Jan 14

Let’s Get Lucky!

By Celeste DeCamps | General

I'm Lucky Because I Believe I'm Lucky

Let’s Get Lucky!

Why does it seem that some people get lucky in getting their careers off the ground while others seem to constantly struggle? When you speak to successful people, more times than not, their big break came because someone decided to take a chance on them.

I was speaking to a gentleman a few nights ago. We had just met and he was excited to tell me that he had a book coming out. He had worked on it for over seven years. He went to several publishers who all turned him down. It wasn’t until his friend, who already had two books published, offered to give him a good reference to his publisher. He finally had a solid opportunity to present his book and it was accepted. 

I’m a big believer that we create our own luck. I think that once we put in the work to develop a talent or skill we will eventually find our niche. It’s then up to us to chance rejection until we find the right fit with the right people. 

It can be frustrating and disheartening to work on a project and not get the attention it deserves. It comes down to how we perceive this whole process. If we are only focused on the success of our outcome and not the knowledge and experience we are gaining, then we are missing the point of it all. Committing to any new endeavor can be daunting because the end result is not guaranteed. No matter what, we will walk away having attained new knowledge, skills and experience. We can read and learn as much as possible but at some point, action must be taken. Sitting on the sidelines waiting for the perfect time and opportunity will keep us waiting.

No one likes to fail, but it’s the only way to learn and move ahead. Discoveries and new inventions take time, effort and risk. Putting our ideas out for the public to see and judge can be tough. We can play it safe and never share our plans with anyone. We can then look back on our life and think “What if?” I don’t know about you, but that scares me more than anything else. I want to do my best to have as few regrets as possible.

Meeting and networking with people helps put the odds in our favor that we will find a connection that moves us forward. We also need to stay in touch with the people we already know. We may be in a position to help someone and that is a great reward in itself. When we support each other, everyone benefits. 

I believe writing down our goals goes a long way in keeping us on track. It gives us a chance to visualize our main objective. It causes us to be constantly aware of what steps we need to take. The more we focus on all the wonderful possibilities life has in store for us, the more those possibilities become a reality. 

Create your own luck by staying the course and not giving up. Keep your mind open to any and all opportunities. Sometimes our paths will go in a whole new direction that we never thought about before. We suddenly find a new purpose that changes our life for the better. Be open to meeting new people. You never know whom you can help or who can help you. Stay positive that all your work and effort will pay off. Keep your regrets to a minimum. Write down your goals and the steps you need to take to get you to the finish line. Above all, enjoy everything you learn and share your experiences with others. Good Luck!!

Jan 04

Common Courtesy, Where Did You Go?

By Celeste DeCamps | General

I would like to say, in the nicest way possible, what the hell is wrong with everybody? No, not you, I mean everyone else. I’m walking down the street and the person walking towards me is looking down at his phone. Will he look up in time to avoid a collision with me or do I need to install a horn on my hip? Actually, this is not a bad idea considering this is an everyday occurrence. I’m at the laundromat taking my clothes out from the bottom dryer and almost get whacked in the head. This is because a woman decided to open the dryer door right above me. She’s completely oblivious of me standing there. I hold the door open for a line of of people coming into the store and not one person looks up at me to say thank you.

Maybe I have the power of invisibility and I don’t realize it. The sad truth is we don’t seem to value politeness anymore.

I know we can all relate to feeling that good manners are falling by the wayside. I’ve talked about this with many people and the consensus is always the same; what happened to common courtesy? Why won’t people RSVP? Why won’t people maintain a semblance of eye contact? Why won’t people call you instead of texting when you specifically ask for a phone call? (Yes, one of my pet peeves).

Can we blame technology? Hey, we all know those cat videos aren’t going to watch themselves. Can we blame our parents?  Why not, we blame them for everything else. Or do we face the horror of blaming ourselves?

I will admit that I have looked at an incoming text while walking and almost ran into someone. Luckily, she didn’t notice because she was also looking at her phone. (Damn those cat videos). It would be easy to make technology the reason we are so unaware but that really is not the case. I think we have gotten away from being present. We don’t always take the time to be in the here and now. We are too busy being distracted and not completely focused on what’s in front of us.

I was riding the subway and an elderly man got on. He was leaning on his cane and there were no empty seats. I immediately got up and offered him mine. He was surprised and smiled his thanks. I looked around and everyone was lost in a book or on their phone. No one noticed the man at all. I want to believe that if they did, more people would’ve given up their seat as well. I understand, the subway is boring to ride and everyone does their best not to make eye contact. It’s a courtesy though, to notice if someone needs help. 

Do we need to bring back Emily Post? For those of you who may not know about this wonderful author, she wrote several books including Etiquette in Society in Business in Politics and at Home. She became the voice of good manners in the roaring 20’s. 

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners,              no matter what fork you use.”- Emily Post

I think that quote sums it up nicely. We should all strive to have more empathy, sympathy and compassion for each other. I realize that I can only control my own actions. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they are not choosing to be courteous. I also have to remember not to take any of it personally. I don’t know what is happening in their life that is causing them to be distracted. For me it’s a reminder to stay mindful and be observant of what is happening in front of me. 

Plus it feels good to do something nice for someone. I am happy to give up my seat for anyone. Even though I may not get a thank you, I will still hold the door for others. I will try to wait till I’m not walking to watch my favorite cat videos on my phone. I still think wearing a horn on my hip is a great idea just in case I really am invisible. 

Dec 26

Do New Year Resolutions Work?

By Celeste DeCamps | General

I think I made too many New Year's resolutions this year. It took me almost a full day to break them all
I think I made too many New Year's resolutions this year. It took me almost a full day to break them all

The New Year is here. You may feel excited as to what may lay ahead or feel disappointed that it’s really just another day. I think most of us want to believe in the opportunity of renewal: a new diet, a new job, a new addiction to quit. Are we setting ourselves up for failure or do resolutions really work?

Personally, I rarely make a list of goals I want to attain in the New Year. I already know what I want to achieve. I also know that change comes about incrementally. I’ve learned to take small steps and create habits over time. I believe trying to overhaul my entire life in the first month of the year is too overwhelming. I’d rather setup easy to do plans that will result in success. Each new accomplishment encourages me to continue my progress. 

I’ve learned to change my mindset on the idea of reward and punishment. For example, I wanted to lose weight and have a healthier diet. The word diet alone makes me feel that I will never, ever, be happy again. I had to flip the script and approach my new lifestyle with a more positive spin. I started to keep track of what I was eating throughout the day. Watching the calories add up made me realize that I needed to be more mindful of what I was eating. Little by little I created delicious, satisfying meals that made me feel great. This new habit took time but it taught me that change can happen and it doesn’t have to be painful. I still have cookies once in a while and that makes life worthwhile. 

This approach of creating small goals takes out the all or nothing attitude. It’s common to start a new regimen and after a few weeks it falls by the wayside. Life gets in the way. We get too busy. We just don’t want to ride the Peloton anymore. If we decide in the beginning that no matter what, we will stick to our goal even if it means just doing it for five minutes a day. It’s an interesting trick when you put it in those terms. Once you start and see how fast five minutes really is, you may want to go longer. If not, you at least kept your promise to yourself. 

The biggest challenge I’ve taken for myself is to recognize the present moment. It’s easy to slip into the past or try to project the future. I’m either thinking about what I should’ve done or what I need to get done. This gets me nowhere. Practicing mindfulness does keep me centered. I found that  putting together a plan of action the night before helps. I do my best to focus on one task at a time. When I find myself distracted I stop and take a couple of deep breaths. I take a walk or I check to see what’s in the fridge. My hope is that the carrots have turned into cake. Either way, a short break helps me to get back on track. 

I believe New Year's Resolutions can work. Do yourself a favor and set easy to reach goals. Small accomplishments lead to life changing habits. Check in with yourself and recognize how you are feeling in the moment. Take five minutes and make yourself a priority. Write down your goals and put in place a plan of action. Take time to breathe and center yourself. Make plans to get together with your friends and family. Indulge once in a while. Love your life. 

I hope the New Year signals positive change and growth for you. I hope that throughout the year your resolve to attain new goals is strong. I hope that when you look into your fridge your carrots have magically turned into carrot cake. Happy New Year!!

Dec 20

A Little Humility Goes A Long Way

By Celeste DeCamps | General

Humility

This post was sent to me by my friend Frank, a very talented guitar player. For those of you who don’t know Buddy Rich, he was a phenomenal drummer. He also had a phenomenal ego. There are many stories from musicians who performed with him that revolved around his temper tantrums. 

This funny example of humility does remind me of how people deal with their sense of self-importance. In my experience, the more bravado a person shows, the more insecure the person is. Usually, though not in the case of Buddy Rich, people who try to come across as “being the best” are not very good.

I actually met Buddy Rich when I was thirteen. My parents got me tickets to see him perform live. My dad waited backstage with me, so I can get his autograph. When he finally came out, my dad got his attention. “Hi, Mr. Rich, this is my daughter. She’s taking drum lessons and she’s a big fan of yours.”

Buddy Rich barely looked at me. As he was signing my piece of paper, I said, very proudly,  “My drum teacher, Dante Versacci, said to tell you hello.” He looked at me briefly and said before walking away, “Really? I didn’t know he was still alive.”

I thought, “What an amazing musician and yet, not a great person.”

My brother Stan and I opened our own Jazz and Blues Club, called “One Night Stans.” We had some of the best musicians perform on our stage. We had absolute legends like Ira Sullivan and Billy Cobham as well as very talented local bands. What I noticed, as we hung out late at night, was how these players viewed their show. I would be completely blown away by their virtuosity and yet, they would be quite humble about it. They would talk about how they were still working on a piece and how they can make it better. They saw each show as a chance to continue to learn and grow. They were never satisfied and I realized that’s what made them great. They were constantly pushing themselves to move to a higher level. 

I also witnessed first hand some incredibly obnoxious and arrogant musicians come in and perform. Not surprising, they would be quite mediocre. I would see this type of behavior in other areas of business as well. 

The most intelligent and talented people I know have a hard time believing that they are  brilliant at their job. They constantly work to improve their skill set. They are always asking for constructive criticism. They seek out advice and try to learn from those they admire. 

The opposite is prevalent in people that reach a level of competence but don’t believe they need to go any further. These people are difficult to work with because they act like they are beyond reproach. They tend to be loud and intimidating. I believe they act this way so nobody questions their lack of knowledge and expertise. 

Humility is realizing that there’s always more to learn. It’s keeping ourselves open to endless possibilities. It’s not comparing ourselves to others but attaining goals that we alone are trying to achieve. 

There’s also a sense of grace when someone who has reached the top of his field wants to help and acknowledge others. We all take a chance when meeting our heroes. After all, they are human too. I've been fortunate that I have met many people that I admired and walked away feeling inspired by them. I did enjoy the opportunity to hear Buddy Rich perform live. After meeting him, I can appreciate this post on a whole other level. Thank you, Frank, for sharing a wonderful laugh with me. 

Dec 13

Tis the Season, Once Again

By Celeste DeCamps | General

Christmas shopping made me realize I know absolutely nothing about you

The holiday season is here! A time for joy, laughter and buying lots of stuff. Everyone complains about the corporate greed monopolizing the spirit of giving, yet we all give in to it. Why? Because if you don’t give your loved ones gifts, how will they know you really love them? Face it, nothing says “I Love You” more than “Here, I got you something to dust, forever and ever.”

Oh don’t worry, I’m not getting all “Humbug” on you. I just want to give you other ideas for gift giving. That’s what I do, I help people keep their stress levels down. You’re welcome. 

First of all, no one needs any more stuff. The only people who do, are kids. They are just learning about the joys of materialism and they shouldn’t be disappointed. I remember needing, very badly, a doll that talked. (Yes, I’m quite ancient. When I was little, this was a miracle). When you pushed her belly button, she would laugh and say, “That tickles!” She was amazing and I had to have her. My parents did buy me the doll.  I thought I was the luckiest girl in the entire world. I made that doll laugh for two whole weeks. Then the excitement was over and she was put in the corner for the rest of my childhood. 

When my nephews were little, I would get them large, empty boxes. They played with those boxes longer than any other toy they got. Those boxes became spaceships, pirate boats and a great place to hide. Yes, I’m quite the cheapskate, but I know kids. When they get a chance to use their imagination, it’s the best present of all. Ok, I’m really just a cheapskate. 

Secondly, I hate trying to figure out what to buy people. All of these gift guides obviously know nothing about my friends and family. No one on my list wants memory foam slippers, scented candles or a portable cooler. They have all the kitchen appliances they need. They have no room for more glassware and dishes. They have towels, bathrobes and sheets. As far as buying something for their hobbies, that’s a bust too. There’s just so many engraved flasks, bottle openers and ideas for “What to do with Cork” that I can give as gifts. Yes, I’m saying everyone I know likes to have a drink or two.

Thirdly, I believe in the gift of presence. (See what I did? I know, not original at all and quite corny.) The truth is, I made a pact with friends. We decided a long time ago, not to send each other presents. We, instead, make a plan to get together. We spend an entire weekend, catching up. We go somewhere new and create memories. I much rather spend time laughing, and talking than to scour Amazon for another funny mug.

I do the same thing with my family. We all live in different states. We will meet up after the holidays, when the price of airfare goes down. We go to visit with our dad in Florida. All he ever wants is for us to be together. After a few days, he can’t wait for us to leave. Ah, family.

Finally, take the time to remember what’s really important in life: the health and well-being of your loved ones. Take time for yourself, breathe and stay in the moment. Call your friends and make a plan to get together. Trust me, they really do not need another scarf. They do need a reason to get out of the house for a while. 

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season. It is nice to take some time and reflect on the year ending and a new year beginning. Wishing you all the very best. I am sending everyone empty boxes, because we could all use a place to hide.

Dec 03

Quick and Easy Memory Tips

By Celeste DeCamps | General

I hear this all the time “I can’t seem to remember anything anymore.” “I apologize, what is your name again?” and my favorite “I can’t find my phone. Can I call you back?” 

I think many of us are just overwhelmed with all the things we need to do in a day. We aren’t suffering from memory loss as much as we are trying to get our “to do” list accomplished. We live in a fast paced society and we rely on our gadgets to help us get it done. We don’t memorize phone numbers anymore, or passwords for that matter.  We don’t need to do math in our head or rack our brains to remember who sang that song about bananas. With a few key strokes, the answer is there and no brain cells are activated. 

Yet, we do need to exercise our brain and be able to recall names, places and dates. It’s important in social and business relationships that we remember who we met and a little bit about them. Networking is what builds our community and it has to be more than a facebook or instagram post. In our jobs, we need to be able to do a presentation without relying on notes. Engaging your audience means keeping eye contact and speaking confidently about your subject. In social situations remembering peoples’ names goes a long way in making a good impression.

What can we do to help our powers of recall work more efficiently? I’m so glad you asked, otherwise all of this wonderful material would go to waste. 

Three keys to help strengthen our memory are: Imagination, Mindfulness and Practice. A way to remember these steps is to turn them into an acronym-IMP-the first three letters of the word Important. (See what I did there? I can tell you're already having fun).

Imagination is an important step in the technique of retaining names, numbers, lists and dates. Visualization helps us to cement this process of memorization. Think about a story you read when you were a child. For example, can you recite Green Eggs and Ham? I’m sure that while you are thinking about it, pictures from the story are popping up in your mind. That’s where your imagination comes in.

When you meet someone for the first time, make sure you hear her name correctly. Repeat her name and look into her eyes as you shake hands. (Only for a second. Stare too long and it becomes creepy). Now, find a defining feature that stands out and link her name to it. For example, her name is Lynn. It’s possible that you know another Lynn and you can make a quick comparison to the new Lynn. She can stay in your mind as Little Lynn or Light Hair Lynn. You can also try to rhyme her name with her defining feature: Thin Lynn. When you say good-bye repeat her name again. Saying someone’s name at least three times helps keep them stored in your memory file. Three time's a charm, just ask BeetleJuice.

When you are trying to remember a list, the power of creativity helps. Let’s say you have five points you want to make in a meeting. Put a number next to each point and a picture that will trigger your memory. Rhyming also helps. Soon you’ll be just as good as Dr. Seuss. 

For example: Five Ways to Engage Your Audience

  1. Be passionate about your message
  2. Speak clearly
  3. Be organized
  4. Have a call to action
  5. Tell personal stories that relate to your message

Number one rhymes with sun. Picture a bright sun high in the sky with your main message written across it. You can design it anyway you want. The more detailed you can make it, the more memorable it will be. Sunlight spotlights your passion.

Number two rhymes with shoe. Visualize your shoe with a large mouth. Your shoe is talking to you loud and clear. The reminder is speak clearly.

Number three rhymes with bee. Picture a large beehive being built by very organized buzzing bees. The point “be organized” will be easy to remember.

Number four rhymes with floor. Think about a living chessboard that is in an action packed game. See the Queen belting out orders to the other pieces. The picture of the action packed floor will be your call to action 

Number five rhymes with dive. See yourself diving into a large pool full of fish. Each fish is telling their own story all at the same time. Personal stories add an impact to your message, so dive into yours. 

When you can see the pictures in your head as you move from point to point, your speech will flow that much easier.

Mindfulness. Take a moment to breathe deeply and focus on what’s in front of you. When we do that, we are present. We can be so distracted that it can feel hard to quiet our mind of all that we have to do. When you are completely aware of your surroundings it makes it easier to concentrate on the task at hand. This helps you retain what you are reading or listening to. 


Check your posture. How are you sitting or standing? It does make a difference. When you are trying to solve a problem, sit up straight. It will help you feel confident in your abilities. It helps your circulation and blood flow. You will find your memory works better and will also put you in a positive mood. 


Practice. Just like learning a language or a dance step, practicing something new takes time. The more you work on bringing your ideas to life in your mind, the easier it becomes. You will become aware of staying in the present and focused on listening to the person in front of you. You’ll find that your attention span, along with your memory gets better. You’ll be amazed just how clever you are when you are developing fun images to connect to names, dates and lists. It will become a habit that becomes easier as you do it. 

IMP-Imagination, Mindfulness and Practice will play a very important part in your day to day life. I carry a very funny slideshow that lives in my head.  Not only does it help me with my memory, but it keeps me in a great mood. Yes, I crack myself up. I hope you do too. 

For more tips on having a great memory check out this wonderful book by                  Grandmaster Kevin Horsley “Unlimited Memory" 





Nov 25

Thanksgiving 101- Gratitude Attitude

By Celeste DeCamps | General

Everyone it's 2:30 time to eat which on Thanksgiving is dinnertime for some reason
Everyone it's 2:30 time to eat which on Thanksgiving is dinnertime for some reason

Thanksgiving 101-Gratitude Attitude

Being and feeling grateful is tough when it seems like your whole world is falling apart. Sure when things are going well it’s easy to spout lovely platitudes of appreciation. It’s quite different when you are in crisis mode and someone is trying to tell you it could be worse. Yes, I could be in jail right now for punching you in the face. I’ll be happy to tell you it could’ve been a whole lot worse. 

I know people mean well when they are trying to give you comfort but it’s hard when you are feeling powerless. Yes, there’s a lot we cannot control even though we want to very much. Tragedy and heartbreak are a part of life, and no, time doesn’t heal everything. The best we can do is adapt and live with it. As much as I don’t want to revisit the past, I know it’s always with me. I don’t dwell on it, but when I feel down it’s easy to open up old wounds. I’ve had to learn not to let it spiral out and consume me. 

Do you know what night has the most people out drinking? It’s not New Year’s Eve, and no, it’s not Tax Day. Believe it or not, it’s the night before Thanksgiving. Hey, facing the family isn’t easy for many of us. Liquid courage helps a little bit. Family can bring up past hurts and resentment. I stress the word “can” because we do have the power to decide how we are going to behave and react to our family. I have a few thoughts to share with you that might help increase the odds of having a wonderful time with our loved ones. These tips and tricks may also help when you are going through some hard times. 

Visualization. It’s easy to visualize the worst case scenario and many times what we expect is exactly what we get. What about trying to picture a happier more loving scenario? Think about each person in your family and see them in the best light possible. See yourself laughing and joking with them. Open yourself up to believing your visit will be enjoyable. You may find your own attitude change for the better. 

Bring wine, just in case. 

A friend of mine once told me that she hated going to work. The people in her office were always in a bad mood, and it was a miserable place to be. I suggested that she visualize everybody in her office having a fun day. I told her to set the scene before going to bed. I wanted her to see herself smiling to everyone and saying a friendly hello. She told me she decided to do it every night for a week. On Sunday she called me and said a miracle had happened. She had the best five days at work and couldn’t believe how nice everyone was being. My belief is smiling is infectious and has a relaxing effect on others. It’s easier than spiking their coffee. 

Empathy. The more we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, the more we can relate to each other. Most of us wear our scars on the inside and we will never understand the hurt that is being carried around. Practicing compassion goes a long way to developing patience for each other. The more we communicate our feelings the less chance of being misunderstood. 

My father had a tough time growing up and said very little about his parents. My uncle, on the other hand, has given me more insight to how they were raised. For me, it unlocked a whole new perception of my dad. We have to remember our parents are people too. They are not perfect but I believe most try their best. Getting a glimpse into their past may help give us clues to understanding them better. 

Last but not least, wait for it, Gratitude. Yes, practicing gratitude can go a long way. It can help us find that silver lining when all we see are dark clouds. It may feel like the last thing we want to do when we are struggling, yet, if we take a moment to be grateful about one thing it may keep us from drowning. 

I’m lucky. I don’t have to look too far to find what I’m grateful for. It’s easy to conjure up a good memory when you have people in your life that you love. I have a great family and wonderful friends that I can always count on. My hope and wish is that you too have a lot to be grateful for. 

Happy Thanksgiving!! See you at the bar!!

Nov 18

Why Are We Always Explaining Ourselves and How Do We Stop?

By Celeste DeCamps | General

Cake Never Explains Itself Why Should You

I was at a friend’s birthday party a couple of months ago. It was held in the back room of a restaurant. There were no decorations and the room was drab and colorless. The tables and chairs were placed tightly up against each other. It was hard to move around and very uncomfortable. I thought to myself, it’s not the worst thing in the world and it’s only for a couple of hours.  During dinner the birthday guy turned to me and said, “This isn’t what I had wanted. I’m sorry the party isn’t better. The venue had to be changed at the last minute.” 

I said, “It’s fine. We are all here to celebrate you, that’s what’s important.”

“You’re only saying that to be nice. I know this sucks.”

“It does not suck. Everyone is enjoying being here and being with you.”

“You’re a very nice friend, but you don’t need to lie.”

“If this was my party and I was worried about it not being perfect, what would you say to me?”

“I would say your party doesn’t suck and everyone is enjoying being here and being with you.”

Everyone finds themselves in embarrassing situations and the last thing we want is other people piling on. What we want is some reassurance that it’s not as bad as we think it is. 

How many times has your friend told you, “Oh my place is a mess. I’ve been so busy I didn’t have time to properly clean” or “Don’t look at my hair, I need to get it cut”? My favorite one, because I know I say it too often, “I know I’ve gained weight, but I plan on starting a new diet soon.” 

Why are we always explaining ourselves? If you didn’t point out the small stain on your shirt, I would’ve never noticed it. Do we judge other people so harshly that we just assume they are doing the same to us? Maybe we are too hard on ourselves and worry way too much about what other people think. 

Being part of a society does mean fitting in. We want to feel accepted and valued for our contribution. When we feel we are being put on the spot we tend to over explain. We then have to walk away beating ourselves up for it. 

“Have you started exercising yet?”

“I plan to very soon. I’ve been trying to decide if I want to go to a gym, try a workout program at home or just wait for the fat fairy to come and make me skinny.”

Why couldn’t I just say “No, not yet” and leave it at that? Most questions can be answered with yes, no, or maybe. We are not on trial and we certainly don’t need to make anyone a judge and juror. I think most people are asking questions just to start a conversation. We shouldn’t feel that we have to justify our existence to anyone. I don’t think most people expect us to do that and yet we make ourselves feel that way. 

What’s the solution if we tend to give more information than needed? Try taking a second to breathe before answering. Think about what you want to say or not say.  For example, today you’re fixated on how your skin looks. You have a breakout and you have a networking event to go to. You feel self-conscious and yet you know you need to be there. Once you are away from your mirror, stop obsessing about how you look. Remind yourself of the importance of making a good first impression. Dazzle them with your smile. No one will give a second thought about how you look. They will if you decide to explain it away.

We also tend to give too much of an explanation when we have to say no to someone. For example, someone is asking you to pick them up from the airport at a time that is inconvenient for you. Instead of a long meandering answer trying to cover all the reasons you can’t, simply say “I’m sorry I can’t get out of a commitment I already have at that time.”

We don’t want people to feel that they can’t count on us, but sometimes we have to set boundaries to not be taken advantage of either. The less you explain yourself the more you realize people just want a direct answer from you. You also don’t want to make the mistake of explaining yourself to the point you end up doing what you were trying to get out of. (I say this while I’m taking my friend to the airport).

When you have a minute check out this video Pantene put out. It sums up perfectly how we tend to apologize when no apology or explanation is needed. 

https://youtu.be/Qt5kOTzdyL8

We can alleviate stress and gain confidence when we decide not to explain our actions to others all the time. We can change our mind-set to feeling positive and self-assured. We can go to the party, have cake, and feel good about ourselves. My diet starts tomorrow.

Nov 11

Music=Empathy

By Celeste DeCamps | General

My mother told me that I danced before I could walk. I didn’t think about anything when music was playing except to feel it move through my body. I believe we all have rhythm though I have met a few people who seem to have forgotten it. When I was twelve I told my parents that I wanted to play the drums. They did their best to convince me to play something smaller, like the flute. I told them that people won’t be able to hear me if I did that. It wasn’t until I had stuck with the lessons for a couple of years that my parents bought me a drum set. I think they were really hoping that I would’ve given up before having to get one. 

I played in my high school marching band and the orchestra. When I got to college, I used all my electives in music. My brother, Stan, played the sax and was a music major. He introduced me to an amazing drummer, Rob Cargell, to continue my drum lessons. It was the start of a whole new phase of understanding music and being part of a band. Plus, Rob was really cute.

I took rhythm classes in Jazz and Rock. The focus being how to connect and anticipate what the other guy is doing. It’s a completely different feeling from playing with a marching band. Instead of reading music and following a conductor, I’m working with a small group improvising a song. I was having a hard time relating and trusting my inner rhythm. Rob was trying to figure out why and at one point looked at me and said, “Stop counting.” 

I said, “What? Stop counting? I have to count or I’ll lose my place.”

“Don’t count while you’re playing. You’re not allowing yourself to feel the music that is being created around you. Get out of your head and just listen.”

It was the strangest feeling when I started to play and hone in on what the bass player was doing. Little by little I felt like he and I were one person. The more I practiced with the band the better understanding I had of the other players’ personalities. 

Empathy is feeling someone else’s ideas and thoughts. Everyone’s approach is different and you have to gain an understanding of how that person will interpret a song. To lock in with another person, to be in the pocket together is hard to describe. It’s like you’re reading the other person’s mind, especially when you have played with the same group of people over a long period of time. 

The rhythm section’s job is also to support the soloist. It’s an amazing sensation when you can understand when to lay back and when to punch with an accent. I have a whole new level of appreciation when I hear a group meld their ideas together. 

I’ve always thought that the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes was important to being more compassionate to those around you. I think playing in a band and relating to each other heightened my sense of awareness. I seem to pick up on other people’s emotions before they even say anything. I also know that annoys a few people but I can’t help it.

I continued playing drums even when I became a professional belly dancer.  Stan came out to see me perform in a Greek restaurant. Later he asked me how long I had to practice with the band before going on stage with them. I said the band and I never practice together. 

“Well, then how did you know what they were going to play? How did you dance to the music and the drum solo if you’ve never heard it before?”

“I learned how to listen and anticipate what the musicians are going to play and they watch me as well. This way it looks like we rehearsed it.”

“But the rhythms and time are constantly changing. How do you stay with them so well?”

“It’s easy. I don’t count.”

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