Listening to the Border Radio
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much fire do you have for playing music?
When I work with people who want to learn harmonica one of the most common problems is remembering to find the time to practice and play music.
I know that if these people crank up their level of enthusiasm for music and practice that they will find the time. The same goes for me. With this in mind I would like to share with you a quote:
“Building the voice of enthusiasm..
Your feelings of enthusiasm will always be the result of an internal effort you have made, whether you’re aware of it or not. It is the result of something you’ve created through motion and movement, even if the movement is only in your mind.
That yes! feeling you get when you’re enthused is a result of moving up to a higher level of imagination and spirit, and the knowledge that you moved yourself there.”
This is from the book “Reinventing Yourself” by Steve Chandler. I have that quote in neon yellow highlighting so I can find it instantly when I need to remind myself of the power I have to turn my own lights on…
Here are a couple of stories about how I’ve tried to maintain my own religion for playing music:
Somewhere around 1985 I had a job at a newspaper in the Art Department putting together ads. I was 5 years sober, going to 12 step meetings a lot, and playing music when I could. I had a Sony Trinitron color TV that my parents had just given me, and when I got home from work I started watching a bit of TV to unwind.
Then I found myself in this weird place one evening. Strung out, agitated, pissed off, punching the off switch on the TV. For the third day in a row, “a bit of TV” had turned into 2 or three hours…
I had this lucid moment where I asked myself “If I keep doing this, how much would this TV time add up to in 10 years? – What If I spent half of that time playing music?”
The next day I sold the TV. Cheap. To get rid of it. I decided that I already had enough battles going on with addictions without bringing a new one into my own home.
Fast forward to the present time. I have a family and a home. We live in a house that has flat screen TV and at least five other devices that can go online, one of them in my pocket.
A couple of weeks ago I got obsessed with the series “Mad Men”. When you watch it on the flat screen TV via Netflix, the show has the opening theme and then credits and usually music when the episode ends. When you watch it online with a laptop, the format changes. The episodes blend into each other without the opening and closing segments. I got hypnotized going from one episode to the next and then snapped out of it a couple hours later.
I flashed on the Sony Trinitron TV. I told my wife the next morning that I was done with Mad Men.
Same old story, new technology. I am not going to get rid of the flat screen TV, the iphone, and the laptops. The real battle is going on in my own mind. There is a good reason it is called programming. When I watch a TV program or listen to a radio program, I’m getting programmed. Programming is more than entertainment. It is designed to capture your attention and then plant ideas in your mind.
When I don’t have time or enthusiasm for playing music, I need to check for unwanted programs in my mind sucking up time, attention, and energy.
Here is how it works for me- I have this voice in my head that I’ve dubbed “Radio Free Richard” – the constant stream of stories and mind movies that my imagination broadcasts to me. When I don’t actively use my imagination to create enthusiasm, RFR gets hijacked. It becomes a station run by people who want to drain my bank account and turn me into a domesticated sheep.
I have to turn RFR into a pirate radio station so I can generate my own 50,000 watts of enthusiasm from across the border – the border between where I am right now and where I want to be.
Playing music makes you younger, more alive, is good for what ails you, and practicing music is fun when you do it right.
This is truth in advertising, folks, and this is the commercial I want to have in heavy rotation in my own mind for the rest of my life.
How about you? Are there any programs that have snuck into your mind that drain your attention and enthusiasm away from music and the life you want to have?
Maybe it is time to re-build your own pirate radio station…