Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Self...or a Visualization of

So, I've put a good deal of thought recently into the fact that, sadly enough, I don't believe I'm doing a good enough job representing myself to the general public.

It actually began about 2 months back when some people who have known me for a considerable enough amount of time, were surprised to "discover" I both illustrate as well as write music. It took me aback because, in my mind, these are some of the most apparent aspects of who I am (second, only to, I think, my status as being the definition of my birth name) and are things I talk about THE MOST. However, it was such a strange reaction from these people that it began a PROPER analysis of what, exactly, my image is projecting out there...and whether I needed to change it or not.

I discovered that people believe me to be a staunchly "private person", one prone not to share things that are "really going on with me." Furthermore, I am "soft spoken" and usually a guy who "sits and observes things from the background," with a demeanor thats both "comforting" and "cool."

Some of that stuff (riddled with direct quotes) is a bit shocking to me.

Here's the thing, though (getting to the point before losing the audience): I've started to realize that maybe my view of the Self and how it is visually seen by those around me, isn't the same as the one everyone is ACTUALLY viewing. (cue theme music to "That boy has an EGO") Much like how companies want to create a "brand" for people to instantly recognize, in some ways, we have to do that for ourselves. Now, before people freak out on some "Conduct's going corporate!" I want to clarify here: I'm NOT saying THAT. Far from it, I believe. My thought here is, you can't expect that because you ARE something that people will just know it. Its more than that. Your actions, your words, where you go, who you are with...these things all say so much about the type of person you are and what should be ASSUMED about you. It is up to you to make the right choices in how to approach life and establish the way you will be visualized within it.

I don't think many of people realize this. There are plenty that wish for a "better life" or "better job" who don't get that in order to have your existence change YOU have to be willing to change YOU. Sadly, some people go too far with it and lose themselves in the search for "gains."

It's a tricky thing to peg down. I obviously haven't mastered it, myself. But, as I seek to become better at that while staying true to the Hope I have in Christ, I know one day it will be an easy task for people to recognize all the major aspects of what I am, what I do, and whom I'm all about. That ability to let Self...or (at least) a visualization of, be very apparent to those who's paths I cross, won't be the trouble that it is right now.

- Conduct Lionhardt

Stop the Music

Right now, you should stop listening to music.

Now, look, I just terribly troubled or offended people by saying that. Unfortunately, I think, therein lays the problem and its one you probably never stopped to think of:

"How much importance does music have over my daily existence?"

I know, some of you may not think that because you play music daily that it is a bad thing and, to be honest, I'm not saying that it is...per se. The truth I'm pointing to here is that many of us don't see the option of music being turned off as a viable one.

When you go to drive to the store to get a drink, MUSIC IS ON.
Waiting for the bus on the way to work or school and, MUSIC IS ON IN HEADPHONES.
You are heading out to play some sports or work out and to get psyched up, YOU TURN ON SOME ROWDY MUSIC.

And, those are just some examples. I could have talked about how we use it to heal grief, to have sympathetic connection for our longing, to enhance our feelings of sadness or happiness...its a long list, folks.

But, whether those are good ways (or bad) to use it, well, its subjective. I'm only speaking of it, though, because I had an experience that I found helpful and thought some of you may want to try in that, I read a scripture that I finally paused on long enough to take seriously: 2 Corinthians 6:12 - "Everything is permissible for me" - but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is is permissible for me" - but I will not be mastered by anything.

This scripture made me stop and think and I wanted to look into what it spoke to me so, I began taking things that were "habits" or stuff I just did all the time, and stopped doing them. Sometimes I take a week, a few times I did months. I stopped watching weekly tv for 3 months. I cut my internet time down to 3 hours a week for about a year. I spent 3 weeks without music on.

What I ultimately learned is that these things I indulged in, especially music, have their place and time...but they aren't NECESSARY to my day-to-day. I am more than just the songs I listen to and how those relate to my feelings or stir them. Now, when I choose to turn it on, I can listen to music and enjoy it for what it is...or I can sit, walk, ride, etc, without it. I find that those moments are ones where my thoughts are at their most crisp, where my clarity is dominant and shines through on what concerns my heart. Its where I hear God the clearest as I pray.

And regardless of whether you want to take that time to pray or not, I think if you just Stop the Music for a little while, you'll learn some things...and maybe even hear something that usually gets drowned out by the cacophony:


- Conduct Lionhardt