Monday, November 10, 2014


There is a killer in your living room.

It lies in wait for your demise.

Forget the suspense. The killer is your TV.

No, I'm not talking about potentially dangerous radiation emissions from your flat-screen. Your TV literally wants to kill the you inside.

Chances are, you're a typical American. If so, you watch more than 5 hours of live TV every day, according to numerous studies like this one.

Assuming you're average in every way, you'll live to 79. By the time you croak, you will have watched 144,273.75 hours of television. Don't feel like doing math? Don't worry, sponge-brained TV watcher, I did it for you. When you die, you will have watched TV for almost 16 and a half precious years of your life, or just under one third of the time you're awake.

These figures don't even account for Netflix, YouTube, TiVo, and every other current available medium for getting your fix.

And you say you never have time to get things done.

Don't get me wrong: it's not what you're watching that's bad. It's that you're watching.

You watch TV because you're broke? Here's a news flash: TVs costs money. Satellite, cable, and Netflix cost money. More importantly, you could be making money in the time you're wasting.

You watch TV because you're bored? Cool. So you're telling me that you don't have a single friend who could use a listening ear? There's not a single nonprofit organization in town that's accepting volunteers? There isn't a single hike you could go on, a single person whose day you could brighten, a single cause you could champion? I didn't think so.

You don't have a TV, and you're proud of it? Good for you. Oh, but you stream all your shows and watch a ton of movies, too? You're a hypocrite. Shut up.

You're not doing, enriching, creating, living. You are simply consuming.

You made a connection with someone over the fact that you watch the same show? So what? A chimpanzee can watch TV and communicate about it. Forge connections with people over real life, over things that actually matter.

TV is not real life. Reality shows are not reality. TV is your reality, you say? Wake up. Your reality could be so much bigger. You were made to live life to the fullest, not take root on your couch.

You could be bettering yourself, your life, your planet. You simply can't do that while watching TV.

Chances are, your steady consumption of entertainment is the single biggest thing ruining your life today. You aren't making progress at work? Your relationship is stagnant? You feel like you don't have any real friends? You can't seem to lose weight? Stop complaining, turn off your TV, and get to work on your life. TV is a drug. It's an escape. But it won't let you escape forever.

Do I own a TV? Yes. Do I watch it? Once every couple months, when my 49ers are playing an important game. Does this make me a hypocrite? Of sorts, yes.

I'm not saying that there is never a time and a place for TV. I'm not advocating complete abstinence from entertainment consumption. I'm merely pointing out that if the balance sheet of your life tips in favor of consumption instead of production, it's time to make a change.

Nobody ever changed the world for the better by watching TV. Not once.

You can't imagine a life without NCIS, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, and Game Of Thrones, you say? (Confession: I Googled “Most Popular TV Shows 2014” before writing the previous sentence so I would actually sound like I have a clue about this stuff.)

Try turning off your TV for a week. I dare you. With all your newfound spare time, do something—anything--to make this world a better place.

Nobody on their deathbed wishes they would've watched more TV.

Kill your TV before it kills you.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Remember when we were kids?

Back when we were little people, we had big dreams. Dreams of changing the world. Dreams of leaving a mark on history.

We dreamed of being astronauts. Firemen. Explorers. Fighter pilots. We dreamed of becoming President. Of curing cancer. Of ending wars.

We dreamed big. 

Then, life happened.

As we grew older, and as we faced obstacles, our dreams were tempered by the fire of reality, shrunk in the dryer of the daily grind. We set our sights on careers with smaller impacts. We listened to the calm voice of reason instead of to the rebel yell of risk.

We got so wrapped up in making a living that we forgot to make a life.

Now, we sit in our cubicles, in our committees, at our conferences, with our clients, or on our couches, wondering what happened to our dreams of changing the world.

I have good news for you.

You can still change the world.

Impossible, you tenuously mutter to yourself. You have a mortgage. Bills. Kids. A family. Friends. A job. A dog that you love, at most times, more than everything else in this paragraph. 

Well, you're probably not going to cure world hunger or eradicate terrorism anytime soon. You're most likely not going to devote yourself to the destitute hordes of Calcutta. You're too old to be a rock star, and you're too (insert any number of negative adjectives here) to be a supermodel.

You left your childhood dreams in a box, along with all your action figures and stuffed animals, somewhere in your parents' basement.

But, you can still change the world. Not metaphorically. Tangibly.

Here's how:  Show some love to someone. Today. Right now. Love someone lovable. Then, love someone unlovable. Then, do it over again.

Heard of the ripple effect? The butterfly effect? You have. Believe in their efficacy? You probably don't.

Love someone. Try it today. Will you see the effects overnight? Probably not. Will you be voted Time's Person Of The Year? Doubtful. Will your actions have a very real, lasting effect on your sphere of influence, and eventually many other spheres as well? Unequivocally, yes.

Be the kind of person you want in your own life. The kind of person who changes the people around you for the better. They, in turn, will do the same.

Kevin Bacon has only six degrees of separation from everyone else on the planet? I'm pretty sure that love and kindness spread considerably faster. 

So, go ahead and dream big. Dream of being kind to someone who life has passed by. Dream of responding to a snarky comment from your significant other with love and grace. Dream of giving when no one is looking. Dream of loving your family even when you don't feel like it. Dream of being the kind of person who exudes such joy, such love, such concern, such grace, that everyone around you can't get enough of you.

Dream of loving and expecting nothing in return.

Dream it, then do it. It really is that simple.

You rarely change someone else's life from on stage. From a space shuttle. From the Pentagon. From a mansion in Beverly Hills. You change someone's life, someone's world, when they are standing right in front of you, imperfectly perfect, beautifully bittersweet. Just like you.

Riches, fame, and success are fleeting. Faith, hope and love remain, and the greatest of these is love.

What are you waiting for?  Go change the world.

Monday, July 7, 2014


I blew it.

Messed up. Missed a golden opportunity.

I believe that we were placed on this earth to love, primarily. Not just to love our friends, our family, and those who love us back. We were placed here to love people who have nothing to give us in return. The unlovable, if you will.

Every morning, I pray that my eyes will be open to the needs of those around me, both stranger and friend. I pray that people who need love will be placed in my path. I pray that I will be able to take my mind off of my own needs, pull my head out of my metaphorical behind, and simply love. Whether that love consists of a listening ear or a Clif Bar tossed out my car window in the general direction of a homeless person, I try to answer the call.

More often than not, I miss that call.

A couple days ago, I was in the midst of a busy shift at Stanford's at Portland International Airport. Working at airport bars is an interesting endeavor. It's virtually impossible to predict when business will arrive. A couple international flights delayed simultaneously? You can go from two guests to a hundred in just a few brief minutes.

I was in the middle of such a rush when a young, dirty, scraggly-looking guy walked in to my bar and sat down at one of the few remaining open tables. He ordered a water. I brought over a menu and asked for his ID. Even though he wasn't drinking alcohol, Oregon law mandates that minors can't even sit in certain bars, including mine.

"I don't have an ID," he meekly replied.

There was a sadness, an emptiness, in this young man's eyes that struck me, that seared its way into my brain.

"OK, no worries," I said. "I'll get you a table in the dining room."

He quietly got up from his chair and made his way towards the dining room. I followed. It was then that I noticed his feet.

He wasn't wearing shoes.

Unfortunately, our corporate policy adheres to the old adage "No shirt, no shoes, no service." No pants? No problem. But shoes are a must.

I knew I had to ask him to leave. I was getting busier by the second, with people streaming in from several hurricane-delayed flights to the East Coast.

So I did. No apology, no pause.

He quietly responded, "I've been asking all the stores in the airport if they have any work I can do in exchange for some shoes. No one had any available. I just want to get a salad but I can't afford that either."

This was no ordinary homeless guy. He was no con artist, he was no criminal. He never asked me for anything; never was anything but courteous. Somehow, though, his path had led him to the place where our paths would intersect.

I have over 40 pairs of shoes in my closet. I have an enormous tub of salad mix currently spoiling in my fridge because I can't eat it fast enough.

This is America, though! I work hard for what I have. I give, but only when it doesn't hurt.

"I'll just finish my water and go," the guy said. And he did. I walked away. Paying customers required my attention.

It wasn't until after the rush slowed down that the weight of what I had done settled upon my shoulders.

I could've done so much in so little time. I could've bought him a salad, and boxed it up to go. I could've given him the Clif Bar I'd brought to work. I could've smiled. I could've asked him how he was doing. I could've asked him if there was any way I could bring him a pair of shoes after I got off work.

None of these things would have taken much time, money, or effort on my part. Still, I did none of them. My other customers were waiting, customers whose tips would help me store up treasure here on earth. As for the one customer who could've helped me store up treasure in heaven? I turned my back on him and walked away.

"Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine," said Jesus, "you did it for me."

"I was hungry and you didn't give me food to eat...I was a stranger and you didn't welcome me. I was naked and you didn't give me clothes to wear."

I don't know why this one encounter left me in such a fragile emotional state. I've blown plenty of opportunities to love in the past, and I will undoubtedly miss more chances in the future. But this one guy's eyes, his voice, his pain left an indelible impression on my heart.

Maybe I've been too focused on my own struggles. Yes, this year has been tough for me. Three months of no walking and working. Two months and counting of constant back pain and fitful sleep. Literally sixty appointments with healthcare professionals.

All it took, though, was one man's lonely, hungry, desperate stare to realign my perspective.

I'm going to keep an extra pair of shoes in my car, just in case our paths cross again.

Friday, May 9, 2014


These last three months have been a trying time for me. In the midst of almost constant pain, frustration, immobility, and financial difficulty, the words of the old hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" have given me hope. So, I recorded this hymn in the hopes that it, and He, could do the same for you. 

It will be officially released on May 12 on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else, and you can pre-order it on Amazon today.

After reading about Horatio Spafford, the hymn's author, and the suffering that he endured, my trials pale in comparison. However, it's safe to say that we will all encounter hardship, and we are all in need of hope and perspective. I hope this song can provide that for you, as it has for me.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Are you happy?

Do you tell yourself that as soon as life gets better, or as soon as things slow down, or as soon as circumstances change, you will be?

Or are you happy right now, in this moment, in the midst of this malevolent maelstrom called life?

Several years ago, I wrote a song called "Comatose." It never made it on a Crown Point or Jon Davidson album, but we played it hundreds of times on tour in hundreds of cities. It's a song about a girl who has been hurt deeply and endured a lot of pain, both emotional and physical. Often, to introduce the song, I'd say that crappy things are going to happen to us all, and that we can't avoid them. What matters is how we respond: do we shut down and feel sorry for ourselves, or do we take the pain, whether physical or emotional, as a chance to grow and bless others?
It's one thing to dispense sound advice. It's quite another thing to accept it. 

And so, in the wake of my ruptured Achilles and the months of no walking or working that have ensued, I came to the conclusion that once again, it's time for me to take my own advice. Which, to be quite honest, I'm rarely a fan of doing.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse (although since the horse is already dead, it can't feel a thing, and therefore I won't be expecting any angry correspondence from PETA), but this injury, and all of the life changes it necessitated, has been very difficult for me.

I'm still happy, though. Why? It's simple.

Happiness is a choice.

Not a choice we make once. Not a choice we make when it's convenient and easy. Happiness is a choice we each must make, every moment.

It is a choice we can make regardless of our past, regardless of our future, regardless of the present. It doesn't mean ignoring pain or sugarcoating miserable situations. Yes, there are times to mourn, as the book of Ecclesiastes phrases so beautifully. I'm not suggesting that we all walk around with big, goofy grins at funerals. However, choosing happiness does mean being able to find joy and peace in spite of the terrible circumstances life throws our way, and realizing we still have the incredible ability to make other people's lives better through our words, actions, attitude, and example.

I haven't always succeeded at choosing happiness these last nine weeks. Kimberly, and quite a few of my friends, can attest to the fact that there have been plenty of moments that I've been frustrated, angry, sad, and discouraged. Furthermore, most of the activities that used to bring me happiness, like hiking, biking, running, sports, traveling, and playing shows, haven't been feasible with my injury. Needless to say, I've struggled way more with remaining happy than I usually do.

Two things have kept me looking up, though. First, I do have a lot to be thankful for. More than I care to write, and more than you care to read. Second, the onlything I have control over is my perspective, my attitude. Life happens, and it happens to us all. However, life can't steal my joy; it can't bring me down unless I let it.

So, for today, for right now, I choose joy. I choose happiness. 

So can you.

Here are the lyrics to Comatose, in case you're interested. You can read more of my lyrics at

Copyright 2011 by Jon Davidson

Maybe she has figured out what life is truly all about
Behind the twisted maze of wires, a living, breathing, flickering fire
But she has tried and failed to wake her heart from its unconscious state
To love is to be prone to pain; she vows to never hurt again

Comatose, comatose
Her eyes forever open, her heart forever broken
Comatose, comatose
Her eyes forever open, her heart forever broken

Maybe she will sit and wait as she succumbs to every fate
Or maybe she will wake again to life and love and blood and pain
For in the face of hardship lies the choice to simply shut her eyes
Or take the pain as grace and know that she will never be alone

Comatose, comatose
Her eyes forever open, her heart forever broken
Comatose, comatose
Her eyes forever open, her heart forever broken

Monday, March 3, 2014


There are two types of people: those who get it, and those who don't.

Yes, this obvious truism could be applied to all walks of life. But since I'm holding the pen (metaphorically, of course—pens are so 1987), I'm going to apply it to the suffering and hardship that each of us will inevitably go through.

There are people who have been through exactly what you're going through, and can empathize, as well as people who haven't, but can still sympathize and be there in your time of need. And then? There are those who, through some pitifully inadequate analogy, try to make you think that they understand, and in the process point focus directly back on themselves. We'll call this group of people Group FT, which stands for a word I'd rather not type here. Use your imagination.

Saturday night neatly summed up the dichotomy between these two groups.

The scene: Radio Room, one of my favorite lounges in Portland, located on Alberta Street. Around 9, I rolled in on my knee scooter (that's just how I roll these days) to meet up with a couple good friends. We engaged in some meaningful conversation, only to be briefly interrupted by not one, but two, obnoxiously loud, yet surprisingly melodic, renditions of “Happy Birthday.” After awhile, our server stopped back by, motioned in the direction of a table of birthday partiers, and said that the gentleman in the blue shirt would like to buy me a drink.

Typically, when a man (especially one in a blue shirt) buys me a drink, it's because they assume that I play for the other team, or at the very least, they think that they can convince me to briefly make a guest appearance for the other team. I take this as a compliment, but politely decline. Due to my injury, though, I'm unemployed, and am in no place to turn down complimentary beverages.

I accepted his offer.

Naturally, I went over to the birthday table to thank my benefactor. Turns out, he had no romantic intentions. He had just gotten off of a knee scooter and crutches himself, due to a broken leg that had kept him out of the world of the walking for five months. “I feel your pain,” he said. And he had.

Not only that, it was his birthday. The birthday boy himself was so empathetic, so able to relate to my pain, that other people were all he could think about on a day that was supposed to be about him.

Not five minutes later, the drink had run its course, and I headed for the men's room. There, at the urinal next to me, a guy looked over, assessed my injury, and said, “I feel you, man. We're both in the injured camp. I tweaked my hip this morning, and it's been kinda hurting all day when I walk.”

This guy was definitely an FT.

What I wanted to say? “With all due respect, I'm sorry that you hurt your hip. But, guess what? You're walking. Just fine, from the looks of it. I haven't walked in a month, and there's a chance I may never walk normally again. Not only that, but my Achilles hurts me 24 hours a day. When I'm laying down, elevating it, sitting up, riding in the car, taking a shower, trying to do mundane chores around the house without capsizing on my knee hurts. All. The. Time. Man up, you FT.”

What I actually said? “That's too bad, man. Hope you feel better.”

Don't tell this guy that a loved one or close friend just died. He'll come back with a story about Goldy, his late pet goldfish, that will rip your heart out.

Don't take this the wrong way, but unless you've been a very active person and then suffered a debilitating injury that not only kept you from walking for months, but also changed the course of the rest of your life, you have no idea what I'm going through.

A month ago today, my life went from sixty to zero with the snap of a tendon.

I can't work. I can't walk. Something as mundane as trying to put dishes in the dishwasher is an absolute ordeal.

Doctors have told me I'll never play basketball, tennis, or volleyball again; may never again be able to climb mountains; will likely tear my Achilles again at some point down the road; will suffer pain and tightness in my leg for the rest of my life. This is not some minor setback. An Achilles tear is considered one of the most difficult injuries to fully recover from.

Furthermore, surgery isn't an option, according to every orthopedic physician I've seen. Most Achilles tendons tear close to the ankle, and surgery is as simple as suturing the two halves of the tendon back together. Recovery time is shortened, and you have a much slimmer chance of re-tearing your Achilles, when the surgical route is taken. In my situation, though, my tendon ripped completely off of my calf muscle, and it simply can't be reattached to the muscle.

So, I wait, leg immobilized, for my tendon to somehow find its way back to my calf like a long-lost friend and reattach. Best case scenario? I'm walking, albeit in a walking boot, two months from now, and through long, painful months of physical therapy, I'll regain most of the function of my leg. Worst case scenario? I may never walk normally again.

Sixty to zero.

In the year before my injury, I ran one full and one half marathon, climbed Kilimanjaro and Rainier, visited four continents, toured 27 states as a solo artist, and hiked in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and more. In the year following my injury, I'll be lucky to take a few painful steps on any given day.

If you haven't been here, you don't understand.

I didn't understand until February 3. I took walking for granted every second of my waking life.

Likewise, I don't understand what you're going through. I know there are events and struggles and trials in your life that I can't relate to, because I haven't been there. You've been through things that I may never have to endure, and my heart goes out to you. At the same time, I don't have to pretend to understand, and don't have to relate and equate your hardships to much more trivial events in my own life. I simply say a genuine “I'm sorry” and ask if there is anything tangible I can do to help.

We all will face pain in life, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental. We all will go through situations that test what we're made of. If the hard times haven't reared their ugly heads in your life yet, just wait. They will. I'm no solitary, heroic martyr here; billions of people before and after me will suffer injuries and setbacks that will change the course of the rest of their lives.

So what happens when someone in some sphere of yours is going through their Waterloo? Be someone who gets it. Even if you haven't walked in their shoes, be there for them. Be genuine. Don't make it about yourself. Find tangible ways to help get them back on their feet, both literally and figuratively.

James puts it this way in chapter 2 of his book: "Do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you say all the right words but never do anything? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup--where does that get you?" (The Message)

Regardless of your beliefs, or lack thereof, this is sound advice. True friendship and true love don't consist of words alone; they consist of actions.

Don't sit at home simply praying for someone if you can be the answer to their prayer. Don't send someone an e-Card and never take the time to visit. Don't put off till tomorrow helping those who are in need today.

I'm grateful for the people in my life who get it. I want to pay it forward; to make a tangible difference in others' lives the way my friends and family have done in mine. I fail at this more often than I'd care to admit, and tend to focus on my own needs, especially in the wake of my injury. I need to remind myself that although my leg may be in disrepair, my heart still works just fine.

I'm unable to do most of the activities that bring me happiness. However, this just means that maybe it's time for me to wake up, to find ways to bring others happiness.

I want to be someone who gets it. Are you with me?