If I were you, I would love

“If I were you, I would love…” was a refrigerator magnet that I picked up from Lee Coulter the first time I met him. He was kind enough to play a gig at a little pop-up shop I had many years ago. I just remember song after song, how the lyrics were so profound and necessary and how they resonated with me deeply.

Years later, as I find myself launching my next project, I was reminded of Lee’s words that help communicate what often we can’t or don’t. It’s about human connection and how that separates us from the rest of the matter in the universe.

Lee shared some answers to questions that I had asked him with me. I remember reading them thinking, “Some of these answers could be carbon copies to what I would have said.” Only his were better. In the Q&A, he speaks about how he sees the potential in humanity but feels bad and frustrated about the way things are. He just wants to make himself and others feel and think better. He continues with why he does what he does because he has seen enough negativity and hurt in this world and he wants to be the opposite. There are two ways to live and one feels better.

As I continued reading, it was evident that there was a real synergistic bond between Lee’s perspective and what we at HAYL are trying to accomplish. Live with our eyes open, acknowledge our fears and insecurities and don’t allow them to dictate who we are or how we act. Everyone has the capacity to be kind and loving, so feed that. Encourage others to live fully through self-reflection, compassion and acceptance.

At the end of the day, it’s about you. You have so much to offer yourself and the world. It’s time to look inward. You can change the narrative and live from the inside out! How Are You Living?

Q&A:

1)     Have you always lived from the inside out?

If living from the inside out means wearing your heart on your sleeve and doing everything that you want, no.  A lot of what I create is because I see the potential for humanity and feel bad or frustrated about things and I want to make myself and others feel better and think better. I believe in lifting each other up, so I try not to live in the fear and insecurity that I can have on the inside as it can come across negatively if shown outwardly. If you’re talking about chasing dreams, yes, I was lucky to have enough privilege in my life that gave me the delusion necessary to be more confident than my abilities should have allowed me to be. And that helped me never give up. And here I am, playing music full-time for over a decade. I wish such positive delusion upon everybody.

2)     When do you feel like you really tuned in to your gifts?

There’s been a few times where I’ve helped budding songwriters understand various ways to approach a song. That’s when I become most aware of how much I’ve learned and honed over the years.

3)     What resources do you lean on when you are looking for inspiration or support?

I don’t think I really seek out either, but I feel grateful when either come along. I’ve learned that inspiration comes and goes with my creativity and it’s more about giving yourself the space and time and letting go of self-doubt or perfection than it is about inspiration. I am inspired to be better at business by the desire to provide a decent life for my son. Support comes the more I create. I try to show gratitude to anyone who supports me and make them feel like a part of what I’m doing because they make it possible.

4)     What is your secret for being such a force of good?

I wouldn’t claim to be such a force. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time. But what I strive for is because I’ve seen and felt enough negativity and hurt in the world and I want to be the opposite as much as possible. Simple as that. There’s two ways to live your life and one feels better to me.

5)     What are you most proud of?

Being a father to a curious, empathetic, joyful son.

6)     If you could share a piece of advice with someone – anyone – what would you share?

Get to know your fears. Like, go really deep. Acknowledge why you have them. Then learn to let go of them or at least work around them. Maybe they’ll stay. Maybe they’ll go. But either way, until you know them, you have no chance of living fully.

7)     What’s your favorite song?

Impossible question. It could be one that triggers nostalgia from my childhood. It could be one that I’m blasting in the car as I’m on a road trip. It could be the one that I feel really good about as I’m writing it. Music is all about the moments, so it changes as moments do. If I had to go specific, I’d say Paul Simon probably wrote it.

8)     What’s your favorite thing about life?

Being aware of the privilege of it all.

9)     What do you do for fun?

Play in the ocean. Goof off and be obnoxious at game night with friends. Edit videos. Eat something super tasty. Netflix and chill.

10)  What’s your favorite food?

Photo finish between pizza and Thai food.

11)  Who inspires you?

Humans. What I’ve learned is that everyone has that capacity to be great or show an act of kindness or selflessness. Some have honed it and I’m definitely in awe of great humanitarians and artists. But I do what I do because I have seen the humanity in everyone I’ve met and that’s what I’m inspired to amplify in my art.

12)  What is most important to you right now?

Joy, not living in fear and encouraging others to join me in that space. I believe that negativity is much more contagious than positivity. If it weren’t, “better safe than sorry” wouldn’t be a thing. So it is important to me to share and live a message that says, “Don’t let the virus of fear and negativity win.” Be joyful, be compassionate, especially if you are coming from a place of privilege — even if it can be scary. We have no choice but to live on this rock together. Let’s do it with joy and not fear.