Put your heart into it… or better yet, put it elsewhere.

Photo Credit and rights: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mararie/

This phrase is heard often in our post-modern culture.  “Seize the day- and put your heart into it!” What, praytell, is “it?”  Well, “it” can be anything we want to fill that absence within ourselves- religion, sports, music, academia, philosophy, writing, etc etc.

But I’m going to pose a new way of thinking about our tangible pursuits down here.  What if we don’t put our hearts and all of our focus into so many various parts of our life.  What if we do live a litte “air-hearded” in the sense of all of our everyday affairs, choosing rather to meditate on the spiritual concepts floating above our heads?

Put my heart into music?  No, then i’ll just be anxious and bummed when recognition often escapes me or when I see others who are farther in their successful careers than I am.

Put my whole heart into the stock of what others think, say or my actual relationships?  No, people will disappoint and I’ll spend my time vacillating with each relationship and worrying about how I’m inadequate or how much they’ve hurt or disappointed me or my ego.

Put my heart into creating such a comfortable nest I’ve created here that when it comes my time to fly this coop, I think, oh, but I love my life and stuff here. I’ve invested  so much of my heart and energy into this place.  So, then maybe it behooves us to put our energy and work ethic into what we do, but not our total hearts into what we do.  What do I mean?  Well, maybe our clutch should not be as tight as it is to our image, our talents, our loves (leah speaks to self).  What if we’re called to sacrifice whatever it is?  What if what we thought was our greatest contribution to the world is later revealed as merely a stepping stone to a greater plan set forth for us while we were yet being formed.

We should guard our hearts and, as Rudyard Kipling says, “If all men count with you, but none too much,” we must somehow learn to separate the situations in which we find ourselves and our emotions.  They must not be what drives us- rather, there should be something of far stronger weight acting as our anchor.  If heart is where your treasure is (Matthew 6:21), then where is this anchor?  Investing my heart elsewhere will lead me to less attachment and disappointment in the mere here and now.  Putting my faith and trust in a God who is vastly more powerful than myself will help my perspective be more fixated on better things.  I wont’t get as anxious or worried over politics, broken relationships, stressful moments in the hustle bustle and angry over what I feel I deserve or am owed.  This is part of the strangeness of life.  We see what others have and we want it too.  But sadly, those who have everything we long for often aren’t the people we’d really want to be if we were honest with ourselves.  Do I get giddy over talented musicians?  Why yes, yes I do.  Do I want their often dark and depressing vh1 behind the scenes life or their broken marriages or their exhaustion or addiction to pleasure?  I’ll be honest- aspects of the music lifestyle are incredibly tempting to me.  But then I think deep down, there is a part of me that knows there is so much emptiness in it as well.  I’ve experienced it- the heartache, the sadness, the decision by those I love to leave all for the music at the expense of themselves and others.  And about this whole getting famous bit?  I don’t think it’s that hard to do.  When you’re willing to sacrifice everything- family, friends, dignity, money- for music, you’ll make it out there.  But is that really who I want to be….. someone who has spent their whole life in devotion to self?

I must let my love and pursuit of God and good things be what seeps into every facet of my life will make everything else just compartments.  Instead of giving God his little box, why not view our lives as many boxes and all of them are floating in the same sea of God.  They all become submerged and eventually sink into His greatness.



The river flows and on it goes

It is never easy to “go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”  But when you’re given encouragement along the way, it can take any hardship you’ve experienced thus far right out of your mind.  I was definitely on some musical highs the past few days.

This weekend held various blessings for me.  I had the privilege of being part of an old-time jam session at the Old Time Pickin’ Parlor down in Marathon Village.  I love this place.  The store, the vibe, everything just seems so good and enjoyable.  I felt like I can look back someday and possibly say here’s where it began.  I was meeting a banjo player, Brandon, on Saturday at said store.  From videos he had sent, I could tell he was quite talented.  We were able to jam together and with some new-found friends around the coffee table decorated with cigar-box guitars.  I also had invited a fiddler to come out, and he (Travis) joined our party as well.  It was exciting to hear encouraging words and also to be approached by the booking guy from Antique Archeology next door.  Gigs here we come 🙂

On Sunday evening, I met with a talented gal from MTSU who currently co-writes with various people around town, and she herself writes and plays guitar and piano.  Her style could be described in a Delta/ Civil Wars-esque vein.  I think our sounds and styles will work amazingly well together, so here’s to a future of collaboration.  It will be a whole new experience to actually work on harmonies with another gal!

Something I’ve learned in my short time on earth in regards to anything- music, pursuing passion, relationships- is that timing is everything.  Sometimes we’re taught to be patient while sometimes we get a green light blessing.  I’m not the holder of the future, but from where I’m sitting, it looks like some good opportunities are farther down the line.  And for that, I am excited and hopeful.  I also know I’m up against a lot.  The continual questions- how will you make money?  How will you uphold your faith?  How will you not let it eat your soul?  I don’t have specific answers to all this other than surrounding myself with positive influences, wise mentors, people who care about the eternal and making myself keep the right mindset when it comes to success or failure.

I’ll leave you with a picture from the fabulous Band of Heathens show at the Frist friday night.