It’s official. I had taken the bait.
All my life I have added so much angst, drama and importance to my work, which has been mainly music.
It has been so much more than just music – it has been the basis of relationships with people, the needing approval from my father and father figures (usually teachers), fans – being a guitar god to the guys, being attractive to the ladies. I like ‘showing all those people’ who said I couldn’t do it that I can.
And then – the relationship with myself. I’m cool if I am playing with so and so musician, I’m cool if I have such and such a gig, I’m not cool if I have this other gig. If my chops are up, I approve of myself. If not, I beat myself up real good.
If am on tour I can say “yeah man I’m on tour” yet if I am not, I feel like a stay at home loser….
This is the biggest insane ego trip in the world, with many facets which stem back all the way to my childhood. The trip (but not the music) have made me miserable at times. The funny thing is, these are just feelings. Nothing to do with music, yet these psychic things surround the music.
As I embarked on this new acoustic guitar journey I felt the freshness of the rocket of a new desire, and I found it devoid of all this ego stuff that I associated with my experience playing jazz. The feeling was a detached playfulness – I didn’t care what anyone thought; no career was riding on these decisions, I could care less about the people in the scene…but slowly all these things descended into my reality.
It did not take long to bring my old mindset to this new music. It’s the idea that no matter where you move, you bring your baggage with you.
When I saw that these old feelings were here with the new career idea / music direction, something was in fact different than the last time I felt all these feelings. The last time, I thought it was the world doing it to me, the drama, the struggle and so on. Now I am seeing – wait a minute – these feelings are my creation, because they were not here before. I am responsible.
This is not a “beating myself up” in assuming responsibility. This is really hopeful – because if I can see a way out of these miserable feelings, I can move ahead in life.
I sat down to take a time out yesterday (and I will be doing this more) and really wanted to unlock these “tight” constrictive feelings. In the Sedona Method / Release technique there are ways to pose questions to yourself and stir up feelings, and then techniques to deal with those feelings.
I asked myself “Can I live without this music career? No more gigs, recordings, approval from others, tours, websites and all that. Can I let it all go?”
Upon asking, I had this feeling of letting go as if the weight of the world were lifted off my shoulders. I felt like “wow, it’s just me & the universe all over again”, and I could be right there in the moment, hearing traffic out my window, breathing in and out – happily. I felt like a kid. In my gut, I shifted from resistance to allowing things to just be as they are. Peace.
It’s not that I planned on quitting anything, but wanted to let go of these negative emotions. I was able to continue the work on my guitar website without the angst, importance and stress I was previously feeling. The Sedona Method and Release Technique go way further than what I have described, but part of their goal is to let go of the negative feelings so that the natural well-being of a situation can flow, unimpeded.
Now it’s clear to me. My goal in life is this – to be clear and happy. From this clarity, happiness, and serenity well-being and abundance will flow in whatever I do. Always has, always will. Whenever I have been in the right psycho / spiritual place, the world out there falls into place. And whenever I have had turmoil inside, I get turmoil outside.
That’s great emotional territory you’re going into. I wish you well!
I went through a similar transformation several years ago with my own career (it wasn’t music, though that is really what saved me). When I look back on where I was then and where I am now, it’s amazing (and quite amusing) to me, how much I was a victim of my own hubris.
Clear and happy? Absolutely! That’s the only way to go, man.
Being goofy is much better than being to too serious. Keep up the goofyness!
I enjoyed reading this and many of your other blog entries. It is amazing how much extra-musical B.S. is associated with what is already a difficult, deeply personal pursuit. The angst you discuss is not at all limited to music. My main career is not in music, yet the self-destructive habit of comparison to others is constant here too. Different arena, same concepts: Am I as far along in my career as that guy? Does so and so respect me? Do I make enough money?
All tied inevitably to the deeply ingrained “Am I Cool?” question from childhood. It never completely leaves!
I love your recent solo acoustic work. I’ve had a recent renaissance in my own playing that is along the same lines. The solo arrangements of popular tunes are a huge challenge. Check out Naudo – a Brazilian guy – doing some fantastic arrangements on nylon guitar. Maybe there’s some inspiration for you in store. Here’s a link to his version of EW&F’s “September:”
Ted Burrett says
This is very up-to-date info. I’ll share it on Facebook.