P-Nut turns 14 today! She is the one who started it all – the butterfly wings that set the chaos of my adult life in motion. For her birthday, I’m sharing the synchronicity between me, her, and the music of her namesake.
When I first heard 311, in 1992, I was at that magical age when your mind listens to music with the most passion, the most enthusiasm and the most fan-boy-ness it ever will. At that age, and in the middle of the era of grunge and teen angst, 311 and their completely original sound and positive message landed with me – big time. But that was also the time, as is the case with many people, when my anxious mind was born. The energy and positive message in 311’s music was always there for
When I got my first dog as a young adult, it came naturally to turn to 311 to name her. As a player of electric bass myself, I chose the bass player (one of my favorites) to be her namesake: P-Nut. P-Nut (my dog) became the impetus for most of what I currently value in life: my love of and passion for dogs and the human-canine bond, my business, advocacy for “pit bulls,” the founding of two non-profits, countless friends, and even a meeting with a girl who would eventually become my wife.
Early in her life, I realized P-Nut also had an anxious mind. I spent a lot of time learning to help her and figuring out what lessened her symptoms and gave her a better life. And through that process, I realized that a lot of the same methods and activities that helped me with my anxiety, also helped her. This was the time and the process that lead to the founding of the Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center.
311 has often been the soundtrack of P-Nut and my moments together. Over the years, their songs have evolved from the relentless energy and optimism of youth to the inevitable acceptance that things are not always great, but a positive mind is still important. “Staying positive” becomes more about the mindset with which you set about your day and your life and how you deal with your struggles. For some of us, it means taking a proactive approach to get to know ourselves, our minds, and our demons. Staying positive is a journey, and in a few songs in particular, 311 seem to draw the curtain back on that journey.
In September of 2015, P-Nut developed a degenerative brain condition. One of it’s effects put the gas peddle down on the anxious parts of her mind and it left her in a terrible state. At one point we felt like losing her was imminent But a lot of you generously supported us and helped us with scans, tests, and medical care. We worked very hard to find the right mix of holistic treatments, medication, and activity to help P-Nut live out the rest of her days as happy as we could. A year and
a half later, her 14th birthday is something we never imagined we would share with her. She is still livin’ and rockin‘ and is enjoying every day stoned and happy – even earning the affectionate nick-name “My Stoney Baby“. We feel very fortunate to spend this evening with her on our deck with food, drinks, good
friends and a little 311. And we’ll share two of their songs in particular that we have connected with on our journey.
So have a happy Cinco De Mayo aka Catorce Anos de P-Nut!
“I got a mind full of weapons
In the battle of me versus myself
And everything that I kept in
I’m finding the courage to tell
The sweetest repose comes in the strangest of places
I never supposed clarity would find me.”
“Illuminate the shadow
And try to keep the light within
Avoid another battle
And forget what might have been
How do I keep it?
How do I keep it here?
‘Cause I wanna get high
But you’re keeping me low
I don’t got time to waste or time to kill
I’ve had too much to think”