Posts in Inspiration
When There is No Staying Safe

In times of high stress and change our natural inclination is to try and go back to being safe as quickly as possible, but often times it’s that very inclination to stay safe that gets us into crisis in the first place.  I could go into a long thing about my personal philosophy on predestination vs personal choice, but the tl dr version is there are certain elements of our lives that have more gravity than other, and those high gravity elements involve lessons that evolve us for better or worse as souls.  Until we accept the call to adventure, we’ll find ourselves repeating life experiences – like relationship patterns that continue despite different partners, or never being able to get or hold down even the easiest of day jobs.

When the shit hits the fan, generally it’s indicative that we have been obstinately ignoring the opportunities for growth we’ve been offered in favor of security and the known.. 

 To use the 2016 election as an example, the Democratic party played safe – assuming they had a shoo in thanks to Hillary Clinton’s name recognition and middle of the road political tendencies.  What they didn’t account for was the archetypal energy of Trump – as true a representative of a tyrant as you can get.  The nation was receiving it’s call to evolve, and instead of embracing the clear necessity to take risks and meet that challenge; basically the democratic party opted to try to stave it off for another four years.  We all know how that worked out for them.

On a more micro level, this has occurred in my life every time I’ve tried to shy away from music. When I treat my music as central to my abundance, I am rewarded with crazy opportunities and synchronicity. When I try to work a day job, slowly but surely, I begin to feel the drag of being off course.  By the time I quit my official day job I was acutely depressed and suffering from inexplicably stomach cramps every day I was at the office, and that was still doing music as a hobby.  Every major life crisis I’ve had was a result of trying to shirk by growth by taking a safer/shorter/more culturally acceptable route instead of trusting my intuition and leaning into the apparent danger.

Now, keep in mind: I’m not implying you should go sky diving in a windstorm or whatever the life choices equivalent to that would be.  There is a difference between rising to a challenge and just being reckless.  What I *am* saying is that it is tempting and human and societally encouraged to treat avoiding risk as the smart, healthy thing to do; when the reality is that the more you try to ignore those major life lessons the more intense and un-ignorable they are going to get.  You get to crossroads where it’s grow or die (sometimens literally in the case of addiction, sometimes more metaphorically – as in settling for a loveless marriage or staying in a dead end job – your body survives, but something in you is lost).  As something of a contemporary bard, it’s my job to help you find the courage to make the choice to grow.

As we enter this New Year and look back at the last, and the energy is around fresh starts and transformation, I hope you take a moment to asses the risks you’ve been avoiding, the calls to adventure you’ve been trying to postpone, and the longings which are your map to something beautiful, deep and real.   Everything is up in the air right now – all of the truths we assumed would remain true throughout our lifetime have been called into question. The only way out of this period of intense re-imagination is through it.  This is a time for dreamers and mythmakers to create a new identity centered in honest humility, grown out of processed grief and composted avoidance. 

Your heart knows the way. Trust it.

10 Life Lessons I've Learned By Following My Passion

 

10 . Focus on the people who LIKE you instead of the folks that don't.

 There is this temptation to spend a lot of time and energy trying to convert someone. Don't. Instead focus on giving the people that already like you more reasons to continue to like you. 

9 . Find what works for you instead of trying to conform to what you've always been told to do.

 I tried to do a standard 40 hour work week when I first started making music and nothing really got done. Much like when I worked in an office, I tried to fill those hours with busy work, but when a project or show actually turned up, my energy was already depleted.  What does work for me is to use my creative energy to get ahead, even when it means long days for a little while. I then can let some things run on autopilot so I can recover my energy and focus on the projects and performances that really matter .  Work that is done when I'm excited about it is always way better than work I do when I'm tired and grumpy anyway.

8 . Prioritize silence.

 Give yourself some room to know what your inner voice sounds like. It doesn't have to be structured meditation, just quiet time when no one else's ideas or perspectives are intruding.

7 . Just make things.

Some will be bad, some will be good. Usually the bad things are what lead to the good things. Everyone makes some bad art, so don't define yourself by it. Just keep playing and experimenting and having fun with it and you may just make something you're proud of.

6 . Be focused instead of busy.

  You know that one friend you has that serial dates like it's a job and has no luck with it?  Creative work reacts similarly to hustling. Have some structure, make some goals and put in the time for them, but don't anxiously try to force things to happen. Instead, prioritize what really matters.

5 .  Always be open to new ideas, but know who you are at the same time.

 Well meaning people will always offer advice, reading lists, and new ideas no matter how successful you are, and sometimes those ideas are genuinely awesome, or you'll discover your new favorite book, or band, or way of looking at the world. Sometimes it's just best to smile and nod and say thankyou and keep doing what you're doing.  The more clear you are on where you're going and how you're would like to arrive, the easier it is to graciously sort through ideas and advice.

4 .  Create rituals that nurture your spirit.

Rituals don't have to be elaborate or over the top, in fact the more time I have put into planning something the less likely I am to do it. I am a spontaneous person and have become a fan of spontaneous rituals. For me, that means listening to that little voice that says THIS IS SUBSTANTIAL and briefly handing over the reigns to my intuition to do something that feels right.  Rituals can be as simple as day dreaming over coffee in the morning, or lighting a candle and saying a prayer.  It's important to just be a person existing sometimes instead of performing all of the layers of personas we wear.  Rituals signal to that little part of you that is just you that it's safe to come out.

3 .  Be Pragmatic, but believe in Magic.

In other words, do your work, show up, make goals, follow through, and also believe that good things can and will happen above and beyond what you were expecting. Magic is about hope, ultimately, and believing that you have the power in your life to create a livelihood, or relationship, or whatever else that 100% suits you as an individual.  Without magic, it's easy to give other people power over your reality. We've all grown up with our little templates of what is and is not possible, and let me tell you being a full time musician with lots of amazing supportive people who love my music and want me to succeed was absolutely not in my initial template.

2 . Team up with people that aregood at the things you aren't as good at.

I am not naturally organized, but my friend Jen (over at @urbansproutsstore) is, so we have regular work days together. She gets to draw on my creativity and "out of the box" thinking, and I get a chance to draw from her focus and dedication. Even when we aren't working on things together, having someone I can check in with keeps me on task.

1 . Don't take yourself so seriously.

When I was just starting out I had a lot of insecurity regarding "making it" and as a result I kind of over compensated by embracing certain traits I thought would identify me as an artiste.  You know how sometimes you see photos of a certain phase you may have been going through in middle school or high school and it just PAINS you? That is how I feel about my "serious" musician phase.  Don't get me wrong, music is my job and I treat it respectfully,   but the world doesn't depend on my success and it won't crash down if I fail. Everyone's lives will still carry on more or less the same no matter what I do, which is freeing.