May 22 2013

Paul Williams



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Love, Understanding



I love where I live.  If you follow my tweets @IMPaulWilliams you’ve probably noticed the excessive use of boat and bay photos to illustrate my messages.  I love living by the water.  My morning runs when I’m back on the left coast are a symphony of snapping iPhone photos and songs of the sea.

Though home is not an address.  Home is not a zip code or a neighborhood

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the house I live in with my lovely wife and our two cats. Mariana’s done a wonderful job creating a nest of comfort and class. Framed photos of her kids and mine are everywhere.  Proof of a life well lived

I love my little office with its walls full of memories.  A yellowed photograph of me at 187 pounds standing proudly next to a grinning icon leaning on his cane.  Jimmy Cagney looks healthier in his 80’s than I did in my 40’s.  Posters. Plaques.  Past conquests.

But, my work isn’t in the past it’s in the present.  It’s in this hotel room searching for the words that really, really, really say what I’m trying to say. (Three really’s proving I speak pre-teen too.)  And my home is, to paraphrase Hemingway, a moveable nest

Home’s a feeling I can plug into trotting thru the crowds on 6th Ave near 42nd street.  It’s in a room full of music creators discussing the big changes in the way we listen to music.  Or meeting a doorman of a building where a friend lives and finding he’s sober too.  Suddenly I have a stronger connection with this uniformed stranger than with wonderful people I’ve known for years

Home’s in my head.  It’s an attitude.   It’s feeling safe.  And useful.  Maybe that’s it. Useful.  The opposite of ‘In the way!

Thirteen years ago I walked away from a failed marriage and left behind a house I’d lived in for 25 years.  My kids learned to swim in the back yard pool I’d put in.  Recently an episode of a reality show about ghosts was filmed there and I was asked to visit and comment on some strange happenings that had occurred there during my watch.  I’m speaking of paranormal events.  I’ll share those stories at another time

Visiting the house, I was amazed that I had no sense of loss or sentimental attachment.  I remember thinking “it’s not mine now.  And it never was.

Detachment.   The lack of ownership of things and the need to acquire more may be an emancipation  as noteworthy as my sobriety and freedom from addiction to cocaine and alcohol.  If I could track down the day that happened I’d celebrate it.  But, I can’t.  It’s an ongoing process but I’m grateful for the change.   It allows me to move through my day grateful for the  people who enrich my life.  Grateful for the opportunities to continue to do the things I love doing while I stumble through the sweet process of learning new skills.  I.E. writing things that don’t rhyme!

And celebrating the perfect now I’ve finally become aware of

Life’s a gift.  Yes, there are tornados and shootings and injustice and prejudice. There is heartache beyond measurement for the people who suffer great loss at the hands of nature or a madman

But, if I am free of longing for places and things I can give my heart completely to the people I love so much and perhaps make a difference in the world.   Can truly live in love and service. Gratitude and Trust

I’m getting closer.  There’s still one big attachment that’s gonna take some time to deal with

I miss my cat!



Paul Williams

Paul Williams is a singer, songwriter, actor, recovery advocate and has been a fixture on the American cultural scene since the seventies. His book Gratitude and Trust is now available.