Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Swimming Against the Current

Have you ever wondered why life always feels like you're swimming against the current? Even more mysterious is the fact that this is a universal, life experience. At some point or another, we have all felt this way. But the big question is "why?" Beats me. I don't have all the answers, but I hope I can share a little bit of my own experience to shed some light on the subject:

Every weekday, around noon, I always hit a wall. In the morning, I'm full of energy, working hard - making phone calls to venues, researching new places to play, staying in touch with friends. But at noon, something changes: I begin to feel the weight of the day, and the uphill battle to stay productive begins. For me, it would be easy to say that the lack of energy is simply related to my physical condition: lack of sleep and the "food coma" syndrome are common for me. But can I say that it's all physical?

I think there really is a sort of emotional, spiritual "weight" to living. Life itself is not easy - no matter who you are or what your circumstances. And anyone who thinks otherwise is either on drugs or delusional. I find myself often singing a line from a work by the great poet by the name of John Mayer: "Gravity // wants to bring me down." This is true.

Overcoming the weight. If you don't like your job, quit. But not just because I say to. A great hero of mine once said, "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt, Labor Day Address, 1903. Read the whole thing HERE. Every job can have meaning, but sometimes you have to uncover layers of bull to get to it.

And yes, I do think that the number one cause of this weightiness is the "9-to-5-er". Why do we endure such suffering as corporate puppets? Because we're slaves to the almighty dollar. Another good way to overcome the weight is to kill your debt. Pay it off. Do whatever it takes. Except for my student loans, I don't owe anybody anything.

Finally, go to church. Look for deeper meaning in life. Church seems to be a good place to start.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Failure Notice

So, just a few days ago, I sent out another email update to my list. Basically, it said stuff about the website, RESPROJ, The City, and my tour to the East Coast this September. Inevitably, whenever I send out an update, I will always receive bounce-back messages from email hosts like Hotmail, Yahoo, and Google, and from addresses with ".edu" at the end of them. The subject line reads:

Failure Notice

And for the first time ever, this time, I paused after reading the line. Two, simple words. Were they written to me, or were they written about the email addresses? Is this some sort of divine communication - God telling me "Your music is a failure. Stop wasting your time."?

Well, at the end of the day, reason will have her way. And she awakens my mind to understand that this is only a message referencing a bad email address. Though I have failed in many other ways (and continue to do so), I am not failing with my music. Why? Because I know that I am following, to the best of my ability, what I believe to be my life purpose. Yeah, it may sound hokey, but it's the most honest way to say it. And it's what I believe, so who can argue with that?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Smacked into Humility

Every once in a while, in life, I feel like I get metaphorically smacked up-side the head by the Almighty. If I have bad motivations, if I'm not focused on the essentials in life, or, in the most recent experience, I'm taking too much pride in myself and my own abilities.

After a nearly flawless performance yesterday morning for Bryan Middle School, in Elmhurst, IL, I botched the same set that evening, in the concert for the students' parents. And what was the one song that gave me trouble? you might ask. It was a choral-guitar arrangement of the song "Blackbird," by the Beatles.

I was feeling pretty good about myself after the morning's concert, but a recreation of the morning's perfection was never meant to be. I am confident that the evening's troubles have ultimately been for my good, to help me humbly reflect on the giver of my talents and abilities (I don't think they arose from within my own realized self, etc.), and to rely on the one who has graciously granted me the joy and privilege of performing music for a living.

I would like to thank Jessica for the opportunity to perform with her students and for her school, Shaun (for his mad "low-guitar" skillz), and Bob Rummage on drums. BTW, Bob is probably currently one of Chicago's best jazz drummers! Read a little about him here: .