"One cannot grow when one no longer participates in life" - Dr. Henry Cloud
There is a sense of urgency that plagues our culture and our music industry.
We are trained to think about the past (memories) and the future (thought).
We are rarely told to be present, to accept where we are, and have a relationship with life and all it offers.
We are rarely told to participate in life, what is right in front us.
For me, anxiety is living in a state of past and future.
I have a tendency to live in past hurt or so called "golden years" and the "what if's" of the future.... and believe me, I really know how to go down the rabbit hole and then find another rabbit hole within it...
The amount of times I have predict the future correctly, 0.
The amount of times I have been able to travel back in time to be in the past, 0.
The only thing that matters is being present and moving forward in life. The universe is going forward and it is our job to move right along side it.. not get ahead of it nor drag our feet about it.
In the music industry there is a never ending cycle of highs and lows, completing a project, feeling like your on the mountain top only to wake up the next day to have to prove yourself again.
You are vulnerable, open for the world to judge. The thing you have spent months on gets praised or cut down within seconds.
This can create some serious underlying moods in the mind and body.
For a long time I had this cycle that follows....
Hoping to get work, get the work, doubt comes in..... can I do this work, can I make something sound great again, what if I can't make it sound like the last project (living in past)....
all of a sudden what I was dying to get (work) has plagued me with doubt and anxiety.
Tell the fear and anxiety to shut up... do the work...
Work is done, send to client.... small voice comes in, hope they like it, what if they don't like it, what if they tell people I suck, dropped the ball, here comes doubt, fear, and anxiety..... (living in the future)
Client loves it, I feel incredible for 10 min. Close out the project and then find myself at the bottom of the mountain or
worse yet just the list of mountains to hopefully find myself with the opportunity to climb one again (living and worrying about future).
Can you relate?
My worth and value is not determined by others approval. It is determined on whether or not I was true to the project, the artist, the client, myself. Did I give it my best for where I am currently, fully understanding that in one month I will hopefully be in a better place in all areas of my life.
Was I honest and present for the project?
Was I lost in past projects (memories) or thinking about future projects (thought).
The music industry is a perfect place for anxiety to live and grab hold of people. You have to be fully honest and tell stories of your life in song form and then let the whole world give praise or throw stones,
or even worst... no one listens to it. No praise or stones... just silence and isolation.
We focus on social media likes and comments, blog features, managers, A&R, labels, publishers, and the noise continues. All these things are good if you have a healthy relationship with them.
But for me its hard. Its a daily training of recognizing that these things do not determine my life or worth. They may impact it, but I have control over choosing what to do with them.
I've learned over the years to find confidence and find that where I am and the work I am doing is good.
It is correct. Where ever you are, is where you are.
You can't go back to a project and you can't predict the future.
You can only focus on what is right in front of you.
I have made improvements in being present and having a better relationship with anxiety by......
mediation (headspace app).
laying out my day.
Going to counseling and understanding that these emotions, fears, anxiety are all apart of life and learning to live along side them is the most healthy thing.
I become fully present by admitting that I have hopes, dreams, desires, and needs as well as boundaries.
I focus on being aware of whats around me, how I feel, and I no longer let things alarm me.
Aware, but not alarmed.
I slow down.
I start saying thank you for what I have and had to stop asking how and why.
I make sure I am eating food... studio guys know what I am talking about...its so easy to go hours and hours without moving. This wrecks your mind and body.
I put in the freaking work and trust the process. If you don't hear anything else... all of this is garbage unless you put in the work and make a change. Approach things differently. Find some people you can trust knowing they will still fail. The hardest thing in the world for me is trusting the process.
These things have helped me immensely navigate the waters of life and anxiety.
I urge you today to just focus on one thing at a time. To understand that who you are is who you are suppose to be. I will say it again. I need you to be you. I want you to be yourself and be present in your relationships with others. If your in the music industry, I want you to celebrate where you are and celebrate your friends around you. I urge you to embrace life and surrender where you are.
I want to encourage you that we live in a world where we can make change and grow. I am living testimony to that.
If you have any wisdom or tips, feel free to comment.
May you never stop growing.