Tag Archives: connection

Regarding today’s outdoor gig: An open letter to the Universe

Dear Universe,

Thank you for today’s gig. Playing my bass and singing at an outdoor venue with my dear friends today offered lots of opportunities for growth for me. Here are some of your lessons that I recognize, just off the top of my head (I know this list is not exhaustive, by any means):

1) There will be windy days. Sometimes, when I’m stepping out and doing something new, something I believe in, something that requires working together as part of a team, it may be windy. The wind may start blowing wildly, out of nowhere. At it may blow so hard that I have to close my eyes and just hold on and do my best in the moment. I don’t get to be in charge of the wind. I’m only in charge of my response to the wind. Conditions are such: windy.

Photo by Jeremy Booth.

2) Sometimes I may not be able to hear myself. No monitor speakers means that I may not get immediate feedback about what I’m playing. What I’m singing. It may be difficult for me to tell just exactly what message is being perceived, regardless of what I feel like I’m sending. I may just have to focus on my heart and set my intention to be a channel for love; an amplifier for love.
3) Sometimes I may not be able to hear my band mates. No monitor speakers plus high winds may mean that I can’t always hear what my family, friends, and loved ones are saying, or playing. I may need to pause before responding to what I think I hear. I may need to give it just a moment and remain receptive to further incoming information. Drawing my attention down from my head and into my heart can help to reestablish my heart connection with them. My heart can hear better than my ears.

Photo by Jeremy Booth.

4) Sometimes I may not be able to tell what the audience is hearing. While I may desire complete control over the overall levels and mix of the music, the overall wind speed and direction; the overall temperature; the overall rate of the flow of time, actually there’s only a certain amount that I’m in charge of. I can work to establish and maintain open lines of communication with those who can offer feedback; I can ask questions. “Welcome, folks! Say, I need your help. Please tell me, can you hear us okay?” I can ask questions, welcome feedback, and make adjustments accordingly. Beyond that, I can turn the volume up on my heart.
5) Sometimes I may not be able to tell what the audience is feeling. They may be physically distant in such a way that I can’t see their faces or read their body language. I may need to return my focus back to my heart, again and again. “Was that a smile, or a grimace?”, I may wonder. In this instance, once again, loving detachment is my best course of action. While I may wish to affect people by causing them to smile, laugh, and feel happy, I need to be careful not to use these responses to gauge my success. The wind may be blowing for them, too. They may be thinking about other things. Or they may be experiencing a sense of inner peace and calm. They may feel happy; they may feel sad. They may feel indifferent. My best plan of action: return my focus to my heart. Play my bass. Step up to the microphone. Open up my heart and let the love flow through.

The whirlpools of Naruto.

And as I’m loading out and walking to my car, it’s entirely possible that I may hear someone call my name. I may look to see someone smiling and saying ‘thank you’. It may be someone I don’t recognize. Perhaps even someone I’ve never met. In this moment, I’m reminded that I often do not know the impact of my actions. By centering my attention in my heart and opening my channels as wide as I can, I increase the chances of vibrating as a broadcast antenna for love. In the face of many apparent roadblocks and hurdles, I make the active choice to pluck these bass strings with love in my heart, and a small pebble hits the surface of the atmosphere. The ripples spread outward. I refuse to become discouraged. Someone says ‘thank you’.
Today, in the face of these perceived challenges, I am blessed once again.
Thanks for the lessons, Universe.
Love, Tim


Filed under Living a joyful life, Writing & recording original music

The meaning of life. And other heavy stuff.

Recently I received a quick note from someone I care about very much. (Keep in mind, this portion is taken out of context. Still, I think it’s important.)

“I really don’t think what I say, or think, or suggest, or will to do matters at all.
I don’t really own anything (I do have a few toys to pacify me though).
No one is interested in my opinion, nor is it worth anything.
I have no power at my job.
I have no power at home.
I have no power in my community.
I’m a drone.
I share this subconscious truth with almost every man I come in contact with.”
First, I want to reassure you, Gentle Reader, that moments later, in follow-up e-mails, we were joking and teasing each other, just like we’ve been doing for the past 27 years. He’s doing fine, and he’s surrounded by people who love him. (Like me.)
But his message really touched me, and made me wonder… To what extent do each of us carry these thoughts/feelings around with us from day to day?
My longtime, dear and trusted Friend,
Well, if we’re talking on a “universe” level, then I can see where you’re coming from. I’m just a speck of dust. And “I” may be no more than a collection of preferences.
At the same time, while I hear where you’re coming from, and while I can understand the motivation behind it, still I do find reasons to love, to laugh, to create.
I think creating beauty and celebrating beauty matters. My connection with you is part of that celebration.

Even if I’m only a speck of dust, I still have the power to love others. To connect with others. To express hope, fear, joy, sadness, wonder…
And when I write and record a song and someone else listens to it, there’s a chance they might connect. There’s a chance they might walk around humming the chorus. What is it that lives on through that humming? If I’m singing a song you wrote, what is it that lives on through my singing?
I remember believing that it was important to be remembered. I no longer believe this. Instead, I’m coming to believe that it’s important to pour myself out, again and again, through music. Through service. Through connection.
And it seems that the very moment that I quit thinking about reaching the goal of “creating meaning in my life” and I simply sink into whatever I’m doing (now writing lyrics; now building chord progression; now erasing words; now thinking of a word that rhymes; now standing up to stretch), that is the moment when the meaning really shines.
Ha ha… I’m reminded of a day a couple years ago when I was riding my mountain bike down the back side of Dry Fork. In my inexperienced, vacation-celebrating haste, I was barreling down the side of the mountain, holding on for dear life. I saw nothing but the rocks right ahead of me; the bushes on either side of me; the single track unfolding before me. Every ounce of my concentration was focused on adjusting to the ever-shifting situation. I grinned, and for one split second, I wondered what my buddy (see top of post) would think if he could see me now. That very moment, my front wheel disappeared off the right side of the track (hidden by the overgrowth).
Face, meet Earth.

What about you? How do you create meaning in your life, and what role does music play in that process?

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