“The point of life is not to have the perfect family or get the right job or sell millions of albums … the point is simply to wake up.” ~ Ash Ruiz
“We gotta work through our shit; we can’t just overpower it.” ~ Me
These blogs are adventures in vulnerability for me. I have an increasing readership, and I never know how you’re going to receive the deeper confessions of a vulnerable man.
This blog is such a confession. I honestly question whether I should even share it.
But I do love adventure … so …
Sometimes I just don’t know what to do … and right now I’m talking about with my entire life.
We live in a society with odd priorities. Collectively, we value the creation of money – mostly just numbers in a computer – over the creation of beauty and deep exploration into what it would mean for each of us to live authentic, fulfilling lives.
For the last 5 years, I’ve been essentially helping artists (and many friends) think strategically in living out their dreams. You can very easily lose a lot of money in the pursuit of a dream. Achieving positive, sustainable success as an artist (and even as an artist manager) is really, really … REALLY … tricky.
Right now I find myself in a moment of great uncertainty. Yes, life is just one giant sasquatch of great uncertainty, anyway. Typically though, we don’t see that fuzzy creature of uncertainty until it sneaks up and pokes us in the forehead with its big fat, hairy, fleshy finger.
After clawing up the financial ladder with music band Here II Here over 5 years, I watched them call it quits in 2011 following their most productive year ever. This year, launching Ash Ruiz’s solo career has proven a much slower process than anticipated.
It’s like I’m driving fast down a stretch of twisty mountain highway at night, enshrouded in a smoky thick fog lit up blinding white by my own headlights desperate to illuminate the way, yet yielding only but a dreamy vast emptiness before me.
Every aspect of my life is enshrouded in complete uncertainty. Because we live in a culture that values creating “phantom monetary digits” (money) over all else, my original healthy stockpile of those digits has slowly dissipated over 5 years because the inspired art I’ve chosen to support hasn’t ignited a positive digit flow. That’s a fancy of way of saying I have not been able to make any meaningful income managing artists.
That’s a “yet” I’ve been dancing with for 5 years. Ash and Here II Here have been dancing with that “yet” for 15.
What to do?
During these last few weeks I’m taking stock of my life choices, trying to use my brain to figure out what to do now. Problem is, my brain ain’t coming up with much. I suspect that’s mostly because I’m operating from our culture’s deeply ingrained – and surely insane – belief that to have any value as a man, I’ve got to DO something!!
So this moment clearly presents an opportunity for profound, deep spiritual practice. I don’t mean meditation or twisting my body like a pretzel or reading Deepak Chopra books. Those are all good and fine.
I mean the kind of spiritual practice that really chews down deep into the bittersweet rind of this moment’s complete unknowability … and what the heck does THAT mean??
It just means that I feel a deep invitation to Trust. In Life.
I spent a few months in Egypt many years ago. All the cars on the road there look like they’ve been pushed off a 10-story building at least twice. They’re pretty beat up, is the point. One day, I was in the backseat of a car driving down a chaotic highway when suddenly we slammed into the median protecting us from certain, gruesome death by oncoming traffic. Turns out, the steering wheel had come completely disconnected from the axle; you could spin it ‘round like the Wheel of Uncertain Fortune.
What spinning that steering wheel freely ‘round and ‘round taught me is that we never really have control. Only the illusion of it. The car goes where I want it to go because the steering wheel and the axle are cooperating. The moment they decide to divorce one another, I no longer have a say in where the car goes.
Life is like that. We don’t actually control anything. I’m not even convinced we can ever have full control over ourselves.
We gotta work through our shit; we can’t just overpower it.
So here I am, a man facing the reality of complete uncertainty. One side of me wants to panic. The bigger side of me chooses to simply trust … to breathe. This moment will pass, even if uncertainty never will.
I’m gonna keep showing up for my artists. I’ve come way too far to give up on them now (unless they ask me to, that is).
I love what Ash said to me a few months ago, that the point of all this is not to be successful or make the right choices or win anything … the point is to awaken.
Awaken to what, I wonder?