horrible thing someone did to us.

Why do we get so much satisfaction from this when in reality holding onto these resentments is killing us? I think it’s mainly because we don’t realize we can let these resentments go. Even more so, we don’t realize that we have played a role in causing these resentments.

“What do you mean ‘my role?’ That guy is just a jerk!”

You heard me right. We play a major role in causing our resentments toward other people. Figuring out my role in my resentful relationships was a big challenge at first. It was really hard to humble myself, let go of the anger and look at the situation truthfully. But through study, prayer and conversation, I started to understand. I started to see how I was playing a big part in these resentments.

I started to learn that most of my resentment was based in fear. Fear seemed to rule my life and it was destroying it as well. I never realized how much fear I had until doing this exercise. What an amazing insight.

My biggest fear seemed to be acceptance. I was scared no one would love me or accept me. I knew I’ve had issues with this my whole life (I mean, I even founded a band called “Outsiders” in college) but I didn’t know how big of a role it was still playing in my life and my relationships today. I didn’t realize it was keeping me angry, sick and addicted.

Fear was killing me.

Once I saw this, I knew I had to deal with these fears. Call them out. Write them down. And ask God to remove them from my life. I don’t want to live a life of anger and frustration. I want to be free and bask in the joy that is the gift of life.

If I face my fears and ask God to remove them, I can be truly free. And when I’m free, suddenly I don’t mind taking a little better care of myself. I can change. I can heal. And the hope and peace that comes from that is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.

What are your biggest fears? Leave me a comment and let me know how you deal with them.

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I Need To Believe

"God either is or isn't.  We have a choice to make." 

That's from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  And it really is that simple.  We can choose to not believe in God.  To live in a man-ruled world full of selfishness.  We can choose to believe that there is no plan for our lives.  Everything happens by chance.  We have no real purpose and we don't matter at all.  And when we die, we go into a hole in the ground and it's lights out.  That's it.

This is what many people choose to believe.  And that's totally fine.  We all have the right to choose.  But I can't live like that.  I can't live in a world of selfishness with no purpose, just waiting to be stamped out and forgotten.  I need to believe.  I need God.

I need to know that I matter and I have a purpose.  I need strength from God and grace from God.  I need the peace that comes from knowing God has a plan.  I know I matter because of God and I'm not alone because of God.  And I know when I die, there will be a place for me with God.

So I choose to believe.  Not only because I need these things but also because I see Him working in my life everyday.  To have it the other way only leads to a depressing life of misery and loneliness.  I tried that life for a while.  It did not work out so good.  I almost died from trying to find other things to fill the emptiness I felt.  Alcohol didn't work.  Food didn't work.  Tobacco didn't work. 

The only thing that has worked is God. 

I know now that God created me for amazing things.  He wants me to be healthy and successful.  And He is there always to give me strength.  When I see Him doing little things in my life, it reminds that I matter.  The same is true for you.

This is not a sermon.  This is just me sharing what is working for me.  I know how it feels to be depressed, miserable and alone.  And I just want you to know there is a way out of that life.  Don't be afraid to look up.  It could change your life forever.

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

An Apology Letter To Hip-hop

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Dear Hip-hop,

I owe you an apology.  I'm sorry I walked away from you all those years ago.  I just couldn't handle how much you had changed.  When we met, you use to inspire me with your clever lyrics and thought provoking prose.  You use to make my day better with your infectious beats.  I remember, spending entire days hanging out with you.  Back in the day, I use to lose sleep because I was so excited for my Columbia House CD's to arrive.  I knew with each package that was delivered to my house, you would deliver to me so much truth, hope, joy and excitement.  I knew every time you showed up at my house, I was going to learn something new.  I was going to experience something I've never experienced before.  And I would be inspired and challenged to create my own songs that were even half as good as the ones you gave me.

But then you changed.

You became bitter and dark.  You began to focus entirely on the negatives in the world.  You began to lose your wit and wordplay that use to inspire me so much.  Soon, all you wanted to talk about was girls, jewelry and money.  It seemed like all you cared about was immediate gratification because you saw the world as messed up beyond compare.  And don't get me wrong, I like all those things too, but come on man.  There's more to you than that.

Look, I know you've been through a lot.  I know you have had to watch a lot of injustice done to you, your friends and your family.  I know you've been pissed at the world.  And I totally understand why.  I'm pretty pissed too, sometimes.  But I know there is still hope inside you.  I know the world is not a perfect place, but you always helped me see the better side of people.  You always helped me see the good that still exists in the world.  And I need you now.  We all do.  More than ever.

I'm not saying you can't go out and fight some battles.  That's part of your responsibilities too.  But please don't turn your back on all the good stuff.  And please don't let people make you part of the problem.  You are above all that.  And it's time to show the world who you really are.

I'm really sorry I didn't understand all this better all those years ago.  I was young and naive.  Instead of trying to understand you better, I just gave up.  I should have stuck with you and encouraged you all this time, but I thought you had given up so why shouldn't I? 

I was wrong. 

You've always been there, trying to figure this all out.  I can't control you.  You are free to be who you want to be.  So I am going to let you be free.  I promise I will always look for the good in you because I know it is always there.  And I'll be here with you during the bad times too.  Right by your side.  Rooting you on. 

Thank you for being such a huge part of my life.  I'll never leave you again.  And I really believe you were meant to change the world.  I'm here to help in anyway I can.


You're #1 fan.

Why I Stopped Messing Around

"I don't even miss how it use to be."

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I am an alcoholic.  Through and through.  I have never been able to go out and have one drink.  If I'm going to drink, I'm going to do it right.  I am going to get drunk.  And not just a little buzzed.  I mean really drunk.  But after years of drinking so much, it became really hard to get drunk.  I was drinking Long Island Teas with Grand Marnier shots all night long.  I remember, I would show up for gigs, down two long island teas and two shots of Grand Marnier back to back before I even started playing!  It was becoming harder and harder to get drunk.  Drinking became a chore.  It wasn't fun anymore.  And here's the real catch - I didn't even like the taste alcohol!  I just liked the effect.  So finally I found myself just trying to gulp down as much as I could as fast as I could, holding back urges to throw up, just trying to get drunk.  I knew something had to change.

"Not looking back on what I use to see."

It wasn't until I ended up in the ER with severe heart palpitations that I realized this was a life or death situation and all this madness was not worth dying for.  I lied there on the gurny while they were running tests on me just thinking "What am I doing?"  I remember, hearing someone in the room next to me crying out in pain.  It was so heartbreaking and I knew that would be me soon if I didn't make a change.  I decided then and there to quit drinking.  That was over 2 years ago now and I haven't had a drink since!

"Stronger now than I was before."

The real miracle is that after I quit drinking, I continued to work in bars every night.  I had to sit there and watch everyone else getting drunk and having a good time, while I drank water and watched in envy.  It was really hard for the first 3 months or so.  I would feel pretty bitter most of the time and just get out of there as soon as my gig was done.  But as time passed, I grew stronger.  I just couldn't stop thinking about how miserable I felt all the time when I was drinking.  I was in a constant haze everyday, perpetually hung over.  No energy.  Little motivation.  In the worse physical shape I've ever been in in my life.  There was no way I was going to go back to that life, so I hung in there night after night.  Day after day.

"You can't take this life from me, don't mess around anymore."

Now, I can't even imagine going back to that life of drinking.  I feel so much better, yes, but I also feel a freedom I never felt when I was drinking.  There is something really beautiful about letting go of an obsession or addiction.  It lets you enjoy life again.  It lets you feel emotions again.  Drinking was stealing my joy away one shot at a time.  I thought it was making me happy but it was really making my life miserable.  I was caught in a cycle of obsession that I couldn't get out of.  There is no way I could go back to that life now.  Don't get me wrong, I get tempted occasionally just like everyone else.  But all I have to do is go back to that night in the ER in mind, remember how miserable and scared I felt, and any temptation I was feeling disappears. 

I am so grateful to be sober over 2 years now.  Most of my friends and family have been really supportive of my choice to quit.  But some people don't get it.  Misery loves company and often I encounter people who want to buy me a drink and don't quite understand why I would say no.  So I wrote a song along with Chela Mancuso (an incredibly talented singer and songwriter) about these experiences called The Mess Around.  I'm excited for you to hear it!  It's all about living a sober life in an alcoholic world.  It's my declaration to those who don't get it. 

I don't mess around anymore.  I got things to do.

The Mess Around (feat. Chela Mancuso)
Coming August 1st, 2018!

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

You Deserve A Life Of Joy And Health

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"How come we know what to do, but we still don't do it."

I have been a big dude my whole life.  I think I joined Weight Watchers for the first time when I was 12.  The last time, when I was 39.  I have lost 100 pounds twice in my life, but could never keep the weight off.  Like so many others, I would always resort to old habits because I didn't have any other way to cope with my emotions.  Food was my reward, my companion, and my favorite thing in the world.  And when I turned 40, it showed.  I couldn't even weigh myself at home anymore.  My home scale only went up to 450 pounds.  I had crossed over into the 500's and I was miserable.

"Even though we want to be free, we still don't choose it."

My knees hurt.  Really bad.  I could barely get out of chairs or cars.  It became almost impossible to put on my socks and my shoes.  I was pre-diabetic.  I would wheeze constantly and  had developed adult onset asthma and had to use an inhaler daily.  I could barely walk more than 10 feet without being completely out of breath.  I had constant chest pains and frequent heart palpitations.  I had plantar fasciitis.  Sitting down hurt my knees.  Standing up hurt my feet.  I had poor circulation and numbness in my feet too.  I couldn't get an Uber because I was never sure if I would fit in the car.  I couldn't fly anywhere because I couldn't fit in the airplane seats.  I would break furniture all the time.  I was miserable, tortured and in constant pain.

"Whatever it takes, I will not refrain."

It was time to make a choice.  I had to get help and learn how to take care of myself again or I had to choose to die.  As miserable as I was, I didn't want to die.  I had a lot to live for and a lot I still wanted to accomplish.  It seemed so impossible to change but I started by talking about it to friends and family.  That led to finding some people who could help me.  I went to an amazing retreat and joined Overeaters Anonymous.  Once I learned more about my problem and all the other people out there who struggle the same way I do, I started to see hope.  I went all in and decided I would do whatever it took to save my life.  I started going to OA meetings, calling other OA members daily, I started reading and writing daily.  I also started meditating and praying everyday.  I can't really explain it, but an actual miracle happened to me.  All my emotional baggage was removed.  I finally felt loved, accepted and worthy.  I was finally able to stick to a meal plan, to care for myself and to realize I truly deserve to be happy.

My song "Pain" is dedicated to all the people who have had this struggle in their life.  We know we need to change, but we just can't seem to do it.  We know we are killing ourselves, but that still doesn't seem to be enough.  I am here to tell you that you can change.  It's closer than you think.  Do not give up on yourself.  Start talking about it.  Out loud to other people.  That is the first step to getting better.  You have to stop making excuses and admit it's a problem.  It gets so much better when you do, I promise.  If you need someone to talk to, I am always here.  And if you are ready to change, I highly encourage you to visit:  https://oa.org/.  It changed my life.  And it can change yours too.

"I will not be confined to this life of Pain."

Pain - The new single from Chris Swan.
Coming July 1, 2018!

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

How To Be Confident And Humble At The Same Time

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"I want the confidence to be strong."

I have always struggled with confidence.  It probably has a lot to do with growing up as an overweight kid.  I always felt fat.  I always felt like I wasn't good enough.  I remember even praying to God over and over to come into my life and let me into heaven.  I thought I wasn't good enough and the only way to get in was to beg.  I've done a lot of counseling, reading and reflecting over the years and I'm finally getting to a place in my 40's where I like myself.  I have learned that I am enough, just as I am, because I am a creation of God.  That is where my worth comes from.  Not from other people, which is where I use to try to get it from being the people pleaser that I am.  I see God in my life every day, in little things, and that reminds me that I matter.  And since I matter, then I have the tools to be more confident and assertive in my life.  I'm still a people pleaser, but I am working on it.  I am learning to stand up for myself when I need to. 

"But the humility to be wrong."

My biggest fear of becoming confident was that I would become a jerk.  I saw confidence as a means to be cocky, to operate like the world revolves around you, and to walk all over the people in your life.  No way did I want to be that guy!  So to compensate, I would make sure I remained as humble as possible.  But then being humble started to mean putting myself down.  So in my efforts to not become a self-centered, arrogant person, I became a depressed, beaten down, and incredibly frustrated person.  I was miserable.

"I want to lead and listen, have the creed and vision."

I had to learn that it is ok to be confident.  Matter of fact, you can be confident and still be humble.  Confidence does not have to equal arrogance.  You can be confident in yourself, love and respect yourself deeply, and still be a humble servant to others.  I'd even say you HAVE to learn to love yourself first in order to be a humble servant to others.  I know from experience that tearing yourself down to lift others up only makes you a resentful, bitter person.  And a resentful, bitter person is not one who wants to serve.  This person becomes antisocial and selfish, becoming the complete opposite of the person you set out to be.

My song "Creed and Vision" is a hip-hop mantra that we can all say to ourselves daily to remind us we need to be confident AND humble every day.  And despite what I use to think, it is possible and even necessary to be both to become the people God created us to be.

"It's ok to know our strength.
It's ok to know our weakness.
We use our weakness to make each other stronger.
'Cuz if one shines, we all shine longer."

Creed and Vision - The new single from Chris Swan.
Coming June 1, 2018!

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

How To Stop The Madness

Do you ever feel like this?

Do you ever just start to freak out because you realize the madness is never going to end.  Your schedule is full everyday of stuff that you don't really want to do.  And the way you get through it is by telling yourself you just have to power through and then it will be ok.  But then you realize, no it won't.  Because as soon as I'm done pushing through, the whole cycle starts all over again.  It's never going to stop.  I'm never going to get a break.  And you hold out hope that the special thing you are working on is going to come save the day.  But then you realize you are 41 and it hasn't saved the day yet.  What if it never does?  Can I really live in this misery every day for the rest of my life?  I don't think I can handle that yet but what choice do I have?  I have to do the things I have to do.  But I can't stand the thought of doing them one more day.  Then panic and depression sets in.  It feels like there is no way to fix this.

Sound familiar?

This is, honestly, a thought I have several times a week.  I get scared that I am never going to achieve my goals.  I get scared that I'm never going to win and scared that I am going to be stuck in this rat race forever.  That's when it is more important than ever to make sure I am living with purpose.  I have to have a goal in site.  I need to know what I am working for.  If I can see that light at the end of the tunnel, then I can push through for one more day.  It's not easy, but it's worth it.

And think of the other option:  to give up completely.  I could throw my hands up and give up, but what is the point of that?  What does that really solve?  Without purpose, life becomes meaningless real quick.  And that's when I find myself in bed eating ice cream all day.

You are not alone.

We all struggle with feeling overwhelmed.  We all find ourselves stuck in a crazy cycle that we think will last forever.  But the truth is, it doesn't have to.  You do have the power to change it.  Change is not always easy but you can start right now.  Today.  Find your purpose.  Find what really makes you excited.  Set your goals.  And then keep your eye on the prize.  Be happy you get to work so hard at something you love.  That's how you change the world.  And that is how you get the madness to end. 

How To Find Hope


"I think we all could use some hope."

Life is stressful.  People are tense.  The political climate in our country is volatile.  And I don't think I have ever seen so much division in our country as I do now.  I think it's great that people are speaking up and sharing their truth.  But it's also frustrating to see so many people talking but not listening.  There is so much finger pointing going on, telling us who to blame for our problems.  And if you aren't careful, you can be easily swept up in this ball of stress and start to believe the world is doomed.  It's so easy to just focus on all the negativity, the bickering and the chaos.  It's everywhere.  It's on Facebook, Twitter, at the grocery store, at church.  Everywhere.  I've seen so many friends get lost in anger to the point it's hard to even talk to them any more.  And I think a lot of people are so consumed with the darkness that they can't see the light.  But I'm here to tell you, there is hope.  The world is still full of wonderful, caring people.  There are people doing amazing things every day to make the world a better place.  The world is still full of love, wonder, and adventure.  None of that has changed.  It's all still there but we've gotten so lost that it's hard to see it.

"If you just open your eyes you'll see it's not so hard to cope with the bad now if you see it somehow."

Every day we have a choice.  What are we going to believe today?  Are we going to believe it's the end of the world?  That there is no way we can fix the damage that has been done?  That there is no way to find unity in such a divided world?  Or are we going to choose hope?  Are we going to choose to believe in people again?  Are we going to believe that love can truly conquer all?  Are we going to believe that we are going to be ok?  It's up to us to choose it every day.  We can't let someone else's agenda derail us.  We have to choose the enlightened path and stick to it.  Because we know at the end of the path, is all the hope we can stand.

"And if you want it then you got to give it."

Once we choose it, we can help change the climate around us.  How do we change it?  By giving.  If you want hope, then you have to give hope.  We have to share kindness with others around us.  We have to encourage the checkout person at the grocery store and tell them they are doing a great job.  We have to help the homeless man standing at the side of the road asking for money.  We have to smile.  We have to find joy.  We have to stop arguing on Facebook and start having face to face conversations.  And most of all, we have to LISTEN.  We need to stop talking and start listening.  Because we all want the same things.  We all want peace, joy and a happy life.  The only way we get to have those things is if we swallow our pride and listen to the hearts of those around us.  If you choose it, believe it and give it, hope will always be there promising a better day.  If you don't give up on hope, then it will never give up on you.

"You don't have to close your eyes no more, just look and see the dream you wished for."

H.O.P.E - The new single from Chris Swan.
Coming May 1, 2018!

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

How To Find True Freedom


All we want is to be free.  Free to choose.  Free to live our lives.  Free to pursue happiness.  But are we truly free?  There are so many things that we allow to trap us and keep us imprisoned.  Sometimes it's our job. Sometimes it's an unhealthy relationship.  And sometimes it's drugs, alcohol or even food.  Our lives can get so crazy and so filled with stress.  And it's only natural for us to seek out ways to relieve our stress.  And sadly, many times we choose those things that end up enslaving us.  The comfort that we get from these things makes us think we are doing something to make our lives better.  But these comforts are only temporary and usually leave us feeling worse than we did before.

True freedom comes from letting go of the things we think are making us happy, but are actually making us miserable.  We think that it is more freeing to be able to eat whatever we want and not have a bunch of restrictions on our diet.  But the truth is, you become trapped by the bad food and the bad habits.  You become a slave to your addiction.  Every day you have to do a whole checklist of things to keep up the addiction.  It's a lot of work!  Making sure you have ice cream and pizza in the freezer.  Or the right alcohol.  Or cigarettes.  You spend half of your day running errands to make sure you have your comforts.  And even though you know you will feel gross afterward, you still sit down and eat that entire pizza in one sitting because you are controlled by your addiction.  You may not even want it anymore.  It may not even sound good, but it's your only source of happiness so you decide to do it anyway.  That does not sound like freedom to me.

True freedom is learning to let go of our addictions.  To just let God or the universe take them away from us so we can start focusing on the things that will make us truly happy.  Better health.  More friends.  More love.  Getting a dog.  Going outside more.  Watching sunrises and sunsets.  These are the things that make us feel truly free.  No longer trapped by an addiction that keeps us at home in front of the TV, we now have the freedom to explore the world.  We have the energy to go outside.  To travel.  To spend time with people.  That is the life we truly want.  That is freedom!

So true freedom comes from beating these bad habits.  Eliminating them and bringing more true joy givers into our lives.  For me, it’s time with family, hanging with friends, getting a dog, going to church, spending more time outside and creating original music.  See more sunrises and sunsets.  Go to more movies.  Go to more concerts and Broadway shows.  Get involved in community events.  Give.  Love.  Achieve goals.  That’s where we find true joy and true freedom.  Free from the shackles of our addictions and bad habits.  We can truly let them go and not be trapped.  Not be blocked from feeling true joy.  

True freedom.  It's out there.  It's right in front of you and all you have to do is grab it.  But it comes at a price and that price is the hard work it takes to break these addictions.  Bad habits have a way of becoming engrained in our lives and getting rid of them is serious work.  It takes true dedication and commitment.  But if you can focus on loving yourself and taking care of yourself, then you will start to feel that you deserve better habits.  Once you feel you deserve them, then you will have the strength to truly change.  It's not easy but it's worth it.

Aren't you tired of feeling trapped?  Aren't you tired of not experiencing the joy of being free?  You deserve it and you can have it but you have to go get it.  No one is coming to save you.  No one is coming to take these addictions away from you.  It's time for you to look in the mirror and truly face these bad habits.  Be honest with yourself.  What is holding you back?  Name it.  Say it out loud.  Write it down.  And then make a plan to destroy it.  Because I promise, once you do, true freedom awaits!

Happiness Is For The Birds


It happens every morning.  Well before my alarm clock goes off.  Just as the sun is starting to come up, the birds outside my bedroom window lose their minds.  They start chirping and rustling around, so excited about a new day.  And while I am trying to get a few more hours of sleep, all I can hear is these happy little birds outside my window.  My initial reaction is anger.  I need my beauty sleep!  Don't the birds understand this?  But why does this annoy me so much?  Why can’t I join in on their joy fest?

It’s instinct for a bird to be happy in the morning.  They don’t have the human-made stresses that block their happiness.   They don't have to worry about whose turn it is to drive the carpool today.  They don't have to dread going to a dead end job that they hate.  They don't have to spend the day worrying about if they are overeating or not exercising enough.  When the sun comes up, they couldn’t be more excited to be alive.  Not a worry in the world.  All they care about is how great it is that the sun is coming up.  It's a new day.  New opportunities.  New worms to eat.  How exciting! 

As I started thinking more about it, I thought it was interesting that my first reaction was anger.  How could I be angry at something for being happy?  True, it was interrupting my oh-so-precious beauty sleep, but that was not their intention.  It's not like the birds are out there planning how to make my life miserable.  They just have such a strong sense of joy that they can't contain themselves.  They just have to let the world know how awesome it is to have this new day so they sing.  They shout.  They play.  They live! 

And this may sound a little corny, but I really want to be more like those birds.  I want to be excited to be alive every morning.  I want to see all the opportunities that await me when the sun starts coming up.  And I want to sing it out loud for everyone to hear, even those people that don't want to hear it.  Because it's been my experience that the people that don't want to hear it are the people that need to hear it the most.

I need to hear those birds every morning.  I need them there to remind me that today is going to awesome.  I'm alive and that's a gift.  I don't need to sleep the day away.  I need to get up and start singing.  Start shouting.  Start playing.  Start living!  And I need to tell the world that new opportunities and new worms await!

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How To Find True Joy

How To Find True Joy.png

Name your vice.  We all have at least one.  And while some are cute and innocent, others create a huge burden and destroy lives.  And most vices keep us from experiencing true joy.  They steal it away and leave us feeling empty and drained.  There is only one way to find our way back to feeling true joy.

You get to a certain point in life where you have to weigh what's really important.  You need to take good care of yourself but at the same time not torture yourself.  You need to have little things you can look forward to throughout your day.  Some of these can be good for us like going for a walk, talking to a friend, reading a good book, etc.  But sometimes our little things can be unhealthy choices like smoking cigarettes, drinking to excess, or overeating.  All of which I have personally struggled with.  The "joy" that we get from these unhealthy vices is not real joy.  It's temporary comfort and it will only get us so far and then leave us with nothing.

When we spend all your time and energy focusing on these temporary comforts, they become our only source of happiness.  We've all experienced those days where all we want to do is have a cigarette or a drink or a Big Mac and it will make everything better.  We become so obsessed with obtaining our little comfort that we start to ignore all the things that could actually give us true joy.  What's worse, is these little vices usually steal away our energy to pursue the things that would bring us true joy.  For example, the things in my life that bring me true joy are achieving goals, getting in shape, spending time with family and friends and creating music.  When I sit at home and eat pizza and ice cream all day, this temporary comfort steals away my energy and motivation to do anything else.  I feel bloated, lethargic and gross.  Now, instead of pursuing those things that would bring me real joy, I only have the energy to watch Netflix and go to bed.

The real joy comes when we conquer our addictions and achieve our goals.  It comes from changing our bad behaviors and embracing new ones that will guide us to victory.  Losing 20 pounds, that's true joy.  Spending time with people who love you, that's true joy.  Pursuing your dream job, that's true joy.  I know when I start to feel miserable it's because I am spending all my energy on temporary comforts and I don't have enough things in my life that are feeding me real joy.

I know change is hard.  And breaking bad habits takes time.  But while you are working on that, make sure you have lots of "joy givers" in your life every day.  Go outside.  Go for a walk  See more sunsets and sunrises.  Go to more movies.  Go to more concerts and Broadway shows.  Get involved in community events.  Get a dog.  And give money to everyone who asks.  Give more.  Love more.  And go achieve your goals.  That’s where we find true joy.  And eventually, you will be so busy with these true joy giving activities, that you will eventually not have any time or energy left for the ones that steal it away.  And I don't know about you, but that would make me pretty darn happy!

Knowing. Feeling. Doing


There is an invisible line.  It's a really big line.  Ok, it's more like a chasm that we must crossover to achieve greatness.  Not just greatness, but peace and joy.  It's a barrier.  A wall that keeps us from feeling the joy and success that we deserve.  I am talking about the great divide between knowing and feeling.

How many times have you found yourself in this situation?  You want to lose a few pounds.  It is no mystery how to do it.  We all know what to do.  Cut back on calories and increase your activity.  Stop drinking soda and start drinking more water.  It is not rocket science.  Ok, so we know what we need to do.  All we need to do now is do it.  That's the easy part, right?  Fast forward a month, and you are still right where you started because you can't get yourself to do the things you know you need to do.  What is that?  What is stopping you from doing what you need to do?

The Great Divide

There is a huge gap between what we know and what we feel.  The knowing is the easy part.  We can learn anything.  Just pick up a book, turn on your computer or ask a friend and you can learn anything you want.  Need to know the best way to take down your Christmas lights?  YouTube has a video for that.  But YouTube can't come over to your house and make you do it.  That is the first problem that creates The Great Divide:  a lack of accountability.  We love telling other people what to do, but we have a harder time listening to ourselves.  And when there is no one else around to keep us accountable, we can do whatever we want.  Or not do whatever we want.  But if we want to achieve greatness, if we want to achieve true joy, then we have to start keeping ourselves accountable.  Just as a friend would check in with you from time to time, you need to check in with yourself.  Is there anything you are letting slip by in your life?  It's time to keep yourself in check.

The second problem that creates The Great Divide is excuses.  We love to come up with reasons that our life is unfair.  We love to come up with facts and statistics that back up our claim that we just can't do something.  "I would really love to lose 30 lbs, but my whole family is overweight.  I just can't do it."  Ever heard yourself say that one before?  The truth is there is almost nothing we can't achieve with time and effort (maybe short of flying on our own or not paying our taxes).  Anything we tell ourselves to the contrary is a lie.  It's an excuse we use to let ourselves off the hook.  "If I believe I can't do something, then it's not my fault and I can stop trying and go back to eating cookies."  The answer to this one is simple:  stop making excuses.

The final problem that creates The Great Divide is a lack of commitment.  We say we want to do things all the time, but we never truly commit ourselves to it.  How many times have you seen a movie and you were inspired to do something great.  "I am going to go skydiving next week!"  But then by the time you leave the movie theater and get to your car, you've totally forgotten about your big goal.  This happens to all of us.  The thing that separates the doers from the wanna-doers, is commitment.  Those who make a promise to themselves and to those around them, tend to actually follow through.  And I'm talking big commitment here.  Set a specific goal and write it down.  Then make a specific plan of action and write it down.  Then do it!  Work your plan and follow through.  Hold tight to your commitment.  Make that commitment mean something.  Make it clear to the world and to yourself that when you say you are going to do something, you do it.  It doesn't matter how many times you failed.  It doesn't matter how many times you started and you gave up.  This time is different.  Because you have a goal, a plan and a commitment to yourself that you will not break. 

This chasm called The Great Divide has taken so many out and has killed so many dreams.  Don't let it do the same to you.  You have the knowledge you need.  Now is the time to cross over that big gap from knowing to feeling.  By keeping yourself accountable, not making any more excuses and making a real commitment to yourself and to the world, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.  And as you start to accomplish your goals, that is when you will start feeling it.  Once you start seeing success, your emotional side will start to take hold and your journey across The Great Divide will be complete!  Just remember to enjoy the other side once you get there.

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How To Get Out Of A Rut


I have been struggling lately.  I have been feeling frustrated, annoyed and agitated.  I feel like all the joy has been sucked out of my life.  Don't get me wrong, I know that I have an amazing life.  I am truly blessed with so many great relationships as well as opportunities, both personal and business.  I get a lot of satisfaction from the work I do with Soul Motivation Records.  But some of the other things in my life have become such a chore devoid of any real reward.  I feel like I am stuck in a rut.  Stuck in a cycle that I can't get out of.  Things I use to love have become things that I "have" to do instead of things that I "get" to do.  What happened?  What changed?  When did everyday life become so mundane?  I've been thinking a lot about this as well as confiding in a few close friends, and I have widdled the problem down to two things I need more of in my life.


I am a workaholic and I definitely have an obsessive personality.  When I get focused on something, I spend all of my time on that thing.  And that's not always bad.  That is how I became an accomplished musician.  It took years of obsession, sitting at a piano, listening to a song over and over again, and learning it note by note.  Or hours and hours of listening to great piano players and then figuring out how to play what they played.  This same drive then turned into an obsession with Soul Motivation Records.  I am on a mission to reach the world with a  message of positivity and possibility.  I want my business to thrive as well as to help other people thrive.  It is my new obsession and I love it.  It takes extreme focus to develop any skill, so I'm thankful that I have this quality.

But the bad part about obsession is we tend to focus all of our energy on one thing and let a whole lot of other things lack.  We become unbalanced and not very well-rounded human beings.  By focusing on music and business, I have let some other very important parts of my life get away from me.  Mainly my physical health, my spiritual health, and my social life.  I have not been spending enough time exercising or getting outside.  I have not been going to church or having enough spiritual conversations with people.  I have not been doing anything just for fun.  I can't tell you the last time I even went out and saw a movie.  And I have so many amazing people in my life that I just don't spend enough time with.  This is a big part of the reason I have been so frustrated lately.  My life is out of balance and the only way to fix that is to be sure to pay attention to the things that are lacking and make it a point to improve in these areas.  According to Zig Ziglar's "Wheel Of Life," there are the seven areas of life we all need to be focusing on.  Take a look at these seven areas and ask yourself if you truly putting enough time into all seven.



When we start to feel agitated and frustrated, this is often a sign that we need to make a change in our life.  And I'm talking big change.  Leap of faith change.  Sink the ship change.  I think we all get to a point in our lives where things get stagnant and we know we cannot continue on the same path.  And the angst and frustration is God's way, or our mind's way, of telling us it is time to change.  We can fight it as long as we want, but that nagging feeling will never leave until we finally make a change. 

Change is hard.  As much as we need it sometimes, we spend our whole life fighting it.  It is way easier to continue to go to a job that you hate, then it is to go into your boss's office and quit, gather up your things, say goodbye to everyone, go home and explain what you did to your family, start searching for another job, write your resume, go to interviews, etc.  The change part just sounds like so much work so we make excuses to let ourselves off the hook like "Oh my job isn't that bad," or "Nobody would ever hire me anyway."  With the help of our excuses, we just accept our fate and continue down our miserable path.  But what a waste of a life.  If you feel the pull to make a change, you owe it to yourself and the world to see it through!  Yes, change is hard, but amazing things await on the other side.  You truly can be happy.  You can have joy in your life.  You can have a job that makes you feel fulfilled.  Not only CAN you have these things but you DESERVE these things.  So don't run from change, embrace it.  Dream about the life you want to live and then make the changes necessary to make your dreams a reality.

You don't have to just accept that life is unfair and we are meant to be miserable.  This is a lie that you or possibly those around you are telling you.  If you are feeling frustrated or agitated, there is a reason.  And I'd be willing to bet it is one of these two things.  Take a serious look at your life.  Do you have balance in your life?  Is there something you really need to change but have been avoiding?  Now is the time to face these things.  That is exactly what I am doing and I am seeing hope.  There are some big changes on the horizon for me.  It is time to find some balance and to call up the courage to make some big decisions in my life.  It may get a little crazy but I am ready.  And I will keep you posted on all the changes as they come.  I know there is a way out of this frustrating rut I have been in.  And that is truly exciting!  Come join me and let's break out of this rut together.  Amazing things await us both!

Just Say No!


Did you know that you can say no to things?  Even more, did you know that you don't have to feel guilty about it?  I don't know if you are like me, but I am a people pleaser.  I want everyone to like me.  And in order to make that happen, I feel like I need to say yes to a lot of things.  Yes to lunch dates.  Yes to cover someone at a gig.  Yes to go to some function I don't even want to go to.  I will say yes as long as you promise to like me.  That sounds really pathetic when you say it out loud but I think a lot of us do this.  But guess what?

People will still like you if you say no.

You heard me right!  Most people will not hate you just because you say no to them.  As a matter of fact, they will most likely respect you more for standing up for what you need.  And if anyone decides to hate you because you stood up for yourself, then is that really a person you want in your life anyway?  I would suggest saying good riddance to that person and go hang out with your real friends.  Genuine people who truly care for you will usually understand when you need to say no.  And if they don't, explain to them why you are saying no.  Tell them what you need. 


This is the most important part.  You have to be honest.  Do not make up an excuse like you have to pick up the dry cleaning or Thursday is "shower day."  Respect your friendship enough to tell them the truth and they will respect you for it.

There is another point to be made here.  Everyone does not need to like you.  You need stop worrying about keeping everyone else happy and start making sure YOU are.  Because a miserable person cannot bring joy into anyone's life.  Real happiness starts with loving and caring for yourself first.  You have to first take care of you so then you have the energy to care for others.

So relax.  You are not going to lose all your friends from a "no" here and there.  People love you because you are awesome and they will remember you are awesome whether you are hanging out with them or you are at home taking your weekly shower.  We all have different levels of commitments we can make and follow through with.  Know your level and stick to it.  Don't be afraid to say "no" so you can say "yes" to the things you need most.

P.S.  A really great book to read about the power of saying no is "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who struggles with overcommitment.  It is a game changer!

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You're Rich! (And You Don't Even Know It)


You are rich.  Did you know that?  Like filthy, stinking rich.  If you live indoors, you're rich.  If you have a bed to sleep on at night, you're rich.  If you can afford heat in your home, you're rich.  If you have indoor plumbing, you're rich.  If you ate today, you're rich.  If you have a dollar in your pocket, you're rich.  Your one-bed apartment is a palace!  You live in a mansion!  Did you know that?

There are millions of people in the world who have no home, no bed, no heat, no food, no dollar.  

That makes you one of the elite.  You are wealthy.  Somehow along the way through all of life's struggles, you have forgotten that.  We all do.  We are constantly wanting for what we don't have, yet we have so much already.  More than we could ever use.  If you want to feel rich, learn to be content with what you have.  Your life is amazing and you don't even know it.  You are free.  You are fed.  You are warm.  You are rich. 

You are a king or a queen.  Ruling from on high, waving your expensive bus pass for all to see, dining on only the best foods that Shop 'N Save has to offer.  You are entertained nightly by this exclusive club called Netflix that you watch on your magic movie screen that you have right in your house!  And when you have had enough of all your luxuries, your private room awaits with a fluffy, warm bed only fit for royalty and you get to drift off to thoughts of the amazing life you get to live. 

So take a minute to truly appreciate the amazing life you have.  Look around at all your riches and be thankful.  But remember to rule on high with compassion and love.  Never forget the ones who don't have these things.  Help those who are less fortunate.  Be generous with all that you have.  And you may just start to truly appreciate the extravagant life you get to live!

My Opinion Matters Most


I am constantly bombarded with opinions.  Aren't you?  Everywhere you go, someone is telling you what to do and how to do it.  If you say you are going on a diet, the person next to you is a suddenly a nutrition expert and is quick to tell you all the things you shouldn't eat.  If you say you want to save more money, someone will be quick to tell you that it's impossible to do that in the current economy.  Everyone seems to be an expert with no qualifications.  Everyone is quick to tell you how to live your life, but who is telling them how to live theirs?

I have lots of opinions.  Strong opinions.  But sometimes it's hard to make them known in such a noisy world.  Everyone is talking and nobody is listening.  It's incredibly frustrating.  It seems like only the loudest, most obnoxious people are the ones to get their opinions heard.  But what about the rest of us?

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not afraid to speak up for myself.  I am not afraid to talk in front of people.  I do it every night.  But sometimes I don't have the energy to try to be louder than everyone else.  That is where it gets hard for me.  How do I make my opinion's known when everyone is talking and no one is listening?

Music.  That's how.

I think this was the biggest reason I got into music when I was a kid.  I could write a song and when I was performing it, people had to listen to me.  Finally, people would have to listen to my opinions and I could stop listening to everyone else's for three and a half minutes.  It is an amazing gift to be able to express yourself in an artistic way, whether it's music, painting, writing, speaking or whatever else.  Art is how the quiet people get their opinions heard.  With music, I've been able to express myself and get my ideas out into the world.  And as great as that has been, I need to be able to get it out in other ways as well.  I need to not just let everyone be an "expert" in my life, always telling me what to do.  I need to make my own decisions.  I need to believe in my own opinions.  I need to be quick to make decisions and very slow to change them. 

I am allowed to have my own opinion.  Matter of fact, my opinion matters most!  Just like yours should matter most to you.  If you are letting everyone else speak louder into your own life than you are letting yourself speak, there is a problem.  It is great to have close friends in your life that you trust and that can help you find answers.  I'm not saying to never take advice from anyone.  But we need to make sure the people we are listening to are people who love us and have our best interest in mind.  If they don't, then they are just making noise and their opinions really don't matter at all.

Stand up for yourself.  Be proud of your beliefs.  And hold true to your opinions.  Nobody else is you.  No one else sees the world through your eyes.  So your opinions matter most.  And when the world gets tired of talking, they will be ready to listen.