Friday, January 18, 2013

Truth in Silence

"I always knew there was truth in silence - but what am I waiting for?" 

I don't know if it was growing up with a dad who I watched meditate when I came downstairs on a Saturday morning.  Or if it came from observing loud and boisterous people and how they affected those watching.  Or how, when someone said too much, they would get into trouble because of their choice of words - and I took notice.

I mean, granted, I could definitely be the outgoing one at the party.  In fact, I usually was. You don't get  chosen as "most congenial" because you're a wallflower.  I usually tried to talk to everyone in the room. I actually felt uncomfortable if I noticed there was someone I hadn't met yet.  

But then noise started to bother me.

Not all noises. I'm a musician. I can't hate noise. But noise that I thought was superfluous. Words that didn't have to be said. Words that came from thoughts that shouldn't have been thought.

Unless I heard words that offered a positive resonance, they started to hurt. 

You know when you tune to a radio station, and they're playing your favorite song, but you can barely make it out - over the static? Mmmhmm.  Like that.  It hurts you to listen but you REALLY want to. 

At social gatherings I would really try to listen and care when people complained about work. I really tried to be interested when acquaintances would talk about how their brothers' fiance's mother's step-nephew was was dating that girl from high school who we never used to like - can you believe that?
I even offered up my own thoughts from time to time. 

But then I realized that all this trying wasn't really me.  In high school it might have been.  I was trying to find myself. I was trying to make friends. I was really trying to get to know people. 

"Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." Proverbs 17:28

It's something children need to know now.  There needs to be a class in elementary school: Finding your own Path.  A class that allows kids to be creative, to be expressive, and that ends with 5 minutes of introspection.

I've really wanted to laugh with people I've called friends.  I've always loved connecting with people and finding that one thing that we can build on and use to create wonders in the world. I really really want to hear that song on the radio. But it just won't come through. There's too much static in between us.  There's negative feedback.

I used to be happy being in the middle of noise.  I craved it.  Now I find the light that shines through all the static - in silence.  And I think I always knew there was truth in silence.  That first quote is a lyric from one of the songs that will be on my debut album, coming out this spring.  I've asked myself that question a lot - when I'm in the middle of static, when I feel too much verbal clutter around me - "what are you waiting for?"

So I sit. I turn inward. I become silent.  Really silent. And I listen.  I listen to my breath.  I listen to thoughts but then I tell them to go away for now.  I let light come into me.  I do this until a big smile appears on my face. And then I sit some more.

You can't imagine how good silence feels, now and again.  Try it. I speak the truth.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Hope Ave

Next time you're on your way home, or to the grocery store, or picking up your kids, or on your way to work, notice for one moment that in your car, right now, is the only place you can be.  In your mind you might be somewhere else.  You might be thinking of dinner or what your husband or girlfriend might be doing.  You might have that account or client still on your mind. But the truth is you can't do anything about it in this moment.  So just be with yourself. 

I grew up near an avenue. Hope Avenue. It was the road we always took on our way to the highway.  Every time we went to the movies, we drove on Hope Avenue.  Every time we came home from my cousins' house, we took the Hope Ave exit.  I've never noticed the name before this week.  It has always been uttered as, "Hopav".  All the locals just know it as that: Ho-pav.

The other day I was feeling really anxious. I had just finalized my New Year's resolution (coming in a blog post near you soon) and was excited to start something new (again). Sometimes when I feel really anxious and want to express myself but feel stifled I develop what the Chinese call "Plum pit chi." I felt this stuck chi in my throat all the way home from work. Sometimes I even become aware of it, but the feeling is so strong I can't get rid of it. 

Then I came upon the "Hope Ave" sign.  I was almost home.  Something washed over me.  An awareness that my whole commute home was wasted on energy weaving in and out of cars, wanting to get home faster than everyone else, not being present.  I took the length of the street to do some r e a l l y  d e e p  b r e a t h i n g. I told myself that it's still okay to hope and to dream but throughout the journey I still need to be present every step of the way.

From now on, I would use Hope Avenue to remember to be present - on the way to work and at least at the end of my commute home. I know that if I am aware often enough, then I will become aware right when I get into my car and eventually at every moment throughout the day...and on every avenue.

What will you do to become more present every day?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Know Your Purpose

Serving the world with your talents is not about you.  So just go out and do it. The world needs it more than you know.

There. I said it.  :)