Teachers vs Masters

If you had to choose one book, or one teacher who has had an incredible impact on your Life, who would it be?

If you’re anything like me, that a helluva hard question to answer. Not for the lack of influential books and teachers, but for the Abundance!

What is it that makes a good teacher?

I think it’s the way they empower you; the way they demonstrate such prestige in their field, yet so earnestly convince you that the only difference between us and them is a few years of focused practice.

A good teacher is a mentor in a particular skill or area of Life that you have both decided to focus on.

A Master is something else.

A Master is a Mirror that Reflects the Eternity Within Us.

A Master is a person who has broken through the limitations of their humanity and found communion with The Source.

Masters are often NOT good teachers.

They’ve attained a level of Wisdom and Understanding that transcends language, so often the best they can do is speak in Riddles, Analogy, and Metaphor.

By their very existence, however, they prove the reality of that which lies beyond consciousness, and can serve as a lighthouse on our own journey toward enlightenment – if we believe in our own ability to achieve it.

“Seek Not the Masters; Seek What the Masters Sought.”

In the rare case of a Master who is a Teacher, it can often be difficult to keep our role as a student from transforming into a role as a disciple, or worshipper.

Take Jesus Christ for example.

Jesus taught Life Philosophy that has many parallels in the Buddhist and Daoist teachings of the far East.

He was a Master, like the Buddha, who devoted his Life to helping others cultivating Enlightenment and Joy in their own Lives.

He taught for a few months, then was crucified for political reasons.

Somewhere along the line after that, though, the crucifixion became the point of his existence and his teachings secondary.

All the Wisdom that he had learned and made his own was frozen in time with him, because nobody else had the belief in him/herself to take up the torch.

A Master is just someone who has discovered how to answer all their own questions.

A Master-Teacher is someone who has discovered how to answer their own questions, and create parallels between their questions and the questions of others.

They speak in terms that can simultaneously hold meaning for them, and an entirely different meaning for each person that hears or reads what they have to say.

This is why the Bible and other religious texts cannot be taken literally; The Words are meant to be template for each individual’s own Spiritual Process.

Mastery is Personal.

We can all become Masters of Ourself, for that is all Mastery is.

Want to become a Spiritual Master?

Find your own meaning within the words that other Masters have asserted to be Spiritual Truths.

If one person found their answer in certain words, you can too. You just have to remember that yours is different, since your question is one that only you can ask.

Want to become a Master Songwriter?

Learn the songs of those you look to as Masters. Find your own meaning in every word, then you will know how to write songs where the Meaning is there before the words are.

-Addison

Who is a Master you have learned from? Let me know! @aLifeofSong

Take Time For Yourself

People nowadays are programmed to work; to get as much done as possible.

Days when we’re not working a job, we tend to try and “catch up” on everything else; paying bills, mowing the lawn, house hold chores.

Thing is, Song Writing, and any art form for that matter, is a form of work as well, and it has to be prioritized.

If you’ve got the Song Writing tendency, you’ve got an inherent purpose and job to do in this Life.

It’s a bit of a conundrum, though, since you can’t really determine when Inspiration is going to flow.  You just have to give it an opening by emptying your mind of all your other daily concerns now and again.

So slow down sometimes.

Give yourself time for yourself, a day where you can roam freely around your house and your social circles without trying to accomplish anything.

(I myself am breaking my personal role by writing this; I don’t do any work on Sundays. Just relaxation, and Music Making.)

That’s it! Have a happy Sunday!

-Addison

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Read Poetry. Write Poetry.

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Poems are Words at their most Powerful.

I define poetry as combinations of Words, Organized in such a way that their Meaning as a whole Transcends their individual definitions.

A poem allows us an intimate look inside the poet’s mind; Poems let us follow another person’s train of thought and literally experience what they experienced for a moment, regardless of the particulars of time of space.

Here’s a wonderful TED Talk on the matter:

As Songwriters, we have a choice.

We can choose to either say simple, straightforward ideas and look to the chords and melody to give them Gravity,

Or we can be Singing Poets.

Personally, I do both.

Sometimes I have a thought that is so simple, it screams at me until I string some rhymes together and sing it.

Other times an Unknown Wisdom whispers deep within me, and I am compelled to give words to a Truth that  is Unspeakable, and the words that result are meant to be a private, personal message to whoever hears them, including me. (Read: Metaphors)

For many, it doesn’t come easy.

Writing Poetry is a skill that can’t be taught.

People can teach you about poetry, but a poem comes from an individual personality, perception, and experience of Life.

To become a Poet, just read the Poetry of others, whether it’s straight up poetry or the lyrics of songs.

As you spend time filling your mind with their consciousness, you will develop mental traits similar to theirs.

Before long, you’ll find yourself sharing unique insights and a unique way.

Comment below, and share some insights with me!

I’d love to hear about your experience with Poetry!

-Addison

 

Song of the Week 7/18/14

The Garden

Every week I send out an email that tells the story behind one of my songs. (Click HERE to sign up)

This week’s song is called The Garden.

Enjoy.

In the darkest part of morning
When the Sun has yet to be born,
And each blade of grass proudly holds
The dew drop jewels with which they’re adorned
There is a forgotten moment,
When Time closes his weary eyes
When the Wind stops to hold its breath to Listen
And Eternity sheds her disguise

In this moment, you’ll find the Garden,
The Garden from whence we all came,
And in the end, where we return again
To learn of our Soul’s True name
It is the place where all roads hope to go
Though none are sure of the way
For it can only be found when one leaves the path
With wide eyes to wander astray

In the Garden all things are Free,
All Sounds become Harmony,
In the Garden Doubt is undone,
And Thinking and Knowing are One,
As you look upon the Loving Face
Of The Gardener

Your leaders will tell you The Garden
Is a Kingdom above the Clouds,
But the Heavenly Birds will descend to Earth,
And tell you it lies underground
Then the moles will all motion toward the Ocean,
And the fishes will call them Blind,
For the Garden lies without and within you,
Between your Heart and our Mind

In the Garden all things are Free,
All Sounds become Harmony,
In the Garden Doubt is undone,
And Thinking and Knowing are One,
As you look upon the Loving Face
Of The Gardener

In the Garden Wisdom is grown
And Suffering has no home,
In the Garden, your wounds will be healed,
And you will finally know what is Real,
In the Garden all things are Free,
All Sounds become Harmony,
In the Garden Doubt is undone,
And Thinking and Knowing are One,
As you look upon the Loving Face
Of The Gardener

Some people spend all their days
Trying to escape the cold kiss of Death
And they cannot see that they’ve never lived
Until they relinquish their final breath
For a human life is like unto a flower,
That withers when its season is gone,
But the soil of The Garden is but a bed of dead flowers,
So with each now bloom, they all live on

In the Garden all things are Free,
All Sounds become Harmony,
In the Garden Doubt is undone,
And Thinking and Knowing are One,
As you look upon the Loving Face
Of The Gardener

-Addison

5 Simple Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

1. Make an idea map of your song.

Take some time to write out every aspect of your song as an idea.

Describe the tone, the overall theme, and brainstorm words, metaphors, and symbols that suit that theme.

Example: Tone = BrightTheme = Love, Key Phrases = Joy, Ecstasy, Trust, Happy, Solid, Committed, Calm, Peace, Sexy, Passion, Fire, Sunshine, Bird songs, Blue Sky, Sun, Moon, Feeling… etc

2. Write your lines backwards.

If you’re writing a song you want to rhyme, think of the rhyme first, then fill in the rest of the line. Think of one key phrase, then think of as many rhymes as you can for it.

Example:

Something something something something Guitar

Guitar, Far, Star, Car, Tar, Jar, Bar, Pixar,

Guitar
Car
Far

Mama, I just wanna play Guitar
And get rid of everything I own that don’t fit in my Car
I’ll just sing on a sunny street, see what kind of people I meet
If you believe in me, I know that I’ll go Far
But Mama, I just wanna play Guitar.

3. Write Like Dr. Frankenstein.

Don’t be afraid to recycle parts of songs you like, whether they be your own or other peoples’.

Lyrics are personal, you can’t take those, but chords and melodies? Nobody owns those but God.

See if you can tell me what three songs I recycled to write this one (if you can I’ll give you every song I’ve ever recorded and will record until the end of time)

 4. Take a break.

Relax your brain and do something fun.

We’re more creative when we’re feeling happy and flowing.

Banging your head against a song and getting frustrated with it will only make it harder and harder to write.

Instead, go read or watch something informative about the topic you’re writing about.

You might stumble upon just the right articulation of your theme to paraphrase and finish your song.

5. Leave the song alone entirely.

Sometimes we’re just not the person we need to be to write a certain song.

Music and Art of all forms come from a place beyond the confines of Time.

Our minds are the doorway between Non-Being and Being, and sometimes a song will come knocking at the door before we’ve expanded the doorframe enough to fit it through.

When that happens, you just have to take as many notes on the song as possible, and don’t forget that it’s waiting for you there.

Then, just move on in Life. The door will open when the time is right.

Are You Ready To Change The World?

On a scale of 1-10, how Ready Are You To Change The World?

One is “Not Ready AT ALL! Nada. Zip. Can’t Change a Thing.”

Ten is “I’m going to Change the World Today.”

So how about it?

How ready are you?

If you picked anything below 10, what are your reasons?

How do you define Changing the World?

If you think of that statement to mean Affecting the Majority of the World’s Population, then I can see why you wouldn’t be ready. I wouldn’t either.

But what if Changing the World was as simple as Making a Difference in the Circles We Move In?

Wouldn’t that send ripples outward, ripples that expand and touch exponentially more lives until they’ve affected the very course of Existence? (‘Cus that’s how it works, ya know)

If you picked 1, what can you do to make it a higher number?

What can you Practice?

What can you Learn?

How can you Act?

What can you Create?

What Song can you Write, and Who can you Sing it for?

There isn’t a single thing stopping you from becoming a Conscious Influencer of Life.

In fact, you already are one! If you don’t know it already, you’re an Unconscious Influencer.

You send ripples out without taking note of how they might Change the Course of the Collective Human Experience. That’s Dangerous Business!

Take note of Your Power.

You’re more ready to Change the World than you give yourself credit for!

All you have to is be Conscious of how you’re affecting the people and environment around you, and Act with the Intent To Make A Difference in mind!

I’ll Change the World today if you do!

-Addison

How Ready Are You To Change The World? How are you going to do it, or get more ready to? Let me know! @aLifeofSong

Fall Into Rhythm.

When was the last time you danced to The Song Of Life?

All of Life is made of rhythms – birds singing to their own tempo, the moving parts in car engines, rain fall, your own feet hitting the pavement as you walk down the street…

Just listen, and you’ll hear them; Infinite strings of rhythm, all super-imposed over each other.

Interact with Rhythm and sync up with Life.

Try singing or whistling to the beat of your own feet, or purposefully falling into rhythm if you’re doing a repetitive motion, like exercising or manual labor.

All of Life will start to feel like a game, and a dance.

Put your body into it, and you’ll experience Life more fully.

You’ll also start thinking more rhythmically, which will play very much to your advantage as a Songwriter!

-Addison

When was the last time you danced to the song of Life? Let me know! @aLifeofSong

Hear The Story Beneath The Words

We all Say a lot of Words, but what do our Words Say about us?

Ever try and have a conversation with someone who never stops talking about themself?

It can be incredibly frustrating.

This type of person will rarely give you an opening to contribute to the thought bubble you two are sharing, and when they do, they’re just fishing for new things to talk about, waiting for you to finish your sentence so that they can start talking again.

They might even cut you off before you finish what you have to say!

It’s exasperating, but there is a lesson to be learned *BY* having “conversations” with people like this.

Our words tell the True Story of Who We Are.

Why would someone never stop talking, never stop telling us about themself?

It’s easy to say, “They Like To Hear Themself Talk.

There’s some Truth to that, but I think it goes deeper.

People who talk at you endlessly without invitation are Afraid.

They’re Afraid of having their perceptions challenged, since they don’t Truly Trust in themselves; Terrified of being Wrong, because they don’t know what is Right For Them,

They’re Afraid of being Judged, Afraid of Not Being Enough; of Others seeing their Inadequacies and Imperfections, so for them, every conversation is spent trying to convince other people (and themselves) that they’re Awesome.

Most of all, they’re Afraid of the person they’re talking the ears off of.

When someone doesn’t Know their Purpose in Life,

isn’t Secure in their Personal Beliefs,

or doesn’t Value their own Contribution to the World,

it becomes their tendency to distance put up barriers in their Life and in their Words so that they can avoid the Truth:

They Can Be More.

There’s nothing scarier than Realizing our own Potential for Growth, because that Realization illuminates long, hard path that we can only walk alone.

So what’s the Moral for the Songwriter?

  1. Don’t write songs that rant and push your opinion on people. All opinions are only True in the context of our own Life, so singing about how we’re right and others are wrong is a fundamentally flawed practice.
  2. Have Compassion for those who talk at you endlessly. They are scared of the fact that they look up to you. Instead of competing with them for the stage, let the conversation be an exercise of Patience, and an opportunity to help them grow by asking them thoughtful questions.
  3. You can layer your songs with Meaning; Say What You Need To Say in a way that Sounds Like Whatever People Need To Hear. Use storytelling, symbols, and archetypes, and your songs will become Universally True.

-Addison

What Stories have you heard in peoples’ Words lately? Let me know! @aLifeofSong

Listen to the Birds.

When was the last time you stopped and listened?

We spend so much time running around doing things, or consumed by thoughts and worries – how often do we take time to revel in the Beauty of Life?

Beethoven was an avid nature lover, and spent a lot of time walking through the woods, listening to The Song Of Life.

You can tell – just compare this bird’s call:

to the opening notes of Beethoven’s fifth symphony:

Life is Beauty. Songwriters just take what’s already there, and refine it.

All you have to do is stop and Pay Attention, and Inspiration will be right there, waiting to envelope you.

-Addison

What has Inspired you lately? Let me know! @aLifeofSong

How Nude Modelling Made Me A Better Writer

How often do we monitor the things we do, say, or create out of Fear of how others might perceive us?

Almost all the time, I’d say.

For most people, theres nothing more terrifying than Not Being Accepted; Being Judged, Looked Down On.

It’s scary to be different, to be imperfect, or to do (create) something that no one has any context for -

How can we expect to be Accepted when someone else would have to get behind our Imperfection at the risk of their own Acceptance?

We judge ourselves drastically more than anyone else would so that we can create a buffer around our Words, Actions, and Appearance to ensure our Acceptability.

Most of us have forgotten how to be Vulnerable, and how empowering it is.

To be Vulnerable is to find release from the Cage of Our Fear of Judgment.

To be Vulnerable is to Appreciate All That We’re Giving to the World.

To be Vulnerable is to See our own Shortcomings and Good Intentions in the Light of Love and Forgiveness.

To be Vulnerable is to recognize that Everyone is Imperfect.

To be Vulnerable is to have Compassion for Those Who Fear Judgment, and Unconditional Love for Those Who Judge.

To be Vulnerable is to Take Stock of All That We Are and Know that We Can Always Become More.

To be Vulnerable is to find Acceptance from the One Person who Matters: Ourself.

In 2011, I started nude modelling for art classes.

I’d decided to stop working a regular job and live as a Vagabond, travelling on a whim and spending as much time as I wanted on my Creative Process.

I still had six months left on my lease, though, and had to find the means to pay rent without ever getting locked into a schedule.

Nude Modelling was one of those Means.

I still remember the very first time; Stipping down in a storage closet at the back of an art studio that was full of college students, most of whom were my age.

I took about as long to get my clothes off as I ever have in my Life; looking down at myself, taking note of everything I wished were different about my body.

I’m thankful that there wasn’t a mirror in that closet, or I would have taken a lot longer.

Finally, after some deep breathing, I got my heart to stop fluttering, and sealed up my self-esteem in a little glass case, and walked out – naked as the day I was born* – into the middle of a room of 20-something-year-olds with easels and charcoal pencils.

*After class, the teacher told me that it was standard procedure for models to wear bathrobes on their way to and from the changing room…*

I climbed up on the platform, literally the center of attention, and for the next three hours, developed a close relationship with Vulnerability.

There was no escaping the Judgment that I Feared – no way to hide my Imperfection – but after the first twenty minutes, I was no longer affected.

Something had shifted within me.

I observed these artists examining every detail of me,  an important Truth had made itself clear; everyone Sees Life through their own Lense.

In some of the drawings, I was buff and super-hero like.

In others, I was grotesque and flabby.

In almost all of them, my face was not my own.

By the time I stepped down from that platform, I had let go of my Fear, for it had become evident to me that no matter what I do, what I say, or how I look, other people can only See me in the context of Who They Are.

From then on, I stopped thinking about my Actions (and my Songs) in terms of how others might Perceive them.

I no longer write songs that I think people will want to hear.

Instead, I write songs for the people that need to hear them. 

I write songs Vulnerably, for the people who are ready to Hear the Truth and See the Good in them.

Those are the people with whom I want to share my music; Everyone else will filter themselves out with their own Perceptions.

The Moral: Vulnerability = Authenticity.

Be Brave enough to Love Yourself, despite your Imperfection- no- because of Your Imperfection. Your Imperfection is Potential to Become More Than You Are.

Acknowledging your Imperfection will give you the Authenticity to Know What You’re Not, which in turn will show you What You Are; What Value You Can Add To The World.

Share Your Value – tainted by Your Imperfection - freely; Some People will Love You For It, and those that don’t are people you don’t want in your Life anyway.

Perfection is just The Lack Thereof.

Share your Perfect Imperfection with me! @aLifeofSong
-Addison

Addison Rice