warm sun + cool breeze = oh how i miss days like these

Music is my element. Your element is the natural resource, place, or course of action that awakens your soul. It may not always be the easiest place to be. It provides challenges, triumphs, and an emotional and often spiritual outlet.

A song is an expression. A mix of music and words to bring people together, help one examine a situation, or take one to a place they know as familiar, amongst other things.



Rainbow – JJ/GLove Cover

Days Like These – Robby Haas Original

Jam Jams – Electric Guitar Portfolio #1

Jammin’ on The Heritage to a chill loop track. Toasty!

Enneagram Type 4 – Discovery

“I don’t think that’s the best route here…I have a feeling we should be looking at this from a different perspective.” I say as I’m sitting in a stuffy conference room with a number of people wearing business attire. Collared shirts, ties, the norm for corporate folk. I then am looked upon with confusion in the faces of these people. A silent second goes by and the acting manager moves to another topic while neglecting my statement, giving it no comment whatsoever…and then I wake up.

This is an all-too-common scenario I fear during sleep and sometimes happens while daydreaming as well. Although this specific (yet, so generic) occasion hasn’t actually happened to me, it does provide a glimpse into my psyche and a lifestyle in which I try to avoid at all costs. This scenario helps me find my place in the working world. I find that I learn more of “what not to do” in worldly situations than “what to do.”

What I mean by this: there are so many options for places to go, people to see, and things to do in this world. To do everything is impossible. (but worth a shot) To narrow down the list, it’s helpful to learn from other’s mistakes. Simply put – see what people are doing wrong, and avoid the hell out of it. I’m not saying: don’t make mistakes. In fact, we should be making mistakes and taking risks often. But to be that guy wearing a suit to work every day with a bunch of jabronis who dismiss feelings in the workplace is a bunch of bologna. (there was a rhyme in there) Fortunately, the world has changed a bit since the age of all-male boardrooms, led by purely money and power-hungry tyrants. Even a 1% reduction in this is good, folks! (Science provided by my awareness of the modern world)

Where does this anecdote lead us? To the Enneagram in the workplace, of course. If you’re unfamiliar with this word – Enneagram, just know you can start here for the basics. In summary: it’s a tool used to help people discover their natural tendencies, where they can go from there, and how to interact with others, based on those natural behaviors. For example, the title of this article includes Type 4. Four is one of the nine types notated by the Enneagram. It’s a wheel of connections, shown below. At first, I thought it was an image showing off the satanic power of the numeric occult. (Hint, it’s not satanic, but some of us wish it was a bit more 666)

After you’ve taken an assessment and discussed with a qualified Enneagram pro (I’m lucky I have one nearby…) It’s time to be typed. Ugh, that sounds bad. We’re not put into cages, it’s more of a region – it may have boundaries but there’s lots to explore. Rivers, mountains, caves, houses, restaurants…it’s all there!

So anyway, I was typed as a Seven. Joyful, full of ideas, always following my bliss, and continuously avoiding pain and suffering. This is important; I was mistyped. Where I was at the time in my life played a huge role in this. I wanted to fit in and the group was small. I do share some of the natural tendencies of a Seven in the wild, but after a few months went by, I didn’t feel like my true self was shining through. I wasn’t giving myself permission to feel all of my feelings.

Then I moved to Colorado and starting going back to therapy. One on one; talking about feelings, past, present, relationships, you name it. The hard stuff. The work it takes to figure out what the fuck is going on in your life, and the steps it takes to deal with all your past traumas. For me, there was a lot of data to process. I won’t dive too deep on this subject, because the topic of the day is the Enneagram and being a type 4. “But, being a type 4 includes being willing to feel a huge spectrum of emotions, be aware of them, and at times, overshare! Why not, Robby!?!” Good point, inner-self…and way to summarize.

On top of all that, fours are creative, caring, and often-times stuck in their own world (fantasy). It just happens; we’re imaginative people, so we’re good at creating another world to live in. Sometimes, we feel all the emotions in the room of the people around us, and given our situation, it’s just too much! Escape to fantasy, no reality, please!! Then, anxiety. Then, tears or deep-seated rage, or any of the emotions in-between. The balance within can be lost quickly and swayed by the emotions. Though they’re not in complete control of one’s life, sometimes, it feels as though they are all that matter. As you can see, there’s a large spectrum, and this is true for every type and every person. By learning our types we’re able to interact with ourselves and each other in a healthier, and more efficient way (helpful at work and especially with more intimate relationships).

Back to my personal journey. The reason I went to therapy was simply to understand myself better and have the best relationship I could with my wife. Wanting to change my outside circumstances started going within; this was my route. I truly believe in the effects of therapy; so long as you’re willing to put your feelings and ego on the line in real-time, it can be very helpful. Easier said than done. My therapist was familiar with the Enneagram types and referenced it on occasion to help explain certain behaviors of mine. Flash forward a month and I was beginning to question my being a Type 7. I went back to the drawing board and sought out my OG Ennea-guru, dived-deep on the interwebs and books, and landed where my original assessment had me in the first place: Type 4.

And it reads: 4 – The Individualist. The Sensitive, Introspective Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental.

If you’d like to read more into it, go for it with the link above. What I will say about this discovery, is that it felt like going home. Going home in a way like leaving for your first year of college and then going back to see your parents for Thanksgiving, home. (not everyone can relate to this sentiment, I get it) It felt really good, and it helped ease my #1 Basic Fear whilst being a Four: Having no identity or personal significance. It’s weird, but just knowing who I am a little bit more, was a weight off my shoulders.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I bet there are many stories of folks who can envision a better path once they understand a bit more about themselves. That’s what the trials of life are for, right!? There are also those who struggle with being categorized to begin with. They might feel confined, or only focus on the negative aspects that go with their type. To those who might feel this way: be patient, accepting our own truths takes time and the willingness to be challenged on a very personal level.

What this new-found vision that came with being correctly typed with the Fours of the world, was something unexpected. I felt open to my creative side. It’s always been there, but I suppressed it for so long. Years turned into a near-decade after college of randomly playing music when I had the “extra” time. What I realized is that my creative efforts are a natural part of me that need tending to just like the muscles of the body need work to get stronger. Without movement, our bodies go to waste, and we become stiff and decrepit. Old before our time. It’s why I run. I’d rather die in an accident than for being a boring person for too many years…I digress. The creative pursuit is one filled with ups and downs, time spent focussed, and time lost in no-man’s-land creating absolutely nothing – but loving every second of it. (though you weren’t aware of where and what you were really doing…another topic for another time)

Creativity is a gift, and it is to be used. Continuing on the path of doing so, is a difficult journey. It’s easy to create the excuses of work, relationships, blah blah blah, to fill the gaps of time in life. But there is no substitute for creating. You either make something original or you don’t. You can write, play music, tell a story, or create a new route; the possibilities are endless. It’s up to me to attempt to be creative as much as possible. Or I’ll probably just get sad and depressed without enough of it – which is normal too! It’s just a stage of experience, or a weather pattern moving in for a day or two. Nature is impossible to avoid, we must work with, not against it.

Lastly, I’ll provide an opinion. Type, or no type, we’re all creative. We were created, and we create every day with our very existence, sometimes oblivious to the changes that we implement. With every action or non-action, there is an opportunity to be creative, and no need to sell yourself short.

Until next time, just be yourself.


All the Same – A poem

The hum of the Earth

Brought thoughts to mankind

Let’s the squirrel find it’s path

Not knowing it’s way or it’s future

The lion rules the savannah

The man owns nothing

We are tied to the sacred

Yet we name it everything but

We are tied to our calendar

But we know not how to live a full day

A year is adjusted

A clock is set

The ox continues on his grass

All the same

RH 11.13.19

To listen to the Universe – To hear the subtle cues.

I often write songs by sitting down with my guitar, fumbling through a new chord progression. Once I find something that sounds good to my ear, I might start humming a melody. OR, possibly, I’ll have a particular phrase that prompted me to sit down to figure it all out in one go. Sometimes words comes into my head from absolutely nowhere. Whatever people see this as, it happens to those of us who are open to it. Those who sit in silence and listen to the very subtle signs of the universe.

I’m one of those people. Though most people don’t know of my songs and music, that’s ok. It’s no reason to not listen to the spirits that guide me. Sometimes they are loud and obvious, they yell: “THIS IS A GREAT LINE! Write that shit down and finish it.” Other times it’s as silent as a squirrel shimmying down a tree from far away. There might be a cloud opening up the gateway of the sun and like a magnet you’re drawn to it’s beauty. In that scene, you find a hidden message. You’re inspired to continue to look, to see what it becomes. If you spend enough time there, you might be gifted with all the words you’ll need. You only need a few to get started.

I feel like this example relates to our human existence. Relating to our ability to create specific types of art. (books, music, sculptures, etc) Is our own life not a work of art? Should we not take notes on our nature, our surroundings, and use them to move us forward. The outlet of creative pursuits is helpful in expression, but the way we dress, eat, speak, live, is also an art. Do you not feel drawn to those people who bring joy to your life, or make you think, make you feel? It’s just a thought, something to ponder. Does our productivity mean much at all? Sure, those who are prolific in their pursuits might have a better chance of being remembered, but what about those people in your life right now? Why not show them how you live in such a spectacular way? Tell them about your most divine moments, what inspires you, what makes you, what gets you to wake up each day?

Maybe its just a realization of the beauty of the mundane, the everyday, the Earthly pursuits. Instead of putting upon a pedastal everything that is sold to us…

In light of this idea, here’s a random poem/song idea that came to me after someone else’s music inspired the sound and cave in which these words exist:

It comes and it goes

but never quite leaves me alone.

It aches and it whines

I can never walk far enough to leave it behind.

It laughs and it smiles

It takes it’s time and it finds the child.

It loathes, but it fears

When all the joy turns to tears.

Holy hell in my soul

Don’t forget who’s in control.

Sacred is my mortal oath

Remember I could take us both.

Yes, I can see how some might perceive it as VERY DARK. I get it. Sometimes, it’s about removing something from the self, or simply acknowledging it, that allows a healing process to take it’s course.

RH 10/2/19

Creativity in practice

What is a dream in the dark? If it doesn’t reach daylight and stays forever hidden, a dream is just that.

I often go off into a fantasy land inside my mind. The most common place I frequent is that of a different life with different goals but the same people. I recently read (in a very helpful book – The Artist’s Way) that a good majority of us, in the creative world, fear success more than failure. Why would I fear succeeding and following my passions? My inner dialogue begins…

There is a comfort in having your life continue the way it is. Steady. Non-abrupt changes. Life at your own pace. To give up the steady and pursue anything different is a challenge. I don’t want to be bored, but I don’t want to be THAT challenged. A continuous reminder of the need for balance is prevalent in modern society. We understand we must moderate our work life, family time, intake of harmful substances. We know we can’t quench every desire, but we try to fulfill the easy and immediate ones at least.

Stressed after work? Have a drink. Feeling ill? Take some “medicine.” Hungry? Eat a meal, swiftly. How else could you satisfy your hunger? (wink, wink)

Then, within 20 minutes your initial problem fades away. But for how long?

To fill the desire to create as a writer and musician requires daily doses of practice, inspiration, planning, and desire. The boring parts mixed with the natural human tendencies. So what keeps one from fully pursuing their own talents?

I can’t tell you how many people have said that I’m a talented musician. I’m not lacking in talent or practice, it’s simply the doing. Taking the first step is the hardest. “I’m out of my element and a new person,” I tell myself. “It’s been years and you’ve survived without it,” why start again? So occasionaly I go on random google searches scoping out local music venues and what types of gigs and artists they might offer. It lasts about a day or three then I get back into the habits of regular, daily, life (work, grocery shopping, running (alot), family time, dog-walks) and all the creative sparks simply run out of flint.

I’ve taken at least one step toward daily creativity though. I’ve attempted to start a practice of writing each morning: three pages, hand written, subject not important. It’s a creative practice called “Morning Pages” that I heard about a few months ago on a podcast. I find it helpful to get the brain working and thoughts flowing, yet challenging on my hand and wrist as it has been years since I’ve written in that format.

I step in the right direction is good. A commitment to a goal is better. It’s time to start putting due dates on the calendar. To find a gig. To play an open-mic. To meet up with like-minded people. To record my music and share it. It’s time to be the owner of my own production company. The boss says he needs product to sell. Ok, boss, your wish is my command.

No longer can I treat my creativity as just a random thing that could or could not happen based on the will of the universe.

A dream is just a dream in the dark. Why not bring it into the light?

Sometimes the creative process is rough. To look up and see a mountain looming overhead, only then to have it start raining. The climb is where you learn to overcome the challenge. To be able to fly back down, gliding with gravity, requires an effort twice as hard on the way up.

Samosa: an ode

I first had a real Samosa at lunch-time

In the city of Ventura was where we dined

We were received at the King’s table

At the front of the house

Not knowing our taste buds would be ready or able

We sat quiet in anticipation, much like a little mouse

The food soon arrived, appetizers first

We drank the fizzy water, of course, to quench our thirst

Love at first bite I would go on to declare

There wasn’t much left of that lovely samosa pair

We crunched and we crunched ’til all was gone

Then dreamed of the next samosa vacation

Of which we knew the wait would not be long


How do we react when we are pulled in multiple directions at the same time?

Physically, we break. ‌Mentally, I‌ shut down.  I‌ go to a place that seems like a state of paralysis.  Sometimes unable to make even the most simple of decisions.  Believe me, I‌ did not choose to be here.  When these days come, its easy to think the time in this place will be never ending.  It does end.  It always does.  

Dealing with depressive episodes is something I’ve embraced lately.  Embraced as in: I’ve accepted the reality. The reality that these episodes will be a part of my life, forever.  I‌ must greet them as a friend because they are part of me.  A part of me that for many years of adult life, I avoided at all cost.  That time is up.  My decision to put time into dealing with these issues is my path forward.  I‌ know I’ll always have the issues and pains that have brought me here.  I‌ also know that I’m able to deal with them and keep them in a manageable form that won’t effect my entire life when it happens.  

I‌ like the darkness.  The darkness is a friend when it comes to the sport of long-distance running.  The longer the run, the more room for darkness, the more opportunity for growth.  The darkness greets us when we least expect it, and leaves like a whisper that might have barely been there. But it always leaves a mark. It’s always noticed and felt but rarely taken for what it really is.  Darkness is a place where I‌ learn about my true self.  The black orb that lies deep in my chest is something I’m working through and with.  To work against it only helps it grow.  To break down in tears mid-run is a powerful experience.  One that has been a part of my running journey from the beginning.  The emotions that run through me as I‌ experience a huge running event or feel lost on a trail, are a mixture of fear, joy, euphoria, and pain all at once.  Most importantly, it’s a mixture of life forces.   The forces that keep us moving forward, not backward. The pressure builds us up if we let it.

Life, for me, is no longer defined by the amount of happiness and joy I‌ experience.  I‌ really need and pursue of all the emotions.  The highs with the lows, mentally and physically.  It’s a wonderful thing to know what you need in life – and then to actually pursue it.  Some days I‌ need a trail all to myself.  A high-five from a little furry friend. A kiss and a few words of love from my wife.  Most days end with a bit of sad or melancholy music to ground me in my reality.  To tell me that life is real and painful.  But the pressure of it all is nothing compared to the lack of challenge, and ultimately a void, that a life unexamined might bring.  I’ll stick with the fulness of it all.  

RH 7.25.19

Broken Arrow Skyrace 52k – Squaw Valley Resort, CA. Two loops of insane vertical left me in a place where all I wanted was for it to be over and done with. The pain of not finishing is always worse than the pain of enduring the event.

Why do I run?

Why do I run?

Hmm..good question?

It begs the question:  “Why does anyone do anything?”  Well, anything outside of work or just everyday life obligations. 

I guess I could say that running is an everyday life obligation.  Some days it’s the daily dose of anti-depressant.  Other days it’s an injection of pure adrenaline and speed while bombing down steep trails.  Oh! Sometimes coach says to do a workout, and I trust its for the best, so I just go out there and tear it up.  Or get torn up. Same thing.

But there are so many other things in life to pursue!  Why running, Robby?

Alright, time to dig deeper. 

At 16, my BFF in P-town (thats Plainwell, MI – about as cornfield as you can get in the Mid-West) was sick of the JV tennis squad and I don’t blame him.  Playing doubles tennis with that fool was boring AF.  Time for a change.  Summer break was hitting so Graham asked if I would join the cross-country (XC for short) team with him next fall.  We did everything together, so without a real thought process, I said “sure!” And that was it. 

I remember my very first prescribed team run.  A five mile route in sweaty-ass August, in the humid summer heat of Michigan.  Our small town was mostly flat until you went out of the city limits and hit the hilly country roads.  We hit a hill and it felt like a mountain.  I really don’t know why I came back for the next workout, that shit was hard.  I guess I just loved the challenge.  I improved to a top-5 runner during my singular season of XC as a senior in HS.  The following spring, the track racing season sucked, but I loved the trails of XC from the previous fall, and knew there was something there.

Before my Frosh year of college, Graham was scheming up more running.  We both dove balls deep into distance running by signing up for the Detroit Marathon for the upcoming October (2007).   My longest training run for Detroit was an hour-30 in a zip-up hoodie.  Flash forward to race day.  We were scared and then scarred.  During the run, I definitely said I would never run another.  Looking back, I loved my amateur and cavalier attitude toward running.  Just go out and fucking do it.  It’s you and the road (or trails)   No one else to tell you what to do, to own you.  When you put on running clothes, we’re all the same.  Just sweaty peeps struggling through it all.  Sure, there’s miles of bliss, but when you’re really training and racing, the struggle is real.  So is the triumph.  Those two things always battling it out inside my body and brain.  Struggle v Triumph.   You get a little of each of those everyday.  Rarely does a hobby give you so much of both. 

I could train for 6-months and feel like I’m getting nowhere.  To then show up on race day and win… Shit, there is something there.  Might as well pursue it. 

There’s plenty more to come on this topic and its easy to write about in the context of other race/adventure recaps.  For now, I’ll keep getting my daily fix.  Win or lose, I still win. 

May the miles treat you,