Tuesday, November 17, 2009


for a moment there, i thought we'd be
like land and see
barely touching - but underneath:
all our secrets buried deep

and in my dreams i never find
what goes on inside my mind
our souls are lost somewhere in time
i know someday you will be mine
and love

oh, the very thought of you
makes me shed a tear or two -
just thinking how my love has made me
bow my head
and cry in shame

oh love

for a moment there, i thought that
love would heal a wounded heart
but love has only come and gone
and now you must soon depart

but you'll return again to me
and i'll have no choice but to concede
'cause love has taken over me
as love knows only this to be

oh love
a fool

of me...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kashk-E Bademjoon and Split-Pea Soup.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. My job is particularly annoying me today. I mean, it's not even what I'm here in LA for. I'm an artist, for crying out loud. But here I am, answering phones, making coffee, writing emails for other people, recording company shows on to a DVD only to file them in a "library" in the back simply because my supervisor said so. Twenty one years of intense musical training, thirteen years of working for the man, eleven years of playing in hotels, dirty bars and clubs where only a few people care to listen, and some odd years of everything else later, I'm still paying my dues. "Pas chi fekr kardi?", my mom says. Yesterday, my perspective was much more positive. But today I'm angry, I'm irritated, I'm frustrated, and even though it's Friday, I am having a difficult time realizing that I have to be here for another six hours. What am I doing here?

I go to the SoCiArts website (www.sociarts.com) to check out the new profile that I just created yesterday. Like I said before, yesterday was a good day: I was feeling great about my own personal music career, I was being creative, I made a new profile on this cool new website, and I somehow convinced myself that everything I was doing couldn't possibly be in vain. But today is a different story. I couldn't feel more disconnected. As I looked over all of the other artists' profiles, I couldn't help but feel like an outsider. There I was, a newcomer, my photos so amateur and geared to promoting my own music, I felt so selfish and small. Persian blood inside of me running like wild under my skin, but born in America: a country that seems to pride itself on mass production, capitalism, the Constitution, a wide cultural array of people (the "Mixing Bowl", if you will), "winning" wars, and enjoying various "freedoms" of all kinds. Take that how you will.

It's lunchtime now: I have leftover Kashk-E Bademjoon (wikipedia, American/non-Persian folks) and a little bit of Split-Pea soup. Again, the two opposing forces at work reminding me to make a decision: "You can't have both, so choose." To make matters worse, the only thing I have here stocked away at work to eat with my Kashk-E Bademjoon are my office's never-ending supply of Saltines crackers. I actually took some time to think about it, quickly coming to the conclusion that would just be borderline unacceptable. I'm not THAT desperate to unite forces. Some things should stay separated.

I click back to the SoCiArts homepage. I see a post entitled, "What ART You Doing to Show Your Support for Freedom In Iran?". As if I needed one more thing today to remind me of something that I'm not doing or need to be doing better! It affected me needless to say, and is what prompted me to start writing this here blog of the day. Man, good question.

What AM I doing? Sure, I wear the wristbands, I attended a few of the protests here in LA, I go to the concerts and support the non-profit organizations the best way I know how, I listen attentively and objectively to people's passionate opinions, I think about how I can make my music contribute something to the community in a way that would support their cause for freedom in Iran. I had a friend and mentor of mine ask me once at a party, "How do you feel about what's happening in Iran? Actually, you probably don't even know what's going on." This person, I love this person, never meant any harm with their question. But it still stung me. I walk around like I'm so strong, like I've got it all under control, but this actually hurt. It hurt because that is something that's been weighing heavily on my mind and heart for some time now, and this person's words struck me so hard, it knocked me unconscious. Bull's eye. Well done.

I have come to a realization just now. And it's a realization that is going to have to be made time and time again, over and over in my mind, and I don't know if I'll ever get it. Just like black will never be white, light will never be dark, up will never be down, Iranian will never be American, and vice versa.

I am Iranian AND American, I am East AND West, I am spirit AND body, I am what I eat: Kashk-E Bademjoon and Split-Pea Soup. And as long as I continue to strive to balance the contradiction in myself, I am simultaneously contributing to the balancing of the contradiction of the whole Universe in its grand and glorious Beingness. Hermes's second of his seven Hermetic Principles, the Principle of Correspondence:

"'As above so below, as below so above; as within so without, as without so within.'

This law tells us that things which appear to be very different have attributes that are actually quite similar. It also tells us that by studying one thing we can learn about something else. That, for example, is exactly what statistical samples are all about. By examining a small portion of a population, a determination can be made as to what those same attributes are for the entire population."

What am I doing to show my support for freedom in Iran? "I'm starting with the man in the mirror."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

WARNING: This is fictional and may, depending on your level of censorship criteria, contain explicitly bold and daring content.

This is something that I wrote over the summer of 2009. Though fictitious, it was written from a place of introspection, passion, confusion, elation, and near-insanity. And all of those things are very very real.

July 19th, 2009

I woke up this morning unable to move my hand.

It was contorted and stuck; it was painful and frightening. I woke up in fear.

Memories of last night linger in my mind, but broken in bits and pieces. Shots of vodka – Raspberry Stoli, Mandarin Absolut – still present on my taste buds, in the back of my throat, my nasal passage, like vomit. He’s smoking his Marlboro now. I love watching him enjoy his cigarette despite the fact that I hate that he smokes. It makes me happy to see him so content. Maybe love is cigarettes after sex.

I want to destroy something NOW. Now, now, now more than ever. I want to feel the power of being responsible for the death of something. I want to become the depth and the darkness, birth the twisted temptations, mold the mysteries and the mischief, expose the rawness of the knowing of the unknown. I hate myself, I love myself. I want to lose myself and find myself on the way back, crawling on my hands and knees. I want to burn; I AM burning. I want to be ravaged and fight for my life, kicking and screaming, laughing and crying, clinging like a tick. I want to suck the bloodline out of myself, life and everything in it. I want him all to myself, I want him away from me, I want him as he is, I want him now, I don’t want him at all. I want nothing, I want everything.

The sun is out, I close my eyes, I breathe, and then...silence. I think to myself: "Maybe this is all I need RIGHT NOW."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why 'Persian Coercion'? I'll tell you.

Hey! How are you? Thanks for dropping by today! For you, my door is always open ;-)

I bet you're wondering why I chose this name for my blog URL. Maybe you're not; maybe you're totally uninterested in titles and simply care about what I have to say. Either way, I figure an explanation is in order.

I'm Persian, and that's how I introduce myself everytime someone asks me where I'm "from" even though I speak perfect English, have zero accent, and was born in America. But they can't help it. I look...different. I have dark hair, dark, eyes, olive skin, and a 'woman's figure'. When I say, "I'm Persian", I almost always get the same quizzical look. They aren't completely crazy: technically, there is no Persia anymore. For those of you that haven't opened a history book, the area formally known as the 'Persian Empire' has now been reduced to a much smaller version called 'Iran'. There are some of us Iranians that still refer to ourselves as Persian; we all have our own different and certainly unique reasons for that, but for me, I can't relate the origin of my cultural identity to the present state of the country of Iran. It is undoubtedly the home of my relatives and loved ones, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for that. For the sake of sparing myself unnecessary controversy, I'll keep this part of my explanation short. I haven't even said that much already, but this is such a sensitive topic for some Persians/Iranians that I really don't want to say ANYTHING that will offend anybody. NOTE: the purpose of this particular blog posting is NOT to discuss the political situation in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. I am merely trying to explain two things: why I personally use the term 'Persian' and why in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks I have www.persiancoercion.blogspot.com as my URL.

A brief history review from my personal favorite, Wikipedia:

The Achaemenid Empire or Persian Empire (550–330 BC) was the successor state of the Median Empire, ruling over significant portions of what would become Greater Iran. The Persian and the Median Empire taken together are also known as the Medo-Persian Empire, succeeding the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
At the height of its power, it encompassed approximately between 7.5 and 7.7 million square kilometers[1][2]
The empire was forged by Cyrus the Great, and spanned three continents, including territories of Afghanistan and Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya. It is noted in western history as the foe of the Greek city states in the Greco-Persian Wars, for freeing the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, and for instituting Aramaic as the empire's official language. It was invaded and conquered by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.
In universal history the role of the Persian empire founded by Cyrus the Great lies in their very successful model for centralized administration and a government working to the advantage and profit of all.[3]

Again, this paragraph above is sure to bring on a whole slew of comments ranging anywhere from a simple 'nod' to a deliberate and well-devised attack on me and my thoughts. Oh well. It just can't be prevented, I guess. It's either that or completely keep my mouth shut - the latter is nearly impossible.


The Persian Empire was known for its artistic, musical, poetic, and even military contributions amongst many others as well. It was founded on beautiful and spiritual morals and principles; it certainly made its mark in history and can hold its own in any debate regarding the subject of past global contributions. Iran, on the other hand, is an enigma to me. I don't know anything about it; I have never been there, and anything that I see or hear in the news about it is so war-focused that I'd rather not allow the media to distort the image in my mind. I have seen breath-taking pictures of the countryside, the cities of Tehran and Persepolis, the surprisingly fashion-forward young women hell-bent on cleverly rebelling against the fundamental laws; and still, I just can't relate. There seems to be a specific 'soul' quality missing for me. I just don't hear the poetry of Rumi or Shams-E Tabriz, the spiritual love songs of the ancient lands, the roaring glory and pride of the King's men. In its absence is something else - but rest assured, definitely something of value. But it isn't something that I understand, have learned about in the classroom, or experienced first-hand. It's a wave of something completely new, a tsunami (pun intended) of change. Despite all this, and because I am the relentless and hopeless romantic that I am, I insist on saying that I'm Persian.

Coerce: to cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral, or intellectual means.

Hopefully, that begins to explain the 'Persian Coercion' part. In short, I care about you Persian people. I may have been born here in America, but the blood that runs so passionately and intensely through my veins and is pumped by my heart, is undeniably from another land, a distant and far-off place now only relived from the perspective of someone else, books, movies, and other indirect means. Therefor, I have a responsibility: to coerce you - lovingly and gently, of course - into thinking that you are here where you are now FOR A REASON. We are an ancient people, with a rightful place in history - one to be truly proud of. Let us remember to focus on who we are and where we really come from: 
 The Self We Share 

Thirst is angry with water. Hunger bitter with bread.The cave wants nothing to do with the sun. This is dumb, the self- defeating way we've been.

A gold mine is calling us into its temple. Instead, we bend and keep picking up rocks from the ground. Every thing has a shine like gold, but we should turn to the source! 

The origin is what we truly are. I add a little vinegar to the honey I give. The bite of scolding makes ecstasy more familiar. But look, fish, you're already in the ocean: just swimming there makes you friends with glory. What are these grudges about? 

You are Benjamin. Joseph has put a gold cup in your grain sack and accused you of being a thief. Now he draws you aside and says, "You are my brother. I am a prayer. You're the amen." 

We move in eternal regions, yet worry about property here. This is the prayer of each: You are the source of my life. You separate essence from mud. You honor my soul. You bring rivers from the

mountain springs. You brighten my eyes. The wine you offer takes me out of myself into

the self we share. Doing that is religion.

-Above is a poem written by Rumi, a Persian poet who lived in the 13th century. This particular work was translated by Coleman Barks.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Running. Running. Panting. Keep running. Losing...pace...breathing harder...now...keep running...

With all the different ways to promote one's self these days (whether you're a musician, a writer, a chef, or just trying to meet new people and express yourself), it gets harder and harder to really feel like you're on top of it all. The title of this blog came from the feeling I've been having lately that I've been training for a marathon for years, I'm running in the race, and for some reason - regardless of the countless hours of training and 'mock marathons' - everything is flying right past me instead of the other way around.

To be more specific, and to fill you in on what I've been doing that's led me to writing this particular blog posting, I have been trying to promote my music by linking all of my websites together: myspace, facebook, twitter, my blog (www.persiancoercion.blogspot.com) and my own personal website www.indYgYrl.com. There are so many websites, resources, and options these days that one may feel trapped in terms of knowing what to do, where to start, and HOW to do all the things you want and need to do to get you from point A to point B. I come from a strict musical background, like, I learned the methods that my teacher learned, her teacher learned, and so on and so forth. I mean, I am so prehistoric that when everyone in college was using cool and efficient programs like Finale to put their musical ideas out on print, I was staying up all night losing sleep writing every part out by hand. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely some merit in having that skill. But sometimes admirable skills aren't always...useful. And in today's world, "you snooze, you lose".

I am a musician. That is my occupation. It's also my passion, so work doesn't always feel like work. Sure, there are responsibilities - but the joy that I feel every time I perform, write a song, or record is such a huge reward that I hardly notice all the effort that it requires. BUT, I am human. Every now and then, I get tired. I call my friends for support and advice, I talk to my mother for some good old-fashioned 'baby-ing', I go out on dates to feel attractive and take my mind off work, and I go to shows and concerts so that I can witness someone else do all the work for once (and, if I'm lucky, to feel better about myself, hehe). All of these things do help, but they are just temporary fixes for the real issues that most often go unnoticed and, ultimately, unaddressed: lack of self-love (emphasis here), denial, and avoidance. Now, the last two might sound a bit harsh but hear (i.e. 'read') me out:

We are indeed in a race. Yes, we are in a competition. However, we are NOT in a competition or race with time (because, well, I don't really believe that 'time' exists in the sense we most commonly refer to), with the world, with each other. We are in competition with ourselves only. There's actually no deadlines, no world record to beat, no 'next big thing' to top (unless it came from you), and until you realize this, you are going to waste a lot of precious time and energy perfecting yourself for someone else. From this perspective, there will always be somone bigger, better, stronger, smarter - and suddenly you begin to lose perspective because your focus is placed on beating them instead of on bettering yourself. 

So, here's my solution for the recent exhaustion and overwhelming tasks that have been bestowed upon me (or, more appropriately, did I bestow them upon myself?):

"I am going to love myself, pat myself on the back, and reward myself for the progress that I make everyday. I am a fighter, I am getting stronger and stronger everyday because I have fallen at times. I welcome the challenges; maybe not at first, but I soon realize that it is the challenges and not the successes that show me who I really am and what I am really made of. I may not be the fastest runner, I may not hold any national titles. But I sure as hell am one tenacious, relentless, unfaltering force to be reckoned with. All other participants beware: there's no way in HELL I'm giving up any time soon."

Just remember: you are only in competition with yourself. If you feel that someone is competing with you, or if you feel pressured to live up to any expectations other than your own, thank them for pushing you and helping you to question yourself so that you know yourself better. And just keep running. Your loved ones are right behind you, rooting for you every step of the way.

May the force be with you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Seven Simple Steps to Success

These past few days have truly been a blessing. My head has been filling with all sorts of creative things: ideas, potential ventures, music, writing, etc. - all messages from beyond (THANK YOU). The days have slowly but surely been getting better.

If you can relate, here are some helpful tips that I have recently found very useful in their application:

1. Learn DISCERNMENT. Know when to make the right decision at the right time. One way that this can be achieved is through meditation. For those of you that don't do this regularly, trust me, I know what you're thinking. As if you needed another thing to add to your already impossibly busy schedule! I cannot stress this enough: it has and is changing my life. I am still battling with doing it regularly and consistently, but I'm hanging in there and determined to make it a part of my everyday life - it's absolutely undoubtedly worth it. Meditation can help you with learning as much as you can about your own 'instrument' (the mind, body, and soul as a whole entity - what feels right/wrong and how you can tell). This is a big one. For example, maybe you feel like you have so many options that you often have difficulty making a decision. Learning discernment will keep you organized by helping you to quickly prioritize, eliminate, and eventually decide.

2. PATIENCE. I don't know about you, but for me this is an obvious one. When you are impatient, you are showing that you do not trust things to happen when they are meant to or if they'll even happen at all. BE AT PEACE. Everything you desire will be yours when you are truly ready to receive it. First seek the Kingdom (and God/Goddess) within.

3. DISCIPLINE. Work hard! Fight! Show some reverence for your work, your Self, others, and the Universe for giving you what you asked for. When you are disciplined, it is a form of gratitude; it reflects your respect and appreciation for things. It shows that you value what you have been given. You'll soon find that once you have successfully formed a structure and routine that works specifically for you, you'll not only have the results which you have been seeking, but also a sense of balance, peace, and order in your life. "That which you are seeking is also seeking you."

4. As you work on #3, you'll find it easier to do #4: AVAILABILITY, ATTENDANCE, and ACCEPTANCE. Yes, these go in order. First, you must be available to attend what it is that you are being asked (or rather, called) to accept. It is difficult to be available when you aren't disciplined enough to be organized because you find yourself everywhere, anywhere at any time. Don't get me wrong - it's wonderful, admirable, courageous, and rewarding to be a "free spirit" (I practically wrote the book on that subject!). But there comes a time when duty calls and opportunity knocks. If you wish to accept the call (which you will because you are God's/our superhero and He/we need(s) you!), you MUST be available. You'd be surprised how quickly some doors will close. Also, don't forget to take your Vitamin B so that you have all the energy you need to keep you motivated, positive, and ready to go!

5. HONESTY. I don't just mean telling the truth when someone asks you a direct question or making the decision to not lie by omission. I mean real honesty - the kind where you reveal secrets that even YOU hide from yourself. Yeah. That's pretty big, if you ask me. Be honest with yourself not just so you can figure out what it is that you want and need to express, but because you deserve it! You deserve to know the truth. It is your right. You are a good, law-abiding, and upstanding citizen of your own personal government, and you have entitled access to the brilliant hidden treasure inside of you waiting to be revealed to you and only you.

6. TRUST yourself and your loved ones. I would like to share with you an excerpt to a meditation CD that I just purchased entitled, "The Power of Trust" by Gary Quinn (he has plenty of available self-growth resources and articles in case you are thinking about checking out some of his other works):

"We are continually faced with the choice of whether to live in fear, or to live in trust. Recognize the power that your thoughts and words carry, and be aware of your core belief system. When we put a lot of energy into fear, it immobilizes us and keeps us in a constricted space that leads us away from hope and possibility. Trust will lead you where you desire to go; it is a catalyst for movement. It supports you and carries you when nothing else can. The power of trust is infinite...When you put energy into trusting another person and their process, you are sending empowering energy to them. When circumstances are beyond your control, a loved one benefits so much more from your trusting energy than your worrying energy. Worrying energy contributes to a victim mentality. Trusting energy contributes to a space of empowerment. On some level, the vibrations of your thoughts reach that person. That highly vibrating energy is helping them to know that they can trust themselves, and that the Universe is lovingly guiding them along each step of their path..."

WOW. Beautiful, no?

7. My friends, we have come to the final step (Well, the number of steps are actually infinite, as are the number of options). SACRIFICE. If you wish to gain something of value, you MUST give something up. That's the rule. Think of the word 'sacrifice' and the text book definition:

1225–75; (n.) ME < class="ital-inline">sacrificium, equiv. to sacri- (comb. form of sacer holy) + -fic-, comb. form of facere to make, do 1 + -ium -ium; (v.) ME sacrifisen, deriv. of the n.


the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

When you sacrifice, what you are doing is actually making a trade for something better. You have realized that what you have now is no longer of use to you because you have outgrown it. Good for you! That's what your Higher Self wants you to do. It wants you to make sacrifices because it wants you to keep growing. And we all know that you can't grow with a little bit of pain. It does hurt to give up something that you hold dear, but the reward is worth it.

Now, the same is true the other way around. When you gain something, you also are making a sacrifice of something else whether you realize it or not. It's the law of the Universe. There's simply no way around it. It is the Universe's way of maintaining order and balance. But you needn't worry about this, because the Universe will never make you sacrifice something that you still need in order to complete your mission on Earth. Rest assured, you are always being taken care of in every way. All you have to do is be a vessel of love.

FINAL WORDS/THOUGHTS: There's no right or wrong way to success as long as you are as true to yourself as you can possibly be. You are a loving being, you give 100% commitment, I KNOW you do. You may not think so; you may think to yourself, "I can do better." If that's the case, what's stopping you? Don't worry, there's plenty of time. I believe in you.


Whatever happened to the day when nothing, I mean NOTHING, got in the way of searching, seeking, and ALWAYS finding love? When did we become so fearful? What is there to be afraid of? Love? Isn't that what we're (more or less) looking for anyway???

Perhaps, my fellow lover, it is because true love - real real deep soul love - is all too powerful a thing; it is indeed something to be fearful of, like God (at least, that's what some would want you to believe - that God is to be feared). And the more afraid you are, it is quite possible that the closer you are to it.

Let me tell you that I have been afraid lately. I think this is the most scared I've ever been, frankly. "I'm afraid of getting hurt," we might often secretly think to ourselves. But if you really think about it, how can you get hurt when you have love all around you and inside you, when you ARE love?

So...is this what we do, spend every minute of every day searching for love? If that is truly the case, then we are also living in fear in those moments. We simply cannot allow our fears to dictate our efforts in our pursuit of love; all we have to do is realize that every day is a day dedicated to that very cause.

To recap: We only fear love because we are truly searching for it. We are subconsciously completely aware of what a tremendously powerful thing love really is, what it requires from and of us, and that the repercussions of such a thing can be quite 'dangerous'. Well, whether you like it or not, we are very close to love. In fact, we are always close! It is never far from us, it never leaves our side. And if we choose to address and overcome our fears, the door will open, and love will welcome us with open arms. Like a parent who must let their child go to discover the world on his/her own, love patiently and eagerly waits for our return. There is no time limit, no deadline; it will ALWAYS support you and provide for you, it will ALWAYS be there for you when you decide you are ready.

And should you be so blinded by your fears that you don't even know that they exist only to cloud your soul's truest and purest desire, it is then that I would say, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."