Off The Stage: Eileen Carey

For most casual fans of music, the forty-five minutes that a band spends on the stage is all they can see. However, when the guitar cases are closed and the venue’s floor is littered with empty beer cans and trash, most bands load their gear into the van and return back to their normal lives.

Mother Church Pew’s Off The Stage is a series that celebrates artists’ paths to where they are and the things they do behind the scenes to stay there.

Award-winning Los Angeles-based artist Eileen Carey knows that “slow and steady wins the race”; the accomplished storyteller’s outlook and determination, are helping her thrive during quarantine. Carey frequently posts nuggets of wisdom at her website The Music Mom – we asked her to share some tips to maintain a positive mindset in the midst of a global pandemic:

“Positivity is like an immune system that fights against fear, anxiety, and negativity. And while a certain other virus has so many people feeling these things in the absolute worst way, I keep feeling this urge to share the positivity I have with anyone who needs it. 

Here’s why. 

I genuinely believe that the people who live the happiest lives actively seek out the good in every situation. No matter how bad things are, they are able to extract something positive. These people usually end up doing something wonderful like this: my neighbor recently hung a bag of lemons from his tree and put a sandwich bag of sugar on all the neighbor’s doorknobs with a note reminding everyone of the old adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” 

I absolutely loved seeing that. It showed me an approach to life that I think we all should have. Especially nowadays.

To be fair, I can’t say that I always have this mindset. But I sure as heck try. Like I said earlier, I want to help others experience a life lived positively. Here’s the thing about positivity, though. It doesn’t just happen. Unlike negativity, which can fester within us with us doing absolutely nothing at all, positivity grows only when we take specific actions to develop it. 

On that note, here are 3 ways to develop the type of positive mindset that’ll help you thrive during the current pandemic. 

1. Stay busy. It’s good for your body and your mind. 

Negativity tends to build when we remain stagnant. That’s why it’s super important in times like these to stay busy. And by busy, I don’t mean busy just for the sake of it. I mean being busy for the purpose of being productive. 

Case in point: I’ve been doing an extended version of our annual spring cleaning because, well, why not? It’s not as if any of us ever run out of spots to clean, right? This is also an excellent opportunity to do that decluttering you’ve been wanting to do. If now isn’t a good time for it, you’re probably never going to get it done. 

Another way I’ve been staying busy is with food. Someone in my house is always cooking, researching new recipes, or growing something in the garden. We’re always trying new dishes. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes not so much. If for every three new recipes we try we like one of them, well, that’s not too shabby. 

I’m fortunate to live somewhere where the weather is nice most of the time. I’m absolutely soaking up the spring sunshine during this hiatus from social gatherings. After all, we’re supposed to avoid people, not nature. Every day includes at least one walk. Getting outdoors is inherently good for the soul, and it feels like the most natural place to be when we have to be isolated from other people. 

Exercise is another highly beneficial way to stay busy. I have been maintaining my kick-boxing workouts with my trainer on Skype. It’s just one more example of making technology work for me. It’s also a much healthier way to use modern technology than sitting on my behind and watching movies or browsing the internet all day.  

2. Be creative. It does wonders for your soul. 

For us naturally creative folks, our creativity can sometimes feel like a faucet that somebody else turns on and off whenever they want. Much of our inspiration seems to come when it wants, not when we want. But this is a time when we need to try to make it happen. We need to grab that guitar, or that paintbrush, or that pencil and paper, and create. 

It’s proven that the mere act of trying to create something does wonders for our mind and our soul. It can be calming, insightful, and purifying in ways that few other things can be. If you are a creative person, I hope you recognize that you have a golden opportunity nowadays to create. You may never again have this much time to sit and express yourself in the comfort of your own home. 

Think about all those times you wanted to finish that promising new song, drawing, or story you started, but you couldn’t because you had to be somewhere else at a certain time. Well, if you’re like me, nowadays there are very few places you have to be at any time. Use this time to flesh out all those promising ideas. Or just work on your craft. Write. Listen. Look. Do whatever it takes to get your creative engine running. 

One of the most exciting benefits of creativity is its ability to transport you to another place. Sometimes another time. I love when I’m so involved in a new song that the hours fly by. It feels as though I’m temporarily on another planet. In the midst of a pandemic, that feeling can be a welcome one. 

Thanks to the technology we often take for granted when things are normal, I’ve been able to communicate with my producer Travis Allen on a regular basis. That’s allowed me to continue creating a blueprint of the new music we’ll record once musicians and producers are allowed to be in the same room. 

You can also use your creativity for more practical reasons. I’m thrilled to see how some parents have come up with new and exciting ways to teach their children during this hiatus from school. Create activities that will keep your kids engaged and intrigued. Even if you have never done so before, use your creative impulses to guide their education. Build the type of lessons your kids will never forget.  

There are a million ways to express your creativity. And now you’ve got the time to do it, so make it happen. 

3. Embrace this opportunity to connect with the people you care for. You may never again have their attention like this. 

The thing that brings me the most positivity is connecting with the people I care for. I’m well aware that I may never get an opportunity like this again. I’ve gotten to know them in ways I could never have imagined. 

We’ve laughed. 

We’ve cried. 

We’ve danced.

We’ve driven each other crazy.

We’ve been catching up in ways both big and small. 

From watching movies together to hashing out unfamiliar recipes in the kitchen, we’ve consciously decided to be fully with each other while having to be together. What I mean by that is there’s a difference between being stuck in the same house with someone and making sure you spend quality time with them. Get to know the folks you’re with. Listen. Learn. Love.  

And by the way, there’s no set way to do this. 

Sometimes I enjoy my family’s company without saying a word, like during one of the countless movies we’ve watched together. Other times, it’s a gab parade, and we just cannot shut up. Either way, it’s all about appreciating each other’s presence. It’s about actually doing something about the fact that we will never have these moments again. 

It might not seem like it, but someday things will return to normal. I know we all long for that time, but I want to encourage you to fully embrace this moment and the people with whom you’re sharing it. The best way to do that is to take on a positive mindset. 

Let the positivity coarse through your veins. 

Let it fill your mind. 

Let it lift your soul. 

You’re alive, and with the people you love. All the time. 

In the end, what else could you ever ask for?”

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