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Dealing With Change

Change is inevitable. 
Change is the only thing in life that is guaranteed.
Change is often difficult to deal with.

I will be the 1st one to say that change has never been easy for me. I like to get things going and them have them keep going, sort of cruising down the road of life, all comfortable and familiar. 

I seem to be particularly sensitive to change. I don't deal well with it. Like when a restaurant I frequent changes their menu and my favorite dish is no longer available. Or something I use a lot wears out or breaks, and there is no exact replacement available. Or when people or pets die, and they are no longer a part of my physical life. This can really throw me into chaos.

But I know from my studies of Buddhism that impermanence is the natural order of things. And grasping or clinging to what was, will only cause you suffering.

But
Damn
It's
Hard

I've had a lot of major life changes lately and they have hit me hard. Sometimes I feel stopped in my tracks. But I know that c…

Life Goes On

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It's been a difficult 3 months for me since April. Besides a very intense schedule of both gigging and teaching, my 89 year old father's health took a rapid decline and he died. Between gigs, we were visiting him as much as we could. Since he died, it's been a lot of work to just deal with his passing and trying to settle his estate. Of course my blogs all fell by the wayside. 

Next week (July 1-5) I will be in Chester, CT as part of the 1st Gong Summit. I will be presenting a master class and be a part of 3 panel discussions. I will also be hanging out all week and hope to have time to talk with everyone attending. I plan to blog daily about the whole event starting June 30 and going to July 6. Hopefully I will have the time and energy to at least post a wrap up of each day. If I can't post in detail, I'll do something later in July when I have the time. Watch for this on The Way of The Gong™.

After the Summit my wife and I will be taking a much needed bit of vacati…

Less Can Really Be More

It's a bit of a trite old saying, Less is more, but as you mature and move through different eras of your art and life, you may come to a place where that really rings true. I know I have.

And it's only recently that I have come to that conclusion. I'd love to be able to live to be 150, merely because I have so many ideas in my head that I would need that much time to do them, and to do all the new ones I would come up with. Recently I've been running around frantically working on this, working on that, and planning the next thing. I found that as much as I love what I'm doing, I wasn't having much fun. Part of that comes down to living in the future and not the present moment, enjoying what I'm doing as I do it. The other part is just having too many ideas for things and not effectively picking out the most important ones to do.

Managing My Ideas

It's so easy to get caught up in the idea of always doing. The whole of Western society is built upon that: wo…

Art and Spiritual Practice As Self-Care

There is something both nourishing and grounding about doing your art. Most of what we do in life, like a job, is an outside expression of our lives. Our art is different, in that it comes from inside of us. It is an expression of who we are.

I look at the time I work on my art as a special time. Writing this blog is special to me. It is time alone, time with my thoughts, time being able to express what I think. The same with my music. Every time I am writing, playing music, composing, recording, teaching, etc, it is a very deep expression of who I am.

It's easy to get caught up in life and the world, and put off getting into your studio: “I have more important things to do.” But is there really anything more important than YOU? I notice that when I'm not able to do these things, I get cranky and out of sorts. So I look at them as being necessary self-care

I think it's sometimes difficult to make our art a regular practice because, for most of us, it's probably not a 9-…

Sometimes We Have To Mourn Life Changes

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Change is an interesting thing. While it's often good and necessary for an artist, it can be difficult to let go and move forward. Sometimes no matter how hard you work, and how much you put into something, you reach a dead end. You know that it's time to let go and move on, yet there is this lingering thought of, “I put so much into this.” And you may have. You may have put your heart and soul into it, only to reach a dead end with no where to go, and no turning back.

Other times, things that you have done for years just reach the end of their usefulness. Your artistic muse has shown you a new direction, you may even welcome and embrace it, but there's still that lingering sense of not being able to cut the chord to the past.


Letting go through the haze of mourning…
I've had that happen to me. My career changed direction and something I had done for years and years suddenly held no appeal to me: “Been there, done that.” But even as I embraced the new direction, a part of…

Sometimes The Only One You Can Trust Is Yourself

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It's important to have teachers, gurus, and other figures in your life. They can help us along the path, often clarifying things we don't understand, or imparting needed knowledge for our journey.

In the past, especially in more traditional societies, you stuck with your teacher/guru no matter what. It was often a life long commitment.

But what happens when those we follow lose their way? 

What happens when we change and are no longer aligned with their teachings?

What of all the time and effort we may have put into their teachings?

Sometimes we need to move on, as it's time to follow our own path. Even though we may have put in years as a follower or devotee, we need to listen to the voice inside ourselves. This doesn't negate the things we have learned, or the time spent. Every life experience is valuable if it helps us learn, grow, and move further along the path. 

Teachers are important, but sometimes the only one you can trust is yourself. 

~ MB


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The Big Question

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Here it is, the beginning of 2019 and you are still an artist. There's really only 1 question to ask yourself: 


Why do I do my art?
If you have had a long career, like me, you often find that money and fame are nice, but fleeting. Over a long period of time, both of those will flow in and out of your life. You also find that in relation to your art, they are not the foundation of what you do (well, for most of us anyway). 




You may have found that when you chase money and fame, that your art suffers, because you lose sight of who you really are and what you really do. There's nothing wrong with money or fame, it's just that because they are fleeting (and even when in abundance), they might not bring you happiness. 

And after a long career it's easy to become jaded, cynical, or a thousand other things that take the joy out of being an artist. It's easy to lose sight of what made you undertake this journey in the first place. It's also easy to lose that energy of yout…