Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Greatest of Teachers


you can live the life you want if you can love the life you find.

many of us celebrated a holiday of gratitude last week (and many of us are still full!)  any excuse to be grateful is ok by me, though not needing an excuse is good too.  we are, after all, breathing and living on this beautiful planet, warmed by an incredible sun, in a tremendous sea of cosmic expansion.

there’s a book i have called The Untethered Soul (Michael A. Singer), which i reference with some frequency.  there’s a chapter about death that is particularly powerful, and what i have taken most from it is that the best way to appreciate what you have is to imagine that you don’t have it.  

we’ve all heard the term “first world problems” before, and my goodness don’t we have a lot of them!  we’re good at finding all sorts of problems, because most of us (that are reading this at a computer) just don’t have that many.  if there are big ones, then we don’t really get around to the trivial things.

we all take things for granted, that’s just perspective.  no one can keep a clear and appreciative mind all the time, but the ones that come close have learned how to recalibrate and they do it often.  it ain’t no one time thing!  sometimes we don’t realize we’re taking things for granted, but just imagine they aren’t there; you’ll realize pretty quickly if you are!

so how about life?  are you taking that for granted?  that could go away at any second, without warning, without a fair trial, without discrimination and without remorse.  it’s hard to feel entitled to life when death is so clearly the keeper of it!  i’m a believer in the circle of life.  i believe they are one in the same.  death is not our enemy but the greatest of teachers.

so live.  live well.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Own River, Our Own Light


slow down my love
this old world she ain’t running out of time
slow down my love
ain’t nobody can write what’s mine

i wrote that song because my love and connection with any music that wasn’t my own was dwindling.  it was forced and skeptical and a lonely place to be.  it was getting harder and harder to find music that touched me, that really struck a chord, that made me feel something.  and the worst part was that i just stopped looking.  i let the heavy weight settle on me that we must be running out.  i felt doomed to continuing disappointment, or if i did find an amazing song then it was just one more song that i could no longer write.  

is there a bigger picture?  ask yourself that all the time.  the world is an expanding universe.  there’s always a bigger picture, every moment.  there’s always an energy on the cutting edge that just isn’t anywhere else.  refocus on it.  it will help you see.

i have taught myself to think of creative energy as a river.  it is always flowing by, it is always accessible to me.  if i let something go by un-captured, it’s ok, because there is always more water flowing and i can’t separate one good idea out from another.  it’s all the same energy, taking on the form of the moment.

why am i afraid to surrender to magic?  why does it so often surprise me?  it’s the essence of life, and i do so love life.  i am life.  i am love.  love is magic.  magic happens.  magic is.  i'm a little ashamed to have thought such limiting things about the universe!

ain’t nobody can write what’s mine, but i can’t write something that’s someone else’s either.  we each have our own river.  we each have our own light.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The First Draft



i always want to write prose the first time.  i don’t even know exactly what that word means, but i know it’s in books and fancy authors do it (and not so fancy authors).  an interesting discovery, because one of my most “prized possessions” is a sheet of song lyrics completely obliterated by arrows and slashes and rewritten words. 

why is it so hard for us to make mistakes?  why is it so hard for us to accept the cold hard reality of The First Draft?  i’ve always appreciated thomas edison’s view on failure.  no such thing.  he succeeded in learning countless ways to make something other than a lightbulb, which eventually became the only steps that made it possible to actually get what he wanted: a lightbulb.  

i finally asked will to teach me some scales the other night, something i’ve wanted to learn for most of the time i’ve been a guitar player (more than half of my life!)  and as he played through a simple riff that i could noodle around on i frustratingly hit 10 wrong notes for every right one.  of course i did.  how the heck else am i going to learn??  you can’t just learn the right ones, you have to learn the wrong one’s so you know not to hit them again.  you can’t just learn the good things, you have to learn the bad things too so you aren’t doomed to repeat them.

i will never be as good at playing guitar as will.  so what?  i will never be as good as a lot of people, but that’s not why i play.  that’s not why i learn. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"About" Me



i just started a business.  i followed the suggestions of some good (and impressed ;) people and i started a photography business.  what else could there be for me to talk about right now?  it was an interesting process writing the “about” section for my shop, and i was a bit surprised by what came out.  truth, of course, but which version?  every word we use has its own input, its own shade of color and as i go about excitedly ironing out wrinkles and overcoming obstacles in this new endeavor i keep coming back to these words that i wrote.

It's the Little Things
After being a song writer for so many years i've learned a few things. With exceptions, of course, when you write a really good song, you know it. You've gotten enough feedback, you've known what it feels like to open up and exhale something as beautiful and as close to truth as you've ever known. I've learned that no one can say exactly the same thing exactly the same way. 

It was a dewey morning in Bellingham, WA, at my then partner's family farmstead, when i noticed a tiny little weed in a dormant barrel planter in the yard. Each one of its tiny little arms had perfect balls of dew at the ends and it was like a magical fairy christmas tree, radiating an unbelievable amount of light and joy and beauty....to no one but me. I pushed a button, and that beauty was captured, my own story added to it, simply by being there, simply by noticing.

The joy of photography is unparalleled for me. I can feel the same kind of rush as i do with song-writing, but photography is somehow more pure. It's far less of a struggle to get to "the heart of the matter." There's no way for ego to really enter into it. The picture was already there. I just took it. 

I don't have a fancy camera. For what i do it hasn't been that important. I work with what i have, and for now enjoy being able to have a camera wherever i go. I do plenty of photographing at music shows and other events, but i shoot when i want to and can put the camera away when i choose. I'm the unexpected photographer, and, for now, prefer it that way.

It's a fine line. If i'm always in photographer mode, sometimes i can miss the experience at hand. I try hard not to regret missing a great shot. I try hard not to let photographing the life around me take the place of living it.