A new year begins. Some things continue, others start over, slates are wiped clean. It's raining in a grey Dublin. What's on your mind in these early days of 2017? I have no clear resolutions this year, I've not yet written a list of goals. Be that bad or good I don't know. But there are some ideas that I'm thinking about, that I think of over and over again that I want to be more mindful of going forward. There are four essential themes for me, pillars that, when kept strong, can help everything flow smoother.
These pillars are ENERGY, PURITY, INTENSITY, CONSISTENCY. Hence EPIC ... a little cheesy I admit, but also I think, too good to ignore. I'm just trying to go into every day thinking about the importance of these qualities.
To me, your Energy energy is your life force. It is the most important thing and should be guarded like it's some kind of holy flame. I got to thinking about this a lot last year. Maybe it's something you think about more the older you get. It became clear to me that everyone has a well of energy that fills and empties on a daily basis... when it's full you feel like you can do anything, take on any challenge and just waltz through your days with a smile.
But of course the well empties. Some days it seems like you have absolutely nothing to draw on. These are the days I'm trying to avoid. I know it's the most natural thing in the world for these things to go up and down, but being aware of the well might be enough to not waste energy on things that don't light you up.
Things that fill the well: Sleep, good food, meditation, exercise (to a point)
Things that empty the well: Alcohol, excessive travel, late nights watching mindless tv, exercise (beyond a certain point), sickness
You will have your own list. We generally know what lights us up and we know what burns us out. There is often a Trade of course... Wine is good, hangover is no fun. One hopes to find a balance along the way, or if not be willing to accept the punishment gracefully 🙂
This is deeply tied to energy... the purer you can get in your body and mind the more energy you will have at your disposal and the happier you'll be. One of the things I experimented with last year was Fasting. The deepest fast I did was three days on water and lemon juice only. Afterwards I felt more alive than I could remember. It's definitely something I want to do more of this year. Other musicians that have experimented with Fasting that I know of include Leonard Cohen and Steve Vai, two favourites of mine at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Leonard said "I like to fast so I can be empty, when I'm empty I can receive".
I've also had good results on short rice fasts and juice fasts. It's all a case of giving your digestive system a rest and freeing up some energy for your body to get to some healing work. There is lots of good information online on how fasting can help with diseased and longevity. Interesting stuff I tell you.
I haven't quite figured this one out yet. But it's on my mind. This, as with all things is a question of balance... Get too intense and I guess you'll be a ball of rage. But I'd like to think more about the level of intensity I personally bring to things. I come from a pretty long line of relaxed folks and am for the most part pretty grounded about things. I would like to keep that in mind is all, be aware of my tendencies and look out for projects or areas where a little more intensity might be helpful. I suppose it just means to give 100% to the things that are important. For me that is: Music, Relationship, Family and health.
This may well be the most important pillar of all, and the most difficult to achieve. I struggle with this a lot. Perhaps everyone does. I believe now though that in order to get anywhere with anything, you must be super consistent. You must show up over and over again. I tend to go through bursts with things. I'll write a bunch of songs together and then nothing for months. I'll completely obsess about running and get deep into marathon training only to not put on the shoes for weeks on end after the race is done. Then what happens? The fitness goes away. Songwriting muscles can atrophy too. So this is something I want to be very aware of this year. I want a solid process that I can come back to over and over again. Even if it's just something small every day. It's important to keep the chain going. To have ideas flowing into each other regularly. This is all energy too. Energy energy energy.
I will do the same with this blog, go on a run of writing and then radio silence for half a year. I will try to bring consistency to this too. Small regular efforts have to be more useful that mammoth bursts sporadically.
So this is all pretty straight forward stuff really, and all of it could be wrong. I don't know. Maybe it is better to burn up in a blaze of glory than to gently glow steadily for a long time. There are no rights or wrongs. In any case these are some of the things that are on my mind early in this new year and some ideals that I will try to embody.
Hope you have an absolutely fantastic year ahead of you full of extraordinary health and joy.