I frequently revisit a video that I saw on TedTalk a few years ago called The Art of Asking. Amanda Palmer talks about her time as a street performer and what she learned by laying out a hat for money. It’s a very vulnerable position to be in. You never know if someone is going to throw you a dollar or throw you an insidious glare. I know the feeling. There was a time when I could never be seen doing something like this. I was taught that you had to earn your money. Work hard and you will eventually be able to retire then do what you want to do.
I lived this way for a good part of my life. I went into the Marines directly out of High School. After I got out of the Marines I got a good job. I had the wife, the house, the dog, the yard tools. I did everything that I was supposed to do as a member of society and yet I was still miserable. Why?
I was miserable because I wasn’t following my heart. I was in denial of who I really am. I would often question myself, saying, “Why couldn’t I be born loving Graphic Design?” I would say this to myself because I’m great at it, but to me, it was just a ‘job’. A way to distract myself from what I was really put down here on this planet to do and I would feel guilty for not loving it. Now, had I recognized my passion and pursued it right off the bat, I wouldn’t be in this predicament that I put myself in. I would have set myself up in a career that would accommodate my passion. But I can’t change the past… I have no choice but to move forward with the tools I have.
Anyway, that brings me to what I’m here to talk to you about…
The Art of Asking. This ties into something I learned while I was taking classes at The Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, California. My coach reminded me about the Yin and Yang of Giving and Receiving. She told me that one cannot exist without the other. The Dark cannot exist without the light, Good can’t exist without Bad, Love can’t exist without Hate, etc. It’s a balance. It’s a very simple concept but one that many people, including myself, let fly over our heads. The Art of Asking, or Giving and Receiving, exists because of the flow that is created between the two. You cannot give unless someone receives what you are giving and Vise-Versa.
For example; If I was to give you something and you didn’t allow me to give it to you, then you are depriving me the joy of giving. The light bulb lit up for me and I got it. I understood now what I had been doing for so long. You see, I had a hard time receiving because I didn’t think that I deserved it. I didn’t stop to think about how the other person might feel by me turning down their gift to me. It was as if I was rejecting them.
I did this a number of years ago when somebody asked me for an autograph. I looked at them in shock, “Me? You want my autograph? Why do you want that, I’m nobody.” Well, that person never asked me again… and mind you, they never came to see my band again. I had lost a fan because of my own insecurities. I didn’t realize then what I know now. It’s not about me. It’s about the other person’s experience and I had deprived someone of their experience. How hard was it for that person to come up to me and ask me for my autograph? How nervous were they? And how hard will it be for them to ask the next guy after experiencing this humiliation with me?
Well, here I am. I am now in that person’s shoes. I am asking for help and every fiber in my body is saying to me, “You don’t deserve it. Who do you think you are? Get a job you bum!” I just have to remind myself of everything I’ve learned. Everything I believe, and most of all everything I tell everybody else. Who am I to preach if I’m not walking the talk?
I leave you with this… lyrics from a song on our new album, the song is called ‘A Re-Imagining’. A reminder to myself of who I am and who I believe we all are…
Live your dreams, make them real. Know they’ll come. Don’t look back, don’t stand down. Know you’re strong. Free your Mind. Free Yourself. You are a star, shine bright your light.
With all of that in mind, below is a link to my GoFundMe Page. If you cannot give financially, send good thoughts and positive energy. I will gladly accept whatever gift you can give.