Why I Wish You Darkness

You thought you’d finally found your dark art.

So you took the plunge and set out to unleash it… to “do what you love,” to “follow your passion.”

But the clouds did not part.

The angels did not sing.

In fact, the way was rough, with thorns and snares and wolves snapping at your heels.

Bewildered, you stopped, boots sunk in the mud, crickets sawing in the dark, and you felt utterly, completely lost.

“Find your passion: then everything else will fall into place. The rest is just details.”

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The Hobbification Of Your Passions

One of three things happen to your creative passions once you become a time-strapped family man:

1. You let them die

2. You pursue them anyways

3. You hobbify

Option one is clearly shit and the number one reason we have an epidemic of “ghosts at the table” around the globe.

Option two is the courageous, worthwhile path. It’s what Third Way Man is all about.

And then there’s option three.

Oh, option three. You seem so wise, so practical, so grown-up.

You tell yourself you no longer have the time or freedom to “go pro” with your passions–to pursue them at the utmost level of your ability–so you decide from here on out you’ll do it “just for fun.”

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WTF Should You Care About Ground?

Most people’s wheat allergies jack their bellies.

Mine jacks my brain.

If I unwittingly ingest wheat, twelve hours later, my life is shit. That’s how it looks through the doom-tinted glasses the wheat gives me, anyways.

I didn’t realize wheat had this “emotional black hole” affect on me until just a few years ago.

Once I made the connection and quit eating it, I experienced some dramatic changes:

I became less moody.

I became less derailed by business setbacks.

I experienced fewer “dark nights of the soul.”

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The Two Freedoms

I was 24 years old, foot-loose, and fancy-free.

I had no bills, no address, no house, no family, no obligations.

I slept in the back of my 1989 Toyota 4Runner.

I had nothing to my name but that 4Runner, an apple box full of books, my Larrivée acoustic guitar, my amp, and my loop pedal.

Now, years later, with a wife, four kids, two businesses, and employees to care for, it would be easy to look back on those times and think of them wistfully as the “good old days” when I was free.

But the truth is, I wasn’t “free.”

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Your Two Blind Men

When I was 18, my dad and I naively set out to conquer Mt. Whitney all in one day.

We summited alright, but by sundown we had only made it back down to base camp… still many hours away from the parking lot.

We had no camping gear whatsoever, so overnighting it above treeline was out of the question.

Luckily, we met up with another hiker who shared our predicament… and unlike us, he had the sense to have brought a flashlight.

And so the three of us proceeded to walk off that mountain in the pitch dark, with only one flashlight to guide us.

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You And Your Wife Are Not “One”

Let me guess: you strive to be a “supportive husband.”

You listen.

You champion.

You long-suffer.

You pick your battles VERY carefully, convinced that every kind action is a “deposit” in her emotional bank account, and every argument a “withdrawal.”

I call this the position of over-solidarity.

In other words, a position of peace at any cost with your wife.

Two bad things happen when you adopt the position of over-solidarity:

1. You grow shitty.

A husband’s calling is not to appease his woman. It’s to love her (and she him) into a higher plane of existence.

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Magic With Strangers

You’re paying for milk.

The cashier says “how are you.”

You mumble “fine thanks” and wait, slack-faced, to swipe your credit card.

Then, milk in bag, you hurry back to your car and back to your real life as soon as possible.

With family, with friends, you are the real you.

But with everyone else… with that sea of clerks, cashiers, tellers, operators, receptionists, and waiters, you are the robotic consumer.

The cog in the machine.

Just another blank-faced man perpetuating the dehumanization of commercial life.

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Nobody Cares

The bathroom in our old farmhouse in BC had this funky window that was way too low.

Every-time I took a piss I was uneasy. That road on the other side of our neighbor’s property… could people driving by look through the window and see my junk? I couldn’t tell.

So for two years, I had this little flash of anxiety every time I pissed in that toilet.

Then one day I was taking a walk on that road and thought to look across our neighbor’s yard to see if I was in fact exposing myself for all to see whenever I bled the lizard.

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CREATE OR DIE

When I wrote my first shitty ad in my twenties, I was a mess.

I was an “Artist” playing at being an “Entrepreneur.”

In my mind, those worlds were oil and water.

I felt like I was going to split in half.

But what I discovered, and what I’m going to share with you here today, is that the divide between artist and entrepreneur, between “high” and “low” art, between “authentic” and “sell out” is an illusion.

It’s a mindfuck. The residue of archaic either/or constructs society excretes into our brains.

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The Fish And The Glass

A group of scientists divided a pond in half with a pane of glass.

Then they filled both sides of the pond with fish.

For the first few days, fish on both sides bumped into the pane of glass constantly.

In time, the fish learned that the pane was impassable, and avoided it entirely.

Then the scientists removed the pane of glass.

The fish were now free to swim the entire length of the pond.

But none of them did.

They had learned their lesson too well.

Those fish grew old and died, never knowing that the barrier they based their lives around had been removed years ago.

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