This Time Last Year

This time last year I would have described myself as depressed. I’m not now.

I’ve not been writing philosophical essays so much recently. Writing in that way for me tends to come out of introspection, often fuelled by depression. I’ve been in a good mood generally recently.
I’ve been writing more raps again. It’s easier to write fun raps when you’re in a good mood, I was writing philosophical raps, deep raps, political raps and emotional raps alot over the past two years as my soul burned through the crucibles of anxiety and depression, but fun raps were few and far between.

So, from what I can tell right now, three things in particular have helped shift my mood and focus over the past year. My relationship, the Balanced View training and a Jamie Catto workshop. (Edit: and travelling.)

(Edit: I am generally a very independent person so it is both difficult and ‘edgey’ for me to give thanks to trainings and workshops for personal development. I am proud of the personal development I have done on my own through introspection, contemplation, meditation, and relationships and not in the context of courses or contrived situations but everything flowed quite naturally this year towards these trainings and workshops in my own free time.
Shadow -> I don’t like giving other people credit for my emotional state or my wisdom but I am willing to learn humility and I have to be honest, so credit where credit is due.)

Now I’m not just happy because I’m in a relationship, I’m happy because I’m in a relationship with someone that helps me examine my shadow without being judgmental or critical. But I would not say a relationship is a good way to get out of depression, I would say acknowledging and accepting your shadow side is a good way to get out of depression, loving YOURSELF, the good and the bad, is a good way to get out of depression. It helps me to appreciate myself when someone else, someone awesome, appreciates me. So yeah, glad I’m in a relationship but a relationship is not a plaster to stick over sadness. I’m glad I’m in a relationship that has been deep, emotional and positive growth for both of us. I appreciate her, and I appreciate myself, and I appreciate the fact that she helps me to appreciate myself. Love yourself. If you don’t love yourself it’s hard to accept someone else’s love, in my experience it is best when you are partnered with someone who encourages you to look after yourself before you look after them and in my experience it is disastrous to be in a relationship where you are encouraged not to love yourself whether through subtle criticism or blatant abuse.

I must admit, I have to slightly reluctantly pay homage and give thanks to the Balanced View trainings in the nature of the mind (and reality.) Only reluctantly because I spent 8 years resisting and thinking I got it already but I have to admit it showed me things about myself I had not noticed or had hidden. So I am very grateful. I always vibed with their central teachings when I first came across it ten years ago but did not resonate with the format or the community. Alot of that was just resistance due to the fact that I generally defined myself in opposition to organisations and institutions, generally critical of organisations and institutions and couldn’t associate deep wisdom with conference rooms and projector screens. But it’s a positive institution, it’s a positive organisation and they do indeed communicate deep wisdom in conference rooms and projector screens (also in person and face to face.) What else put me off? The complete devotion of the community. I don’t know why that put me off, maybe I was screwed over by a cult in a previous life or something, but complete devotion to anything is ff-putting to me. But the members of the community seem to be happy and seem to consistently get real and practical progress in their lives and the devotion seems to be a pure and honest appreciation for the way the teaching has helped them. I continued to attend the occasional open meeting and then when I was at my lowest 2 years ago I started to attend some of their day-long and 3 day long trainings in the nature of the mind. This might have been the most useful in not being restricted by depression or anxiety, it helped me not judge my emotional state and not identify with the depression (it’s not who I am, it is simply something I am experiencing and that experience will g back t the nothing it came from whether I do anything about it or not.) It helped me normalise anxiety – everyone gets anxious, whether for a moment, a day or a month, and we all have our coping mechanisms. The less I considered them to be real things that had power over me the sooner their appearances lasted shorter and happened more infrequently. It’s not a psychological thing, and it’s not a cure for any medical condition, it’s just a perspective that opens you up to wider experiences and less restrictions. Despite my 8 years of resistance – I recommend to just about anyone.

I attended one of Jamie Catto’s workshops, entitled What About You? That’s something else I have to thank my girlfriend for, she was at least the 4th person to recommend his workshop (actually most people were recommending I do his shadow-work workshop but if I wasn’t already doing shadow stuff I never would have had the courage to ignore my anxiety and attend his motivation workshop.) Now I know I just called it a motivation workshop but I’m not sure that’s the word he would use to describe it. I will just describe what it did for me, I would describe it as a workshop that identifies my wildest dreams, grounded them in reality and then gave me both the practical and emotional tools to do it. Suffice t say I would not have done my crowdfunder if not for that workshop.

It’s all multi-dimensional and all of the above helped each other. Balanced View trainings helped me function in a relationship in ways that were more benficial for me and my partner, my partner helped raise my self esteem further and convinced me to do the Jamie Catto workshop but I might not have if I hadn’t learned through Balanced View to not be restricted by anxiety etc.

So, yeah. There are likely to be sad times in the future. And anxiety is still a frequent experience, I just rarely allow myself to be crippled by it (and try not to judge myself when I do.)

The phrase “Love yourself” has come into my lyrics more and more in the past 2 or 3 years. If anything is important (in our short lives on this tiny rock in the vastness of space), it’s important. Being loved by someone else wouldn’t matter if I didn’t love myself. Indeed even in this relationship when I was finding it hard to love myself I found it hard to believe anyone else could love me. We each hold the intelligence of the universe in a usable way, we are each an expression of mother nature, we are each highly complicated biological organism capable of love, art, and keeping our blood circulating without even having to consciously think about it, and we are all made of elements born in the centre of stars. Love yourself, you’re amazing.

There were other friends along the way and other experiences that helped put me back in cheerful mode. A big thanks to Thomas of Wildheart, and the Lost Cabaret crew as at Wildheart I found new members of my tribe and the Lost Cabaret cast provided like-minded philosophical, lovable huggers in London. Ashearon and his Quantum Shift also provided a vibe in London I didn’t think I would find. Passing Clouds (after 5 years of recommendations I finally went there in Winter 2014 and have kept going back all year.) The Hive. All my classmates and tutors on my Steiner School course as well, really supportive, lovely, lovables. Travelling across Europe with Dan and Flavio, that too was special. Making friends all over Europe, being reminded that I can go anywhere in the world and be loved for being myself. Thank you all for a year of growth, a year of looking at my shadows and learning to love them, a year of pushing some boundaries and dissolving others.

I really didn’t want to move to London in winter last year. And now I really don’t want to leave.

There are more people to thank. More moments to be grateful for. But that will do for now and apologies to anyone I happened to miss out during this train of thought.

This time last year I would have described myself as depressed. I’m not now. Thank you x

Thankyou Jamie Cattohttp://jamiecatto.com/workshops/

Thankyou Candice O’Denverhttps://www.balancedview.org/en/

 

 

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Once an MC always an MC? (Rapping my way through depression)

I have not felt like an MC for a while. Yet hand me a mic and a fat beat and I’m back there.

I have not felt the need or desire to rap. This is new to me. I have felt the need and desire to rap since I was about 11 and it never went away. I wanted to be Chuck D, I wanted to be KRS-One, I wanted to be Ice Cube (and to my shame, I wanted to be Kid n Play.) Part of the whole character of being an MC is the need to be heard. Often fuelled by ego (which, let’s be honest, in alot of rappers cases is often fuelled by cocaine), but sometimes fuelled by passion. Most of 2014 I suffered from depression. To be honest most of my adult life I suffered from depression but avoided it and replaced it by surrounding myself with people who shared my hatred of mainstream society and/or my love of herbs. I have stopped running away and started facing these things. And due to no longer feeling like I knew what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it – I have not felt like an MC.

What is an MC? Nothing has an independent nature, we are all MCs, when you speak with confidence and authority from your heart you are an MC. Put it on a fat beat and you are an essential part of Hip-Hop culture. But I have not spoken with confidence or authority much for the past year, not since I allowed my self esteem to be slowly but systematically eroded (mainly by myself.) But I am not my self esteem, I am the awareness of my self esteem and my awareness of everything else, what I am is power-born and indestructible. I have just been identifying with the wrong part of reality.

In short, self esteem issues have made me not feel like an MC. For about a year. Yet hand me a mic and a fat beat and I’m back there. During this period of low self esteem I have performed, not just poetry and compering but rapped over live bands, DJs, Hip-Hop, Dub and Jungle. And I have always smashed it. No ego, just facts. I have been doing this for years, I have tried and tested verses for most situations and I’m well practiced at adapting. I can go to a venue in a mood, get on stage, generally vibe with the crowd through some honest and open improvisation then give em what they wanna hear the way they wanna hear it. But I have been questioning my authenticity. Maybe I’ll stick to compere and poet for a while I thought, if I don’t feel like an MC, I don’t feel like an MC. I value authenticity.

I was given a talent, not just a talent to write raps but something more specific than that. I was given a talent to take complex ideas and express them simply. The same impulse to express these ideas has made me a blog writer, a story writer and an epic facebook status writer. This talent can feel like a burden. Because I was also given a vision that few, but some can see. It feels like a duty to share this vision because I have the vision and the talent to express it. But duty is an illusion. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go.

I was never a rapper cos I felt like I had to. I was a rapper because it was fun. I am an MC because I enjoy it. I felt like I had to because it’s what my soul wanted to do. As soon as I remember it was my soul and my spirit that wanted to express itself, not a duty, I wanted those fat instrumentals. Not to express political and/or spiritual ideas to an audience to accelerate the consciousness evolution of humanity. But because it’s fun. As soon as I removed the pressure and the duty the desire came back.

Am I a rapper? Am I an MC? I wanted those labels SOOO badly. I used to want to be known, accepted and respected by those labels, those TITLES. It was an honour in my culture. Then, due o the way the mainstream only championed certain stereotypes in Hip-Hop culture the popular use of the word started to change the word rapper or MC to mean ex crack-dealer and/or pimp instead of someone who raps in much the same way popular use of the word feminist started to change it’s meaning to ‘man-hater’ instead of someone who wants equality for the sexes. Luckily, especially recently, the mainstream has been forced to accept intelligent, educated, as successful rappers again. I used to want to be accepted by the title MC or rapper. Then I wanted to be a poet. Then I wanted to be a singer. Right now I do not need a box or a label. I am open source intelligence, I am an open-ended benefit creator. I am whatever the universe require in this time, place and circumstance. Chances are, based on personal experience that sometimes the universe will need an MC here and now. And chances are, based on personal experience, that I will be nervous before I get on stage, then proceed to smash it. Then I’ll get off stage and be just as anxious as I was before.

The thing is if you get your self esteem from the label you carry, or the box you have volunteered yourself for, even if that label is rapper, or that box is ’emcee’, or singer, or poet, or bard, or hippy, or activist, eventually your time, place and circumstance will change and then you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who neither accept or respect that label and then your avoiding and replacing will no longer work. But if you get your self esteem from your mind being the same mind as mother nature herself you are always one with infinity.

Am I an MC? Maybe, but it’s been good for me not to feel like one for a while.

I am what I am. Just another node of consciousness.

(Now gimme some instrumentals.)

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Me – KP Kev the Poet

www.kpkevthepoet.bandcamp.com

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Kid n Play (I was 11. No shame.)

Cheesy 80s Hip-Hop, but I recommend you watch the movie ‘House Party’, at least the first one. It’s hilarious and quite possibly the first time Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys 1 and 2) was ever in a movie.

(Then watch the movie Wild-Style if you really wanna be a b-boy/b-girl Hip-Hop historian)

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Public Enemy

If you think you know Hip-Hop, you’d better get familiar.

The album ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back’ was voted the greatest Hip-Hop album of all time for several years in several magazines, from Hip-Hop magazines to Rolling Stone but with the current white-wash, cultural appropriation and mainstream media ignoring the Hip-Hop pioneers it may not be long before people forget why. Musically an album like this could not come out of a mainstream record label ever again because sampling laws have changed and it would cost too much to use the multiple samples per-track that were used in this album. Also politically the themes are too strong and controversial. But the beats go hard like viagra.

Respect the architects.