Monday, May 27, 2013

Preach The Gospel And Sometimes Use Words

"A mess is a sign of an active mind." As far back as I can remember, my room was always mess. Not in the sense that clothes were scattered everywhere or beer cans were strewn about. But every inch of my walls were covered. Pictures, magazine covers, posters, found objects, neon ceiling stars, random stickers and personal artwork completely engulfed my room like an amoeba of inspiration. Best decision ever. By surrounding myself with a perpetual collage of creative stimuli, it was impossible for my mind to run idle. And I began laying track for an artistic foundation that would still matter decades later. Inspired by an interview about Neil Tyson's desktop.

"Preach the gospel and sometimes use words." Looking back, I don't remember my dad teaching me how to be a man. I don't remember my mom teaching me how to be polite. I don't remember my parents teaching me how to be a conscientious, disciplined worker. Why? Because instead of teaching those things, my parents lived those things. He was a man. She was polite. They were disciplined. So instead of taking notes, I just followed suit. That's what kids do, right? They take cues from behavior, not language. A good reminder that values aren't taught, they're caught. Inspired by an amazing interview with Rob Bell.

"Bad choice that I rationalized as fate." Once we admit to ourselves that it wasn't meant to be, it wasn't god's will and it wasn't the universe's magical plan to conspire against us, we can actually take ownership over our behavior. What a glorious, freeing moment. We realize there's no external force coercing the trajectory of our lives. We finally discover that we are the result of ourselves. From that place, anything is possible. Inspired by Footprints of God.

"Get out of the basement and go play for people." Musicians have a few options. First, there's open mics. You show up late at night, put your name on the list, sit there for an hour pretending to be interested in the other bands, then play two songs through crappy house equipment to a moderately interested audience and hope that somebody comes up after your set and thanks you. Another option is to pick yourself. To find a public place with amazing acoustics, set up your gear and play whatever you want, as loud as you want, for as long as you want, to whomever happens to be walking by, having the time of your life. I've done both, and the second approach is infinitely more meaningful. Inspired by the fancy fingered Doyle Dykes.

"There is creation inside them, but they won’t set it free." When we encounter that thing that sticks inside of us and says now, we have a human obligation to let it out. Not necessarily perfectly. Not necessarily for money. And not necessarily on the web for all to see. But ideas aren't meant to stay that way. Whatever expression is crawling around inside our brains, it doesn't belong there. We need to get it out. If only for the experience of expelling it. Start today. Inspired by the best book I've read all year.