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.