Posted tagged ‘writing’

New Words for a New Year

January 21, 2017

I haven’t written for ages here. Life became very busy–new job, less time at home–and a lot of things got put aside. Music was one, writing another. But working in an office every day, I find that my creative spirit needs exercise, otherwise it shrivels up and something happens to my heart …

So once again, I try to begin. I must play the music I can find time for and appreciate the people who play with me. I can strive to write more, put my thoughts down in some concrete form. Sure, everybody is doing it these days. The noise level is astounding! And who am I to think I have anything important to say to anyone else?

Well, I’m safe on that score! I only have my own experiences and perspective to draw on. But we’re all human beings sharing a seemingly shrinking planet. Too often, it feels to me like everyone is yelling louder and louder in an effort to convince anyone within earshot (including themselves) that they’re right.

We all have the capacity to be right or wrong, just as we all have the capacity to treat each other with gentleness. One can be civil without having to agree with someone. One can be compassionate without saying one condones another’s actions or decisions. One can listen instead of always trying to speak.

If we–and in that pronoun I’m including myself as the first person being addressed–would all do a bit more of these things, perhaps the rhetoric wouldn’t reach such a fever pitch. Conversations could occur. Compromises aren’t always comfortable because everyone is giving ground. But this is where I think we all must begin each day, even if we fall short by the second hour of our time awake (or earlier, as when I react with irritation to some small thing my partner does or says or neglects to do or say).

So I begin again today. It’s evening here in the northeastern United States, but it’s morning somewhere else on earth. Every moment in our lives can be counted as the first moment of something. This can bring a keen sense of renewal and refreshment. It doesn’t absolve one of past mistakes. But it does open the way for trying again. Compassion for others must begin with compassion for oneself. If I can’t give myself a second or fifth or hundredth chance, how can I do so for another?

If you are still reading, may you feel that renewal yourself. It is a small thing, not a all-encompassing sweeping away. But in the quiet I am trying to cultivate, the small things are just as profound and majestic and lovely as the grand ones.

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Where Does Inspiration Come From?

September 10, 2008

Yesterday, I wrote about how the universe “conspires” to help us as we follow our hearts toward our dreams.

As a composer of music and of written words, I’m also keenly interested in “inspiration”. Where does it come from? How do we get “chosen” (if we do indeed get chosen) to receive it? If we don’t want it, where does it go, and will it have an outlet anyway?

There’s something deeply spiritual about the creative process, especially when it’s done right. In my “Soul Essence” series, I compose pieces of music for people that capture their true being in sound. Most of the people I’ve composed for are people I have never met. I only know them by name, and whether they are male or female.

Just as “conspire” comes from “breathing together,” I think that “inspire” is the drawing in of universal breath into yourself so that you can transmit the universal message to another through whatever creative outlet you’ve been given as your expressive medium. For me, it’s music and words. But for someone else, it might be visual art, sculpture, blown glass, wood carving, stonemasonry, architecture, gardening …

The list is as endless and various as we are, because, for every person who is seeking a message, there must be a messenger who delivers it in the most deeply meaningful way possible. My music and words may do absolutely nothing for some people and be dismissed as worthless, foolish, quackery or any number of other things. But there are messengers out there for those who can’t understand my way of expressing.

To be inspired, we must first be open. We can’t respond in a dynamic way to inspiration if we stubbornly insist on always following our own best way. Sometimes, we have no idea what we’re doing, and then, we must have the grace to follow instead of trying to lead. We are often referred to as “God’s instruments”. Just as a violin can’t usually play itself, we shouldn’t always be trying to mold our lives into an orderly series of events that fits our patterns of understanding. The divine was here long before us and will remain long after, and we should be mindful of both our importance and our insignificance in that never-ending stream.

There are many names for the source of inspiration. But I think, when it comes right down to it, it’s one of the fathomless mysteries of the universe. We only try to name it because we want to understand it, quantify it, measure it, organize it, harness it, make sense of it.

And yet, there is nothing to be made sense of. Why, after all, were the stars created in the way they were and scattered across the vastness of space? Why are flowers shaped, fold upon fold, petal by petal, and arrayed in such a variety of colors and fragrances? Why do the whales sing to each other in the depths of the sea, or swans sing one song before dying after remaining silent for a lifetime?

We don’t have to know where inspiration comes from or where it goes when it passes from us. There are days when composing one measure of music seems more difficult than trying to teach a spider to thread a needle. There are nights when no words will come at all.

We are spiritual beings clothed in physical flesh, and one day, we will leave this world behind. On that day, we may stop, just for an instant, caught on that grand threshold, and wonder: “Did I, in my time here, bring inspiration to another, and have I, in my own way, given thanks to those who inspired me?”