Category Archives: Inspiration

Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock Pen an Open Letter to the Next Generation of Artists

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Here’s some inspiration for us all from some truly brilliant musicians. ❤

“To the Next Generation of Artists: we find ourselves in turbulent and unpredictable times.
From the horror at the Bataclan, to the upheaval in Syria and the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino, we live in a time of great confusion and pain. As an artist, creator and dreamer of this world, we ask you not to be discouraged by what you see but to use your own lives, and by extension your art, as vehicles for the construction of peace.
While it’s true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you. You don’t have to be living in a third world country or working for an NGO to make a difference. Each of us has a unique mission. We are all pieces in a giant, fluid puzzle, where the smallest of actions by one puzzle piece profoundly affects each of the others. You matter, your actions matter, your art matters.
We’d like to be clear that while this letter is written with an artistic audience in mind, these thoughts transcend professional boundaries and apply to all people, regardless of profession.
FIRST, AWAKEN TO YOUR HUMANITY
We are not alone. We do not exist alone and we cannot create alone. What this world needs is a humanistic awakening of the desire to raise one’s life condition to a place where our actions are rooted in altruism and compassion. You cannot hide behind a profession or instrument; you have to be human. Focus your energy on becoming the best human you can be. Focus on developing empathy and compassion. Through the process you’ll tap into a wealth of inspiration rooted in the complexity and curiosity of what it means to simply exist on this planet. Music is but a drop in the ocean of life.
EMBRACE AND CONQUER THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
The world needs new pathways. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by common rhetoric, or false beliefs and illusions about how life should be lived. It’s up to you to be the pioneers. Whether through the exploration of new sounds, rhythms, and harmonies or unexpected collaborations, processes and experiences, we encourage you to dispel repetition in all of its negative forms and consequences. Strive to create new actions both musically and with the pathway of your life. Never conform.
WELCOME THE UNKNOWN
The unknown necessitates a moment-to-moment improvisation or creative process that is unparalleled in potential and fulfillment. There is no dress rehearsal for life because life, itself, is the real rehearsal. Every relationship, obstacle, interaction, etc. is a rehearsal for the next adventure in life. Everything is connected. Everything builds. Nothing is ever wasted. This type of thinking requires courage. Be courageous and do not lose your sense of exhilaration and reverence for this wonderful world around you.
UNDERSTAND THE TRUE NATURE OF OBSTACLES
We have this idea of failure, but it’s not real; it’s an illusion. There is no such thing as failure. What you perceive as failure is really a new opportunity, a new hand of cards, or a new canvas to create upon. In life there are unlimited opportunities. The words, “success” and “failure”, themselves, are nothing more than labels. Every moment is an opportunity. You, as a human being, have no limits; therefore infinite possibilities exist in any circumstance.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO INTERACT WITH THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOU
The world needs more one-on-one interaction among people of diverse origins with a greater emphasis on art, culture and education. Our differences are what we have in common. We can work to create an open and continuous plane where all types of people can exchange ideas, resources, thoughtfulness and kindness. We need to be connecting with one another, learning about one another, and experiencing life with one another. We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.
STRIVE TO CREATE AGENDA-FREE DIALOGUE
Art in any form is a medium for dialogue, which is a powerful tool. It is time for the music world to produce sound stories that ignite dialogue about the mystery of us. When we say the mystery of us, we’re talking about reflecting and challenging the fears, which prevent us from discovering our unlimited access to the courage inherent in us all. Yes, you are enough. Yes, you matter. Yes, you should keep going.
BE WARY OF EGO
Arrogance can develop within artists, either from artists who believe that their status makes them more important, or those whose association with a creative field entitles them to some sort of superiority. Beware of ego; creativity cannot flow when only the ego is served.
WORK TOWARDS A BUSINESS WITHOUT BORDERS
The medical field has an organization called Doctors Without Borders. This lofty effort can serve as a model for transcending the limitations and strategies of old business formulas which are designed to perpetuate old systems in the guise of new ones. We’re speaking directly to a system that’s in place, a system that conditions consumers to purchase only the products that are dictated to be deemed marketable, a system where money is only the means to an end. The music business is a fraction of the business of life. Living with creative integrity can bring forth benefits never imagined.
APPRECIATE THE GENERATION THAT WALKED BEFORE YOU
Your elders can help you. They are a source of wealth in the form of wisdom. They have weathered storms and endured the same heartbreaks; let their struggles be the light that shines the way in the darkness. Don’t waste time repeating their mistakes. Instead, take what they’ve done and catapult you towards building a progressively better world for the progeny to come.
LASTLY, WE HOPE THAT YOU LIVE IN A STATE OF CONSTANT WONDER
As we accumulate years, parts of our imagination tend to dull. Whether from sadness, prolonged struggle, or social conditioning, somewhere along the way people forget how to tap into the inherent magic that exists within our minds. Don’t let that part of your imagination fade away. Look up at the stars and imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut or a pilot. Imagine exploring the pyramids or Machu Picchu. Imagine flying like a bird or crashing through a wall like Superman. Imagine running with dinosaurs or swimming like mer-creatures. All that exists is a product of someone’s imagination; treasure and nurture yours and you’ll always find yourself on the precipice of discovery.
How does any of this lend to the creation of a peaceful society you ask? It begins with a cause. Your causes create the effects that shape your future and the future of all those around you. Be the leaders in the movie of your life. You are the director, producer, and actor. Be bold and tirelessly compassionate as you dance through the voyage that is this lifetime.”

Empowerment

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It’s (past) time to treat women with respect.

To believe them when they speak out.

To let them live their lives as they choose.

To let them make decisions regarding their own bodies.

To pay them as much as men are paid.

To consider them for positions of power.

To let them love whoever they choose to love.

It’s time to treat women with respect wherever the go.

The new feminism is here.

image: from the artist Karen Hallion.

Here’s her shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/khallion

A woman is powerful when…

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“A woman is powerful when her first word isn’t ‘sorry’. A woman is powerful when you forget who the man in her life is. A woman is powerful when she follows her gut. Any woman who belongs to herself has power, and that power is perceived as dangerous.”
— Joan Juliet Buck

Drama-free zone

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“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who do not. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.”

– José N. Harris

Carpe Diem

Feast Of Fauns And Nymphs

Feast Of Fauns And Nymphs by Moritz Stifter (1857 – 1905)

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

– Robert Herrick, 1648

The importance of integrity

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Make an effort to be a person of character.  From my experience, I’ve found it’s the best thing you can do for yourself in your life.

Taking firm responsibility for yourself and your choices will set you apart from the crowd, and along with hard work, will bring you anything you want.

I was at a conference of female musicians once, and had the good fortune to hear Patti Smith reviewing her life and career. The most important thing in life, she said, is your credibility. If you lack credibility with people, or lose it, it’s hard to get it back. It’s the foundation of moving forward in life and finding true fulfillment and lasting friendships.

A friend posted this article today and I have to share it with you! These are traits I aspire to in my own life.

13 Traits of People With True Integrity

Integrity, for those who are not familiar, is quite important. It is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
People who have a strong sense of integrity are sadly a rare breed. However, there are still some people left in this world with integrity, and usually, they share the following 13 traits.

1. They value other people’s time.
They value their own time so they also value the time of other people. They know you have plenty of other places you need to be and won’t hold you up. If you spend time with them, it is likely they will thank you for that as well.

2. They give credit where it is due.
They do not take credit for things they did not do. They will always credit those who deserve it. If you help this person with a project he or she will likely mention your name so you can take credit for your work.

3. They are authentic.
They are their truest forms. You won’t catch them in a lie or being fake.

4. They are always honest.
They are honest people that feel no need to lie as it is important for them to get to where they need to get in life honestly.

5. They never take advantage of others.
They are not the kind of people who will take advantage of someone else. They love to build people up and help them get where they need to be. Taking too much from someone else will never be an issue with someone who has a lot of integrity.

6. They do not argue over disagreements.
They will talk through things in a civil manner or not talk at all. You cannot and will not force this person into arguing over something completely ridiculous. I find this to be a very respectable trait.

7. They give most people the benefit of the doubt.
They try to see the good in everyone. I think this is because they feel like maybe there are more people in this world that also have integrity. That being said, if you take advantage of them too much they will get rid of you.

8. They know when something is bothering someone.
They have a great intuition that lets them know when something is going on. If someone is down in the dumps they will notice. Chances are they will actually do what they can to cheer you up.

9. They believe others.
They accept your word as truth until it is disproven. That being said, they do not take lying well. And once you lie to them, it is unlikely that they will ever take your word again.

10. They apologize first.
If they have done something wrong they will come to you and apologize. This is just how they are. They own up to their mistake and try to make things right.

11. They are humble.
They do not quite know their own worth. While they are very important and do so much good they don’t quite see it. You should remind them of it.

12. They do good when they can.
They are always helping other people. They love to know that they have improved someone’s life. It gives their lives meaning.

13. They are always kind to those who need it.
Giving kindness can go a long way. When someone looks like they need a little pick me up these people deliver. They can brighten up almost anyone’s day.

If you are someone who has true integrity, thank you for being who you are and thank you for all that you do. You really do actually make a difference in society, please keep up the good work. If you feel no one else is proud of you, know that I am.