From Bob Lefsetz: “You've got to want it. It's got to permeate every cell in your body. Because it's just that hard to make it. The pitfalls are plenty. The setbacks are huge. The abuse is heaped upon you. You must have an inner light that keeps you going no matter what.”
I played a benefit for Julie Turner yesterday. She’s a local honky tonk piano player that has given so much to our musical community. She overcame breast cancer and now she’s battling liver cancer (the horrible sometimes by-product of chemo). A ton of musicians came out to play, to listen - to say thanks and wish her well.
I had a lot of conversations. I met musicians I’d heard of but had never met or played with before. It’s a hazard of the industry. You have gigs. They have gigs. Lots of times your paths never cross – except online I guess. We all ask each other the same thing, “How’s it going?” And you know what question they’re asking – the same one you ask of yourself every day. The same one you make phone calls for and send emails about. My answer is pretty much the same these days. I’m playing but not as much as I would like. I’ve struggled with personal issues that have taken away my motivation for my music career (note I said MUSIC CAREER and not MUSIC. There’s a diff.). Blah blah. . .
I had a conversation about a year ago with a friend who had some great things going for him. He had 2 songs that he had written coming out in a major motion picture. He was doing some cool tours. I congratulated him. . . . and he said something like, “Yes it’s great right now. You just go with it. . . and try to just deal with the depression.”
Life is a roller coaster - for the musician, but for all of us. We start our lives working through the growing pains. We learn to crawl. We get up. We fall down. We learn to walk. We struggle with the explosion of hormones in adolescence. We manage our way to adulthood and wander through a maze of weddings, births and deaths. We struggle with our internal problems and try to love and give up the hate. We battle diseases like depression, alcoholism, cancer, and heart disease. All to work up to the effects of gravity on our bodies and get through old age.
But where’s our light - That inner light that pushes us through the challenges and obstacles and pushes us to LIVE? Heroes and Epics are not about the challenges but about those that overcome them. They are about those who refuse to allow their inner light to go out. They are about those who realize that the challenges are just that – some part of life to overcome. If you’re in that place where your inner light is waning, read some stories of human heroism. You will note in EVERY story that at some point the hero gives up. The light appears to go out. It is then at that point that the light re-ignites and shines the brightest and pushes the hero to overcome the challenge in front of him.
In my day job, I work in the casting industry. I have learned that there are metals that have certain properties that CANNOT be created without being heat treated. Sometimes we have to go through the trials by fire in order to get to that higher place of development and perhaps enlightenment. I cannot walk without falling. I cannot love more without having more required of me, thereby increasing my capacity to love.
Those who overcome recognize the process of challenges, overcoming and growth. But they also recognize the inner light – the one that is sometimes so small that you think that it is still out.
But the light is still there.