Soul Places

Befriending the Soul through Inquiry and Creativity

Tag: song

What I Claimed I Couldn’t Do

Me in Budapest Imagining the Can-dos

I posted this on Facebook a month ago:

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” ~ Pablo Picasso.  “Oh, I’m not an artist.” My husband and I get this response from adults a lot when we explain what we do. I write and he sculpts. It’s frustrating to hear people give up on themselves without even trying. How will you embrace the creative life in 2012?

A few weeks ago I heard myself say, “Oh, I can’t sing.”

So, I participated in a community centered singing group last night, going confidently in the direction of my resistance, my lie.

There was a nametag waiting for me at the check-in table as though someone had tipped off my muse, the creative source I had recently denied.  In all, 20-25 people showed up.  I imagined them all to be accomplished singers with melodious tones that taunt the angels.  I sang anyhow.

I threw myself into the folk songs, sang harmony and something called soprano.  My body and voice danced and mingled with others in the room.  By the end of the night, I was hoarse and nobody had arrested me for the sounds that made their way through my chapped lips.  You see, I can sing, I’m just not very good at it.  My melodious tones taunt the laughing hyenas, but I make the noise anyhow.

Don’t speak the creative lie of I can’t, I’m not – defy it.  Your soul wants release through whatever creative means you least want to express.  How will you embrace the creative life in 2012?

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Mellifluous Melody

Creeping along the historic downtown street of Decorah Iowa in our little blue car, my husband and I search hopefully for a parking spot.  The slivered crescent moon near the beginning of its rising arc behind the trees and buildings laughs at our optimism.  There’s a group of people huddled outside the venue that is our destination.  Their warm breathes rise in the contrasting cold of a late November evening.  A fundraiser for two birthing clinics in Africa is gathering steam in the little space next to where they are assembled.

We find a place to park and walk briskly around the corner to see that the little group has disappeared.  Growing hopeful that there is still space for us, we quicken our pace and reach our destination.  Condensation has formed in the corners of the windows, threatening to conceal and make secret the gathering within.  Gently pushing the door inward, it bumps the people standing in front of it.  A truly packed room greets us, wishing that it could expand to hold more bodies.  My husband and I squeeze into the little space just inside the door as the two young performers begin.

I guess that they are late teens or early twenties in age.  Seraphic sisters.  And when their lips part to release the first melodic lyrics, I am captivated by what greets my ears.  Entranced for the next half hour by the sharing of their musical gifts, I am brought out of my reverie by a gentle knock on the door.  Someone passes money through the barely-open door, ushered by the welcomed chill of winter.  “Just put this in the basket.”  And the hand and voice disappear behind the moist windows of the closing door.  This happens several more times in addition to the entering and exiting of people eager to support the mission or eager for some cool, night air.

The naked folk music of the sisters is soon accompanied by the tapping of toes and voices from the audience when a song is recognized and well known.  Guest musicians come and go, and then the parents join the sisters for a finale.  Unable to take my eyes from the quartet, I notice the sisters seeking each other’s eyes as my own become moist.  This is community.  This is purpose unbridled.  This is gifts manifest.  This is where I live.