A season of real integrity

At the beginning of every new year, my entire being gravitates towards a theme for the year. I don’t believe in new years resolutions and I also don’t expect to read about my specific new year focus in someone else’ blogpost. I believe in waiting on it. Some call it meditating, others would pray for it, but I just simply wait.

Interestingly enough, when I do experience the supernatural “download” of my theme, I soon find that other people are experiencing the same nudge in the same direction. Maybe our inner focus for a new season is conducted by the universe, or as I believe, by God and Jesus Christ. It is released into tiny dust like particles and blows around in the wind for your mind to catch it.

When 2016 was lurking, I couldn’t help but wonder what the theme for this year would be.

In the Bottomless Coffee Band, we believe in working hard in different roles in order to appreciate the people who cross our paths along the way to help us with the hard work. A big facet of this is our sound. We do our own sound for most of our events. There is definitely a different form of fulfilment in knowing that you are aspiring to more than only playing the instruments and singing the songs. You know the art of amplification and the beauty of sound. You are actually in control of every single note heard by the crowd. For the past two and a half years, my technical portfolio was the cable and gadget box.

If you have ever had to roll a music cable, you will understand that it has to be done rather neatly. If not so, you have just created a lot of frustrating untangling work for yourself. So much so that you could actually damage the cables to the point of having to replace them – and believe you me, replacing cables is not a cheap exercise.

I have 17 cables to lay out and to roll up for every show. 17 seems doable, but if you play up to 17 shows per month, sometimes 2 per day, you often wish you can just scrape all those cables together and stuff them into a massive box. It seems like a stunning idea, until you think about setting up at the next show. All of a sudden all tiredness disappears and you start rolling cable for cable, as neatly as you possibly can.

It was in the midst of packing my neatly rolled cables into the cable box when my 2016 theme download happened. It was glorious. At 23:00 at night, tired of performing and interacting with fans, you really don’t want to care about the next gig or what needs to be ready in order for it to be rolled out successfully. You want to believe that getting home and into your bed is a lot more important than a neat and prepped cable box for a gig the next day. Besides that, no one will see what your cable box looks like on the inside. At that moment, you have your future in your hands. You have the opportunity to shape your destiny by what decision you make there and then.

This analogy is described so beautifully by a little word with a big impact: integrity. Should you choose yourself and your needs in that moment – it will be a spiral effect of living in chaos – chaos in untangling your cables when you only have a few minutes to do a set-up. You will frustrate yourself, you will damage your gear and you will let everyone else in the team down. The job will seem to become harder and harder until you believe that you can’t do it and that this has to be someone else’ problem.

Should you lay yourself down in that moment, you are laying the foundation for working in excellence. You are taking a moment out of your own life to make sure that a bigger ship than your little boat will carry on sailing smoothly. In fact, you are creating an atmosphere for growth by eliminating the possibility of something as small as a cable limiting your capacity.

And that is the theme for 2016 – integrity in everything you do, but more than that. Real integrity out of an honest source. It must be more than a feeling of someone peeking over your shoulder; it must be an exercise of excellence, every single day. May you be blessed with real integrity this year. And may it be the building blocks for even more capacity, creativity and growth. Roll your cables and pack them neatly – even when it is the last thing you feel like doing.

My wish for my cable box and I: may it keep me humble and even though it’s something that no one ever sees, may I have the energy to try and do it as if it is still part of the show.

I dare you, please come open my cable box at any given moment.

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