Heath

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Homepage: http://www.heathallyn.com/


Posts by Heath

Dream 46

It was a cool Autumn night. I was walking along a sidewalk at some kind of festival or event, dressed fairly nicely, as was everyone here. People bustled by each other on the sidewalk. 2 people passed me going the opposite direction and I stopped in my tracks, thinking “Was that her?” I can’t remember exactly how, but both her face and mine were kind of obscured. Was it a masked event? Maybe just like hat, scarf, glasses, or something? As I wondered if it had been her, I heard her voice, “Heath?” I turned around and we both took off whatever was obscuring our faces. Her partner continued onward. I wondered if it was just a friend or a romantic partner. She was in a beautiful dress. Her hair had grown quite long and was curled. She ran to me and we embraced, that perfect embrace where you fit like puzzle pieces and yet can’t squeeze tight enough. We said so much without saying a thing. We exchanged a few words though I can’t remember what they were. They were warm and comforting and laced with inadequacy, bursting with so much more they wanted to say. She had to go but expressed that she was going to write me the “greatest, longest, most wonderful email,” or something like that. I didn’t want her to go. I thought to myself “No, don’t do that. Not an email. Just talk to me. No written text,” but we only had a moment. She had to go. Then I woke up.

Dream 46

A cool autumn night
An all too short encounter
With too much to say

Dream 45

A trio of dreamlets featuring the ex, yet again.

In the first part we were both at a band practice where I was mostly singing backup. The band consisted of a bunch of guys I’d played with in various bands coming together for a sort of “reunion” as a big group jam. Greg Patterson from Midnight Express was singing and aside from that, Sam Walkoviac from AKA, a band I played in during the 90s, was on bass. He was getting back into the swing of things after not having played bass for a long time. He was doing a great job despite discovering that his bass was really screwed up. The lowest string was basically off the neck and unplayable and I think the highest string was missing as well. He discovered some problem with a weird bracket part from deep in the bass. I asked is it was the same bass from back in the day, and it wasn’t. He had got a new bass at some point. He said he wished he had his 12 string bass.

I was singing backups but couldn’t hear myself well. Then I noticed the mic wasn’t plugged in. I figured since we were practicing at a low level, that maybe Greg had figured we didn’t need to use mics or something but when he realized my mic wasn’t plugged in, he was surprised and started to remedy that. My ex was there just hanging out on the couch watching and smiling. In the dream, I think we may have been together and not exes though. It was very happy and loving. Leading to…

Part 2:
She and I were on a grassy area at the side of a highway. She was sitting on a stool. We were smiling, laughing, kissing and hugging and then as we were doing so she sort of toppled backward off the stool and we both tumbled, laughing, into the lush grass. We both just laid there, smiling in silence, enjoying the cool, soft, plush grass and the warm sun in a moment of pure peace and serenity. I remember wondering if people driving by or maybe the police were going to think something was wrong, seeing two people just laying in the grass beside the highway. I decided I didn’t care.

Part 3:
Now we were in her room which seemed like a small dorm room. I was sitting on the bed next to the wall (the bed was in a corner), and she was on the open side of the bed. I noticed what looked like a ribbon wedged between the bed and the wall, so I pulled it, thinking I was retrieving it, but realize it had actually be stuck to the wall with tape or something, like it had been hung intentionally but then trapped when the bed had been moved against the wall. I said something along the lines of “Oops, sorry.” She now had some kind of facial mask on (the kind that cleanse your skin or something) and the mood turned darker and more serious. She said “Can I bum you out?” I knew that she meant she was about to tell me something serious that would bum me out, but I found it a strange thing to say. She then started talking and building up to something that I could tell was not going to be good, but she was taking a long time getting there.

“Brian and I have been really trying to stick to our budget…”

I somehow knew that “Brian” was the person she was dating now (not any Brian I knew, and as far I know this is a purely fictional dream fact), and I wondered how the hell her and “Brian’s” budget had anything to do with me. I realized now that we were not together and also wondered how this all colored our previous, hugging, kissing, snuggling. Did Brian know about this? Did they just have that kind of open relationship? Would he have cared if he known? Had she been inappropriate with me in light of her new relationship? Where was she going with this story? Was she talking about their “budget” because she was about to tell me they were saving for a wedding? Was this finally about to be an opportunity to talk about a lot of unresolved shit in the air?

“Okay, please get to the point here,” I said.

And then I woke up.

Dream 45

A moment of love
Then back to reality
Awakened from sleep

Home

I have a few private blogs for different purposes. Kind of private journals. I noticed one today that I had forgotten about. I couldn’t remember why I created it. It had one entry. I quite liked what I’d written so I’m putting it here. I’m not sure why I wrote this in a private blog or what else I thought I’d do with this blog.

There are two truths. Both real. Seemingly at odds, yet here they exist within me. Despite whatever troubles my life may have, I am mostly at peace. Grateful for my many gifts, talents and blessings. Overall, my life is pretty damn great. Yet beneath it all, I feel the gargantuan darkness. Lurking in the depths like some legendary, mythic sea monster. I know it’s there. I feel its presence. The way it changes the pressure around me. Almost imperceptible and undetectable ripples from the deepest depths.

I have a genuine joy, happiness, and love of life, yet I often feel like a ghost walking through this world. An empty, hollow husk of a person, tired and weary of this life. Always tired. Wanting to sleep. Maybe not wake up. I compose suicide notes in my head, though I have no intention of any such thing.

I am genuinely fine on my own and can see a bright and wonderful life ahead, yet I can’t seem to shake the loss. I can’t stop the comparisons. The desire for what I’ve tasted but no longer have. I try to be present and non-resistant. I often succeed. And often fail. It’s like I’ve been ejected into an alternate dimension and it’s not a bad dimension, per se, but it’s not right. It’s off-kilter. I don’t belong here.

So I do the only thing I can do. I just keep swimming. I enjoy the sun on my skin and wind across my face. And I try to enjoy the water and make this new dimension my home despite the unsettling presence I can feel somewhere deep below me. And the undying desire deep within my very being for my real home. Where I belong. Or maybe that’s just resistance again and I should just call it my “previous” home.

Or perhaps it would be most accurate to simply say…”her.”

Home

Home is not a place
An ethereal concept
Home is simply her

The Rigidity of Your Hopes and Dreams

11 days into my new adventure and it’s been a wonderful whirlwind. I find myself with a lot to say to say, so buckle in for the signature Heath tome of verbosity.

This adventure is a great catalyst to being present. Naturally, many have asked me what I will do when this contract is over. Will I take another one? As humans, we are almost always far too wrapped up in the past and the future. Worrying about things that did or didn’t happen in the past or what will happen in the future. Planning our path. Trying to make it happen. We have our hopes, dreams and goals, and we need to find the road to them. I haven’t even boarded the ship yet. I have no idea how I will feel in 7 months from now. Maybe I’ll be sick of being confined to a ship and be homesick and miss my friends, my bands, acting, Austin, and my life there. Or maybe I’ll feel like I’ve found the best life ever and never want to stop doing it. I don’t know. So my best choice is to just focus on today and enjoying it. I’ve had conversations about future contracts, and possibilities if I decided to stay on with Carnival for more contracts. Maybe I could become a Music Manager and direct my own band. Who knows where this will lead, who I will meet, or what opportunities may present themselves?

There is, of course, the fear that if I decide that it was fun but I want to resume my life in Austin, that it won’t be easy because I’ve been away from acting and networking and all the bands I played with and I’ll find myself with no way to pay the bills so I’ll have no choice but to take another contract and now I’m trapped just like any other job. Of course, that’s just fear rearing its ugly head like it does. It has also made me think about the rigidity with which we think about our “hopes and dreams” for life. Is this an awesome job? Absolutely. Is it what I’ve always “dreamed” of doing? No. I never thought “Oh man, if only some day I could sing on a cruise ship! That is what I want to do with my life!” Now of course, my dreams have never been super specific. I dreamed of fame and fortune in music and acting. Touring with my own band, playing my originals and being somewhat “famous” for lack of a better term (though “fame” isn’t the goal at all). Or touring as a side man with some big band. Playing for Sheryl Crow or Lady Gaga, or anything like that. Putting out my music and people buying it and coming to see my concerts. Starring in movies, television and theater as a renowned actor and making a good living doing so. Being a sought after voice over actor.

For some reason, I now actually feel more cut off from those dreams. Like being so isolated in this very specific situation, there’s no chance of any of that. Now of course, that’s just fear again as, like I said before, I don’t know what kinds of contacts and opportunities might come along here. But while I was a freelancer in Austin, it felt like I was at least playing “the lottery.” That big audition could come along. Playing in 8 bands might lead to something. Now I feel like I’m not even really playing, so as they say “You can’t win if you don’t play.” I’m not going to be doing any acting, obviously. No auditions. Now, sure, I’ve already met amazing people and will be playing 6 nights a week on the ship, so that’s definitely something.

However, there’s another, slightly darker undertone to all this. Two years ago, I first started pursuing all this because of a devastating breakup that made me just want to run away from everything and turn off my brain. I wanted to curl up and die, but I also didn’t (really) want to literally curl up die (at least not deep down, though sometimes I thought I wanted that). I considered crazy shit like taking some kind of job at a remote post in Antarctica or something. The equivalent of a “living death.” I didn’t want to actually die, but I kind of wanted to just become a vegetable and live out my remaining days as a zombie. In some ways, I saw this cruise ship opportunity as a better version of that. I could at least be doing one of the things I am here on this earth to do, being on stage and playing music, but aside from that, I could just turn off my brain, look at the ocean and let the remaining days of my life slowly wash away with each wave.

This is not my “dream” life. I do however recognize that it has elements of it. I am paying the bills playing music and singing. And again it makes me wonder about the rigidity of our dreams. Are my dreams too rigid? I don’t know, but they are what they are. I know (in very general terms) what I’ve wanted as long as I can remember. What I feel I’m here to do. Do we make ourselves unhappy by being too hard and unbending in “what we want”? Do we perhaps need to let our dreams redefine themselves along our journey? I don’t know. I do know that we are fear-based beings and that a tremendous amount of our decisions are fear-based and probably the vast majority of our energy is spent catering to fear or trying to fend it off.

What am I going to do 7 months from now? I have no idea. I want to spend more of my energy on today. Enjoying this moment. We will never know what the “right” thing to do is, and many times there probably isn’t even a “right” thing to do. The best we can do is relax and let the river take us where it will. Don’t fight the current. Though you might want to at least gently paddle in a particular direction.

Dream

Do not be rigid
Be flexible like a tree
Let the river flow

A New Adventure

It all began two years ago after a sudden, blindsiding breakup that shattered me into a thousand pieces and made just want to go to sleep and never wake up again. In an effort to find a more positive channel for that energy, I had the desperate desire to “Run away and join the circus” as they say. Join up with a touring band or some touring play. Something to get me away from my life, out of my mind and out of this city whose every inch was supersaturated with associations and memories. On a whim, I looked at jobs on Carnival Cruises. There was an opening for an “Ensemble Guitarist” to play with the house rock band. I culled together whatever crappy videos I could find of me playing guitar live with bands and cobbled together a demo. I submitted all my materials and the website said I should hear back within 90 days. 90 days cam and went so I assumed that was the end of it.

Then months later, I had a response. For round 2 they wanted me to video myself play guitar to the backing tracks they sent me for “Le Freak,” “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” I did so and submitted those along with an automated video interview where I just recorded answers to questions on my webcam. More months went by. I got another email now wanting me to take the “sight reading” portion of the interview. Gulp. I don’t sight read. Or really read music much at all. I can read music very slowly but I learn everything by ear. If I hear something I can generally play it very quickly. Well luckily for me, this “sight reading” test, wasn’t really “sight reading.” I downloaded the music I was supposed to “sight read” but then could take as long as I wanted with it. I’d heard that there wasn’t really much sight reading in this position so I hoped I could still do the job despite that not really being a skill I had. The emails also said there was no deadline and that you could do the interview at your convenience. Well, apparently there was a silent, invisible “within reason” appended to that because when I finally got back to tackling this beast many months later, my application had expired and I was told there was no way to resume it. I’d have to start from scratch again.

I was little disappointed in myself for procrastinating so badly, but decided it was actually for the best, as now I could watch for the “Acoustic Soloist” position instead which would pay more and would mean that I had my own cabin instead of sharing with someone else. And I’d be a solo acoustic act, which would be fun. Eventually that position opened up so I went to putting my solo acoustic demo together from the videos I had online, though they weren’t really appropriate as they were generally me solo in my room doing songs and not live performances with an audience which is more what they wanted, but I hoped my talent would shine through. By the time I went to submit, the position had closed again.

So again, I went to checking the listings periodically again. The next appropriate position that opened up was “Rock Band Vocalist.” A male and a female singer front a 4 piece cover band (the one I initially would have been playing guitar for had I got that position). So once again, I went to putting together demo as quickly as possible and submitted. And again, many months went by before I received an email inviting me to the second round, once again consisting of an automated recorded webcam interview, as well as 4 backing tracks I was supposed to sing along with and record via video. You can see those videos here if you like. When I was initially learning and practicing the songs, I noted how they were all fairly challenging. I figured they did that thinking “Well if someone can handle these four, they can handle the rest of the set.” One Saturday, I tried to record them but after learning and practicing all day, I was pretty vocally fatigued after the first tune, so I decided to put it off to another day so I can learn them more thoroughly first and then just record them in one day later hopefully. Strangely I also find that I can sing much better, higher, and longer live with a band, but in this solo recording at home scenario, I get all in my head and everything seems more difficult somehow and notes that I could normally hit with ease, seem shaky. I took a couple of voice lessons on a whim after a friend randomly posted recommending Megan Sherrod. I’d been singing professionally for 30 years but I knew I had some bad habits and no matter how long you’ve been doing something, you can always learn and better your craft. Megan was awesome, and I felt like a total newbie tearing everything back down to basics like I was re-learning to walk. I only got to take two lessons before I completed my audition, as I really wanted to get it done.

I uploaded the videos and all the rest of the video interview, and figured, like every other step, I’d probably not hear anything for months. 15 hours later I had a contract offer via email. I was in shock. Now it was real. Two years later, here was this opportunity to “Run away and join the circus.” I immediate set in motion trying to get all my affairs in order. There was much to do. Firstly, I had the rare animal that is a steady acting gig. I was the Lead Actor/Director/Stage Manager for the Suicide Prevention program at Fort Hood every Wednesday. As an actor this is like a minor lottery win. I play in 8 bands, 6 of which are fairly active and had gigs on the calendar. I have directors and theatre troupes who contact me directly to offer me cool roles and opportunities. I have an agent who submits me for film, commercial, and television work. I did ask Carnival is there was perhaps a later contract I might take so I could fulfill all the various things I had on the calendar through the end of the year, but they couldn’t offer me anything specific, just keep me in the “talent pool” for future contracts that might come up, so I figured I better take the “bird in the hand.” I set things in motion and sent several difficult emails. As a freelancer, I’ve spent years growing roots, expanding my network, building a professional reputation, and now I’d be leaving that all behind (at least temporarily). I feared losing my momentum. That there would be nothing for me when I came back as the world would have moved on and forgotten about me. I hated leaving people high and dry as I take pride in my work ethic and professionalism and when I make a commitment, I take that very seriously. But I felt like I had to take this opportunity for so many reasons.

Firstly it was just an amazing opportunity. I’d be making a very nice living as a singer. Doing one of the things I love, for an actual good, steady paycheck. That’s like a major lottery win. This would be chance to finally knock a huge chunk off my credit card debt that’s been looming over me for as long as I can remember. Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to make a “living” through my various and many irons in many different fires without a day job for many years now, but not enough to hammer that debt down. I feel I need a spiritual reboot. I’d be living on a ship (vocalists also get their own single cabins I found out, much to my surprise and extreme happiness), with no food expenses (one of my biggest expenses). No constant hustling and wondering where my next audition, gig, job would come from. I could just turn off my mind, sing to packed houses 6 nights a week, eat for free, see ports of call, continue my health goals with the aid of the gym on board, and hopefully meet all kinds of new people. I’d be pushed outside my comfort zone and routines in a way that I think will be good for me. And who knows what opportunities could come my way during this adventure? It just seemed like something I could not say “No” to. Something that I need and will indeed help me grow and heal and come out of it a much deeper, better, more textured and layered person.

Also, when I really analyzed all the things I was leaving behind, as much as I love them and have great gratitude for them, none of them were anything I should be basing life decisions upon. Most of them will most likely never be anything more than they are now. That’s not an insult, that’s just their nature. Of course, they could lead to other things, but in and of themselves, they most likely will not ever grow in any way. The money hasn’t changed. The venues haven’t really changed. And like pretty much everything in life, they all had their own set of cons along with the pros. I tend to be a very nostalgic, sentimental creature of habit, so it was definitely hard to let go of all these things, even temporarily. But when I really took a hard look at everything, I knew I had to go on this journey.

It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s likely the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m trying to just be present, grateful, and to just focus on all the positives, which are numerous. I will miss you all, I will miss my bands, I will miss acting, I will miss nature, I am almost depressed by the fact that I will literally miss all the good weather. I will leave just before it’s gets cool and come back just when it’s getting hot again and that really hurts me. I don’t know what the future holds. So I will try to simply enjoy my present and let go of the pain of the past and the fears about the future. I will use my time to read, sing, play guitar, meditate, and find other ways to better myself. There’s a Learning Center on the ship where you can learn languages or study other things. I will have internet to some degree though it may be painfully slow at times and I do have to pay (a discounted rate) for it, so I won’t be completely off the grid or anything.

My apologies to anyone I disappointed or had to bail on. Hopefully you all know me well enough to know that is not my way and this is truly an exceptional circumstance. And there is never a “good” time. There’s never a period where I just have nothing on the calendar for 6 months. I’m still in shock. There is still much to do (Medical exam, dental exam) before I go to Florida for a month for rehearsals 6 days a week before shipping out on the Carnival ship “Liberty”, sailing from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas which will be my home for six months. I’ve collected a ton of names who want me to send postcards (if you would like one, add your name and address here). I don’t think it will seem real until I’m there. I’m a believer in surrendering to the universe and letting it take you where it will. And this process has demonstrated that for me. Out of the 3 positions I applied for, I think I ended up with possibly the best one. I’ve never sung 6 nights a week so I’m hoping my voice holds up. I’m studying better habits and routines for voice health.

As Buckaroo Banzai says, “No matter where you go, there you are.” I don’t know where I’m going, but here I come.

Adventure

A new path begins
Both exciting and scary
I will grow from it