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Simon Noh - Unsplash

When You Lose Yourself

Audio Version (music by Sergii Pavkin)

I recall several memorable moments in my life that revolved around music. It’s fascinating to see the random memories that may emerge in relation to what’s on one’s mind at any given time.

When I was younger, we lived in a house with a full, separate garage behind it, and my father had built a music room (or what became a music room) in the back where I had set up my drums. We had a family band that played for the Croatian club, among others, for many years, and we practiced in this small room. But, as always, my favorite times were spent alone.

It was during some of these solo jam sessions that I discovered my singing voice, albeit dominated by the reverberant chaos of the live drums. It required that I sing at the top of my lungs, unabashedly and without regard for volume control. It was wonderful, because when I didn’t have to worry about who was listening, I could close my eyes, settle into a rhythm, and completely lose myself in it. Any artist will tell you that this is why they exist: to transcend the present moment, suspend time, and disappear into their chosen medium. As and when we’re creating something, we hope that when the dust settles, some of it will remain to share with the rest of the world.

At the time, I had a mishmash drum kit, a mix of Ludwig something with a few bits of other somethings. I didn’t care, nor really know anything about brands, tunings, or even matching drumsticks, because I could make music with anything. My voice, it turns out, remains one of my favorite instruments.

I remember the smells and some impressive spider webs. My father had some old gear from his days in a band in the 1970s, some wine bottles and winemaking equipment, old shag carpet on the floor, and plain drywall all around — some of it adorned with overspray from a juice fermenting demijohn that couldn’t handle the pressure. Acoustically, it must have been terrible. Even so, it was a haven for an intensely introverted soul who desperately needed places to release creative energy and escape the noise and distractions of the world around him.

Some years later, while working in a studio, I had the opportunity to begin recording my first albums. I’m self-taught in most things, and this was no different. The learning curve was steep but exciting and deeply fulfilling. Most memorable were the days when I’d watch the sun set and then rise again while working on some mixes or trying out some new ideas in the musical arrangement or backing vocals. I’d completely forget that it was beneficial to get some sleep every now and then, yet I was never tired.

I believe we must make time and space for our true selves. Life can overwhelm us and keep us busy, and we know that the majority of it is completely unnecessary. The living fragments we collect happen only when we are not thinking and simply, nakedly being. That’s the magic that no selfie can capture.

Life can repeatedly pull us away from this magic. That is not to say that every breath we take isn’t a universe in and of itself, but we don’t always choose to live in such a conscious manner, do we? Our world and the multitude of ever-present challenges will always demand something different from us, to occupy us, and, if we’re not careful, to steal from us that which is most valuable in this short life.

So, whenever possible, we should recapture some magic and lose ourselves in it.

Solvitur ambulando

. . .

My World” from Fleshwound