I never gave any thought to the worldview of Willie Nelson. In fact, his pot-smoking, Jack-Daniels-drinking, hell-raising stories just doesn’t line up real well with my life plan. So when friend suggested a couple of years ago I read “The Tao of Willie,” I thought it would be a waste of time. I was wrong. Remembering a chapter this morning I think y’all may relate to his message.
“Since life is a journey, let’s think of it as a road trip. Ahead of you are untold opportunities for joy, learning, sharing, and a lot of fantastic sunsets and sunrises. And every one of these opportunities will be at the intersection of your trip and a road called Now.
“Unlike a real highway, it’s not a problem if you doze off and coast right through the corner of Now and Happiness avenues, because life is an infinite progression of these intersections, and each of them holds opportunity, surprise, and the promise of a smile.
“But if you’re asleep at the wheel your whole life, you’re gonna miss a lot of places called Now.
“Thousands of pages and millions of words have been written about living in the moment, but it is not a complicated idea. All you have to do is open your eyes — and all your senses – to the world around you.
“The easiest mistake on earth is to forget to appreciate what you have right now.
“Take last year, for instance, when my hand started knotting up on me and I found it almost impossible to play guitar. I went to see a bunch of doctors and they got worried looks on their faces, and that put a worried look on my face, and that got my band and crew looking really worried. When I don’t work, they don’t work. And we all like to work.
“So I had to take a few months off for surgery. And while my hand was healing more slowly than I wanted it to, I had a of time to appreciate all those gigs that I’d sometimes let myself think were just the okay gigs.
“Away from the road, I realized that every show is a blessing.
“I’m not trying to say that nothing goes wrong in my life. Or in yours. Your love life may not be perfect — okay, chances are your love life is definitely NOT perfect. Work may have something lacking, and you may be a few coins shy of that Jamaican vacation you’ve been dreaming about. But those are not causes of unhappiness. Those are distractions, obstacles, and challenges to overcome.
“You may carry a big chip on your shoulder about things that happened to you in the past, but that chip is nothing but a weight that’s anchoring you to intersections you’ve already passed.
“Quit looking in the rear view mirror and set your sights on the road ahead.”
I knew Willie wrote beautifully poetic songs but I had no idea he had such a thoughtful, balanced philosophy of life. His reputation does not necessarily set you up to expect this side of him. “Asleep at the wheel” and missing Now describes too many of us in business. If you own your own business, you are blessed person and your should show that you value it with your best efforts every day. Thanks for sharing this insight into a great singer and an interesting commentator on life!