This post is originally from a LinkedIn article I published on August 19, 2016
August 19, 2016
If you take just a few moments to rummage through my profile you'll notice what a varied and crazy journey I've been on. Pretty much my entire life, I must say, and it's been way better than anything I could've designed. This past week has seen the result of several years pursuing my passion and soul's cry since I was eight years old and first took up the guitar: to create, record and release my music to the planet. Perhaps that's a bit overstated since there were fluctuations over the decades preceding recent events, but it's true, nonetheless.
And by recent events I mean that my first two pieces of music have just been released to the planet. To say it's been surreal would be an understatement. Seriously, Bruce...you took a gigantic risk with your balls in a wheelbarrow and actually put something out there for people to accept or fillet with the unsharpened scalpel that is social media? Or, perhaps even more frightening, through LinkedIn, which you openly acknowledge is a venue that hardly ever hits your radar screen and you barely access? Yes. Correct on all points.
There's a biblical quote, one of a few that have stuck with me all my life and I think is from the Apostle Paul, that mentions being "all things to all men." I've tried to live my life by that tenet and can't say whether I've succeeded or failed. Not to be morbid, but that determination will likely be decided at my memorial service and I won't be there to witness it. So, I have only my gut and spirit to go by. And I know that I can say I've tried, which means not everyone will have been served by my life's purpose and my response to it. And that's OK. It took me three years of therapy after my divorce to accept, but it's true: I cannot and will not be everything to all people. When I couple that premise with my inclination toward perfection, it's a quandary. How can I possibly live the most perfect life serving others, as I believe I've been called to do, in a manner that meets their needs? Not possible. And that's been the most liberating part of my recent journey.
Music is a universal language. With the first two pieces I've released this week and made available for purchase, there are no lyrics to encumber the listener. Each person is free to create and attach a story to the music. We all do that, even with lyrical compositions, and that's what makes a song so special and personal. When ten thousand screaming maniacs sing along to a Bon Jovi song, they're relating to it from their personal experience. It's not from the perspective of the songwriter, yet the lyrics can somehow become autobiographical and that's what creates the connection. This concept has revealed itself over and over in my life outside of music, mostly through my 18 years of leadership in nuclear power. Living an authentic life and executing from it allowed others to connect with me in ways I'll never be cerebral enough to design. It's beyond me and larger than me, and that's why I've learned to trust it.
And so I've come to grips with the purpose of a life that's led and has a calling. Not everyone is going to connect with your purpose, not should they. I could spend hours trying to summarize here what I've come to believe after nearly 56 years of living. Thankfully, I'm healthy enough at this stage of life to realize that it's not necessary for everyone to agree with me, to connect with me, to validate my intrinsic needs by "liking" all my Facebook posts and generally fucking up my beliefs about myself and the world in which I operate. Lifelong love may or may not happen. Cultural mandates through television and movies don't have to be lived out by you or me to achieve a happy life. Creation isn't perfect in some respects and is absolutely pristine in others. On this side of life, I see things far less black and white than I did as a younger man. My life and the sum culmination of my experience has created for me a beautiful tapestry of color that I'm so thankful to view through aging eyes. And I'm forever grateful that I'm not colorblind to my life.
To conclude, things have generally not gone the way I planned nor envisioned for my life. And the same can be said for my close inner circle of loving friends who've suffered heartbreak and loss, triumph and tragedy, and yet continue to make something wonderful with this one life they've been given. Those few are my inspiration and I'm truly blessed to know them. And so here's the true and not-so-clever hook, yet honest and transparent final statement behind this article: I was prompted to promote my recent accomplishments through my music here and decided against it. All in real time while I was writing this. Months ago, someone here messaged me and asked that I alert them when my first piece of music dropped. I was attempting to comply with that request when I logged in, but something within me felt disturbed. I'm not a robust promoter of myself or my music, and it didn't feel right to write my first article with the sole purpose of getting anyone who might read this to go purchase my two songs for 99 cents apiece. And you might think that I'm being disingenuous and leading you to the links for my music, but you'd be wrong.
The inconvenience for me, of giving in to my true calling, is to know when to promote and when to simply share from my heart. I operate within that space nearly every hour of my given days, so it's difficult to make a conscious decision to pull in the reigns and chose not to share when I know I have no agenda other than to deliver my gift to the world. It's a bitch, at times, to know the difference, especially when you truly care about others and don't seek to take advantage of an opportunity. And especially when most of the collective wisdom would present some finely crafted marketing plan, based on facts and figures and metrics to numb your skull, all suggesting that it's in your best interest to push your art and nudge your audience to a website or outlet to get your stuff. And that's just not me.
Lastly, in my second and final attempt to conclude, I encourage you to sift through your calling - the one you know in your heart - and spend some time sorting through how it aligns with your life. And please don't take my words as a template for how to successfully navigate through that. I've again done my best to share how it's still a mystery and struggle, at times, but at least or at best I can firmly say that I truly care and want to fulfill one of my life's purposes - to share from my experience and my heart what I know to be true - and persuade you to not close your ears nor turn completely down the volume to your calling. You're meant for something here on this planet with the one life you've been given. It may not appear perfect or ideal, but it's valid, nonetheless.
Oh, and despite the very nice request of my LinkedIn friend, I will honor myself and not post nor reveal the pathway to my music and where you might purchase it. I trust that anyone who wants it will find their way easily to me and I'll gladly provide it. And I'm not one to take names and make note of things, so it's of no consequence if you choose to not request that information. You're on your own path and I encourage you to trust it. There's plenty of music to go around and a little of something for everyone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and be blessed...