The Spiritual Practice of Mono-tasking

We live in a world where multitasking is not only encouraged, but rewarded. And I've fallen into that, taking pride in how many different activities I can juggle at once. But it's a false reality. It's really more like, “look at how many things that I can do at the same time while doing them all halfway or badly.”How many of you are multi-task masters, yet never seem to finish anything, or if you do finish something, it's just sort of meh? Let's see some hands.The most important thing that I have learned these past 6 months during my COVID artist residency is that I don't have to juggle every ball put in front of me! I repeat: I don't have to juggle every ball put in front of me. This is a very important lesson.The main result of this is that I have finished more projects that I really am proud of and believe in than I have in a long time. The reason for this is that I've done them one-at-a-time. I stopped juggling multiple projects and focused on a sin…

Failure Is Not An Option

It’s happened to all of us at least one time, and for many of us, many times. 


That dreaded word that sinks the hearts of most artists like the Titanic going down in icy waters. 


But is it ever as bad as we feel it is? It's difficult to get any sort of perspective on it when you are in the middle of it, with emotions raw and jagged. But often failures (or what we at least perceive to be failures), can lead to other things, better things.

Sometimes we end up in a dead end but can't see it, or maybe we’ve overstayed our welcome, and can't see that, so what we think is a failure, is merely a way out of a bad situation that we either didn't see, or didn't want to see.

I’ve had my share. As a musician, I’ve been fired from various bands for dubious reasons. One band told me they were changing drummers because I had ‘bad time,’ which was just an excuse, because my time is fine. Another time I came home to find all my gear dumped on my front porch. They didn&#…

Finding Your Own Spirit

I started writing this post back on April 8th when the whole quarantine/virus thing was still relatively fresh. It's now June16th and it's been 13 weeks (or 93 days) since I last played in public. Much has happened since then, but nothing has really changed. If you are a performing artist of any discipline, there is still the possibility of not being able to perform until sometime in 2021. While some things have opened, and I know of some people once again performing in public, it is the exception rather than the rule.

To me, it all comes down to 2 things:

1) What is your health risk if you perform out in public? This is a very important question to ask. I imagine if you are in dire need of money to pay rent and bills, that you will be willing to take more risks in order to make some money.

2) Will it be financially viable to perform for what will be a smaller audience. With social distancing, performance venues will only be able to have perhaps ⅓ of the normal amount of people a…

An Important Update

You might be asking yourself (or maybe not), “We're in this quarantine and Michael isn't gigging, so why haven't there been any blog posts? He's got plenty of time to write something.” 

That's a legitimate question. All 3 of my blogs have been sitting quietly for a bit, while so many other people have jumped into producing blogs, podcasts, and general video mayhem. The internet's bandwidth is choked with everyone going online, because they can't do anything live. So what have I been doing?

Well, I did make 1 YouTube video, more as an experiment than anything. I've slowly been rebuilding my home studio after having gear sitting in boxes for months because I was always gone off somewhere gigging. I'm planning on doing more videos and some teaching online soon.

Right, here's my latest video. I was improvising  with new instruments and some electronics.
Another aspect of this is that by letting everyone else jump into producing things for the web, they&#…

Lessons From A Global Shut Down

My life has been like speeding down a highway in my van at 120MPH. For some reason, I felt like I had to keep going faster and cover more ground. Then one day, the road disappeared, and there was nothing. Suddenly I was in free fall. I was scared at first, because I couldn't see any bottom, and I couldn't feel anything familiar around me. But after a while, I realized that I wasn't falling, in fact, I wasn't anything—I was just being. That was 5 weeks ago and my life will never be the same. 

I've done a lot in my life and accomplished many goals. But even at my age—I turned 65 a week ago—I still felt like I had to not only accomplish more, but to accomplish a lot. In reality, I had unknowingly backed my self into corner with no way out. Instead of accomplishing a lot, I was actually accomplishing very little, because I never finished anything. Instead, I flitted around from project to project, like a hummingbird moving from flower to flower. While I did a lot of wor…

Art In Uncertain Times

While we always seem to live in uncertain times, today, with the Corona virus sweeping around the world, things are even more uncertain.

The end of the world as we know it.
Businesses are closed. Events are canceled. People are being asked to stay home and avoid contact with others. If you are a performing artist, this is especially difficult, as you are not able to go out into the world and present your art. Not being able to perform means not making any money. And that make an already difficult situation even more so for most of us. Many artists are barely able to keep ahead of the bills as is. 

And in the grand scheme of things, we, the ordinary people,appear to have little control over what is happening. 
But we have control of our art. In dire times, artists continued to create. Artists also continued to tell the truth. When all around you seems to be crashing down, you still have your art, so continue to create because at times like these we need the arts. We need our humanity. But …

The Gift of Time

Here we are, it's March 16th, 2020, and we are living in extraordinary times. It's amazing to see how our modern world can be stopped by something we cannot see with the naked eye.

People around the world are being told to stay home and self quarantine. For many, this is a confusing and depressing time. Our world has become so fast paced that we often forget how to slow down. Our lives are just rushing by.

If you are an artist, I challenge you to take advantage of this gift of time we now have. All those projects you meant to get to when you had the time, well, the time is now. Instead of sitting there wondering what is going to happen tomorrow, get to work today!

Every artist seems to fantasize about taking an artist's retreat someday. You have been given an unprecedented gift of time now to work on your art:

Compose that song.
Write that book.
Paint that painting.
Design that dance.
And on and on.

And all those things you wanted to learn, like using that new software, or some oth…

Wherever You Are is the Path

Both in our artistic and spiritual practices, it's easy to sometimes look at our lives and ask, “Why am I here?” And it's also easy to chastise ourselves for being where we are. “You're a failure” may come to mind, as you survey being stuck in what you perceive as a dead end, a mistake, or an opportunity lost. But is it really?

Being an artist can be a very myopic situation. We may just look at ourselves and where we are, then compare it to other artists that we feel are successful and ahead of us. But it's too easy to look at a successful artist and only see them as their current success. We either don't look at, or ignore, all the same types of struggles they went through to become the success they are in our eyes.

Everybody struggles.
Everybody hits dead ends. 
Everybody has projects fail. 

The key is to realize that these are all part of your path. They are not separate. 

Wherever you are is the Path.
There is nothing that isn't the Path. But the Path isn't go…