This past weekend, I was at my friend’s apartment watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Awards. This award ceremony is not like any other. First, it is not obviously based on competition. Instead, they just honor the inductees. Also, it is not based on a one-year achievement, but on people’s lasting contributions to music. Which means that this award show goes much deeper than others. The award matters to people in a way that others don’t.
One of the most moving speeches came from Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He said that every morning before he plays, he gets on his knees, and prays to God, and prays to uplift the people that come to see them play, and to love them the best that he can. (1:16 minute mark).
So many rockers look out to their audiences and just see a bunch of people wanting to party. So that is what they give them: a good time. And that’s what people get. And probably, that gets old after a while. Flea looks out at his audience and sees people to love. Loving people, giving them something real, something that moves them, something that makes them feel understood, is much less likely to grow tiring. You can hear the energy and the passion in his voice.
I do not think it is the audiences that are different. I think it is how Flea chooses to approach life. He sees the opportunity to love and serve where someone else might not.
For a while after college, I actively turned away from peace/love ect. as a lopsided ideal. I thought people who talked about it were only telling half the story of who they really were. And in some cases, that is true. Being loving can be a mask for all the ugly parts of ourselves we do not want to see. It can be an easy way to get people to like us and avoid conflict.
But people who recognize that the world can be harsh, and that parts of themselves are ugly or need to grow, mistakenly turn away from love. They assume, like I did, that being “real” meant embracing a bit of cynicism, putting up a bit of a guard.
I now realize that there are lots of people who hold love, not as a fuzzy ideal, but as something that they are constantly trying to actualize in their lives. They are willing to take a hard look at themselves and be honest about what they see. They are just human, but they are willing to take the lead and commit themselves to a higher ideal.
Like Flea, you can be willing to get on your knees every single day and pray for the chance to embody love. You can say: I am struggling here. I can be grumpy, and sad, and petty. I can go unconscious, and make choices that I am not proud of. But that it not a reason to turn away from love or give into cynicism. That is a reason to ask for help.
I believe in love. I believe in dedicating my life to opening my heart to more effectively give and receive love. I am willing to walk into the world with my heart first. I no longer care if I sound cheesy because I know that I am sincere. I say these things not because I am perfect, but because I am not. I say them as a pledge to guide my life.