Last Thursday night I sang harmony in a quartet that came together to perform my friend, Michael’s songs for a fundraiser. We are all part of a spiritual/personal development school called the Diamond Approach, which means that our hearts were open, our egos relaxed, judge attacks were minimal and our connection deep. It was a beautiful experience. We already have another gig in November.
I had a wonderful time expressing the musical performer in me, experiencing parts of myself long dormant. I awakened the longing to do more of this kind of performing. Another facet of me was present and feeling alive.
When I said yes, I would do it, then came the doubts: Was I up to it? Could I trust the harmonies I was hearing; would it sound good? It was a risk, but I soon discovered that I could do it and do it well, which was backed up by the feedback of the other musicians and the audience. We usually err on the side of underestimating our abilities. And if we never test them, we never find out just what we can do.
I always thought that if life were perfect, I’d be a professional singer/songwriter. I’ve come to realize that I can get more satisfaction expressing myself musically in the ways I choose, freely writing what comes from deep inside, not dictated by some record producer seeing me as a commodity or me feeling pressured to meet a mortgage payment. I can actually have fun with it!
As artists, we often feel invalidated by ourselves and others if we haven’t reached the heights of success and commercialism that place us in the top ten percent. It’s as thought there is no reason to create if our talent is not validated by money and recognition in the industry. Much emphasis is put on celebrity to the diminishment of the artists out there practicing their art.
What’s really important to remember, is the value that creating gives to our lives. It is first and foremost, a gift to ourselves. The pleasure of blending our voice with others in song; the thrill of turning a phrase, creating an imagined world or journaling our thoughts and feelings in our writing; collaging or capturing images through photography, paint or glue that express something inexpressible with words; shifting our mood by moving our bodies in dance; using our hands to create beautiful and useful handicrafts; and the list goes on and on.
Sometimes the first thing that shows up are the negative voices reminding us we are not our art’s version of Picasso. These voices can truly rob us of the pleasure of creating. Creativity is less about product and more about process. Tune into how you feel when you are lost in the process, being guided by an energy that promises to surprise and delight.
Trust that still, small voice that says, This might work and I’ll try it.”
Remember how you felt when you were young and allowed yourself to be taken over by the creative process. It’s possible to be there again. And bringing this into your daily life energizes you, gives you a new perspective, generates ideas, gets you in touch with a part of yourself longing to be expressed—that still, small voice. And that is something we all could use.
How does it impact your being when you engage in creative pursuits? Leave your comments here.
Wishing on a Star
Wishing on a star this night, that I can clearly set
To tap into the magic, live the mystery
Open to the wonder, that plainly is right here
The beauty of the simple, tangibly so clear.