Michael Franti, Part: The First

I have a lot to say about what Michael Franti has been up to in recent years, and one day I will. But for now, I want to take it way back.

So it’s my second first date with Stu, (weird, right? But true. Second first date.) We’re at his place. And he’s telling me about this artist he really digs named Michael Franti, and puts this song on first.

“Love, why did you have to go away?” Those are the first words I ever heard Michael say.

They hit me hard. I was hooked from the start.

To this day, this song makes me want to cry, because it’s pretty much how I feel about the world almost all the time.

And even if his musical path has gone in a direction I may find hard to follow, I’ll never forget how much he inspired me as an artist. How much fun I had at the 15 or so Michael Franti and Spearhead shows I’ve been to. And I’ll never forget sharing our wedding day with him.

And this is is where it started.

 

 

 

 

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100 Days

Girl Playing Guitar

What’s that one thing in your life that you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to doing? Maybe you’ve always wanted to surf, or ride a motorcycle. Maybe you wanted to travel to Asia or run a marathon. We all have our own mountains to climb. The mountain I tried to climb over and over again was learning how to play the guitar.

I have been an on and off guitar player for years. And by on and off, I mean mostly off. I’d pick up the guitar, play for a few days, maybe a week, and then get discouraged or distracted and stop playing for weeks or months or years. Then I’d get inspired, pick it up again and start the cycle once more.

But something happened last September that changed my entire perspective. I read an article about a 100-day challenge. The author challenged himself to ask for something he wanted – something he really wanted – every day between September 23 and Dec 31 – 100 days. His challenge was to make serious requests of other people.

I have heard of such challenges before without ever considering doing one myself. But something clicked for me when I read this article, and I decided to take on the 100-day year-end challenge. My challenge to myself was this:

Take on playing the guitar, for real. Play every day for 100 days. See if you can really do this. It’s hard, your fingers will hurt, and you may still be a terrible guitar player after 100 days. But try anyway. Commit to it. And do it.

And that’s exactly what I did.

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Be –> Do –> Have

A couple of years ago, I took a self-development class that introduced me to the concept that people live their lives with a Have –> Do –> Be mentality.  This idea really hit home for me.  I saw in this simple concept the way I had approached writing my whole life.

When I HAVE the right desk, I will WRITE (DO), and then I will BE a writer.

When I HAVE the right computer, I will WRITE, and then I will BE a writer.

When I HAVE the time, I will WRITE, and then I will BE a writer.

When I HAVE the life of a writer, I will WRITE, then I will BE a writer.

And it wasn’t always about writing.  It also meant:

When I have no more fear, I will share my music, and then I will be a musician.

When I have some inspiration/time/ideas/whatever, I will do that thing I want to do (sing/write/dance/etc) and then I will be what I want to be (musician/writer/dancer/artist/happy…)

I spent my whole life waiting for inspiration to strike and fear to dissipate.  I thought when those things had been achieved, I would do what I always wanted to do, and be what I always wanted to be.

But in that class, I got clear that you be who you want to be, do the things that person does, and then have the life you want.  Not the other way around.  It was time to stop waiting for time/inclination/inspiration, and just be.  And do.  And then I would have.

So now I’m not waiting to have a writer’s life to write.

I am a writer.  So I write.  And that’s what gives me a writer’s life.

I am a musician.  So I write and play music.  And I have a musician’s life.

I’m not waiting around for inspiration to strike and lead me to the life I want anymore.  This concept gave me the access to design the life I want, not wait for the life I want to happen to me.  Artistry and joy and freedom are not dependant on outside influences or resources.  It’s all at my fingertips.  It’s not what I have, it’s who I be.  It’s up to me.

It’s not Have –> Do –> Be.

It’s Be –> Do –> Have.

BE who you want to be.  DO what you want to do.  HAVE the life you’ve always dreamed.