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

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

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

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…

Stay Calm And Don't Panic

Stay Calm And Don't Panic

Things don't always work out in an artistic life. There are often roadblocks on the journey, both real and imagined. Try as you might to keep a spiritual ideal, these things can send you into panic mode. Your adrenaline kicks in and the fight or flight reflex appears. At times like these, it's easy to let your emotions, fueled by the adrenaline, get the best of you. It's important to remember to stay calm.

Shit Happens

My wife and I were driving to a recent gig that was 90 miles away. We had gone only about 15 miles when we reached a point where the west bound lanes of the highway were closed due to a tragic fatal car crash. Everything came to a halt. Sometimes we just sat, unmoving, for minutes. We had no idea as to how long the detour would take.I could feel myself tensing and panic mode creeping up on me: “We're going to be very late!” All the traffic was being rerouted, with 3 busy highway lanes of vehicles being diverted onto the 1 lane …

To Thine Own Self Be True

As an artist, it's often difficult to keep to your vision. Everyday we are pulled away in different directions. We are bombarded with all manner of suggestions and advice: “Do this if you want to make more money,” or, “Do that if you want to be more famous.” Every internet guru has something to sell you to make your career better.

And it's not just the internet, but friends and family too. While they may be well meaning (or not), they will often go out of their way to offer unsolicited suggestions on our artistic endeavors. It's easy to feel like we are being tugged in a thousand directions, so much so that we can't focus on our art.

Practicing the Sacred
What's an artist to do?

The first thing to do is not to listen to advice or suggestions unless you've asked for them. And even if you ask for advice, you need to weigh the merits of the advice given, vs what you know to be true about your art. We are deep inside what we do. Everyone else if far outside that bubble…