I don’t even know where to start with this subject except to say I’m tired of the hustle. The ideas that you have to be doing something all the time. Especially when you are running your own “business.” I think a lot of us are tired of it
I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life trying to make something of my life. I’ve spent a lot of energy, time, effort and gone through emotions I didn’t even know I had. The fears around “am I doing enough,” money, my future (if I have one), the shame I feel when I don’t measure up to what’s expected of me. The anxiety I feel about not doing enough or wondering if I’m going to remember to do that thing I need to do (even if I write it down). There is so much pressure I put on myself in order to “stay on top of my game” that I have these moments of “what’s it all for?” Really. At the end of the day, what’s it all for?
I left the city in 2014 to get away from the noise and bustle that was playing with my head. My soul was starting to kick me to let me know changes needed to be made and that being in nature would be and has been the best medicine to help facilitate these kinds of changes. I remember in the beginning of this chapter, a friend of mine was concerned that I would be bored living in a rural setting. I wasn’t. Hardly. I was elated to be able to breathe for the first time in a long, long time. I was able to just relax into who I am and let who I thought I should be fall away. I was happy to start hearing my own voice again. It brought to mind being a kid and spending so much time outside making up fantastic worlds populated with vivid characters.
I have spent a lot of time alone, in my own world to reacquaint myself with me and that imagination I indulged in as a kid to help make the kind of life I want. But there is this shame that comes with that. That self-talk that tells you “You’re WRONG for doing what you want” and not pulling your own weight in the world. It’s taken every bit these past 10 years to shake that shaming voice. Even so, remnants are still there and it tries. Oh how it tries by telling me how I deserve to fail for being so stinking selfish for going for what I want in life. This is the product of being part of a world that seeks to make you a cog and nothing more. I used to see this as bad but now I feel like I’ve been spared the stress, anxiety and fears that a higher position in jobs bring. I'm not so sure I would have survived that.
There have been many things I’ve learned about myself these past 10 years. What I’m really good at like making music and being creative, making videos, teaching people, making musical instruments. And what I suck at like marketing, running a business, time management and keeping track of business details. They are definitely not my strong suit though I'm getting better at them because I have to. I’ve often wondered where I’m going with all of this in working on a “career” in music. Is it career or is it vocation? I’ve often wondered if I’m doing anything right. I’m learning that the music business is this entity that isn’t exactly artist friendly. It’s seems far more interested in generating revenue than assisting artists. I’ve decided that this not something I want to be a part of, which throws me into territory that is uncharted. Perhaps this is where my love of making trails through the wilderness in the natural world is best serving me by just taking one step in front of another even though I have no idea what to expect. And through this process learning this one thing…
You can’t argue with a soul when it’s telling you that you can be more than you are.
This one thing is what keeps me going. I have no idea where it’s heading but I do have a vision of what I want and that's all I need.
When I’m in the real world (i.e. nature) there are no judgements. There are no criticisms or harsh words. There’s just acceptance. And that’s the main reason why you find me in the forest so much. I can breathe and ponder life's moves there better than anywhere else. I let the stillness pour over me to calm all the anxiety and worries. I walk the paths and trails through the trees, bushes, fallen trees, mosses and lichens and it gets me to notice the microlife that is there. How many little universes there are in just a single stump with life growing on it. These are things that get me to the space where life is much simpler and more manageable. Once I'm in that space, then I feel I can make better decisions about where to head and what to do about what I encounter along the way. It's taken me awhile to become keen about what I want and what to pay attention to and suss out distractions so I can stay on track. I go through plateaus of learning but then experience these sudden moments of simply knowing what to do and when to do it. I'm not sure where this comes from. I think it's a combination of paying attention to what's around me, and knowing in my gut and being discerning about what works and what doesn't. It's also about keeping what works and discarding what doesn't. This has not been an easy lesson for me because I've been one who keeps (i.e. hoards) knowledge just in case I may need it later. Turns out much of the time, I don't.
I think simplicity and manageability are two things that so many of us are longing for. A kind of life that doesn’t overwhelm all the time. This is one gift that I’ve gotten over the past 10 years and I let it wash over me like a cleansing wave clearing out all the junk. And when expectations of modern life does try to butt in, creating stress and anxiety, I either go to the forest or I start writing to meet the feelings head on and suss out what I can do to head things off. It's this kind of pro-activeness and self-determination that I've had to learn to head things off and get things back on the trail.
So I write all of these thoughts because I know there are a growing number of people who are feeling the need to change things up – people who are trying to find a more balanced way to be in the world without feeling overwhelmed by its requirements or feeling lost in thoughts all the time. I feel there needs to be a balance of both and that’s going to look different for each of us. For me, I spend as much time as I can away from people and seek solitude for long periods of time. I balance that out by being with people who energize me. This is so important to find the people who energize you instead of draining you. I spend time creating. Yes, it’s my job but it’s also my soul work. It’s what came here to do. Lately, I’ve been feeling how music is part of an even larger picture for me. And so , I’m allowing myself to step up to that plate and open up a bit about more of how I live life. I’ve been doing this through photos on Instagram but I’ve been putting together some ideas for video as well and soon will be sharing those on Youtube. And as for money, well, I'm still working on that one trying to find some balance between hustle and rest. At this moment, what's been helping is letting go of my own expectations and especially comparisons with others. Healing my relationship with money by seeing it more as a valuable tool to help get what I need to keep doing the work I do. And more importantly, letting myself feel the support and gratitude for what I earn without slipping into being a slick salesperson. This last one is tricky to navigate and is definitely it's own article. Perhaps I'll write it one day.
So, it's an ever changing world out there and I could write volumes more about it but I’ll stop right here for the sake of time. There will be other articles in the future about more of this. If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I so appreciate you taking the time and I hope you get something out of it or feel inspired enough to go out and do something awesome. If you have some thoughts of your own, leave a comment below. Wisdom is only wisdom when it's shared. Take care y'all and I’ll see you in the real world somewhere.