Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Music Made With Joy

Last evening I had the pleasure to be in the audience for a local Community Concert featuring Pianafiddle. The duo consisted of two men with a generation between their ages. Lynn Wright, the eldest and a phenomenal piano player comes from a very interesting and diverse musical and professional background. Adam DeGraff, the violinist/fiddler, also hails from a history strongly woven around his love from music, which took him from the predictable structure of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra to his current partnership.

Together this pair co-creates something new every time they play. They manage to weave together many genres of music, often co-creating something original in the moment. Listening to their broad selection of types of music and watching them work, or rather play, together was a beautiful inspiration for the powers of co-creating.

What I saw was a partnership of two musicians that obviously loved and respected one another as well as the music they created. Magic happened as they played, leaning into one another, playing off each other's notes and obviously feeling complete joy in their process. I am convinced without question, this act is not an act.

The inspiration for me, other than wanting to play their CD over and over again, is in the power of trusting another, blending the gifts, talents and intuitive instincts to co-create something that could not be created alone.

Check out their website at to hear a bit of their music magic.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Route 287.....A Metaphor For Life

This afternoon I was driving home from a doctor's appointment and was in the mood for a more challenging drive, so I chose Route 287, a curvy road through the woods instead of the faster and straighter highway that is more convenient. The roads were clean, so I had no concerns of ice and snow complicating my trip. Although it was a bit cold, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there were beautiful clouds waltzing above me.

As I drove the 44 miles north it struck me how the unpredictability of Route 287 imitates my experience of life.

This road has lots of curves, some are long and slow, some short and sharp. To take the curves smoothly, I accelerate coming out of them. On some of the sharper curves, I slowed down a bit assessing the curve and then adjusted my speed going into it. This technique is similar to how I try to live life. I use some caution, but I don't slow down to a stop. I trust myself and keep on moving, accelerating and feeling the thrill of the hug of the road as I pull away.

Route 287 also goes up and down as it traverses the mountains. Some dips are pretty steep and as in life, can seem pretty scary. As I continue to travel along (driving and living), the road always eventually levels out and sometimes even rises to a peak with a beautiful view of what is ahead.

At times my drive took me through a densely wooded area which blocked the sun and made my experience very dark and feeling cold. I knew, however, if I just kept on moving I would drive out of the darkness and back into the light. If I am truly present, I can appreciate the darkness and the light.

Today I had the road to myself. In the nicer weather, I could typically expect many other vehicles trying to pass me, or slowing me down. Another great comparison to life when we live relative to the choices and actions of others.

Today was a very peaceful and yet stimulating drive that I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps it is because I can never see exactly what is beyond the next turn in the road. I love surprises and meet them with a willingness to enjoy the ride!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fear For Our Lives

In our society we often hear people share their fears about dying. I imagine it is the fear of the unknown that creates an aversion to even contemplating the end of one's life. We humans seem to try to resist that which we don't understand and with our resistance we create a gap in our life as we fear our death.

Another significant fear that can interrupt the joy of living is actually to live fully. For some, it is the thought of not holding back or living up to the glorious being that they are, that scares them the most. Sometimes it seems easier to play small and pretend you don't matter. We can create a story about ourselves that makes us out to be unimportant or ordinary, which justifies our fear of living fully.

Living in fear of death and/or of living fully does not have to be the norm. Another choice would be to live fully allow yourself to rise to every occasion that blesses your life experience. Imagine openly and joyfully embracing every opportunity that makes your heart sing. Imagine boldly following your heart's desire without fear of failure. Imagine making decisions that honor you, rather than someone else that believes they know what is best for you.

You cannot live in fear and in freedom at the same time. I encourage you to notice where you stand in your life. What are you afraid of? Death, or living a no holds barred life? Perhaps it is both. Once you get clearer on where you stand, notice how it feels and then decide how you want to feel.

I imagine that once you are committed to living fully and without fear, death will no longer be resisted, but seen as just another part of the life experience.

The bottom line of this story is we will all eventually have our lives come to an end here on earth. How we spend our time living is up to us.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Universal Desire

While in Sacramento last week I had an awareness (not necessarily new, but a reminder) of a universal desire we all hold, regardless of our age, background or current state of life.

This thought of universality struck me while co-leading a workshop for a group of retirees at Christ Unity Church in Sacramento. The workshop title was Retire and Refire and our focus was on inspiring the participants to honor who they are and follow whatever dreams and desires that call them to full aliveness. Our discussion was stimulating and joy filled.

As I listened to the participant's desires and felt their joy as they spoke, it struck me how I feel the same way when I am working with a group of teens or doing Essence Leadership training in a business. Although the specific dreams and desires may change some of the time, the underlying desire remains the same.

The universal desire I witness repeatedly is to simply be happy and to feel doesn't change. Somehow, paying attention to this fact feels very good to me. It creates a sense of oneness that crosses the span of generations, lifestyles and even cultures.

I am also energized to think about how I can strengthen my own ability to live joyfully and with freedom. It feels like my joyful inner child handed off the baton of joy to the teen and then on to the young the middle aged woman... and to the wise old person that I will become. This sense of universality feels right and natural. The only change I hope for is that it I may welcome JOY even more than I am now.