So I called up the Captain
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969”
— Eagles, “Hotel California”
Some nights in a life are just better than others. And then there are some nights that are epic.
This past Saturday, I experienced one of those epic nights when I attended a Halloween party at a friend and colleague’s home in Bel Air, California. Now, in addition to this being the most magnificent home I’ve ever set foot in, the hospitality was equally magnificent. Food, drink, holiday decorations — all supremely delicious and exquisitely detailed for the All Hallows’ Eve revelry.
Yet what really made this night epic was the performance from iconic musician, member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and lead guitarist for the Eagles, Don Felder.
Felder is perhaps most famous for writing the main riff and the melodically poetic and unforgettable guitar solo to the song, “Hotel California.” Indeed, as I write this, you almost certainly now have that solo in your head. That’s how iconic Felder’s work is and how influential he’s been in the history of rock and roll.
Your editor in his “capitalist hippie” costume, alongside the famed Don Felder.
Watching Felder up close and personal (literally a few feet away) was nothing short of spectacular, and it’s one of those life moments that I will be talking about and remembering with an ultimate sense of joy and wonderment for the rest of my days.
I bring this evening to your attention this week in The Deep Woods, because it’s of critical importance to any life well lived to be able to have many peak experiences.
Now, peak experiences are different for everyone. The birth of a child, fulfilling a long-sought-after career achievement or a profound religious experience all fit into the category of peak experiences. And while you may not consider a private performance by a member of the Eagles a peak experience (although I can’t imagine why not), the important thing is that one strives to have these experiences on a somewhat regular basis.
You see, to me, life is about celebration.
Celebration that you are here and that you are a thinking entity capable of knowing how lucky you are as a sentient member of the universe. Just that realization alone is enough to be grateful, but then knowing you also can have the sublime feelings that come with peak experiences should make your sense of gratitude for existence overflow with a sense of awe and adventure.
Of course, life also is difficult. There’s pain, suffering and ultimately, you will no longer be attending the party. Worse yet, you will have to leave the party while the party is still going on.
Yet just because we know life is finite doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate. Indeed, it’s precisely because life is finite that we must cultivate the peak experiences and moments that make our days on earth worth the struggle.
As “Hotel California” reminds us, “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”
I take that lyric to mean that, although we can choose to “check out” and live a life unexamined, we are still here and we exist right now, and we can “never leave” the responsibility of thinking and acting.
And because we have that life, and that choice, why not choose to live it inspired, with a sense of purpose and with a goal of basking in peak experience?
I know which way I want my life to go, and if you’re reading this, I suspect you do, too.
So, let’s all check in to the Hotel California, because it’s a lovely place, such a lovely place.
Take It Easy
We may lose and we may win
But we will never be here again
Open up I’m climbin’ in
To take it easy
— Eagles, “Take It Easy”
One of the most iconic songs by the Eagles is one that was co-written by the great Jackson Browne (a personal favorite). In the chorus here, the band reminds us that whatever life brings in the moment, whether good or bad, that moment will never be duplicated. So, just open up to it, climb in — and take it easy.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.