Are We BLOCKING Our Own Success & Fulfillment??
What if we don’t need to have it ALL figured out to become the artist we want to be? In fact, what if there’s more power in letting the process happen rather than us trying to force the future to bend to our will? Sometimes when we’re pressuring ourselves in that way, it ends up feeling like the more we do, the more we give ourselves to do…and the more we end up getting overwhelmed.
Now that the smoke is starting to clear here on the East Coast, I realize that this clarity is something that often comes at the end of a disaster. After each failure, there is a lesson, after each rock bottom comes an upward path. So how do we know if the smoke is clearing within us?
Something that I’ve been practicing now is the power of intention and when that intention is set, our energy can align with it. There’s a multitude of ways to showcase this, but with creating it can be as simple as waking up and having the intention of being open to ideas.
When I opened the computer today, I had no ideas for this blog post. In the past that may have worried me into thinking, what am I going to write about? I’m not even prepared, I’m just going to waste my time. I should’ve had an idea before I sat down to write…and so on and so on. But once I opened that blank document, I merely stepped away, got some water, and believed that an idea would come to me.
I set that intention of being open for something to write about that would bring value to other creatives and let that intention be answered with some time.
I was a habitual white-knuckler in my early days of creating…thinking that purely putting time into something would ALWAYS yield results. And if I managed to keep putting time into things and not give up, those results would ultimately come to accomplishments and fulfillment. These were beliefs that I formed.
Do you have similar ones?
I’m learning now that these rigorous beliefs can be changed, that I am actually in control over what I believe…and that I can make the choice on how to act based on these beliefs. When it comes to creating, I think the most powerful belief to have is the confidence that what’s to come will be perfect…and that we just need to start taking action to allow for that future to come.
10 years ago, I was playing bass in a band [WARPARK] with my high school friends and gigging around New York City. Not even 21 yet, just rolling into clubs and getting my hands marked, all to have a chance to perform on stage and share music with total strangers. I loved being able to play our tunes live, but from that, I learned that I had a deeper desire to start writing my own tunes.
That desire was my first inkling to start my own creative ventures outside of being in a band. That was the birth of being a knucklehead…and just shooting for the stars. I modeled other folks for learning how to play guitar, sing, write, and even with performing. Everyone that I liked, I wanted to do my own thing like they were doing.
That snowball carries me to where I am now. Still trying new things that I see others doing. Thinking, “Hey, I like what they’re doing, I want to do that! How can I do something like that?” or “Maybe I could be good at that!”
Shortly after the KNUCKLËHEAD punk band was formed, albums were going out, and over the years I expanded into podcasting, blogging, streaming…and all that is happening now through this website. But here’s the thing:
I was not actively thinking how I was going to make it, or how I could make a living doing that…it was just monkey see monkey do.
Though things started out as fun and experimental, over time I started developing expectations…or desired results. I committed myself to doing as much as I can with these outlets and hoping for the universe to reward me for my efforts.
But here’s what I learned:
If we put our heads down and just concentrate on “working as hard as possible” in order to feel worthy of an abundant and fulfilling future, we are living for THAT outcome and ignoring ourselves in the present. We can instead visualize what our desired future is to embody that feeling, bring gratitude into our lives now as if it were real, and begin to feel familiar with it. Almost like emotionally preparing for those outcomes by allowing them to come rather than generating resistance by using our incessant desire motivation.
This is another way of monkey see monkey do…but rather than doing EXTERNALLY, it’s INTERNALLY feeling into that state we are working toward.
Once I started doing this, it opened a whole new identity for me, believing in myself as an artist rather than just hoping good things will come. Once that domino falls, it’s onto having confidence and pride that we are aligned with our purpose as well as our passion.
Frequently I meditate on the question, what is the ideal situation?
I visualize my life in a way that breaks through these stress blocks and resistance that has been coming from the ‘work hard’ mentality. Bringing the sensation of peace and gratitude for feeling I am in that situation now. Using that emotion in the present to feel as if those things exist for me right now.
What can you visualize for yourself?
We can use that visualization, that emotion, to help us push our snowball off the mountain. For me, it started with wanting to write songs…and now I am here working on many content outlets and developing my own business.
Is visualizing just another way to live in delusion?
When visualizing turns into delusion, it is usually from a lack of taking action. If we spend our time focused on the imagery and emotions from visualizing our future, but we don’t properly shift into embodying that identity with actions, we can end up just being lost in fantasy. The idea here is to use these thoughts and emotions to inspire proper actions that would come from having this identity in the present.
We don’t need to know every step of the plan to start taking action.
But we do need to be aware of what our beliefs are and if they’re blocking us from being worthy of our fulfillment and success. Instead of the combative motivation coming from stress, we can choose to motivate ourselves with positivity and trust in the future to provide us with what will be absolutely perfect.
Giving up our control for trust comes down to our beliefs. From that, we can start taking action right now, by believing in our identity and pushing that first snowball off to bring that identity into reality. It comes down to set that intention, becoming that new version of us by taking action, and consistently engaging to form those new habits our identity embodies.
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Stay creative! 💜💛
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It’s been a while! I hope this new website and new lifestyle will bring me to a discipline with blogging. I have to fill the void somehow. Might as well get productive with things. The website needs to have content on it in some form! This is a blog that I started back in September 2019, but I don’t think I ever got around to finishing it or posting it. However, it does not make it totally irrelevant to myself today…in fact it is remarkably still quite relevant. It is actually a reflection of something I did one year ago, almost to this very date. So let’s begin…
Here we are now—a full year after COVID hit the United States and put an entire country in limbo. From toilet paper nearly becoming currency to vaccines becoming readily available, we have now seen the impact of this pandemic from this trip around the sun. I think this may be a good time to really reflect on what life was, what it is now, and what the hell we should do now...
Well, we did it. Masks are off, people are vaccinated, and summertime is upon us. What’s next? Shows are getting set up, tours booked, and the last of businesses are opening back up. The next phase in society is shifting and we must get with it one way or another. Things like this are easier for me to deal with if I just try not to think about it too much. The onslaught of questioning I can put myself through can often cripple or just bum me out to a point of depression-like symptoms. In my heart I am an optimist. In my head I’m a cynical over-thinker. There’s a word for this, right?
Ever just stop and ask yourself “wait...why am I doing this?” Or maybe you found yourself in a place you didn’t really plan on being in when you first began your journey. Maybe doubts start setting in, as if to say you should be in a better place...or you should be having more “success” than what you’re currently experiencing. Before these thoughts spiral out of control, you then have to snap back into reality and get back to the point…“why am I doing this?” ...
Life is always going to be about rolling with the punches, adapting…surviving. The famous Rollins quote of “half of life is fucking up and the other half is dealing with it.” Today’s world proves to have quite a different gameplan. There are far less rules and require far more backup plans. Everyone seems to be navigating differently. If you are out there looking at your neighbor and thinking that their path is right for you, you might just end up in a very different place than you intended. One thing seems to reign supreme now: figure out what works for you...
Regardless of how we all feel about Joe Rogan or Neil Young or anyone else involved in this “controversy” one thing should all rub us the wrong way: Spotify standing on the heads of countless artists to pay a man 100 million dollars. There are lots of different perspectives on this situation and the ever-evolving music industry that I want to dig into, but ultimately I’ll never be on board with how streaming services seem to be bankrolling billions, and artists are left waiting for the trickle-down effect. Yes, I’m aware I am a very small-time artist that is getting very little action/benefits from these streaming platforms and at the risk of just sounding like a bitter wannabe (or jaded boomer), here are what I think the issues are and even some solutions…
If you are some sort of artist or creative person and you’ve endured the past 2 years without giving up, you deserve a medal of honor…seriously. We all suffered varying degrees of trauma and though we are not out of the woods with the pandemic effects, we are reaching a stage of creative resurgence. Tours are booked, concerts and the rest of the entertainment industry is rolling again, so it’s now time for those quarantine projects to come to life. This can be rather intimidating and anxiety-inducing, which lots of creatives struggle with, but we have to figure out a way to use this new era as motivation to see things through...
So far what I’ve established in my life is that preparation fuels everything. It’s my basis for confidence and my main anxiety reducer, both creatively and in my personal life. In BLOG 5, I talked about figuring out what works for me as I approach this new year and a new chapter in my life. I’ve settled into a new living situation, been trying out different working environments, and trying to stay productive creatively. Though society is still very uncertain, my objective was to play the hand I am currently dealt in order to be able to move forward. I’ve set goals and shifted priorities, but also stayed committed to certain things in order to plan on what comes next. Halfway through the year, I’m checking in to show my successes and shortcomings...
Now that “THE PANDEMIC IS OVER,” it seems like things are going faster than ever. Every band is touring (and bailing on tours), all kinds of shows are selling out, flights are unpredictable, and prices are out of control. Another new normal? Regardless of where you are in your life, we all have at least one commonality: we’re a couple years older than when this thing first began. One thing that always comes with getting older is the confrontation of time passing and an excuse for reflection. Though this is sounding like blog posts of the past, this post I’m thinking about measuring success, not just thinking about maintaining creativity. Our expectations and goals can change as we’re faced with harsh realities or surprising accomplishments, so what’s feeding our current state of creative fulfillment?
If you’re like me, the new year can bring a bunch of different feelings up…likely lots of ups and downs. We can look back on the past year and what we’ve gone through, or similarly look ahead to what we hope to go through this year, but sometimes being in that headspace can cause a loss of being in the present and where we are now. 2022 exposed a lot of things within American society and the world, but I think what is mostly getting exposed is the need for mental health treatment…for just about everyone (but especially creatives). If you follow me on INSTAGRAM you may have seen that post I put out early on during the pandemic urging us creatives to speak up and find someone to talk to if they had the means. Now I’m revisiting why this is so important to us and keeping us true to who we are as creatives walking into 2023...
Our childhood determines what our personality traits will be, how we choose the things we do, and even the reality we choose to see. The behaviors of how we think, feel, and see amalgamates to who we really are. Until something or someone gets us to step outside ourselves to objectively observe the causes and results of our behaviors, we’re likely stuck in this autopilot of repeating cycles...cycles that stemmed from childhood events. In the last post I used the analogy of us all emerging into adulthood with our inner child situated in some sort of hole. The size and depth of that hole just depends on our genetics along with the traumas and experiences we had growing up. So what do we do about it and how does this impact us as creatives?
Are you feeling like no matter what you do you can’t get ahead? Treading water? Even if you do accomplish or produce something, somehow it doesn’t meet expectations and it leaves you slightly dissatisfied? It can feel like the mind is racing and the body can’t keep up. When these 2 entities fall out of balance it’s the fire/gasoline combo igniting depression, anxiety, and even just plain old writer’s block. It can fall even deeper into panic attacks or paralysis episodes that kill the motivation to do anything. Though it may feel like we are the only ones experiencing it, this is something that plagues us all from time to time–especially artists trying to keep up in this 2023 world of rising prices and abundant distractions. In this post I’m going to talk about how to combat these situations and how to let things happen in order to right the creative ship. These frantic states are completely normal because it is the case of our mind & body trying to communicate something to us…we just need to have the awareness to figure out what that is...
Every creative process evolves, grows, or gets dismantled. Like the great quote from Heraclitus, “the only thing that is constant is change.” There is another quote from him however, that states, “it is in changing that we find purpose.” That to me, is the name of the game with creativity, and this brings me to my main point for this post: Will we be able to keep creating? This anxiety-inducing question can come from a lot of different places, like being financially, emotionally, or mentally stable, but when you boil it all down it’s the same place: worry & fear. If you’ve fallen victim to the thoughts or feelings that come from fear, you’re certainly not alone…especially if you’re an artist. But let’s break this down in order to realign our path with our purpose and that comes with one word...
What if we don’t need to have it ALL figured out to become the artist we want to be? In fact, what if there’s more power in letting the process happen rather than us trying to force the future to bend to our will? Sometimes when we’re pressuring ourselves in that way, it ends up feeling like the more we do, the more we give ourselves to do…and the more we end up getting overwhelmed. Now that the smoke is starting to clear here on the East coast, I realize that this clarity is something that often comes at the end of a disaster. After each failure there is a lesson, after each rock bottom comes an upward path. So how do we know if the smoke is clearing within us?
Something that has been popping up all around me is the concept of determining a person’s value. This can be described in a couple of different ways, one being the value that a person provides, or the values that a person holds within themselves. As in what we contribute to the outside, versus what we hold as important qualities on the inside. As artists, this is probably one of the most difficult areas to navigate. So much of society is set up in a way where value is based on earning money. Especially in America, it’s almost all we think about. I was at this party a little while ago and someone asked me what I’ve been doing during the week and if I have a career path. I replied by outlining how I’m providing content and building a community to empower artists. Their response was, “Oh, wow…how do you plan on making money doing that?” It seems like this was such a natural question to ask in a discussion such as this, when a person describes what they want to do with their life, almost immediately they are met with asking can I make money doing this? Here’s why this can be REALLY dangerous for artists...
What is the purpose of our art? To some of us, that may be an easy question to answer, but to others, maybe it requires a little more thought. Some would maybe even question what the point of art is as a whole. Some of us might notice beauty in every little thing around us while others can walk through a museum and wonder why nothing truly impresses them. These days I have been turned on to a different perspective on creativity and its purpose. Especially within the music scene. It’s something that has been in my face for years, but was just not fully aware of how to articulate it…so here it goes...
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