A Promise to Myself

The following is a contract that I am making with myself. A one month contract that I will hope to extend by the conclusion of the month. I’m at a point where instead of being disappointed in the amount of inaction I have taken recently I am now in the mindset of “shit things can only get better?” Not exactly at rock bottom but not far off it either. So thus the contract. A last ditch effort – by me – for me – in an attempt to turn my life around. Become the person I know I am so to speak, he’s here somewhere but has sort of taken on the role of my shadow. Anyway let us begin,

I, Thomas Hobson, hereby state, that from this moment in time, I will endeavour to become the man I am meant to be. This is a life-long journey so I’ll start small. In 30 days time I want to have achieved the following:

*Lose 10 Kg, which equates to 2.5kg a week. This will be achieved by a regular sleep routine, clean eating with three square meals a day, breakfast and lunch being the biggest. Drink lots of water and exercise for 1hr a day. 30 minute weights 30 minute aerobic. By the 18th of May the scale will read 90kg. 

*Write 1000 words of creative writing a day. It is what you love to do Tom so just do it. 

*Practise mindfullness for 10 minutes a day/ positive reaffirmation for 10 minutes, rewire your mind Tom.

* Plan your day everyday

And above all else be kind to yourself. Folow your heart an never doubt yourself.

Each day I will log into  wordpress to log my progress.

Signed,

Thomas William Hobson

 

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Rain

Rain

I want to have memories of days without rain. No more rain. I use to fixate on the fact that rain cannot be controlled and I was simply at its mercy. Scared of something that was a natural part of life, yet the fear was true. I guess it is hard to believe in yourself while thoughts of your mistake riddled past fall inside your mind. Never really settling, these thoughts aren’t clear, just blurry visions of emotions that, if they were to take on a physical form, would probably resemble that of a dark rain cloud. The top would start off grey, then it would slowly begin to become darker, until reaching a purple patch. I think emotions seem like that, at first they start off as a light shade, it looks like it might rain, you can smell it the air, but it could also be carried off by the wind. A passing shower, nothing more. Then you begin to notice that what started out as one solitude cloud hanging in the sky, has now grown substantially, almost resembling a horizon of rolling mountains. They seem closer now too, clearer, as if you hadn’t noticed how close they were before but suddenly they are almost within reach. Rain seems assured now. And then there is the purple, sort of looks beautiful as it offsets the grey, but still it seems ominous, foreboding and haunting. You begin to panic, to look for shelter as the rain begins to fall. Suddenly you are not just wet you are drenched. Standing in an open field with no tree to stand under insight. The rain begins to bear down upon you. It may not have rained for days or months but it is raining now. Washing over you, enveloping your very mind and soul. Your vision is blurred  and all you can do is let it fall. I guess that is what we call a panic attack. However, it will pass, because rain always does – until there is sunshine once more.

YOU

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Now we’ve all been there, tired with life, tired with the unknown, and just generally tired. It’s like you want to take action but just don’t know where to begin. You ask the universe for a map, pray to a god – or two, in the hope that some form of guidance will manifest. That the path one seeks will finally appear like it has been there all along but you couldn’t see it because it was drawn in invisible ink just to fuck with you. And sometimes we just want help from someone we can call a true friend. All I knew was, as I readied myself for bed and pulled on a white t-shirt, XXL, for comfort of course, was that I had had enough of the hardships of life. I fell onto my bed and closed my eyes seeking refuge from reality and comfort in the dreams that danced behind closed eyes. And as unconsciousness slowly crept upon me a final thought/wish was spoke. I wish someone would come and alleviate me of this burden of not knowing what to do, where to go or who to be. I wish that someone could show me the way.

The wind howled outside and a lone branch rapt against Tom’s bedroom window as if clawing to get inside. If you were to look through said window – two stories above the ground – you would see a man sleeping on a single bed in a neat and tidy room, not especially different to any other. Yet on this very night you would also happen to catch a glimpse of something magical and out of this world. For as Tom slept and his chest rhythmically rose and fell, a bright yellow light, the colour of the centre of a candle flame, appeared above him in an orb like form. At this stage many would probably be well and truly freaked out and would try and alert the relevant authorities. Which is understandable, we may be a generation raised on Harry Potter but we are also a generation that is highly sceptical of the unexplained and unique. However, if this small glowing light had managed to unfaze you then you would have been able to witness it slowly descending down towards Tom’s chest, and then seemingly melting into his body, until it penetrated his very heart – like a ghost through a wall. No doubt you would have had many questions, but due to it being a windy and stormy night, I would encourage you to remain calm and remind you that you are two stories off the ground and looking through a stranger’s window. You don’t want to create a scene and wake the neighbours and then have to try and explain what you were doing/just bared witness too. Good luck with that.

Have you composed yourself? Yes? Good. Well unfortunately, that is where the show for you ends and where Tom’s adventure now begins. Because you see, this show, the greatest story ever told, takes place within Tom’s dreams, and we, and most certainly you mysterious person peering through the glass upon some ladder in the middle of the night are not privy to that. The fuck are you doing? But don’t worry I’m sure someone will write a story about it and sell it for a somewhat expensive but reasonable price of $39.99 (Available at all leading retailers). 

Have you ever noticed the silence between the spaces of words? I like to liken that phenomenon to the moment between sleep and dreams. Where one does not know what is going to fill the void, we cease to exist in that monent, yet we are infinite. The future is a blank page where words are merely an idea – found at the extremities of one’s conscience. I don’t know a lot about life or how things work or why things playout the way they do, but I believe it all stems from the words that formulate, articulate, resonate and even conspirate within our minds.

***

A gentle breeze dashed across my cheek, intertwining ever so briefly with my hair. I felt the sensation of grass rub against my skin and as my eyes slowly began to open, all I could see was blue. I sat up and drank in the sight of a vast openness. A field of green raced towards the horizon where mountains towered towards the heavens themselves, always just out of reach. I could hear the rippling of water flowing over stones, a lake flowed eloquently to my right. I stood and inhaled the essence of life itself. Flowers teemed around me and took the shape of every colour imaginable. I reached the edge of the river and looked down. I saw myself as I have never seen myself before. My face was at peace, it was no longer a tempest of emotions, shrouded in fear, anxiety and bitterness. It was as clear as the sky above, a smile appeared at edge of my mouth. Was this happiness? I wondered. I mean what is a definition of happiness, is there a true one? These feelings that we have, that encroach upon our being our very soul that we give names to what are they truly, our reflection? Our beliefs? Our identity? They are temptetuous as the weather, but for now I liked the feeling that rose within me, as I smiled down at the stream of water evermoving away. I stood up straight and inhaled the air. And as I was just about to submerge myself in the water I heard footsteps leading towards me. I wasn’t alone. Usually, one cannot hear another’s footsteps, especially when they are of the barefoot nature, that and the fact that I was currently dreaming; wasn’t I? Yet hear them I did and what met my sight will forever be burned into my memory. As if she had walked out of the wind itself. The very notion of time seemed to disappear as she appeared on a path towards me. Her long brown hair danced in her wake. Her flowing white dress seemed to be me moving with her very being, accentuating her features in an angelic like manner. And for a moment I feared to blink. She reached where I was standing, my mind clear like an untouched forest pool, I looked into her dark green eyes and saw the answers I seeked but never asked the question of.

Now you are probably thinking that of course he meets some beautiful girl who solves all his problems, everything starts off bliss and animated animals follow the two wherever they roam helping them make beds and whatnot. I wish this was the case, actually no I don’t, that would be a bit weird even for me to comprehend. However, what follows isn’t the arc of some fairy tale romance, this isn’t a normal story, life doesn’t work that way and so does not this tale. We must be strong for our young protagonist, the human mind can be wrought with danger, one small misplacec step and you can lose yourself.

Deep down Tom knew that onday he would have to face the torment of the past that harboured within the ever-remembering walls of his psyche; the question is – would he be ready to face what he had once buried?

She folded a few strands of hair back behind her ear. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. And then she spoke.

“Imagine it, imagine knowing the answers to all life’s questions, to see the path you were meant to follow appear in front of your eyes. No longer would you need to connect the dots, hesitate, um and ah. You just know.” I was encapsulated by what she was saying as the blue sky suddenly turned to that of an orange tinged twilight. The world was changing and my feet were rooted to the grown like a tree, steadfast and uncompromising.

She continued. “how would you handle this type of information, this type of guidance, would it change how you lived? Would you begin to finally live?” Frozen. My body started to come alive like a frozen lake being walked upon as the cracks spiral outwards like spiderwebs. First my feet, then my legs and all of a sudden my heart. I have never been struck by lightning but surely this is the closest thing to it. I looked at her, deep into her eyes, searching for some glimpse of a faux reality, to prove that this was all but a dream, an imagining of the mind. The wind kissed my lips and she reached and took my hand. And with that simple gesture, the part of me that still clung to the paranoia and the cynical left my soul. I just believed.

(This is the beginning workings of a novella, I will try to continue writing it daily, and begin researching more to really bring it alive, any book suggestions that you think may help or that sort of follow the theme of my story would be greatly appreciated, also feel free to critique it too.)

Life

It’s hard life. I don’t think they make this clear enough in schools. Sure, we learn how to add and subtract, divide and multiply but no one really tells you how much of an uphill battle life is.  It often feels like that life is a race. The gun goes and the runners take off. Yet, what about those who miss the start? Who take a while to get into stride and find a position? Of course, there are those who hit the ground running and who seem to have the wind itself at their command and therefore at their backs. Life doesn’t feel like that for me. I’m trying to grasp the notion of it, to make sense of it and I feel as though I’m struggling to find my standing, or in this case my stride. And I can go on about how life is a journey and all that bullshit – but seriously when all is said and done I’m terrified that at the end of it all I’ll still be trying to find my way. Time is fleeting, everything feels so rushed. We have to succeed, we have to show everyone how good we are, we must stand tall amongst our peers, secure steady work and pretend that it is our true calling and something that we want to do. Such bullshit. People tell themselves that “oh I’ll follow my heart but first let me do this job that I somewhat hate but is impressive to talk about at dinner parties.” It makes me so angry how much importance people put on what you do or what you are suppose to do. “No, sorry I don’t want to be a journalist, yes I understand I have a double degree in the subject area but honestly I was misinformed and not brave enough to switch. I was scared that I wouldn’t be employable with a creative writing degree.”  And yes, of course, I understand we have to work to support our dreams at things we genuinely don’t want to do. However, one should never put their hearts calling on the side-burner. Treating it as something you will get back to in the future. Life is so short, what happens tomorrow is an unknown. Why wait? Why risk living a life unfulfilled if tomorrow isn’t a guarantee? Don’t cheat yourself. In a hundred years no one is going to give a shit about what position you held or title you obtained. So follow your heart for goodness sake. Work hard, work relentlessly and never settle. For we are what we think, and we are what we do, we are the path that we choose to take not the one someone else believes we are destined to walk through.  Don’t act, this isn’t some play. Disregard Shakespeare’s quote (although it is good) “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women are mere players.” And honestly I can see that this may read as incredibly hypocritical, because I know fuck all about life, basically all I’ve said has been thought and said by others before me and are things that I have drawn upon, not from personal experiences I have lived, which is heartbreaking. But I do believe that one shou ld follow their heart as mu ch as they can. And I promise you and myself that I will be a prime example of someone who follows their heart. Stay tuned things are about to get interesting, we have only just begun.

I hope, I dream, I think

I hope, I dream, I think. I hope, I dream, I think. At times I feel shame for who I am, but now in those times instead of fleeing or feeling guilty, I invite the shame into my chest. Into my heart. It is but an emotion. One that I don’t label as good or bad, it is just a part of someone who isn’t used to who they are becoming, who hasn’t yet realised their true self, their identity. And yes, I will admit that sometimes I feel bitter towards others who seem to fit the mould of what society wants in a man. Yet from now on I will embrace my sensitivity and my femininity. I have been truly blessed with these gifts that allow me to sympathise, to relate, to ultimately just feel. I would rather feel a kaleidoscope of emotions then be someone that I am not truly meant to be. Yes, this is my youth. And looking back, I probably haven’t seized the opportunities as best as I could have. I write well. That is it. Yet I want to be able to write better than simply well, and I will. Yet my ego isn’t driven by such things as fortune or fame, I just want to realise myself, to come to a point in life, when I am standing of the precipice of existence itself and be able to say that I am finally me. I will smile when this day comes, I will be at peace. Now I have long way to go, my heroes journey is just beginning. However, this is probably the best stage of a newfound journey. I will experience a magnitude of things as I move ever forward to my destination. I chase that feeling that I have felt during the embrace of the unknown; excitement, fear and just the feeling and very essence of being alive and living. I want to live my life to the fullest. One step at a time, each day I will realise my gift until I can eventually give it away. Words I write that aren’t mine to keep, I will strew them out across a global landscape and then hopefully someone who is in the same position as I am now, will reach out and take hold of them. They are yours my friend. I just borrowed them for the time being. Words are infinite, so shall be my life. My memories will carry on and a piece of me will be embedded into the souls and minds of people across generations. This is just a mere dream for now, but I guarantee it will become a reality. It will be interesting to see how my dreams and reality will eventually match up, I doubt they will. Yet it will be nonetheless magical, nonetheless a miracle, and nonetheless special.

A Conversation with Laura Ingram

Laura Ingram

 

 

Laura Ingram is a Jazz singer/ vocal teacher and sound therapist – she is also my piano teacher.

I started having piano lessons with Laura about a year ago. I was never very musically inclined, but like everyone, I always wanted to be able to create some sort of sound that was uniquely my own. To be heard. It is often hard to find the words to describe moments of significance, how can you summarise things that have such impact in black and white? From an outsider’s perspective, learning the piano for me, probably looked like a traumatic experience. In the beginning, I was overly apologetic for any mistakes I would make, riddled with nervous tension, incredibly self-critical and I swore way too much, probably more then all of Laura’s students combined. However, even though it was challenging – I loved it. Learning the piano was like being on a rollercoaster, jerked around from side-to-side, with no clear destination in sight. It felt like freedom itself. Piano has helped me to better understand who I am as a person and to ultimately just keep playing the music! My own soundtrack to life.

You don’t meet too many people like Laura. And in a world, that is changing too fast, it is good to know that there are people like her out there. She is real.  Mozart once said that we should go on a journey, where that journey may take us, who can tell. This is a look inside Laura’s journey.

 

Where did your love of music come from?

I didn’t really grow up in a musical family. My mum is an accountant and my dad is a rugby coach. They are a very nuclear family that had a lot of 80’s records. I guess common musical tastes of parents from the 70’s and 80’s. So, I guess in that way I grew up loving bands, rather than listening to heaps of electronic music. I got into more traditional music like Fleetwood Mac, folk singers like Joni Mitchell and Carol King. I kind of looked at how they got to be as good as they are and where their music came from, which was the blues and the blues is a derivative of jazz. Then I decided I was going to be a jazz singer and I started listening to Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, just to name a few. I really wanted to hear the great singers of the 20th Century and try to have a high-quality sound. Because, a lot of the singers that I liked, I did not feel like they were using their voice as much as it could be used in the 90’s when I was growing up. I did love my pop though as well.

When you discovered that you wanted to be a Jazz singer did you feel like that this what I have been put on this earth to do?

(Laughs)

Why do you sing?

I started when I was quite young so I wasn’t thinking like that. I just did it because it felt good. I just did it because I liked doing it when I was a kid. I think it wasn’t until I became an adult that I started considering the existential reasons of singing. How it impacts people. Putting on performances and making some of my 16-year-old classmates cry, I thought “Oh maybe I’m good at this?” I was just enjoying it.

When you sing is it to reach people? For yourself?

Both, definitely both. If I’m not enjoying it then that is going to come through in the sound. I think to be able to reach people you must be connected to yourself and connected to the music that you are singing. They feed into one another.

There isn’t a true definition of love, but do you feel that you are in love music?

I think it is just a part of my life now. And I don’t sing or create everyday but it is something that I cannot now be without. It is not infatuation, where it is like “I really want to be blah” or “I really want to be famous” or whatever.  All that is crap, it happens if you work hard. For me I just want to enjoy the process and just keep it as part of my life. Because, I stopped doing it for a while because a few people didn’t have any faith in me. Like I said, I didn’t grow up in a musical family so no one was really like “So are you going to go and study music now?” “Because you are really good.” I didn’t have the confidence to really decide for myself that I was going to do it. So, I did stop for a while and I really felt that my soul dried out. Now it is just a matter of how can I keep music in my life and not let myself sabotage my own creativity.

So, do you think that this is what led to you teaching music and becoming a sound therapist?

Definitely. I had experienced some sound healing performances by other artists, I put on a chanting session in the sky space at NGA. I would recommend checking it out it is a cool dome like space where there is a lot of natural reverb, so when you chant everyone’s voices kind of mix. And it seemed to be quite a healing experience for a lot of people there. Then I just kept doing my research and found a few modalities like Biofield Tuning and The Tomatis Method therapy that could really help with a lot of emotional and learning disorders, for want of a better term. I had also suffered from dyslexia as well, all through school and all through University and no one ever told me (laughs). I think doing music really helped me to improve that and that I studied better when I was listening to music. Like ambient kind of stuff and I really wanted to tackle my dyslexia, that’s part of the reason why I got into it. As well as being in awe of this spiritual experience that we are all having.

From my perspective, I think it is a pretty brave and courageous doing something like this amidst all the… don’t want to get too political… the medication peddlers, psychologists, psychiatrists who sort of flood the market. Going out against it, do you feel that there is a need for this?

Definitely. There is a trend towards more alternative and natural therapies that have worked for centuries. But, unfortunately a lot of that wisdom has been lost and I guess I want to be a part of revitalising the human’s ability to naturally heal themselves. Rather than needing specific medication that kind of acts as a band-aid solution for the issue without dealing with what is at the core of what is going on.

Do you feel like you radiate more to the teaching or therapy?

 

They feed into one another. If I wasn’t working on myself and my personal development, not even my musical development, I don’t think that I would be a very good teacher or a very good performer. You must be very present, very aware and very organised to do those kinds of things. I could not have the spirituality, so practising on myself and others helps for me improve and to see that improvement in others. The music teaching has made me such a better musician because I had to explain how to do what I do. And performing has so much more depth because I feel like I’m connected to this shared existence that we are all having. I’m not doing it for my ego – all the time – as I say that I realise that that is an ego statement (laughs). I try to do it to learn and be curious and to go deeper rather than for the glory. So, teaching and therapy are all connected, they all feed into one another.

What do you want your students to take away from your lessons?

I hope that they can find the confidence within themselves to continue learning about music and to feel that they can use their voice in life. I think singing has this amazing ability to open people up if they have issues going on. Ed Sheeran, for example, had a stutter most of his childhood and by teaching himself how to rap he cured himself of his stutter just from rapping. There are so many cases of anxious or emotional people who become artists not for the glory but who need their art to help them survive pretty much or to get them through whatever they are going through. So I hope that I can give my students enough tools to make their own art. To keep teaching themselves how to play and how to sing and to know that they are good enough to perform. A lot of my students don’t think they are good enough to sing and it is just a story they tell themselves.

If you would like to learn to sing? Find your voice? Or play piano even? You can contact Laura  through her Facebook Page

Or send her an email to the following address: laura.alyce.ingram@gmail.com

Now you are probably wondering whatever happened to that nervous young man who swore too much?  Well I can happily tell you that he doesn’t swear as much anymore, that he is a lot kinder to himself and that he played his first piano performance a month ago and you couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.

 

I lose myself everyday

I lose myself everyday. The man I believe I am meant to be when I fall asleep at night, does not seem to be the man I am meant to be in the morning. Before sleep: Energy, motivation, ambition. After sleep: Dazed, confused, directionless, tired. I have slept but I am not rested. I need to remember what I need to be, what I am meant to be. Yet even if I do remember, why is it that I can’t fulfil my destiny? My mind is foggy, I have sabotaged myself and it takes days to bounce back. I need to start doing things that feed my soul no matter the condition I am in mentally, physically, emotionally. Just do it Tom. No matter what just do it, you are meant to shine. I feel like I’ve said this countless times, and I have probably let a lot of people down in the process. I can’t seem to do anything but fail. Revert back to mediocrity, lost in a continuous maze of stunted growth, wandering aimlessly in the dark, hoping, praying, that someone will reach out and take my hand and lead me toward the light. Towards a life I was meant to lead. I can’t continue to wait for that though, this isn’t a fairy tale, if life was easy then I probably would be doing it wrong. Miracles don’t happen to those who wait. You have to go out and explore, my journey is just beginning, I can turn it turn it around, no longer do I have to lose myself everyday. And although I keep trying to change, failing. Stating I will change, failing. Trying to do things differently, failing. One-day it will all click and I will forget all about these lost years and that will be that. I will walk off into the sunset and the Tom that was here in this moment will never be heard from again. I will triumph, mistakes are mine to do whatever the fuck I want with them.

It’s so dark at the bottom, I can’t hear anything, do thoughts have sounds?

Understand

I simply wish to understand, I don’t care about being understood. I want to know someone inside out, to believe where they came from. Yet, everyone is so guarded that all I can do is let my mind fill in the blanks. Like, how can anyone ever truly no someone?WE are all acting, trying to put our best image forward of ourselves. Essentially trying to be someone we are not. Such a tired and worn out cliché. Seriously, you would think we would have learnt by now that it is best to be ourselves. I don’t know. It all seems a mystery to me. Sometimes I feel like screaming WHO ARE YOU? Cut the bullshit, I don’t care what your insecurities are, or what you deem your weaknesses to be. That is you. That is what makes you unique. Fuck be vulnerable in front of someone you care about. Don’t act, don’t pretend, don’t adjust. Communicate everything about yourselves. If you want to be truly be loved just be you. Please just be you. I know it sounds like a “Dear diary” entry, but I just want genuine. I want real. I am riddled with insecurities, I act, I perceive and I assume. Dear god, why though? We are such a small part of life. JUST BE REAL. Fuck, Tom just be real. I’m rambling now, but it feels good. It is finally something honest. I’m not dressing it up. I am a fucking mess, like all people are. I don’t care – I’ll reach my destination. One word two word three words. One thousand fucking words. I have to say it, we all imagine, dream and for what? Bliss? I just don’t get the point anymore of acting to how society expects us to be. Let the world see you as someone who is human. We all carry things that embarrass us, even undermine us. So? Just be genuine. And I just don’t know how to tell what is genuine and what isn’t anymore. Am I genuine? Am I honest? I don’t know. It is such a painful debilitation, like what am I meant to do? How do I proceed? Who am I? That’s it though, we will truly never know who we are and what we are meant to be. It’s all good though as long as you are genuine you are doing alright.

That’s Life

C’est la vie.

People with talent always have the wrong impression that things will go as they think. I have nothing. My carefree non-committal attitude has rightly assured me of that reality. It is fair. For sometime I have failed to apply myself, I let the chips fall as they may and therefore I was always destined for disappointment. Life has cut me down. It had to, it had to level me, in-order for me to spring back up. I believe I am enormously talented, but in this moment in time I am a novice, I have not learnt how to be worthy of that talent. In the past I refused to meet any challenge, unless it was on my own terms. How was I ever suppose to grow with this approach to life? On the surface the whole thing of discipline seemed arbitrary to me, but deep-down I now know that life isn’t about grades and whatnot. it is about rising to the occasion, tasting the rapture, triumph and disgrace of failure. They go hand-in-hand, one is meaningless without the other. To win one has to lose! The difference between the novice and the master is that the master has failed more times then the novice has tried.

As I’ve made my way through life, I have felt the might of the current of society in my way and there were certainly times when things didn’t go as I had hoped. When this happens, no longer will I look to society for a cause. I do not renounce society. Frankly, I would probably be wasting my time. Instead I now just say, “That’s life!” And move on, in an a somewhat awkward but destined manner through the spectre that is life

Tears

I lay on my bed. My eyes closed. I try to steady my breathing. I’m not sure why I am like this, I find it hard to calm myself. Shallow breathing, I try and swallow my tears. Yet they fall. they always do. And deep down I know why they do, but I cannot say it aloud. I long to speak the words that outline my grief, painful as they may be I think they would sound soft against my ears.  Would I feel relieved? I’m not actually sure what I would feel. Uncertainty perhaps? My arms ache, my body is tired and I am exhausted. I hope I can find sleep. I wish I could be me. I’m not sure if I will find an answer as I lay here, sheep I will not count. The room is dark – and I am here. I like the smell of the night air. For a moment I feel at peace, maybe my tears have stopped? I feel a dry residue upon my face… I breathe out a sigh. My tears no longer fall, and I drift off to sleep.