Yesterday a musician that I respect gave me some "homework." The "homework" was to think about what music most deeply speaks to me and why. I became super excited because the assignment made me realize that becoming very clear about what it is that inspires and moves us, helps us to understand what inspiring and moving thing it is that we are meant to contribute to the world.
All of a sudden, my midnight video watching, my cooking soundtracks, my dancing in the car, all had meaning. Those very things that excite me, that pull me out of the well of painful self-absorption, that lead my mind from darkness to light; are significant because it is the synthesis of all those things that is my specific contribution to this experience we call Life. There are so many times that I have talked myself out of speaking up, of being seen, of making an artistic choice and creating the music that I hear in my head because I thought no one would be interested. So many people have already gone before me and done everything better than I can. What can I possibly contribute to the existing wealth of beauty in the world? (So says the Inner Eeyore)
Has this ever happened to you? Maybe the question is more like "has this ever not happened to you"? My experience is that most of us tend to hold back our gifts, thoughts, and potential contributions, on account of our limiting beliefs. I once had a student (who shall remain nameless, I promise) ;-) who was a great, though shy, student. She came to all my classes. She diligently practiced the harmonium. She worked hard to learn all the kirtans. And...she never sang louder than the crowd...until one week when I made each student take a turn leading the kirtan. I almost fainted, the sound of her voice was so resonant and beautiful!
Yep, you got it. She was doing that thing. That holding out on me and everyone else thing by playing it small. And guess what? Playing it small is not just a personal choice. It affects those around us who just might be hungry for the light and beauty that only we are able to share. We, as people, as souls, are like prisms, reflecting the light of the Divine. Each angle, each reflection of a prism is unique and adds value to the whole.
So my dear friends (this means you too, Rangadevi), get out there and make some art! Do what you were meant to do! Set the world on fire with your passion! And in case any of those inspirational urgings to unleash your Inner Self make you feel overwhelmed and/or afraid, take baby steps. That is my challenge to each of you - do just one thing today that excites you, that makes you eager for more. Self-expression is addictive like that. The happier you become, the happier you want to become. Go on. You just might make yourself and one other person smile. And that makes it all worth it. Doesn't it?
Yours in service,
Here is a piece of musical inspiration for today: Passenger & "Let Her Go"