“Pack a small suitcase and a smaller ego.” —Willie Nelson
So much of life is what to include and what to leave out. What to focus on and what to ignore. The space and light that comes to us once we defend our preferences is amazing. To the degree that at some level we might even be afraid of it. It’s easier to keep yourself busy than to take a clear-eyed look at your biggest and bravest goals.
We are inundated with too many possibilities (first-world problems, I realize). We have a little too much of everything. The fact that there are storage facilities all over the country full of the stuff we can’t even fit into our houses is insane. Some have nothing, and some have more than they can ever use.
Our phones have more capacity than the government’s “supercomputers” had for decades, and yet we are still miserable when we can’t order something in one click or when we wait five seconds for a connection. There is now more content created in two days than since the beginning of recorded history to 2003 (Gary Vaynerchuk). We have most everything ever recorded and written at our fingertips, but are we any happier? Are we doing our real work? The work we were meant to do?
“What you seek is seeking you.” —Rumi
If you want more space, more headroom, a little more peace, you gotta fight for it. I’ve got more music than I can listen to, more books than I can read, more new demos or videos someone wants me to watch and listen to than I can watch and still talk to family, more songs started than I can finish, more on my to-do list than I will ever do or should ever really be attacked at once. I made myself this busy and overwhelmed, and I can fix it. We create most of our messes ourselves.
It’s time to STOP this insanity. Give away more, delete more, say no to more, and create with LESS. Bring energy up and take drama down. Streamline and shrink the pile.
1. SCALE IT DOWN
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler – Thoreau
I’m taking a hard look at everything I own—everything—and if it really helps me or just takes up space and should belong to someone else.
2. ONLY THE BEST
—If there is a record on my phone I don’t LOVE, it’s in the trash.
—If I’m reading a book I don’t love, I’m not gonna force myself to finish.
—Photos on my phone that don’t move me or remind me of something? Good night, Irene.
—Calls and emails that aren’t going anywhere or drain me… Good night.
—Social media folks whom I don’t know or don’t bring energy, art, or love to the table, or worse yet, racists, homophobes, fear-mongers and hateful morons… Good night.
—Apps that I check constantly that bring no joy or inspiration (off the bat—I use my calorie counter obsessively and my news feed is a joke; I wrote about this HERE).
—Clothes I don’t love, DAV, here we come; someone needs these.
—I have collected a lot of cheap guitars from pawn shops over the years, and I am taking them all in for a couple of guitars I really want and would play every day—or a little tube amp that sounds like warm butter.
—If I’m working on a song that doesn’t move me, I’m throwing it away and starting a new one (Stephen King: Kill your darlings.)
3. PAY ATTENTION TO ENERGY
Most things either give energy or take it. I’m paying attention to which is which. You wake up with a fixed amount of energy each a.m., and what/who you surround yourself with is directly responsible for how much you have left at the end of the day. People think artists need drama to create, but what we need is ENERGY. When the energy is good, we can shout from the rooftops. When it’s bad, nothing is gonna get us a melody or decent line of lyrics. Nothing feels better than being on top of the day and being able to go at our goals instead of just putting out fires and or trying to keep up. When we have momentum, we can come up with new ideas and solve problems in new ways. When we are overwhelmed, the muse is happy to run and hide and make every work seem like lifting a ton of bricks.
I am making a promise to cull, to cut, to delete, to remove from life things that are not worthy of my time and my heart. I will fight to be surrounded by my favorite people, favorite books and ideas, songs and melodies and beats, blogs and podcasts, voice memos and messages that are inspiring or funny, full of hope and optimism.
I hope this inspires you to consider doing the same. You probably have stuff someone else would like, and I imagine you (like most of us in the western world) have too much coming at you. Let’s kill the clutter. Let’s look at what really matters and what we want to create and do for others. Let’s get back to the beginning and move out from there.
Next week is the secrets to packing for a long trip—you can judge for yourself if I am taking my own medicine. 🙂
Thanks, all. See you next Wednesday!
Please subscribe to @goodingmusic on all social media.
You can also subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed: http://goodingmusic.com/blog/feed/.