Every day I try to access elements of life that help me put things into perspective. I'm not always successful at it, but I am always aware of the need for it. There are several ways I do this, and which access point I choose depends on the day. How I get there is less important than getting there. For me, it can be time in the ocean—that dynamic space that reminds me of just how small I really am. I like that feeling. It can also be a museum visit, a favorite artist documentary, writing and drawing in my sketch book, or listening to a favorite record.
Music is a huge one for me. It was the first thing in life that was really my own, separate from family or anyone else. What I listened to, what I loved, the music I communed with, was my choice. That is a powerful feeling for a 7-year-old! Give me a record player, a stack of KISS records, and a drawing pad, and I'll see you in a few hours! That feeling of independence was extraordinary.
These days, I don't listen to the KISS records that often (though I still have them). The record collection is vast, and while I have much to listen to, when it comes down to it, my ultimate musical hero is John Coltrane. Meditative, powerful, gentle, contemplative, searching, spiritual... Coltrane's music is a consistent way for me to access the “greater than.” It levels the wings, slows everything down, and almost instantly puts things into perspective. For that, I am forever grateful to this genius of modern music.
We are often encouraged to be assertive, productive, powerful, etc. And sometimes the situation calls for all of that. But we do need to let down sometimes; to let go of ego and know that as big as we are, we are small in the grand scheme. Knowing that is true power. All of this is impermanent, everything is rented. Let's enjoy the heck out of it while we're here.