ERIC'S BLOG

To Have Faith 

To have faith one must have vision of the future and knowledge of the past. 

To better reduce one's anxiety about today's circumstances one simply can look to previous relatable circumstances. 

Whether you look at the Spanish Flu which took out 50 million people or to the Great Depression that brought the US economy to its knees a lot can be learned from these catastrophic events. 

To look to such events is to understand the future. When we see the outcomes of these events we see how humanity afterwards learned and grew by great leaps and bounds. 

And though we will all suffer in this great tragedy. To see what is to come after this cataclysmic event is to have vision and understanding. 

In all great suffering comes great learning. 

Be patient. Be kind to one another. Have faith. And see the end in the beginning.

Integration and Disintegration 

In nature and throughout the universe things are either in a state of integration or disintegration. Things are either growing or dying. And as humans we can choose which side we want to be on. We can choose the stagnant safety of status quo or we can choose to renew our lives with the fresh breezes of a new worldview and paradigm shift.

If you ever had a book that you never gave yourself permission to finish, or a musical that you've put off because it wasn't "practical" or an idea to create a business that you know would revolutionize the world then what are you waiting for?

Between integration or disintegration what will you choose?

True Nobility 

“Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy; but if one will be happy and contented in the time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of nobility.” - 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Food For Thought 

Back during World War II, Poland was forced to eat more of a plant-based diet. None of the meats and heavy foods that they usually ate were available in such an impoverished time. Consequently, their rates of cancer were drastically reduced to almost nothing during those years. When the war was over they went back to their previous ways of eating and the cancer rates increased. 

When my wife went to the grocery store today she saw that a lot of the food was gone but what was left was all the produce. Tons of it, in fact. Interesting what turn of events are happening right now. It seems we're headed more and more in the direction to eat a plant-based diet as it could very well be the only option.

As for us, we've been cooking every day and getting really creative with plant-based recipes. Not that we're against eating meat. We're just not eating as much of it. But what we have noticed is an increase in our energy and vitality as our paradigm is gradually shifting.
 

We Are All Created Noble 

You can get caught up in all the news. Or the buzz feeds on your Facebook. It's always the loudest, the angriest and the most radical person who gets our attention. But then what? Now they have us terrified and too scared to do anything. It produces nothing. 

But we still have a choice. We can choose to stand for something. We can choose to create something great in this time. We're not without options. 

We can choose to watch the news for 5 minutes and then get off. It's a scam. It won't empower you to do a thing but stay scared, hooked and push their ratings up. 

We were all created noble. Now is the time to bring out those deep seeded gems out of the mine of our souls. 

If not now, then when?

A Moving Quote 

Sometimes all is needed is a relevant and moving quote:

"However difficult matters are at present, and however 

close to the limits of their endurance some sections of societies are brought, humanity will 

ultimately pass through this ordeal, and it will emerge on the other side with greater insight and 

with a deeper appreciation of its inherent oneness and interdependence." 

- The Universal House of Justice

The End In The Beginning 

(WARNING! LONG POST)

One of my favorite stories of all time goes like this...

"There was once a lover who had sighed for long years in separation from his beloved, and wasted in the fire of remoteness. From the rule of love, his heart was empty of patience, and his body weary of his spirit; he reckoned life without her as a mockery, and time consumed him away. How many a day he found no rest in longing for her; how many a night the pain of her kept him from sleep; his body was worn to a sigh, his heart’s wound had turned him to a cry of sorrow. He had given a thousand lives for one taste of the cup of her presence, but it availed him not. The doctors knew no cure for him, and companions avoided his company; yea, physicians have no medicine for one sick of love, unless the favor of the beloved one deliver him. 

At last, the tree of his longing yielded the fruit of despair, and the fire of his hope fell to ashes. Then one night he could live no more, and he went out of his house and made for the marketplace. On a sudden, a watchman followed after him. He broke into a run, with the watchman following; then other watchmen came together, and barred every passage to the weary one. And the wretched one cried from his heart, and ran here and there, and moaned to himself: 'Surely this watchman is my angel of death, following so fast upon me; or he is a tyrant of men, seeking to harm me.' His feet carried him on, the one bleeding with the arrow of love, and his heart lamented. Then he came to a garden wall, and with untold pain he scaled it, for it proved very high; and forgetting his life, he threw himself down to the garden. 

And there he beheld his beloved with a lamp in her hand, searching for a ring she had lost. When the heart-surrendered lover looked on his ravishing love, he drew a great breath and raised up his hands crying: 'Give glory to the watchman, and riches and long life. For the watchman was guiding this poor one bringing life to this wretched one!'

Indeed, his words were true, for he had found many a secret justice in this seeming tyranny of the watchman, and seen how many a mercy lay hid behind the veil.

Now if the lover could have looked ahead, he would have blessed the watchman at the start ...and he would have seen that tyranny as justice; but since the end was veiled to him, he moaned and made his plaint in the beginning." (Original source found in the Baha'i writings)

The "seeming tyranny" of the Coronavirus and the plunging economy are the "Watchmen" in our current stories. But there is always an end. And there are always hidden gifts in these chaotic tempests. Look beyond the viruses and the economic downfalls and see the end in the beginning. If you cast your gaze far you will find a gem waiting just over the horizon. 

When Is Enough...Enough? 

Long before the Coronavirus and people's rush to nab up as much toilet paper as possible we've been hoarding stuff. This is nothing new. 

There are close to 50,000 self-storage units in the US alone. That's a lot of space just to hoard stuff.

A 4th of the space of our houses are dedicated just so our cars won't get wet. Or the garage is used to store more stuff.

Got an extra room? No problem. Put some stuff in there. 

I even saw a couple who bought a separate house just to house their doll collection. (Insert shock emoji)

With countries becoming more and more wealthy the drive to buy more stuff becomes the next thing people do with their extra income. And it seems rarely are the questions asked

"Do I have enough?" 

and

"Is there someone that maybe doesn't have enough?" 

When income is threatened then our the immediate instinct is to make sure we're safe by having shelter, food, water and supplies.

After that it's to sell off the stuff we never use so we have more cash. (Ironic since we never used the stuff before anyway.)

The next thing that happens is that once we all see we're in this together and that no one has enough then (and this is not a straight line) you'll start to see small pockets of communities, your neighbors, your friends, your family, etc. come together and ask "Do you have enough?"

But, this can and will only happen if everyone learns the necessary lesson that we're all affected by this and the only solution to this problem can only be a collective one. 

Instead of waiting for it to get to that point how about we all start asking now "How can we help everyone have enough?"

As the legendary and insightful George Carlin once said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

The Deathbed Review  

Old people who are dying on their deathbeds have two advantages:

1. They know with certainty that they're going to die very soon.

2. They have the opportunity to stop and reflect back on their lives and ask the question "Did I live a good life?"

With the appearance of the Coronavirus the entire global community immeshed with the fear of dying. And if that wasn't enough then the oncoming recession will compound that fear. 

But what if we took stock of our lives now instead of waiting for our deathbeds?  What if we asked the question now "Am I living a good life?" Or am I living a life that's just getting by? Am I just trying to survive each day until I get out of this meat sack?

We have one benefit people on their deathbeds don't. It's that the chances of us actually dying right now are statistically very low. 

So if instead of reacting to this new virus how about we rather bring ourselves to account now? And try to make today better than the yesterday.

This is an amazing opportunity for us all. Because from this point forward the status quo is over. How will we transform our lives and the lives around us?

Yes, death has an influence that no boss or cultural pressure or status quo can ever have. Death can free us to stop doing what we think is important for what's really most important.

If you can't imagine yourself laying on your deathbed as an old person saying the words "I've lived a good life" then this is the time to reevaluate what you're doing and make a change. 

Never in the history of humanity has there ever been a better time to make things better.

 



 

To Play For Free or Not For Free 

In the course of your career as a musician or artist or any sort of freelancer you will be asked to provide your services for free. And it almost always comes in the form of "exposure". The question is do you take the gig or not?

A lot of my musician friends will say "Never work for free". And on the surface I agree with that statement. But only because there really is no such thing as "free".

Even if you don't get paid for a gig then there's still an exchange of something. That something usually comes in the form of exposure or experience. Knowing these 4 categories and where you're at in your career can help you decide whether or not to take that "free" gig.

Are you:

1. An experienced musician with a large fan base and good income?

2. An experienced musician with a large fan base but low income?

3. An inexperienced musician with no fan base but have a trust fund? (I can't see how inexperience and large fan base could go together)

4. An inexperienced musician with no fan base and little or no income?

For number 1: There's really not a lot of incentive to perform for free here unless the exchange is exposure in the form of playing at the SuperBowl. (The Superbowl doesn't pay their musicians because they offer such massive exposure. Of course if you are big enough to play the Super Bowl do you really need the exposure?)

For number: 2: If you already have a large fan base then exposure, again, doesn't mean a lot and you don't really need the experience.

For number 3: You may not need the money but you could surely use the experience and possibly get a fan or twelve from the gig. Go for it!

For number 4: You need everything so say yes to every gig at this stage.

 
Of course, there's a 5th category which is the service gig. It's where you offer your performance in the name of service with no strings attached or want for anything in return. To a lot of my spiritually-minded musicians be mindful with this category as it can kill a career if not balanced right. 

In the end, it really depends on where you're at and what the exchange is. In any given interaction between yourself and a client there's always the question to ask "Is this worth it?" And again, here, "worth" can mean many things. So be clear on your current definition of "worth" at the stage you're at in your career.