This Sustainable Life

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322: Sex, drugs, and rock and roll, part 1: Rock and Roll

Ep. 322

Growing up in Philadelphia in the 70s meant Bruce Springsteen was a part of my life. I’ll always remember a fan in a promotional radio b-roll clip from one of the classic rock stations saying excitedly, definitively, “He’s the best, he’s Bruce. . . He’s the Boss!”

One of the earliest albums I bought was Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ. My high school girlfriend’s older brother saw every show of his he could. I loved the Beatles most as a kid, but I’ve come to appreciate Bruce more over the years. I don’t know anyone else who does anything like him, so raw, open, and honest, yet able to fill stadiums for weeks on end—not in music anyway. Maybe Muhammad Ali. If Woody Allen kept making movies at the Annie Hall level? Fellini? Malcolm X? I’m sure there are others that did the same but didn’t speak to me as personally. Billy Holiday?


 

I didn’t know his show Springsteen on Broadway was on TV. I watched it and couldn’t believe what I saw—how touching, personal, and meaningful a rock star could make a show. He spoke and sang so personally, the performance defied what I could imagine anyone expecting.

The New York Times review, ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ Reveals the Artist, Real and Intense, described it well so I won’t try. Besides, you can watch it.

Wikipedia summarized critical reactions:

The New York Times said “as portraits of artists go, there may never have been anything as real—and beautiful—on Broadway”.[19] Rolling Stone noted “it is one of the most compelling and profound shows by a rock musician in recent memory”.[20] The Guardian observed “there’s a fragility and a new light cast on the songs and his relationship with Scialfa, as if he stands in her emotional shadow”.[21] Variety reported the show “is as much a self-made monument to its master’s vision and hurricane-force ambition as it is to his life and career, and it bears the mark of a self-made man who’ll write his own history”.[22]
On June 10, 2018, Springsteen received a special Tony Award for Springsteen on Broadway.

In his words:

I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible. I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind. In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theatre is probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years. My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work. All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value.

Inspiration

Why the title of this blog post: The Joshua Spodek Show?

I’m writing in the throes of inspiration to stop holding back important parts of my life. People keep asking more about me, what motivates me so much to what they see as extreme, but seems normal to me.

My paychecks from NYU and the corporate world kept me from sharing about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Meanwhile, the more I shared, in drips and drabs, the more people appreciated what I shared. Sharing intimate parts of my life led to more coaching clients seeking more rebirth and growth. I haven’t considered these hidden parts meaningful since I thought everyone lived their versions, but I loved hearing Bruce share his on Broadway and realized I loved hearing him share himself his whole life.

Meanwhile, the virus decimated my speaking and workshop business despite it revealing the world’s catastrophic lack of environmental leadership. NYU’s culture of academic, theoretical, compliance-based education increasingly clashes with my active, experiential, project-based way of teaching they give lip service to but don’t practice.

What have I got to lose?

Restoring nature requires change on his scale. Can I do it? I don’t know, but not by holding back.

Last year a couple volunteers who helped with my podcast persuaded me to change the podcast name to the Joshua Spodek Show. I held back because I considered the overlapping topics of leadership and the environment the foreground and myself the background.

For that matter, I sat down years ago to tell my mom, sister, and others close to me about my partying, the girls, and how influential they were in making me me. Nobody had a problem. I still held back.

Springsteen on Broadway led me to say fuck it and share myself. I’ll follow the advice of people who believed in me and the mission that’s swept me up and change the podcast name. I have to figure out how in WordPress and the podcast hosting site so it might take a while. I’m not sure if I’ll try to figure out how to start or just dive in and scuttle my ships like Cortes.

I hope I don’t fuck up. Wish me luck.

Here's the Risky Business scene on video.


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5/22/2022

583: Growthbusters called me extreme, so I responded

Ep. 583
The notes I read from for this episode:“Lead by example”. I’m not leading by example.“Extreme” implies values, as does “middle ground” and “balance.” Everyone is extreme by someone else’s views.Everyone I talk to says they are balancing, that extreme is too much. What are you balancing with if one side is sustainability? How can the answer be anything but growth and unsustainability? People will say family, work, making money, but it doesn’t change that they are fueling growth and driving a system we are trying to change. Nobody said changing systems is easy, but systemic change begins with personal change.Our greatest challenge is not finding theoretical solutions on degrowth.If we want others to live by values like sustainability and stewardship, how can we influence them if we live by the excuses they do? If they hear us live by growth, why shouldn’t they? What’s the difference?Every person who resist degrowth agrees they prefer clean air, land, food, and water to polluted and nearly all say they have to balance, not be extreme.I would only ask this challenging a question if I had discovered that every step toward sustainability, while often hard at first, improved my life.When I hear someone say I’m extreme, it sounds like calling a parent who changes their child’s diaper extreme.If you own a pet or garden, you’ve changed your life more than I have.“It’s okay for Lloyd to set an example of living a 1.5 degree lifestyle that many many people aren’t close to.” My point isn’t the logistics of how to do it, but our values and character. No one raises their kid halfway. We do it out of love, passion, joy, fun, and all sorts of reward, no matter how much poop, vomit, injuries.My goal is to help people live by values of stewardship and freedom our culture has led us to suppress so much we think we should balance them with dishwashers and flying to vacation.If you want to experience the world, get rid of your bucket list. If you want to love your family, don’t fly to visit them rarely.I don’t want to sound like I’m pushing too hard on them. On the contrary, I believe that all of us, when we switch cultures, will wish we had earlier. I feel like I’m suggesting to a parent who abuses their child that they’ll prefer not abusing it? I don’t want to suggest nature or Earth are human children, but we sure are abusing them.When you pursue sustainability enough, you go through many transitions. One big one is from thinking of yourself first,.If I sound uncompromising, it’s because nature is uncompromising. Too many people measure their sustainability action by how much they feel like they tried. That’s why they say it’s so hard, so that every little bit counts for a lot. But two things. One, nature doesn’t respond to your feelings, it responds to your actions.Two, it’s not hard! It only looks hard until you commit and sweat the withdrawal.Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.The Growthbusters podcastThe Growthbusters documentary