August 22nd, 2015


Above the clouds

On a daily basis I get requests for life advice, questions from people who are struggling through hard times, or generally need guidance or assistance in making big decisions. I wanted to take some time to offer my advice, for what it’s worth…

I got pretty carried away with the response, and then this turned into a MAJOR ramble, so I decided to huck it up here, since I give some type of this answer out regularly. now you can read it here, or share it with a friend if you like:

Would you have any advice for going through a hard time in life? I don’t have anyone to talk to. I feel depressed. I’m unsure of the path I need to take and feel permanently stuck. Got any words of wisdom about deciding what I should do with my life?

Hi! The good news is you are most definitely not permanently stuck, but I know life can feel that way sometimes. And as disheartening or frightening as it may feel, I suggest viewing that feeling as An Indicator – your mind is letting you know that something in life needs your attention. If you accidentally cut your leg, you should feel intense pain. That pain itself is a good thing: it is an indicator that there is something requiring your immediate attention. Without that pain you may never notice the cut, or maybe you would lack incentive to do anything about it. The ‘appropriate response’ to being in a tough situation is to feel the painful response, because it notifies you that certain issues require your attention, and it motivates you to take care of yourself.

We’ve all been there before. What you are feeling is normal, and it’s a good thing because its inspiring you to pay attention and work on yourself. Self-optimization is an awesome process! I think it is exciting to “improve” – do some soul searching and reflect on the areas of your life which need attention, and brainstorm how to make yourself happier or healthier. This involves you reflecting critically on your life and thinking “what can i do to make things even better” – it’s how we grow, evolve, solve problems, etc.

When it comes to feeling confused, depressed, or lost, I don’t think there are any bandaids or shortcuts. So if you are struggling with something, it is likely complex and interrelated among many separate issues. I think of it like a bunch of tiny pebbles. When they come together it feels like a huge mountain. Humans get overwhelmed easily, we feel the weight of our ‘problems’ all massed together like this enormous mountain pressing down on us, and it feels impossible to escape. But really it’s a bunch of dinky little pebbles which can be calmly and eventually lifted off one by one if you take the time. If you try and lift it off all at once, you will just get more exhausted, but if you take the time to really address each issue in turn, and solve each problem, eventually the weight is lifted.

So again, I think this is good news: whatever you’re going through IS going to pass, although I know it feels impossible & overwhelming in the moment. I suggest dedicating a serious amount of time and attention to addressing your ‘issues’ as valid concerns: each deserves time and attention, preferably alongside a trusted guide (a parent or counselor ideally). I advise that you dedicate time each day/week to reflect on your life, and to strategize solutions, etc. You can build a longterm plan which identifies each little issue (each tiny pebble of pressure) in turn, and work alongside a counsellor or friend or guide to solve each in turn.

For some reason, people get shy about Therapy. They think it’s embarrassing or a sign of weakness. Maybe you tried therapy years ago and it didn’t work (many therapists suck, or are just average, just like many doctors or lawyers or journalists are average… it just means you need to keep searching until you find the right fit. It can be a school counsellor, a life coach, a family therapist, a good friend) or maybe you have tried seeing a ‘Psychiatrist’ which is something i don’t really recommend. Don’t treat this problem with drugs! Don’t let someone (posing as a doctor) push pharmaceutical drugs on you to mask the emotional pain or anxiety you are feeling. Again, that pain or anxiety is there to help you, as an Indicator Light, notifying you that something in your life requires attention. It’s my opinion that only in the rarest & most extreme cases should one be treating an emotional issue with pharmaceuticals: I think these drugs are prescribed WAY too freely, due to financial incentive for the “doctor” or the drug company.

The Pharmaceutical Industry is just like the Tobacco Industry or the Sugar Industry: they exist to make money. They push addictive, harmful, complicated drugs into your system simply to make money. So if you are seeking guidance/therapy and end up getting prescribed some heavy-duty drug from a psychiatrist, you are numbing the pain instead of solving the problem, and you are likely creating side effects which require even more drugs to offset. [And let’s not make this a debate about pharmaceuticals: I am sure there are people out there who definitely need them, and I personally would take them if i needed them. Let’s just agree they are prescribed VERY freely, and most of these situations are better to solve without using them.]

True therapy has nothing to do with drugs, and it’s as normal as exercising at the gym, or having a heart-to-heart with a good friend. THINK OF IT LIKE EXERCISE! It’s normal for you to go to the gym to ‘work out your body’. And it’s also normal for you to ‘work out your emotional body’ by working on your issues, alongside someone who is experienced at helping you navigate confusing feelings, weigh your options, and address complicated problems. A good therapist specializes in seeing your issues and helping you see them, and then helping you address them through conscious consideration, critical thinking, paying careful attention to each issue & committing to resolve each issue slowly and carefully, like a little dinky pebble. Don’t get too overwhelmed 🙂

And I want to point out that word “navigate” – think of a ship lost out at sea, 400 years ago… It’s dark, it’s storming, you have no map, no compass, and you are the only one alive on the ship. This is honestly what life can feel like at times! When I go through times like this, the number one thing I need is help *navigating* myself (the ship) through the intense confusion, or overwhelming emotions, or blinding anxiety, or even sadness (the storm… the feeling of being lost). A good, trained therapist is a guide. A guide helps you navigate terrain when you are helpless. They may listen, they may ask questions. They may walk you through exercises, or get you to open up and express yourself, or maybe they just help you vocalize what you are feeling but lacked words for. Sometimes they become a good confidant, or someone to talk with. For myself, I talk to an amazing therapist on a regular basis, and most of the time I am fortunate enough to be extremely positive & inspired about life, so we just philosophize about life, or sometimes I ask him advice on behalf of friends or family members. He is more of a Life Coach for me. And when the next storm hits, there is someone in my life who knows me well who I can turn to for unbiased advice, and to help me navigate the situation.

If you haven’t had much luck with therapy, but you are feeling lost, then I suggest you do a self-assessment and put together a plan for you life. Since I am not a trained therapist, I can’t help as much as someone who you are meeting with once a week. But as a general approach I recommend this:

Form a longterm plan for your life by first deciding what your goals & priorities are. This is important because sometimes we lose sight of what matters most, and we can’t figure out the next step because we don’t clearly understand where we are going. Once you have a clear list of your top priorities you can use that to decide where to live, what to do, and who to do it with. I think the first parts of a plan should be about Survival: house, job, etc, make sure you have a safe home, some good friends, and a job to be able to pay your bills, even if the job is a pain in A. After 6 months of this, or even a year, then you can move into a new phase of the plan which is about Thriving. Thriving is how you enjoy life, how you explore/express passions, how you spend your time outside of work and outside of self maintenance (sleeping, errands, etc). This may be just a few hours a day if you are in school & work at the same time. Or maybe you get more time to Thrive. It can be art classes, creative projects, hiking, sports, dancing, music, cooking, poetry, friendship, romance – honestly it can be a zillion things. but first step is making the plan:

1. Do a brainstorm where you make two lists. A brainstorm is when you flush out all your ideas and thoughts about a certain topic without pausing or stopping or editing. Just take 20 minutes and write as much as you can about a topic. In this case, try brainstorming a Positive List and a Negative List. For the positive list, write down everything you love about life, all your favorite things, your hopes & dreams, your skills & talents, what you excel at, what you enjoy, what you never want to lose, or what you strive to attain. Then for the Negative List write down all your fears & challenges, your worries, your issues/problems, what you failed at, what you think needs improvement, all the negatives.

2. Then take some time and organize each list in order of priority from top to bottom. During the brainstorm you should write without editing yourself, so even if you write the same things several times or maybe even write something which isn’t correct, it’s ok. Just let yourself WRITE, and flush it all out. Then in the organizational step, you can clean it up. And you will have two lists, in order of importance, of your Positives and your Negatives.

3. Then Choose the top 2 or 3 points from each list, and merge them into one list of your TOP PRIORITIES & GOALS. If they come from the Positives, then its something you want to maintain or keep, or work toward. If it’s from the Negatives, it’s likely something you need to change, or something you lack. Once you have these, you can translate each point into a word or phrase, like a Title of the Priority. So you may end up with a list like this:

Independence (financial, emotional, survival)
Discipline (work ethic, meeting my goals)
Community (friends, support group, social life)
Health (diet, exercise, quitting smoking)
Adventure (art, making time for fun, etc)

These are general examples, but likely good goals for someone who is struggling, although maybe yours will be different.

From there you can take that list to your most trusted friends or family members and seek their opinions. Maybe they see something which you don’t see, or maybe they can suggest something which you are too proud to notice. Maybe your parents have some insight to share, or maybe a life coach or a counsellor can help you build out a long term plan in order to achieve those goals.

This may require a move to a new city, or enrolling in school, or getting a new job, or ending a toxic relationship, or making new friends, or working on a deep personal issue. Life is a wild road, but the more you engage it with an enthusiastic, interactive, open mind and open heart, the better you will get at navigating its complex and amazing terrain!

Good Luck!


  • Robert C.

    I’ve always found your “ramblings” profound and educational to the highest degree, thanks for sharing yet again Lorin.

  • blautenb24

    I always enjoy these posts. Really put things into perspective, especially when currently in a period of distress.

  • brandon

    Lorin, thank you so much for posting this. I needed to read this more then I realized. The compassion and positivity you put out into the world is inspiring.

  • Brandon Wisniski

    Thank you for everything you do. <3

  • Ash Selpie

    After reading this wonderful… (essay?) I decide to make my own list (admittedly, it is more of a motivational mantra). I’m posting it here in case anyone would like a second example, or maybe because I hope that Lorin actually reads these and can see how grateful I am for this post (and the entire Bassnectar project). Anyways, here it is.

    Ash Selpie’s Steps to Obtaining The Thriving Bowl of Oranges:

    I will continue my struggle to one day Return this love without ceasing.

    I strive to create and sustain my healthy mind, body, and relationships.

    I am the maker of my own financial and emotional Independence.

    I am Discipline itself. I have the power to Motivate myself, Organize my life, maintain steadfast Focus, and practice absolute Restraint.

    I am always Mindful and Respectful to Myself, Others, and this holy Existence.

    I will always work to give form to my brightest stars. This is my precious act of creation, and I will never belittle it.

    I pursue a lifestyle of Interpersonal, Geographical, and Mental Exploration.

    Above all, I welcome Peace. This means Simplicity, Gratitude, Acceptance, and Honesty.

  • Eddie Richard

    Of all your essays, I think this is my favorite. I find myself in constant agreement with all of your philosophy about the true beauty of life, but especially in regards to facing problems as an indicator that something needs to change, WITHOUT prescription drugs. SSRIs are more potent and potentially harmful than most people taking them realize. Speaking from experience I’ve found it much easier to overcome anxiety/depression by pouring conscious energy into healthy activities like running, reading, eating better, etc. Any of those things open up my internal dialogue; I can hear myself clearer and be much more honest with myself. From there I believe most people can either cure depression themselves by taking direct action (small example: making a goal to lose weight), or shy away by wallowing in self-pity (ex: I eat junk food cuz my life sucks, I need something to make me happy, other forms of denial…). Being brutally honest with yourself when you need to be absolutely sucks, but following through on your ‘indicators’ always results in a better quality of life. And why wouldn’t you? What mental block could you put in front of yourself that’s really more important than living the best life possible?

    Thank you for your wisdom, Lorin. A pleasure as always to read your rambles 🙂 see you at Basslights!!!!

  • Robby

    Just wondering Lo will you ever release zodgilla I think we all really enjoy this song very very much!!!

  • Brian David Gilbert

    (I agree with Robby, give us what you know we love;) thanks for all your time Lorin! Thanks for literally giving your life to us! You are legandary and inspiring as fuck! Love y’all!!

  • Lara

    I recently started seeing a therapist weekly for emdr therapy and I can say that it is helping me make better and more clear-headed decisions. Although I wish she took my insurance — she cost 600 a month (SIGH) I see it as a better investment than a lot of other things I could spend my money on. Except that this does cut into my concert/festival fund….argh. I’ve seen a lot of bad therapists and am afraid to change because she’s really good. But I have less money to travel and explore, and Dallas is such a bleak and depressing city. Everyone is too busy making money just so they can go spend it on consumerist shit that doesn’t matter. People’s ideals are so screwed up here- yet it has the best economy in the nation. Go figure. You make all that money just to throw it away on some nike propaganda, Audis and Brazilian waxing.. (Laser hair removal is the way to go).
    I do feel like the solution to retail therapy is actual therapy. I don’t buy into what most people are concerned about here, which makes it impossible not to travel to be around people with like minds. But the economy here is what allows me to get away. Even though now I can’t because I’m paying for an awesome therapist who is from California and also empathizes with my feelings about this place…lol. Feeling stuck is SUCH a fitting description :/ So for now, I guess I’ll continue with therapy until I can see things more clearly..

  • Marmoset

    Here’s a TED talk that helped me change my life from being pessimistic, cynical, and depressed to optimistic and happy. If you do the five things at the end of the video on a daily basis, you’ll definitely start to see a change.

  • Jeremy Balser

    Get ready cuz HERE WE GO AGAIN, COZZA FRENZY, the CHURN OF THE CENTURY begins. The BOOMBOX on blast, and the MASSIVE ATTACK, here the SPEAKERBOX, go ratatatat. With the 808 kick drum, 808 clap, DONT HATE THE 808 As we TELEPORT MASSIVE, THE BEGINNING, THE FUTURE im BREATHLESS again, is everybody in? the ceremony, is about to begin?A TIMESTRETCH has opened, for the king of the sound. Theyre coming from miles, from miles around. LOVE HERE, Let music take control, turn it up and let it go. DO IT LIKE THIS to ABOVE AND BEYOND that FREESTYLE music, the EGO KILLER songs. HOT RIGHT NOW as were riding INTO THE SUN. Make some NOISE, GENERATE as were Having such F.U.N. Got the WILDSTYLE method, As the ENCORE, progresses, feeling 100 with all of these BASSHEADS. This VOODOO, so UGLY, a FLASHBACK begins, TURN EM ON, TURN EM OFF LIKE A LIGHT SWITCH. The LIGHTS, and THE SOUND, WHERE IS MY MIND? THE MATRIX, has opened, I feel SO BUTTERFLY. We go backwards and forwards and UPSIDE DOWN, what is that? Its the ZIGGA ZIGGA SOUND. 1, 2, 1. 2, NO WAY, ARE YOU READY? As we BLAST OFF, again, MAXIMUM, speakers blaring. NOTHING HAS BEEN BROken. The HOLOGRAM is PLUGGED IN, in the MYSTERY SPOT, It feels like SCIENCE FICTION. PAGING STEREO PHONIC, as we cut through Highways, time flys bye in a daze, im seein SIDEWAYS. ENTER THE CHAMBER, in the WINDOW SEAT, have FUN WITH SYNTHESIZERS, it all seems IMPOSSIBLE AND OVERWHELMING. As we ROUSTABOUT, and keep our HEADS UP, the LAUGHTER CRESCENDO, will feel EPHEMERAL. VAVAVOOM, NOW We progress, to some steps, which are more difficult, KICK IT COMPLEX, to the PENNYWISE TRIBUTE. We BOMB THE BLOCKS, we take AMORPHOUS FORM, were CARRIED AWAY, as we feel so reborn. Were READY 2 RAGE, as we taste the SUGARCUBE. TURN DOWN MY SELECTA! As we all cause a storm. THE KYREAN BEEBOP, holds me UNDERWATER, we still GET DOWN LIKE ANIMALS, every year we grow older. PINK ELEPHANTS parade, as you OPEN YOUR EYES. TAKE YOU DOWN, so INFINITE, EXPANDED, you decide, that everything sounds so wonderful, LIFE IS BUT A DREAM, and everything, is not what it seems. Lorin, thank you so much, your songs tell a story, your fans are So loyal, much love, keep on moving. AMORPHOUS, IMMERSIVE, INTEGUING, DIVERGENT.

    • Jacob Bach

      Dude, really?

    • Orry Lawrence

      Lovin this – Jeremy…

  • Billy Curran

    Endless respect for you spreading good thoughts like this

  • Heather

    As a huge fan of you and your music…and this coming from a dance/movement therapist specializing in substance abuse…this article ROCKS! Thank you from writing this and sharing these thoughts…they will be seen/heard by so many !

  • Andre Pittrovsky

    Thank you Lorin. Things I needed to hear. Maybe some of the physical pain I feel is my nerves telling my muscles to relax. Muscles are stressed and tight, so I feel pain when they pinch or squish nerves. I identify what hurts and breathe to relax the muscles in that area and the pain fades momentarily.

  • Molly

    Your music has saved my life on several occasions. The thought of never hearing all of its beauty again devastates me. I’ll never do it. I thank you for saving my life. <3

  • Lauren

    Thanks, Lo

  • Amanda

    Impressive! Interesting read with sensible valid points on ways to cope with life struggles. I really enjoyed reading this as it takes me back when I personally believed I was at my lowest in life and what I had to do to conquer that depressing stage of time. And your words are right on key with it.

    Life is a glorious journey with so many adventures thrown in one’s direction. How you handle it when in that particular mindset struggling and what you did to find a solution determines on who you are; who you are determines how you handled tough situations. I believe only time will tell. It’s a growing process. But within that period of time while facing them, handling the situation optimistically will make you stronger and build you for you really are as a human being. Life can suck sometimes, but looking back at tough times, everyone’s capable to recover. Anyway, I really enjoyed your article as it implies to what I believe, and also as it comes from one of my favorite artists of all time. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom to other fans, Lorin!

  • Joshua

    Then, after we go through all these trials and tribulations… we really chase heaven into the sun.
    When I saw you singing Open Up in San Fransisco last fall you made me realize that if I don’t speak my mind, I will be trapped within myself. How can I help anyone else if I cannot take care of what is most important. My health for the betterment of the world, (all beings), that surround and make this planet breathe and respire. Something we can lose in emotion and the ego.
    Keep expanding our minds L. You are an admiration and a legend. Fight against Monsanto.
    PLEASE. I beg of you.

  • Marie

    There is a saying at my Yoga studio and I read it every day: Are you unhappy? ?? Change something. Are you happy??? Don’t change anything- keep doing whatever you are doing!

  • Marie

    Well written, Lorin

  • Chelsea Conley

    I’ve been having trouble with emailing this… I hope u respond
    My name is Chelsea Conley. I have a rare neurological disorder that affects my coordination and balance leaving me in a wheelchair.Because of this, I have taken to volunteering and fundraising. I admire people with passion and try to help them and do things for them… which has led me here. A high school friend, whom I had lost contact with for years, turns 29 on September 23. He is extremely passionate about your music. He travels the US to see your shows, and bought VIP tickets for your NYE show the other day. I;m sharing a pic… had a Bassnectar/Pittsburgh Penguin jersey custom made. We live in Ohio, but like I said, he travels for u… so I was wondering if your could send an autographed something for me for him for his bday? I was also wondering if u ever do Meet and Greets or something??
    Thank You

    My email is

    • hey chelsea 🙂 thanks for your post, much admired is your strength and altruism. to answer your question, meet and greets are announced for certain events, usually as part of a VIP package such as for this upcoming NYE event, but lorin also comes down on the rail after shows sometimes and does autographs or high fives or whatever. tell your friend he can try hanging around the rail after the next show he hits to see if lorin comes down 🙂 i know many-a-bassheads who have gotten stuff signed that way. 😀

      ps. thats a sweet jersey 🙂 go pittsburgh!

  • Brian T

    Lorin, this post means a bunch to me. But I still feel need a bit more guidance from you. I’m 19 years old and I live in an area of northern new jersey where I am almost fully resented for being who I am. My high school made me hate myself because I was not up to par with everyone’s given capabilities from athleticism to intelligence as well as not being as physique and not coming from a wealthy family. Thus I had low morale/self esteem 3 months into my freshman year of high school which lasted till the end of my junior year. I had little energy do well in school and prepare well for college. I also tended to set my self apart from my peers because I was (kinda still am against underage drinking and tobacco and drug use) as well as my passionate in electronic music did not interest many in my school. I struggled deeply to find friends who share my same passionate interest for electronic music and anyone who would look past my lack of wealth, athleticism, different interests and any other superficial things (outside of school as well). But drugs and alcohol and sports seemed to be the dominating interests. I could go on more to tell you my horrendous high school experience but, it was not until I graduated that my life began to change I went to my first three shows, kissed my first girl and many more. I went to my local community college to really plan out my future. I did exceptionally well and figured out that I could become an accountant and I am working my fingers to the bone to transfer to business school. I also met some fellow hardcore bass heads which ment the world to me. The environment there is not heartwarming as well my social life is in the toilet (all my acquaintance live relatively far from me) and I feel like I’m in prison sticking to routine and school work to make time flow. I’ve also done way too much deep thinking (negative thoughts like will I meet a girl who will accept me for who I am, whats going to happen my time to go rolls around and many mire). My closest friends have taken up smoking weed and tried to make me do it. But I refused their pressure and denied hanging out with them. I also am sick of our usual routine hangouts because it ends up in 3 way conversations and I’m excluded because my interests are not the same as there’s. Thus I feel like I have been growing distant from them. I have also been going full swing in DJ’ing and production purchasing equipment learning through web searches these past 6 months unfortunately obligations towards school, family is not helping me focus on music at all. Its almost as if life is forcing me to do something I don’t want to. My parents would dare not let me take semesters off to focus on a music career so I try to squeeze what ever time I have towards music. I’m not lost I’m just in serious cross roads in my life. I don’t want to have an everyday job (but I need profit to sustain myself and move out of this area which as done nothing but brought me down) and I need to go to a good school in-order to do so but I’m worried I will not make any friends because I’m not a partier but a bass head and electronic music enthusiast and many more. Lorin sorry for the long post I just wanted to paint a picture as to what I am going through. What would you suggest for me to do?

    Your a constant inspiration and embracing and being part of this community keeps me going.

  • Deeanna Bennett

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post something like this- I know it will give many people hope. I have struggled with depression from a young age, and was eventually able to do just what you said- take things one step at a time and make a plan on how to deal with certain issues when they came up. I try my best to share my experience with others because, like you said, I know many people think they are alone in feeling this way, even though that is far from the truth. I will definitely be sharing this with many many other people. You are incredible.

  • Joshua
    Thank you Lorin for getting me in the loop about what is going on.

  • Joshua

    Heard of George Oshawa?

  • BlackPearl

    such sweet nectar 😉

  • Joel Holmes

    What exactly do you people do about head lice?

  • Randy

    i did some rock version of some of my fav bassnectar tracks if you wanna check em out over at let me know if you guys like em!