Sometimes when we are in the thick of everything, we lose perspective on where we are. We may even know, or think we know, where we are going, but we can't see the forest for the trees.
I am on a journey of producing a song a month for 2011. I suppose the whole process is my forest for the year, but each song can feel daunting at times. Last night was the mix breakthrough for March's song of the month, so it will land next week. But as I continue to walk through the forest I am creating I do want to remind everyone of the songs we are leaving behind (at least chronologically) every month.
I am incredibly happy with the January and February songs, you can see them on my site here and link to CDBaby or iTunes from there.
Mid 80's Michael W. Smith released a CD called the big picture. I loved that CD, went to the concert at Expo 86 in Vancouver B.C. I don't know about you, but I grew up too serious. I am sure many of my old mates would confirm said statement. One of the things I have been learning as I now try to build into my precious children, is that I need to create and model the big picture, and that picture is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to live with the end in mind, but you have to live. I once did a concert years ago that I titled "live, love, laugh, philosophize." In retrospect, most of the concert was the last word of that phrase.
A year goes by relatively quickly when you plod through it. Some might think that is a good thing if you are having a tough year. But if you have nothing to look forward to, and nothing to look back on, no milestones of growth, or even family vacation, or time with friends, it will feel like you did nothing.
I think weekly reflection is so important when you are trying to live a life of balance, because balance isn't doing the same percentage of things every week, balance is knowing what to emphasize at different times to keep your life moving towards and within, the big picture.
One of my favorites from that Album: Lamu
The March song of the month is close. I have to go in tonight and touch up the mix, but it should go live early next week at the latest, a little late, but staying on pace for the big goal of one song a month.
Positivity is so important, I really believe that. So is continuing to learn by reading a couple of books a month, so is setting goals and meeting them and shipping, for instance a song every month, or a blog post nearly everyday. My goal, bottom line, is to inspire through this blog and my songs and to add value to whoever might interact with these efforts, I hope I am succeeding, but it is too early to know. And guess what, it is tiring.
I remember a great line from the "Happiness Advantage" where Shawn Anchor mocks himself for being depressed at failing, for after all, how can a positive psychologist be depressed!?
I just want to be honest about the process. It is a lot of work, and there are valleys. Right now, I need to push forward, get the March song of the month done, and keep walking. Maybe some of you have been inspired enough by reading this blog to do what I am doing this year. Trying to break through some long standing barriers and go to the next level. I kind of look at this like working out. I am near the end of a workout, it hurts, but just one more set and then a day off. Keep you posted…..
I woke up this morning, not from my sleep, but from the daze.. The pedantic, albeit necessary, journey of a thousand miles And I saw my child, adoring, relishing my attention, those moments spent together
"Stay all in," my soul shouted, "Do not let these moments slip away!"
For little girls become women, and little boys become men Better off all, from every ounce of love that I can extract in the midst, and give Unconditionally….
I am reading a book on business design currently. I will post a link to it soon. I have heard the concepts in this book espoused in different ways. One of the old ways was simply the maturity cycle of a business represented in the graph below. When looking at a single business the peak really represents the full leverage of an idea in its current form for that business. Its leadership cannot take it any further without further innovation. Good leadership makes sure there is always new thinking and ideas being invested in, so that part way up the climb a second and third curve is forming. By doing this, although product lines or iterations of service change, the troughs are "hidden" by waves of growth that keep the company moving forward.
Now how about your life? Are you doing the hard work of monitoring your growth? Seeing the end of a cycle in your own life and preparing innovation for the next phase. Are your children about to leave the home for university? Have you started building new hobbies, traditions activities with your spouse and grown children to keep those relationships growing through the next phase? How about career? What are you working on, how are you growing? Life design is much like business design. You have to think ahead and continue to innovate to avoid troughs. Make no mistake, the trough is still there. Your child is still leaving for university, but the positive distraction of the next innovation keeps everything moving forward.
I don't think I have blogged that I finally have outfitted myself with an electric guitar. It was time to start playing and recording with those sounds, and the March song of the month definitely needed it. Last night was great, laying down some guitar tracks for the new tune, which is really starting to shape up.
I have to admit, there is a completely different feeling playing electric. Overdrive, delay etc., so fun. Kind of makes you feel like…well a rock star. I highly recommend it.
I just finished reading the memoir of Warren Bennis,"Still Surprised." It was definitely An interesting read from the perspective of an educator who lived through WWII and so much social change in North America and Europe these past 70 years.
One of the things that struck me…again..was the process of the journey. The best way I can describe the sentiment that I I want to convey is this.
My beautiful wife wakes up almost everyday to the same "chores". Making meals, taking care of all of the sundry cleaning and operational tasks that keep our family running. I think if you look at it as plainly as that, who needs it. However, when one looks at the vision of what we are trying to accomplish and her role in it, you realize we are trying to raise children who know and love God and see the world for all that it could and should be. Stef creates the space, the infrastructure, and has the lions share of relational time with the blessings that we are trying to do right by. What a wonderful vision for a job: Change agent, motivator, inspiration, hero, and she is all those things.
Understanding vision and context is so important. It may not change the fact that they are emails to write, meetings to go to, production to be done, a good part of which seems to lack inspirational qualities. But when all of those tasks are leading towards the end game, they become far more meaningful and I think enjoyable.
I had an interesting week. I was completely tired when Thursday night worship practice came around, and exercise that often lasts two hours. For whatever reason the band hit it amazingly that night. Great parts, a couple of unique arrangements, and in the end we were done in an hour. Hard to believe really.
Sunday morning came and the first service was great, really great worship. The second service I lost it. I don't know if anyone really noticed, I held it together kind of, but it was rough, and brilliant. God was there, and I suppose one way of saying it is that I noticed, I engaged.
Don't get me wrong, that is always the goal, but sometimes trying to lead and pull the band takes so much attention that as the leader there is not much brain space to engage with God. I have long posited that bands need to be semi-pro or better….this is why. When the music fades, because it is not effort to those playing, worship emerges. I spent two years in Toronto leading a church where we had pro bands, I felt like last Sunday almost every Sunday I led. I had forgotten. The congregation knows too. The band almost disappears when there is no train wreck coming, and they can "fall" into worship.
Although there may be some who find this philosophy of worship too exclusive or excellence driven, for me it keeps being proved over and over. God will show up whenever and to whomever He chooses, He just does. That doesn't negate the truth in Psalm 33:3, paraphrased, "Make a joyful noise to God, play skilfully to Him."
My plan is to continue to share how my goals for the year are going, and to encourage readers here to regularly throughout the year re-boot as necessary to get/keep on track to having a great year of moving forward and achieving personal goals.
One goal I have not mentioned is getting in shape. Forgive my simplicity but I finally realized something, I needed to permanently change what I was eating. You see, I have been working out regularly for several years. My blood pressure, blood work, heart and general fitness were good but I was carrying too much weight. Diets always get you to omit and correct eating habits. The issue as we have all heard many times is once the diet is gone, then what? We return to our old ways and the pounds return as well.
I have finally embraced that I must change what I eat….forever. I must omit certain things forever. I must correct certain habits forever. Wow….
But I have done that in other areas of my life: spiritually, at work, in my marriage, with my kids. I have practiced instruments, even when I did not want to, certainly I can do this.
I have and continue to do it, and it is very difficult, but getting easier. I am not sure what the tipping point is, but I have embraced the change and I have lost 24 pounds so far this year. I have more to go, but I have every confidence that I will achieve it, and maintain it forever.
There is one very fun and interesting thing I am trying to do. Find new treats. Just because I have had to give up less than healthy habits, doesn't mean I can't find some really cool new ones. Exotic foods, unique recipes, changed workout routines, there is so much good to replace the old to make the new life not difficult, but exciting.
Like anything, there is change, transition and new processes. So how are you doing? If you feel like your goals are slipping, re-boot. Take this weekend and re-clarify how you are going to start/keep working towards your goals. Incremental change begets big change. Nothing begets, well nothing.