Folks We Love with Daniel Ahearn
Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to arrive here.
I was born in the Midwest grew up in SoCal moved to Nyc for college and moved back to LA in my late 20s. Lived here since. I have a 7 year old son. I’m divorced. I make my living in the arts. I’ve been sober for 13years. I’m grateful for every thing and everyone in my life. I’m proud of and baffled by the work that brought me here and I wouldn’t change a thing for this view
Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?
My son is 7 his name is Wyeth.
His mother is Amy. There’s no chance I’ll tell you her age, lets say she is post 21
How did you choose your kids names?
His mother and I made a list – each of us – and crossed out ones we didn’t like. Amy found his name and when we both saw it the search was over.
I loved how it looked on the page, how it sounds. I loved how it retains a masculine element without bravado and how there is a hint of wild america western sweetness in it.
Songwriter / Actor
What’s on your manifest board?
Glenn Gould /Pema Chodron /Raymond Carver/
Rilke/ John Prine/ Thomas Merton/ Thich nhat hanh/
Harry Dean Stanton / Giuseppe andrews / John Berryman /
Linda Manz / Julie London / St Francis / Anne Carson / Denis Hopper / Eno
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
I’m interested in anything that gets Wyeth talking – his developing perspective on the world is dazzling to experience for me, so it can come when we play chess, sing songs, draw, kick the soccer ball in the street, watch a movie or drive around and make up lyrics to what’s on the stereo. The most cherished moment for me is when he is in the bath and I can sit by him and read to him and listen to his mind retell the day.
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
Every so often I will ask him the same set of questions: what his favorite food is, best friend, favorite color, word etc…
It continues to be hilarious as the years change – recently his favorite word was Sexy. I can’t stop laughing about this.
His ability to cut through to the heart of matters dazzles me greatly – recently he asked me ‘what do you say when you pray?’ Before I could answer he responded to his own inquiry ‘oh I know…you say “you’re amazing, dont give up.”
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
Oh geez. Those were some flammable years and dreams, but the intentions underneath still resonate: I wanted a life of depth and value and beauty and art, I have these things in quantity and quality – Its stunning.
It looks different then I imagined because my imagination was immature and rebellious and angry – I thought love was about getting not giving.
What are some things you really believe in?
That we’re here to help each other. That life is a miracle we should savor daily and when things get heavy and pain gets great we need to rely on one another to get us through – we’re all connected in a literal way and this endlessly awe inspiring realization is the most simple and profound expression of divinity I have found.
If you have a call to create and make art it is not only a gift to cherish but a responsibility to care for, so much art has saved and changed my life and I believe deeply that artists are crucial to the well being of a civilization.
I believe life is an event, you get to go to it – so keep your eyes and heart open always, don’t want you to miss a thing.
Where do your passions lie?
Everywhere. No joke, life blows my mind daily,
But mainly in music and poetry and Wyeth.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
Um…yes. In hard hard ways through our divorce and astoundingly honest and heart opening ways in the depths of our building forward: who are we now, who do we want to be, how do we want to model honesty and love to our son, how do we achieve this in our own lives. I couldn’t tell you enough what a remarkably beautiful woman Amy is and I’m constantly in awe of her gifts, she has taught me a lot about being a man and being a father.
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
That it’s not about me – I get to be a part of the grand show but it’s not my show: Its our show. That there is a difference between the voice in my head and the one in my heart – my head gets me in trouble – that drinking and drugs are facsimiles of the real experience of harmony you can find through mediation and sobriety. This was a big lesson for me. Getting sober and looking at the family system I came from. Removing the blame and shame for things that happened to me as a child and things I did as a young man, accepting these and moving past them, breaking the cycle. Not to be too intense about it but I’m deeply grateful for my suffering and what it encouraged me to look for in an effort to not only survive but thrive.
What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?
I wish I could have told me that its critical to love yourself fully, forgive yourself constantly and be compassionate to yourself and others for they and you are always doing the best you can – humbly as it is to look back and see what these efforts amounted too, it was always your best, otherwise you would have done different. I would have also offered some fashion tips, as some mistakes are unforgivable : )
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
To push yourself to be constantly open to the well being of the child not necessarily being what immediately comes to your mind. To advocate for the child and hold boundaries, but to be open to listening to their needs. My son is 7 and has opinions and personality and he’s aware of his body and what he wants. I read from Osho (not a huge fan but…) he said “the job of the parent is to protect the child from the parent’, I know what he means, so I check myself constantly to see what's what.
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
That life is a gift and responsibility. Its precious and brief. Dig it.
Be helpful. Give and find the love.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
Laughter, Warmth, Wonder and Treat