Anyone who knows me is well aware of my mildly ridiculous love for music and my collection of vinyl records that started decades ago. The reason I love records is because the sound is pure. There is hardly any translation between the artist and the listener. With discs and especially with digital formats (although the lossless formats are getting considerably better) somewhere between the artist and the listener exists a string of ones and zeros that translates the digital signal back into sound and I’m still not convinced that I’m getting exactly what the artist wants me to hear.
I often buy new records and I spend time cleaning my records to keep them in the best shape possible. But my favorite records are the ones with the scratches and pops. I don’t intentionally scratch my records, that would be crazy. But every little scratch that does appear on a records comes from an experience. One time I was playing an Erykah Badu album at a night club and the stage beat so hard at one point the needle skidded all the way across two tracks causing an occasional, light pop. Some of my much older records were handed down to me by my father. As a child in the late eighties and early nineties I was listening to the popular music of the time: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Run DMC, House of Pain, Beastie Boys, amongst others. The radio was pumping out the new sound of DJs scratching records. So naturally I tried to do this with my dads records. I never really learned the art but it did have an effect on the way the records sound. I have an old Sonny Boy Williamson album that had probably been around for more decades than I know. The cracks and pops on that album almost lend themselves to the antiquity of the music and the worn sound of his voice. I’m not even sure I would like that record without that old, abused sound.
I love the way a new record sounds. But as I keep listening to my records each new scratch comes with a memory, and fondness of a moment that those scratches remind me of. I thought about this the other day as a few friends of mine have taken a couple major scratches as of late. And what I realized was that those scratches are what make things unique, they add character and personality. The risks we take create the chance of those scratches happening and when they do, we have yet another story to tell. So my friends, go out and get your scratches. You’re more likely to end up on my turntable if you do.
So here we are in 2016 and what a marvelous year it has potential to be. I say it that way because that is what I am determined to believe and make happen. The power to do so is my power to cultivate. Sometime near the end of summer 2015, I decided to take the first step in cultivating that power. I started treating my body more as the temple for my soul, and less like a cheap lean-to. It was only the beginning. Even good things can be overdone when not balanced properly.
The next step was to get myself busy again. Everyday I woke up for the past 5 or so years, I woke up just a little further from myself without even noticing it, until one day I was so far gone that returning to my center seemed an insurmountable challenge. My next challenge is much more daunting: professional growth. It happened to coincide with the new year but I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. The scariest part is not the fear of failure. No I have failed countless times in the past and am confident I will fail countless more times to come. No the fear isn’t of failure, it is of success. Success scares the snot out of me. Let me explain. I have always been a noncommittal individual. The reason being, I always wanted to make sure I had the option to jump to something better if it came along. Success is the opposite of that. It is a level of commitment I have always avoided. I suppose what I am saying is success is scarier than failure because it is a much more significant decision.
How do I get past those fears to keep pushing? I workout. This is where it all begins to work in tandem. I put in my headphones and pedal a bike until I stop thinking about the pain in my muscles, I stop thinking about the fear, I stop thinking about the things that are distracting me and I get down to the most basic focus on power. I’m not talking about the power to lift a car. I’m talking about the the belief that we have the power to achieve all we believe we are worthy of and BELIEVING we are worthy of it. The world goes away, I am left with me, and that is a great place to be. The more I do this, the smaller the issues appear and the more focused the goals become.
Do yourself a favor. Find your power.
There is a beauty in the human experience, but that beauty doesn’t just slap you in face. One must be resilient and forthcoming to dig it up. Just like I do not feel together with the earth until I have dirt under my fingernails, such is my experience with our species. I don’t feel connected until I have some sort of dirt on my soul.