Friday, July 29, 2011

Every now and then, I get dragged down by negative voices in my head, judgmental and regretful of some of the choices I've made. There's a perfectionist side to me, that wants to be doing everything in a neat progression, with clear vision, tying all the
loose ends as I go, everything in its right place; never hurting anyone, including myself. Unfortunately, life tends to not be as simple as that. The reality often is this:
I make messes of different sizes, and then I clean them up, learning to not make the same mess next time. (Though even that's debatable.) Perhaps the trick is that we learn to clean up quicker? Or clean up as we go...?

I sometimes forget that this is all a process, and that we're all going at it at our own pace. At times I look at other people with some envy; those who seem to have put it all together at a very young age. Successful, visionary people, living a prosperous life, doing what they are here to do, giving the illusion that they are not making any of the aforementioned messes.

I've been reading a book by Diane Dreher, called The Tao of Inner Peace. It puts a slightly different spin on this:

"Our lives, as well, have their cycles. Some people are early bloomers, at their peak in high school and their early twenties. Springing up like corn stalks in the hot summer days, they come to harvest in one short season.

Others grow more slowly. Watching the corn stalks shoot up above them, they lose heart, wondering if they'll ever harvest anything of value. The seventeenth-century poet John Milton wrote a sonnet despairing of how little he'd accomplished by age 23. Yet at 59 he published Paradise Lost, the greatest epic in the English language.

While a corn stalk comes to harvest in one short season, an oak tree takes years to mature. But then it towers above the cornfield, its branches reaching towards the sky, bearing fruit for many a season."

A corn stalk is no better than an oak tree; an oak tree is no better than the corn stalk. They're just different, with a different purpose, and there's a place for each. The way I see it, the messes I'm making, (and the clean-up afterwards) are the growth rings in my oak tree. However painful the experiences were, they end up becoming a part of the beautiful whole. Judgment and regret are needless here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I have spent most of this last year avoiding people. No joke.
I guess I just had to get my head straight, after so many years of listening to others instead of myself. But I believe my reclusive phase is gradually ending now. How so? I joined the fuckin' YMCA!

Because of the way I grew up, I had gotten into a dynamic of submission with pretty much everyone in my life. It never even occurred to me that I had a right to voice my feelings, or stick up for myself... So much so, that I eventually stopped recognizing my emotions. I did what I was told to, I went where I was told to; The Nothing had taken over me... I'm still learning to kick this pattern of behavior, but I'm Very aware of it now.

I find it almost impossible to watch videos of myself, from even a couple of years back. Who is this girl with the blank stare--disconnected, scared and sad? I don't recognize her at all, anymore. Considering the convictions and the fire that I have these days, I find it excruciating, that I can't shake that girl into waking up. Watching myself, it looks like nobody's home. And unfortunately, having lived through it, I actually know that's mostly the case. I was suppressing my whole persona.

I am going to quote the frickin' United States Declaration of Independence here, written primarily by a dude named Thomas Jefferson:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Though we are still, as individuals, and as a whole, in the process of learning what the above statement really means, (Thomas Jefferson didn't even fully comprehend it himself....) I believe we are moving in the right direction.
And as for me personally, I will no longer be scared of people. I know that I can stick up for myself. Now that I know I have the right to.
Off to the YMCA; back into community.-->

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm finding such joy in art right now; in being an artist. I look at my guitars, hung up on my wall: my Hofner bass, my Fender Telecaster, my acoustic Epiphone guitar, and I feel a deep connection to them. Although I am new to playing these instruments, I feel like I have a sensibility, my own style of doing it, much like I have my own way of singing. It is very gratifying--having those hypnotic moments of being in the zone--playing music; creating a beautiful sonic tapestry and just feeling like I want to lie down in wrap myself up in it..

Even though I've been a professional artist over half of my life, I was always encouraged to think that mine is not a real job. I was even brainwashed to think, that I would never measure up to the real artists, who "actually know what they are doing." (What?) I always had this nagging feeling in the back of my brain, that I should be studying to be a _______ or a(n)________. Probably because I was told, again and again, that I should get that aforementioned "real job." What the fuck in this world is a real job, if mine isn't, I ask you?
"We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. " -Carl Sagan
Keeping that in mind, can anyone please explain to me, why anyone should be doing anything other than what they love to do???

While I never did go to school to study _______, thinking that I was doomed trying to be an artist was painful and paralyzing. It was only last year that I finally gathered up the nerve to declare to myself and to my family, finally, that this in fact who I am. I Am a fucking artist. Goddammit.

Since then, things have changed for me. I have taken control of my destiny, and dedicated myself to the pursuit of art, as much as has been humanly possible. I'm still pissed off at myself for having allowed others to steer me off course. I'm even more pissed off at them for trying to do that in the first place! But I'm grateful that I had the courage to make the choices that have put me back on my path...

"I have spent my life learning how to choose to do what I had no choice but to do." -Ursula K. Le Guin

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friends, I bought my first bass yesterday! My new companion is a Höfner "violin bass", a.k.a. the Beatle bass, similar to the one used by Paul McCartney throughout his career. I have to say, it's Pretty Fuckin' Cool!

Getting my own bass, learning to play it, and utilizing it as a tool to create the vision for my next record requires some balls. I don't know that I'd be quite as brave at this point, were it not for the encouragement and support that I'm receiving right now. To have a constant positive voice in my life is priceless. A person who recognizes my talent, my intelligence and my musicianship; a person who fans my flames of interest into passion towards life and discovery... Having a mentor (or quite honestly, more than one) is completely altering my life.

Being supportive to another requires that one is comfortable in his or her own skin, and that seems to be a rare quality... Most of us have had so many negative messages coming at us since childhood, that we often find it threatening when others possess gifts or talents that we'd like to have as well. Instead of being energized and positively motivated by that twinge of jealousy (which would be way smarter...), it is common for us people to be passively aggressive towards those that we actually
admire. I'm sure most of us have had to deal with this in one way or another...

Two nights ago I watched one of the best films, that I've ever seen: a beautifully shot documentary about Patti Smith called Dream Of Life. Watching this film, that followed her life intimately over 11 years, I could have easily chosen to be threatened and discouraged by the scope of Patti Smith's artistry, her power and her myriad talents... Instead, I chose to be inspired. I want to find a way, little by little, to make my life as meaningful and artistic in its own way. Nope, I will never be Patti Smith. (Nor will she ever be Bob Dylan, who she clearly admires very much..) But I am able to truly appreciate her uniqueness and her talents now, as I'm finally recognizing and getting comfortable with my own. Having positive people for support and guidance makes all the difference. I blow a kiss of gratitude to the breeze.......

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm enjoying the fact that there are so many threads in my life these days. Whether it's the threads of work, relationships, home, or a sense of personal contribution, I feel like I'm weaving them all together to create a deliberate design... I'm creating a fabric, a picture, of who I am and who I want to be. For the first time, I've picked out the threads and yarns myself, and it is quite exciting to see the image that is emerging...

This picture looks very different from the one that I was weaving before. In the past, it was all pretty tangled up and messy, even with so many fewer threads to work with. For a while there, all my strings were wound around somebody else's finger... Turns out, that's not a very productive place to be. So, we use scissors, and we start again.

According to Carl Sagan, even if one was able to time-travel, it would probably be pretty hard to change the course of history by changing just one thing. Apparently this is because of all the different threads going on at any given time, e.g. biological, economic, sociopolitical... These create a complex and dense weave that is not so easily unraveled.

I like to think that with our lives, it could be the same way. If we build our lives around one thing, we are easily shattered by change and events beyond our control. If instead, we decide to make our lives rich with meaning on many fronts, we won't come undone so easily. I doubt that I will ever have to cut up all my threads and start from scratch again. I may decide to add/change colors or textures, some strings may be cut, but I have a solid base now to build on top of. Tangles be gone.