Glorious Imperfections

We’re all prone to the human condition. I know that while my natural predisposition is to see the shinier side of life, there is an equal and opposite dull and dark side too. Balancing it all out, I suppose.

Ya’ll know I post Mr. A to Z here pretty often. He is, in my humble opnion, one of the more brilliant lights in this world. And MAN!! What a way with words 😛

He posted the following post on his blog recently and I found it both inspiring and honest. So where better to share it? 🙂

Peace,

~me

Dear Friend,
If you knew me and/or tried to call me within the last 6 months, you might have reached a voice mail message that says, “Hi. This is Jason and I’ll be away from my phone forever.” I’ve been taking little to no incoming calls, responding to very few emails, and overall, I’ve been a fair-weather friend. I pick-and-choose who to interact with and when to interact with them as long as it served my mood and who I was being on that occasion. The result I got was exactly what I wanted. Nobody bothered me. Very few questions and requests invaded my sacred space. I was busy enough as it is. I didn’t want more. I just wanted to finish the tasks and tour at hand and get back to the beach where I could cultivate courage, physical strength, balance, and flexibility thru surfing; where I can be a bum in the sun and waste all my precious time proudly at no one’s expense but my own, (rather than challenge myself to cultivate that courage and strength and balance on the road, or in any other aspect of my life.)

In that way of being detached for safety came another result I wasn’t expecting. I became unfulfilled, uninspired, and worse, uninspiring. A definition for the word inspire is: to breathe life into another and I gave up the chance to do that for others.

I’m writing this because it’s important for you to know that I am still very human and have been very afraid to admit certain truths and take on the many responsibilities that surround them. I am afraid of success just as much as I am afraid of failing. I have fears about how I’ll look in the eyes of my peers, my family, or my fans. And up until now I’ve had fears about sharing this information.

I’ve been praised a thousand times for my positive outlook and my positive contributions to music. And I’ve celebrated loudly and advertised myself as someone with an attitude of gratitude. But all it seems to take is one small moment of negativity, inadequacy, or fear, to break me from my most powerful nature, that of being the possibility of real love. So the failure I would create in THAT would reduce me again to feeling like just a worthless soul whose life will be over before it began so what’s the point in even trying.

Huh? All this is coming from the positive thinking guy? Is this the same cat who wrote I’m Yours – a song in which every stanza is about generosity, encouragement, and letting go?

If you asked me how I wrote it, I’d give something invisible to us all the credit. I would play my own life down, believing I was unworthy of receiving fame, fortune and acclaim. I would leave the parts out about my dedication to empowering music. I wouldn’t tell you that I wanted to create a song in modern times that could be as relevant as any Bob Marley song has been relevant since his time. I wouldn’t tell you the part where I tried to write I’m Yours. Even if I only spent an hour on the project, it took me lifetime of living and learning to get there. Instead, I would say, the song just popped out. and right there I would stop taking credit and downplay my life, etc.

In music, if I’m truly committed to letting go – to being completely open to the power of sound – surrendering to the love supreme of spirit – and acknowledging how (to me) success thrives in the instability of spontaneity – if I’m committed to any or all of those things, then I can transcend this world entirely, getting as close to or even being whatever God (or love, or happiness) might actually be. If the performance of a song goes absolutely well, it won’t even feel like a performance. In many cases, I won’t even remember singing the song. It becomes more like time-travel, because in that moment, I’m so not caught up in society’s game. My attention rests in a space where time and space cease to exist. That’s the state where infinity lies, and it’s the most intensely rewarding experience I’ve ever known.

But if I’m not committed or the song/performance goes wrong in any way, from a technical difficulty beyond my control to choking on my own spit between phrases or not being prepared to fulfill a fan’s request, fudging notes and playing or saying something that isn’t part of the arrangement that I become too aware of in the performance – When that happens I can’t help but to try to fix it, change it, control it, or worse, escape it. There have been times when I have said to myself, “I don’t want to be here” while I’m right in the middle of a song, in the middle of a show, standing in the middle of a stage in front of thousands of invited guests who all paid to see me.

Because I perform in at least 180 venues a year, I run into the case of making mistakes onstage more often than I would if I were performing only once a week. On those “off nights” you might call them, when I don’t morph into the God energy or vibrate fully with something grand, I take it pretty hard. I create an idea that I have failed. I create something that suggests, this means I am a fake. And so on. Those are the nights I don’t appear in the parking lot after midnight to thank my incredibly generous, spirited and loyal fans. In feeling sorry for myself, I can’t listen to any compliments about the show because I am already hearing in my head that it wasn’t. In wishing to be elsewhere instead of owning the present, I’m fearful that someone might think I’m not grateful.

I’m writing this for many reasons – mainly because I want to share with everyone my humanness. No one can ever escape that. We are beings and we have language therefore we won’t be able to stop the conversations that keep creating meaning about everything. Even in talking to no one, we talk inside our heads and create meaning about millions of matters we truly don’t know anything about. And that’s perfectly normal.

But what I have stumbled upon is the power in realizing that none of those meanings mean anything. If you think I suck, that doesn’t change me. I’m still here typing away. But the reality is, I don’t know you think I suck. And even if you told me, I’d still be me. It’s not a threat of any kind. Now, if you told me I suck and then pulled a knife on me – that might change me. I might fill my underwear with number 3 for fear that your intention with the knife could change me.

Remember that catchy phrase I won’t worry my life away? For the first time in my life it’s manifested into something more than just a concept. Worry is what happens when we create meaning in a way that brings us down and it’s usually about an event that never really happens. If a dog bites me, I might worry that it could happen again. But that’s me worrying about a dog bite that has yet to happen. It’s me holding on to being bit by a dog. My future is full of dogs biting me. Get it? Therefore, the power in saying a dog bit me has more freedom and truth than saying, “Dogs don’t like me,” which is a worry filled statement.

The moral of my story is this. Tonight, I’m appearing on American Idol, singing I’m Yours with a handful of contestants from this past season and for the first time I’m actually celebrating my own success. Even though I dreamed of having this life, I’ve been too afraid that people will find me egotistic if I actually show how much fun I have doing it. Even that SNL appearance in January was this fond-of-hats-fellow at 50% due to the worry about how it was going to translate on TV.

So I invite you to watch and share with me the joy I truly have in doing what I do. I’ll be singing I’m Yours tonight as if it’s the first time I’ve ever sung it. I’ll also be wearing a t-shirt designed by my good friend, Jon Marro at Blend Apparel. The design of the shirt asks the question, What it is going to take to have peace? For me, honesty and open communication are the keys to freedom. And freedom from yourself gives you the greatest peace: Peace of mind. Jon is someone I want to acknowledge for his tremendous dedication to the peace and happiness of others. His love has truly inspired me – breathed new life into me – and all I want to do is the same – share it.

THANK YOU, dear reader/listener/fan/friend for supporting my music and adventures after all these years, and being a part of the huge story that this has become. Even if today is the first time you’re tuning in, I Thank You for reading and singing along.

And to all who’ve been calling, my phone is back on (so much actually that I’m entertaining the idea of taking on twitter soon.)

Sincerely,
Jason,
-backstage at American Idol.

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