Day Twenty Six: Adoration

Daily Journal

Jonathan Daniel appeared on the Marc Maron WTF Podcast today. I’ve never met the guyjonathan-daniel but I have some connection to him via some mutual friends and acquaintances from the 1990s punk rock and power pop scenes: Chaz Matthews and Dimestore Haloes, Gilby Clarke and the guys from the local Arizona punk/power pop band Beat Angels. The basic story is Jonathan Daniel was in a band called Candy in the 80s. Gilby Clarke was the guitarist. That band split into two bands: Kill for Thrills & Electric Angels. Gilby Clarke went on to replace Izzy Stradlin in Guns n Roses, and he engineered produced the two Beat Angels albums (also the unreleased third one), and I was a big fan of Beat Angels, and this all ties in with Alice Cooper somehow, and other small world rock n roll stuff.

I think I may have been vaguely aware of the fact that Jonathan Daniel moved into artist management with Crush Music, discovering Fall Out Boy and other emo bands, Butch Walker, Courtney Love, etc. Anyway, hearing the podcast with him on Marc Maron was the highlight of my day, being an inspirational story of a washed up musician reinventing himself in the music business with great success.

Just for fun, here’s the 1985 music video “Whatever Happened to Fun” by the band Candy.

Deng Ming-Dao on Adoration:

Images on the altar,
Or imagined within:
We pray to them,
But do they answer?

As best as I could comprehend today’s entry in 365 Tao, the author says that we are worshiping symbolism when we pray and kneel at altars, making offerings and sacrifices. The gods are not actually real, but our need to be reverent to these visualized gods is real, although it may feel uncomfortable.

“External worship is merely a means to a point within to the true source of salvation.”
-Deng Ming-Dao

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“May the God of your choice bless you.”-Kinky Friedman

Today’s entry came across as atheistic, but maybe it really isn’t: You can believe in God (or gods) but you can’t really conceive of what God, or this creative intelligence, actually is. It reminded me of how the 12 step programs refer to your “Higher Power” and “God of Your Understanding”. It is important to conceptualize and visualize the external deities as you understand them, but they are not external. You are not really worshiping something outside of yourself, but something within.

I could see traditional religious people having a problem with this idea, or having disagreement with it, but I think religion and spirituality are very personal. I’m not fan of proselytizing and fundamentalism. I may not be right. God is beyond concepts to me. I’m not just going to trust the words from any book or sacred text without questioning or accepting everything in it. To each their own though.

The Daily Stoic:

Another short and simple entry about the power of using a mantra. Quoting Marcus Aurelius, Ryan Holiday suggests that a Stoic have a mantra- “helpful in the meditative process because it allows us to block out everything else while we focus”. He suggests that you make up your own mantra that essentially says “I have have the power within me to keep out false impressions, distractions, or the crush of everyday life”.

Peace.
B.G.

 

Day Seven: Forbearance

Last night, I arrived at “Chateau Fairmonte”, which is a nickname for the home of Kevin “Hotwheels” McGregor, given to the place by his wife.

While I was there I recorded an interview with him.

 

 

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The Earps pre-show rehearsal on January 6, 2017.

During the interview, McGregor mentioned that he had read the blog. He said that while he agreed with most of the content, he disagreed that there were every any competition between him and Aaron “Ump” McCollum for power in the band, and I may have misinterpreted the dynamic of their relationship.

As writer Harry Crews once said in an interview, “The only world I know is the one I see.”

Yesterday, I briefly entertained some remorse for posting about my assessment of our inter-band family dysfunction, but one must remember: Without tension, conflict, drama, and chaos, you don’t really have a story to tell. I have no desire to gloss over the issues, or forget that they ever happened.

“No man can walk out on his own story.”
-The Spirit of the West, in the movie Rango.


Vacation Diary:

  • Went hiking with Frank & Sharon Labor, the husband and wife bandmates in Labor Party and Battered Suitcases, at the Dreamy Draw Park hiking trail. 1.25 miles.
  • Brunch at Aunt Chilada’s in Phoenix. Mexican Eggs Benedict with Spicy Bloody Mary. It was okay. Not great.
  • Visit to Mike Bolenbach at Fullwell Studio near the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Mike was the recording studio engineer for all albums made by The Earps, and also mastered the EP released by my Kentucky country/rock band Moonshine Millionaires. His most famous client: Alice Cooper. Approximately 45 minutes of catching up on his newest equipment, took a guided tour of his living room, with its antique analog tape machines, and met his two assistant engineers.

Artic breath coils the mountain,
Rattling the forest’s bones.
Raindrops cling to branches:
Jewelled adornment flung to Earth.
-Deng Ming-Dao

A key message in Taoism is that one must live in harmony with nature, instead of fighting to have power over nature, which is an American thing. Today, Deng Ming-Dao discusses how trees lose their leaves in the winter, enduring storms, but standing through the winter to become adorned with the beauty that spring brings to them. Like the trees, we should stay true to our inner nature. As he says, “It is with this power that they withstand both the vicissitudes and adornment of life, for neither bad fortune nor good fortune will alter what they are.”

As a veteran of several consecutive volatile relationships with bad endings and one who has suffered losses in career and finances, like just about everyone else, the message I took away from the book today is that winter ends, things get good again, then winter comes back, and so on. Whether good things, or bad things are happening doesn’t change your inner nature.

“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying God. It ‘consents,’ so to speak, to God’s creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree.”
-Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

 
Some Exercises in Stoic Thinking:

Yesterday, I ended the blog post with a Ryan Holiday quote consisting of questions to ask yourself for the sake of self knowledge.

Have you taken the time to get clarity about who you are and what you stand for? Or are you too busy chasing unimportant things, mimicking the wrong influences, and following disappointing or unfulfilling or nonexistent paths?


Unimportant things I have chased:

  • The pursuit of pointless entertainment to escape from boredom.
  • Watching too much television.
  • Engaging in political debates on social media.

Mimicking the wrong influences:

  • Living the hard drinking lifestyle associated with rock n roll.
  • Getting involved in endeavors that are not a good fit for me just to get approval from someone else.
  • Taking and using bad advice.

Disappointing paths:

  • A few bands I’ve been really excited about being involved in have failed.
  • Most of my day jobs have been disappointing paths. Dead end. Low pay. Hostile work environments.

Unfulfilling paths:

  • Taking band gigs where I didn’t like the material, the band wasn’t good, or staying in bands long after it was pointless to continue and I should have started something new instead.
  • Call center jobs.

Nonexistent paths:

  • Didn’t pursue my writing aspirations like I feel I should have.
  • Should have kept journals and I didn’t.
  • Didn’t develop career skills and education.

Tomorrow, I fly home from Phoenix.

Today, I realized that while I live an isolated existence in rural Kentucky with few neighbors or friends, I was, or am, somebody in Phoenix. This is neither bad or good. You can choose your perspective of any situation. You can choose to call it “loneliness” or “solitude”.

I choose to call it solitude.

See ya tomorrow.
B.G.

Theirs is the forbearance of being true to their inner natures. It is with this power that they withstand both the vicissitudes and adornment of life, for neither bad fortune nor good fortune will alter what they are. We should be the same way . We may have great fortune or bad, but we should patiently bear both. No matter what , we must always be true to our inner selves.
-Deng Ming-Dao