Years ago, when I was going through a dry spell as a songwriter, I stumbled upon a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. It is a 12-step program for recovering artists. This book gave me some very practical tools for opening my (sometimes blocked) creative channels. For a long time, it was my “bible”, and the exercises in the book were very helpful. I believe it is still in print and is readily available on-line, in bookstores, or in libraries. (more…)
You know, we never discuss politics on MLR. It’s okay. My mother taught me never to talk about religion or politics in mixed company. In fact, she taught me never to talk about religion or politics at all! It always leads to big arguments. It ruins friendships, wrecks marriages, and nobody ever gets converted. To put it another way, as Art and I have so often observed, “You can’t tell anybody anything!” So, we won’t start talking politics now.
However, we can talk about meta-politics. (I just made that word up.) In other words, we can talk about how politics, on the whole, affect us. And that, I think, most of us can agree on. Say what you will about the past year, but it’s been full of politics! People have been yammering away about what’s happening in Washington, and the talk has not been pretty! (more…)
In these turbulent times, when there is so much political discord and the noise level from our TVs, radios, Internet and print has reached staggering proportions, you might find – as I do – that it is important, maybe even crucial, that you take some time off from the cacophony and clear, or at least quiet your mind. (How else can you possibly hear the music?!) To that end, I would like to refer you to a beautiful little book by Jack Kornfield, a psychologist and Buddhist priest. It is called The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace. The book was written in 2001, just before the events of 9-11, and I have found it to be an invaluable friend over the years. I can open it to any page at random and find something that nurtures my soul. (more…)
Years ago, when I was taking the yoga teacher training, I remember something my mentor, Christy, said that has stayed with me ever since. We were talking about how hard it is to be consistent in your practice – whether we’re talking about meditation, or asana (the physical poses of yoga), or for some of us, composing music. We start out with the best of intentions (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?). And then life happens. We had planned to live on vegetables and whole grains from now on, but a friend presented us with a homemade chocolate cake. We were going to study all weekend every weekend, but the sun came out and lured us to the beach. (more…)
A while back, Art and I had a gig! We played at the annual holiday brunch at the community clubhouse. It was the first time we had played out in a very long time. (Like, decades!) I played piano and Art played acoustic guitar. We were joined by our neighbor, Gary, who plays violin in a local symphony and string quartet, and later (quite spontaneously) by our neighbor, Vib, on his harmonica.
There were around 50 people there of all ages, milling around the clubhouse, eating a potluck brunch, laughing, joking, and wishing each other the joy of the season. As people were streaming in we played quietly in the background, just to help create the holiday mood. (more…)