Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Passion Party #243 - The Right Seat On The Bus

At some point in my life I realized
the purpose of my early jobs
was to teach me what I didn't want to do.
It took years of experiencing
different parts of the music business
and sales jobs
and the financial services industry
for me to settle into the lending business.

But getting on the right bus is only the first part.
Then the thing is
to make sure you are on the right SEAT on the bus.
And then -
DO I really want to be on THIS bus?
Or would I rather be on a different bus going to the same destination?
When I find my "right seat", and someone else is already sitting in it,
should I settle for a different seat
or instead, drive my own bus?
Maybe a smaller, more efficient model?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Passion Party #242 - Markers

I remember so clearly
when my distant Aunt came up to me
at my Bar Mitzvah and said,
"Congratulations - and I can't wait to come to your wedding."

We place these markers in our life
different ones for different cultures
but the themes are the same:
- Birth
- Coming of age (whether it is 13 or 15 or whenever)
- Moving out of the parent's house
- Marriage
- Having a child
- Retirement
- Death

These markers help us grab on to what we have
and what we are letting go of
They help us mark the passage of time
Time that tends to slip away
turn into a blur if we don't focus on it now and then.

As we touch these markers
we feel unique
having made it to a new time and place
and if we have been lucky
we look back in joy
and look forward in anticipation.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Passion Party #241 - The Muse In Music

Although in Greek mythology there are nine Muses, according to Pausanias (a Greek author and architect in the later second century AD), there were three original Muses: Aoidē ("song" or "voice"), Meletē ("practice" or "occasion"), and Mnēmē ("memory").

These three elements are the foundation of Music.

Music is, in some ways, the purest art
and the least easy to value.
It exists only in space,
in the distance between two points in time
You cannot frame it
or put it on a pedestal to admire it.

Perhaps this is my Muse -
to share with others,
for an evening or a day
my voice, my practice, my memory
the joy of music making.
To give that generous gift
and then it is gone.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Passion Party #240 - What Isn't Working?

Life is frustrating right now.
There is so much trouble in the world
News is bad
The world is broke.
Business feels like it is a Race To The Bottom
Products keep getting cheaper, not better
and we gather together
at the edge of our landfill
to throw out all our stuff
because things are just not worth fixing.

Today I do not need to fix the world
I just need to fix what is in front of me.
What isn't working?
Why isn't it working?
Is it worth fixing?
What can I do to "re-frame" the problem?
Is it something I can have control over?
If so, I will work on that part of the problem.
Otherwise, it is
just more idle chatter
more noise in a noisy world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Passion Party #239 - Life Is Like a Combination Lock

One of the first motivational speakers I met
was a man named Brian Tracy.
Thirty years ago when I went to one of his seminars I discovered he was unlike other sales trainers.
Brian taught about living a fulfilling life,
not just getting to "the close".

Brian is now showing a new level of courage. Having been diagnosed with throat cancer, he has canceled his engagements until September while he goes through treatment, but is continuing to share updates about his health on his blog

Today I thought about one of my favorite quotes from Brian,
"Life is like a combination lock;
your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can have anything you want."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Passion Party #238 - The Dance Of Life

The other week we saw the Merce Cunningham Dance Company
perform "Roaratorium", an hour long work
inspired by James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake"
with a sound collage by John Cage.

It was an hour of pure movement
not unstructured but not totally pre-arranged
the disconnect between the movement and the "music"
unnerving at times,
and so surprising the couple of times when the dance steps and the Irish music actually lined up in sync...

There was a joy, a freedom,
a freedom created out of practice and training
beautiful to watch
astounding in its coming together,
the solo dances, the pas de deux, the ensemble movements

The journey lasted until the music ran out
until the dancers moved the stools from one side of the stage to the other

It is this journey, between what you once were
and what you are becoming -
this is where the dance of life really takes place

Friday, June 18, 2010

Passion Party #237 - Recipe For a Great Day

- Networking meeting
- Office work
- Music practice
- Cook dinner of:
- Seared Yellow Fin Tuna
- Baby Bok Choy and Mushrooms
- Brown Rice
- Watch Lakers beat the Celtics

Mix equal amounts over a 12-hour time span.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Passion Party #236 - Be Interested, and Interesting

I spend a lot of time meeting people
attending breakfasts and lunches and get-togethers
with the goal of becoming
a person that someone knows,
instead of just another "mortgage guy".
It is not a matter of telling people who I am
it is a matter of listening to who they are.
Being interested in their story
Truly Interested.
Some people do not want to share their story
they just want to do a deal.
These are the ones I need to be afraid of.

It is not about selling
it is about being authentic
If I can engage with the person
be interested, and interesting,
that is when the connection starts
and the business will follow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Passion Party #235 - Money, Part 12: Pay Yourself First

You have to start somewhere
so you might as well start small
and start with yourself.

The first thing I learned about building wealth
was that you had to start saving.
So I set up an automatic withdrawal of $50 a month
into a mutual fund.

The second thing I learned
was that to build wealth
I had to feel like the money I earned was not just disappearing to pay bills,
but actually was improving my life.
I had to pay myself first.
Before paying bills I needed to put a certain percentage (10 - 20 - 30%?) of the income into a savings account at the bank
as a cash cushion
an "emergency fund"
for taxes, surprise expenses, or whatever comes along.
The more that account grew
the less anxiety I felt
the more successful I became.

And it all began
when I started
to pay myself first.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Passion Party #234 - Sharing The Music

The journey that began summer of 2008
when I played the Temecula Valley Jazz Festival
and won a day at Park Hill Studio in Hemet
comes to fruition this week
with the release of the album that contains that session:
"Secrets From The Jazz Ghetto"

The journey included the recording date in January 2009,
shortly before my sax player Andy Suzuki moved to Berlin,
continued through having the tracks mixed in Los Angeles by Carl Sealove,
adding an extra song (the bossa nova "Sombras de Noite"),
and then the decision to use this album as a chance
to feature my original compositions, rather than arrangements of other people's songs.

Then mastering the recording at Future Disc,
the photo shoot with Mara Zaslove,
and having the design team at DiscMakers help put the package together.

And now, this week,
distribution starts through BDC,
and 400 terrestrial and internet radio stations
have a chance to play the music.
This is the week
sharing the music with friends
and with the world.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Passion Party #233 - Anniversary

It is quite coincidental
that I began my Passion Party on May 26, 2009,
the same day as my wedding anniversary.
So this year I get to celebrate two anniversaries:
the 19th year of my marriage to Diana,
the light of my life,
and the first anniversary of my morning ritual
and the Passion Party.

For me it has been a year of growth,
of acknowledgment, of meditation,
of restructuring my business
for a new world with new rules

coming from a place of anger, frustration and pity
to a place of possibility, love and passion.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Passion Party #232 - Be Careful What You Wish For

Yet again
we are in a psychotic time
where the Stock Market thinks we are on the verge of recovery
and the Bond Market thinks we are at the edge of a global recession.
It is like the "heroes" of Michael Lewis' book, "The Big Short":
They bet on the collapse of the housing market,
and when their bet turned out to be correct it was hard to celebrate
as the whole US financial market cratered.
Often our wishes have consequences beyond our knowing.
Who knew that our desire to allow everyone in America to buy a house
would cause Iceland to go bankrupt?
Who would think that our wish for low interest rate loans
would be granted by the collapse of Greece and Spain?

Like the person that wished for a red Corvette
and his wish came true when a drunk driver
crashed the car into his house,
we must be careful and clear in our wishes,
they may just come true.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Only one week away! Catalina Jazz Club, Wednesday Julne 16

Event: CD Release Party
Hosted by: George Kahn
Jun 16, 2010,
7:00 PM

to 10:00 PM

Location: Catalina Bar & Grill

6725 W Sunset Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA

Passion Party #231 - The Week That Will Be

We stumble headlong into another day
our list of things to do growing
items backing up like cars at a tollbooth
waiting to be charged and released.

But wait
The list has been grabbed by a bird
singing at sunrise
ready to fly
announcing that this is not the week that was
this is the week that will be.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Passion Party #230 - Don Quixote

My quixotic search to be a Jazz Artist takes a new turn now
as I release my 6th jazz album.

Today I feel a lot like Don Quixote
tilting at windmills
pursuing a dream that has little connection with most people's reality.
Am I delusional
or do I just see real things that others don't perceive?

It is hard right now to separate the ego (is this just inflated self-worth?) from talent and ability.

It all started from my Mission
to share my music with the world.
I have a gift, and I need to share it.
I have always held that if I write music close to my heart,
it will have an impact on others
and the money will follow.

When it comes to music,
money is just one way that I get paid.
But I sold the first copies of the new 2-CD set yesterday
and that sure felt nice.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Passion Party #229 - Face Your Fear

What are you afraid of?
What false expectation is stopping you
from reaching your highest, best self?

If it is only money
then I have no fear;
money will come and go

If it is only failure
then I have no fear;
failure is just a way to learn what not to do

If it is only success
then I have no fear;
God won't give me anything I can't handle

If it is only The Unknown
then I have no fear;
I came into this world knowing nothing

If it is only death
then I have no fear;
I live without regret
and count each day a blessing

Friday, June 4, 2010

Passion Party #228 - New Speakers

It is amazing
how we get used to things
and tolerate them because
it is easier to do nothing then to fix the problem.

For years now I have had an old set of speakers for my home computer.
They were never very good - the sub-woofer (the bass speaker) was always too loud and would boom if the volume was turned up too much. Even when I got a new computer I kept these old speakers because, well, they worked OK enough.
Being really into music I listen a LOT on the home computer, probably at least as much as on the home stereo system (I know, this is a quaint concept, but yes, I have a component stereo system in the living room just to hear music.)

Yesterday I was at Fry's to get something for the office and I thought, why not buy a new set of speakers?
So I did, and I set them up last night.
OH MY GOD, what a difference! The advancement in speaker technology over the last few years has been exponential!
The cost to buy them: $25.00, with a $5.00 rebate.
The time to set it up? One hour
And the result? My joy is overflowing - I am still smiling.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Passion Party #227 - Simple Things

I need to feel I have accomplished something today
So I choose to pick simple things
and know that
at least a few things are complete.
The big projects can wait
Five simple things that I know I can get done
by the end of the day
Its OK to have a simple day
and get the little things done.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Passion Party #226 - This Is A Test

Today I get to cram my mind full
of rules and regulations
details created by
government officials and politicians,
lawyers and regulators

Layers of overlapping regulatory jurisdictions
a monumental pile of study material
for two hours I get to unload this information
in a secure, monitored room.

This is a test
it is only a test
If this had been a real-life situation
I could have used my common sense.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010