From The Plastic Hallway

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.” -Hunter S. Thompson

On Change


"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ~ Barack Obama

A musician friend recently confided in me that he felt trapped in his situation – he has a solid gig, but not one that is meeting his needs financially. He is also feeling disrespected and taken for granted. He would love to look for new work, but he feels bad about being disloyal to his gig. His living situation is not ideal either – various factors there… rent too high, too many roommates, and he would like to look for a new place to live but he feels bad about being disloyal to his roommates. He has friends in other cities who have offered to let him crash for a while, find new opportunities… but he feels bad about being disloyal to his current hometown, community, family….

All of these situational pressures weigh on him, and he is choosing to put the happiness of others ahead of himself, a notion that many people find commendable. Unfortunately, he is also completely miserable.

Why do we live to please others? Guilt? Obligation?

My advice to him was to start making changes in pursuit of his own happiness. And that once he is happier, he will be better able to serve the people around him. Once he’s happier he’ll find a better paying gig. Once he’s happier he’ll find a better place to live. Once he’s happier he’ll settle in to a community that is ready to serve his needs.

In life it’s change we seem to fear more than anything… but change keeps a comin’.

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "Maybe," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "Maybe," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "Maybe," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "Maybe," said the farmer.

Maybe things are great. Maybe things are terrible. Often it only depends how you choose to look at it.

I have come to understand that changes are the Universe’s way of pulling you closer to your purpose. I remain open to those changes and work to stay open so that I can accept changes as they come. I am not passive about work and working – anyone who has ever worked with me or for me will tell you that I have a high-running motor and push for things to happen constantly. All part of my mantra: “do stuff and things”.

To take it a step further, “do stuff, and things will happen”. Whether or not those things that happen are what you expected, or thought you wanted, is a different proposition entirely…

Are the changes in your life serving you? Are you happy? Are you open?

With Love -

JLS

 © 2017 Noble Steed Music