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I’ve been sitting with this news for the last couple of hours. I’ve been trying to find a way into the right poetic expression, but that’s not showing up. So, I’ll just let you in on my decision.
I won’t be booking shows myself as a primary focus anymore. Trying to do my own bookings has been an exhausting process for too long now. It feeds neither my soul nor my finances enough to continue.
This doesn’t mean I’m through with music. Music has been alive in me more than ever in perennial and surprising ways. That is exciting. So are some of the other aspects of the business of music that I’ve neglected while chasing different pieces of the puzzle. I’ll be more on track with this newly-created space in my life.
I have long believed that when people say they don’t have time for something, it is really an indication of priorities. If it actually matters, time will show itself, I thought. When I continually was feeling I had no time to book a proper tour or get to the details of show x, I had to consider whether or not being a working musician was something I even wanted. My answer is YES, it is something I want, and so I had to modify my understanding of making time. Time, at least on this plane where business and 24-hour days happen, is not limitless.
I do make time for a lot of what I need to do, and a lot of what I love. But too much to do, all of which feels important, leads to everything done almost well enough. Living too long in that state has left me ragged.
I am not giving up performing live. I will put some more thought and effort into finding someone willing and able to handle bookings for me. I believe viable live tours are possible, and that help to make them possible can somehow come to fruition.
I still fully encourage people and venues who would like to hear me perform live to get in touch. I will be happy to respond to serious requests for concerts and other appearances. I realize I may not see some of you as soon or as often as I’d like to for a while. Right now, I am open to change and a different kind of freedom. Becoming an honestly creative being again is most definitely on the new agenda.
I have gone through, and am still going through a full range of emotions around this decision. I plan to keep raising it up to a positive state of surrender. It isn’t giving up. It is rebooting. It is releasing what clearly doesn’t work and leaving space for what will.
A few years ago, I noticed that I occasionally had dreams and idle fantasies of throwing things away – nearly violent images of picking up old clothes, old papers, random electronics, and broken stuff—and tossing them all haphazardly and mercilessly out of an open window. Sometimes I’d break the window in the process. It felt great to care less. What a crazy, cathartic forced way to affect clarity, well beyond the fabled “letting go.” The fantasy may be a bit on the extreme side, but it speaks to things that need doing, and perhaps a bit to my Virgo Obsesso nature. My living space has been incongruent with the order that I long for inside and out. I am pleased to say that is changing.
These last two weeks have been the beginning of reclaiming my home as temple. I call my place the Arts Ashram of Atco. I am dedicating my current practice to continuing to move the energies closer in line with the name. This morning in the middle of working peacefully in my room near the main altar, cleaning the kitchen, and in brushing the light layers of snow from the car, I felt the yoga coming back into my home and my being. As of a few days ago, an area that was once jumbled storage space is now “The Yoga Nook.” Next— on to the office. It doesn’t have a clever name yet.
A lot of people seem to think that the best thing about being freelance is that you get to create your own hours. I find that what has actually been most beneficial so far is that I create my own days. If it is time to tour through to Detroit or Sarasota or Kansas City, I can plan the dates, pick up and go. The hours within a day of writing at home can be a lot trickier.
Creating one’s own hours can be a joy provided that it is actually done in a way that promotes order and balance. When I have been good at creating my own hours, I am up at least by 6:30am, meditating by 6:45, in the gym by 7:45, home and hitting the day’s work by 9:30. I think that what some people believe would be so great about creating one’s own hours would be having the liberty to stay in bed ‘til 10, and work most of the day in pajamas. I have sometimes taken that kind of liberty, but when it happens, it usually means that my mood is slipping.
When I’m happiest, I’m up and at ‘em. At the lab where I used to work, I was so much the morning person that I was forbidden to play Uz Jsme Doma, the then #1 on my personal playlist, until everyone else could handle it—usually after noon. I love all kinds of sounds, but right now in my realigning phase, #1 on my chart is The Eternal Om (but there’s always room near the top of the chart for Steely Dan and Gary Wilson).
I resonate with the evenness that a monastic-style schedule creates – there is the potential for quiet joy with little tribulation. Here in my own space once again, I am very much in the midst of the multitasking world, but I have decided to add a lot more structure- to make my own hours for waking, exercising, working, eating, creating, socializing, and sleeping. My friend Tom Limoncelli, activist and time management guru, advocates making your life “boring” through routine. I think it’s a good trick: Get basic life stuff done, time and mental space is available. Life is less worrisome, and in truth, not so boring. I am taking that advice to heart.
I believe in the Arts Ashram of Atco and what it can become, or not, as I choose. After this time of returning to center, I expect to invite in the kirtans, parties, retreats, and other gatherings I’ve wanted to host. Some will be reminiscent of events past and I have many visions of new ones making their way to fruition. So far, these visions don’t involve any SCTV moments, but I remain open-minded.