Letting go, holding on

One of my girlfriends posted a question on her Facebook page asking about favorite quotes. Call it the bloggy-writer-poet-romantic-dreamer in me, but I do love me some killer dialogue – especially ones that leave an indelible mark.

I don’t remember when I first came across the one I shared  – one of my all time faves – but there was no question this quote was my choice:

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Henry Ellis

If you follow my Twitter feed, you’ve heard my running joke – the devil and angel on my shoulders always have three-ways with my voice of reason. What usually breaks up these tumultuous trysts are moments when I come up for air, realizing I’m once again, making the same choices that cause me to take two steps behind when I should be trying to evolve in a forward, positive motion. Breaking rules instead of blazing my trail and writing my own. So I dust off my ass, kick experience and memory to the curb and press ahead.

The good thing about tomorrow – it’s always a clean slate.

I don’t care if the blood pumping through your veins is the oil straight from a Normal Rockwell painting – living inside every one of us is our very own saboteur – and they’re always down to party.

Careers, relationships, even emotional baggage that weighs us down; we know we should be letting go, but our fear of the unknown serve as cinderblocks, pulling us deeper into a sea of regret and longing.

So what do we let go of, hang on to, and how the hell do we know when to turn the page? It’s easy to look at anyone else’s world and offer up the typical advice. Let go of the bad, hang on to the good; but reality isn’t a twenty-two minute sit-com where resolutions are made and all is tied up in a bow as the credits roll.

Sometimes shit is so simple, we try to find ways to fuck them up.

We stay in relationships we know are toxic. We talk ourselves out of a career move because we listen to our fear. We hold back – hanging on – even with bloody fingers, because the only thing scarier than staying with the darkness, is free-falling into the unknown.

If only we had a guarantee that what we’re falling into is better than where we are now; but when has life ever been easy?

What I’ve come to realize lately is that even if what lies ahead isn’t what I hoped for and takes me farther away from my dreams – it’s always better than holding on to something that keeps me from going after them.

Moving forward into the unknown will always trump staying where you aren’t happy. Yes, there are no guarantees that what lies ahead will serve our soul – but the fact we have the courage to keep trying is a helluva great start.

Christine Macdonald

Artifact: a music lover’s review

ar·ti·fact

      noun \ˈär-ti-ˌfakt\

     : a simple object (such as a tool or weapon) that was made by people in the past

     : an accidental effect that causes incorrect results

 

This article isn’t coming from a cubicle nestled in a concrete jungle of Corporate America. There are no supervisory editors in suits to edit my brain, and the only payment I’ll receive from this piece is personal satisfaction that because I’m putting it out in the universe, my voice is being heard.

But here I sit. In my 700 square-foot apartment in Costa Mesa, worlds away from the rock and roll underbelly of Los Angeles, curled up with my coffee and determination. I’m eager to pour my thoughts on the page for no other reason than palpable inspiration, born on the heels of watching such an epic documentary, driving me to do so.

My introduction to Bartholomew Cubbins (30 Second’s front man, Jared Leto’s directorial alias) was delivered via ARTIFACT – his sweat and tears, pumped through his veins with an infectious passion, far beyond the comprehension of the corporate dudes behind their lawsuit.

Just minutes in, I snagged the remote and hit rewind. I needed to watch what little I saw again. The beginning of the film introduces us to various artists talking about what music means to them – how we as human beings cannot live without it.

I connected with each industry insider interviewed (including one with neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music), but it was musician Kenna’s piece that induced a familiar tickle in my nose, coupled with watery eyes, which were quickly wiped from the curve of my smile.

“A song has a story in it, there’s a heart behind it, there’s a frequency within it and you as a person delivered it, and that’s why people care. Music is the most powerful vehicle in the world. Period.”

I’m not a musician. And before ARTIFACT, I didn’t know the first thing about the industry’s convoluted relationship between artists and labels. Who I am, is simply a [music] fan. I’m a singular drop in a vast ocean of music lovers who marvel at the magic; how an artist delivers (within the space of only a certain amount of notes) continual creations of infinite melodies weaved throughout original lyrics, which solidifies our passion and moves us beyond compare. Again. And again. And again.

If you’re expecting a narcissistic, self-indulgent, “look at us, we’re rock stars, here’s how we roll” type of film, ARTIFACT ‘aint it.

This documentary views like a cinematic dream – or rather – dream come true – for the three men who make up 30 Seconds to Mars (Jared Leto (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards), Shannon Leto (drums, percussion) and Tomo Miličević (lead guitar, bass, strings, keyboards, other instruments). Leto is the first to admit, their band’s record-breaking success wasn’t expected in their wildest dreams, and we believe him. Not because his breathtaking looks and disarming prose lure us in; but because we learn early on in the film that Leto and his band mates are simply asking for what is fair. We learn that like most things in life – even when our dreams are realized, there’s always shit hitting the proverbial fan. And in the case of EMI versus 30 Seconds to Mars, that’s a thirty million dollar clean up.

Adding to the meat of this 100-minute ride is a visual feast I didn’t see coming. Leto’s directorial eye is born for cinematic artistry. We’ve seen his signature talent several times in his self-directed music videos (my faves are Up in the Air and his most recent, City of Angels), and ARTIFACT is no exception.

This is a feel-good movie – after it pisses you off – but in the end, you’re left with a fire inside your belly that will inspire you to kick ass and draw your sword with whatever shit comes your way. And with This is War in your corner, you’ve got a killer soundtrack for the fight.

Official Trailer:

Christine Macdonald

Good News Tuesday: ‘Tis the season

Ah. GOOD NEWS. It’s out there. Harder to find than the heartbreaking stories that seem to blanket our media streams? Yes. But don’t give up. There is a lot of GOOD NEWS in this world. Even if we do have to dig a little deeper to find it.

Every once in a while, I’ll highlight an article I find that focuses on GOOD NEWS. This column is called Good News Tuesday.

Please spread the word.

Today’s entry comes to us from the viral interwebs – particularly Ralphie Aversa of Yahoo News.

If you haven’t seen this video yet, prepare to get all goose-bumpy and teary-eyed.

Ralphie reports:

The Canadian company WestJet has many believing in Christmas miracles after a video showcasing the airline’s generosity (and marketing savvy) went viral. In the five-and-a-half-minute piece, “Virtual Santa” asked unsuspecting Calgary-bound passengers what they would like for Christmas. The customers then boarded their flights from Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario

According to WestJet’s blog, a group of 175 volunteers helped grant more than 250 guests their Christmas wishes. “Santa’s helpers” scrambled to Best Buy, local malls, and department stores to purchase everything from socks and underwear to a flat-screen TV.

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Nice going, Canada. This totally makes up for The Beibs.  

*Good News Tuesday