Mental Health Awareness month

May is mental health awareness month. I'm passionate about raising awareness of mental health through my writing and building community in music. The stigma around anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related illnesses needs to be removed.


This past week was an important reminder of how far a little bit of self-care practice can go towards easing my mind and reminding me to live in the present. Here are some things that have helped me recently and some things I'm looking forward to:

Insight Timer: Meditation app

I’ve previously recommended apps like Calm and Headspace, but I recently came across Insight Timer, the biggest meditation community in the world. Thousands of meditation teachers upload guided meditations across a variety of needs–anxiety, stress, sleep, emergency, etc. I’ve been using Insight Timer every day and night, whether I’m meditating for a few minutes before going into work, or getting ready to fall asleep.

Notes from the Universe

This is one of my favorite things to receive in my inbox: Notes from the Universe.  Every morning "The Universe" sends you a note, personalized with your name. These notes are "designed to remind you that you have, indeed, been given dominion over all things." I tend to receive these brilliant, uplifting reminders at the right time. Sign up for them here

Breath work

I took a breath work class for the first time last week. Breath work involves controlled, rhythmic breathing to help release pent-up emotions as you focus on the here and now. It was an intense experience–first-timers often experience their hands cramping up like lobster claws. As the music started to get louder and my breathing aligned with the sounds bouncing off the walls in the room, tears started to pour uncontrollably. I left the class with a set of mantras and gratitude for all that I'm experiencing and working on. 

Sound baths

People getting ready for the  Liminial  sound bath at Marciano Art Foundation.

People getting ready for the Liminial sound bath at Marciano Art Foundation.

Sound baths are a great way to relax, release emotional trauma, and gain new insights and perspectives. I had the privilege of experiencing an incredible sound bath at the Marciano Art Foundation last week. It took place in a 13,000 square foot space that currently houses Olafur Eliasson’s Reality Project, an immersive light and sound installation. Jónsi of Sigur Rós, frequent collaborator Alex Somers, and composer Paul Corley performed Sigur Rós's newest mixtape Liminal live. On the project's site, they write, “Liminal views Sigur Rós as an eco-system. It identifies the connections and blurs the boundaries between work done and work to come; between brand new music and ideas barely yet nascent; between songs written 20 years ago and collaborations to be made tomorrow.”

I love that description so much. I felt and visualized those themes throughout the experience. I often dipped into the past, imagined the future. Breathing through it and immersing myself in the music allowed me to return to home, to the present. I also reflected on how much I’ve grown since my days in high school and college listening to and seeing Sigur Rós and Jónsi live. Here I was, more than a decade later, listening to their latest project in an unforgettable sound bath experience.

WE RISE LA: May 19-28

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Organized by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, WE RISE is a 10-day pop-up festival of art and community building in Downtown LA from May 19-28. There will be talks, meditations, workshops and more to raise awareness and action around mental health as a civil right for all. I look forward to checking out some of the events this upcoming week. All events are free with RSVP. More info here.

Previous mental health related posts I've written

Notes from meditation class: guilt and resentment

Guilt and resentment stem from a lack of forgiveness of the self or other. Let go and accept. Music by D. Sanders - Recollect.

Last week, I attended a meditation class on anger and patience held at the Kadampa Meditation Center in Hollywood. This week's class was on letting go of guilt and resentment. Here are notes I took during class that I hope you'll find useful too:

Guilt and resentment

  • Guilt and resentment don’t act in isolation. There is commonality between the two–both arc back to the past: we feel guilty about something that we did, or resent what others of what they did.
  • Guilt and resentment is us holding on, grasping and rejecting–a lack of forgiveness of the self or other.
  • Self-judgement and criticism indicate a lack of acceptance of who we are and where we are at. Resentment follows similar suit but towards other people.

How do we heal from this tendency to feel guilty or resentful?

  • Ask yourself if you want to be trapped into being that person that did that thing
  • Guilt is like psychic mental currency–"if I feel bad enough, that’s going to fix the problem" is like a penance, like you’re negotiating with yourself.
  • Feeling bad is not a liberating path. 
  • Guilt is completely useless because all the energy of feeling bad doesn’t go into changing.
  • "Guilt is a weight. It’s like tying stones to the feet of a bird. We can’t soar to enlightenment with guilt shackling our mind."


  • Look at anger and process anger as "Angry thoughts are arising, but they don’t define me" vs. "I am angry"
  • Ask yourself: what am I identifying within me right now?
  • With guilt, you’re identifying yourself with an action you deemed harmful or bad or wrong but you’re still identifying with being that person. With resentment, you’re conflating people and defining them by their actions. We become stuck.
  • Learn to identify with your highest potential, your pure nature instead.

Remind yourself of your potential

  • Remind yourself of the potential you’re becoming and refer to the space of who you are becoming
  • Have distance and observe your mistakes, but do so from space from your highest potential, your pure nature
  • Ask yourself: "Who am I becoming now? Who am I arising as anew in this moment?"

Forgiveness of self and others: Let yourself and others be anew

  • "A seed has to go out of existence for a sprout to come out:" The person of yesterday had to cease for the person of today to come into being.
  • We can give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves and others.
  • Powerful way to stay present is to remind yourself of death–"I may die today. Is it worth staying unhappy? Do I want to be mired in self-hatred or hatred of others when I die?"
  • Guide yourself back to your heart, connect to your pure nature and potential, love, kindness, wellness — use that in relation to what situation you’re in
  • Create a new version of you and who you want to be in this moment. There is an intention to change when you meditate on who you wish to be: envision confidence, letting go, moving forward, happy, etc. Imagine it being existent now. Don’t delay it.

Notes from meditation class: anger and patience

Imagine your mind as an expansive sky. Captured in Downtown LA. Music by Jetson - + Archy

"Life is the nature of problems and difficulties. When we accept that, we can make spiritual progress by recognizing how we react."

Mental and emotional health is important to our well-being, our creativity and our community in music and beyond. I'm on a quest to cultivate as much knowledge and truth in my current spiritual journey as possible. I'll be using this space to share what I'm learning and gathering.

I went to a meditation class yesterday evening at the Kadampa Meditation Center in Hollywood. The topic of the class was "Patience: If the Mind Accepts, There is No Problem," focused on anger, patience and how to accept things as they are, bookended by guided meditations at the start and end of the class.

Here are notes I took from the class. I will be attending next week's class on "Impermanence: Letting Go of Guilt & Resentment," so I will share notes from that class as well. 


  • Anger is on the continuum of rejection.
  • Anger is not accepting what is.
  • Anger is poison in the mind.

Alertness - be in the moment

  • Courageously be in the moment and observe that “this doesn’t feel comfortable” feeling arising in your heart without rejecting, repressing, running away from or ignoring it.
  • Catch anger early with alertness. Alertness is your wisdom. It keeps a look out, watches what happens within and scans for danger.
  • Be motivated to watch out for what will rob you of your joy and peacefulness even in the face of something difficult or challenging.

Corrective measures

  • Take deep breaths and recognize there are different perspectives to come at a situation: practice meditation, compassion, and gratitude and keep a happy mind.

Meditation tips

  • Imagine your mind as an expansive sky. Imagine clouds as problems passing by and shrinking and going away.
  • Imagine your mind as solid wood or stone and be still mentally. Thoughts racing will gradually soften.

Practice compassion

  • Build into your worldview that people will be inconsiderate, say mean things, etc.
  • Recalibrate expectations of people and the world to reduce your anger.
  • If someone is frustrating you and angering you, practice thinking and asking yourself:
    • "I accept this person for who they are in this moment. I will not give away my inner peace to this person. They are acting out who they are in their mental development, just like I am."
    • "This person is so kind to allow me to practice patience."
    • What can I learn from this moment? What can this person teach me?"

Practice gratitude

  • View your problem as your teacher:  “This problem is evidence of my good fortune.”

Keep a happy mind

  • Most of our emotional problems is a failure to accept things as they are.
  • If something could be remedied, why be unhappy about it? If there’s no remedy, there’s no point in getting or being unhappy.
  • Instead of reacting blindly because of our emotional habits, we should ask ourselves if it’s helpful or useful to be angry. Trust and rely on your positive mind and attitude instead.
  • You can be in pain and enjoy it for its meaningfulness. View your problem as "It’s terrible, but it’s good because I'm growing and learning."