Seeking solitude as a musician


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“Life is a masterpiece but you must be the one who allows the brush to touch the canvas.”- Tony Sinclair

It’s a time for reflection as a new year approaches and an old one closes its doors. The frenzy of holiday rushing is winding down, leaving us much needed space to breath and look with anticipation to a new, clean slate of possibilities.  There’s always the process of looking back as well, remembering what went well and trying to forget the bad.

As I look back, I realize how little time I allowed “the brush to touch the canvas”- how little time I devoted to self cultivation, self realization and self knowledge.  My passion is building an audience and a buzz for the bands and artists I work with.  But that passion is also a business, my main source of income.  Privately, I haven’t allowed time for so many thing that I personally love to do.

As a new year approaches, I encourage all of you to be kinder to yourself.  As musicians and music business people, we are so caught up in achievement and goals. We work on our art, our music, our stage presentation, recording and touring. Sometimes all this effort blinds us to the glories of life; the small details we tend to overlook and not have time for. 

Learn to allow the brush to touch the canvas by seeking calm and quiet.  In solitude and aloneness, many treasures are discovered.  Permit yourself an exit from the rat race of the music life, if only for an hour or two.  Make a little time to enjoy the little things.

 

 

 

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The Gift and Work of Music


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“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”  Emile Zola (1840-1902

Metaphysical reasoning states we should not worry so much about outcome, but concern ourselves instead with process.  Work should be about achieving the flow, the sublime state of creating, instead of the actual creation. This concept makes much sense, but it’s also one of the most cumbersome natural laws I struggle with.  I work very hard. Shouldn’t  that mean I have phenomenal success in every facet of life? Shouldn’t I be living on a private island surrounded by palm trees and beaches by now?  What am I doing wrong? When am I going to “get there”? Where is “there”? Is there a “there” out there?

Artists are blessed with innate and incomparable gifts. Each of us has something unique and special about us. The trick here is to just do it. Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, that makes your mind race with ideas and inspiration, that makes you smile- do it.  If you love to write or sing or act or garden-do it.  We don’t have to create a best selling novel, a chart topping hit, a box office smash.  We have to create what is in our heart and use that creation to make ourselves happy and make others happy. 

Find your pupose – your passion, the thing that gives you a sense of direction and makes you smile all over, and don’t let it go. In our hot pursuit to be the best, we often forget to just BE. In two days, a new year will be upon us. Make it a year of following your passion, whatever it may be.

Pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon man. … Francis Cardinal Spellman US cardinal 1946 (1889 – 1967) …

Finding contentment as a musician


When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. -Lao-Tzu

I’ve spent this past year running from one project to another, devoting much time and attention to my clients and those who hire Moonstruck to publicize one or two events.  I am disbelieving the year is nearly over. It seems like one big blur.

I’ve become aware this year of my ineptitude in the technology sector. I wasn’t born with a mouse in my hand and have only been what I consider actually computer literate for about 20 years.  I’m fifty, so less than half of my life has been spent in the use of computers and technology. Way before I wrote on computer, I wrote on paper, with a pen. I mailed demo cassettes by the actual United States Postal Service.  When I entered the music business there was no internet. Distribution was a physical endeavor.  One had to record in an actual recording studio in an actual building.

It’s been interesting and at times disheartening to witness the extreme changes in the music industry. “Where good men die like dogs and theives and pimps run free….” as Hunter S. Thompson so brutally put it.  But I’ve discovered a heartening occurance as well. Dedicated work and a steady purpose have their own sort of tranquility and contentment.

When we find our own particular peace and let go of competition and comparing, a wonderful calm settles in over one’s career.  We find ourselves in competition with only ourselves, to be better, to be more flexible to change, to be cognisant of spreading hope and joy to others. 

We should all aspire to calm contentment in our music careers. There will always be those greater than yourself. There will always be those in this business who are more talented, more secure, more ambitious, richer, prettier, and luckier.  There will always be those who aspire to be where you are right now. There are those that struggle with talent, confidence, ability, dreams and reality. 

“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter….”  Make a promise to yourself to give comparison and competition a well deserved grave.  Be content within yourself. Show respect and garner respect. “You are a child of the universe. No less than the trees and the stars…you have a right to be here. “

Quotes are from The Desiderata by Max Ehrmann  http://www.healtalk.com/dl/desiderata.pdf

 

 

 

Be the light


“People will tend to be TO US what we have decided to be TO THEM.” – Marianne Williamson

Fifteen simple words.  As a psychologist and best selling author and teacher, Marianne Williamson could not have spoken more eloquently. People in our circle and strangers often reflect the very same qualities back to us that we show to them.  If we appear hostil and rude to a store clerk, guess what? He’ll be hostile and rude right back. If we are sure our boyfriend or girlfriend will disappoint us in some way, they most certainly will.  If we enter a performance situation as a disgruntled participant, we can almost certainly count on unsuccessful and contentious encounters.

If we begin to think of ourselves as mirrors, able to project and reflect images, we become careful of the image we carry.  How we see ourselves is basically how others see us. If we see ourselves as small and insignificant, that image is reflected back to us in the attitudes of others. If we project respect and love for ourselves, it is much easier to see those attributes in those we come in contact with.

It’s said there are two ways to project light into the world. Be the light or be the mirror that reflects it.  Why not be both?  Change the way you perceive yourself and others and watch the world change before your very eyes.

 
 

The Tradition of Boxing Day and Bonuses* giving and getting


Practicing the Law of Giving is actually very simple. If you want joy, give joy to others; if you want love, learn to give love; if you want attention and appreciation, learn to give attention and appreciation. ~ Deepak Chopra

The celebration of Boxing Day has a long, rich and varied history. As a common point, the day involved the gift of a bonus of some sort to employees. In an English manor house, servants worked on Christmas Day, but were permitted to “box” up the leftovers from Christmas and carry them home to their families. No doubt this fine food was a welcome bonus to the mundane meals to which  the servant class was accustomed. Boxing also refers to servants  bringing a box to work the day after Christmas to be filled by the employer with coins and gifts.

For laborers and apprenticies of artisan shops, the day meant the smashing of the Christmas Box, a clay vessel in which coins had been deposited over a period of time by visitors, customers and the master of the shop. The Christmas Box was broken and the coins divided among the shop workers. This was considered a year end bonus and kept the master of the shop from the prickly chore of doling out performance based bonuses.

In feudal times, the serfs would gather in the manor house the day after Christmas and the manor lord would distribute boxes of useful goods to them.  The lord was obliged to gift the people who worked his land a bonus of cloth, grain and tools.  Churches also took part in Boxing Day, opening their alms box and distributing the contents to the poor.

A bonus is a wonderful thing. It’s a way to express appreciation, warmth and well wishes during the last week of the year.  But bonuses are not confined to monetary gifts or presents.  A bonus carries meaning beyond symbols.  Dole out bonuses liberally between now and the new year.  A bonus can mean a plate of cookies for your neighbor, a note card telling your agent how much you appreciate their hard work and effort or the offer to give the kid next door who got his first guitar a free lesson or two.  A bonus can make someone’s year complete. Remember: to receive joy- spread joy. To acquire appreciation – show it. To garner the best- give it.

True Wealth and Real Gifts


Wealth is not having the most…it is needing the least.”

Whether we’re  caught in a crush of paper, bows, food, and family, or quietly celebrating Christmas day with close friends, it’s a fit time to ponder our personal wealth. If we’re serving in a food kitchen or devoting the day to handing out gifts to those in need, our riches become even more apparent to us.  Personal wealth is derived from things other than cash and possessions. While we may not feel rich, a simple shift in perception may help us realize we are wealthy beyond measure.

We find so often, especially in a time of crisis or illness, that we need very little to sustain ourselves. That, indeed, it is the clutter of life, the too many “things” whether physical or mental that disrupt our connection to spirit and our path to personal peace.  One cannot buy good health, the giving and receiving of love or a peaceful mind, but those things are necessary to life.

This day, adopt a new definition of wealth and make it part of each day to acknowledge and be thankful for wealth beyond dollars and cents.  We should acknowledge and be grateful every day for the simple and profound ability to create.  If we are healthy and have enough food and shelter, we are abundant and well cared for.

Carefully consider the exact meaning of wealth. Wealth is not a beavy of cash and coins. Wealth is measured in heart beats, smiles and expressions of love, an abundance of energy, health and happiness.  We need very little in order to actually survive, but to truly live we need the gifts only spirit can bestow upon us.

Love and Music


“Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”- 1897 THE SUN NEWS in Chicago

Love, generosity and devotion are powerful gifts to give and receive. As performers, we are indeed blessed by this mighty triumvirate. By giving love in the form of music, we are blessed mightily by those who enjoy it. By generously giving of ourselves, our thoughts, our talents, our gift, we receive the warmth and gratitude of those who attend shows and buy our cds and tee shirts. By being devoted to and paying attention to our innate gifts of spirit, we create communities of fans, friends and family, all happily involved in our quest to spread the joy of music and performance.

Our highest joy and beauty, our most wonderful gifts are not confined to boxes with bows. Our most precious possessions are not things. Love, joy, beauty, friendship, camaraderie, passion, and creativity are the musician’s true and perfect treasures. Allow Christmas, with all its sweetness, to be part of your daily life. Believe in the magic of Christmas every day of the year.

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