Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy


The Magic of Yearly Goal Setting

Greetings friends!

I am writing you from a freezingly cold December afternoon in New York City. Christmas is a week away, and I have not bought a single gift yet. Tomorrow, I’ll start shopping, I promise!

With each blog entry I try to describe something of benefit to you, and I try to see a principle operation in my life. And it’s not about me being a teacher at all. It’s more about you the reader and I beholding a piece of “real magic” and hopefully learning and observing together so that you can improve your life as I improve mine.

One thing that was a huge turn off growing up was and teacher, advisor or advice giver who didn’t walk the talk. In between the words and the sentences lies the feeling and vibe of truth, and you know if someone is full of bull or not.

I try to make myself the guinea pig before writing or speaking. Whether it’s a musical principle or a life principle I test and observe. Then I speak or write.


I am reflecting on this past year 2009 and it’s had ups and downs – but I gotta say, truthfully it has had more ups than anything. I attribute this to weekly “mastermind” / accountability meetings with a friend and bassist extrordanaire Paul Beaudry. (our duo album is coming soon fyi…)

I had an awesome streak of goals that I met – I released the Stevie Wonder Guitar Instructional DVD, the Chameleon CD, the Christmas Guitar Celebration CD, I toured for several months non stop, and appeared 3 times in 3 continents on stage with Tommy Emmanuel.

Whew! (How did he do it all? Read on…)

On a weekly basis (when off the road) Paul and I met over morning coffee and acted as “accountability” partners. Each of us would get an hour for our “stuff”. We would advise eachother, tip eachother off to resources and encourage one another. We’d each leave the meeting committing to action that must be taken the following week.

After accomplishing “things” and seeing principles in action you see that the most powerful thing you can do is visualize. You already do, as a matter of fact. If you are envisioning what groceries you’ll buy and find them in your fridge ours later – you used visualization!

Humankind has known this for centuries, and devoted to the power of prayer and belief since ancient times. Now that us humans are going deeper and deeper into the mysteries of quantum physics, it gets more and more mysterious.

What we see in our minds eye, and what we believe is what we get.

It’s very fashionable to talk about this stuff these days, all the LOA and “The Secret” stuff. But doing it – really doing it – and seeing it, is breathtaking.

Paul and I used a system this year by success mentor Raymond Aaron called “annual backwards goals”. The idea is that you envision yourself at the end of the year, going to a New Year’s Eve party and thanking yourself for the goals you have achieved. That’s right, so on Feb 12, 2009 I wrote myself a letter but dated it December 31, 2009 thanking myself for achieving the goals of 2009 that at that time – had not yet been achieved.

What’s super cool about mapping the year’s goals out is that it adds a new dimension to your monthly goals, then to your weekly goals and of course daily goals.

The result? Well this process sets up a picture in your mind, and every action, discussion, email, phone call and breath end up being directed towards the accomplishing of those goals. No, not in a pushy conscious way but in an automated, sub-conscious way. It is as though the goal was a vortex whose gravitational pull you can’t escape. Your mind functions as as a success seeking mechanism.

This works equally well for anticpating bad events and worrying – so one needs to be strong and envision the good stuff. A mental couch potato has no problem seeing the bad in life or worrying. It takes strength to keep one’s vision positive and productive!

I very much hope to somehow empower musicians and artists (and everyone else) to harness this awesome power. These principles for many years were written off as feel good mumbo-jumbo, but what you start to see is that faith, vision and creativity are far more important than what lies in front of you. What’s in front of you physically is already the past, but your vision and ideas are the future.

Quantum physics is proving that the outcome of experiments changes depending on the “observer”. The observer is co mingled with matter and energy and is part of the experiment. If this is the case, know that your observation and vision manipulates the matter and circumstances around you too.

Happy Holidays! More to come on this fascinating topic….


A Glimpse into Attachment and Aversion

As a musician, returning from a tour can be tough. After nights of gigging, seeing new places, meeting new people, being the center of attention – to come back to the mundane existence of the same old neighborhood and dusty apartment can feel very dissapointing. It stirs up huge amounts of attachment to the “exciting parade” of touring, and aversion to my “boring life back home”.

As they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn. How true. Allow me to share the rays of today’s sunrise with you.

Whether it’s love one wants, or money, or security, or an object – the feeling of “being incomplete” until the object of desire or situation is acquired is itself the source of misery. How many of us walk around feeling incomplete all day long? Maybe your job is not good enough, the car, the house needs fixing, I want a new gadget, etc. It goes on endlessly until the madness is seen for what it is. Must we walk around feeling incomplete? We often do so automatically without inquiring into this feeling.

For about a two weeks an intense feeling of wanting has come over me due to the ending of a relationship. Being the spiritual seeker that I am, I decided to use this situation to look deeply into the nature and causes of my pain and suffering. It’s one thing to do it in the abstract – but to really apply knowledge and insight when the emotional rubber hits the road is quite the test!

By knowing the feeling of “not having” this person in my life, it follows logically that I know what it feels like to “have” her, right? Both feelings are accessible to me, right? If I know the pain of being without something, then I know the love of being with it, right? Could I somehow find harmony and oneness in this duality of having vs not having? Is there one big reality that contains both feelings? Can I discover the “coin” that these 2 sides belong to?

I started doing this inquiry on the plane ride home from Europe, and at the same time found myself contemplating how we were chasing daytime around the globe. I observed that it is always day, and it is always night somewhere on earth. There’s always part of the globe illuminated and part not. These 2 are linked, like yin & yang. One can think it is night yet it is day somewhere else, right? It’s not day or night – it’s both!

Aha! From an earthbound standpoint it either has to be day OR night – but stepping back to a more cosmic viewpoint, one sees it is equally both at all times. Could I see that feelings of having and not having are also aspects of one unified, non dual reality as well? Could I “go cosmic” in regards to my feelings of wanting versus having?

Much to my surprise, I easily called up the feeling of the “having” the love I yearned for – and let go of the lacking feelings for a brief moment. I fooled myself by asking if I could allow myself 30 seconds of relief to feel the “having feelings”. I felt it not as a memory, but a present moment feeling of “I have it now” – much like what is prescribed in visualization books. In an instant, I entered a whole new place through letting go of a lacking feeling.

Just think of all the things you have had in your life, toys as a child for example. You may no longer have them, but you might not feel that you need them to be complete now. You can feel that you have them even if you don’t, right? Can you see that the feeling of having is not necessarily based on the physical presence of an object? Like wise, you can have something and feel that you don’t have. Look at the person with the 5 million dollar house who wants a 20 million dollar house – they feel they don’t “have”. Crazy but true.

For example – I feel that I have my beloved Grandmother in my heart, with no longing to have here on this plane. The same for the beloved pets I have had. They are with me, and I feel that I have them despite their not being here. On the flip side, I have been on international tours and still held onto the feeling of “I need to get more gigs”. Crazy but true.

Can you see now that the sensations of having and not-having are ONLY feelings? I repeat – crazy but true. But sane to investigate this! πŸ™‚

Lester Levenson laid it out simply. Want equals lack. Give up the lack feelings, and have it all. Simple and profound.

A shift in my viewpoint started a deep sense of “everything is ok”, “it is all given”, and peace emerged. Things still are what they are, but the feelings of “I’m incomplete” and “I want” transformed into “It’s all ok” and “I am at peace”. A shift in perception! Now that’s a true miracle.


Here’s a little illustration you might enjoy:

“Christmas is coming and it’s time to get a tree. A feeling of incompleteness settles because we want but don’t have a tree. It’s urgent and necessary – we gotta have a tree. We get the tree and have to decorate it. More wanting, we gotta do it and won’t feel complete until we do. We do it, and sit back and ahhh…we feel complete for a little while. A week later – hey the tree is getting old, we gotta take it down. We gotta put all the ornaments away and sweep and dispose of the tree properly – more wanting. We’re incomplete until we do so. We do it and feel complete again now that the house is all cleaned up.”

Ok – nothing wrong with a Christmas tree, of course! But what I am looking at is the thread of “incompleteness” sewn through the experience and the relatively few moments of feeling complete woven through this whole scenario. Isn’t the feeling of completeness accessible to us more than this? I think so.

This example is just a microcosm of how we live life. I know there is a happier way. The feeling of completeness is always accessible to us, just the same way silence sits behind noise, waiting patiently.

Happy Holidays! I hope Santa brings you everything you want πŸ™‚