Why I Love Golf

There are few sports that I love more than golf. In fact, there are few anythings that I love more than golf. Whenever I am on the golf course, even if I am playing badly, I feel a powerful love for everything and everyone and have a big smile on my face that seems glued there.

I know why this is. Because out on the links, it’s just me and the ball, me and the game. Any personal struggles are left behind, all regrets, mistakes, not in the picture. Even the positive aspects of life are sitting back there, waiting for me when I walk off the 9th or 18th hole. For the next few hours, I am walking through a manicured landscape, swinging a stick and watching a ball propelling into the air and landing somewhere over there.

I don’t expect much from golf. I’d like to get the point where I can consistently hit bogie, par, and the occasional birdie. I don’t hope to some day reach a competitive level – it’s too late for that anyway. And this, I think, is the most compelling thing about golf for me. Pure enjoyment.

I’ve always been one to be a bit hard on myself. Noticing that I had some natural talents, I was never one to let myself get away with not aiming high. But somewhere along the way, something bad happened – I let this overwhelm me. I grew jaded, to the point of ignoring my God-given abilities. I compared myself to lofty “idols” or “heros” that only accentuated the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be. I became discouraged.

That never happened with golf. I never try to push myself too far beyond my current skill level, I can skip a few days and notice that I can still return to the course with the same unfettered joy and enthusiasm. Golf, for me, is a respite, a refuge. I don’t feel any cosmic responsibility to face it down.

That’s why I love golf.

The Miracle Of Honesty

Zan Perrion says, “Honesty is the greatest aphrodisiac.” While this may be rather poetic, I believe that Honesty is the secret to all successful relationships.

To be honest with another person, we first have to be honest with ourselves. What do we want? What do we need? What makes us tick? If any of those shows up in the other person, we can start to build something.

That’s the easy part. The hard part is when some things come up, either in ourselves or the other person, or both, that we might not have known were there, that we might not immediately know how to deal with.

When these things happen, that’s when Honesty is most needed. All Honesty, if it’s true, is hard, because it means risking losing trust, respect, or love. And it’s a skill – it takes practice. And it’s not always second nature – sometimes it takes a self-knowledge that can only come about over time, and through many episodes of being in the dark.

I am convinced that Honesty is the one thing that can save all relationships. If we’re OK with the potentiality of losing trust, respect, or love, we are now in a position to gain it. Our capacity for these gifts is only measured by our willingness to let them go.

So if you are uncomfortable with the way an associate is doing business, tell him so. If you don’t like the way a lover is looking at someone, tell her so. If you aren’t sure about the integrity of a friend’s values, tell him so. If you sense that a part of you could hurt someone you care about, make sure that someone knows about it. If you are being hurt, or have been in the past, don’t keep that to yourself.

Secrets are the death of all relationships. Honesty is scarce because it takes a great deal of courage. Be the odd one out!

Of Love And Bagels

One of my favorite places to go in Raleigh is New York Bagels & Deli. It’s operated by real New Yorkers who use real New York bagel-making techniques – just about as authentic as it gets. They have just about every kind of bagel and bagel formation – everything from a bagel with nova lox, egg, and onion to your classic  bagel and cream cheese – all made in-house.

I gravitate towards places like this because I love being reminded that there’s somebody out there who loves something enough to want to evangelize it. Everyone has those things that make them tick. They remind us of home, bring a much-needed sense of nostalgia. We need these things like the air we breathe.

I’ve only been in NYBD (their clever abbreviation) a couple of times, but both of those times, I was not the only one in the store. There were other bagel-craving patrons, who, like me, probably went out of their way to ingest a piece of New York, rather than go to Starbucks or Panera Bread, which might very well have been more convenient.

People will indeed travel out of their way for a commodity that has been made in love. Even if it is not widely familiar at first, Quality catches on. At first, only a few might venture in out of curiosity, or because they just happened to be in the area.

But soon, word will spread. If you bake the bagels… they will come.

A Lesson From Meg Murray


IMG source http://dannimcgriffith.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/talosian1.jpg

In Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, young Meg Murray must save her brother, Charles Wallace, from IT, a huge, menacing thing in the form of a human brain. Soon after arriving on the planet Camazotz, a rigid, formulaic place where everyone seems to be living in fear, Charles Wallace falls prey to the brainwashing of IT, becoming insolent, spiteful, and slightly sadistic. Meg finds Charles paralyzed under IT’s pulsing “heartbeat”, and as Charles begins to hurl words of discouragement at her, she suddenly realizes the one thing she has that IT does not: Love. Ultimately, it is her love that saves Charles Wallace from IT, and that reunites them both with their father and with the book’s three other protagonists, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which.

A bit fantastical, I know, but to me, not too far from reality. I believe we all have little ITs inside of us, threatening to lure us into submission at any moment. The oversized human brain in L’Engle’s story is simply a metaphor for the normal-sized one in your head and mine. Much like the all-controlling IT, and its insistent pulse, our brains are excellent at keeping up what has allowed us to survive over millions of years: efficiency, fear, and unremarkability.

I heard in a podcast not too long ago (think it was Joe Rogan’s) that we evolved to not stand out, because doing so would make us more susceptible to prey, thus killing off our chances for procreation. (You see examples of this in bugs that evolved to look like sticks or leaves, and a moth whose color matches the tree trunk it’s resting on.) To put it simply, biology would have us be completely faded into the background.

Unfortunately, the “default setting” that biology has preferred is not what’s going to allow us to thrive. Survival is attained through fitting in, and that is just perfect for creating a species. But what’s required for survival is the exact opposite of what is required to thrive. To thrive, we need to throw all that stuff out the window, because we’re not being pursued by predators anymore. At least, not the kind with sharp teeth who want to eat us for dinner.

The predators that we are faced with are of a different kind, and perhaps one of the most important ones is Stagnation. Stagnation, though, is actually not a predator to the Lizard Brain (the part of our brain that wants us to survive and not thrive), because the Lizard Brain doesn’t care if we stagnate. (Seth Godin has a lot to say about the Lizard Brain in The Icarus Deception.) But to what Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad Poor Dad calls the “human spirit”, Stagnation is perhaps the biggest predator of all.

We can take a lesson from Meg Murray. It may be a little too much to say that Love is the answer, but it’s sure apparent that if the “human spirit” has anything that the Lizard Brain does not, it’s Love. That’s because Love has nothing to do with survival. You don’t need Love to survive, you just need to not call attention to yourself – or be a faster runner than the thing that wants to eat you for dinner. But to thrive, to have an extraordinary life, or even just a good life, something else is required. Something loud, out in the open, and hard to miss. Or maybe it’s subtle.

Either way, it’s bigger than fitting in. And, much like standing out would in the jungle, not doing it will kill you in the long run.

Life On The Road!

Hello, all!

Lots of stuff going on – too much to really put into an organized blog post. Still, I’ll share a few snippets! I’ve been really excited about everything lately, partially because of all the great connections I’m making and the ways I’ve been making them. Nashville really is the right town for the right biz! And I know I used to be all negative about social media (some of you might remember a long rant I posted about social media and its throes), but I think now I’m finally starting to see the massive value in it and to enjoy learning how it works and participating!

I am actually composing this in bed. (Haha!) I have a head cold and really have nothing better to do! I’m actually, in all seriousness, recovering from the last two weeks, which really have been full of strenuous travel. But I’ve been telling myself how exhilarating it actually is and believing it too! So I really don’t mind the cold. Actually, I’m kind of enjoying resting for a couple of days before I head off to my next stint, a dueling pianos show in Indianola, IA (don’t ask me anything about the place, ha!). It IS a 10 hour drive from Nashville, so to alleviate some of the grueling hours I’ll be heading up to Louisville on Thursday to hang with some old friends and relive some times. Then, off to Iowa!

Last weekend was a fun one in Royal Oak, MI playing with Frank Turner, Ryan Miles, and a long lost dueler buddy, Katy Marquardt. She’s a very bright and talented lady based out of Chicago, Illinois. We met a few years ago at the Louisville Howl at the Moon and had seen each other a couple of times since then. It was cool to be on a gig with her at a different time and place and to see how we had both grown as entertainers. She really inspired me, as she had learned it seemed hundreds of new songs since I last saw her, and making me feel like I need to up my game! Thanks Katy!


I also met a bunch of super cool new people who I hope to consider my friends from now on! This is why I love traveling and the work I do. 🙂

Let’s see, what else… in Nashville news, met up with the great Dean Madonia last night at an awesome venue here in town called Douglas Corner. What wonderful musicians! There had been an hour set of a fantastic jazz/funk trio led by Val Lupescu (check out his stuff on SoundCloud – you’ll be glad you did), followed by an hour or two of an open jam session led by Lupescu himself. Both Dean and I sat in (here’s a pic on Instagram: http://instagram.com/p/fMLobswGgy/). Again, I was blown away by the talent on the stage and the general vibe of the room. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for somewhere cool to go on a Monday night!

Well, I suppose that’s it for now. Time to start thinking about chicken soup… As usual, thanks for reading!!





These past couple of weeks have really been eye-opening and life-changing for me… I’ve realized that really there is nothing blocking me from achieving my highest aspirations, that life is infinite, and that I have the power to be who I want to be! It’s all very liberating and awesome and I hope to share that through some new music which I’ll be recording very soon on my new upright piano! As an addendum, I wanted to add some podcast channels I’ve been listening to on my long drives that have helped pump my state even more! If you have a smart phone and don’t have the app, “Pocketcasts,” download it now. It’s only four bucks and it is so worth it, as it is chock full of podcasts from so many cool sources. Here’s the ones I’ve subscribed and been listening to:

Brent Smith Lifestyle

This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt – Hyatt is actually a Nashville cat who is super into marketing and selling yourself in a constructive way. He wrote a book, I forget the name but the subtitle is something like, “Getting Yourself Heard In A Noisy World”… I’m going to Google it and buy it and I suggest you do the same!

The Dave Ramsey Show – my chiropractor actually told me about this one, haha. Dave is cool when it comes to practically managing money (and he’s based in Nashville too, go figure).

The Good Life Project – hosted by a variety of amazing hosts, this is a must for any entrepreneur (and that’s all of us). I could give you the link but I suggest you just go Google it. Seriously, right now. Do it.

Check these out and respond with comments letting me know how/if they helped you out in any way, or if anything in this or any of my blog posts is enjoyable to you! 🙂