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Austin & Houston, Texas
Art and Commerce, Creative Gone MAD, Entrepreneurship, Life and the Pursuit of Happiness, Soul Searching

Years ago, when I was an undergrad, I remember talking with a friend of mine about the concept of being perfect. I’d made up in my mind that I was going to pursue some sort of creative work (at the time, music and writing), but I was going to wait until everything was just right. I was going to emerge when I had perfected everything and felt I was ready for the stage. It wasn’t long before he quipped—“you’re going to be waiting forever, Brian.” And well…it hasn’t been forever, but it has been a long time, no? Today’s topic is one that is common to any person in the performing arts or doing any sort of creative work—perfectionism, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the inbetween. As artists, there is this false notion that we will become our most valuable and most potent if we ‘develop’ in vacuums and isolated spaces. A strange belief that we should avoid the glare of the public until we are ‘ready’ for the stage—whatever that stage may be. Perfectionism and a desire to be perfect both fuel this idea. To strive for excellence is one thing, but to be plagued by perfectionism is something completely different. Believing that if we just work on the turns a few more times, run through a few more scales, receive a few more degrees, a few more writing classes—then, we will be ready. ‘Ready’ is truly relative and ultimately, you have to learn to rely less on external validation and approval of your creativity and expression. As part of this exploration, for example, I have forced myself to write a new piece of poetry every single morning. This is in the middle of my preparing a ton of music for a show coming up in April, but I’m not doing the same sort of preparation with these pieces. I’m scribbling them on sheets of paper while I’m in my bed. I’m typing away with sleep still in my eyes. I’m producing and posting these things out into the world immediately. On top of this, I’m writing a new post in this blog every day. I do a quick edit and review, then I send it off into the world. Why do this? Because it is important to learn to create freely again. We do it as children. Julia Cameron talks about the many censors we have that inhibit our ability to create fluidly and freely. It is a struggle to rediscover that freedom of expression, but is critical—we must produce, we must make, we must create. We can perfect our art as we go along, but most of this perfecting and refinement comes from putting our work out into the world. We grow as we go, and as we go we are sure to learn things along the way. Identifying perfectionism and our need to be perfect is critical, and it will help us improve our practice and development in positive ways. In the coming weeks, I hope to share my thoughts about how to address it. Hopefully, as I continue my own exercises (the writing and the poetry), I’ll be able to share some thoughts about my early experiences in this process. Be well. Yours Truly, Creative Gone MAD

Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

re·mem·ber [ri-mem-ber] /rɪˈmɛmbər/: To return to an original shape or form after being deformed or altered. Origin: 1300–50; Middle English remembren < Old French remembrer < Late Latin rememorārī, equivalent to re- re- + Latin memor mindful ( see memory) + -ārī infinitive suffix.

  The year has started, and I’ve started it without any resolutions specific to the year itself, to be honest. Well, that’s not entirely true, now is it? As I mentioned in the previous post, though, I am very interested in accomplishing certain goals within the next twelve month that are moreso tied to me hitting the big 3 and 0, as they say. Yesterday, a good friend of mine began to tell me one of her goals for this year was to stop worrying about things and finally just let go. Like really let go—both hands. The timing was interesting, because I was having a similar dilemma toward the end of last week, and finally, I just let go of an issue on Sunday. By Monday, the very solution I was looking for immediately presented itself. Did you hear me there:  

I literally let go of the issue or source of struggle I was fighting, and almost immediately a viable and more promising solution showed up.

Shortly after, another very wise friend mentioned to me “a lot of life is about habits we form. We form good habits and bad habits. At the root of changing those habits, is discipline. So that is what I am working on this year.” I thought the timing was so perfect, considering the conversation I had with the other friend that day. The act of holding on too tightly to things can easily be looked at as a sort of habit too, I suppose. Our motivations behind what forces us to cling to things tooth and nail is important, so in creating new habits and disciplines we have to evaluate that as well. Sometimes, we convince ourselves that holding on tightly to things is the best way to get a task done. That if we squeeze, contort, bend and break things, we can force them to our will and reach a certain end. But how certain are about the ends we reach, once we reach them, really? Each day, I learn this is not the case and I also learn that sometimes, the things we are fighting for do not truly represent our highest goals and desires. So much strength is gained from releasing things once they have outlived their value in our lives. But we have to evaluate these things carefully. Remarkably, once we remove sources of tension and discomfort, we leave space for the “coming of angels,” as a brilliant professor of mine once stated. And suddenly, the floodgates open and those angels come right in! So this week, I’ve tried to exercise just that. I’ve tried to surrender a bit deeper into things that are beyond my control or things that won’t change into what I want them to be. I’ve focused more on changing myself into who I would like to be. And even within this short period of time, what I have learned is that some things are the way they are—because that is really the way they are meant to be. When I accept those things as what they are, I find freedom. I feel some measure of joy and realignment. How about that:  

Some things are the way they are—because that is the way they are meant to be. When I accept those things what they are, I find freedom and peace in the release.

I didn’t really expect to come up with a mantra, but I guess I am grateful I did. Maybe it will be of value to someone. It has been working for me, so far. Cheers to letting go a little more each day. Pack light, for a smoother journey!

I guess nobody ever told you, all you must hold to, is you.


Life and the Pursuit of Happiness
Turning 29 is kind of a big deal. I start to look over the strange course of my life, the things I feel I so desperately must change about myself, and realize many of these ‘things’ have been here all along. Life is constant evolution, if I’m doing it right (so I hear). And I guess I shouldn’t think of ‘changing myself’ and start to reflect more on who I am as a fluid, evolving being that is naturally changing with each day. My grandmother used to tell me, “boy, if you don’t stop stressing out, you will have a stroke and die by the time you are 25.” I might have been 9 or 10 years old at the time she first told me that. I suppose, even at a very young age, I had this sensibility about me. I loved hard and I deeply care about people. I digress, of course, because this is not about that ‘sensibility’ of mine, right? Each year I make it past 25, I joke quietly to myself, “well, Frances, I’ve made it this far.” Now, I would have never referred to her by her first name as a child, but I think as an adult she would have let me get away with it. I guess, I am not entirely sure what I want to say right now. I’m writing this on December 23, 2014. I’m saving it as a draft, because I want to wait until New Year’s Eve. Right now, The New Year is still 8 days away. But I’ve find myself asking a very important question”

What have I dealt with from birth to 29 that I absolutely cannot bare caring into 30?

A new decade of life, a whole new realm of experience–who is it that I want to be by the time I’m 40? I don’t know if I want to write an generous, sincere letter to myself now, or do I want to…what do I want to do? I guess the many posts you’ll see here will be about that journey. My plan is that eve of the New Year, I will sit down and set my intentions for this next year of life (I’m already a couple of weeks into the journey). I’m not sure what 29 will have in store, but I hope its beautiful. If I’m the painter of this canvas, well, I guess I better make sure of it. Cheers, Brian Btw, check out the awesome video below. It is an amazing interview of Nina Simone.