Jim Morrison 1969 In The Mojave Desert Courtesy Flickr.comphotoshinkelstone5166544084

The Path – Part 1: Changing Lanes and Letting Go

Fast forward ten weeks… And I find myself living in a completely different world.

This metamorphosis began about a month ago. A gradual change in mindset over the course of a few nights turned my perspective inside out, making everything I’ve written on this blog thus far instantly obsolete and infinitely possible all at once.

It started when I reassessed the life lessons I originally laid out, and realized that I had strayed far from the path. So, I went about making a major course correction – a mental shift toward staying positive and focusing on things I can control, and a physical shift toward keeping it simple and making friends.

Since this shift, I’ve been serendipitously guided down an unforeseen path and at long last delivered to where I now stand – the place I’ve spent years searching to find – the starting line.

Technically, you could say I “started” this journey seven months back when I resurrected this blog. But the truth is I never really started. Because when you really start, you don’t just start once. You keep on starting – everything, all the time. You put life in the fast lane.

I may have taken the on ramp, but I’ve yet to merge into traffic. And I think I finally figured out why.

Changing Lanes

A lot of change has taken place in my mind lately. It may seem subtle, but it’s been transformative for my entire overview and approach. For example, I’ve completely stopped caring about what others think of me, but started caring more about what they think in general, and how they receive my approach.

They say get a job that makes you happy and you’ll never work a day in your life. I pursued journalism because I wanted to make a difference, and I actually do enjoy digging into the history and numbers to unearth the full story. But only recently did I arrive at the sobering realization that when it comes time to share my findings, being the bearer of bad news just isn’t my cup of tea. I respect the newspeople taking risks to deliver the hard and heavy truth, but I’ve concluded that it doesn’t make me happy.

Looking back, the work I’ve done that directly helped or supported the creative endeavors of others is what has brought me real joy. The pieces I’ve written exposing the ills of society may have provided a sense of justice or accountability, but rarely genuine fulfillment. While I recognize the importance of investigative journalism, I’ve found that the work only feels truly meaningful for me if it culminates in measurable improvement. Just the facts no longer cut it. I need the action to get the satisfaction.

So, that’s the work I’m sticking to – a commitment that’s resulted in the total overhaul of this blog.

I still want to expose the activity of others, but I’m only interested in those taking actions I like, and my aim is to find ways to engage these people and incorporate their work into my own.

It’s what I’ve wanted this blog to be from the beginning, but I’ve always had this rebellious instinct to first lay bare the “system” holding us back. I think there’s part of me that hears the call of duty as a reporter to inform the public. But I’ve realized that my true passion lies in creation, not information.

Letting Go

Steering clear of negativity has really been my biggest stumbling block out of the gate. It’s hard to stay positive when the journalistic urge to cry foul kicks in. You just have to remind yourself that pointing fingers solves no problems. On the contrary, it tends to invoke only more despair or denial. What we need is deeds. Collaborative action solves problems, and only positive engagement makes that happen.

The essence of this project is positive engagement through musical connection, leading to collaborative action. Any discussion that interferes with that purpose is working against the intended end result.

It’s funny how things that seem so common sense after the fact can have you so stubborn to let go for so long. Even after continual reiteration of my intent to “keep it simple” and “stay positive,” I just kept reverting back to fear-based reasoning, thoroughly detailing all the disastrous potential impacts of our most complicated and contentious global conundrums. It’s as if I believed I could actually spit out some magical new insight so compelling that those in disagreement couldn’t help but fall in line.

Alas, no matter how logical it was for me to just abandon the bad entirely, I could never let go of the apparent need to unleash some exquisitely fact-checked and foot-noted, rebuttal-resistant rant to stand as my definitive response to the ever-looming question of “Why?” Even after establishing the right way to proceed early on, it still took six months of toiling in the wrong direction before I finally mustered the strength to just drop it, reverse course, and chalk all the misspent time and effort up to experience.

But at last, I’ve summoned the will to let it go.

Because here’s the reality: No matter how much evidence you supply, how moving your argument, how eloquent your oratory, you will never convert those minds that have already been made up.

No matter how much these issues motivate you personally or how worthy you deem them to be of the public’s gravest attention, there will always be a considerable portion of Americans that outright reject the notion they are even concerns, and might even take offense at their very mention.

It’s just not worth it. We’ve got more important things to do. And we need everyone to be on board.

Taking a community-based approach to consumerism and ownership isn’t just about being nice to your neighbors or the needy. A greater percentage of money spent locally gets recirculated in the community, stimulating your economy, and co-operative cultures are shown to breed happier, healthier people.

Here’s the bottom line: It’ll put money in your pocket and you’ll make a bunch of new friends. That’s the only thing most people need to hear. Every other benefit is just icing on the cake.

I’m learning as I go just like everyone else. I’m just doing it out loud.

I want to keep my past efforts up so people can go back and see that this project did not start out fully intact and had plenty of bumps on the road to fruition. It may be their motivating push to just go for it.

It’s all about the intention combined with the action and the constant implementation. These two posts may never be read by a soul, but my sitting down and writing them and pressing that publish button is all part of stepping in the right direction. Even if there is no perceivable gain, there is personal growth.

This shift in mindset has been crucial to how I measure my progress – and how much I will progress.

You can make yourself however you want, but you have to make yourself.

Part 2 covers some of the changes I’ve made, and the path I’m looking to tread for the long haul going forward.

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