I recently told a young artist asking me for advice about a career in music that there’s just no guarantees in the entertainment biz … well, except one. If you don’t show up – and I mean day after day after year after year – you’re guaranteed NOT to succeed.
Right now, I’m in the Santa Monica guest room I’ve been renting the last four months, clothes and suitcases and costumes and dust masks and all kinds of tomfoolery strewn about. I’m packing for two very different journeys.
First, I’m leaving tomorrow for a week in the northern Nevada desert where I’m attending Burning Man, that massive extravaganza of liberated human expression and unfathomable imagination. Then, right after I get home and take a three-hour shower, I need to find a new place to live … again.
You know how Mastin talks about his years-long journey of complete uncertainty, following the incessant whisper of a deeper calling? The one in which he slept on couches and made little income and – my inspiring personal favorite – was rejected by over 100 women over about a five year period?
Yeah, I’m pretty much on that journey. Only I sleep on more beds than couches, and I haven’t had the courage to approach that many women during my time of instability. Serious props to Mastin for that!
I used to make decent money as a military officer and a lot of money later in “corporate America”. When I left my $10,000 per month job to manage a Miami band I had fallen in love with, a band I knew would help heal the world with its incredible AND conscious, life-affirming pop music, I thought for sure within a few years we’d be rolling in financial prosperity. I made $25 my first month with them. A year later, I was making about $250 per month. Still, I was fully confident we were destined to touch hearts and shake booties the world over.
I never imagined six years later I’d be couch surfing around Los Angeles, still pursuing that dream.
But this is what “showing up” for a dream may sometimes look like.
Sometimes it looks like couch surfing and unsettling uncertainty. Sometimes it looks like no one is paying attention to the wildly inspiring inspirations you’re either creating or supporting. Sometimes it looks like you have no idea where your rent money is gonna come from this month. It may even look like you not having rent money this month.
Showing up for your dream sometimes means going through things that you never imagined or desired for your life.
The director/actor Tyler Perry says in his inspiring video blog, “How to be Successful,” that his company has a motto: “Where Even Dreams Believe.” He shares in this video (which I highly encourage you to watch), that his own experience taught him that showing up is essential, and it’s no guarantee of any outcome. He affirms that it’s common in pursuit of a dream that you get to places where you can’t hardly bear the burden of the dream anymore. It’s then that “that dream has to take on the belief for you” … when your dream must believe in you.
It’s been my dream for 16 years, since I was 22 and a young lieutenant in the US Air Force, that I would offer my life in powerful service to humanity’s awakening to its own brilliance. I didn’t know the details of what that might look like. But I knew I could never sell sugar water to the planet. I knew that on balance my time on this planet would have to leave it a bit more uplifted for my being here. For six years it’s looked like managing transformational artists.
These last few months, as I undergo what feels like complete upheaval on every level of my experience – personal and professional – I’ve had to surrender ever more deeply my own will to the wisdom of that dream.
As I head off to Burning Man tomorrow, I’m reminded of an interesting phenomenon. It’s imperative to have goggles and a dust mask at Burning Man because the festival takes place on a 200-square mile desert lake bed and you’re essentially living on a bed of fine white powder dust. Sometimes that lake bed whips up a massive storm with powerful wind-driven clouds of dust that can obscure vision beyond a few feet and last for hours.
Life may sometimes appear like that when you show up for a dream. You may feel like you’re caught in an intense dust storm with obscured vision, uncertain about which way to go. Sometimes it passes fast and you can see clearly again. Sometimes the dust storm just seems to go on … and on … and on.
But that storm will pass. It always does.
Can you imagine if Mastin had woke up on a couch one day and said, “I’m tired of sleeping on couches, I’m gonna go get a real job”? We wouldn’t have The Daily Love. There was never a guarantee that his dream would yield the fruit it has. He couldn’t possibly know that Oprah Winfrey would become a friend.
But Mastin kept showing up. Every day. One blog. One email. … and a whole lotta tweets.
Mastin’s journey has been deeply inspiring to me. I can’t know that my work will yield the fruit I long for. But that’s out of my hands, anyway. It’s my job to just keep showing up.
To let the dream believe in me.
I’m off to Burning Man.
Dust storms … take me away!!!!!
p.s. what would simply “showing up” for your dream look like today??
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