these masks will come off soon

these masks will come off soon

March 29, 2021

these masks will come off soon

These masks are not what has been separating us… not these masks.

It's the masks we wore before.

(And by "separating" I don't mean from showing up to work or church or
restaurants together… I mean separating us from truly connecting deeply,
knowing, appreciating, accepting one another… and separating us from that same
love and acceptance and appreciation for ourselves — the real us.)

When these Covid masks come off, the old ones will remain. But the old masks
can come off, too.

I believe Covid — as difficult as it's been — has presented us with a unique
opportunity for healing in the places necessary for truly connecting.

Connecting — with each other, with ourselves, with our world, with God —
requires being here.

We've struggled with being here for a long while. But we've actually taken
some steps toward being here over the past year. Painful steps. Good steps.

The first step to being here was to slow down… and here we are. Many (not all)
of us have listened and slowed down.

We must keep listening! There is more to hear…

I believe we are now being invited to begin to open our eyes — to look around,
not at the past or the future, but at what, and who, is right here.

There is a lot here, and there are lots of reasons for protecting ourselves
from much of it. Lots of undigested pain, fear, uncertainty.

But these things are here, nonetheless. WE are here, nonetheless.

We are here.

I feel hopeful: these masks will come off soon. But I believe we've been
prepped this year for the removal of our older, fuller masks — the ones that
have kept us separated and fragmented. I believe that Covid (whether it wanted
to or not!) has actually helped open a door for us to wholeness.

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Healing From 2020

Healing From 2020

March 4, 2021

It feels so important to me that our culture treats this transition, from 2020 to "the other side" of things, with care.

There is a huge opportunity for deep healing, if we'll let it.

The temptation will be to rush back to "the way things were" — to jam ourselves back into a familiar posture, without taking into consideration how we've changed.

Healing wants to flow through our 2020 wounds into even deeper ones.

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Larry Crabb

Larry Crabb

March 1, 2021

In April of 2012 I sat at a table with Larry Crabb and had a conversation which changed my life.

A lot of words were spoken, but the one word that is highlighted and underlined and circled is rest. Larry recognized something in me which, I believe, can only be recognized by someone who has walked the same path. I was trying so hard… to do it right, to get it right, to be upright, to be good. Larry’s word to me on that spring day was rest.

Something broke in me that day. Not “broken,” but broke-open. I began to open that day. I began to open to rest.

If Larry hadn’t taken a moment to truly look at me, he wouldn’t have recognized. If he hadn’t taken a moment to speak what he saw, I wouldn’t have received.

Larry’s courage to be with — with me, and with the part of himself which struggled to rest as I did — saved my life. But not only my life.

Rest is how I was able to navigate my dismissal from my official position as a leader in the Church.

Rest is how I was able to see, and hear, while our family’s money ran out.

Rest is how I was able to focus on discovering my own Voice when so much inside me wanted to panic — to jump on the treadmill, running fast for the sake of running. Instead, I sat in the chaos and listened. And in the middle of chaos, I heard a whisper. I began to follow that whisper. I’m still following it today.

Rest is how I was able to not entirely miss the 14-month life of my daughter, Olivia. More chaos surrounded me, but the whisper was still there. “Here is a gift. Isn’t she beautiful?”

Rest is how I was able to steer toward healing and away from only numbness after the death of our daughter.

Rest is how I was able to put pen to paper, and eventually to sing again… to dance again.

Rest is why I am still married, working to find my wife in the ashes and rubble of these past years.

Rest is how I am finding re-connection with myself, and grace and appreciation for myself, in spite of my many failings.

Rest is how I choose to move forward. It is, I believe, how I will best serve my world, my family, myself, and how I will best connect with God, the One who continues to whisper.

Rest is my connection to Life. It is my salvation.

Thank you Larry, for sitting in chaos with me. Thank you for showing me rest.

Thank you for what I know was a lifetime of HARD WORK. I know you chose the narrow path, and I know it wasn’t easy. But I’m confident that right now you have very little regret about that. You fought to be a conduit — to hold the door open between God and others, even though that meant being constantly confronted with your own failings. I commit to continuing that work.

Finally, if you do read blog posts from heaven and happen to see this, look for Olivia. In a way, her experience of life was because of you. She’ll want to meet you. I don’t know if she’ll be able to speak in heaven any more than she was able to on earth, but she’ll recognize your touch.

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A Message for Worship Leaders During Covid

A Message for Worship Leaders During Covid

February 15, 2021

A message for worship leaders, and all church / spiritual leaders, during COVID:

This is an opportunity for a change in mindset... to let what we do be determined by who we are.

Don’t start with slots; start with “who are we?” If “who we are” is one singer and a bass player, then that’s not something to settle for — it’s absolutely perfect, and anything else would be a sacrifice.

Your job as a worship leader is not to manufacture an end result; it is to cultivate “who we are.” The pressure to fill slots doesn’t need to be on your shoulders.

This shift doesn’t just help you and your musicians (although it will completely change the atmosphere of a worship ministry)... it goes much deeper than that. It changes the entire culture of your church community:

When you carry the pressure to fill slots, you are carrying the pressure to look a certain way. You’re starting with the end in mind. This not only creates an atmosphere of pressure and guilt for the musicians, but it teaches the entire community to treat themselves the same way.

When a community member sees you lead from the stage in a way that lets you be only where you are — only who you are — they begin to give the same freedom to themselves.

You have the power, and responsibility, to lead your community in the fight against self-abuse. The same self-abuse which plagues our culture — which causes us to worry constantly about how we look... to never be able to just be. And just being is a better definition of “worship” than “filling slots.”

How you treat this season of Covid and all the difficulty it brings to leading a church community — how you treat your Self during this time — is “worship leading.” The songs, the band make-up, the video and sound quality.... that’s all an extremely far second.

How do you treat yourself when you want to have a drummer, but you don’t have a drummer? Do you force yourself to fit that predefined picture? Or do you appreciate yourself as you are, where you are? Whatever you do for yourself here is exactly where you will lead your church community when you step on stage (or go live). This is what worship leading is. And right now is SUCH a great opportunity to begin to lead our community is “just being.”

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Our Kids

Our Kids

January 10, 2021

Our kids don’t learn from what we tell them; they learn from what we tell ourselves.

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An Opportunity For Us in COVID

An Opportunity For Us in COVID

November 22, 2020

An opportunity in COVID—

Much of our focus is on staying safe, keeping COVID away, which makes sense. But this is largely a reactive response. "How can I keep from getting COVID?" ...and then, despite our best efforts, we test positive.

What about a proactive response? "What can I do now, so that if I get COVID I am strong and ready to fight?"

Reactive responses like social distancing, quarantining, shut-downs are important and necessary steps. We need to get better as a country at coordinating these efforts as a unit.

But, there is a bigger opportunity in these shut-downs: the pandemic is creating space we didn't have before—space which we can use for more than just consuming more food and Netflix and news feeds... we can use this space to take care of and strengthen ourselves in ways we have been putting off long before COVID was a thing.

Instead of only encouraging each other as a culture to stay home, let's push each other a little further:

While you are home, care for yourself in ways which make you a healthier, stronger person: exercise daily; eat healthy, alive foods; take long walks; find a less stressful work-rhythm; breathe; play; seek counseling for navigating mental and emotional wounds (we all have them); sleep more. These all build our immune systems, so that if COVID or any other sickness attack, we're more likely to live.

I'm not talking about what we did at the beginning of COVID. We took it easy for like 3 weeks. We watched more Netflix. Then we found ways to get just as busy and stressed as we were using technology. I'm talking about building new rhythms which make us healthier people for the rest of our lives.

COVID can make us stronger, better fighters—healthier physically and emotionally—if we use the opportunity it provides... if we act proactively, strengthening ourselves—not only for fighting COVID, but for fighting countless other battles which are on the horizon for each of us.

In life there are always battles to fight. We can become warriors—strong and ready, healthy and awake... alive.

I am calling out to anyone reading this to use this season as a time to become stronger and healthier, not just for hiding and hoping COVID won't find you.

Reactive responses may keep us from getting COVID, or they may just prolong things. And even if we do dodge the COVID bullet, is this the last disease we'll have to fight?

What about cancer? Heart disease? Depression? Suicide?

These shut-downs and quarantines don't have to be only an inconvenience. This is an opportunity for us to grow.

Now is the time to invest in ourselves—to ready ourselves rather than just hiding ourselves.

We can be STRONGER through this.

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Morning is Coming

Morning is Coming

September 4, 2020

I woke up the day after Olivia died, and everything had once again changed.

The previous morning, we woke up as "usual," our "new normal," exhausted from another night of sleeplessness, anxiety, close calls, trying to help her keep medicine down, crying, having to take each moment one-at-a-time just to make it to the morning.

For over a year, many nights were like that. We didn't know how many more nights, how many more years, would be that way.

24 hours later, we woke to an entirely new reality. It was all over, just like that.

I remember that morning vividly. There was sadness from the loss of Olivia, but it was dull and distant. Mostly, surprisingly, I felt peace. We'd gotten used to living without sleep, without many choices, with extra anxiety, running on adrenaline, and now, just like that, it was behind us. The pain of grief would come later, but that morning everything felt so clear and so peaceful. Morning had come.

I don't know how or when the situation with COVID will change for us, but I do believe the way things have been will pass. COVID may still exist, but like other things — flu, cancer, etc — it will move from being the thing to being a thing. I hear people say, "this is the 'new normal,'" referring to how things have been the past six months, but that does not resonate with me. We're always looking for "normal" but "normal" never comes because life is always changing. That may be the only thing we can be truly certain about. There is no "normal," as long as we're alive.

As these months go on, most of us seem to be falling into one of two groups:

  1. Those of us who are hunkering down in our "new normal," learning to connect digitally, accepting "distance" as a good word to describe how we should relate to each other, even learning enjoy this new way of life and making plans for this to be the way it is from now on.
  2. Those of us who are holding our breath until COVID is over, essentially suffocating ourselves, because no one can hold their breath for six months.

But there is another option available to us which is neither hunkering down, nor holding our breath: To be fully with life the way it is now while remaining open to the inevitable changes of life ahead. This openness toward today and tomorrow at once can also be called rest... or trust.

We can rest in each moment. We can rest in the difficult seasons, taking each moment as it comes, knowing that, while some moments are difficult, these moments are not all bad... some of them are very beautiful.

For the past 6 months, in the midst of a global pandemic, many beautiful moments have passed us by while we've hunkered down, getting cozy with COVID, and distance, and digital as our "new normal," or while others of us have held our breath, just counting the days and killing time until we can finally "get back to the way things were." Meanwhile, there has been so much beauty available to us in the closeness with immediate family, in the slowing down, in the quiet, in the stripping away of so many things that weren't working "the way things were." This has been a season of winter, where everything has stopped, where all is quiet, where plants with shallow roots are allowed to die, but where, under the surface, life is preparing for a new season of growth.

Olivia's life was difficult, but there was so much beauty in the closeness of our immediate family, in the way our community supported us, in the not-doing and the not-knowing. It was the most beautiful year, and it has led to explosive growth.

This winter season has purpose. But it is only a season.

This is our new normal: There is no "normal." There is no sense in hunkering down. Things will never stop changing. And there is no need to hold our breath. Life is still here, in these moments. In these moments, we can choose to breathe deeply.

I don't know how or when things with COVID will change, but I do know they will change. No night lasts forever. But the night does have purpose. Let's not miss what this night has for us. Also, let's not get too comfortable in the dark. The sun always rises, and the night is over, just like that.

Morning is coming.

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The Two Boys

The Two Boys

August 28, 2020

A lot of people have asked me how I feel about the two boys who robbed our boy's lemonade stand. It seems like most people assume I'm angry and would like to see them punished. Many have made remarks about making sure they "really pay" when they are caught, saying things to our boys like, "when they catch those boys, you make sure you punch them right in the nose for me." I can honestly say that doesn't resonate with me at all. Here are my strongest feelings about these two boys right now:

They are kids, they are beautiful and valuable human beings — same as my kids, same as me, same as anyone else — and they deserve to be respected, not on the basis of their actions but on the basis of their intrinsic worth. They have legitimate unmet needs, which, for whatever reason, they are trying to meet for themselves in destructive ways. Both—their destructive choices, and their unmet needs—are not okay.

They have been failed.

My family has been distressed by their actions — this past month has been difficult. But I can't possibly single out these two boys as the sole reason for that. It goes deeper, and the responsibility falls on many more people than just them.

We should stop being only concerned with seeing them punished, and start thinking about our responsibility toward them, which, yes, does include holding them accountable for destructive choices, but also includes helping them find a healthy way to have their needs met.

I don't know how to do that, and frankly, I don't have the energy to figure it out — I'm struggling just to be a good parent for my own kids.

But I do know that if it is just about punishing them, or separating them, or controlling them, we're ignoring the deeper problem and we will not solve anything. I think much of what is happening in our country right now is an exact result of this mentality.

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Lemonade Stand Follow-Up 2

Lemonade Stand Follow-Up 2

August 11, 2020

The boys continued their lemonade stand today. The moment they opened, a parade of police cars, led by an armadillo, pulled up! SO MANY officers, including the Police Chief, surrounded the boys, handed them a gift of money they'd raised, and let them know that they have their backs. Then they all bought lemonades. I may have cried a little.

Meanwhile, the community flooded the boys with business, kind words, honks, love.

Beauty and life can be found in even the darkest circumstances, if we look. Sometimes it's really hard to see it. This time, it was impossible to ignore.

Our hearts are overwhelmed by the love and support of the community — people from totally different backgrounds, police, everyone — all rallying around these boys.

I've spent the last several years writing about finding life in the midst of chaos — to see it happen in real life, in my neighborhood, with my kids, is so special.

I'm feeling proud of Jude today. I'm also feeling proud of our community, and just generally proud of the human race at the moment. ♥️

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Lemonade Stand Follow-Up

Lemonade Stand Follow-Up

August 9, 2020

Dear friends, the love and support being sent our way regarding the lemonade stand incident is overwhelming. I mean it — actually overwhelming. We don't know what to do with all of it! Thank you. I'm sorry I can't respond to each question that’s come directly, but I'll do my best to answer them all here:

For those who want to give the boys a gift, thank you. That is a very kind gesture. It probably goes without saying, but we've already FAR surpassed in gifts the amount that was stolen... but I know that's not what these gifts are about. We're talking with the boys about how to best use the money for its intended purpose and in a way that honors those of you who are sending it. As far as ways to send gifts, I'm sharing my Cash App account ($nathanpeterson) and PayPal address (http://paypal.me/helloindustry). And it looks like a local school teacher has started a fundraiser for us as well (maybe someone can post a link in the comments?). To be clear, we don't know the guy running it, but he did contact me first and we know someone who knows him, so it feels legit to me.

We've talked at length about whether the boys will continue to do their lemonade stand, and while I can't speak for our son's friend and his family, we are feeling like we will allow our son to continue the stand if he wants, which he does. We're talking about ways to make it more safe for him — we would never put our child at risk — but I have a feeling that particular spot is going to be watched more closely than it ever has. And there happens to be a security camera pointing directly at their spot (yes, police are inspecting footage from Friday). It's hard as a parent to find the balance between healthy protection and over-protection, so we're navigating that together.

I want to believe that we live in a world that is safe for a 13-year-old child to have a lemonade stand. I think that is probably what most of us are feeling.

We ALL are going through a lot of very difficult things this year, and something like kids being mugged trying to have a lemonade stand is just too much for most of us. That's why it's so important that we not only share "news worthy" headlines like "lemonade stand held up at gunpoint," but we work doubly hard to point to beauty and life wherever we see it. I saw a lot of beauty and life during the hours after this incident. I saw it in all colors of people. I saw it in police officers. This isn't to say that the headlines are wrong or don't exist — they do. There was a gun. These kind of things, and worse, are happening. And it is unacceptable. But we have to become okay with the fact that while horrific things are happening, beautiful things are also happening. While death is happening, so is life. Both at once. We can't afford, as people on the East Bluff or as Americans or as human beings, to lose sight of the full picture. Life is an oscillation between the good and the bad, and our ability to be with all of it at once, as difficult is that is to do, is so important.

Thanks again for showing us so much beauty and life and love through this!

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My Son's Lemonade Stand Was Just Robbed

My Son's Lemonade Stand Was Just Robbed

August 7, 2020

So my son's lemonade stand was just robbed. The robbers were slightly older kids. They flashed a gun, but we don’t know if it was real or not. Not sure what to think.

I will say this: While I am disgusted and alarmed, I was comforted and encouraged by the police officers and the community. The officers worked hard to put us at ease and to do their job. Most of them bought lemonades which more than paid for the money stolen. Meanwhile, passers by stopped and bought lemonade, encouraged the boys, and one guy even went end bought a bunch of candy and chips for them to sell. Between the police and the community, the boys left with more money than what they would have had. More than that, we all left feeling loved instead of only violated.

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Playing in danger

Playing in danger

July 4, 2020

Playing in danger.

We’ve been in full quarantine for a couple of days with many to go. And the country canceled The 4th of July due to a worldwide pandemic. And Riots. Sickness. Danger. So much danger.

But I’m sitting on the roof tonight with my 4 kids, lighting sparklers, and watching as neighbors blast fireworks for hours on end. We’re on a roof. Playing with fire. Explosions all around us. Worldwide pandemic. Riots. Danger... Smiling. Laughter. Play.

It’s all mixed together. Life is not all fun and games... and it’s not all danger. People are sick. Dying. Hurting. Crying. Healing. Laughing. Loving. Sometimes, all of the above, sometimes all at once.

The night our daughter died, we played a board game. We smiled and laughed. We were all of the above.

If I’ve learned anything in the past several years it’s that what is happening in me is far more complex than I can ever understand... so I can stop trying to understand, and just let myself be where I am... wherever that is.

What the heck is this holiday today? Are we free? Fireworks were canceled. Our family can’t leave the house for weeks. The country and the world are, in many ways, in shambles. Yet tonight the sky is full of explosions — expressions — of beauty, creativity, fun. Tonight, we are on the roof, with sparklers.

The explosions, the sparklers, the smiles and laughter in the middle of danger are a statement: We are free because we choose to be free. We do not require someone or something else to be a certain way. We do not require ourselves to be a certain way or a certain place. Where we are and what is, is okay. That is freedom.

So from right here, in the middle of quarantine, of pandemic, in the middle of danger... right here we can smile, laugh, play.

Playing in danger.

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Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day

June 21, 2020

As fathers, much of the work we do is unseen. It happens in the heart, and off the grid. As fathers, our heart is to take care of our family. For better or for worse, this intention is embedded in everything we do. We carry anxiety about the well-being of them. We feel the weight of responsibility for their needs to be met... for their wants to be satisfied.

It's confusing being a father. We have many faulty examples from the past couple of centuries of what it looks like for a man to express love. We're being measured by differing standards. How can I be strong while also being tender and caring? Over the past few generations, the picture of a "good father", let alone a good man, has changed many times over.

From one father another, I honor you today. I want to tell you that I know your heart is for your family. I recognize the work it's taking you to find your way as a father, often without a map. Your efforts will impact lives for generations. Your failures are just a part of it — they show that you're moving... they show that you're trying. Your successes are sometimes — maybe often — unseen, but each success sticks. When you move your hand, things change. You are not weightless. Your voice is powerful. And regardless of where things stand today, your family needs you and wants you.

Happy Father's Day.

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Open To Hope Podcast 🙏

Open To Hope Podcast 🙏

June 15, 2020

Deeply honored to be interviewed by Open To Hope podcast about Dance Again. 🙏🏻♥️ https://www.opentohope.com/nathan-peterson-dance- again

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It's Time For Our Definition of Worship To Change

It's Time For Our Definition of Worship To Change

May 28, 2020

It's time for our definition of "worship" to change, from something we do to something we allow ourselves to receive.

...from saying certain things which match our current definition of what is "true" to opening ourselves to whatever is true.

...from specific actions to posture.

...from doing to being.

This will blur lines, many of which have made many of us feel safe for ages: lines between denominations; lines between religions; lines between traditions; lines between "right" and "wrong." These lines will be blurred because when when we worship with this new definition, Christians, Nazarenes, Baptists, Agnostics, Buddhists are all doing the exact same thing — we are taking the same posture of receiving. What we receive is decided entirely outside of our control, so our belief system, while not irrelevant, isn't the basis for a posture of worship... in fact, it is likely that this type of worship will change our system of beliefs from time to time. Our job is to become open to receiving and accepting.

The feeling of "unsafe!" emerging for some of us right now as we consider this new definition of worship is the feeling of the very thing which is unsafe being stripped away. We are no longer in control, we are now in a position of submission. It feels like exposure to all sorts of evil and lies and danger... and it is. We are now exposed to the elements. We are now in the hands of God, and the task of differentiating between "right" and "wrong" is no longer ours, but God's. This submission is not the same as weakness. In fact, it is a sign of great strength and courage to hold a posture like this. It's called trust. It's called faith.

Many of us have been trying to worship without faith for a long time, and we've felt the emptiness of it.

It's time for our definition of "worship" to change, from something we do to something we allow ourselves to receive. From something we say or sing to being sung to.

This is not to say we wouldn't actually sing — singing can be a powerful way to become receptive — but the singing is not worship... the songs are not worship. Singing can actually be like putting up a wall — our own voice can become a blanket of noise, protecting us from "the outside elements." It's how we sing that matters — our posture makes the difference between worship and noise.

There is a river of hope and healing surrounding each of us, looking for a way in. The only way in is through our receptivity. For some of us, it takes a life-threatening illness or some other catastrophe to bring us to this point of receptivity. But that's not the only way. Every moment, we have the opportunity — the power — to open ourselves to receiving this hope and healing that is trying to get in. Opening to this hope and healing — with all the courage, trust, and faith it requires to do so — is worship.

I suggest we use this time, where everything is up in the air, where all systems are up for grabs, to allow our definition of "worship," among other things, to change.

When the limitations are lifted, we don't have to rush back to doing things the way we've been doing them. Some things haven't made sense to many of us for a long time, but we've been going along simply because of the pain, effort, and scariness of change. Things have changed for us. It's all off the table. All the clothes you wore before have been removed... what you put back on is entirely up to you.

An encouragement (a plea?) for us as things open back up, regarding things like worship and everything else: move forward intentionally; listen to the Whispering Voice inside and trust it; exercise your power to choose what to "put back on"; and re-build only with components, beliefs, and activities that actually feel honest, consistent, and real.

For example, the above ideas about worship may not resonate with you at all. Let them go. But if they are resonating, don't brush it off— let a new definition of worship emerge which feels honest and consistent and alive to you. And if the current system, the one we're headed back to, doesn't support this new mindset, reject the current system! Old wineskins can't always carry new wine. Let them go. The system should always serve real life. If the system doesn't support what is alive and breathing and growing, adjust the system, or make a new one.

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rest today

rest today

April 24, 2020

The rain feels good today, like a blanket forcing you to cuddle up where you are.

Please, rest today.

A month ago that was an exciting idea. Today we really have to choose.

It's no longer novel or stylish. Our world is already developing ways to resume the old pace, while staying home. Rest will once again be optional, something we have to choose... but we can choose.

We can be slow on the outside while still frantic on the inside. Today is an invitation to rest, on the inside.

Please, rest today.

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This is very very good for us

This is very very good for us

April 23, 2020

Some of our pain during this season doesn't have to do, directly, with a virus. It has more to do with our lives screeching to a halt and our sense control being lost.

Not all pain is bad.

We've needed to slow down, and we've needed to let go of the illusion that we're in control of our lives.

We're not in control. We never were.

Some of the pain we're experiencing during this season is GROWTH.

For me, remembering that helps me be receptive to things which, while uncomfortable, may be very very good for me. Some (some, not all!) of what is happening now is very very good for us.

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new song for patrons - bombs are dropping

new song for patrons - bombs are dropping

April 22, 2020

today I released a brand new demo for patrons only called "bombs are dropping." finished writing it yesterday. it's about a child playing in a war zone — a way of living which feels relevant for us right now. access the patreon for $1: https://patreon.com/nathanpeterson

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connected through isolation

connected through isolation

April 2, 2020

This month we've been isolated, but strangely connected through the isolation.

It's very serious and terrible in many ways, but there is something healthy and beautiful in all of this.

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Live From Quarantine — a YouTube series

Live From Quarantine — a YouTube series

March 29, 2020

I started a YouTube series of songs and words about anxiety regarding sickness, and about grief, healing, and hope.

"From Quarantine"

From Quarantine - YouTube

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being present in the middle of all of this

being present in the middle of all of this

March 26, 2020

‪Just uploaded an exercise I did live last week for being present in the middle of all this anxiety and uncertainty to YouTube. It's about 30 minutes, plus a few songs at the end. If you're feeling anxiety and would like to try something other than avoiding it (not saying that's always bad!), please give this a try. It's far from perfect, but I trust you to fill in the blanks. If you do try it, please let me know how it goes for you. ♥️

https://youtu.be/Oz2VUGXLh-c

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Live From Quarantine — So Am I

Live From Quarantine — So Am I

March 22, 2020

A song about community, suffering, and being alive.

This song took on a new meaning 5 years ago when we found ourselves confined to our home to take care of our daughter.

It took on another new meaning 4 years ago when she passed away.

Today it is taking on another new meaning, and yet, very much the same meaning, just deeper, and more wide.

"You're counting days, you're killing time, you're all but gone... and so am I."

"But WE'RE STILL HERE!

We're breathing out,

we're breathing in,

we're alive.

And maybe life is still ahead.

It's there for you.

And so am I."

Thankful that we are here for each other.

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slow down, rest

slow down, rest

March 16, 2020

I suspect there is part of us, as a culture, that has been looking for a reason to slow down, to rest, to give care to ourselves, and to tend to our family.

Regardless of the specifics of the current threat, the truth is that we've been fighting another pandemic as a culture for a long time.

Now is the time to learn to rest.

Bring it in. Let's come back to where we are. Turn down noise. Let's break away from the path we've been on and start walking a new one, a much healthier path for us and for those around us.

REST.

Even in complete isolation, there is plenty of opportunity to avoid rest. But this is an opportunity. Don't miss the opportunity in this.

This is not my favorite reality, but I see beauty and potential for growth and healing in it, if we cooperate.

Many of us have been ready for this change for a long time. It was going to take an outside force like this to get us to take the first step. Here it is.

I believe there is a huge gift in all of this for us.

The habits we break and the new habits we build during this time, regarding health of the body and of our entire Self, are going to serve us as individuals, as families, and as an entire culture for the rest of our lifetime.

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dear music community...

dear music community...

March 15, 2020

Dear music community, this is obviously a difficult time for all of us. While we do our part to slow the spread, our community is in dire need of human connection and music and art.

I'm the first to point out the value of sharing a physical space, but while that is not possible there are plenty of other ways to connect through music.

Many of you are musicians. Almost all of you have the ability to stream video... please do that.

Don't wait for it to be good. Don't worry about lighting. No edits. Don't polish it. Just go live or hit record and share your Voice with us.

This is good for you, and also a way for you to support your community, which is crucial right now.

Let's fill the "airwaves" with music -- and while we're at it, let's fill our music with ourselves: "me, just I am, where I am." This can be delivered in a song you wrote, a cover, or instrumental music -- if you decide you give yourself it will be beautiful and it will help.

We need your music.

We need your humanity.

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a crippling fear of sickness

a crippling fear of sickness

March 13, 2020

I've lived with a crippling fear of sickness for the past 4 years.

Livie died 4 years ago this week, from a common cold. Her body just couldn't handle it. Since then, I've struggled daily with an incapacitating fear of sickness. If I hear that a friend's kid is sick, even if they live in another state, I'm triggered -- the rest of the day my body and mind are in a state of panic and I can hardly see what is in front of me, even when everything in front of me is okay.

I've lived with this fear -- or more accurately, this response to fear -- for 4 years. It's been so hard.

When the Coronavirus stuff started in China, I couldn't sleep. When it hit the US, I couldn't even think straight.

It doesn't matter what my mind knows; my body is the one responding, and I haven't found any way to control that... and I think that might be very good.

The news of friends' sick kids is a trigger. Only a trigger. The loaded gun is an existing fear, inside of me.

So there is a trigger.

There is fear itself.

But there is also my response to it.

The trigger is not evil, and it's not controllable. Friends' kids get sick. My kids get sick. Kids get sick! It's life, and I have no more ability to control it than I have the ability to control the waves of the ocean. Waves come. Waves go. Like it or not.

For a while I thought Fear was evil.

But that can't be completely true. Fear keeps us safe from some real threats. So is Fear trying to kill me or is it trying to protect me? Fear's intent may not be all evil. And, in a similar way, I have not been able to control Fear. More waves, which come and go without any regard for me and what I think.

Over the past 4 years I have learned that my battle has to do with my response to Fear. What can I do? I can hide -- pretend I'm not afraid, drink, eat, watch movies. I can run -- get busy with work, be important, create solvable problems and then solve them and then check them off a list. I can get angry. I can complain. In other words, when it comes to my response to Fear, I VERY MUCH DO have control. So, I have spent the past 4 years exploring my response to Fear.

Here are some things I've learned:

  • My feelings of fear are legitimate. Trying to pretend they don't exist or aren't valid has not helped. In fact, it's made things much worse.
  • My feelings of fear are new and old. When I feel crippled by Fear, it is almost always connected to unprocessed parts of my past. My body doesn't respect a timeline. If I haven't digested a feeling from 30 years ago, it is still waiting to be digested. It is still valid, no matter what I tell myself. It adds up, and these triggers bring up new and old fear, all mixed together. And that is good, because I need to digest it all, eventually. Something here is working for my good and for my health and growth.
  • Fighting fear tends to draw me closer to the reality of the very thing I'm afraid of.
  • My fear of "the thing" is almost always worse than the thing itself (I say that with full authority).
  • Fighting fear and eliminating triggers does not help me.

The worst thing we can do right now is to try to control the triggers or the fear itself. They're waves of the ocean. Life. We're wearing ourselves out for nothing. And if we keep fighting in this way, we will drown.

Possibly the very best thing we can do right now is to learn to be with. We have been triggered. The fear is welling up in us. We are afraid. Can we be with these feelings -- the new as well as the very old? There are parts of us that have been crying out for attention, and this is an opportunity for deep healing, if we can have courage to be with the waves of life as they come and go. It's scary as hell. I'm terrified. But life is here, in the middle of this, and I believe deep healing is here too, but only in the midst of this; it is not waiting on the "other side."

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