#15 Don't Worry That It's Not Good Enough For Anyone Else to Hear
If you know me well, or are a regular reader, you know that personal development is a big part of my life. I’ve been seeking, and trusting that the “ye shall find” bit will follow.
I meditate, journal, set intentions and goals. I’ve read ALL the Brene Brown books and have actually done the exercises in the back.
But, also: I’ve done all kinds of crazy shit on along this journey.
I’ve walked on hot coals. (Thanks, Tony Robbins!)
Tony had us chant the words "COOL MOSS!" intermittently throughout the day before the coal walk. Also, I just realized I totally look like O’s friend, Sheri.
I’ve been naked in front of more shamans than I care to count. (Once, I was naked AND holding raw eggs which had me seriously questioning my life choices.)
Basically, I’m a “made guy” in that world my good friend Candice Harper calls “the transformation mafia.”
A huge part of this life work, is “speaking it into being.” You set an intention, or a goal, and you start writing it down, speaking it, visualizing it.
Some say this is magical, or “the secret.” And maybe it is. But I think it also works because it if you speak it, write it, and see it every single day, how can you help but make decisions and take actions that move you toward it?
On a Sunday morning, I’m at a workshop writing down and sharing a vision of my future self. It's all about writing this blog and storytelling and singing and a new apartment and the (as yet unidentified) love of my life. You know, the usual.
At the bottom of the page, I tack on this little thought: “And maybe I’ll even start writing songs.”
A week later, my good friend Liv Behre calls me with an idea. She’s launching a new podcast and needs a theme song. Since “maybe I’ll even start writing songs” is part of the future self thing I shared with her at the workshop, why don’t I write and perform it for her?
The problem with this personal development stuff is that once you say you want to do something, and put it out there, you kind of HAVE to do it, you know?
So, I say: “Sure! That sounds like fun!”
Then, the panic sets in. And I spend the next 4 weeks agonizing over 40 seconds of music.
I’ve never written a song before and don’t know where to start. I’m more comfortable with words, I guess, so I start writing down ideas. Soon, a structure emerges and I’ve basically written a bunch of lyrics.
I pick up the guitar that I haven’t played in so long that it has a layer of dust on it. I’m not being modest or self-effacing when I say that I’m a pretty shitty guitar player.
I rarely practice, which makes my playing sound like I have hooks for hands. And, what callouses I may have once earned are gone, replaced with baby-soft skin. Great on dates (hint, hint) but not so great when trying to make sounds come out of a stringed instrument. OUCH.
I start noodling around, but I can’t confidently identify the notes or chords I’m playing. I seem to have forgotten the most rudimentary theory that my friend and teacher, Monica Passin, has taught me over the years. It’s frustrating, and I’m pissed at myself for not doing better. Not trying harder. For watching so much Hulu.
Somehow, in spite of the self-flagellation, I manage to pick out a basic tune and record it - a cappella - into my voice memos. Hands shaking, I send it off to Liv with a plaintive text filled with emojis: Am I on the right track?
And I wait for her reply.
For three endless minutes.
Oh, thank god(dess).
But now what do I do? I have no idea. So, I call in the cavalry.
Monica and I meet for a session which I secretly hope will end with her just arranging and performing the whole thing for me. But, alas, Monica is a true friend and teacher. She patiently reminded me how to find the notes and chords, supervised as I wrote everything down, and encouraged me to play around with it until I found the sound I wanted.
She left me with these words: “You’re a working musician now…”
After another week or so of procrastinating, percolating, and practicing my deadline was approaching (read: I missed my deadline). I have to bite the bullet and record the thing and send it off to Liv for her launch.
The glamorous life of a singer/songwriter.
You can say you knew me when.
As soon as I hit send, I feel better. It’s perfect. Not because I didn’t make a bunch of mistakes, but because it’s DONE. It’s done and it will continue to be done.
What Does It Mean? the podcast launched last week, you can find the first episode here.
Liv interviews experts in spirituality and wellness fields and helps demystify all those lovely quotes we see on social media, like “Raise your vibration!” She’s a fantastic interviewer and a curious soul. Please give it a listen and subscribe! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments…