When last I left you, I was discussing intuition and my ongoing experiment in living by non-interference, a radically altered life approach in which solid plans and strategies are set aside and events are allowed to arrive without judgement, like waves crashing on a shoreline. This has been easier said than done at times, but for the most part, I’ve held firmly to the mantra, “just keep saying yes.”
So I recently turned 45, and if asked what the 45-year-old me has that the 44-year-old version was missing, I would honestly say that in the last year, I have learned to follow -- to give myself over to the possibility that I’ve been living my life exactly backwards, that reason and rigorous planning may not be the best guide when it comes to finding peace and happiness, and certainly not when it comes to making records.
Recently I wrote about my songwriting process and how, as I've grown and developed, it has taken a cyclical form. The cycle of my creative process oscillates between living fully and writing deeply, seeding and harvesting. This pattern of cycles should be familiar, because everything in our reality unfolds in this way. Beneath the love, the pain, the sun, the dark, the Earth and the sky, there likely exists only shimming vibrations.
When it comes to songwriting there’s no set formula for success. Writers come in all shapes and sizes, sexes and ages, and they each have a unique approach to courting the muse, which for some may even be denial of the muse altogether and the adoption of more formulaic approaches to creativity. I’ve often wondered why some people seem to pour out songs as fast as their free-time will allow, while others only manage write a new song every year or two? Perhaps the reason is that some people are simply more gifted than others, more blessed. On the other hand, might it possible that more prolific writers have improved the quality of their relationship to the muse--and thereby the quality of their songs--by better aligning themselves with their own essential nature?
Songwriting, like all art forms, is a never ending dance in which each of us works to continuously perfect our steps. As I write new songs, my process is to make recordings of them and place those recordings in a folder on my computer. Once I've done this I walk away from them and wait to see how they feel to me with the passage of time. Invariably, there are those that stand out, begging to see the real world, and those that are destined to live out their lives in that folder, never to be played again or heard by another human being. I wonder about that folder and I wonder about those songs, the ones that don’t seem to pass the test of time. What is it that distinguishes one from the other?