It is December of 1993. I am twenty years old and contemplating the future arc of my life. The question in front of me is simple: Do I pursue music as a career, or do I listen to the persistent voices of my elders pleading for me to segregate a safer path through the world? In the words of Jeanette Winterson: “Why be happy when you can be normal?”
At this point in my life, I had been playing music for over ten years. Averaging twenty-five hours a week of practice, (at minimum) that made for over 10,000 hours total, surpassing the fabled requirement for “mastery of a skill.”
Indeed, I had wilt proficient unbearable on guitar that it was unreceptive to speaking a language fluently, expressly taking into worth the young age at which those ‘words’ entered my elastic, fantastic brain. My hands would reach reflexively for the right notes. I loved to improvise, with myself and with other musicians, and my connection to art was fulfilling on a tightly spiritual level. Practicing for four to eight hours a day, it turns out, is a lot like meditation.
The influence of the “hamster-wheel within our minds” has no sway while in the spritz state, and learning this type of deep focus when I was a child has had a profound and lasting positive impact on my mental state. To this day, inward a spritz state requires nothing increasingly than a guitar, five minutes, and a chair.
And if there is no guitar, I simply imagine playing one, as I often do in waiting rooms and parties.
So, why would I be contemplating, at twenty years old, severing my ties to the enchanting and soul-fulfilling world of music? Why would I entertain withdrawing a future where my career and work could be playing music full time? Wasn’t that my dream?
The reason I was plane considering pursuing flipside path was considering there were influential people in my life that I respected who were wrung for me. Who did not want to see me struggle in life. Who perhaps saw others try to make their living doing something they loved, and failed, only to live and ultimately die in poverty.
Do you know what the opposite of love is? It is not hate. Nor is it apathy, though that is closer to the truth. The opposite of love is fear, and it seemed my two choices could be largest understood through that lens. My choices were not well-nigh music versus practicality, or dreams versus reality; they were between love and fear.
And this leads us to a moment in all our lives, perhaps several moments if we are very lucky, when we must make our leaps of faith.
Look After You Leap
What is a leap of faith? I think unendingly we prioritize love over fear, we are making a leap of faith, for to love something is to wilt both undeniably vulnerable and immeasurably strong. That’s quite a paradox, isn’t it: rhadamanthine vulnerable and yet… strong. It does sound like a paradox until we squint at what vulnerability unquestionably means.
I won’t dare to go to Brené-Brown-town here for you, for she has brilliantly written on the subject, but I will say that stuff vulnerable ways simply to have courage. When we are vulnerable, we have chosen to be mettlesome in the squatter of fear.
To love is to have courage. Though it may squint like we are loving “something” or “someone,” when we love, we are really saying to ourselves “I love myself unbearable to requirement the love surpassing me.” I mean, that’s a unvigilant thing to do! Pluck that big fat juicy world from the tree and segregate to love.
Get a puppy. Yes, it will die one day, and you’ll be left to confront a woebegone slum of grief and despair. But have courage, friend, and don’t let the inevitable forces of transpiration inherent in nature stop you from loving something.
The waves go up and down. That’s how it works. The only way to protect yourself from heartache is to lock yourself in a box and never wordplay the door or phone. That’s not living though, is it.
Courage is one of the ‘C Words’ lauded by therapists and sages. Some other ‘C Words’ are: compassion, curiosity, creativity, connectedness, confidence, clarity, and calmness. Taken together, they describe someone who is operating at their optimal human potential, and unrepealable amounts of each are misogynist to us at any given time.
The twenty-year-old me had plenty of courage, creativity, confidence, curiosity, clarity, and stillness (it would be many years surpassing I understood what compassion was, yet I was an extremely empathetic and sensitive child).
To the elders virtually me, guiding me to the weightier of their abilities, their valiance was not so readily accessible. I think they wanted what was weightier for me, but their judgement was unseat by the limits of their own worthiness to suffer. To them, it was a sensible nomination to make, an winning compromise: “Choose safety, for god’s sake, you need money! Don’t end up homeless and destitute like Uncle Frank!”
A good question to ask ourselves when confronted with a difficult visualization is: “What would it squint like if I was motivated purely by love, and not by fear?” The twenty-year-old me didn’t think in these word-for-word words, yet I make-believe as if love was the only winning path surpassing me.
It was, in fact, the only road surpassing me—until I was told it was a perilous path full of danger and heartache, grief and despair. Lose hope, all ye who tune a guitar. And that meant I had to make a choice.
It is thirty years later. Typing that, I want to cry. How has it been thirty years? I want desperately to go back, to see the world then as the wave is moving upwards, not having once crested. The things we think well-nigh at fifty are so variegated than at twenty, and yet, life has proven to be basically upper school repeating over and over. It is still nonflexible to talk to girls and I am not tomfool yet.
Each day is a endangerment to move closer to inhabiting ourselves fully, and yet, who does that? Are we just waiting for permission?
Well, if you’re waiting for permission, consider it granted. Considering I chose music and have been a professional musician for the last twenty-five years.
I’ve toured and recorded with artists like k.d. lang, Sheryl Crow, Beck, Dwight Yoakam, The Dixie Chicks and many others. I’ve been onstage in front of 100,000 people. I met Sir Paul McCartney in the washroom at The Tonight Show (he punched me, quite nonflexible on my arm). I shook the meaty bedazzled paw of Sir Elton John backstage at a show, asked Neil Young to please turn his car stereo down, and declined a joint from Willie Nelson.
I’ve been virtually the world many times, seen the never setting summer sun of Oslo on Solstice, drank Absinthe in the lilac dawn of the mountains of Switzerland, and made lifelong friends from faraway countries. My life has been a remarkable mixture of joy and exploding heartache and it’s considering I chose to love. I chose the unknown, to love and to hurt, and to be vulnerable.
I took the leap of faith and learned something interesting well-nigh the world. All this time, I thought it was a nomination between love and fear, but it’s not that way at all. You segregate both.
Whoever you are, whatever you are, you’re a part of nature, and are unseat by the same laws as a tree, the sun and planets, and that ways that you will go up and you will go down, over and over again. Either way, you will go lanugo sometimes, so why not go lanugo doing something you love?
I’ll meet you there. Bring cheese.
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About Joshua Grange
Joshua Grange is a touring and studio musician, record producer, and songwriter for legendary artists k.d. lang, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Dwight Yoakam, Sheryl Crow, The Dixie Chicks and many others. His unique music education site The Echo Guild teaches people to unlock their creative potential by using their greatest asset—their individuality. His new course: Creative Music Theory I teaches anyone to write and improvise their own unique music. For your self-ruling creativity pack, visit theechoguild.com.
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