Self Love, Songwriting, Writing

Writing is a gift

A while ago, I began writing the word “gift” on the page on which I’m songs. (Or, when forget, midway through). It’s a small reminder. The gift could be for me, or for someone else. I aspire to offer some small joy, insight or surprise in what gets written. I want it to be something a person will find useful and fun. 

Socks are useful, but aren’t fun. Revenge can be fun, (or exhilarating at least), but it’s not useful. A good gift offers some amount of joy. A great gift offers a quality of inevitability and surprise, something wanted but unimagined. 

That’s hard to find of course, but it’s worth seeking out. And aiming for that target I’m likely to stay away gifting socks, revenge, or self-serving cleverness. Writing “gift” aims me toward what I can offer and generosity.

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Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love

The Gardener

Here’s a little note I sent to myself across time via FutureMe.org: 

Thinking today again about how I might fertilize and make my “garden” more lush. What are the things a good gardener does to keep things lively and rich in a garden? Rotating crops, churning the soil, watering plants, building lattice work for vines that things that need them. He let’s nature do it’s job by observing the world around him and working with it. Sometimes he gets rid of things, weeds and prunes where needed. If he’s a wine maker, he likely takes a long view. New grape vines take at least 4 years to produce fruit. Sometimes producing less means producing a better quality product in the end. Old vines–30, 40, 60 year vines, maybe 100 year vines produce great fruit if tended well.

As a gardener what are the things that I want to produce in my life? What are the qualities that I want my life to have? I like interaction and play and intellectual pursuits. I love music and stories. I love the idea of simplifying things.

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Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love

It just Sounds Good

There are five notes in a pentatonic scale, and as long as a person plays them in in key none of them will ever sound bad. It just sounds good. Maybe not great but good. That’s a strong place to start. 

The truth is, when I was first shown the pentatonic scale, I wanted the secret to being a better guitarist than other people. Being merely good wasn’t good enough because I thought my value came from my abilities and performance. Any slip and I might become worthless. Yet, generally something can’t be great until a person has done it (and failed at it) countless times, over many many years. That’s a long time to wait for worthiness. 

This is where a sense of inherent self-worth could have been preferable. Inherent self-worth gives me a foundation on which I can show up as I am, learn, and grow.  With inherent self-worth something which starts as “merely good,” (or even awkward and halting), has space to develop, to become a skill. Given enough time a person might mistake that something for an innate talent. 

Inherent self-worth is like the pentatonic scale. It’s merely good. It’s hard to “sound bad” if I’m playing with inherent self-worth. It’s a strong place to start. If I aspire to be better than others, I’ll never be enough. But if I’m willing to show up as I am I can learn, and grow.  That’s inherent self-worth.

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Imperfection, Self Love

What if it were Easy?

My projects start with an idea and lots of excitement. The energy of the excitement carries them forward and they expand. Somewhere in the excitement, the project can start to collapse under the the weight and complication of that expanse. It’s impossible to do everything. That’s when it’s important to ask myself; “What if it were easy?” 

Couldn’t it be simple? Couldn’t the project be set up to simply drift down lazy river in an inner tube?  What would it look like if it did?  

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Boundaries, Inherent Self-Worth, Self Love, Songwriting, Writing

Self-Love, in the Third Person

Recentlly I heard Mark Brackett on Brené Brown’s podcast. He touched an an interesting idea. He said a study was done that showed people are kinder in how they speak to themselves when they speak in the third person.   

As someone who aspires to beat myself less that’s exciting to me. But speaking in the third person has a bad rap. It’s often portrayed as foolish and grandiose. What if it could be merely loving? 

Daniel Coyle in his “Little Book of Talent” talks about looking for good models of the skill we want to develop in ourselves, and then deeply watching and studying how they do it. Who could I look at deeply as a model of self-love? 

Elizabeth Gilbert.  She was on “The Tim Ferriss Show” recently. She said; “part of my sense of stewardship and friendship over myself is that I try to do really nice things for Liz and I try to do really nice things for future Liz.”  

There it is. She’s offers herself friendship and stewardship and it’s in the third person. She said; “I try to do really nice things for Liz and for Future Liz.” 

Here’s a little bit more, in which she’s talking about for her books.

“I’ll find some really great detail and I’ll write it on a card and I’ll be like, oh, my God, future Liz is going to be so psyched when she finds this card three years from now because she’s going to be writing the scene and she’s going to be stuck and she’s going to reach in and she’s going to pull out this detail and she’s going to be like, ‘Ah, yes.’” 

“And then what happens is that while I’m writing, I’ll reach in and I’ll find some amazing card with a great piece of dialogue on it or a great detail that really helps with the scene and I’ll be like, thanks, past Liz, you’re the best. And it’s this little salute across time where past Liz is like, I got you babe and future Liz is like, thank you for looking out for me, you’re the best.”

(There’s lots of great tidbits throughout the Tim Ferriss’s interview of Liz.  The quotes above start a bit after minute fifty https://tim.blog/2020/05/08/elizabeth-gilbert/ ).

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