*As a note, I’ve been skydiving eleven times and engaged in some amazing cliff jumping, but would never recommend these activities for others. They were thrilling for me and skydiving is so peaceful when your chute is open; The whole world as far as the eye can see becomes vivid and vibrant, at your touch, yet far below. I survived in one piece. This is the song:
I recorded this about fourteen years ago (Around 2006). People like it. A lot. I have recorded no other full songs and was only jamming a few times per year back then. With the rest of my life surging forward, I have had less time to play although I do keep in touch with my close friend here and will one day before too long jam again, and make something good happen.
I sang off the top of my head, with very few memorized lyrics. Above is the recording, with my friends also improvising on electric guitar and drums. Lee Matuga, on guitar, also does some of the paintings that I post pics of, with my work on this site. Adam is on drums. The transcribed lyrics are below.
This is one of my only poems with course language. Years later I shared the recording with brand new colleagues. Mistake. What may be the bigger mistake is the reaction and interpretation that they have had.
I think everyone gets the environmental pollution theme. People may not have understood the psychological content as well.
I’m sorry if some parts of the lyrics are disturbing to you. It is heavy metal poetry and drama. Not all real life. It is not depraved. If that is how people have interpreted it, then shame on them. I think it is the opposite. Get your mind out of the gutter!
It is about understanding existence within the world we live and in our relationships. How do we succeed?
“Constant improvement of our soul,
Through passing and failing and changing.”
For the last challenge,
You will have an ice cold shower…
An ice cold shower?
An ice cold shower…
Freezing cold winter rain causing subliminal
Burning hot summer heat, wipes you off your frickin feet,
Translucent white of the ashes,
In the heart of the city,
Industrial pipes billowing smoke clouds that drip on you every day,
And they burn through your skin,
And your place in the city is
just too close to the city,
Watch the rain as it comes down fast,
You can see the faces of the under-known,
Watch the clouds as they pass on by,
You can see the faces of the other silent
On the other silent planet,
With the other silent,
Traces of time on the edge of your moment,
Makes you feel like you shouldn’t have ever known it,
I can’t believe what has happened…
To the place where I used to be in the most,
Desperate change to the need in your reach,
The conversation having you, is having you beat,
You can’t understand why they’re looking down on you like that,
Looking up into the sky,
It makes me wonder why,
I’m thinking all the time that there is going to be some saving grace,
And you just let the reflections of God,
given to you,
And let you receive,
beneficial [bona fide] bullshit,
Pinned down by the mean man,
The one that’s up above,
Staring at you like you are just a little piece of work,
That needs some seasoning,
You frickin little jerk,
And then you see the idle eyes,
In the brain
and in the skies,
You know that he is really,
Connected to you,
Through some passage,
Through some thought,
Through some subconscious pathway,
How the hell do you expect to receive it by standing on your
Your porch is underground,
Oh taste the fresh,
Or just confess good,
I want to see Frankenstein, growing in this,
But that I can tell ya,
That I can tell
what I say:
He’s chasing the other dream,
He has thoughts and he has feelings,
She is right and she’s believing:
No one can be cooking more than me,
Oh we have iodized, idealized precision,
And we just know that one thing to do is every day,
Make your decision,
Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er,
Pitter patter, it’s pouring outside,
That’s not pitter patter –
That’s rapid torrential thumping,
It’s raining outside, but it’s kind of intermittent,
Yesterday’s massive storm left me drenched,
It seems the calm can be refreshed,
and we can leave the daily mess,
But you were twisting your words like a wrench,
Enter, enter, intermittent intimate,
What I say,
Well it’s nice out outside,
And it’s finally subsided,
And the calm can be refreshed every day,
Is seems the skin that is burning
Is from your yearning,
And we make it through just this way,
I’m getting, Intermittent,
I meant, I meant
It all baby,
Constant refusal is kind of amusing,
I can’t stand it any fucking more,
You want to get down with the sound of your feeling,
But there’s nowhere to go when you’re sore,
Chase the ace…
Oh, she’s sweet…
Breath of the day,
How ya feeling?
That’s alright – How are you?
We all doing alright just to know that you’re good,
I have decided to start a writing project. This could turn out to be something for blogs, an all-out book, or something towards a university degree… I will have to see where it takes me.
This introduction took me a few hours to write, but a lifetime to prepare for.
Update: I have written Chapter 1 and moved on to the Chapter 2, but I have decided to hold off publishing until I have more of the book assembled! Still, the introduction here is a quick glance at my history and philosophy, that you should find interesting enough?!!
Balancing Mood for Greater Productivity: Optimism and Empathy – Strategies to Manage Life
By Mike Scott
Intense productivity and good health derive from the ability to balance mood. I know this from experience. I want to share with you what I have learned about balancing high levels of energy such as mania and hypomania. I have had success by turning these potentially troublesome moods into a consistent calm attitude from which I have been able to generate productivity in the workplace and at home.
You might ask, “In what way has this guy been productive?”. It is about perspective. I have fought through one heck of a lot. Perseverance became a major factor that enabled me to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree with a psychology major while I fought off manic and mixed episodes in bipolar disorder for the duration of my undergraduate studies. I was hospitalized several times.
I have not had an episode since 2001. Within a decade of taking my degree, I completed my electrical apprenticeship. I worked for close to fifteen years as an electrician. I spent four years as an electrical foreman in data-wiring and had multiple, hard-earned successes in large construction projects. Again: determination got me through. I sustained injuries and worked through pain for many years. Due to the physical dangers for me in the field and the industry demands that threatened to compromise my goals in mental health, I left the electrical trade. Years before this, I had started working on my goals in psychology again.
In 2011 I submitted a paper on goal-pursuit. I was told by a prominent researcher from a top U.S. university that a PhD should be within my reach. By the time I left electrical work in 2015, I had already started casual hours in support work for mental health. I have had success supporting adults, youth and children with special needs for over five years now. This can be gritty work, with emotional and physical challenges. I also coached over a dozen sports teams and won nine championships as a coach in minor league baseball. Yes, this is just kid’s stuff to some, but with new responsibilities in the new millennium and learning from my problems in the 1990’s, I have found better ways to balance mood… and generate productivity.
I suffered a lot from episodes over those years, and I learned how to stop escalating into mania. I did this by managing physical health, taking medication for mental health, and using all sorts of cognitive strategies. New insights allowed me to manage triggers that otherwise would have set me off. They are no longer triggers. My newly balanced and calm demeanor has helped turn many difficult situations into productive ones. This has been noted by family, friends, co-workers, clients and supervisors. My energy is about patience and reason. At the same time, I have electricity. I quietly buzz with productivity, and systematically accomplish goals. I find grounding by getting tasks done and discovering new perspectives to balance mood while appealing to common sense, spirituality and humor. The certain edge that I have, landed me in research with the University of British Columbia. In 2016 I was published as a co-author for a study on “Effective self-management strategies in bipolar disorder”. The team’s research has been respected by the government of Canada with an award of distinction.
Meanwhile, I have worked through challenges in my home-life successfully. I went through a divorce. It was a mutual split. I remain close with my kids and they have adjusted. I do everything I can for them. I gave my ex-wife the home, to settle quickly, and to provide for them. Almost a year after moving out, I became romantically involved with my new partner, and in 2014 I moved in with her, her two kids, and her father. I work extremely hard for all parts of my family, and we are doing considerably well. The four kids get along and are making progress in school and in new occupations. My partner and I are very happy together. I work steady, take care of the kids, handle most of the household chores and help my wife’s dad run what is basically a small hobby farm. All these experiences are ways that I have been productive, while avoiding mania or depression.
Now, if you are still interested, I hope to tell you how I have most effectively balanced mood, to create productivity over my lifetime: Being confident and kind helps me find more productivity! Optimism. Empathy. It’s simple. It seems like a no-brainer! Why can’t people get this? For me, being optimistic increases productivity because it builds a bias towards confidence to achieve. Then, more often: we achieve. Being considerate increases productivity because if we help others, others are more likely to help us! It seems straight-forward. There is something else about caring, when the world gets involved… and the universe. There are so many surprises and challenges that every situation is different. Optimism and empathy have enabled me to have many successes in life.
There is one complex discussion that plays a big role in this book and it may be hard for some people to appreciate initially. I will be using many of my own experiences to describe the psychology which I have based my operations-plan on for most of my entire life. I will explain and support why I feel that some mechanism occurs, and events can unfold, perhaps like karma or synchronicity and in some ways, it can work for us. By having respect for life, such as in procedures in goal-pursuit and in creating routine or ceremony: Life rewards us with serendipity – as if hard work and good intentions have dynamics that are stronger when we recognize and respect value beyond the surface. I find this connection to be very reassuring. It is about visualization of outcomes to some extent. It keeps me level in difficult situations. I will point to a direct correlation between certain moods and productivity in this type of transcendental work, and how this is enhanced by confidence, care and respect. This is where I would like to explain balance from, such that you might attain the same sense of stability too, even amidst possible turmoil.
We balance our life towards goals. Social feedback and the environment can aid or blockade goal-pursuit. Our own belief-system and how we react, is where all the dynamics start. On top of the most essential building blocks of physical and mental health, respect for life may determine mood more than anything else. We can build moods of productivity with optimism and empathy. I will explain how.
Boldly see blossoms
become obscured and
deformed by lies
Weeds set free by powerful breath
Certain crops can’t survive
Force confuses enough
Blindly burying truth so deep
New growth won’t rise
unexpectedly helpful truth
Once more. I wrote this about twenty years ago. It is about the struggle with art and mood. The relevance here is that I am working hard to find ways to improve people’s quality of life. This is the main reason why I started this blog. So far it’s been fun, anxious, and sometimes harsh! I am working on revising a few ideas. Good times!
This poem draws on some very deep feelings and some monumental challenges. The ‘resolution’ is more realistic: find shelter, try to be relaxed, be optimistic, have friends, and be good to yourself. Written around 1992.
Again – the dialectic, the opportunity to share ideas, can help solve a lot of problems: boiling down wild ideas into pragmatic truths. Until we are content and the problems that we challenge are solved – we persevere. Taking time to relax is important. This can be a luxury, but learning to relax in difficult situations can enable a steady balance that can encourage success.
Thinking about things, outside of this world,
Could have understood it, but now I’m unsure,
Sky’s clouded over – life’s ways become hazy,
Lights fading away, today’s driving me crazy,
Looking up above at a wet grey sky,
So much sadness and I wonder why,
Rain starts coming, down, down, again,
Soaked to the bone, it’s pouring rain,
Thinking so hard, mud slides in torrential rain,
Digging for some answers, dug deadly insane,
I made an advance, I know I made a good impression,
Hardly learning my lesson, they say maybe manic depression,
A cycle of life, a system easy enough to see,
Situation goes to hell, don’t know what to believe,
Thought I had a foothold, but in confusion caught,
Slip-sliding fast, no support for my thoughts,
Slip-sliding too fast…
A thought flashes brightly in the night of my mind,
Together but all alone,
Try to run for cover, in confusion and fear,
Scared senseless by thunder’s fierce tone,
Falling down, help! When will I make it out?
I’m up to my neck in a pool of doubt,
Sinking down, down,
Deep down into despair,
Listen to what I say: it’s not too much to bear,
Too much to think,
Here comes the weight of the world landing on my shoulders:
Split by enlightening,
nowhere to run and hide, my legs won’t walk,
Like steel rain,
on my brain,
Pain beats ice down on my head,
Wounds still bleeding wounds, already done bled,
Talking bloody blue-sky after the storm we had?
Freezing up cold all hopes that have gone bad,
Thinking about things inside of this world,
May understand, in fact I’m pretty sure,
Blue skies overdue after the storm we had,
People who find shelter, can always be glad,
Looking up above at a bright blue sky,
So many people see it at any time,
Here comes the weather, for another long day,
Exploding with energy, every single last ray,
Thinking slowly, from a different perspective,
It is just within reach, found a new objective,
I made the decision, hell made a good impression,
Finally learned the lesson, I can fight off depression,
Some might say, ‘opposites attract’. In today’s world social situations can be very diverse and people can be brought together for a vast number of reasons. People meet through random encounters, through work, school, on-line or many other types of association.
The following poem seems to be fairly self-explanatory to me. I think it may reflect a very common relationship in modern society. I would strive for more consistency, and it may be difficult to exist like this, but I think it is pretty normal. I think that if love is found, perseverance is favourable. It is also important to have awareness of when a relationship becomes too hard to handle, and if it is having a negative impact on you. If you are living with negativity, this may arise from a lack of understanding, a backlash of your own behaviour, or also from the significant other’s behaviour. It is important to stand up for your health. If your health is being threatened – it may be necessary to challenge the status quo; Recognize the needs of others, but also assert your own needs.
Relationships can be very complex. It would seem that love needs to be fiercely nurtured to promote health in a long-term relationship. Open channels of communication, awareness of each other’s needs and willingness to compromise can be a good set of tools to work with. When making decisions, I try to do this in a calm mood and always use reason – even when emotion also plays a role (or especially when emotion plays a role). If we try to see the net outcome of continuing a relationship, and see more benefits than costs, both emotionally and in terms of the health of all individuals affected by the relationship: Perseverance is the best thing. Sometimes we do have to look out for number one, but I also try to take all others into account when making decisions – within reason.
The Pace (Intermittent Intimate)
It’s raining today, but it’s kind of intermittent,
While yesterday’s massive storm left me drenched,
Even the calm does not refresh,
After the moments of stress,
You were twisting your words like a wrench,
Sticking in my head, where you have thrown them,
Where they have gone and still wait,
In my heart, you could total,
Where they have gone and soon fade
A ballot cast by the voter,
Rumbling low like a motor,
There’s a pain in my head, but it’s kind of intermittent,
While yesterday’s massive thirst has been quenched,
Now the peace is not quiet,
But like an internal riot,
I am twisting around in this trench,
You do not know, that you have carved it,
Where I’ve gone and still twist,
And I am still starving,
But the inner strengths never missed,
Just sometimes a target,
(really, just hardly?)
Roll with it,
Roll with it,
Always keep up with the pace,
It’s just another night, and the calm is intermittent,
This is a poem about optimism. I believe that optimism can contribute to success. In psychology we learned about a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. Doesn’t it seem like a good idea to be optimistic when these occur?
I have found that certain things can encourage optimism, such as: sunshine, looking up to the stars on a clear night and/or sitting by the waterside, like a river, lake or ocean. A connection with nature often helps calm the nerves and even promotes optimism. If that time is endangered: this can be fuel to challenge troubles.
Some people are hardwired to have the desire to persevere and maintain or regain optimism. Even a walk in the park, a glimpse of the mountains, or gazing at the sky can help one gain strength by proving that nature will persevere… Well then: So can I.
I think anytime is a good time to be optimistic. I am not saying that I always have unquestionable optimism, but I always strive for it.
Premonition Now – Positively Change
When the season guides all life’s dealing,
There will never be uncertain feelings,
But the recent changes in the weather,
Finds it lighter at the time of day and…
Another passage, you are thinking of it,
There is not a second you can ever doubt it,
You have changed – they are changing too, so,
Just about the time you make your move, no:
Pondering unreal things,
Wishing it would finally happen:
Know that it is always
Sparkling in the water,
Jumping in, diving in,
Knowing only the stream as we are flowing,
Cold and moving, strong and proving,
There is always change,
When the timing’s pushing on your healing,
It might tend to send you through the ceiling,
And the recent changes from the mood swing,
Makes it harder, as if we can’t be choosing,
Every moment you are thinking of it,
There is not a minute you can ever doubt it,
They must change while you are changing too, so,
Just about the time you break on through, know:
A little ray of sunshine makes you happier than
The cloudy crowd that’s all around,
and dull and dim and on the ground,
Days fallen over your shoulder made you feel so sky-high,
Chance you couldn’t get hold of, made you feel like nighttime.
When the climate’s right upon your feeling,
It would even seem like you are stealing,
But the truth is: you are now the real thing,
Just like when you accidentally motioned:
Provision for good feelings,
Envisioning new real things,
Wishing success is happening:
Know that it is always
Sparkling in the water,
Jumping in, diving in,
Knowing only the stream as we are flowing,
Cold and moving, a song that’s soothing,
There is positively change,
A little ray of starlight makes you happier than
The darkened space that’s all around,
and full and real and the only sound,
One fallen over your shoulder made you feel so sky high,
One that you got a hold of, makes now the right time,
Jumping in, strive to win, following the river that is flowing,
I want to emphasize a point in maintaining optimism and not falling into despair. Part of this is about learning to harness the power of the future, and of possible future joy. As I mentioned, joy may be extremely rare, coming up – once in a blue moon… but this is all in perspective. Joy can be as simple as a conversation with a friend or a feeling of peace in art or beauty. It is often necessary to endure situations until we get to the next contented moment, and find that next joy. In some cases mindfulness may be best set on the future, with reminders from the past of what is good, and what we can expect. I pray that we all have something, however simple and temporary that we can look forward to: a drink to quench our thirst, a vision to behold, or the conversation of a friend or family to look forward to. Even our own creativity and thought can help keep us find content. It is important to persevere till we get to that moment. Enjoy the present, but if that is not possible, there is still something ahead that makes endurance worth waiting for.
The following poem was written in the mid to late nineties. My recent conversation brings me back to it.
Got to choose your next move,
Got to do what you think
Is really going to make a difference,
In your little world,
Plush carpets and amber lights,
A ride that’s free in many ways,
Cushions on a couch save me,
Living hell for many days,
How did I pass my time today,
Hard cold floors and bright lights,
My mind is cool most always.
Patterns on the walls they change,
In never-ending hallways,
How can I pass my time this way?
I’m climbing through. I’m climbing out,
It’s only me, just with everything else,
My soul within everything else,
Got to groove as you proceed,
Got to do what you think
Is really going to take you all the way,
To the next contented moment,
Tight with my fretful friend,
Fingers dance on steel to play,
Notes will tell the mood of life,
Come back for another day,
How can we pass our time today?
Sitting on groves of green grass,
Trying to cure the grey day,
My blood thirst for red wine,
Just to pass the night away,
How did I pass my time today?
Climbing free, climbing out,
It’s just me, with everyone else,
We’re so close to climbing out,
It is only work, forget everything else,
The soul without everything else,
Change of pace and growing old,
Forget about the distant days,
Still need to understand the soul,
And have something good to say,
How did you pass your time today?
Finally free, finally out,
The soul is one and everything else,
Finally free, finally out,
The soul is one just with everything else!
The conclusion is a bit finite, but I really feel that it is whole. You need to have something good to say about every day: My couch was comfortable, patterns on the wall were interesting, and in my case, I played guitar. I recommend hobbies and mindfulness in simple pleasure that one can draw on in times when it is difficult to easily endure. It is important to be aware of potential joy as we are experiencing it. It is also necessary in times of stress, as a means of coping: to remember that there are always other moments to look forward to, sometimes just by looking inside.