Many thanks to Rick DIBiasio, creator of Middle Aged-Crazy for participating in our interview series. Enjoy! Below are the questions I asked Rick followed by his humorous, honest, and enlightening response.
On your website Middle Aged-Crazy you describe the discovery of your creative spirit as an experience that was somewhat instantaneous. Can you describe that experience? You say "expressing yourself creatively finally bubbled over." What was it that held it down for so long?
And the image of the creative spirit as a Beast...where did that come from? Why do you choose to draw that comparison?
You are a writer, but what other creative outlets have you discovered that really connect with your Beast? How did you find them? Or how did they find you?
You explore your ideas through a lot of mixed media on your blog. Lots of videos, images, and audio. What made you choose to represent your ideas online this way?
How did you meet your Spirit Guide "Paul." What have you allowed Paul to bring to your life and in what ways has he changed it?
Rick D: I'M A BIG FAN OF PETER'S AND I'M HAPPY TO BE HERE TO TALK WITH YOU! (I should tell you that I have decided to do all interviews in a very poor Maurice Chevalier French accent and you are really lucky these answers are all in typed form.)
I don't know if it was completely instantaneous. I was a Wall Street guy, but I've always been a little "different" than most of the guys in that profession. I knew I wanted to be a writer someday, but I wasn't writing. (Well, I was writing some pretty good investment newsletters and sales proposals). I loved music but I wasn't a musician. I had, in short, always followed the path of least resistance, and, in my case, that path led me down a business road as a sales person. Years went by and I never did get around to that writer, musician, philosopher thing. In 2007 I went to a Jack Canfield event called Breakthrough to Success and I decided that I had to acknowledge I was really living someone else's life, I wasn't being true to my soul.
The instantaneous part came because within 45 minutes, 4 different people at this event (there were 400 people there from 14 countries) approached me and said, virtually word for word, "Rick, I'm very creative but I'm not very good with money, could you help me understand it?" I decided someone was sending me a message and, within three months of the event I wrote The Affluent Artists, got Jack to write the forward and found a publisher. Since then, I've been a writer who has a financial planning office; ask me what I do and I'll tell you I write books. Releasing my inner passion as a writer has made a huge difference in how I see the world and how it sees me.
I see the world through an artist's eyes now, I have found my true calling in life and I am lucky I did. That's where the new project comes from, Middle Aged Crazy is the opposite side of the Affluent Artist coin. The Affluent Artist was designed to help creatives get comfortable with the principals of financial planning, M.A.C. is a little more auto biographical, it's designed to help the people who have ignored their inner creative being for too long. I held it in for too long because I had bills to pay and ladders to climb, and, there's that whole path of least resistance thing. I'm a natural talker and I could make quite a bit of money as a financial planner, I wasn't exactly suffering. As I grew up, I'm 54 years old, the internet didn't exist, there were no blogs, it was difficult to just declare yourself to be a writer. It's different now, it's much easier to follow your passion and find your audience without all of he middle men that used to be the gatekeepers of the art world.
The Beast is the creation of artist and friend Betsy Streeter, she'd read some of my work and contacted me about it. We had a great conversation and, before I knew it, she'd created this wonderful little slide show with the Beast.
I was working on the Affluent Artist at the time, but I had this really weird inspirational experience. I was in my boat last March, cruising on the Banana River (near Cape Canaveral here in Florida) when I heard a voice that said "Shut it Down". I knew this voice, it's my guardian angel, a guy named Paul, who has appeared to me and other people on my behalf. (There is person who channels angels in Utah who he kept up all night once talking about me). So, I shut the boat down. He said, "Not the boat, The Affluent Artist."
"Man, that's my baby."
"I know, but your work there is done, I have something better," and he laid out the whole Middle Aged Crazy thing, including the title. His first instruction was to call Betsy and she agreed to do the logo and be part of the project. We've never met, she's a Mom in San Francisco who used to be the art director for EA Sports. She has "gotten it" regarding Middle Aged Crazy from the beginning. I think the Beast is such a perfect analogy because if you don't let your real reason for coming into being come out, you will never know true happiness. Trying to keep your creative beast locked up is a very dangerous thing. You are creating a life anyway, why not create one that makes your soul happy?
This whole Paul thing is really weird, I had been at a conference in California where a friend told me about an angel book, she said if I asked my guardian angel to introduce himself, he would. SO, on the flight home, as a I got in my seat, I skeptically said, "Ok, who are you?" Before I had the question out, I heard "PAUL, PAUL, PAUL!" and I was blown away, the thoughts I had were loud and almost audible. I decided that this was either a new voice in my head or an angel, either way, it was going to make the 6 hour flight home interesting.
Since then, Paul seems to come and go, although he claims he is always there, I'm just not listening sometimes. He claims that I am writing this book for him, that I am going to build a following of people who need to hear my message. He has awakened me in the middle of the night and not let me go back to sleep until I wrote what he told me to write. One time, he had me write 10 fairly random things, and, the next day, when a prospective publisher asked for my table of contents, I realized Paul had given it to me, word for word and in the correct order.
You've got to understand that my friends in the financial community would sooner take poison than admit to listening to Angels. I'm not a particularly religious guy and I am not one to believe in elves, hobbits or UFO's, but I believe that Paul is a messenger from God and I am humble enough to listen to him. I have learned that listening to inspiration is not something I've done very often, it took a really loud angel to get my attention. I wonder how many people actually listen to inspiration in their lives? Now that I listen, I find it everywhere, having something to write about is never a problem.
I love to write, but I am in awe of other great communicators, speakers, artists, songwriters and musicians. On my blog, I try to find songs that say what I'm trying to say. Recently, I used a Dave Mathews song called Grace is Gone that perfectly matched a particular heartache I had. I wrote about Grace in a positive, uplifting way, but the song explained the true emotions I was feeling, I was afraid I had lost grace and would never know it again. Dave Mathews said that better than I could.
I know that not everyone is a reader and my narrated slide shows are a fun way to make a point every once in a while, it's fun to find creative ways to make my point.
When I was a Wall Street guy, I was a "High A", aggressive, take no prisoners kind of guy. It was about making my monthly goals, making my clients money and finding more clients. I was a pretty unhappy, overweight guy with high blood pressure and the heart attack to validate it. I was miserable, even though some envied me and my life, I was going so against my nature that I had no governor, I didn't know how to moderate. Now that I have released my creative beast, I can't wait to get out of bed every day.
My biggest challenge with Middle Aged Crazy is trying not to offend the agnostic or the fervent. I've found that it is difficult to discuss inspiration and creation without being labeled as someone who is a Bible thumper or who "isn't Christian". Gee whiz, some guy last week said that "meditation" invites the Devil into your mind. Someone else said that a "Spirit Guide" (Paul) isn't Christian. Then others say I'm trying to force Creationism on them. It's something I am learning to handle with Grace, but it's a learning process.
I play guitar now, poorly, but once in a while I stop thinking and let my soul play the song and that's pretty magical. When I am in "Flow" writing-wise, I can go for hours, I don't often know what is coming out of my fingers until they strike the keys. The most unexpected part of all of this? People actually read what I write and seem to like it. Almost everyday I get a wonderful note from someone who said my words made a difference in their life and I am so humbled by that. I love words, I love to build sentences and communicate from my soul with them. I never really imagine that someone else might actually be listening! I think that's all Paul's doing, I know what artists mean now when they say they are simply channeling from a higher source. It's an honor to be the instrument that is going to help so many people release their inner creativity.