Sapiens, Yoga, Women & Guitars…

Today was an awesome day. Every day for me is an awesome day really. I’m into the whole “your life is what you constantly think and say it is” ethos; The Law Of Attraction; Positive Mental Attitude etc. All of that is right up my street and it’s how I endeavour to attack every day in life. You might think that it’s all New-Age mumbo jumbo, and I get that. But today… today I got to see that mumbo jumbo in action and I also now get to try and show any unsuspecting naysayers how it actually works. Thanks be to WordPress and the internet for providing a venue where even my insanity can be wielded like a fluffy weapon of mass destruction. *i’ll have a laughy emoji please, Bob.*

So today I started with a morning workout that made my shoulders cry, followed by a few rounds of sauna and ice shower that made me glad to be alive. The sauna was where the good stuff happened though. Picture the scene… two sweaty men in towels, sitting across from each other, their eyes meet… and they have a conversation. Jeez I started to wonder where this blog was going myself there for a second. Anyway, back to what was so good about having a conversation with another sweaty dude in the sauna. You see I like to connect with people and chat to anyone who isn’t afraid of tattoos, mowhawks and such like. Life is great when you see everyone as someone worth talking to instead of someone to mistrust or be wary of. Believe me when I tell you that I have more reason than most to be wary and distrustful of my fellow sapiens but I also know how letting your true nature be drowned out by mistrust and wariness can be a worse fate than any other sapiens could ever serve you up. A self made prison is the hardest to escape…

Anyways, the guy is the Gym Yoga instructor. Tadahhhhh! So we got chatting and I told him how frustrated I am at my attempts to stick to yoga classes and how I long to go to India for a year to study with real Yogis and learn the true, spiritual art of yoga… and come home and do yoga like a boss. He responded by saying he studied Yoga in India and also that he knew what I meant about frustration as he’s always wanted to play the guitar but never sticks to it and gets frustrated at his inability to make it sound good. I told him I was a guitarist and that even though I played professionally now at 43 years old I still get bouts of 15 year old rage and angst at my inability to rip out some licks and grooves when I’m learning something new or breaking in a new guitar. We resolved that there was true wisdom indeed in the sentiment that “as long as you’re playing you’ll always be learning”. I told him how my daughter was teaching herself piano and that she now wanted a guitar to play and master. I told him how I spent 3 hours the previous day playing a simple lick over and over again, with a new guitar, trying to find all the sweet spots on the guitar so I would know where to go when I wanted to make it scream, squeal, weep, or wail. I’m getting all emotional just thinking about it.

You see guitars are like women… and I say that with the utmost reverence and respect imaginable. The only thing that could possibly get me more excited than a curvy, beautiful guitar is a curvy beautiful woman. Thankfully I have a curvy beautiful woman upstairs in bed… watching The Great British Bake-Off… in her granny pjs, drinking wine and eating crisps… because, you know, we’re married, and all that red-hot stuff dies down into a long lasting love etc etc *boke emoji! Calling boke emoji!* Your life is what you constantly think and say it is eh? Well no matter how many times I run about saying “my life is just sex and birthday cake all day long” it doesn’t happen… although I do have a red hot curvy blonde in my bed watching cakes being baked. Hmmm… maybe I’m almost there with this manifestation thing and I just have some kinks to iron out. I’ll keep you all posted on that front. My wife is so gonna kill me if she ever stops drinking wine, watching cooking programmes, and starts reading my Blog…

That’s the only advantage the guitar has over a woman – the guitar’s always ready for whatever you have to throw at it. Yuk! That sounds disgusting I know but I feel like I’m on some sort of a roll and whether it’s a roll into oblivion or a roll into an epiphany I’m just gonna roll and enjoy the ride. Here’s where the main similarity is with my two favourite curved creations – just like every guitar is different so is every woman different. For instance I’ve never understood the guys who can go out and gig with a different guitar every night. I’m a one guitar kinda guy and for good reason. I need to know that every night in life I can access all the sweet spots and angry spots on that guitar within a millisecond of thinking of the sound I want to make. I need the reassurance that this guitar has always knocked it out of the park for me and I therefore have no reason to get jittery or doubtful when I go to find that note, or that sound. In my job as a guitarist where I have other people depending on me to deliver the goods I ain’t gonna leave anything to chance.

I suppose it’s like the 15 year old who dreams of having access to any guitar under the sun. Yeah, I was that kid. Or maybe it’s like the 15 year old who dreams of spending a year at the playboy mansion with a different playmate keeping him company every night. Yeah, I was that 15 year old too. I’m still that 15 year old… yeah, I can see another divorce heading my way if I keep rolling here. Better pull the cord…

The truth is I know that the allure of a different guitar at every gig, and the allure of a different playmate every night in life is an empty allure. It is a fine dream by all accounts. Phew. Yes sir it surely is a fine dream but let me put it to you like this: you’re out on a hot date, and you think “yeah, I’m gonna rock her world tonight. Oh yeah, I’m gonna pull out all my moves and rock her world.” That’s a fine pipe dream and I admire your suave and your confidence sir, but here’s problem number 1: Not everybody likes the same ice cream. What if you’re serving up Strawberry Surprise and the hot date (who’s world you’re gonna rock, and who you barely know a thing about) is more into lactose free sorbet? (The self control it took not to use banana flavoured ice cream or some reference to sprinkled nuts was other worldly…)

Anyhow, here’s the blunt truth: not everyone likes to be spanked with a rubber chicken. We all got different tastes. We all respond to different approaches and different perspectives in every aspect of our lives. Thinking you’re gonna rock someone’s world (whom you barely even know) is like thinking you’re gonna pick up Jimi Hendrix’s guitar and play like He played. Add to that the most important fact of all which is that it takes two people to “rock a world” and you have the empty allure in all it’s glory.

If I walk onstage with a new guitar that I haven’t bonded with, and expect to play exactly the way I played with the last guitar I gigged with then I am a cocky mofo doomed to failure. Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail. Great guitar playing for me comes from spending hours, days, weeks, months, and years with the guitar, getting to know all those lovely quirks and sweet spots. Knowing that the chip on the headstock is from the gig where you fell off the stage. Knowing that the dull parts on the scratchplate are from when you played so hard your knuckles bled all over the pearly white plate and you were so proud you didn’t have the heart to wash it off. It’s knowing that your Dad bought you the guitar on one of the greatest days of your life. Even 25 years later it’s still one of the greatest days of your life. It’s knowing that the guitar feels comfortable at all times but never boring. That for me is worth more than all the guitars the planet has to offer me. My good buddy once asked me on the way home from a gig “what gear would you buy if money was no object?”, and my reply, without thinking about it, was “I couldn’t be happier than I am now with what I have. I love my rig.” It was a beautiful moment for me, the guy who used to obsess over gear to try and fill the emptiness and mask the depression that was bubbling away underneath. A truly beautiful moment.

I’ve kinda went off topic. What was I talking about? Ah yes, the sweaty encounter in the sauna. My new buddy, the Yoga instructor, said “I’ll make you a deal. You teach me guitar and I’ll teach you Yoga.” That just sent me to the moon! Finally, I get someone who learned his craft at the feet of a Yogi in India and who understands the spiritual side of it along with the physical side, offering to teach me Yoga in exchange for me teaching him how to play the guitar. I definitely got the good part of the deal there. Guitar lessons from me are going to be constant comparisons and parables about how the guitar is like a beautiful woman. You see I don’t know any real music theory. I just somehow know how to get a half decent sound out of a guitar. I’ve spent a lot of time with it and I’ve spent a lot of time getting comfortable with it. The bonus is that while I get to learn Yoga I also get to watch someone learn guitar and I get to go and prepare lesson plans and learn more about the guitar while I teach this poor unsuspecting Yoga instructor. I’ll be expecting him to teach me super cool moves within weeks but I won’t let him even hold a guitar till week 6. Kinda like Phoebe teaching Joey. The truth is I’ll want to be a better guitarist just so I can be a better teacher. The truth is I will be learning yet again. The wise man knows that there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers…

I recently read a fantastic book called Sapiens by an author named Dr Yuval Noah Harari. An incredible read by all accounts. It’s a history of the world in a book that you just cannot put down once you start reading it. In the book he writes about the illusion of money and the birth of currency. He writes how we used to survive on a system of trading our skills for food and vice versa. For instance the farmer would pay the blacksmith with yield from his crops. Money was not needed. Every man had a skill that saw his needs met. Today was a thrill for me to experience a transaction of that simplicity. A transaction of skills with no money needed. Today I felt like a human who had something better to offer than a paper illusion. Today I felt like I connected with another human. Today my philosophy proved itself to be a good philosophy. Your life is what you constantly think and say it is. You see although I have had a frustrated relationship with Yoga thus far, I never remained on that thought. I always went to the thought that screamed “one day I will learn Yoga properly and it will enrich my life.” Today was an awesome day.

Back to Women vs Guitars. If you want to rock a woman’s world then spend the time getting to know her. Minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years… whatever it takes. Don’t buy into the empty allure. Don’t buy into your own ego. Learn to love yourself, then fall in love with someone else, figure out what rocks her world, throw your agenda out the window, and never stop learning. As for me I’m just happy that I can sit in peace writing while my beautiful wife is distracted by crisps, wine, and cooking programmes. When I crawl into bed all frisky she’ll laugh as if to say “Forget it dumbass. You still haven’t figured out how to rock my world” and I’ll respond with a laugh that says “I’ll never stop trying.” Phew, that last line should get me off the hook…

As for the rubber chicken – do not ask. I refuse to answer questions relating to where I stand on rubber chicken spankings.

Namaste…

… and if you’re up for a challenge wear a pair of odd socks to work tomorrow. Try it, I dare you, I double dare you. Try it and tell me it didn’t make you feel like you were just a tad bulletproof to whatever silliness everyone around you was stressing about.

Oh and just in case this is being read by a host of beautiful Playboy Playmates, I am totally willing to spend a year proving that the empty allure is not as much fun as everyone thinks it is. I will take one for the team for sure, all in the name of balance, science and enlightenment. *ah, my old friend the coy, boyish, cheeky faced emoji*

Dedicated to Hugh Heffner, a man who had a vision and made it happen. A man who was much more than the avatar he created. A man who made his own rules and manifested his thoughts into reality. You gotta give him that. May he rest in peace…

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