Performance and Practice and Repeat: making the cake batter balanced

Practice and Performance and Performance and Practice. Had a killer show last week at The Horseshoe. And then. It's over. And it's back to practice. Back to the apartment. Back to the tender grips of social media producer vortex land. That is the art. Keeping it balanced. Cause I for suture can caught in the wormhole of posting pics and social meeeeds and all the superfluous shit that matters (but doesn't really and we all know it). What matters? 

Samantha Madely shot: @whirlywindz Closing at The Horseshoe, March 19 

Samantha Madely shot: @whirlywindz Closing at The Horseshoe, March 19 

You don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love, you just need to practice your love. Practice creates the master.
— Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
Photo: Samantha Madely @whirlywindz

Photo: Samantha Madely @whirlywindz

Practice doesn’t make perfect, nothing will ever really be perfect -
more practice more consistent
more consistent more confident
more confidence more accomplishments.
— FL-dash-OH

So on that note. It's 1:10 pm on Sunday. I've been up for a few hours. I've done the emails. I've done the banking. I've looked at my server schedule. I've drank all the coffee (will address this at another tiiiiiime)... and what is missing? The biggest piece of all. The practice. Cause I can hide behind all the "producer" aspects I want. And it must be done. But not at the expense of practice. 

Senseii namaste, fellow warriors. Back into the ring. 

Fatigue: the working of the job to do the job

Waitress town. Population me.  

If you’re going through hell, keep going.
— Winston Churchill

 

Currently I am learning about fancy cocktails and dynamic wines... the kinds of wines with notes of leather and cherry and slate and depth. This particular restaurant/bar I've started at is a high end one. It's intense. It's a fucking bootcamp. And I'm overwhelmed. 

Overwhelmed because I haven't touched this blog in close to a month. I'm late on sending out press kits for a Horseshoe Tavern gig on Thursday. My practice routine has been off the grid. 

On one hand I'm learning the ways and products of this high-end joint, but what, in turn, is suffering? The thing I want to do with my life. For now? Can this be yet another ebb and flow? I'm challenged with the ability to have perspective right now as I am smack dab in the middle of a massive learning curve. And it's uncomfortable and tiring and it can get fucking existential.

What am I doing with my fucking life? 

Priorities?

Rich parents and benefactors. Congrats to those who have them. Artists who are making a living from their art? I can't imagine this.. and maybe that's where my problem is? Or what am I expecting? Or am I complaining? Or am I using this fancy job to distract from doing the work? 

 

 

 

And this is where friends, good friends, come in. I woke up this morning. Paralyzed with big questions. Fantasies of escape.. Get rid of my apartment and move back to Barrie. And what happened and what helped?

 I connected with my sister on Skype. She gently coaxed me off the ledge. By offering perspective and ideas and humour, I am able to see that this is what is right now. Push through... and then make decisions. But in the thick of the challenge storm, what if I kept moving. 

 

 

While working, I suddenly heard a noise and looked up to find Robert Hughes, the art critic of Time magazine, staring at me in disbelief. ‘But you’re Philip Glass! What are you doing here?’ It was obvious that I was installing his dishwasher and I told him I would soon be finished. ‘But you are an artist,’ he protested. I explained that I was an artist but that I was sometimes a plumber as well and that he should go away and let me finish.
— Philip Glass

I don't know how this is going to shake down. Feels like everything around me is falling apart. But is this just what dramatic change feels like? 

I will keep me posted. 

Here's to doing my best to observe difficulties and challenges, to the best of my ability. 

Reaching Out

Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.
— St. Thomas Aquinas

People in our life. Valuing them. Reaching out. Listening. Asking questions. Listening. Loving. Basic stuffs? Sort of not really. 

Hate to say it but I need to remember to do these things ALL THE TIME. 'Cause, baby baby, I get stuck in my headskees too much oh too much of the time. I recently listened to Adam Robinson on Tim Ferris' podcast and he has a little formula:

Bed

Bath

Bus

sleep. water. movement. 

and I would add (for the sake of illiteration I'll keep with B)

Brethren (or Bosom Buddies)

Plural of brotherhood, it's community. Beeeeeecause, what the fuck else do we have. Yes. Art. Work. Music. Connection with something bigger than me. Silence. Meditation. .... ok. ok. But in the thick of my thinking, my self-centredness, the way out is through others. 

Cause these days, I am picking up the phone a lot more and asking my friends, distant and close and acquintancey and bestie...all walks) 

HOW ARE YOU?

Common answer is: overwhelmed. 

Everything is big. very big. and we are small. very small. so what to be done?

Connect. With others. and feel more like a wave in an ocean, you dig? apart of something bigger. 

This may be simple reflex fact living obviousness for some people. It isn't for me. It's a very, very specific, intentioned practice. To ask others. To care for others. To move out of my own driven, self focused way. 

Call your pal today and say I lerv you, pal.  

 

Ambition: A Well. Balanced. Life.

There is rapidly developing a soil shortage on your planet. That is, you are running out of good soil in which to grow your food. This is because soil needs time to reconstitute itself, and your corporate farmers have no time. They want land that is producing, producing, producing. So the age-old practice of alternating growing fields from season to season is being abandoned or shortened. To make up for the loss of time, chemicals are being dumped into the land in order to render it fertile faster. Yet in this, as with all things, you cannot develop an artificial substitute for Mother Nature which comes even close to providing what She provides.
— Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Vol.2

I've been clocking MINUTES of my activities on the daily. It looks like a big white piece of reading rainbow teacher paper meets a diverse ordered action Sharpie party (on best behaviour...the Ruler is there to ensure this). 

Columns include:

1) Piano Practice

2) Meditation

3) Jams/recording/lessons

4) Physical Activity 

5) Website biz 

And if an 8 hour day commitment to music as my Job with a capital J, it all comes back to Discernment and Values. 

Balance isn’t something you find, it’s something you create.
— Jana Kingsford

Like where's the spot for:

1) Friendships/family

2) Reading

3) Naps

4) Walks 

5) Groceries

I ask this because I wonder, what am I ambitious for? Because ambition, though I admire it's FIRE, often not only stokes my drive but my anxiety/panic ticker... and what's the point in that.

Especially, ESPECIALLY, with what we are all awake to right now, politically. And everything is political. 

What is my stance then? Well... to show up to the work. TO ALL OF THE WORK. the work of being an artist human creature woman. 

....and trust me... there is a fear that the word Balance sounds like an apology, like a throwing in the towel, like a wet blanket. And this is what I am then curious about. What is old school wiring and what is the real true humanity calling. 

Don’t work for appraisal or appreciation, work for your personal growth.
— Sivaprakash Sidhu

If I wanna be the change I wanna see, I better #justshowup

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.” Anais Nin

So much. So much. So much. In the world. In the media. Destruction. Uniting. Sadness. Beauty. Violence. Peaceful Action. Voice. It's an overwhelming-upheaving-decadent on the decline-kind-of-time. It incites action and paralysis. Which leads me to... 

Cat. What do I do? It's big and thick in the world. 

continue to show up. to the best of my ability. continue to show up. Hashtag Just Show Up (#justshowup). continue to show up. show up more than ever. rest and show up. and repeat. and show up. show up to kindness. to love. to caring. to difficulty. to thickness. to awkwardness. to sadness. showup. 

My existence is humble. I don't have booming success. (But then again, let's actually take a part what SUCCESS even fucking means, please).  I make my living as a server and I'm 35 years old and sometimes this haunts me. But the fact is, the reality is, I make a living so that I can do my art. And this is all I can ask for. And more than that, in these fucking times, and in comparison to a lot of peoples RAW DEALS in the world, this is more than #justshowup it's more like #befuckinggrateful And for what is happening in the world, to so many... I afford to pay off my debt, little by little (accumulated in the naiveté of my 20s and early 30s to credit card companies and the power of living within my means)... I keep warm and pay for hydro, and buy cashews and raspberries and organic coffee. I pay for piano lessons and I can take a nap...often.  Call my friends. Record songs. Play with my keyboard. Nap on my couch...again. Read. Watch youtube clips and netflix shows (the ones full of integrity and the ones that aren't). Hot baths. This past weekend I even went to a MonsterJam show with some pals. 

So. In the name of hashtag just show up. What does this mean for me? 

1) Practice my scales. Mastery. 

2) Be specific. Focus. Clarity.

3) Art: Connect to my experience as a humble human spirit creature just moving along, and giving this life a shot like the gajillion have others before me. 

4) Be fucking kind

5) Be fucking grateful

And keep in mind: 

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandi

"Hate the sin, love the sinner. The good man is the friend of all living things. Civilization is the encouragement of differences. No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake. Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandi

...yes. I typed that/cut and paste that TWICE. And why not a third. 

 

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandi

 

 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum id ligula porta felis euismod semper.
— Pablo

Sincerity is all I got

"Truthfulness or sincerity is a desirable mean state between the deficiency of irony or self-deprecation and the excess of boastfulness." - Aristotle

Sincerity is sticking with me right now. It's repeating it's name to me. I keep coming back to it. Cause I feel like, at the end of the day, it's all I got. Hand to my heart. Let me trust this. 

"Life begins perpetually.... Life, forever dying to be born afresh, forever young and eager, will presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool, and stretch out its realm amidst the stars." HG Wells

I am a seeker. I meditate. I read spiritual literature. I read tarot. I burn sage. I say prayers. I go to the gym. I practice yoga. 

and

I get my nails done. I watch mindless tv. I stare at my phone. I judge. I compare. I contemplate Botox. I avoid. I smoke cigarettes, on and off and on and off. I can eat too much and not enough.  

We are in a process of remembering and forgetting, remembering and forgetting.

 "Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars" proverb

I am, sincerely, trying. 

"Today gives us a chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars." Henry Van Dyke

As an artist, as a human, we show up. To our work. That is the job. And. As an artist and a human, I do the best I can. Because. We. are. not. perfect. I remember and I forget and I remember and I forget and I remember... So let me give into just that. To come back, to come back, to come back... Back to the Devotion of practice. To the humility of being a human. To the sincere desire to seek higher ground.  

"So let us then try to climb the mountain, not by stepping on what is below us, but to pull us up at what is above us, for my part at the stars; amen." M.C. Escher

 

 

Consistency: keep coming back

yoyoyoyoyoyo

so a wee revelation in the continuation, development, movement, evolution of this blog. Blog being the medium in which I'm tracking my artistic process/human practice: 

i think it is helpful to start with scheduling two writing sessions a week to work on it. Why? Because... it is reasonable. It is not over ambitious. It is not manic. It is a reasonable amount to show up to, on a consistent basis. And after all, this is a marathon, not a sprint. 

When I treat process like a sprint. Danger. Danger. Danger. The undertow that is OVERWHELMEDNESS has its way with me.  

It is real. 

So much in the world. so much inside. So much to do. What is right... all noise.

A tendency I have, and many artists do, is to want to produce so much. Learn so much. Expand so much. And to have it all finished and glorified YESTERDAY. I want to collaborate with everyone. Explore everything... but as a friend tells me:

"You can't wear all your favourite pants at the same time." 

The mountain of manic enthusiasm does not reach a summit but a cliff. And a foot off the cliff is  a crash. Makes sense. It all expands and expands and expands until, pop! All the ideas are too much. Too out of reach. Too moved into the clouds of fantasy and future. 

This crash incites a sense of despair resulting in the tender thoughts of: 

"what the fuck is the point of anything."

And what action do these thoughts inspire? Well for me last night, it looked like a jar of peanut butter, cigarette central and back to back episodes of the mind numbing Suits. 

And pause on that too. I am not necessarily saying that these lapses in presence are a bad thing. IT's a part of our experience to remember and forget and remember and forget and to leave and to come back and to leave and to come back...

and I came back. I closed the laptop. I cried. I had a bath. I meditated. I read my cards. I did my dishes. I went to sleep. And I awake. I meditate. I make my coffee. I watch a clip or two of global anti-Trump protest. I cry. I eat oatmeal. I open up square space. I begin to type. 

Humility: I understand that I don't understand it. The creative process in my world ebbs and flows. It holds Dark and Light. It moves between Rock and Roll and Disco.

And in process there must be Mud to have Lotus. 

ok. so these are the realities. ok. what can I do? What can we do? 

1. Show up. Everyday. To the best of my ability

2. A New day is a new day. Focus - gently. Discern. Work alongside core values. 

3. Track the process in the name of observation, awareness and discovery

4. humility and humour. always.

5. friendship and community. always. 

6. Rest. 

I am reminded that the point of this blog for me is to understand the nature of creation so that I dance with it. I see it. I respect it. I bow to it. 

xcat