“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton
The joys of working with music and creativity. The lofty conversations about spirituality and life. The phone calls and budget sheets.
We’ve all probably become obsessed and gone too deep into one area of our lives in one way or another.
It’s all about about balance.
We need to work hard to feel useful, we need to be social to feel like we belong, we need to shut everything off and go in to our private cocoon to breathe and be quiet.
I can tell this from personal experience.
While I was producing music I went too far. I was so into the whole thing I forgot about everything else. I didn’t exercise, I didn’t eat right and I didn’t have much of a social life besides other producers and musicians which was mainly work related anyway.
When I started I weighed around 154 lbs (i’m 5ft 8). After 2 years I was at 220 lbs. And I felt like crap. No energy, no motivation, just going through the motions. The only joy I had was the music and even that had become more of a mechanical job than a passion.
People around me had said for a while that I should start taking care of myself but stubborn as I was I always said: “Yeah, I know. I’ll get around to it as soon as…”, because I knew that it wasn’t good. I knew it and didn’t do anything about it because I was so focused on my career that everything else took a backseat.
It was during this time I started feeling a new found joy in music. It was by helping people around me outside the studio with their craft. I thought that my role as a producer would be the ultimate way to do that. Now I started realizing that I could skip the mechanics of it and start helping people in another more creative way. My thought was: “Yeah, as soon as i’ve become a successful producer i’ll do this too!”.
Then my personal life and health really took a turn for the worse. Things happened one after the other and I couldn’t cope. I burnt out and my body said: “Enough”. A few of the consequences were: chronic stress, anxiety, depression, dizziness, loss of appetite, stomach problems, heart palpatations etc etc.
It wasn’t good. I had days when I barely got out of bed. I couldn’t go to the studio. I couldn’t make music. What good was I now?
This was a low point in my life. I felt both sorry for myself and angry at myself for letting things get so far out of hand.
I spent the days listening to audiobooks, playing video games and watching movies. The books and movies gave me new perspectives and I found strength in them. The video games were a way to feel like I achieved something, however little, and that I had some sort of influence and control over my surroundings.
What ultimately saved me was when people called to check up on me. We’d talk and they’d bounce musical ideas off of me and ask me for advice.
At first I didn’t even reflect on it but day by day I started feeling better. Slowly I could start working a few hours here and there. I realized that I could still be useful. I felt something that I hadn’t felt in a while, there was more to life than being in the studio.
I started taking walks every day. I thought about how I could start helping people. I thought about what I would’ve needed when I was struggling as a performer or producer. That’s when the idea formed that this must be my calling.
I lost the weight over a course of 4 months just by eating right, physical therapy and taking long walks. Today I weigh 144 lbs!
Do the things you love but don’t overdo them. Just like love it sometimes needs space to breathe and we need to miss it a little. We need other influences too so that we can grow and feed our passions.
It’s all about balance.