Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Love and Gratitude

"Let that image just sink into your heart... Then open your eyes and just draw.  The magic symbol will come out by itself."  She paused, let in a deep grounding breath when I saw the light in her just 'flick' on.  A loving smile caressed her face as her eyes opened, then she started to draw.  The three of us were standing in a trailer owned by her boss, friend, and one hell of a tattoo artist.  Situated in a secret trailer park in SoCo: Austin, TX.  

Daniel was instructing us on magic symbols, and both of us were giving them a shot.  Hers though... Just 'felt' different.  She smiled again after finishing it, saying only, "Love and Gratitude" to our small gathering.  And over the following weeks, she would draw it out again and again. On desks, in her room, on the register at the bar we were playing at.  

Today's story is about a distant part of my life, and what I learned from her.

The band was an incredible part of my life, a chapter that closed back in 2010. A great time, and one that was abound with adventure.  I credit a lot of my successes here in Los Angeles with the guided teachings of her off-the-wall outside-of-the-box skill set that really allowed the band to thrive.  Was I crushed when the band and I parted ways?  Of course, but as long as you take your 'lessons learned' with you, you'll always continue to be a better version of yourself.  Right?

Life in the arts is hard.  And if you take what is a life lesson, but call it a failure, you won't get anywhere.  But take as a lesson, and there's no other place but up.  Up towards another story, another adventure.  Life keeps thriving, never ending.  Choose love always.  Be a beacon of gratitude for whatever life provides, whether it's some brief pain or a wonderful joyous night.

Out of all the lessons I learned from her, this was the most important.  The tattoo above (on a wonderful soul out in San Antonio) a symbol of just that...

With love and gratitude,

--Paul Jacob Evans

Friday, January 20, 2017

Balance of Power

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
I was out this one morning, standing in a twisting line of fellow brothers and sisters.  Standing and waiting for a chance to order my delectable soy mocha from one of the volunteers.  The civic space was alive with groups doing yoga, a stage lit up with various performers, and even a professor doing a talk about geology.  It's a wonderful place: Center Camp in Black Rock City, NV.

The line ends up being another news location itself.  It's a long twisting shape that has you constantly next to a new group of burners every 30 seconds.  Everyone talks about the night before, wonderful experiences, life changing moments, and what is THE thing that everyone just HAS to check out.  But this one day was a bit different.

There's a camp at Burning Man called "Millionaire Camp", and to say they don't quite fit into our philosophies would be a gross understatement.

Now I'm not saying the affluent can't be good BRC citizens, far from it.  Many camps exist that are very involved and live up to the 10 principles that is our mantra.  Many of these camps have (from the default world) very powerful CEOs, A-Lister celebrities, and well-known public figures.  They are a part of us, and who they are in the default world means nothing back home.  Buuuuut: Millionaire Camp is a bit different.

I was complaining with some fellow burners about this. when a girl going the opposite way, further in the line, overheard us.  What she said floored me:
"You know, if I were to punch you... You'd punch me back.  If I hugged you... You'd hug me back." -- Unknown Burner
Today's story is about that: Love and Hate.


 Here in the US, we had our inauguration that happens every four years.  And, well, everyone has an opinion about it.  Scores of protesters, many of which are my friends.  Certain news stations being touted as "fake" during press conferences.  And a level of hatred I've never seen in my lifetime.  I'm quite worried about all of this.  Specifically: ALL of the hatred from EVERYONE .
"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
There's a civic issue called escalation, and it works like this: I punch you... You kick me back... I stab you... You shoot me back... I kill you... Your family kills me back.  It runs completely out of control, and in the blink of an eye.  Dangerous?  Beyond your wildest dreams.  And it's running rampant in our country right now.  You might be asking "Well... WHAT THEN?!"  The answer is actually rather simple:
"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." -- Mother Teresa *
Ever hear "What you think about, you bring about"?  I really feel that's the truth of the universe.  I'm guilty of letting my thoughts run my reality too, but so much is at stake here now.  Throwing more hate on the fire isn't going to put it out.  Think more hate? GET more hate in return.

So before you head out to that anti-(certain person) rally or retweet that "... look how stupid [somebody specific] is" tweet, or rant about... just stop and think: What positivity could you be doing instead?  What pro-{what} could you create?  What goodness could you add back into our reality?

What LOVE could you create instead?
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." --Martin Luther King Jr.

I love you all,
--Paul Jacob Evans

* - paraphrased text, original not found