Sunday, May 23, 2010

Getting Perspective

There was a time, not too long ago, that I was under the impression that when something was meant to be, then everything would fall right into place, just like that. Well, let's just say I've changed my tune a little bit (no pun intended).

I still believe that when something is meant to be, things will fall into place, but I've learned that they don't get where they need to without some major moving around. Let's take, for example, the last few weeks . . .

I was minding my own business doing some working on an article, when, all of a sudden, my computer - my right-hand man - decided he had had enough of my late nights, constant tapping away, and program overload. And, in a flash, he said, "That's it. I'm outta here." Just like that. He shut off, I tried to turn him back on, but to no avail. He was sick and tired of me, and there was no turning back. My only option was to replace my old friend with a more sophisticated, younger acquaintance and face the whole awkward "getting to know you" period. $1800 later bought my new companion, the bling he needed, and a chaperone to accompany us on our first meeting. Not exactly what I would have chosen to spend my weekend. But the fun had only just begun.

The next day, I found out that I would have to spend around $2,000 on a major repair on my house that I didn't see coming. Oh joy! My hand was getting tired from all the check writing going on. "Will the good times ever stop?" I said to myself, sarcastically. Nope. My next escapade involved one dream trip that I had been planning for months. I had made the reservations, paid, made appointments, and put everything into place months before, and I was literally counting the days to go. But then the devastating flood in Nashville overwhelmed the city, and there went that. It's embarrassing to admit, but I started feeling sorry for myself. I started thinking, "You know, Lisa - you're wasting your time. If you were doing what you were supposed to do, then things wouldn't be this difficult. Everything would just happen. Doors would open. Opportunities would appear. And all these road blocks and financial setbacks and challenges just wouldn't keep popping up." As my colleague and I spent hours on the phone trying to cancel our "advance purchase - no refund even in the event of World War III" reservations at a hotel in Nashville, all the while trying to explain to them that the event we were supposed to attend was canceled because it had 4 feet of water in it and I would be out $800 if they weren't able to credit my account, something dawned on me: the weekend definitely was not what I had wanted and there were disappointments, but nothing that I was dealing with came close to what the people in Nashville were facing. So my trip was canceled. At least I wouldn't have to spend the next few months trying to salvage my belongings and find a new place to live or rebuild my entire life. That's major, heavy-duty stuff. And so I had to spend a few thousand dollars on computer equipment and repairs. Things break. Electronics need to be updated. That's life. At least I had the means to do it. I started realizing that my perspective (forgive the word), sucked, and my eyes began to open. It was true that these were not things I would have planned for myself if I had had the choice, but none of it was tragic. I pulled myself together and said, "Girl, quit your whining and complaining and be thankful for what you have. It's a rough patch, but it isn't that bad, so, get up and get a clue."

A few days went by, and wouldn't you know it, just like that, good news started pouring in. I found out I was selected to be featured on the Rockin' Moms website and would be interviewed. I found out my song "Lonely World" was chosen for an international campaign. And I was invited to an event in Washington, DC that featured some of the country's best songwriters. I went and got to meet and talk to these wonderful people, including someone who has been a great inspiration to me: Songwriter Jeffrey Steele. And there it was. I didn't have the opportunity to go to Nashville, but a little part of Nashville came to my back door. Unbelievable!

Listen, I don't know why things happen as they do. I know I'll never be able to figure that one out. But I do know a few things: One: Things aren't always going to go the way we want them to. Two: My situation is never going to be as bad as someone else's. Three: Complaining helps nothing. Four: In life, we may have to contend with "bad" situations from time to time, but good eventually follows.

To make a donation to Nashville flood relief efforts, go to Hands On Nashville at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just Breathe

I'm not talking about Faith Hill, here. I'm actually talking about taking a breath -- literally.

The other day, my eye started twitching like I had some kind of disorder and I felt like Big Mike from American Idol was sitting on my chest. I was freaking about all of the things I had to do. It was not a pretty picture. I remembered back to something I had read about enjoying the journey instead of focusing only on reaching the destination. And I remembered what my reaction at the time had been: I was like, "Dude, are you joking? I don't have time to stop and smell the roses; I've got things to do here. I'll wait until I'm 85 to slow down and check out the scenery." If you're a driven, ambitious, goal-oriented person, "enjoying the journey" can often get lost in the shuffle. Yet, I'm learning that finding a way to do it is a necessity.

I feel like every day of my life is a juggling act, and I'm on a tightrope doing the juggling. Between writing new material, practicing, and recording stuff at the studio; promoting my stuff (not to mention that of my clients); managing my freelance writing responsibilities and my job as creative director; building this new media company that I started with my two colleagues; and taking care of family stuff and daily responsibilities, I usually find it hard to breathe, much less enjoy. Every morning when I get up -- practically as a zombie because I've most likely gotten no more than five hours of sleep -- I look at my to do list and it's all over. My heart starts racing like Barbaro and my focus immediately shifts to, "How in God's name am I going to get all of this done?" Then, I get so consumed with chipping away at the to do list that I forget all about enjoying anything. All I'm thinking about is getting to the finish line -- no stopping at the scenic overlooks along the way. Just "go, go, go!"

But the truth is, tomorrow is going to be just like today -- if I let be. There's going to be a to do list no matter what. And even when I accomplish a few of the items on the list, there will be 10 more where those came from. So . . . in the midst of making contact with this industry person, sending an email blast to that list, describing what I ate for breakfast on Twitter, and promoting my latest "big deal" moments on Facebook, I'm making an oath to myself to add one more thing to my list: Taking a breath -- and taking a look at what I have already accomplished, instead of focusing on all I still have to do.

OK, what am I doing spending all of this time on this blog? I've got a million and one things to do today. Outta my way, people.
Ooops....What can I say? Old habits die hard.