This is uncomfortable...

1991 rusted Root signed photo.jpg

I want to share a bit of backstory with you. Though it's revealing and feels uncomfortable to say in public, it feels important to me to do so.

When I ended my career with Rusted Root in 2005 to focus on raising my kids, I was convinced that my performing days might be over for good. Being on the road for months at a time no longer fit for me and my young family.

The truth was that they needed me around and I needed to be there. There was no amount of applause, or money or autograph signing that felt as important as the things I was missing at home.

The problem was that all of my eggs were in Rusted Root's basket. It was my main source of income and my identity. To leave it (and my CIRCUS Magazinedreams of "stardom"), required that I "leap" into the unknown. It also meant that I would be forced to forge a new identify who was not "Jim Donovan, drummer of Rusted Root". 

This was a terrifying prospect – and yet, one that I knew I must do... or risk missing out on deeper connections with my wife and little ones.

When I did jump, what followed was a multi-year period of flailing. Though I could finally be present in family life and enjoyed it immensely, I faced a few years of depression, profound irritation and a strange feeling akin to grief. I had no idea of "who I was" anymore. I had identified so much as a member of a band that once it was gone, it took "who I thought I was" with it.

Learning to teach helped me to heal this - partially...

Through sharing what I knew, I discovered another passion that made me feel valuable to the world and to myself. I learned that I could be more than the original box I had put myself in. To get to this awareness required that I jump into the unknown – out of the "safety" of the life I knew.

Even though I had found a way to make a living doing something new that I loved, and the depression and grief had passed, there was the nagging issue of my irritation.

I knew exactly what it was about. I always had.

And I pushed it away, every time it reared it's nagging head.

It would say to me: "You should be performing your music". To which I would say "Be gone with you!" There is NO way I've got time for that. It doesn't fit my life. etc etc etc, blah, blah, blah, insert 1,000,000 more excuses here_______.

And yet, once again, the solution was to push back on my fear and take that leap. And then to keep leaping over and over again.

Fast forward through:

2 ambulance rides where I thought my life was ending,
"Leaping" into the discomfort of singing in front of people,
Finding 6 incredible guys to make music with,
A debut album "experiment" to find out if anyone might like the music,
Involving my kids in this new music,
2+ years of shows,
1 more year in the studio through 2017...

And now here I am in the present moment. The result of all the choices I have made to this point. My decades long irritation has been replaced with the peacefulness of being true to my mission. Though I know this feeling will ebb and flow, In this moment I can enjoy it. 

I can celebrate the understanding that much of the "good stuff" in life often resides across the chasm that appears slightly too wide to jump across. -Jim