I overheard a woman publicly vocalizing her boredom upon a Greyhound bus to Kelowna today, whilst hath barding of course…. and it reminded me of the day my father eliminated the word “Bored,” from my vocabulary.

I believe I was the ripe old age of 8; time wasn’t moving fast enough, the world wasn’t solving my “problems,” and I legitimately felt like I had nothing interesting or exciting to do.  I naturally felt obligated to announce my frustrations to my father in the unmistakeable phrasing…”Dad…I’m bored!”

He looked at me above the rim of his glasses, looking like he was about to savor the moment of the proceeding conversation. “If you don’t find something to do, I’ll find something for your to do.  Write a list of all the things you could be doing, or, you can weed the garden.”

I use to hate weeding the garden, so much so that I filled an entire page front and back with things I could be doing.  From that moment on, I was never “bored,” again.  In fact, I often find myself struggling to catch up with everything I actually want to do!

Every once and a while he would ask me in a sarcastic tone…”You’re not bored, are you?”  HA! Because of him, the word “Bored,” was dead to me, and I thank him eternally when I hear others say they are bored and want someone to fix it for them.

Parental Barding Lesson of the Day:

To all parents with children that have the so-called “ADD”………… Try a pen and paper!

I love you Dad!

Mr. Bored…I mean…Bard..

 

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A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a book on my travels called “Zen Guitar” by Philip Toshio Sudo (http://www.maui.net/~zen_gtr/), and in the first 20 pages, it has changed my life.

Being a bard of peace and love, I have never been one for combat, but martial arts have always intrigued me.  It all started with my childhood exposure to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I always felt a particular relation to Donatello:

 He was always the thinker in the group, kind of geeky, but very capable, and  by far had the most advantages weapon…the staff.  If I was ever to learn  some  kind of martial art, it would most likely integrate the staff…

Anyways, after reading the first bit of Zen Guitar, I realized that I already  have  a martial art of my own….Music..and my voice, guitars and instruments are  my staffs, katanas, nun-chuks, etc.

Expertise in Martial Arts are dictated by colors of belts, and the trials one  must  pass to advance.  In music and in life, Sudo says the only belt you ever need is a  white belt.

Here’s why:

There are 5 stages –

White Belt – Establishes the beginner’s mind, eager to learn

White To Black – Training and discipline needed to progress along the path

Black –  Established responsibilities and standards for excellence.  Belt becomes soiled black from time and effort put in, and mind, body, and spirit begin to fuse.

Black To White – Explores barrier that goes beyond the technical and leads to deeper understanding.  Efforts wear and fray the belt so that it begins to turn white again.

White – Full return to simplicity and understanding of the Way….always maintaining a begins mind and eagerness to learn.

This hit me so strong in the form of an idea, and I acted immediately.   “Acquire a white belt,” a voice told me, so I hopped a bus downtown in search of one.  I explored 6 different martial art stores, but to no avail, and realized I had to make the journey to the downtown East Side for a chance of finding one.

Once again my inner voice said “Walk…” which through the east side can be uncomfortable, but I went anyway.  I realized I did the right thing when I came across this beautifully painted wall:

I love occurrences like this.  What a great saying.  Thanks Lao!

I arrived at a place called Mikado, half expecting to be dealing with some  gruff and tough guy with rope and resin on his hands, only to be surprised  by the sweetest little woman named  Hidemi.

Look at her smile! Another angel  worth going out to  this place just to  visit.

Here she is  awarding me my white  belt:

Anyways, I decided to make the lifelong commitment to music and life to always live in the open mind of a white belt.  I signify this now by wrapping it around my tattered guitar case, and dawning it on my mic stand for every gig I play from now until death.

 Page 20 closes with the an old samurai maxim    that says “From one thing, know ten thousand  things.”

“Music can teach you everything you need to    know.”

And so the journey and acceptance of music in my life officially begins!  Domo arigato  Sensei  Sudo and Hidemi.

Here’s to the saga!

Mr. White Belted Bard

Good morning you beautiful people!

I wanted to share an experiment I have been conducting the last three days with you.   I was watching a video interview of one of my favorite social disturbers out there, Derek Sivers (Founder of CD Baby), the other day, and one of his points really resonated with me.  He discusses the notion of time between thinking, and doing.  People who become successful in their own ways do so by minimizing the time they allow between a birth of a great idea, and the execution of the steps to realize that idea.  Watch for yourselves:

So –> Success = Thought and quick action

I have been a trainer and life coach for the better part of a decade besides being a musician, and I this is the situation I have seen time and time again:

Person A has a brilliant idea or goal…….Person A brews, and brews, and brews on brilliant thought to the point where it becomes less exciting, which opens the door to fear, doubt, and thoughts about what could go wrong with the brilliant idea.  This leads to discouragement and decreased excitement/motivation to actually see the idea through.

So –> Failure = Thought..thought..thought..thought…boredom..loss of interest.

I use the term failure carefully here, as failing is the key to the greatest learning in life, and quite positive in my mind.  The problem in the above situation – NO LEARNING TAKES PLACE WHEN YOU TALK YOURSELF OUT OF ENTERING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT!!

Ok, enough ranting!  Here is the experiment:

I have spent the last three days barding around with Little Mac (My travel guitar), following every little inclination or instinct I had, allowing that to dictate the course of my days.

Example 1:

I started out heading towards the bank, working the beginnings of a new song on my way when I came across a music shop I have never seen before “West Coast Music,” with a big LIQUIDATION sign on the window.  Being in a music shop for me is like a sugared up child in a ball pit at Chucky Cheeses!  Especially when they have sales.  So I went in.  I met Shannon and Glen, who are selling everything and looking to move to Hawaii.  After being in the business for roughly 20 years, they’re calling it a journey well traveled.

Check out the video I made about my experience there:

The guitar I got is amazing, and is a wonderful addition to the family….I named her Bella for her latin flare and soft sweet beauty. Anyways – Side plug, they still have great instruments left, but they are going fast.  Here are there hours: Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday 12-6pm.

*Bottom line- Curiosity led me to something amazing.  I have wanted a guitar like this for playing gigs like I do at the Vancouver Art Gallery Cafe, and to get such a great deal blew my mind….all because I entertained my curiosity.  I played her last night, and she sounds like first love wrapped in high quality dark chocolate and sea breeze…….she’s a sexy piece of work, and was made in Vancouver with BC wood!  I’m a big fan of supporting local people and buying locally made things…so Boo ya!

Example 2, different day:

After a long day of barding with Little Mac, I like to go to a park at the end of Alma and Point Grey Road and play Roseli to the sunset…..Roseli is my beat up classical guitar I got from the salvation army for $30.  She is rugged, durable, and I do most of my writing with her.

I was playing on one of the benches when I noticed a large group across the park with a man playing guitar and singing “Take it Easy,” by the Eagles (one of my first influences).  Curiosity said to me – “Go see what they’re up to.”  So I did, and so glad I did.  It was a birthday party for a angelic woman named Susan, and she was celebrating with friends and family, some of which were visiting from Germany.  They warmly took me in, stuffing me with cupcakes and drinks, and I sang and played with them for hours under the backdrop of a sunset worthy of a Bob Ross oil painting.  It was magical to say the very least.

That night will stay with me forever, and the happiness it brought to everyone, myself included, all made possible by listening to my curiosity and acting without thinking ….maybe they don’t want to hear me….maybe I’m not good enough…maybe they’ll think my hair looks funny….I’m not wearing the right socks with these sandals….It’s funny to hear these thoughts, but we allow them into our minds all the time, and talk ourselves out of living the lives that deep down we know we want to live….My question is..WHY???

Anyways, from that night, I now keep in contact with most of those people, and Susan and I share inspiring quotes over email.  The one she sent me yesterday is as follows:

“I hope the journey becomes every bit as sweet as the destination.”    Lisa Kogan

My response to her was this:

“Often times the journey is sweeter than the destination.”       Michael Averill

She then followed with a great reference for a book “Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” (by Richard Bach), and highlighted this quote:

“Every person, all the events in your life are there because you have drawn them there.  What you choose to do with them is up to you.”
How cool is that??  This is key, and how I want to wrap up this post –> Opportunities to do things or meet people come to us if we want them to, and we will them our way….That is usually where people or concepts like the book “The Secret,” stop.  I moved into a new area in Vancouver, and simply held the though….”I want to meet my neighbors”…Look how it happened.
The second part is golden –> Opportunities are always there, but you need to act on them.  Too much thinking is a flood gate for crappy thoughts to enter your mind…..so don’t think too much! (I wrote a song about this I’ll post someday).
Success= Thought and Action!
For one day…. one hour….or even one minute, trust your curiosity to lead you to something you may have passed off as a waste of time, and just go do it!!   Please comment and share your experiences.
Thank you Susan and Derek for inspiring this blog today!
Mr. Bard/Michael

 

 

 

Greetings Everyone!

To give some background regarding how this blog came about………Music has always played a major part of my life; now so, more than ever.  A few months ago, I quit my full time job with the intention to give my musical vision the attention and commitment it truly deserves.  Best decision I have ever made in my life to date, without question.

Now I have always been a wanderer, a creature of random social interaction, and  9 times out of 10, music is involved in unusual meetings/encounters.  In June, I moved into a new place with two roommates, and 2 dogs.  All of them are amazing, and I honestly couldn’t have chosen better people to live with.

One of my house mates, of whom I will refer to as The Baking Oracle (she prefers Oracalis….Toe-mate-o, toe-mat-o..I will explain her name later) disclosed to me a few weeks after my move in that her initial impression of me was that I reminded her of a bard….and so the debate began.

This is what one of the dictionary sites online states what a bard is:

1. One of an ancient Celtic order of minstrel poets who composed and recited verses celebrating the legendary exploits of chieftains and heroes.
2. A poet, especially a lyric poet.
From google…this is apparently what bard’s look like, and what Baking Oracle/Oracalis thinks I resemble:
So I will agree that I match quite closely with the definition, as my songs usually come from some funky or legendary story…however, I’m not sure that pirates (for those who don’t know I have a song about a pirate named Big Black Dick and his story about how he rose out of slavery, to piracy, to Caribbean Rum/Cigar tycoon status) count as heroes…..Depends on your perspective… and I am not of Celtic order…..at least, I don’t think I am..
As far as the pictures go, my hair is long, but not nearly as long as bard dude on the left, and bard dude on the right is a bit too Super Mario Brothers with that mushroom hat and all.  I would like a pair of those sweet boots he has though…
It also seems that bards are known for always wearing tights, which I do admit I have an unusually large collection of from my Track and Field days.  In my case, they only come out when a race/bet needs to be won, and I have yet to integrate them in an event of musical expression and would prefer to keep it that way.
I personally like these images better:
 These guys are way more badass, and I have concluded that I must acquire a stein as demoed  by badass bard left, and a ZZ Top electric guitar like badass bard right.  Either way, I am  getting more excited about styling my bard image.
This is what I have to work with thus far:
 I know….pretty frightening hey? I’ve got a ways to go before I can truly embrace the  bard-  like aesthetic levels as seen in the documented photos.  Either way, I’m excited about the  process!
 So to wrap up this first post of A Bard’s Blog, I will finish with the reasoning behind my  lovely roommate’s interesting name, and the reason this blog exists.
I quite often take this guitar or another one out for walks at all times of the day.  Some  people walk dogs, I walk my guitars.  They need their exercise too!
 I usually stroll down Jericho beach or neighborhood  streets writing new material or just  clearing my head.  As a byproduct of these jaunts, I  usually end up meeting really  interesting people and coming back with very random stories  and experiences. It was my  roommate’s idea that I write these stories and share them with  others, as they usually have  good entertainment value, something insightful to them, or are  just so random that they  become quite humorous.
As for her name, let’s examine the breakdown:
Baking Oracle – “Baking” part – It is my belief that she is genetically coded to be the greatest baker in the world.  The types of desserts and foods I have been privy too thus far have been nothing short of astounding, and seeing her in action is comparable to what I would imagine it would have been like to see Da Vinci paint, or do anything for that matter.  I feel quite honored actually that she has taken me on as a baking apprentice, and I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment having created my first pie a couple of weeks ago.  Rolled the crust and everything!
Part 2 – “Oracle” – It seems in the last 2 days of conversations with each other that whatever we talk about comes to fruition very quickly.  The evidence speaks for itself :
Situation 1 – We were talking about a softball team she used to play on for fun and that she missed playing….20 minutes later, a music friend of mine facebooked me and a bunch of others to come play on his team this weekend, as a bunch of players were out of town……weird..
Situation 2 – Yesterday we were talking about how cool it is when old movies are played on giant screens in the parks around Vancouver, and how we weren’t sure if that happens anymore…..Sure enough, I was at the bank today and found out that Vancity is doing a bunch of these nights all over the place starting July 7th! (vancity.com/celebrate65).  What’s the deal?
Her mystical powers combined with my random drifting and musical interaction seems to produce whatever we talk about…I think we’ll discuss winning the lottery tomorrow morning!
Anyways, I hereby declare this blog open for reading, and hopefully what comes of my funny adventurous days helps improve your life in some way, shape, or form…. or at least lets you unwind with a few laughs after a hard days work.  I think bards usually use terms and phrases such as “Hath,” ” Doth,” ” Shalt,” “Yonder Ridge,” or “When the morrow comes.”  Seeing as how I usually have a hard time understanding these types of terms, I probably won’t use them all that often, if at all…unless of course people find it enjoyable…I may throw in random “bardisms” from time to time.
I welcome your comments and feedback, and hope you are ready for this musical bouncy ball that I call my life!
Mr. Bard/ Michael