Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can the unexpected be unexpected when you are expecting the unexpected?

"We came all this way to explore the moon and the most important thing is that we discovered the earth."
-Bill Anders

I moved to California four months ago. I came here for very specific purposes and reasons and with very specific intentions and goals. Not plans. I didn't have plans. My only plan was to not have any plans; to let whatever happened happen. And that has certainly... well... happened. I came to make music. However, there was a kink built into this chain of hope: I had been living out of a suitcase for three months. In case you were wondering, pianos don't fit in suitcases. I tried. They just don't. So I came here to make music and the closest I found myself was singing to my iPod while walking to work, which had adverse effects as the homeless population doesn't like the common folk stealing their thunder (and apparently some 'common folk' seem to think I am crazy. It's fine). Needless to say, I found myself exceedingly frustrated. From this frustration bred some form of nostalgic loneliness and abject self-loathing which naturally had an ironic and peculiar result...

So first, grant this one question:

Can the unexpected be unexpected when you are expecting the unexpected?

To that I say oh heavens yes! It is incredible how we, as humans, in our daily lives never realize that we are having 'a moment' until that moment is over. We live in our memories! I find this sad, and frankly, all too true. We have all these moments of which we aren't even aware, and then we have one that seems so significant that we are suddenly presently aware of it and we can't handle it. The impending result, is a nervous breakdown or the occasional panic attack. We call this emotional reaction, 'surreal.' I had one of these said moments not too long ago. No, no. Not one of these moments. Rather, the last two months have been one, giant, on-going moment. I feel confident in saying however, that now after so many of these circumstances in such a short amount of time, I am more able to remain present in such a heightened level of awareness, and therefore, have been able to skip right over such a breakdown, or panic attack. Nonetheless I was, ironically, caught off-guard. I suppose I was caught off-guard because I wasn't allowing myself to be present. Therein lies the conundrum. We are always expecting particular events to come to pass in the future, and yet the future we are expecting is materializing right in front of us while we are still waiting for what is happening in the present to happen to us in the future! We never realize the power of self-fulfilling-prophesy. We are waiting for and expecting these things to come to pass and expending so much subconscious mental and emotional energy on them that we subconsciously materialize them and they end up happening right in front of our faces, and still, we never see them... and we keep waiting. It is a cycle I know all too well; to always feel like you are waiting for your life to start, only to realize that it has been proceeding, ever onward, without you. And better still, the universe, or God, or what have you, is all the while trying to make this very fact known to us. Usually by as small a means as possible...

So begins my example. My 'ah-ha' moment came after a series of bus-related events that started with a recurring err on my part by way of a lack of patience. About which I have learned that one who is patient is one who is present. But that is a whole other blog. The actual moment though, came about as I was walking on the beach this last Sunday. I was allowing myself to become lost in worries, negativity, and more specifically loneliness. I was walking and thinking deeply, not allowing the incredible surroundings I was in to truly sink-in, when I felt an intense sharp pain in the bottom of my bare right foot. I quickly became present in the situation and looked at my foot only to see a small sand-covered sliver sticking perpendicularly out of my foot. It was, however, upon further inspection not a sliver at all, but the stinger of a honey bee. I then saw the bee on the sand, motionless, just inches from my foot. It would not hit me until moments later what an important lesson I had just learned. It struck me odd that, after the intense
sting of the bee, the first thing that entered my mind was sadness. Not anger. Not frustration. Not even physical pain. Just sadness. Sadness for the bee! This was my train of thought: "Ouch! What is that? Oh, I got stung by a bee. A honey bee. The honey bee is dead. Honey bees are a threatened species. I just killed a threatened species. Sadness. Oh yeah, that hurts like hell. Poor bee." And there I was. I was back on the beach. I felt the water on my feet and the wind on my face. No more loneliness. No more negativity. Just more life. Just more music.

And so it was. Something as small as a honey bee can rip us back into the present where we belong and show us that our lives have been materializing right in front of our faces. Or right under our fingertips... or by way of "the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue."
Be it necessary to continue reading... or perhaps listening...?
A honey bee taught me the fine art of the possible.

High Life Scenery-The Rocket Summer
(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay-Sara Bareilles live version
Hills and Valleys-The Rocket Summer
Bottom of the Barrel-Amos Lee
Morning-Amos Lee
Skipping Stone-Amos Lee
Smash Into You-Beyonce
Refuge (When It's Cold Outside)-John Legend
Ain't No Reason-Brett Dennen

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Coming to Terms: A Love Affair with Passion.. with Committment Issues."

"The irony of committment is that it is deeply liberating. In work, in play, in love. The act frees you of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life."

-The Dumpster Quote Cup

I have a very peculiar habit. Which is to say, one looking in on this habit would certainly consider it peculiar. I, however, feel like it is when Jesus and the Buddha are both rooting for team Colby. Mostly because it has proven time and time again to be a catalyst to exponential growth. This habit consists solely of my inablilty to function when ignoring universal or divine guidance (you can pick whichever you prefer). Allow me to explain:

This chain of events begins approximately two years ago. I was living with my best friend in Salt Lake City while I (and I use this phrase loosely) "attended school." This particular morning I decided it was necessary to actually attend school despite having been up the night previous partaking in much more productive activities, i.e. sneaking into a filthy bar downtown. It's fine. Anyway, I was certainly feeling accomplished after attending a gruelling and excessive two hours of classes, and I decided I deserved a reward. Cut to me holding a hot and fragrant cider in a random Starbucks. Now, at this time, the 'bucks was featuring deep and lengthy quotations on their cups. (See above) I read this particular cup and found the quote oddly captivating. Not thinking anything significant of such a circumstance I threw away my empty cup and began my drive home. On the way home I noticed a particularly unnerving sensation. To this day, it reminds me of the sensation you get when you know you are being expected to be somewhere but you try to ignore the responsibilty of actually going. Like when you know you should be at church, or in my case, school. Within this sensation I recognized that my mind was driven to this cup; the Quote Cup. So I turned around. I parked at the Starbucks. Again. And I went inside. Again. I then proceeded to play my famous role of Homeless Man In Dumpster #1; I dug in the garbage and, despite lengthy awkward stares, retrieved the Cup. I then got back in my car, careful of what I touched, threw the cup in backseat and drove home. It wouldn't be until almost two years later that this very cup-the Dumpster Quote Cup-would re-enter my life.

It was one week before my 21st birthday. My father generously decided to surprise me with a new, old car. So, naturally I had to transfer my garbage pile from old car, to new-old car. Amid the transferring of said garbage pile, what catches my eye, but the very Cup that caused me to rummage through a garbage can-much like the back seat of my car, which happened to look very similar to that garbage can at Starbucks. The Quote Cup had found its way back into my life. The timing of this was all too perfect. Well, I see it that way now. But at the time it felt like nothing but a kick in the face.

At this particular time there was much happening. Much soul searching, much turmoil. Not just with me, but all those around me. I naturally took the cup as a threat. I recently realized that I simply applied it far too hastily and literally...

Turmoil was the word of the season. After experiencing, watching, and partaking in so much in such a short time, I found my tipping point. The straw that broke the camel's back was when I realized I was, indeed one of two in a failing relationship. It was only recently, however, that I realized that a tipping point, or a Cup, is often only one step in a lifetime of stairmasters. Step after step after step leads me to the point of this story. Who ever thought that one could learn so much about oneslf by sitting in a friend's living room in San Francisco on a Saturday evening watching a television show? About tattoos of all things. There was a man on this show who told a story and spoke a single phrase that, like so many other people have in the past, reopened my eyes to years of stairmasters.

I don't even remember his name. But I remember his story. He decided to get a tattoo of some musical persuasion. I don't even remember what the tattoo looked like. But this man got this tattoo to remind him of this: He was a typical guy living in Los Angeles persuing a typical professional career when reality struck him. He said, "I had finally come to terms with the fact that I was going to make music for the rest of my life."

This was it. The Dumpster Quote Cup wasn't about committing myself to a formal education, or to a false sense of social stability which happened to manifest itself by means of a failing relationship. It was about committing to passion. The Quote Cup came into my life to tell me that I had to come to terms with my passion. My responsibilty. So I did.

So, this entry is to all of you who tell me, "Get a useful degree just in case." Or to those people who think that happiness can be found in conformity. And most of all to those who think they can define success! This is for you. I pray that you all start looking into the very details of your everyday lives and realize one of the most amazing concepts ever to trace the human mind. It is a simple phrase with immeasurable power. It has guided my life, now I dare you to let it guide yours: "There is a reason for everything!"

And So It was. A Dumpster Quote Cup saved another life.

"Music saved my life. I have the responsibilty to be the medium by which it has the possibility to save others."

-Joseph Colby

Shower the People-James Taylor

High Life Scenery-The Rocket Summer

Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)-Wyclef Jean

Say (All I Need)-OneRepublic (Listen to this one as loud as you dare!)

Black and Whites-Phil Vassar

Slow Me Down-Emmy Rossum

When The Lights Go Down-Faith Hill

All I Have-The Rocket Summer

Here's to the Night-Eve 6

People Get Ready-Eva Cassidy

Stand-Rascal Flatts

Farmer Chords-Ben Gibbard

Coming to Terms-Carolina Liar

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prone To Wander

"O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."

My tale is one of compromise. During the coarse of my journey compromise has been powerful and unique. It has had the ability to be a catalyst to truth. They say the most inate human reaction is fight or flight. This concept is far more extensive than originally intended. I believe it reaches into each and every aspect of our lives, not just the physicality of things. That is to say not just when confronted by physical harm or danger, but when confronted with any degree of anything unknown; regret, love, heartbreak, compromise. Me, I may as well have been born with bird bones; it was inevitable that I chose flight. This, however, is ironic as I chose flight as the weapon in my fight. One is bound to escape, to some degree at least, no matter the medium.

I did; I will - To the greatest degree possible.

My name is Joseph Colby.

My life is the materialization of the fine art of the possible...

1. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing- Mormon Tabernacle Choir
2. Show Me What I'm Looking For-Carolina Liar
3. Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight-Amos Lee
4. The Call-Regina Spektor
5. Going North-Missy Higgins
6. Doubting Thomas-Nickel Creek
7. Never Knew-The Rocket Summer
8. Prelude To A Kiss-Alicia Keys
9. Time-Billy Porter
10. Wheel-John Mayer
11. Gaia-James Taylor
12. This Way-The Morning Light
13. I Believe-Blessid Union of Souls
14. Have a Little Faith In Me-John Hiatt

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My goal is not simple. It is not easy. It is not vain. By writing the things I will I hope to accomplish the portrayal of that which I fear most; which has proven, thus far, to be impossible: love and understanding.

I cannot accomplish such tasks by my words alone. All entries will be accompanied first, by a quotation or lyric that has played a significant role for me and demonstrates the chosen theme. Then, most importantly, the entry will be concluded with a playlist. It is then your job to take the things that have been written and the playlist I have given and figure out what it can teach you.

The following discourses will be presented in narrative prose, as opposed to the traditional journal format. None of this, "today I did this, and this, and this," generally speaking.

I pray that you find my love of all things in the photographs I post and the words I write. But moreso in the songs I list and most-so in the songs I pray you will one day hear me sing.

This is just the beginning.

This is merely a manifestation of true adventure.

This is the story of life.

Told by a person who knows nothing about it.