Want life to change? Expect better results? Hope to feel healthier? No sense beating yourself up. But a dose of honest self-awareness won’t hurt.
Stop pointing fingers and start digging in.
This is the third in a series of articles. Click these links to read the previous entries:
Part Three: What is Mutineer?
In fact, I established a rock band name and concept almost a decade ago, and even had a logo made for it. The band/project name is “Mutineer,” a brand concept that has very little to do with sailors taking a ship away from its captain but everything to do with recognizing that this current culture of celebrity, entitlement, comparison and consumption is something that I feel needs to change. It comes out clearly in the song lyrics: that the way we are here in North America is largely not okay with me, and that the “mutiny” is about accepting yourself for who you are, being accountable to the person in the mirror and being brave enough to treat others with empathy and compassion and to not just blindly follow the herd.
Mutineer is not about pointing fingers. Mutineer is about looking in the mirror, being accountable, and being strong enough to say, “You can point fingers all you like and tell me who and what you think I’m supposed to be. But I’m not falling for it. I’m brave enough to love myself no matter what I have or don’t have, and courageous enough to wish you well, regardless of what you may think of me.”
I did not set out to write songs to fit this theme. Rather, looking back on the content and tone of the lyrics I’ve written over the last 10-to-15 years, the consistent message clearly showed itself to me.
Rather than a call to confrontation, Mutineer is a removal of resistance and rally for accountability and self-acceptance. Instead of bearing arms, a Mutineer, in this case, is simply saying to this society of celebrity worship (and consequent abandonment), instant gratification, entitlement, blame, criticism and self-judgement, “No. There’s no more of this for me. I don’t believe these lies any more. Being like someone else does not make me worthy. Being me makes me worthy. I am responsible for everything that happens to me, and I accept that, and am setting sail to a life well-lived and will take what comes and know that I can handle it.”
In a way, Mutineer is about all the things it took me 40 years to learn about myself, even though I’d written about it in my 20’s and 30’s. Rather than “taking over the ship,” we’re simply stating, “You know what? We don’t like where this one’s been going. We’re getting on a new one, and going in a different direction. Meantime … good luck to you.”
I feel I can say things as Mutineer than I wouldn’t necessarily say with my acoustic voice, as Kevin Bulmer. Here’s an example of lyrics that are, essentially, about accountability:
“Don’t drag your heels and tell me you’re runnin’
Don’t run me around and say I’m a square
Don’t serve me dirt and say it’s delicious
Just do better.”
That’s from a fun little song called “Do Better,” a Jimmy Buffett-sounding track on my “No Schedule Man” CD. It’s kind of light and breezy and a bit tongue-in-cheek. It’s meant to try and get a bit of a point across without rubbing anyone too raw.
Now, here’s a similar thought, but from the Mutineer voice, from a song called “High Road:”
“Though it’s been swell, I might as well tell you
That it’s time for me to go
I don’t want to stand here watching
While your noose runs out of rope
I wish you hadn’t tied that knot yourself
I coulda’ told you so
For what it’s worth, I’ll say a prayer for you
From up here on the high road”
That’s a little edgier, I’d say. And it feels really, really good to sing and play that song, and others like it.
Here’s another passage, from the same song:
In my opinion, if you look around at the world these days, sadly, you’ll see a lot of folks lazily “volunteering a soul into where ignorance thrives” (and you can interpret that however you wish). But it’s also true that, if you look for it, you’ll see a lot of good things happening too.
Mutineer tries to shine a light on one while celebrating the other.
But, how exactly am I going to make it happen? I’ll outline some of those challenges in Part 4 tomorrow.
Another new year is almost upon us. Gym membership levels will spike temporarily. Liquor stores will quiet somewhat from the pace kept over the last many weeks. Diet books and personal development material will jump from the shelves. And if it truly is time for you to take on any of those – or any other – endeavors, good for you. I wish you luck. But I do have two questions for you:
- Why wait when you can start right now?
- Do you want to change something about yourself because you know deep in your cells that it’s right for you, or because it’s what you think you should be doing as you observe everyone else?
Answer quickly if you like. My guess is you’ll find the truth of a real inquiry perhaps a tad more revealing than you first thought. But I do invite you to think about it.
Maybe your experience is fundamentally different from mine? I don’t find that the times I know I really need to make a change are marked on a calendar. When it’s time, I just know it. And that can happen any time, any day. From there, it’s up to me whether I do anything about it or not.
Celebrate the arrival of a new year. Embrace the ones you love. And by all means, make a resolution if you care to. I’m all for anyone trying to improve their own experience. I’m merely suggesting that a new year begins every day, every minute, every second. Each moment that comes to us can be a new beginning.
Do you have something you’d like to change? Start doing? Stop doing?
You have the power to start right now, just as you are.
Everything else is an excuse.