Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Next Chapter - I've Lost My Yoda

Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it. 
— Eckhart Tolle

I spent earlier this week doing exactly as my teacher would of wanted me to do, listening. Since my best friend and kindred soul Thomas passed, I've been rediscovering conversations and moments we had together these last few months.  One thing I know for sure looking back is that he was at peace and that he was ready to evolve to the next level.  It was his most important quest at the moment.  Every discussion centered around his spiritual development.  Even his last conversation was about the meaning of life.

Intuitively, at the soul level, I am certain he knew his time to depart us was near.  Too many of us now see the subliminal signs.  We are grateful for our talks with our friend, with the clarity that we gave each other this last year as he waited for a bone marrow transplant.  He had a match but sadly, the match didn't want to do it.  He even found peace with that.  Can you imagine carrying that with you, the knowing that you had a chance at life but facing your own mortality anyway?  Yes, Thomas taught us each so much.  No matter what he was facing or what we were facing, he always had a calmness about him.  His favorite two words as shared by his best friend Brian Lewis last night, "no worries."

This week started with those words in my head.  Monday began with an "unplanned by us but planned by Thomas" diversion.  By the time the day ended, I was in utter awe at what came to pass.  Thank you Lynn and Josh for being a part of it.  In fact, the entire week has had its interesting moments.  All of us have been in contact him since he's crossed over in one form or another and to be able to do that is a beautiful thing in and of itself.

Today's share at Knowing is about the perspective of this loss in my life and in the evolution of Knowing (The Blog).  As I said earlier, Thomas was a great sharer of the knowledge of life.  Many a deep and philosophical discussions occurred between us.  In reflecting upon these things, my best friend Josh whom I spent the afternoon with Monday had this wonderful observation.  

In the Star Wars films, Luke had to face the loss of his mentors in order to graduate to the next level.  Not once, but twice in his own journey in the films.  This is what is happening to all of us whom Thomas touched.  We have lost our Yoda in the physical form.  Thomas taught us all that we needed to receive so he has moved on.  It's now our journey to carry it forward into life and remember.   You see, in Star Wars, when a Jedi master becomes one with The Force they die.  Their spirit becomes part of "The Force."  Once the master has joined The Force they can then return in spirit form to guide their apprentice.  Honestly, for our fellow Star Wars geek Thomas, Josh couldn't of used a better analogy.  Josh got to share this story when Thomas's tribe gathered together to celebrate him last night after the funeral.  It was deep, it was raw, and it was moving.

So yes, I've lost Yoda.  We've all lost our Yoda.  Yet, this is not the end.
No worries.


Copyright ©2013 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Following One's Way - The Teacher

The act of being brave has paid off a few times over these past 38 years.  Life often has a reciprocity of said things.  By trusting and following a new path in life, I left behind the known that wasn't working in my life for the unknown of endless possibilities.  I was at a crossroads in 2009.  By fall 2010 I'd created this sacred place of renewal, of hope and of strength going forward.  This was the time period when Knowing started as well.

Although I was broken into a few pieces following years of mental anguish, I was whole enough to carry forward, to remember who I was before that pain.  That light pushed out the darkness and once I was free again to thrive, I started making choices that would serve my highest good.  In that like attracts like, it was only fitting that it is at this time that my closest friend would appear and become my greatest teacher in remembering.  That move away from what wasn't serving me into creating a healthy environment of what would serve me set into motion a series of events that have given me some of the best years of my adult life.  As a result of that about face on the journey, I made choices that would allow me to cross paths one night with my first teacher of the metaphysical.

I was at a function for work, an exercise in commitment to myself to leave no stone unturned.  I was doing as I was asked to do, plugging in and playing team.  Interesting about that evening was that I almost didn't go.  I remember sending a message stating that I would be arriving late and apologizing for the same.  I'd been at my mom's in Rappahannock that afternoon helping her and my grandfather.  A perk of living where I live is that I can be there when it matters within minutes.  Just a desire to give back that which I've been given.

I arrived late, walked in and towards the front of the room to have a seat in front of someone I'd not seen there before.  That person is Thomas Grant, IV.  A young man who introduced himself after the meeting and whom I would develop a working relationship with in the near future.  I remember sitting there as if it was just hours ago, feeling his energy, knowing him from before our physical form.  I've met very few people this lifetime who I resonate with from the first moment we see each other but when it has happened, they've always played a roll they were meant to have.  Thomas was one of those people. 

From that chance meeting, a friendship would build that would warrant itself one of the bests of this lifetime.  I say chance because it was an odd night for him to get out of his regular work in the city and make it out here for an evening event.  Oh yes, chance.  The one thing I've learned really doesn't exist.  :) 

All because I dared to jump.  All because I chose to believe.

Yesterday we suddenly lost my friend Thomas Grant IV.  He was my confidant, a frequent fixture in my home.  He was the trusted kind of friend, the kind you don't even question giving an extra house key to.  Once a colleague and eventually a brother.  A light of wisdom, a seeker of truth and a lover of music.  A man who despite his long physical suffering strived to grow and become all that he could.

His mission was to be and by becoming he passed along what he learned on the path.  The last year of his life we took it to another level, meeting each week to do focused work in expanding our highest selves.  Who I am today as a person, a writer and an intuitive is connected deep in the knowledge gained through our friendship and our weekly metaphysical class.  Who he was when he departed was a man of deep gratitude to all who served as his teachers as well.  That was the beauty of our friendship, of our times together.  Everything we exchanged was electric and of a magnitude unlike any other.  The people in our circle are just as in tune to what we're doing.  We will each carry his torch forward through the pain of the physical loss and remember all that we learned because of our bond.  The work is not done.  Thomas is simply now participating from the other side and in the end, that may be his greatest gift yet.

Indeed, this is just the beginning.  Not just for this chapter but for all things Knowing going forward.  I've longed to bring to you the lessons of class, of what truths we are being enlightened to, of the lessons we are learning in our own journeys.  Thomas always supported this and was a large part of the tech side of my vision here as well.  So, as I give thanks to my teacher and best friend expect to get to know him more going forward.  There's so much to write about and share.  Tonight is about the gratitude, about taking the love and the lessons forward.  Tonight is about saying thank you to my fellow teacher.  I will forever be indebted to him.

In closing this introduction to Thomas, I want to share with you what we touched on in our last class.  It was a follow up to a prior discussion about the Hawaiian saying Ho'oponopono.  It literally means (as written from my notes) "I love you. I'm sorry.  Please forgive me. Thank you."  I have included a hyper-link at the word Ho'oponopono above so that you can learn more.  Another seminar of the speaker at the link was actually one of my last shares from Thomas as well.  Incredibly grateful to be able to share it now with you.

I love you.

Thomas making us laugh after class
as we celebrated Josh's birthday this summer.

Copyright ©2013 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lessons Learned & Taught - Everything You Need to Know

Within the struggle you discover the appreciation.  
Within the darkness you learn to want the light.  
Within the broken pieces of what was, you realize what wasn't.  

Each experience here has a purpose.  Each person has a gift.  Sometimes the people in our lives and the presents they share aren't exactly peachy.  Sometimes, yes, they stink!  Yet they are still there as part of our experience, to serve our greater goods.  Why?  Because they're teaching us lessons.  They're teaching us to appreciate and recognize our blessings.  If it wasn't for the bad apples in the bushel of life we'd never truly appreciate the good ones.

Each of us go through trials and tribulations; some of us more so than others.  We all understand at some point what grief is.  We all know what it is to feel loss and to know love. We all desire to be acknowledged, to be heard and to be respected.  The core of who we are wants nothing more than serenity.  When we feel off, when we feel out of balance, it can take its toll.  It can manifest itself by way of illness, emotional distress or misery just to name a few.  

Think about it.  Is whatever it is that you're holding onto worth that toll?  Is the being stuck in the past, in the what wasn't or what was but for a little while worth it?  Why rob yourself from all that you can create now by continuing to allow it to have a hold on you?  

What we experience isn't our identity.  It's just knowledge.  It's what we do with that knowledge that becomes our identity.

See the secret there?  It's in the choice.  The choice to hold onto those thoughts that don't serve your greater good.  The choice to know better, want better and deserve better.  The choice to let go.  The choice to be present in the here and now.  The choice to shine.

My life, your life, their life; we all have a place here to shine.  Never underestimate your roll in the big picture of someone else's life.  Never take for granted all of the players acting out their roll in yours.  After all, the way I see it, we picked them and they picked us so we have no choice but to look upon them and say to ourselves "thank you." Remember that.  I love you.

Copyright ©2013 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lessons of Love & The Life of a Centenarian - A Tribute to Grandpa Sevino


To come together, to celebrate and pay tribute to a life well lived for 100 years is a monumental occasion that very few get to enjoy.  Today we get to relish in that experience.  My grandfather Sevino is, without a doubt, one of the greatest men I've ever had the pleasure to get to know.  A first generation American whose parents Francesca and Louis came here from Italy, he survived a young New York City childhood before the family moved to Connecticut.  That's where his love of all things Yankees started after all, in the big apple.  They say you can take a boy out of NYC but you'll never take NYC out of the boy.  For the last 90 plus years he's proved that each season of baseball.

(Pictured with his Father's Day gift, a Yankees 162 book authored by a colleague of mine.)

As I prepared for today, I spent a lot of time thinking about my 38 years sharing this space with my grandfather. Smiles and tears of joy always flood me as I create, revise and perfect this blog.  As with many others in my family, I've been anticipating this milestone and preparing to enjoy it with all of you for some time now. Everyone who knows me in real life or who gets to know me through reading what's published understands that I truly appreciate the family we have.  The pinnacle of that family is the man we celebrate this weekend, Sevino Joseph Mozzochi.

As we counted down the years and months to turning 100, we've laughed many a times at his anticipation of his Presidential letter.  He's been looking forward to its arrival about as much as he looks forward to the Yankees making it to the World Series.  A member of what would be termed the most important generation in American history, he is still here with us and sharp as ever.  We even joke that his memory is sharper than my mom and aunt's combined!  He can remember things about culture, history, music and knowledge that we've all since forgotten.  He also still has a taste for the finer things in life such as good glass of wine or a tasty meal.  Just a couple of years ago he was fretting over new white dishes for family dinners.  His taste is impeccable and his attention to details amazing.  It's no wonder the love of his life was a mirror of these things.

Years ago here at Knowing, I wrote a blog about his wife, my grandmother Irene, chronicling the lessons I'd learned from her.  Without a doubt, grandpa is her everything.  I say is because while she's not here with us in body today, I do feel her here among us all, proud of the beautiful site before us.  She's also been by my side each time I sat to compose this masterpiece (hey now, that's her word for it, not mine, haha).  After all, she was the one who taught us all how to decorate and celebrate each other!

Mo as we call him, is many things to many people.  A career serviceman to his country, a father to my mom and aunt, a husband to Grandma Irene, a Mason, a musician, once a welder, and always a dog lover.  He's played many roles.  Who is Mo in the eyes of his first granddaughter though?  What can I tell you about this wonderful and touching man?

My earliest memories of him are giggles on the sofa of my childhood home and "dates" to Roy Rogers off Route 1 at Ft. Belvoir.  I always looked forward to our special time together there.  I think I was about five or so years old.  I tell you this, there is nothing more precious in a child's eyes than you giving them your time.  He always did that and with busy working and schooling parents, it filled in the gap of that part of my childhood.

Speaking of Ft. Belvoir, early memories also included trips to the PX and soft serve ice cream with him and grandma Irene as they enjoyed his retirement from the Army.  He served over 30 years and survived three wars, traveling the world.  Over one third of his service life was spent overseas.  Despite the distance, they made it work.  Yes, they are proof that you can do hard things.  They're also proof that if you work for it, respect and hold dear that which you love, anything is possible.

Grandma Irene, the apple of his eye.  The woman who once told me she intentionally tripped him to get him to ask her out. This when they worked together, when she was a clerical civilian.  It was very smart of him to acknowledge her that day and set in motion a series of events that would brings us all together today.

I can't even begin to encapsulate the joy I hold in my heart for their union.  Everything I ever learned early on about healthy relationships, I learned from them. My grandmother Irene doted on him and he doted on her. Their time together was real, meaningful and memorable.  The way my grandfather looked at my grandmother was what I'd learn to measure the bar as when it comes to true love as I grew up.  Both of them had a respect of each other that was admirable. Neither of them were perfect yet they found a way to manage their disagreements and always lead with love.

That love is what always made time at my grandparents so enjoyable growing up.  If I can create the same with my family in this life, I will have considered myself successful.  Each day there visiting them was predictable and abundant with love.

Now when I say predictable, I do mean predictable. Grandpa Mo does love to keep his schedule you know.  Mornings were WTOP news radio, breakfast at the table and if the weather permitted, an earlier walk.  Grandpa Mo walked two miles most mornings back then.  Grandma walked as well, typically going a mile herself.  This was always the tone to set their days to in retirement.  Both volunteered and had friends and both enjoyed family life at home.  While grandma ran the household cooking, cleaning and clothing, he in turn took care of the automobiles, yard and any fix-its that needed attention.  They were a well oiled machine those two, and you never heard a complaint from either of them towards their rolls.  They understood each other's' wants and needs and met them with affection and care.

Speaking of yard work, another favorite memory of mine is the zoysia grass that grandpa Mo toiled over when they lived in Springfield, VA.  I love, love, love the way it feels on the heels of your feet.  It's so spongy and soft.  I used to park my car as a teenager, get out onto the sidewalk to take my shoes off and walk the strip between the sidewalk and the street just to be in the moment.  It was a simple pleasure that meant I was "home."  My grandfather took great pride in his yard.  The grass, the shrubs, the beautiful rose bushes and an apple tree.  That was his domain, his sanctuary of love year round.  To this day, when I start decorating outside for Christmas, I think of him and grandma.  I also think of him when I see squirrels for he had quite the battle with a few of them in that yard in Springfield.

I have fond memories of picking apples with my mom, grandma, aunt Frances and friend Dustine in their backyard.  We even took pictures.  Grandma Irene documented everything and today I'm so grateful for that.  That's part of why I'm doing this today, to share with you a living snapshot of this man we love and cherish.

It's no wonder grandpa had such a devotion to family.  His parents were the same way with his siblings.  Growing up in large family of nine brothers and sisters had its challenges and its blessings. His love of discovery, of travel and of culture was a perfect fit for the military life he was drafted into and then reenlisted for.  With grandma Irene by his side and his daughters adding laughter to the homefront, decades were spent creating amazing memories.  Japan, Hawaii, Arkansas and Virginia, these are but a few places they have roamed.  That life of travel and experience created a standard of living wherein Frances and my mom Betty would carry that torch forward.  I experienced it with my mom's dedication to an annual beach vacation and my aunt to this day globe trots with her husband Brian, having retired herself from the travel industry.

Yes, growing up in this family has its privileges.  Everything though came from hard work and dedication.  All that we are was built upon them, my grandparents.  My greatest passion in life came directly from my grandfather and to this day, he probably doesn't even know it.  I wonder if he'll be able to guess what it is.

Music grandpa Mo, music.  Just as you loved your records in the townhouse basement, I love and cherish my music collection.  Your roots in playing, enjoying and sharing it allowed my mom to also follow that passion as she introduced me to music growing up. Yes, between the both of you I had the bug early. Remember my singing in the church choir and later in elementary school? That was thanks to you and grandma Irene.  I know you always wished I'd stuck with it but life had other plans.  Trust me, if I could hold a tune that wasn't painful, I'd sing you a song today.

What I can do today however is write this blog, paying tribute to all that you are and all that you instilled in me with your angel by your side.

Your 100 years here has been a blessing beyond measure and the decades I've shared with you I've learned so much.  I've learned that the greatest roll a man can play next to a devoted husband is that of a father and that the days you spend with your children and grandchildren are your most treasured times.

I've learned that family is everything.  It's why you exist.  It's those who raised you and those you've raised. It's friends who come into your life for the journey, the family that becomes family without being blood.  It's the pets you care for as your own child.  Yes, you learn that family is everything and anything.

I've learned that you must love your work, that you must be passionate about making a difference.

I've learned that you take care of your body and your mind and that you broaden your horizons by reading. That when you can, you eat well, drink well, and keep moving no matter your obstacles.

Lastly, I've learned that it's not what you have obtained, but what you give away to others through volunteering and being a part of something bigger than yourself that makes a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Thank you for these lessons grandpa Mo, and thank you for being our rock and foundation of life.  We salute you!

Copyright ©2013 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Full Circle Living ~ A Night with Twenty12 Tribe

Full circle living is amusing and always has your full attention.  When you're in the midst of doing that which you set out upon to do, you're at a different vibration.  It's a good thing.  It's a yummy thing.  It's the moments that life is made of.  The evening of the Songs are Stories 3.0 Eye Empire Interview was one of those.  The venue, the friends, the music and the flow all combined to make a "full circle" memory.

Twenty12 Tribe

Listening to Debbie and Dave Phelps, now with Twenty12 Tribe, hanging out with friends and being "present"  sure did make for a memorable event. Deb and I go back to my early legal career, a time when we worked in crazy circumstances. A time when her mom was around too.  That bold woman that was her mother left those crazy circumstances actually. Even in the insanity of that law office, we had good times.  I'm grateful for all that I learned there for it set the foundation of the years to come.

Deb herself has been through hell and back since those times, saying goodbye to her mom because of cancer and fighting for her own life with that same monster.  There she was, up on stage doing what she loves to do, having her own full circle moment.  Just like the good ol' days when I first met her.  I like to think that each time she takes the stage doing what she loves she's reminded of everything that brought her to that moment.  Her friends Pam and Leslie were there too. How awesome for all of them, to have that evening together.  Not only am I happy for their journey, but I'm happy that Deb still is living her life on her own terms.

Way back when....Debbie and Jeff
Living life on your own terms and by intention requires daily focus and mindfulness.  It is in essence the default setting of survival.  In ancient times, if you awoke without a daily goal, purpose and plan, you didn't survive. Without a goal, a purpose and a plan one lacked shelter, food and proper choices.  While this is an obvious truth to us all, many in our times are bobbing through the current of life without them. Their survival is the result of other people's actions and not their own.  Each day we have a choice as to how we thrive.  We're lucky in that way.

From someone who has been enjoying more full circle moments as of late, my advice to you is to trust and enjoy your own journey to enlightenment.  There are no rules.  It's all simply experience.  So many people will come in and out of your life, playing their part.  Love them whether they're a page, a chapter or an era in your book of life because in the end, you're learning something from all of them.

For additional information on Twenty12 Tribe visit:

Copyright ©2013 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Songs are Stories 3.0 - #BeyondTheMusic

The interview of Donald "DC" Carpenter, lead singer of Eye Empire, came via the flow, through the trusting and listening to the inner guidance that is "the knowing" in life.   Asking for him to be a part of the follow-up blog to Songs are Stories was outside of my typical mode of operation.  I've never interviewed anyone for it.  However, not doing so would of been an injustice to the process that is "inspired thought."  Having the opportunity to enter into a personal conversation with someone I knew of but had not met yet was an exercise in expansion.  

What would come by trusting the same would be so incredibly moving.  It got me thinking, aren't all "acting on inspired thoughts" moments an exercise in expansion?  Hello....we don't get to the best fruit in life unless we're willing to climb to the higher limbs and reach out for the same.  The risk of reaching is what always leads to the reward.

The forty minutes of humble answers to some tough questions were worth it.  I could not of asked for a more meaningful interview for our Knowing community.  It is my hope that when you're done reading this, that you'll take with you even a sliver of what I did walking off of that rig.  It is my hope that you'll know you're not alone, and that others out there "get it" like we do and are passing it forward to make a difference.  Enjoy this conversation with DC and when you're done, go out and make your own Impact on the people in your world.

It is evident in your band's Facebook posts that a sincere desire to positively influence others has birthed itself onto the rock n' roll stage, utilizing the platform you have with your fans.  You stated on the band's biography page that, "For me, it is something I feel is needed in the overall picture. Three Simple words that say so much: Embrace Love Not Hate & Judgment. Respect Everyone no Matter Race, Creed or Preference and Support Each Other by Being Present & Active. If you are at an Eye Empire Show, then we are all there for the same reason."  I first saw the Beyond The Music hash tag last year in November, at about the same time you posted a video opening up and inviting in others to be inspired.  You shared it on your band's Facebook page and that in turn lead to Songs are Stories being written here.  That gesture opened a door wherein your fans could reach out to each other and to you for love, respect and support.  You were home at the time from the road and working to implement a connection with everyone to be informed of the writing process of the upcoming record.  What manifested that into your life at that point DC, do you remember what was going on?  

DC:  I don't know, I guess it's part of a natural evolutionary process that takes hold at a certain point in the journey.  For this band, and for me as a front man, I'm kind of a philosopher.  I'm the one that has to come out and go beyond the music at the shows, to embrace the communication factor.  

Over the years as we evolved through our previous bands, through our experiences, you go through these different phases.  You go from being overly aggressive to being compassionate and then kind of being sheltered and walled in and shut down.  I think you get to this point.  My experience coming into this band early on and seeing what we were able to create with our fans, and then getting through a year and a half of touring, is something.  When we took that break we were already at a place where we were deep into the rigors of touring.  We were coming out here and seeing what works and what really moves people and what we can do as a band.  When I got home, it gave me time to reflect on that and evolve through that initial touring experience.  

I went up to Atlanta to record for the second record, flying up the day that Newtown happened.  We spent the next three days like everybody else, following all of the news stories and at the same time trying to record this record.  It became this very reflective experience where I started to think and came to this realization that "that young man could of been an Eye Empire fan."  I realized that a lot of people look to bands when they're struggling or their searching, or when they really don't have a lot to lean on.  In the same sense we're a band that goes out and looks for those types of people because we want to comfort them, we want to bring them a reliability.  I felt like it was time for me to tear down some of those walls, and just opened up myself a little more with being a little bit more hands on about trying to take a proactive approach and making an impact on people's lives.  

Speaking of making an impact, Eye Empire participated in the Battlefield of the Mind project, a film from Fran Strine about our homeless and PTSD veterans.  You have a history of service yourself and understand on a deeper level what these men and women go through.  I've seen your love of this project and giving back to our veterans. Is this your singular focus at the moment or are there other issues pulling at your heartstrings?

DC:  That's just one thing that's been an opportunity that's been afforded to us early on.  Right now, it's really hard to have a singular focus or a certain soap box.  It's really a juggle right now for us.  When you tear down those walls and take upon more responsibility, there are just so many issues that start to come out.  As soon as I opened up that door, there were cancer struggle issues or people in financial situations right now in these tough times.  You roll that in with the war scenario and the revolution that's going on, there are just so many aspects that are key and dear and right now it's a juggle.  It's about trying to find a balance in how we do that.  It's also a time sensitive thing.  We have to grow to a certain point before we can really start addressing some of these things and take it a little further.  

Coming into this band as it was evolving, joining BC and Corey, having evolved on your own journey as a singer and being a part of this brotherhood, how have they made an impact upon you? 

DC:  I don't know, it's a tough question.  It's one of those things where you're in the midst of this struggle.  We're kind of like the guys from Alive (the movie) where you get stuck out in this survival situation.  It's an interesting question; it really does make me reflect.  Right now, it's just really great to be around people that have a lot of respect and appreciation for what everybody does.  

There's a lot of arrogance and ego when you go into these scenarios a lot of times and very quickly certain resentments can build up.  There are these different underlying issues that you're dealing with, wherein you're walking on eggshells where you don't have the ability to really communicate and effectively evolve and communicate together as a group.  It's always difficult but with this band it's different.  I'm not saying it's any easier, we've had some crazy times out here where it got a little difficult but we've been able to push through those moments and become stronger--that's unique in itself.  A lot of times bands don't make it this far; sometimes in bands it falls apart long before it ends.  Many of these bands will spend years just bitter, not even talking to each other until they're on stage.  Music always brings us back together at the end of the day no matter how tough it has been.  It's a pretty beautiful thing.  

The supportive, beautiful and amazing families at home are aware of the unending sacrifices they make as you travel and build the dream.  We know you couldn't do it without their love and support.  They say technology is supposed to make it easier.  Being away from your families, what has the impact of their support while on the road been for you?  

DC:  That's what funny, they think that technology has made it easier but it doesn't.  It's another one of those fallacies of the age we live in.  Nothing substitutes being there, being a part of your children's lives and of your family's life, especially when you're the supporter.  It's something that our families have been a part of this since the beginning. It's something that we made a commitment together from the beginning to stick it out.  I think more than anything that's what keeps it together is knowing that we involve them and they're inclusive in this entire process.  It helps you to go through the struggle.   

It reminds me of the military, of the family and friends who have to go overseas or on assignment and of those who travel for a living in general.  It's a hard burden to bear.  It's a sacrifice and because of their support you're able to do what you do.

Yes, everyone is in it together.  That's exactly how those military families are.  Those wives at home are just as supportive as the buddies on the battlefield.

It's good to hear that you have this circle of support and commitment, not many bands out here have that gift.  Speaking of love and support, how does this circle pour into your creation of music?  We can hear it in songs such as the acoustic "I Don't Wanna Leave" on YouTube

DC:  It's always there.  It just so happens that during this writing session that I was writing my own tunes, writing my own reflective tracks.  I reached out to Corey and said I had a song about my family, that it's about my love for them, it's a love song.  In the same sense, as I was writing it, it became about our musical family.  I started envisioning at the end of the night having that song playing.  

You start to realize being out here that it's not just a rock show for a lot of people.  Sometimes it's their birthday, somebody's anniversary, or their first rock show ever.  We hear these stories every night and at the end of those nights, even if it's a first date, you get that sense where you just don't want it to end.  It's been such a good evening, you're having such a good time, and you just look at each other in the eyes and "I don't want to leave, I don't want this moment to end" and that's something that we get caught up in often leaving our families.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and we're always reminded of how special our relationships are a little more frequently than others. 

Mike Adam, who recently passed to cancer, Leanna Kossack, who passed in January to cancer, Silas's cancer story that swept the nation, as well as the happy news for baby Nash Luker who's now in remission, there are just a few of the lives you've supported and touched within the Eye Empire community.  What are you taking forward in life from their lives and that involvement?  Have you had a chance to reflect on it?  Honestly, it's been overwhelming in my opinion.  So many beautiful people and their loving supportive friends and families were involved.

DC:  It's a deflection thing, I never really like to interject myself as anything into it other than a facilitator to what's natural to begin with.  This should be a natural process. There are no instigators.  It's just something that should be, just a community of people who care about each other, who are just willing to take five to ten minutes just to leave some insightful kind words.  

A lot of us love to turn a blind eye, and like to act like we cannot empathize or be compassionate, or we think that we have to of experienced it ourselves in order to console this person.  I just don't think that's true.  There's a basic understanding that we all need.  We all need to be consoled, we need to be loved, we need to be empowered and we need to be encouraged, supported and acknowledged.  Everyone is at different points in their journey.  For me, if I take anything away from it, it's enlightenment, it's getting closer to our true selves.

I can see what the impact has been upon you with the brotherhood and sisterhood on the journey.  As you say, the revolution of what's to come.  There's a lot of information out there to filter through. 

DC:  It's very hard out here to try and maintain a sense of enlightenment, that's for sure.  You have to try to generate as much positivity as you can.  Coming out here every night, being able to talk to soldiers that are in attendance, I've had some crazy moments with these stories that have come out of folks about what the music does for them.  That really keeps you going.   

What lessons about life are you most compelled to share with the Eye Empire community?  As a vocalist you're often the mouthpiece of the band.  Others are represented in interviews and connect with the fans but more often than not you're the connection to the Eye Empire community.

DC:  I know with my previous band's experiences, I always thought it was a little restricting not to ever really show what you truly were, say politically or spiritually.  All these things to me that matter more than anything, there was always this political incorrectness that was attached to it, that if you ever went there it was career suicide or it would create this mayhem that was unwanted.  I wanted to try and find a way with this band to incorporate a little more who we really are, how we view the world, and what we bring into it.  

There are some enlightenment things in there, some spirituality things in there, and some political things in there that we touch on, but I'm trying to do it in a way to where it's respectful, not overbearing and not too one sided.  Really, we should just be communicating and discussing and no one should have a certain stance one way or another.  The discussion should be open.  I think it's going to be an evolutionary process over time where I think we're going to be able to push those issues a little more as the Empire grows, as a society we start to awaken a little more and we're a little more willing to have these conversations.  Hopefully we'll position ourselves to be one of those bands to be right in the middle of the discussion. 
To me it sounds like your own evolvement has gone in such a way that you're not operating from ego.  At Knowing we talk a lot about removal of the ego, so it's good to hear that you're in tune with what is versus what we often struggle with, the idea of what we think should be.  Coming from that perspective, what lesson would you like to share with your fellow tribe of musicians?  You're out here on the road touring with different bands on various runs; you're in locations that sometimes have local musicians opening for you. You're out here doing it on your own; you're a self-built band from the ground up, going out there and finding people to help you create the dream into fruition.

DC:  It's one of those things where you're supposed to just be an example.  You don't really come out and say I have all of the answers.  You just show by doing, you are the example.  You can't say this is how you do it.  Everyone is going to have their own way and their own personality with which they do things.  

It's a tough question.  I don't like to say here's the answer or we have the answer or even come to us for advice.  We try to put ourselves into a position where we have a lot to learn.  That's the main thing, to just be humble.  Always know that you have a lot to learn and be willing to take the lead from a lot of these guys out here who might be trying to set an example.  For us, we've learned how broken the local music scene is.  We just want to be encouraging these guys to be making music in general and hopefully they'll grow and have another opportunity to come out and play again.  

During your downtime you decompress with movies, ball games, visiting friends, that kind of thing.  Do you read on the road?  Does anyone else read on the road?  If so, what are you currently enjoying?  

DC:  We read different things, I read different stuff.  There's a lot of blogs online, a lot of good stuff online.  Nietzsche was the last guy that I was really reading.  I've got some stuff in my bunk right now.  He's gotten a little heavy for me right now with my enlightenment thing so I had to put him to rest until I discover a little more.  Most of the time, we're pretty well consumed with what we're planning next in our Eye Empire world.

We were touching on earlier the mental and physical toll taken on the road.  You said a lot of times just getting back up on that stage at night brings you together and gets you centered.  In addition to that, are there any other things you employ and take with you on the road to try and keep your sanity about you?  They say it's tough out here.

DC:  I practice meditation and I do yoga every day.  Health in general, I think a healthy body is a healthy mind.  It's really hard if you're out here and you're putting a bunch of chemicals in your body, and you're drinking a bunch of alcohol all of the time and partying it up, it's hard to keep your sanity out here.  You can see how people can lose touch with themselves.  You hit the nail on the head, every night it gets brought back to perspective, it really is that music.  I have really bad days out here.  You just get out there and you see these folks who bring you into their world.  There may only be 15 people out there but you understand that even if just one person needs it out there, you just have got to go out there and give it.  It brings you back to reality. 

As you wrap up this tour in the next week, week and a half.....(DC: 9 days).  Nine days, the final countdown to home.  You're turning your attention to finalizing your next album, to putting out the material you recorded.  In that you're continuing to build this from the ground up I suspect you'll be touring again soon.  This time next year, what's the vision for Eye Empire?

DC:  Yes, it's a never ending cycle.  We have our strategy down.  Now we have our numbers, we have a long progression, period of time that we can judge, where we can say this works, this doesn't work, what's our strategy going forward as far as touring.  We're leaning more towards supporting.  We finally earned enough credibility to where we can start to garner some of these larger tour numbers.  It's what really helps a band grow early on.  That's key, that was a key step to get to.  

Obviously, another key step is new music.  Something we can start from scratch and say this is the one and only version of this album, with this set up to it, with everything being proper and aligned with each other.  That's something that's already being put together right now.  Once we finish in the next nine days it's going to be at least two weeks of nothing.  Corey is going to spend a couple of days getting the studio set up and that's when we're going to go in and finish the last 30, no 10%, well I say 120% is what's put into a record so yea, we'll go in and put that other 30% in and get it done.  August 17th should be our first show back out.  Then we will have some shows tying us into Seether and Ten Year's run from August into September.  Then we just got added to that The Aftershock Festival in Sacramento.  

Wow, awesome.  That will be wonderful.  That's some serious exposure right there.  That's huge.

Yea, one of the biggest ones of the year.  We had a couple, we had some really good festivals this year.  We missed being at the main day for Carolina Rebellion, and we didn't get in on the one in Ohio, Rock on the Range.  Hopefully next year we'll be able to get there.  Bit by bit, it just takes time.

Then there's that buzz to get you onto ShipRocked. 

Yea, everybody's buzzing.  That's bittersweet.  Everyone wants us to do that one but I'm not a fan of being on a boat in the middle of the ocean, I'm just not.  I don't know if anyone is keeping up with it but the track record right now is not the best.  It's interesting.  There's a lot of interesting things out there as far as opportunities.  It's hard to get people out to live shows.  They really are having to adjust their priorities right now.  Putting a nice big package together to get folks out is pretty interesting. 
How has the music evolved in the songs that you've tracked?  Do you think they are similar?  Heavier?  There's been an evolution out here on the road, an evolution of where your inspiration comes from, an evolution of your "self."  How has all of that poured over into that writing process?  We've heard some tracks that you've shared online.  

DC:  I think it's awesome.  I think everyone is going to be really happy with it.  Obviously you want people to be excited.  Our main goal is that we don't want anyone having any expectations.  We just want them to be up for the journey and be willing to grow and change with us.  

So, with that in mind, we did have to push the boundaries a little bit, to bring some different sounds in.  For me vocally, what voices did I not explore, what voices are possible to explore?  We messed with that.  In the same sense, we listened to what people were telling us when we're out here on the road.  What they miss from the first record, what they enjoyed about our previous bands that they might like.  I know one for me was the falsettos that I used in Hollow back in Submersed.  I would love to hear that a little more.  I tried to keep that in mind when I went back and incorporated some of these vocals.  

Lyrically, everything is deeper.  I feel there is a lot of room to grow there.  I'm not the best lyricist in the world.  A lot of the people that I look up to are very inspiring right now.  Cornell and all these guys out here that are amazing writers, they're putting out new records, like they used to when I first started out.  I'm actually inspired by music that's going out there, it's inspirational all around.  

Most importantly, I was able to tell some stories that are going to cut deep.  There's some stories for the soldiers on this record. There are some personal pain stories from my life that I have the guts to tell now.  As I hear them played back, I can just realize how deeply they are going to affect somebody else.  That just makes me fall in love with the process even more.  There's this snowball effect that never really ends.  It's the flower of life, it's eternally blossoming.  

You did touch on what gets you centered, which is good.  As you travel, home is always "it"'s always the foundation of what is.  Is there anywhere you've traveled, and you've been all over the place, are there any places that you've traveled where you just felt amazing energy from being there?  I don't necessarily mean crowd energy either.   We both know from traveling that there are places we'll go, places where we show up and we just feel something here.  You know of these places that feel different, where you feel alive.  You currently make your home in Florida, I lived there for a year.  I get it.  There are just some places we "know" we have to go to, places we take our families to.  Is there anywhere you've thought of taking your family back to?  For instance, some say the energy in Arizona is different, same with Florida.  Then there's Colorado.  Anywhere you would like to go back to with your families to discover more? 

DC:  Yea, it's funny, because that's my dream, to be able to take my family with me.  I would never need a home, if I could just take my family with me.  I could tour forever.  I would never have a problem with it.  I always plan; I'm thinking of "where do I want to go back to," just like you said.  

For me, it's more beauty and nature.  It's our dream to have our own farm and have our own ranch, to be self-sustainable.  I always look for these areas that are of that nature.  Up around Wisconsin, around Madison and all these organic areas, they're amazing; it's an amazing part of the country.  I tell you, Missoula, Montana was a place we ended up.  It's just a place in this valley out in the Northern part of the Rocky Mountains.  I grew up going to Colorado as a kid; it is just one of those magical places that I always swore I'd end my life (living) in Colorado.  I ended up in Missoula, Montana and it's just the blend of everything that I like.  It has taken it even a little further then Colorado did.  I think I would probably pick that spot.  I would love to go up there and maybe even get some land up there and start my farm; but it is Montana and it gets hammered with snow in the wintertime.  The only time I'd ever really heard of Missoula was by looking at the minus 42 on the map, when it's freezing in the wintertime.

Is there anything you'd like to share with the Knowing community regarding the lessons you instill in your children?  You've mentioned farming, being sustainable, being organic, that those are important things.  Being educated, not being stuck in a box, you've mentioned these things on Facebook as well.  

DC:  For us, we personally see a flaw in the system.  How we raise our children in the sense of schooling, of educating.  Not just in the sense of teaching them math, but in also teaching them about the world, their fellow human beings in the Universe, in the spiritual universe.   A lot of times we leave that up to a religious structure, that's guided by a single voice.  Or, we leave that up to an educational structure that's regimented and subjugated.  For us, we wanted to create more of a world that was about growing as a spiritual being and not being regimented.  Really evolving and finding what makes you special as a spirit and a being and how you can contribute to the world around you.  That's something that we're working with our kids as beings.  

It's really not something you can put into a how to list; you can't make people do things.  It's a personal thing, it's a personal journey, it's a personal sense of enlightenment.  People are going to learn, they're going to go through their own path regardless.  So, I think it's pretty fundamental, that it's pretty basic, and it's blatant and it's right in front of your face what's going on.  We, just through living our life, we try to educate by being an example rather than trying to cover the bullet points.  It's "hey, come be a part of our lives and be inspired, these are the things that matter to us and we think it makes the world a better place and our lives happier lives."  

You've touched on parenting, on the compassion you have for these people you're teaching and sharing a life with.  You've talked about the effect a tragedy such as Newtown had on you.  When you're on the road, you share your families with us when they join you at events, when things like BC's birthday happen and "best wife ever" shows up surprisingly with their daughter.  It's easy to see the effect that these people have on you, to see how they make your lives better.

At Knowing, we talk often about our intuition, our ideas, our trust and sometimes we just have to act on things in life.  We'll get an inspired thought and we have to act on it--if we don't, we don't get the effect of it.  Is there anything real significant that you can think of, a  story you're willing to share from your life?  Maybe something that over the years you've looked back on and reflected and said I'm glad I did that because it lead to?  

DC:  I've had to make a lot of tough decisions based on mistakes in my life.  My record is far from perfect that is for sure.  It's funny; it's really funny, because the new Superman movie, it's very inspiring to me.  I found it to be a very spiritual movie.  There's a part in it where Superman is questioning who do I help, do I help my Krypton brothers or do I help the earth beings.  He doesn't know which one to trust and his dad just gave him advice, "sometimes the trust comes later."  You have to take that leap of faith first and the trust comes after the leap.  It was funny because it made me think about back before Eye Empire came along.  

In my life, I'd gone through this humbling period.  Coming out of the first band, which was going to be the last band I was ever going to be in, I was so sure, I was so certain of the future, I really had reevaluate my life and I went through a very humbling period.  I was working for the Lightning and working 80 hours a week and getting paid 40 of them.  It was affecting our family.  That's when I just made a leap and started working for $1,000 a month at a fish house cutting fish three days a week fourteen hours a day just so that I could be with my family, simplify my life.  If that's the way it was going to be, I just wanted to be happy.  I knew that would allow me a little more time to open myself up to the Universe and possibly bring in another opportunity in my life to make music again.  It wasn't three months after I did that that Corey randomly reached out to me on MySpace, this is before Facebook, and it's been non-stop pedal to the medal ever since.  My life has completely changed.  

It's been one little epiphany.  More in the last year it's been that spiritual enlightenment; that journey that's taken me even further into the world of manifesting your own dreams and your own realities.  The way you worded it, it makes me laugh because it's another example of, it's just the Universe affirming once again, and it's with clear word for word verbatim.  This isn't anything getting distorted, manipulated or something that I want to see.  It's very blatant how the Universe works, especially once you're awake.  When you can see it happening it's almost overloading, watching it happen.  

When Knowing came, it was because I felt that beneficial knowledge needed to be passed on.  There were so many people out there in tune with what is.  People who use their voice.  You echo that with some of the content you post, some of it I share over at Knowing's Facebook page.  You share a lot of  what I term "Universal Knowledge."  Yet we both are still dumbfounded when we see it happen (manifestation), no matter how many times it happens!  We're on this journey and we're becoming enlightened and we see it manifesting in our lives.  It's crazy and at the same time it's so humbling.

The irony is that we're so detached from our natural being that we don't even know what it is to experience our natural being.  When it happens, or when you speak of it, it feels right.  You sense it.  I sit down and talk to my kids about it, just as in depth and deep as Deepak Chopra and they get it.  They feel it.  My son will sit there and talk to me about the light and all these things.  They're here to save us all.  

It's a pretty cool thing; I do see the power of music.  I do see and understand about frequency and how it brings us all, how it all comes together.  Whenever you are in tune with that, whenever your power of intention becomes greater, when you go out there at the end of the night and you combine that with frequency and music, it's a little overwhelming and you do see it make an impact.  It affects people's lives.  It's a special thing.  

You've overcome challenges on this journey.  I think the process of facing the challenges you have, is your tenacity to stick to it, and to stay positive, I think that's a good legacy going forward.  And as you've said, your humbleness and being open helps as well.  Learning from your mistakes going forward, it's all relevant.  As for where you are in gratitude, your gratitude roll call if you will, I know that's a part of your life.  It's a part of everyone's life out here that's a part of this, to keep your mindfulness and sanity on the road.  Tell me DC, what are you grateful for?

DC:  Family, definitely family.  Family is what keeps me doing this and at the same time causes me to resent myself for doing this.  I just want to be there with them more.  A calling, like a reason, I'm very grateful to understand or have a feeling of why I'm here.  To me that runs deep and it helps with a lot of different things in my life.  I am blessed with certain people that have really supported me through a lot of struggle.  

I'm a bi-polar personality, so it took me a long time number one, to live with that illness affecting every facet of my life for so long before I learned about it.  Then I had to live with it, and you grow through that.  There are certain people who have come and gone along the way but there are those few folks who have always stayed with me.  It's really not possessions or anything like that, it's more those relationships, those people that grow with me, that help me as a spiritual being through life.  That's what I'm more grateful for than anything.  That goes for my band, and for some of the extended family that sacrifice with us out here.  You develop some pretty special folks out here. 

In closing, to summarize, as you think about the things we've talked about today, what is it that you're passing forward? 

DC:  We're at a turning point right now.  You either know it or you just choose to ignore it.  Know what I'm saying?  That goes spiritually, and holistically with mother earth, politically, there's just so many things that are at a tipping point right now.  Like I said, we're trying to slowly evolve with our fan base, to be able to push these types of things that we know we need to stand behind.  

With specificity of this blog, the main point is that we're here to inspire enlightenment.  We're here to try and inspire a change in this world to where people can come together and realize that we are all one consciousness.  There is no separation.  When we go out here every night and as I look into people's eyes, I'm seeing my own reflection and once we really start to understand that, we can come together beyond the music.  Then, that's when we're going to really start seeing real change.  We're going to start seeing these "miracles" that we never knew were possible, this manifestation that we were talking about, we'll start to see it start to make a real difference.  For us, it's like I said, we've got to take our time, we've got to grow a little bit, we just can't come out and pull people along.  You've got to be that example.  That's what we're trying to do, to at least set that tone for a real revolution.  

Thank you.  Thank you for opening up to everybody.

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**Special thanks to Six Seasons Photography for taking photos of the show that night after the interview.  From our preschool days to adult life and parenthood, Amanda, owner and head photographer, she has always been there in my life.  I've long used her photography for this blog too so to ask her to take on this event was no different.  She definitely made me proud with the moments she captured.  Additional images of the concert that night are at her Facebook page.  
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