Hey there, old friend! I know it’s been forever since I’ve written. And I stink at social media. Sorry. I hope you know that you’re often in my thoughts and heart.
The other day I found myself tripping back to that one really magical night in high school. You remember. We were sitting in the parking lot in your crappy convertible on some random Friday eating pizza. It was so warm and alive that night. The sky was open.
We just talked and talked. Dreamed and dreamed. We wanted to make music, write poetry, tell our stories, change the world. I hope you’ve done that in whatever ways are true to you. I’ve seen so many of our old friends drop their passion, forget their purpose.
It happened to me, too. I’m not sure what went south, but one day a few years ago I woke up feeling like I was not being true. Not being expressed. I looked in the mirror and didn’t see the love and joy and beauty and truth that we used see in each other. It disappeared so slowly. Where did our hearts go?
I know, I know. It’s hard. Life happens. Money, kids, heartbreak — all kinds of stuff coming in from left field. Sometimes it just feels like a non-stop battle. I get it. As our old friend John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
I’ve been thinking about this in a big way. For decades, really. As you might suspect, I have a spiritual perspective on the whole thing. Since I know how much you always used to love it when I’d get cranked up and start riffing, I thought I’d drop some of my ideas here. I’m just getting this intuitive hit that maybe some of this stuff can help you in this moment. Cool?
Ya know how I always wanted to sell out Madison Square Garden, top the New York Times Bestseller list, smash some box office records? I don’t anymore. Well, I kind of do. But not for the same reasons.
I didn’t really know it at the time. Or even until just a few years ago. But so much of that desire was ego driven. Wanting (or needing) to be the best, the most popular. Showing the world that I was smarter, more talented. And where did that all come from? Family. Duh.
I’m not gonna blame my mom or whatever, although it’s always a popular thing to do. You can hang around and blame people or The Man or whoever you like all day long, but at some point ya just have to move forward. All of the crap, trauma, injustice that happened to us is not our fault. But dealing with it is our responsibility.
Recently I had an epiphany. I understood the deep truth of creativity.
At its best, creativity is a powerful way for us to be seen, expressed and healed.
We’re so often unseen in this world. It’s so easy to feel anonymous out there in the city or on the freeway. Or in the endless stream of the online news feed. Even with our co-workers and acquaintances, it feels like they don’t see us. Or particularly care. And when it steps in to the close people, the family and friends, lovers and confidants, I don’t know about you, but I often feel misunderstood or not fully known. Creativity offers a new way to be seen=.
To be expressed is simply to move from the potential to the actual. The dancer who knows all the moves but sits on the sidelines when the music plays is not being expressed. As soon as she shakes it under the disco lights, she becomes her potential. This is always shifting, always dynamic. In the moment. Cool, right?
So how does creativity heal us? Just like when you used to scream your punk rock song about breaking up with the Moonbeam Girl or painting those heartbreaking portraits of your dad when he was going through the divorce, any authentic creative work is a catharsis. Every artist who has the courage to dig in deep knows and understands this. It frees our hearts. It opens us up and allows us to let go. We knew that on some level way back when we were kids.
When we’re seen, expressed and healed through our creativity, we then give our gifts to the world. That’s big. And powerful. But it gets bigger.
When we give our creative gifts to the world— whether it’s selling out Madison Square Garden or slipping a love note to the one person who matters — we become the gift. We become the gift because we show the world that it’s possible to be seen, expressed and healed.
This is huge. I believe it’s our blessing and challenge as artists, creators and humans. The more we can create and share with depth, courage and vulnerability, the more we heal. The more the world heals.
It’s a big thing. It is one way that we can be of service. One way we can contribute.
So get this…a few months ago I woke up on Valentine’s day. Alone. Yeah, that sucked. As I lay in bed thinking about the day ahead, I wrote a short poem in my mind. After brushing my teeth (and slugging my coffee), I put the pen to the paper. I snapped a quick photo and uploaded it to Instagram.
The reaction was astonishing. The simple truth that love connects us all resonated in a big way.
I don’t know about you, old friend. It’s been forever since we’ve spoken. But I have a feeling that you’re on the same page even now. I hope that this little note stirs up the truth and beauty in you once again. Inspires you to create in any way that you choose. Because you truly are a gift to this world. The gifts you gave to me all those years ago still resonate in my heart. Inspire my words. And fuel my creations.