Seems like everyone's talking about their passion. All kinds of people, from all walks of life are proclaiming that this or that is their passion. A passion for decorating, a passion for cooking, a passion for making money.
That's fine, I guess, but all this impassioned talk about passion makes me wonder when-and why-we all started bragging about our emotions. Is that really such a great thing? Really? It seems like that cook Paula Deen is passionate about butter and I'm sure Bernie Madoff was passionate about profit and it sounds like Tiger Woods was being led around by his passion as well.
I have been around my fair share of passionate people- it is a wonderfully assuring way to feel alive, but I've been thinking that we ought to focus more on the destination. You see, emotions, while providing fuel to take you there, can also blow you way off track. Heartfelt thinking may well get you revved-up but vehement action can really mess you up, man.
As the year draws to a close, I've been been thinking passionately about bliss, about so many artists and performers who have followed their bliss and, in so doing, have raised us all up. Today I salute the beautiful and talented people who share their bliss with the world. From magicians excitedly pursuing their careers to musicians performing spirited compositons and concerts, dolce to forte, they have all found a way to share their bliss and we are the better for it, them.
BLISS (noun): perfect happiness; great joy
I'll always remember hearing the beautiful 'Bella Luna' for the first time. I was driving just outside of Branson, Missouri, playing the- then new JASON MRAZ CD. I'd been listening to "Mr. A-Z" for several days but hadn't yet gotten to 'Bella Luna,' -the seventh tune on the CD- because every one of the first songs are great, and, 'Clockwatching,' the sixth track, is so fucking clever, so well written and slickly produced that I felt pissed that I hadn't co-written it. (Mraz composed 'Clockwatching' with the astute Dennis Morris and also Ainslie Henderson). I would play "Clockwatching' over-and-over. Brilliant. Then, one night, I held my passion to hit 'Replay' in check and on came 'Bella Luna.' I pulled over and played it again and-I swear this is true-I stayed parked on the hilly roadside for over an hour listening and then getting blissfully lost inside of this beautiful song, again and again. Some time later, a girl I know who is just crazy about Mraz (I mean, who isn't?) sent me a video she shot of a Lake Tahoe concert I was supposed to attend with her. It's Mr. A-Z himself performing 'Bella Luna' even more beautifully than the record. I sat at the computer mesmerized, seeing this beautiful soul get lost inside his song, man enough to close his eyes and gently sway in the night. I mean, I felt it. I felt it all over again.
I think of performing jazz artists, friends like the great VINNIE FALCONE and young JAMIE CULLUM, losing themselves in a melody, unrestrained by the baseline, flying freely in the night. THE MAKEPEACE BROTHERS are indubitably brotherly bliss personified.
When I think of bliss, I go to that sunny place that lives on in my mind, where childhood dreams float on the breeze like a fairy tale waiting to be told. That first summer, girl, kiss. Man! And that's what I love about magicians, especially the close-up kind. They approach a stranger, ask him to pick a card and, for an instant, the guy is transformed, transported back to that blissful place where magic can happen.
My great friend VALENTINO always understood the roaring power of silence. Newer guys like R.J. CANTU get it, too. And the clever JUSTIN KREDIBLE is a bliss giver for sure. Watch the beautiful faces of his largely female fans. Delight for real.
We owe a great debt to the performing magicians who keep the spark of magic alive in us all.
I've recently reconnected with an old friend. He was the cool kid who transferred in at senior year, the handsome jock who found a way to fit in with everybody in our high school. Today he lives the life I admire, raising the family out on a ranch, in touch with nature. Now I know that when you allow yourself to connect with animals, you'll surrender to that stillness inside, the taciturn place where man and animal are friends. When I first started working with exotic animals, a very sharp lady told me not to respect the lions, but to revere them. And she was so right. Because of her advice, I've been rolling around with wolves, an accepted member of the pack, and have become the honored brother of the lion. I have communicated with dogs in ways Disney or that whisperer guy could only dream of. And to get there, I had to locate those still waters inside of me, and then, dive in.
I don't know nearly as much about art as I'd like, but I do have a sense of what's good. I look at the work of JON MARRO and know that he, like all fine artists, creates from that place, inside, a place we all know. We FEEL the artist's bliss, from Marro to Monet.
I'm a desert guy, and the hotter the better. Poolside, time doesn't exist and some of my most creative thoughts come to me underwater. The feel of the warm marble, smooth on my chest as I fly along the bottom of the pool, now that gets me there. Oh, I do my share of laps on the surface but, down deep is where the dreams are. If you find yourself losing time, don't worry, you haven't lost anything. Besides, that loss is your gain.
The great JOSEPH CAMPBELL taught us so much about the power of myths, and he had the best advice for us, too. He said, "Follow your bliss."
This is the time of year when we find ouselves wishing. Tonight I was staring at flaming candles on a cake. I closed my eyes and felt overcome by this dreamy whim:
I wish you bliss.
And I encourage you: follow your bliss to wherever it takes you.
We'll all be there, waiting.
- ► 2010 (85)
- STARS ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP
- FOR 2010, I WISH YOU BLISS
- GETTING BLOWN-OUT on Christmas Spirits: December 2...
- HANG A SHINING STAR
- HOLLYWOOD GOSSIP TO THE MAX
- MY STREET NAME
- STEVE WYNN IS A HELLUVA GUY
- Painted by FRANK SINATRA
- DEAR ABBY: Are You Dead?
- THIS MIGHT SOUND FUNNY...
- MY SPECIALTY
- TYPING, HYPING & SKYPING
- NICK THUNE on JAY LENO THIS WEEK!
- ▼ December (14)