Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste, Peeps

Aaron says:

Change. I don't remember where I saw or heard it, but someone said, "the only thing that does not change is change itself." And it's true in every aspect of our universe. The seasons change, the times change, our bodies change, our minds change, and even our lives. And if you actually think about it many things have changed since you started reading this.

Some things change for the better and some things for the worse. The only thing we can do is be aware that things are indeed changing.  And if we have any control over it, we can try to make things change for the better. Unfortunately, we don't always have that control. So to shield ourselves in those times I think it is best to strengthen our inner spirit to help guide us through those changes. I'd like to share something that has helped me change my paradigm about life. Take from it what you will. And with this new season coming in I hope it can help change you for the better as spring brings new growth and new life.
 

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. 

© Max Ehrmann 1927 

Feed Your Head: Inside the Mind of Pete

Pete says: 

So what is it? What are we doing? Where are we going? We've all got so many questions and no many answers in sight. At least not the ones we want to hear. 

Over the years life’s little curve balls can take their toll that's for sure. The defining decisions you'll have to face that can make or break you. The passion and desire that motivates and drives can sometimes feel like a burden and be discouraging. Do you always push for more or occasionally settle for what is given to you? It’s easy to end up in that grey area and feel no solution in sight. The question is how to get out of it. All of our ideas will differ. Things that seem so close can still be so far from your grasp and yet something else is right in front of you and you'll pass right by it. Most would probably think watching life pass you by is a waste. Go out and grab it, take what's yours. Live every day like it’s your last. We've all heard the clichés, but do we all have that inner strength to live with such drive day after day? When do you know enough is enough and it’s time to move on?

Just some of life's random thoughts and questions that rattle around in my head. 

Let's See Who Passed My Test...

Billy says:

Some quick reviews of musician books I've read over the years. I'm always on the lookout for suggestions too!

Slash (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver, and solo career): Very detailed orientated account of the guitarist's life and career. He talked about the formation of Guns N' Roses, his reasons on why GNR broke up, his various solo projects during and after GNR's demise, his marriage, his drug addictions and recovery and the formation of Velvet Revolver. I really enjoyed the immense detail behind his song writing and other tidbits, like what guitars he used for which songs. Other than some grammar errors, the book is highly recommended.

Grade: A-

Scar Tissue (Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers): The book talked about Kiedis' life starting from his birth all the way to around 2004. The book delves heavily into Kiedis' various battles of drug addiction and is very detailed about his thinking and opinions during those times. I did enjoy his explanations behind many of the lyrics for various RHCP songs but like his lyrics, his explanations and phrasing of words could be confusing. 

Grade: B

Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir (Dave Mustaine of Megadeth): As the first lead guitarist for Metallica to his entire career with Megadeth, Mustaine doesn't miss a beat with this book offering. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed because I felt it focused too much on his personal life and his new found outlook on religion. Being the front man of a massive metal band, I thought Mustaine would go into way more detail of his music career but he only offered a few details regarding each of the band's albums; so much for the subtitle of "Heavy Metal Memoir".

Grade: C

It's So Easy: and other Lies (Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses, Loaded, and Velvet Revolver): McKagan is one of the bassists that had a huge influence on my bass playing so this book was very high on my anticipation list. Fortunately, the book delivered and is highly recommended. He goes into heavy detail of the bands he's been in over the years, the background of his musical upbringings and his recovery from alcohol addiction. The last half of the book explained his new outlook of living a healthy lifestyle along with pursuing business ventures and martial arts. Articulate guy and the book content are very comprehensive.

Grade: A

I Am Ozzy (Ozzy Osbourne): It's a gigantic narrative of the singer's career and it does take a little while to get used to his rambling and "distinct" manner of speaking. But after that, his stories are hilarious, enlightening, interesting, weird, and bizarre. The book has its charm but the subject matter can twist and turn at a drop of a hat. 

Grade: B

Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater: The book is a very large and thorough account of Dream Theater's 25+ year lifespan starting from its humble beginnings of three guys from Berklee's College of Music. Its layout is told through mostly quotes from the band members extracted from interviews and statements so it's not a firsthand experience. I really enjoyed the chronicles of the band's career and the book presented many previously unknown facts about the band to me. The only detraction is the author inserts his own personal opinions on other bands and Dream Theater's catalog and his perspective is a little ridiculous.

Grade: A-

My Life with Deth (David Ellefson of Megadeth): When you think of Megadeth, one could think of just front man Dave Mustaine but there has been another person in the band since the beginning and that's bassist Ellefson. I liked the book because he doesn't mention Mustaine a lot and instead talks about the band from his own point of view. He delves into his lows of addiction but also highs of his success, staying sober and finding religion. Like Mustaine's book, he does talk a lot about religion and I respect that but sometimes that subject is not for everyone. Still, it's very recommended.

Grade: B

Unicorn Chaser (Eight)

*AUDRA* says:

Catching a unicorn. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Well unless you know exactly what I mean or what I am feeling you don’t know that it is the most plaguing feeling on the planet. It’s like a curse to those who know it. What is a unicorn? It’s going after a dream that is so huge that only a small percentage of people actually make it to the big time. Musicians, writers, actors, professional athletes; the list of the elite can go on, but that’s the very point, it’s an elite list. You have to be elite in some way, shape, or form to make it. And when you do, you are forever a part of the elite. You know something people that didn’t make it don’t know. You have tasted the forbidden fruit. You have caught your unicorn.

Often times wish I were normal. And I don’t mean normal in a negative way. I mean it in the way that I wish I had an obtainable and realistic goal. I wish it was my life’s ambition to be a teacher. Teachers are a tremendously important part of life. They are knowledge bearers that feed our youth to become the next knowledge bearers or healers. It’s amazing. And if you study hard enough and read the right books and pass all the tests, your dreams of becoming a teacher will come true. Your dreams of becoming a doctor will come true. Your dream of becoming a (fill in the blank) will come true. Unfortunately, that is not true for the unicorn chasers. It doesn’t matter how much we study or learn. Without talent, luck, and opportunity we could be left chasing forever. And it’s a chase that kills us.

For me, there is no backup plan. There is no “what happens if this doesn’t work out?” This is my dream. My life. My body and my soul yearn for this. How can you give up something that lives inside of you everyday? Unless you’re in the business of unicorn chasing, do you really even understand this life? Do you understand what it feels like to want something so much, but never quite having it in your reach? And it’s completely out of your control. Sure, you can practice and be the best you possibly can, but what if that’s not good enough? Or what if you were born with the wrong stroke of luck? I ask again, do you understand my life?

Listen, I’m happy for people that can be happy and fulfilled being married and parents and successful in their jobs. I’m even happy for the people that don’t want any of that and just want to live their lives. It’s just not me. It’s not a unicorn chaser. I want to be a wife and mother, but there is nothing I want more than to stand on a stage for the rest of my life and have people hear my music and sing my lyrics. Being a wife and mother or successful at my job is not what drives me. It’s not what lives inside of me. I die inside every time I have to sit at a desk or learn a new job. Not because I don’t enjoy it. I’m actually very good at finances and have had many fortunate positions over the years. I was even making fantastic money at one point. And it was great, but at the end of the day I felt like a sellout. I felt like someone who had sold my soul for the comfort of a good job with good money and good benefits. I wasn’t me. The unicorn chaser had turned into the chaser of an animal I could actually catch.

I’m happy to say I’ve found my way and I’m back to chasing my unicorn. It didn’t take much for me to get back on track. Honestly, when you feel a calling with such great passion as I do, it’s a constant voice screaming in your head not easily ignored. And after all these years of chasing my unicorn I have learn two things: Unicorn chasers are the most hopelessly romantic people on the planet. We have the ability to dream beyond reality and envision a life that may be out of our grasp. And even though it may be out of our grasp we never stop chasing it.  And that I am a successful and famous musician already because I will never give up on this dream. So many try and fail and the difference between them and me is that 10th time they fell, they stayed down. I will always get up the 11th time. Always. Until I no longer fall a 10th time. Until I am my dream and I’ve caught my unicorn.

It's The Time Of The Season...

Pete says:

Well there you have it folks, summer is over. It’s now time for the cool nights and warm days of autumn. Maybe enjoying a long ride into upstate New York checking out the foliage and stopping for a bite. Possibly some fall golf (and you better keep it out of the rough)! Then again maybe enjoying some music and arts festivals around the state. Or my personal favorite, a long ride on my motorcycle. 

Although summer is great, fall seems to have those ideal temperatures, at least for me. Seasonal change can be more than weather; it can be time for personal change and reflection. It can be time to look back at what you've done; your accomplishments, the fun you've had, the people you've met, and the places you've been. Maybe more importantly than that, it may be time to set some goals, make some changes, and take hold of your destiny. Some people have a five year plan or ten year plan. I’ll stick with a three month, six month, and one year plan. Let’s see how those work out first. I won’t bore you with my list of goals, but we should all have them whether personal, professional, or otherwise.

It’s easy to fall off track when you’re trying to reach these goals to, so having people that can help keep you focused can be the most important element of the goals you set. On occasion the "help" from others may seem harsh or just not so nice, but were all adults here and there is no reason for little kid gloves, right?

Seasonal change is going to be my new self-evaluation time. See where I’m at, what I’m doing, and what adjustments I need to make. I’ve recently had some dear friends suggest some changes that I may have been a little put off by, but after careful evaluation, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Although my 100% may never be others 100% due to many factors including completely different lifestyles, they push to only improve and succeed. 

Maybe I’ve gone off course a little here, but what I’m saying is for me there’s a new rule: When the seasons change, so will I! If it means when things aren't looking up for you that it takes true friends to pick you up and push you in the direction you need to go then that's how it works. Ok, I’m all over the place with this one, but that's just the way it is! Hope you got something from it!