Living a Love-Filled Life

Do you ever wish you were someone or somewhere else?

Being you isn't good enough, and you feel like you need to work harder than ever to change? 

I've had those thoughts as well, and they don't feel very good. As musicians, it's easy for us to compare ourselves to others, and usually when we do this, it hurts us more than it helps. It makes us think negatively about ourselves, which, in my experience does not inspire me to want to practice. It makes me want to eat ice cream and watch not-so-great SNL episodes on Hulu...

Relatively recently, I've been able to be around some amazing people, like my wife Emily (who does amazing work with creative people), and others that think highly about themselves, don't compare, and are incredible at being completely happy about where they are in life, and creating from that place. I can totally feel it rubbing off on me. 

What does this mean?

Well for one, I'm choosing to focus fully on my life. What other people do doesn't affect me. I can choose to get angry or frustrated at people, or I can choose to ignore, or act passively. Everything is up to me. I CREATE MY LIFE. 

In regards to practicing and being a professional musician, it's like there's been a curtain lifted, and I can see what I want to practice and how I can accomplish those goals much more clearly. I feel like big parts of my ego have shriveled up and died, releasing me from pain that I've felt in the recent past due to fear, living in the past or future, or comparing myself to other musicians. 

One other thing - I've realized THERE IS NO END POINT. Yea, we all want to become better improvisers or whatever, but if you are a person always striving for perfection, you're never gonna feel like you've done enough, and you'll never feel the happy, fulfilling feelings of accomplishment, relaxation, and content.

That is why it's so freaking important to appreciate your ability and playing RIGHT NOW. In this moment. Scratch that - LOVE your playing in this moment. You are absolutely amazing at sounding like yourself - a unique, flawless version of YOU. Yes, there is always more music to learn, but you've already learned so much, and you've already become a better player because of that. It's just going to get better and better. Isn't that great?

How to practice this:

There are many different ways in which I practice loving myself. The important thing to remember is that loving yourself is a practice - life is a practice. The more that you practice, the more changes you'll feel. 

  1. Meditate - take 15 minutes out of your day to actively ignore fear, worry, and anxiety. Be in the present moment, and practice being aware of your breath or tension in your body. 
  2. Do something creative that doesn't involve "working hard" at your instrument - I've just started getting into cooking, and it allows me to have a great time, without any pressure. Cooking has helped me practice being creative and having fun at the same time. I've also learned that there are a lot of similarities between learning how to cook and learning an instrument.
  3. Practice enjoying every note you play - Every single note you play feels and sounds wonderful to you. Make this a part of your routine, and enjoy it. Life is about having fun, so if you don't strive for that in every moment, then what's the point of living?

These are just a few of many things you can do to practice loving yourself. It's a completely personal practice, and the most important thing is if you can feel love for yourself.

If you can't love yourself, how will you love your music?

Music and life are the same and your music is a reflection of who you are. If you can practice living in love and relaxation on a daily basis, your whole life will improve, ultimately making you a better player, but most importantly making you a happier, joy-filled person. 

The Power of Positive Thought

Are you happy with the amount of money you’re making? 

Do you like your schedule? 

Are you happy? Excited for every day? Jumping out of bed ready for a brand new day?

Can you change your lifestyle, or is this the way it has to be?

Can you make more money as a professional musician?

Be honest. I want to know.

And I really want you to know that your life can be amazing. You don’t have to struggle every month to pay rent, or do the things you like to do, and you can actually save money. 

Being a professional musician does have unlimited potential to change your life, and let you choose exactly what you want to be doing...and make money. Lots of money. Why not? 

I’m going to share with you a simple tool that I use in my everyday live to strengthen the vision of what I want my life to be.

First let me ask you something. What do you love to do?

Like you wouldn’t need to be paid to do this thing all the time. It completes you...makes you feel amazing. 

Compose, perform, improvise, play standards, teach, arrange, manage, book, write songs, collaborate? Anything is valid. 

Now, I could just tell you that if you follow your dreams, everything will be great, but in my experience, there has to be something invested.

That something is thoughts. I’m going to talk a little about a subject that has completely changed my life, and I’m so into it. 

Manifestation. Projection. Positive Thinking. 

...whatever you want to call it. It’s powerful stuff - Life changing stuff - Scientifically proven stuff :)

Did you know that your brain is plastic? Millions of neurons are being stimulated every second, and if you can start to shift your thought patterns, the anatomy of your brain will actually change to support that. 

The thoughts that you project bounce back to you, so if your a generally positive person, you’ll be creating a positive “vibe” and life. If you are the opposite, you’ll experience more negativity in your life - emotionally, physically, professionally, etc. 

This may be a simple concept, but it is incredibly powerful. One of the greatest things about life is that you can change. 

YOU are creation and you create your reality. 

The change starts from within. No amount of gigs, recording sessions, or lessons will change the way you feel in your daily life in a lasting way. And if you don’t feel good, you wont be a positive person, and you wont be creating an amazing life that you love. 

Something in you must shift for everything around you to change. 

Most people experience a steady flow of thoughts that happen to be negative.

“I’m not going to be able to pay rent.” 

“No one is hiring me for gigs.”

“I’m not as good as this guy, so what’s the point?”

Now, if you get started with one negative thought, usually your mind will spin out of control into an incredibly detailed and dramatic narrative all supporting that initial thought. People do this all the time on a daily basis. It doesn’t feel good, and it’s not supportive in any way, so why the heck would you do it?

Well, as backwards as this may sound, people like to worry. It can feel productive to have a burden, then get rid of it; to have continuous anxiety and worries throughout your day, only to be “solved” until the next problem will pop up.

One thing is for sure - that is not how I want to live my life. 

As musicians, there are a lot of preconceptions about how we live. A lot of times when I tell someone I’m a professional musician, they are surprised that I can support myself with that as my job. Assuming that I’m not making a lot of money. Assuming I’m struggling. 

The great thing about being a full-time pro is you get to be your own boss and decide precisely what you want every moment to be like. You get to choose who you play music with, what type of music you play, and the kind of gigs you’re playing. You get to decide how much money you want to make this month. As a freelancer, you may be saying, “well no, I have to get hired by people, so they decide if I make rent or not.” 

If you are damn good at what you do, people will hire you. It’s all a matter of your perspective, and your willingness to put your positive thoughts to the test. Trust me, it will pay off.

Do this:

Notice your thoughts regularly, and if one comes up that isn’t supportive to your dreams and desires, make it positive, or shift your thinking to something that is positive. 

Try this every day for a week and see how you feel. You’ll probably even have some good stuff happen to you :).

You will become the master of your mind, and not let your mind be the master of your life.

Remember, this is a continuous practice, and just like learning an instrument, change takes time. 

So please do this exercise, and see the change from the inside out.