I admit I've taken my foot off the gas. Maybe I'd even say I've put my foot on the brake. But I won't go as far as to say that I've shifted into reverse...
Slowly, my newsletter went from weekly, to a trickle and into a drought.
Make My Day episodes sat on my desk in Ableton longer than they should have.
Videos of myself singing something or other slowed as I came up with excuses.
And my blog has just been too much to keep going.
I can't even trace it back to a decision to slow down. It was some time around the new year, but it was so gradual that I can't put my finger on one particular instance.
But somehow my fire dimmed. My hope diminished. My resolve dissolved.
I think the initial momentum from my "tragic, heart wrenching, poopy, terrible, unfun," breakup motivated me to create even more vigorously. A bright light that shone in the darkness, guiding the way. If only I pushed and followed the glare I'd end up in some promised land. I'd be filled with love and life to share with the world. Energy that would renew me, If I could really leave the past behind.
But I slowed. I didn't get "there." My efforts didn't take me to another place. I wasn't experiencing the expansion I'd pined for. I realized, I was doing this work to escape from the pain of my reality. There was stuff I had yet to face. That I put preconditions on happiness. That I blamed others for not considering my feelings. Did I really even want to "make" anymore?
Suddenly, I found there were diminishing routes to what I'd considered happiness in my life. Sleeping in, watching television, and partying were all escapes. But they led to undesirable destinations. Not long term fulfillment.
Over the past few days, after months of really questioning my desires, I've begun to realize that my approach to art was unsustainable.
I built expectations that the art would serve me. My music would be a vehicle that would take me away from this place, and when I arrived where ever it was, I'd be happy. Success in music would provide me with a career path, the opportunity to travel the world, and the freedom I've been seeking.
But as I've strained and clenched my entire body and soul, eking out lyrics and melody, I started to realize that I need to be patient. I need to inject flow into my life. Guess what Marcus, there's a decent chance that you're not going to "grow up" to be a giant rockstar, and thats OK. And don't you think that sustainable happiness, health, and finding a nurturing community are worthy goals which, by the way, are within your grasp?
Let me be clear, I'm not going to stop making music. On the contrary, I'm inspired to redouble my efforts. But I am going to stop considering my art a failure if it doesn't reach thousands of people.
Why am I writing, why am I podcasting, why do I play music?
Not to escape.
To be. To live. To breathe.
Because my happiness depends on it.
As I've looked back on what I created over the last several months (and even the years before), I look upon it with pride. I'm happy with what I've made and I'm excited to make more. So that I can share with you.
I realize now that this is no escape plan, this is no sprint to get out of here.
This is my life. This is what I do.