Sunday Sermon: Meditation on the Hardcore

“I climb for my own reasons, for the way the experience changes me. If someone has a problem with me or my style, I couldn’t care less. Each individual can pursue any path he wants. Let’s just be honest about what we do.”

– Mark Twight

To me, my music and art is my way to fearlessly self-express.  It is my way to force personal evolution.  It is the place that I can be most honest and make my most truthful contribution to the world.

I believe: if you want to do anything worthwhile then it will come at a price.  You have to really weigh up how much you want it.  There are plenty of people who will tell you that they were shortchanged when really, they were just unwilling to pay.

Whether you want to be a jazz saxophonist, a truly great mother, the greatest pearl diver who ever lived, or the heavyweight champion of the world; there is always cost, there is always payment.

I have been solely focused on my thing (creating my art + giving it to the world) for almost 20 years now with very little external reinforcement.  I have fought many, many fights to continue walking my path.  I have unknowingly (and knowingly) sacrificed: relationships, other people’s feelings, my own body and sometimes, my own mental wellbeing in my quest for this.  I have suffered countless setbacks and made my way thru vast tracts of darkness and self doubt.  I have learned much.  At times, it has been very hard.

But I don’t believe in the free lunch.  I don’t believe in the shortcut.  I have found neither in my life.  There is a balance and equilibrium to everything.  To receive you must give.  If you want something, you have to pay the price.  In my experience, these things are cliches because they are true.

Maybe this is integrity.  Or maybe I am just a pathologically crazy person.  I just know that I have to be true to whatever it is that guides me in my gut.  In some ways I am very sensitive.  The feeling of lying, of bullshitting, feels really bad somewhere deep inside me.  So, I choose not to do it.

Music in some ways, comes very easily to me.  In other ways it is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever done.  It’s not the sound, it’s the standard.  To make music is EASY.  Anyone can do it.  A child can do it.  Monkeys can do it (probably).  But to make YOUR music.  Your REAL music.  The music that is your own fearless self expression; THAT is one of the hardest things on this planet.

There are no ‘how-to’ DVD’s for that.  No one else can show you how.  It’s all up to you.

I know that to get there you have to focus on your thing.  And focus.  And pour in more time, more energy and more life than you think possible.  You must sacrifice.  You must work hard and harder still.  You must always be true to your vision and you must always, always move forward.

I’m not perfect at this.  Hell, sometimes I’m not even good.  Sometimes, I’m a big. fat. hypocrite.  But not for long.  It is always there, in the back of my head and, even when I’m stalled, I know that: soon, soon, I’ll take that next step.  Keep moving forward, just keep moving forward.

This post is not meant to be a bullshit, posturing, piece of writing.  What I really want to communicate to you is this:  doing the thing you love can be hard. It can even be much harder than the alternatives.  But the thing that you get from paying that price; the unquantifiable feeling that the day has not gone down in debt, the knowledge that you have truly made headway, that you are doing what are meant to do, THAT is beyond worth.

I hope this is, in some way, of use to you.  And I hope you are well.

Here Endeth the Sermon.


My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist.  If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music.  Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.

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11 Replies to “Sunday Sermon: Meditation on the Hardcore”

  1. Last nigth for some reason couldn’t sleep. I was really tired, even I took a shower, I was into bed, so tired, and I just stay there, turn around from one side to the other, and couln’t fall sleep. So, I decide to get up, eat something and read. But I didn’t want to turn on the light, so I took my phone and decide to read your blog. When finally I was feeling half asleep, I read this one, wich let me thinking in something, something sad in my point if view.
    Once we talk and you told me about how many times you had to take hard decisions in your life to follow what you love, your music and your art. But, I never imagine that those decisions involve some one else feelings.
    I’m not judging you, I know that the first person who matters in the whole world (in my case) is God, then me and then the rest of the word, in order of importance. In that order I must do what is correct and what makes me happy. My point is, even I have to serch and fight for that happiness, I just could not make someone else suffer for me and my decisions. I could not handle it. For me, the idea is just unthinkable. I just could not live peaceful knowing that some one else felt pain for my fault.

    But, that’s me.

    Like

    1. I have never willingly hurt anyone in my journey, but sometimes, when you look back, you can see things with a clearer vision.
      As I have grown older I have come to understand the greater impact of my choices. It’s all a process, and I am a regular human being. Flawed and imperfect and doing my best to get better. Part of this is the process of reflection, part of it is truly confronting the mistakes of the past, which can be uncomfortable, in order that they do not happen again.
      That, is what this post is about.

      Like

  2. The way you feel about your music is the way I feel about writing, including sacrificing body and friendships. It becomes a struggle to maintain both at a healthy level. Thanks for your sharing, it helps to validate the process.

    Like

  3. Funny that many would think us worlds apart, yet in your ‘Sunday Sermon’, you spoke to my heart. ‘I know that to get there you have to focus on your thing. And focus. And pour in more time, more energy and more life than you think possible. You must sacrifice. You must work hard and harder still. You must always be true to your vision and you must always, always move forward.
    True to ‘your’ vision, that which calls to your heart. Sometimes I loose my way. No one ever said it is easy, if they did, I’d have to say you lie. Enjoyed my visit. Look forward to hearing your stuff.
    Cheryl

    Like

    1. Thankyou so much for your kind words Cheryl.
      You are absolutely right, these things are like fundamental principles. They apply to us all because we all want to move forward, be happy, do something that we love. I am really glad that you connected, and really glad that you got something from my words.
      Thankyou again, much love,
      James

      Like

  4. Amen, brother. The other (possibly most) heartbreaking, terrifying thing is that you can work incredibly hard, give all you have to your dream or your creation or your work, and still fail. It’s an enormous risk. You can still fall on your face and lose everything. I think it’s a risk that’s worth it – but for many people, the risk is too great, and they spend their lives withering in mediocrity, afraid to even try. Of course, a quiet, ordinary life can be satisfying and joyful, but I suspect more people carry regrets for unpursued dreams than for the times they tried and failed (or succeeded, and moved on).

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    1. Here here;-)
      I saw a talk about the concept of ‘risk’ by the climber Dave Macleod, who regularly climbs a lot of ‘death fall’ routes. He made the point that: for him, NOT climbing these routes is the riskier proposition in terms of what he would lose in his life. This is definitely the camp I fall into. Success is cool, but the main thing is: to do what you feel to do in your heart.
      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Like

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