Being An Artist In A Fast Changing World

Davidson Yeager spiritual teacher and musician

“How’s your writing going?” someone asked me today. She was referring to my songwriting. I was flattered like anybody is when someone is interested in what we do.

“It’s going great!” I confidently shot back. And in truth, it is. This person is a musician also (in a professional orchestra) and was in town for rehearsals and shows.

sidenote: this took place after a Zumba class where Mary will often play my songs for the cool down at the end of classes.

I explained further that I am fortunate to work on it everyday — albeit and hour here, 2 hours there, 30 minutes there.

I went further and shared that I’d made a decision many years ago that no matter what the world said or didn’t say in regard to my music didn’t matter.

“I don’t need the world’s permission to be an artist!” I said.

She agreed. Then she said, “ but it must be so hard. I mean everybody here loves your music and appreciates it, but there’s so much competition (and noise!)”

I replied “true, but that’s how I know that there are people who will genuinely appreciate my music. It’s up to me to find more of them somehow.”

 

Being An Artist…

This brief conversation got me reflecting on my decisions a bit. And I decided to write about it here.

I know I’ve talked before about being at the “crossroads.” And it wasn’t to make a deal with the devil, it was feeling frustrated with being a musician.

Having a calling can be a double edged sword. A blessing or a curse depending upon how you look at it.

And the view can change dynamically in real time as your life unfolds and depending upon context.

It also depends a great deal upon how you’ve integrated the lessons involved.

By lessons I mean there’s a wild untamed spirit inside of us all. We get socialized. I have nothing against society. There are many benefits to being a member.

But I realize that I’ve never allowed my wild spirit to be completley squandered. By wild spirit I’m not talking about having issues with authority and rebelling (been there, done that!) .

 

How I Managed To Do This Despite The Best Efforts Of Others Is Revealed Below…

It’s useful to be able to use the various personas and masks that we all develop in order to interact with society.

I just never completely bought into them. I almost have at times. But fortunately for me, I always managed to escape at the last minute.

I’m finally beginning to learn and assimilate how to be true to myself and also contribute to society and the lives of others at the same time.

Most of us are unbalanced on one side or the other. Many people sacrifice themselves and then end up resenting or being cynical. It’s not easy — no one gets taught these things in school, that’s for sure! Of course, it’s the opposite.

 

Beginners In Love

You could say that society and relationships were first designed for survival. But we all know that Life is more than mere survival. “Work to get money to buy food to get strength to work to get money to buy food to get strength…”

But after thousands of years, humans in general seem to be at a crossroads. One where relationships are chosen for a sense of connection and intimacy. A synergy between the partners.

I’ve seen this type of relationship coined a “vital” relationship.

And this synergy can expand into the community and into the world.

So we’re all beginners in this expansion  together. It’s pretty cool do this dance. Is there one word I could use to say what method I personally used? Yes. Love.

If you read this far, keep the fires of love for yourself and Life burning. Whatever it takes, do this! This creates an alchemy of character and soul that no science can ever explain.

Nothing in the world will ever be able to hurt you.

Yoga Teacher Trainings And Intensives

 

I’ve just completed a series of yoga teacher trainings and intensives. What is going on? Well, I’ve always appreciated (hatha) yoga as a form of fitness and self care.

And my insights into “who am I?” and “what is this Life?” are pretty much aligned with the “spiritual” and “philosophical” branches of yoga.

Yoga Teacher Trainings YogaFit Level 1
My YogaFit Level 1 Karma Hours completed 🙂

 

I have practiced hatha yoga since the millenium — I had a great teacher whose classes I used to attend regularly. He’s now retired, but he was a really cool older english gentleman who was also a jazz musician.

His classes were filled to capacity back in the day and I really enjoyed them.

However, once I started to practice on my own and look around at some other yoga schools, I just didn’t find a fit.

Although I entertained the idea of yoga teacher trainings, I never took it seriously at the time. I was far too busy being a musician!

And frankly, some of the poses were quite daunting. But I kept up a somewhat consistent practice of it throughout the years along with more traditional forms of fitness.

Mary has also been involved with yoga for a while — she even had the same teacher as me, but we didn’t attend the same years.

As someone who was already successfully teaching fitness classes, she had no trouble jumping in and getting some yoga teacher training.

I watched her and was so proud of her for going after something she’d always wanted to do.

 

Yoga Teacher Trainings: Wanna Try Level 1, Honey?

Yoga Teacher Training
Mary picking me up after yoga teacher training

Recently, after she had quite a few training levels under her belt and had also been teaching her own yoga classes for several months, she suggested I try my Level 1 yoga teacher training.

I resisted a bit, but then thought “what the heck. I enjoy yoga and I can always learn more!” So we went to the training together.

Even though Mary already had her Level 3 training plus some other necessary courses under her belt, all yoga teachers have to take a Level 1 retraining at some point. So she got hers out of the way.

It was an all day 2 day training. Very intense! The teacher was a master instructor with many years or experience — not to mention being an expert on anatomy. She is completing her degree in osteopathy.

I loved it! The next thing I know, I signed up for Level 2 a couple weeks later. After Level 2, I signed up right away for Level 3!! I was hooked and on a roll.

Level 2 was with another master instructor who had a different approach. He was absolutely amazing and brought a level of “game” to the training that was extremely high.

After that, Mary and I both took the Meditation and Mindfulness intensive to add to our training hours.

I’m now taking a break, catching my breath and digesting the massive amounts of information I processed during the trainings.

I am looking forward to doing some more yoga teacher trainings and completing my 200 hours.

 

Yoga Karma Classes

I am teaching a few “karma” classes in August. These are free classes. We have to teach 8 karma hours to receive our Level 1 certificate — mine are done! But I’m doing a couple more just to get some practice and to promote my classes a bit.

My classes will be put on the schedule at St. Nicholas Church on Mondays at 6:15 pm starting in September 2016.

I’ll see how it develops from there.

The school we are studying with is incredibly well put together and thought out. I’ll write another article about it sometime. It’s called YogaFit and you can read about it here.

Yoga Teacher Training
Final meditation/relaxation at one of my karma classes

 

Growing My Positive Mind

Meanwhile, when I haven’t been at yoga teacher trainings, I’ve also been involved in studying and taking tests from the Postive Psychology approach to life. It’s essentially about discovering our inherent strengths and then focusing on them.

Apparently our weaknesses change very little (3 to 7% at most) over the course of a lifetime — and even that’s only in people who are actively engaged in self improvement or 12 step programs.

However, our strengths are almost unlimited in the potential they offer us to grow and be creative and deal with the challenges of our lives.

note: By the way, this book/course was actually on the resources reading list in one of the yoga teacher training manuals. I’m checking it out independently because I love this kind of stuff. Almost as much as music!

It’s called Growing The Positive Mind: With the Emotional Gym & The Positive Mind Test.  Just to let you know, this is an affiliate link to Amazon. That simply means I’ll get a few shekels if you buy the book 🙂

One of the assignments from this positive psychology is to divide our lives into 15 areas:

  • Professional
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Intimacy
  • Home and Environment
  • Play and Fun
  • Education/New Learning
  • Adventure
  • Growth
  • The Completley New and Novel
  • New Learning
  • Breaking Taboos
  • Wild and Frivolous Wants

Many of these areas overlap. But the idea is to come up with about 15 or 20 ideas for each area. Write them down on sticky notes. Eventually these areas will be collapsed to about 6 or 8 areas.

For now it’s simply about dumping out the brain of everything. Even ridiculous or sublime desires are to be acknowledged.

By doing this work, and weeding through the sticky notes, themes will begin to emerge.

This will lead to 6 or 8 five year goals.

There’s more involved than this brief description, but you get the idea. It’s both fun and very enlightening.

Especially for someone like me who is currently navigating a major transition in my life’s journey.

 

We Can Grow More Intelligent Brains

Oh — and did you know that current brain research shows that our brains are designed by nature to expand and grow as we age and go through transitional stages in our lives?

The more positive our attitudes to the changes we encounter as we age, the more complexity unfolds in our brain.

That’s why as people get older they think they are losing their memory. But they aren’t! It’s just that our brains don’t want to be bothered with “diddle” such as phone numbers, names, etc.

We are using our processing power to see the big picture instead.

Research has shown that young people do better at remembering minor details such as numbers, names, etc. but the older people in the studies do much better at the deeper comprehension of the big picture.

I always felt this to be true within myself and through my own self observation. I always thought I was getting wiser and stronger. One would hope 😉

 

Music Sweet Music

I’m supremely inspired with music right now! I know, it seems strange because of the decision I made recently about giving up on any commercial aspirations. Aspirations that’d been with me since I was a teenager.

Other than continuing to teach my guitar and piano students and perhaps get a song or two licensed to a movie or tv show, I currently have no commercial plans or intentions.

But I feel as if I’m still growing as an artist and getting even better and more authentic. Man, I love music!!

I have some really cool new songs in the works. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to take me until September to “concretize” my goal setting work as I stated above.

Thanks for reading and supporting — I love you 🙂

Why Am I A Spiritual Teacher?

Why am I a spiritual teacher and what do I bring to the table? Someone recently inquired as to my background. Teachers I’ve studied with, books I’ve read, practices, etc.

So I thought it may be helpful for some of you to understand what has led to my being a spiritual teacher.

Amongst other things, of course.

Childhood Mystical Experiences

As a child I had “mystical” experiences. As an adult reflecting upon those experiences it was very tempting to put them off as childhood imaginings.

However, upon doing more research and thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that they were valid experiences.

One of the motifs in my teaching and philosophy is that we are heavily conditioned by the current myth of scientific materialism.

Note: I have no issue with science, of course. It’s helped humanity immensely. I only take issue with the fundamentalist approach whether that is in spiritual matters or science.

 

Existential Angst And Scientific Materialism

This environment of materialism — that only things that can be measured are real — has led to an epidemic of existential angst. Depression, anxieties and the like are all extremely common in our culture.

 

Memories Of Reincarnation?

Back to childhood. One of the most vivid experiences I had was when I was 4 or 5 years old and living in Winnipeg. I can recall going down the stairs to the basement of a neighbor’s house and suddenly being overcome by the knowingness that I’d been here before.

A voice inside said “Oh! This place again. I’m here again.” Meaning in physical form upon the earth.

I had many other experiences as a child such as knowing what song was about to play on the radio or who was calling on the phone.

“Some things have to be believed to be seen.” Ralph Hodgson

 

Follow Your Heart

As a teenager, I can remember thinking about what the Christian churches were teaching. And I remember thinking to myself that if good deeds and kindness didn’t come from the heart, but were just an obedience out of fear of punishment, then it didn’t mean anything true.

I thought about things like this a lot as a teen.

“Make sure that your religion is a matter between you and God only.” Wittgenstein

 

Sex, Drugs And Rock n Roll

Too many “aha moments” and “satori” to list here. I’ll skip ahead to my next major awakening. I’d been going through a period in my life where I was really lost and depressed.

I was playing in rock bands at the top clubs around Toronto at night and working in kitchens and teaching guitar by day.

And I was drinking and doing drugs. My life was out of control.

I tried stopping on my own. And I’d succeed from time to time. A couple of weeks here, a month there, a few days there. But the behaviour patterns that were driving me were compulsive.

One day I got on my knees and prayed for help. I felt a sudden calm. I was drawn to the closest public library.

I went in to the psychology section and took down all the books relating to addiction I could find.

Several books suggested AA as being one of the best ways to really deal with the issue of addiction.

That was it. I looked up meetings in Toronto and I was at my first meeting that night. Over the course of the next 6 months, I went to no less than one meeting everyday. I worked the 12 steps with my sponsor and am now closing in on 20 years of sobriety.

If you’re reading this and addiction to alcohol or drugs is an issue, I can’t recommend AA highly enough.

Even though after 6 months I never went to anymore meetings. That was my path. We all have our own path to navigate.

My internal guidance at this time said it was time for me to spread my wings. I didn’t want to tell the story of my being “wounded” anymore.

 

Freedom

I was free of that story.

By this time I had cultivated a dedicated and strong spiritual connection with my Higher Power. I had a meditation practice in place and dove into studying and working on myself.

One of the first things I did was read John Bradshaw’s work on the inner child and family dynamics. I also did most of the exercises he suggested.
I then got into studying some Buddhism along with all the psychology I could get my hands on.

One of the coolest spiritual practices I engaged with was allowing myself to feel what I was feeling instead of distracting myself.

This led to quite a bit of healing. To the point where having been estranged from my family as a teenage runaway, I was now on very good terms with them.

10 years ago I discovered and began to practice one of the single most powerful tools I’ve ever encountered. It’s called the Sedona Method.

In a nutshell, it’s the practice of letting go of negativity and limiting feelings/thoughts.

I’ve been using this daily — and I can honestly say that if someone approaches this tool with sincerity and honesty, they can achieve as much in a few months as doing several years of traditional meditation.

I still use traditional meditation along with the Sedona Method.

 

The Power Of Now

Another teacher who had a huge impact on me when I first read The Power of Now back in 1999 or 2000 was Eckhart Tolle. I remember at the time of reading I thought “so this is what Krishnamurti was talking about!”  (J. Krishnamurti is a very powerful spiritual teacher from the 20th century who I read a lot of as a teen. I was then living and working in Toronto on my own).

Thanks to Tolle’s teachings, I still practice being present. Noticing if I’m avoiding the “present moment” by using it as a means to an end or not. Feeling my inner energy field.

Am I feeling resistance to things that are happening? Can I say “yes” to these things I’m resisting — including the resistance itself?  These are practices that have been ingrained in my daily life whether I’m in a conversation or typing an article such as this.

Note: By the way, saying “yes” to the present moment doesn’t mean giving up the power to change things. As a matter of fact, we have more power, creativity and intelligence at our disposal when we are not in a state of emotional resistance to “what is.” This requires a willingness to be honest with oneself, of course 🙂

I still get triggered and feel negative emotional states. But now I have tools to deal with them rather quickly.

Most of the time I’m able to let go of them within seconds or minutes. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but never longer than an hour or so. Once in a blue moon something’s lasted a bit longer than that. Perhaps 2 hours or so.

These are not set parameters — just a way for me to communicate that we can take our power back. We do have the power to choose happiness and freedom over wanting to control things.

And like anyone, I’ve had my share of disappointments, “failures”, and challenges. But through all of that, I can say that it’s been many many years since I’ve had a bad day.

 

Why Am I A Spiritual Teacher?

I feel called to be a spiritual teacher. I don’t think I “know” anything that anybody else doesn’t know.

Just that when I say things, it may resonate with a deeper part of you that you previously didn’t have access to.

I’m simply a friend along the way. Maybe I’ve got a candle that you can use to light your own candle.

My motive is that I want to be the change I wish to see in the world. And if the Universe conspires to bring people to listen to the words I’m using to point at the moon with, then great! Maybe we can all change this world together.

Optimistically yours,
Dave

Once A Musician Always A Musician

If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know that I’ve been going through a metamorphosis of sorts.

Like when the caterpillar feels the itch to allow the butterfly to emerge.

All you can do is surrender. Well, you don’t have to — but it makes it much easier.

For the first few weeks of 2016 I didn’t touch my guitar unless I was teaching.

I sang around the house when moved to sing a song, but did no vocal exercises (singing is a muscle).

I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t fall into the pattern of thinking I really had to do something with my music.

I mean, commercially. You know, make money from it.

Because for me, it’s just not working. The drug is not doing it’s thing.

If you know me, you know that I’m the master of discipline and perseverence. Going after your dream, being courageous and consistent, etc. All that stuff is child’s play for me.

That’s not the issue for me. It was coming to the realization that it’s just not what I want anymore.

 

Sometimes Dreams Change

It’s like suddenly realizing the shoes you’re wearing are too tight.

Or the person you’re “in love” with is just not loving you back, man! Get over it. Walk away. Move on.

Know what I mean? The wisdom to know the difference.

So it’s been interesting and disorienting at times waiting and allowing the “butterfly” to emerge from the caterpillar.

I’m getting glimpses.

And I’m now practicing a bit. 4 or 5 days a week is all I’m allowed. No more than 20 minutes on guitar and about 40 minutes of singing each day.

Just bare minimum to keep in shape.

And have fun. No commercial agenda. No putting pressure on myself.

 

What I’ve Been Up To In The Meantime

Previously I also talked about how I enjoy the idea of teaching about spiritual tools, techniques and realizations.

Stuff for people who are looking for that.

How to meditate, develop awareness, access intuitive faculties, more creativity, peace of mind, less reactive, more patient, etc.

And of course, to realize God. God being a word or pointer that I’m using in this context. You can use Source, Divine Intelligence, The Tao, etc.

I assume this is going to take some time to develop. I just want to follow the impulse to discuss these things and see where it leads me.

Meanwhile, I still need to earn a living, so…

 

Psychic Impressions

I’m still teaching music lessons privately and enjoying it very much. It’s very rewarding to work with the people I’m working with.

Helping them develop their musical gifts and interests.

I’m also still helping Mary with her Zumba and Yoga businesses however I can. This can be at class when I can make it, or brainstorming with her over coffee in the morning.

I’m also helping Mary with her psychic business. Because I’ve been interested in and studied tarot cards and astrology since my youth, it’s a natural fit.

In the past, I never felt doing readings professionally would be something I could ever do.

But Mary has been doing it since she was a teen. Both because of her gypsy heritage and her natural (and awesome!) gift at it.

She’s been training me over the past 10 years, and I’ve now done hundreds of readings both over the phone and at parties/events.

I really used to resist at doing readings too much in the past because I had a lot of pride in my abilities as a musician.

Not to mention my “guysho” (non gypsy) upbringing making me feel less than authentic.

But now I find I’m enjoying it.

And I can help people with my psychic impressions (how’d I develop that? Born that way plus many years of meditation, working with crystals, Reiki attunements, etc.) intuitive insights and common sense.

By the way, we all receive psychic impressions. It’s really just the developing the ability and confidence to “catch” them.

 

Music

I just want to close out by saying I know that somehow music’s still very much in the picture. I just don’t know how it’s going to fit in with my life yet.

I do have a new song that I’d really love to record. It’s constantly playing in my head and giving me goose bumps. It’s called “Empty Hands.”

As a writer, that’s when you know you’ve written a cool song that will connect with people.

I’ll keep you posted.

Let Go And Let God part 3

Last time I left off, I was telling you about my passion for sharing spiritual insights with people. Inspiring people to empower themselves.

I’ve been going after a career in music for a long time. And I’ve had many ups and downs, adventures and different experiences.

What I’ve come to realize is that I’m not sure if the vision I had was accurate. And what I want. I don’t know if music is the only thing I want.

I don’t know if I want to sacrifice other parts of myself in order to singlemindedly pursue my music ambitions.

Because as much as I have learned quite a bit about successfully tapping into the Law of Attraction (the power of our minds to create) in order for it to work, you need to be in alignment.

That means you need to really want what you want. It has to really speak to you deep down.

It also means that you are in alignment with the forces and structures that exist here on the planet.

 

 

Structures Already In Play

If you know anything about the archetypal wisdom contained within the tarot deck, you’ll know this energy is best described by The Emperor card.

For example, governments, taxes and society are forces that have been set into motion over the course of millennia.

You can’t ignore them. A simple example: If you’re a guy and you want a girlfriend, well society has certain “rules” that are in play.

You can’t just walk up to a gal and expect her to be your girlfriend.

There are certain protocols to follow. Some of them may be influenced by nature, but many of them come from society.

 

In the music business (as in any business if you want to succeed) there are rules and protocols. And that’s where my blockage comes in.

For one thing, since I don’t drink or smoke, I have a slight aversion to late nights in bars. I used to do that all the time and my career was busier, but my life sucked.

Right now I would definitely need to go out an play more gigs in order to create my music dream. Get face to face with more people.

That’s fine, but it’s a lot of work. And I’m not sure I want to do that right now.

As much as I love to play music and perform, I don’t know if I’d enjoy that being my main focus all the time.

Not for the low pay (if any) at the beginning of such a venture. I’ve been there and done that. Several times.

Hiring other musicians, rehearsing, getting people to show up to the show, etc. It’s very hard work.

Of course, this kind of work can lead to getting a team and then an actual paycheck at the end of the night, but not for a while.

I’m not sure I want to be spending that much time away from other things in my life — and when I do succeed? Probably spending large chunks of time away from home and family.

asking life's tough questions
Asking life’s tough questions

Tough Questions

These are the tough questions I’ve been asking myself. Questions like these are tough to ask ourselves because it means coming out of denial in some aspect of our lives.

Everyone has these blind spots. It’s a lot easier to see patterns like this in others than in ourselves.

I’ve been going after this dream for so long that I hadn’t stop to think about what was really involved.

When I was younger, unattached and didn’t care if I lived in a van for a year eating microwaved tacos, I also didn’t have the support, resources or confidence to make it work.

I will say I had the musical talent though.

 

  Oh The Irony!

The irony is, now that I have more resources, more confidence and networking skills, I don’t know that I want to do that.

It’s not just about music anymore. It’s also about Lifestyle Design.

I’m such a different person now than when I thought music was all I wanted. That was a past self.

And the funny thing is, that these New Age/Spiritual and self help type of ideas have been my passion and natural inclination for as long as I can recall. Just like music.

The Illusion Of Perfection…

I used to believe that I had to wait until I was “perfect” before I could be a spiritual teacher. Who was I to think that I could empower others? I realize differently now.

And because Life has many rhythms and cycles, tides coming in and out, I’m allowing my vision of truth to come to me. To emerge from within me.

I know that it will. It may well end up being music for all I know. And I’m just taking a break from it right now. Recharging my batteries.

Or, and this seems much closer, it may be some hybrid fusion of being a spiritual teacher, self empowerment expert and musician.

I’ll keep you posted!

 

Let Go And Let God part 2

In part 1 of this series,  I wrote about how my life path and journey are undergoing a major renovation.

I’d like to share where I stand now and what I’m thinking I might be doing as I move forward.

It has to do with something I learned from when I attended Alcoholics Anonymous.

I’ve been clean and sober coming up on 20 years now.  I’ll share that story and the lessons learned another time.

Anyhow, they would use slogans that were very helpful with the healing process. One of my favourite ones was “Let go and let God.”

To the uninitiated this doesn’t mean being passive or apathetic. Quite the opposite.

If you’re a hardcore materialist you may have some trouble with this, but please bear with me.

Our Universe is a field or grid of energy. At this subatomic or quantum level, everything is connected and holistic. Intelligent.

We could be likened to bumper cars at the midway. The more we can tap into this higher source of energy, the more power we have.

Trick is, it’s one of those counterintuitive things. We have to let go and get out of our own way in order for this Intelligent Power to flow more freely into our lives.

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Infinity

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been aware of eternity. Infinity.

As a child, my father ( a pilot and navigator in the armed forces) told me that the Universe was infinite.

He explained the concept of infinite as being without end. He wasn’t 100% “bad” — which is why I’ve forgiven all that happened between us in the past.

I love my father. He was doing the best he knew how at that time. So was I.

My mother grew up participating in the church. She sang in the choir, and did something called CGIT (Canadian Girls In Training — I think it’s kinda like the boyscouts or something).

She told me God was everywhere and in everything.

I can recall what I felt thinking about infinity. I tried imagining what that was.

Then I perceived that there really was no end.

Because if there was, there’d have to be “nothing” on the other side of the line where the Universe ended.

And how could there be “nothing?” Even the nothing would be something. Not to mention, if there was no end, there was also no beginning.

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Sidenote: Wrapping my mind around God being everywhere and in everything was a little harder, and made me slightly paranoid 😉

This was all at around the age of 7 or 8.

Also, from what I can gather, my father is or was an atheist or at least agnostic. Perhaps humanist. He never told me, and I never asked.
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The Observer And The Observed

I have another vivid memory from about 5 years of age when my family was living in Winnipeg.

I went to a neighbors house with kids around the same age where we usually played in their basement.

As I went down the stairs, I had a sudden flash from a bigger and deeper part of myself.

“Oh…I’m here again!” “Here” meaning this planet earth. And a feeling of having had many previous lives.

Another memory from about the age of 14 or so. And this actually was part of an ongoing process that has become an overarching theme in my life…

As I would lie in bed at night, before sleeping, I would find myself observing my thoughts.

And I would wonder who is it that is observing the thoughts? Am I the thinker? Or am I the observer of the thinker?

And I would notice that the observer had been there all my life. Unchanging.

It didn’t matter how much my mind or body changed, this perceiving intelligence (my true “primordial” self) was changeless throughout.

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Later, in Toronto, once I had work and a girlfriend and a room in a rooming house, I would give informal talks about these kinds of things to my friends.

I was reading a lot of J. Krishnamurti and studying things like astrology. These sources of information verified the kinds of insights I’d been having.

Oh yeah…and during my first few months in Toronto I remember feeling the presence of an angel beside me as I walked up Yonge St.

And I knew somehow I wasn’t imagining this. I “knew” it must be my guardian angel.

This silent loving presence soundlessly and wordlessly communicated to me that I was safe. Not to worry.

Well, I’m not going to write about the details of my adventures during those times. But the fact I came out alive and unscathed truly is a miracle.

So why am I telling you all this? Definitely not because I think I’m “special.”

I personally believe that there are many “old souls” here on the planet who have had these kinds of experiences — but due to the pressure of society and the mainstream worldviews have dismissed them.

And over the years, they’ve lost touch with this type of intuitive information.

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I’m definitely feeling a deeper sense of purpose right now as I think about somehow putting my voice out there.

For people who feel isolated and live in the margins of society. For people who have struggled and want to stop struggling.

For anyone looking to have a deeper sense of connection with themselves and Life.

For anyone who is just trudging through their days without a sense of direction or passion and purpose.

I don’t care what your beliefs are. I’m not here to talk politics or religion.

I’m here to shine a light so that you (if you’re still reading this you must be interested) can feel safe to shine yours too.

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If He/She Can Do It, You Can Too

“If he can do it, I can do it too!” kind of thing. That’s how AA worked for me.

The light doesn’t belong to anyone in particular.

It is the essence of who we are. Before we get programmed by a fearful society.

These fears may have had a place in the distant dark past of humanity — but most fear based beliefs are no longer necessary or relevant.

The world is changing rapidly. Not just in the areas of the economy and technology.

But in the overall frequency if you will.

More people are waking up. And then falling back asleep of course (usually in traffic or when the ticking of the clock gets louder), but nonetheless waking up.

It’s very exciting!

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The more smart and heart felt people who aren’t afraid to shine their light, the more the world will begin to shift into a more positive and healthy direction.

These blog posts are the first small step in dealing with how Life wants to express and create through me at this point in my life.

I will probably continue to blog on these topics. Perhaps make videos as well.

Music? Not sure yet. I haven’t formally practiced in 10 days now.

That’s the longest I can remember in at least 20 years.

I’m deliberately taking a break so I can allow my true nature to emerge without any bias to it. No agenda.

I want the truth of Life to shine through me. I surrender absolutely to what that truth is.

I feel music will still be an integral part of my life. The other day while teaching a student, I had to sing a passage for them — and my heart jumped for joy at singing.

And I’ve been singing around the house more recently — and loving it.

I have to play guitar when I teach. And I’ve had a couple of times where I really came alive inside while playing.

But that’s the point. I want to keep my music free. Free from agendas. Free from being a workaholic.

Free from obsession. Free from being so attached to any specific outcome.

I want the joy that I bring to my music to remain unsullied as much as possible. So for now, my music is under my watchful eye.

Until I know that it can breathe and flow naturally without me trying to make things happen.

If you don’t understand any of this, and you think you need to “make things happen” in life, that’s ok. In my experience, it doesn’t work. Not for me. Not anymore.

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Going With The Flow Of Abundance

In my experience it’s more about remaining grateful and feeling abundant. And then allowing things to happen.

Of course, action needs to be taken. Roll up your sleeves and all of that.

But it’s what I like to call aligned action.

Kind of like going down the rapids in a kayak. Using the paddle to steer and work with the flow of the river.

And guess what? Just got a brand new car from just that type of mind set.

Read Part 1 Of This Series

Go To Part 3 Of This Series

Let Go And Let God part 1

This is Part 1 in a series.

I had been so inspired with my guitar playing recently.  I’d been practicing and thinking about it virtually non stop since early fall 2015.

And this after playing most days of my life since my teenaged years. Self taught.

And of course, I’ve been teaching guitar professionally for 22 years now.

I also majored in guitar at one of Canada’s finest music colleges. Graduated at the top of my class.

After graduation, I did a bunch of things guitar related. Played in cover bands, original bands (lots of girls!), solo gigs at conferences and weddings (nice pay!), started my teaching biz.

Played a thousand open mics. Literally.

Not to mention that last year (2015) I finally was able to produce an EP of 5 of my songs of totally professional quality.

This is no easy task — even though home recording is so accessible. To learn the engineering and then use the equipment to get professional results is a formidable task.

With some help and mentoring (Thanks Gary!), and lots of practice over the years, I was finally able to do it in my small home studio.

I also had support from many of you who are reading this too — by pre purchasing the CD “Hey Mary Hey.” Thank you 🙂

This is all just to say that guitar and music has been a big part of my life and my goals.

A few weeks ago, I decided to google a service in GTA (Greater Toronto Area for those not familiar with Toronto, Canada — or T-dot for short) to fix a minor issue with my guitar amp.

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Fuzz Pedals

It led me to a guy in the suburbs who builds his own amps and guitar pedals from scratch. All based on the gear in the late sixties and early seventies.

Point to point hand wired amps, germanium transistors in the fuzz pedals instead of silicon. Vintage.

The stuff that created the magic tones of Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and other “guitar heroes.”

The amp, pedals and guitar one instrument of only wood, steel and glass.

I was intrigued and inspired by his concept when we chatted over the phone. So I decided to go to his shop and check out a germanium fuzz pedal.

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Frustrated Geniuses

The day before I was scheduled to head over, he called me up to confirm. We ended up chatting a bit more about the music business and being a musician.

He said something completely unintentional that hit me like a ton of bricks.

He said something along the lines of “Yeah, like those frustrated geniuses that think they need to suffer for their art. They’re still really trying to make their music work.”

And I thought “Is that me?” And this question continued to work it’s way into my consciousness for the rest of the day.

And while I slept and dreamt that night.

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The next morning, a Monday, I was “dazed and confused.” I didn’t know what was happening to me.

I was able to function, but I was just going through the motions. I felt disconnected from my usual surroundings somehow.

I decided it was some weird temporary thing and that the best thing to do would be simply push through with my original plans as best I could.

I drove out to the burbs and met Steve. The guy who builds amps and fuzz pedals, etc.

I tried his pedals. Sounded great, but I wasn’t excited because I was so zapped out from not knowing what was going on.

“Was music even my thing anymore?” I kept asking myself silently.

I saw how Steve had a young family (a couple of toddlers), a nice little house and a rack of guitars and gear.

He basically played for fun, and while I was there another dude showed up to pick up a Marshall amp that Steve had fixed up for him.

I decided to get the fuzz pedal in the hopes that I was just in a temporary delusional state — and that my “normal” inspiration and confidence would return.

I handed Steve a wad of cash after the other dude left (after he handed Steve an even bigger wad of cash).

I thought “Wow. Steve’s just treating it like a hobby. And look at the money!”

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Money

Ok. Money. A hot issue with everyone.

Everyone is either chasing after it, or they have an aversion to it.

Or some “driving with the brakes on” combo of the two. But we all need it.

note: Money is also a cool tune by the above mentioned Pink Floyd. It’s in 7/4 time.

In the past, I had mixed programming regarding money. I grew up in a middle class home where money was not the problem.

The problem was an abusive father. Physically and mentally.

I don’t want to get into that too much other than to shed some light on things.

And there may be readers who have similar issues and they can benefit from my story.

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Because of the relentless pressure from the relationship with my father, I decided to leave home at the tender age of 17 and I ended up on the streets of Toronto.

This lasted for a little while until I was able to start getting work, etc. I was directed by a compassionate hostel worker to a social worker who helped me.

I was able to use their phone, get a resume typed (yes, typed!) up, etc. Feel some acceptance for who I was.

Others in my family (uncles, cousins, etc.) were even upper middle class and a couple were even rich.

I saw that people weren’t necessarily happy, therefore money wasn’t the source of happiness.

Nothing external is. External things reflect our happiness –or unhappiness — back to us.

Or they are simply neutral and we project our stuff onto it.

Toward the end of high school, I  thought that when I did earn a living, I at least wanted to do something I enjoyed.

Not just for the money. Something I could feel passionate about.

So part of my programming came about as a reaction or rebellion to the way I was brought up.

I was kind of anti money. Definitely as far as the “keeping up appearances” kind of having money.

Plus, starting on the Toronto streets (hanging out in the Eaton Centre and Salvation Army drop in centres to stay warm — very tough at Christmas watching the shoppers) and scratching my way up from there — well, let’s just say I missed more meals than your average college student.

Besides the rebelliousness toward money and the WASP (white anglo saxon protestant) status quo of my family, I also developed “poverty consciousness.”

I began to believe that I was less than others. I didn’t deserve.

I formed these false beliefs from my first years being on my own with little to no support.

After many years of working on myself and various issues, I think I’ve made some great progress.

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Changes

In the areas of health, I’m doing great. I’m full of vitality and regular exercise is an installed habit.

I don’t smoke or drink and have no trouble sticking to a healthy diet.

I’m also with my soulmate. We’re going strong coming up on 10 years now.

We’re a team and to me she’s absolutely the most fascinating and incredible person. And of course, very beautiful!

We’re wiser and stronger and more loving together.

I’ve managed to survive for the past 20 plus years with not much more than a guitar, my musical skills and my understanding of human nature.

But now I’m not certain where I stand in relation to my musical journey and goals. A major shift has occured.

Read Part 2 Here.

Peter Green British Blues Style Guitar

Here’s some “behind the scenes” of how I practice. It’s a music appreciation lesson meant for anybody. You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate it. Hopefully it’s user friendly for everyone.

I call it Peter Green British Blues Style Guitar because it’s based on a song by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac called “Need Your Love So Bad” (1969) an old school RnB/Blues and rock kind of tune. I’m using a Fender amp with tubes and my Les Paul.

note: I’m joking in the video below where I say my amp goes to 12. There’s a line in the classic movie “Spinal Tap” where Nigel, the lead guitarist boasts how his amp goes to 11. Most amps have knobs that are numbered up to 10.

My knobs happen to be numbered up to 12. The number on the knob of course, is arbitrary. The amp is either on full blast or somewhere else in the loudness continuum — regardless of what the number on the knob says 🙂

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Some people call this style “British Blues.” People like Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, etc.

These guys developed their own style of music in the mid to late sixties. They were influenced by the great blues musicians from the US like Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, BB King, Albert King etc.

But they were also influenced by Elvis and rock n roll music. Not only that, but the technology of guitar amplification was at a certain development — and they took full advantage of this.

Actually, Jimi Hendrix could almost be described as a British Blues player because he made it “big” when he relocated to London.

And with all the psychedelia influence, the Beatles and Woodstock in the air at the time — well, these factors combined to create this sound some call British Blues.

In the video I use a pedal — the silver glowing thing on the floor. Those guys didn’t use pedals too much. My amp is way loud — even at 1 or 2 on the volume knob. Of course, my amp goes to 12 😉

As a guitarist, I’m always looking for things to practice to stay in shape and to keep learning my craft.

I do various things. Scales and all that stuff. But that gets pretty boring after all these years! I do a lot of lifting. That’s finding music I like and learning it by ear. Playing along to it note for note.

Of course when I record my songs, I learn a lot by creating the guitar parts in my arrangements. And in the past, I’ve logged countless hours in various bands which is another kind of practice.

In this case, a great guitarist and guitar teacher based in NYC named Jeff McErlain published some guitar lessons based on British Blues.

sidenote: Jeff is also the guitar coach on the movie August Rush. Here’s a link to his site if you’re interested in checking out what he does.

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I bought his course to have another practice option. Turned out it’s a lot of fun!

As mentioned above, Jeff based this performance study on the song “Need Your Love So Bad”  by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac in 1969.

The chord progression is really cool. I love these kind of progressions. For any musicians out there, it goes A, A7, D7, D#dim, A, F#min, Bmin, E, A, D9, A, Eaug.

It’s in 6/8. Romantic and wistful.

I really love playing blues rock on my electric guitar! As a singer/songwriter I also love playing my acoustic steel string. Acoustic steel string guitar is another beast to master. I’ll have something about that coming soon — and perhaps also how I keep my voice in shape.

Trivia: One of my favourite singers? Billy Ocean. Yep. Great to practice to for me — my range matches up to his really well.

Awesome! You made it. I hope you enjoyed this little slice of my life as a musician. Please feel free to leave any comments below or share this article with friends. I really appreciate it 🙂

What Is Success?

Loaded question. What is success? My version of success has changed. I think the standard mainstream version of he or she with the most toys wins has really had it’s day.

Let’s move on from such a constrictive view, shall we?

My old version was never about the money per se, but it was definitely about winning the approval of others.

This was conditioned into me quite strongly through the usual methods. Society, teachers, family, etc.

Conditioning seems to be either a conforming to or a  reelling against some kind of belief or behaviour.

Through a hodgepodge of environmental and genetic factors, my own particular idea of success developed.

Of course I’m talking about my old and now outdated version of success.

The one that drove me for many years. Seeking approval from something or someone external to myself.

Even when I became acutely aware of the tendency of the mind to seek approval and was able to weaken it through awareness and practice, it still frequently dominated me.

Ah! Being human.

 

Breakthrough

In a book I love and own called “The Inner Journey Home” by A.H. Almaas, he suggests the soul has an embedded code that unfolds when it’s ready.

The best analogy I can come up for this is that of a seed. A seed has certain codes of information that  unveil the next stage of the seed’s journey until it become “fully realized” as a plant or tree.

I’m sure in your life you’ve felt a certain way about something or someone and suddenly found yourself with a change of heart.

This is your soul unveiling information as you unfold more fully into your potential. Spontaneous intelligence.

For a long time I thought I wanted or needed to be a famous musician in order to be loved and accepted.

And in order to love and accept myself.

Recently, I noticed the suffering from feeling this missing in my life seemed to be growing weaker.  (I’m not a famous musician! Lol)

And even if I were (a famous musician), I’m pretty sure my mind would find problems elsewhere in my life. A critic, a fan, somebody sold more records,
somebody burned me in business, etc.

Today I suddenly realized it’s pretty much gone. At least the edges have definitely been sanded down and smoothed away. I’m not saying the fantasy never plays out in the back of my mind — but that when it does, I don’t suffer. No pain. It’s not Reality.

And I also realized I’ve quietly been building my own values and version of what success is.

 

So, What Is Success?

My parents wanted me to be a doctor or business executive. Really badly! I didn’t want either of those things. When I was younger I wanted to be a pro athlete. Probably hockey.

Then as a teen, I shifted to wanting to be deeply involved in music. I loved it so much!

So just what is success? Is it money and fame? Lots of sex with desirable partners? Big house and cars?

As I said above, these models seem to be slowly fading from mass consciousness. It’s definitely still there, but there also seems to be a growing disillusionment with this version of success.

 

My Version Of Success

Excellent Health: The body is the temple for your awareness and existence. Many people treat their phones and cars better than they treat their own bodies.

Loving And Supportive Relationships: What’s the point of having a bunch of stuff if you don’t have anyone to share it with? Or if you do, you’re so busy with making money and fame that you don’t have any time to be with your loved ones?

Prosperity: Gotcha!! My version of success definitely does NOT mean being poor. I think a healthy pocketbook is an essential ingredient to be able to be and do things on this planet. However I do think everyone should find there own definition of prosperity.

For me it means a balance. Being able to pay my bills without having to worry or juggle finances in order to do so. Being able to save and invest a portion of my income. Being able to afford the tools I require to do my work and express myself creatively. Being able to take time off without feeling anxious.

I don’t require a mansion or a yacht in order to feel prosperous. But if they float down the river of Life into my experience, I’ll accept them gratefully!

I have a personality that can be happy with the simple things. Right now I live in an apartment with my wife and we share a Toyota Corolla.

And I’m happy anyways. No matter what. Almost all of the time. Even when I’m “unhappy” I’m able to turn it around in a relatively short time.

Which leads me to another ingredient in my recipe for success.

Emotional Mastery And Spiritual Connection: A human being cannot be happy where sorrow is.

If you’re feeling emotional pain— or you’re just simply uninspired by life — then you need some kind of tools to help you clear that stuff away. So that the core of who you are — unconditioned happiness — can shine out.

Don’t believe me? I’m soft in the head? I’m pretty certain even the most hard boiled of materialists and cynics have had moments of happiness with no apparent cause.

Just a moment where the burdens drop and you feel at ease and at peace with everything.

It could be in Nature. For many it is. A sunset, a mountain or ocean. They reflect the majesty of your true inner essence and for a moment you experience it.

Creative Expression: Yes!  Although I’m no longer all that interested in being a famous musician because of all the probable sacrifices involved — such as time spent with loved ones, time to reflect or do other activities I enjoy, etc. — I absolutly LOVE creating and playing music. Everyday. Except for a few “cherry picked” days off.

I’m still working on finding ways to create my music and share it with a community of people who appreciate it. If you’re reading this you’re a big part of that.

I love to perform, but I don’t like bars that much. So I’m still looking for ways to perform in the Toronto area — eventually even Southern Ontario and larger. But I’d like to do it in a way that’s not just another rat race. The musician rat race.

I can perform as often and as close to home (or far from home) as I want.

I’m not in that rat race of making an album, touring, and then doing it all again. Eventually just burning out.

 

My Version Of Success In A Nutshell

  • healthy, loving and supportive relationships
  • excellent health
  • prosperity
  • emotional balance and connection to Life and the Eternal.
  • excellence in my craft

 

Congratulations — you made it to the end. This was a pretty long and winding road of an article!

Please leave me a comment below or share with friends 🙂

Why Do I Do It?

 

Hi. My name is Davidson and I’m a music addict. This is maybe dramatizing things — and I certainly don’t mean to make light of people who are involved in 12 Step programs. Been there.

What I mean is that I make music because I love it so freakin’ much! I love to sing. I love playing guitar. I love creating meaningful lyrics and cool melodies.

Why do I do it? I’m on a mission from my soul.

 

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It’s a part of my DNA.

Due to the nature of the world we live in, it’s not always “practical.” I mean in terms of cash. Yes, there are people who are doing really well in the music biz.

But the fact is, most people in the world are busy — and couldn’t care less about my new song or album.

I’ve spent times in my life where I’ve worked really hard trying to change that. My main incentive was that I wanted to play more music. Might as well try to get the earth to spin the other way. Talk about carrying the weight of the world!

Now, I can’t say I don’t care — but I definitely care much less than I used to. I do it for myself. I want my music to be as honest as possible. Hopefully that will resonate with people and that will be my service to them.

This is not to say that I’m not like anyone else and people’s appreciation of my work is not important. It’s awesome! But I look at it more like “gravy” or “icing.” I do my best not to expect it.

When I was a teenager and I consciously or subconciously decided to be a musician for my career, I didn’t do it to be famous. Even though I suffered from incredibly low self esteem at the time.

We’ve all been branded by some trauma or another during our formative years. Some worse, some less so. Mine was probably leaning toward the “worse” side of the spectrum.

That’s a big part of the reason why I ended up homeless, on the streets and on my own in a new city (Toronto) at the tender age of 17. ‘Nother story, ‘nother time.

That’s probably also what led me to have my mid life crisis in my late twenties. I started asking all the important questions that most avoid. “What am I really doing with my life? What is love? What is happiness? What’s the point of it all? Who/what do I really want to be/do? etc.” I couldn’t avoid them if I wanted to survive.

I really and truly don’t care about being famous or “special.” I just wanna be myself, work hard, and be able to pay the bills with a sense of ease and lightness. Who doesn’t?

Perhaps there are people out there who are motivated by fame and being special more than by the process of creating and playing music. I don’t know.

I only know that for me, I don’t seem to have a choice. I simply love making music. And I love learning about music. I love growing my skills.

 

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Down To The Crossroads

I’ve been down to the crossroads several times in my life thus far. Where I’ve been on my knees or even in fetal position — asking if I’m on the right path. Because it’s so damn hard!

Sometimes I wish I didn’t love making music so much so I could just concern myself with “getting by” and then “getting away” when I’ve had enough of “getting by.”

The grass is always greener.

Whenever I’ve tried walking away from music, something deep inside me knows better. And I know that if I want to respect myself, to be myself, I can’t.

Regardless of whether or not the world ever pays attention to my work. Or on what scale.

I’m mostly at peace within myself now. I now know that come hell or high water, I will do my best to continue to build upon my body of work.

It’s taken me 15 years to get to the point where I could get the financing and resources together in order to record 5 of my songs in a way that I’m very proud of.

I’m not going to stop now. I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager — and I’m writing new songs now. To me, they’re the best songs I’ve ever written.

And I’m getting better all the time. Better guitar player. Better singer. Better arranger. Better with my lyrics.

 

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In The Past

In the now distant past, I felt very fortunate to have landed a job as the guitar teacher at a few music stores. This led to my “falling into” having my own teaching business with guitar and piano.

I thought “I’ve got the perfect day job!”

However, the reality of trying to live on “poverty wages” in the city of Toronto began to wear me down over the years.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe the world owes me a living.

And even if I have to flip burgers at MacDonald’s (God forbid!) in order to eat and have a roof over my head I will continue to build my body of work.

Before I graduated summa cum laude from Humber College Jazz in Toronto I worked many hours doing hard labour. Digging basements, moving furniture, cleaning crew, prep cook, short order cook.

Whatever. That’s the past.

 

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I Have Good Karma!

Fortunately, I’m still teaching and enjoying interacting and supporting my current students with their musical goals and growth.

I’ve also managed to develop a couple of other side income streams (such as some session work and helping my wife Mary with her businesses).

So for now, I am definitely a lucky person. I’ve been able to significantly close the gap between who the world wants me to be and who I truly am.

I’ve been able to somehow hold onto and nurture my artistic vision through thick and thin. I’m very grateful for that.

Maybe I’m just stubborn and hard headed.

Author Steven Pressfield, in his book The War of Art says this is a good thing. Alright — I’ll take it! 🙂

In the old days record companies and publishers had Artist Development. I guess I’ve been working my own Artist Development program all along.

Most people aim to take the freeway in order to develop their goals in life. I took to the side roads and stopped at all the villages along the way. No worries. It’s all good — I now know I can take the freeway if I choose.

 

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In A Nutshell

I’m simply going to do my best to continue creating more songs. There are still many obstacles ahead such as financing projects and making the time for them to get off the ground, but my spirit feels good.

A little scared, but good 🙂 I know my true happiness is on the inside independent of circumstances. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to be, do or have things.

Just helps me maintain sanity in an insane world.

I am becoming ever more my true self in a world where we are taught not to be.

If you enjoyed this article or think it would benefit someone, please comment below or share it. Thanks 🙂