I consider singing one of the true gifts I have. I used to climb to the top of the oak tree in my backyard and sing to, um, God. We had a great time, as did the neighboring forest. I look back amazed because I was higher than the tops of the telephone poles, and higher than the roof of my house. Guess Mom was used to my tomboy ways; she’d be yelling jokes from the kitchen window, cautiously encouraging me.
When I got older, I realized that though I would get a lot of accolades when I sang in pubs or with a band, it wasn’t a regular and reliable source of income.
This conundrum is part of what I’m exploring in this life. As a kid, I remember pestering the adults around me. “What do you love to do?” I’d ask. “Why aren’t you doing it now?” I’d often be real surprised at the side interests of my accountant uncle or phone-company-employed aunt. Theater? Song? Opera? Really? And I’d detect some sadness or wistfulness from them, that they had to go another route or had to leave that loved passion behind.
I saw the light on the challenge to following your bliss without starving, when I finished school and needed to start paying off the student loans. The creative areas I loved couldn’t be counted on to pay the rent, or get the health insurance. Writing would not immediately pay either. The field I chose to study in school was creative arts therapy, and oh I can tell you some stories about my first attempts to find work in this less traditional therapy field. I could see what my relatives were talking about. You do have to have the practical ends covered. They weren’t just being killjoys.
On the other hand, I’ve found that you do need to keep the true gifts alive and tended. Whether they’re part of the rent income or not. If you don’t – at least in my case – life gets a bit dreary and starts to feel a bit meaningless. Bohemian Rhapsody refrains start to get more pervasive (“nothing really matters, anyone can see…”)
I’ve had various experiments with this over the years. When I found a great job in the therapy field, I joined a radical theater group that same year. I made myself insane twice a year, doing wonderfully received full length shows that would have 6 or 8 week runs. Eventually I wrote, acted, sang and performed a one woman show in the Boulder International Fringe Festival. Incredible experience! Yes, it’s a challenge to juggle it all, yet so rewarding and fun. And there is that sense of doing what is truly meaningful as a spiritual being. And contributing to the world.
Last month I sang, played guitar and did some spontaneous stand up at a house concert. Lots of work leading up to that, and Joy! Joy! Joy! to have done it. Yes, I was a bit crabby that month, and it took two weeks to recover. Yet, now I have those callouses back on my left hand. And rather than hours of daily practice, now perhaps I might be able to play three songs daily and keep those callouses tended.
Finding the balance between soul’s call and earth’s demands – that’s been my path and growth edge. It’s a work in progress. I do hope that one day, all of this is under the umbrella of a job. Work doesn’t feel like work in that case. Yet having the art and soul gifts become the sole income isn’t the most important consideration. It’s more the fact that I still have my hand in all of these important areas, and I haven’t exploded yet.
What keeps me motivated and stretching into those growth edges?
- the aliveness it delivers to me
- the look in peoples’ eyes after a show as they think about what they might try
- watching those I support follow their inner knowing to create huge shifts
- how fun and rewarding it is to become all we’re meant to be
My hopes for the future of this blog would be
- providing inspiration and support for you brave experimenters – this ain’t easy
- sharing knowledge that helps ease that occasional roughness of the journey
- providing affordable as well as all-encompassing, elite support to way showers
- being a lively witness to the magic that happens when the universe throws in synchronicity and lovely short-cuts as you step up to all you are
Thanks for reading. Please do join the newsletter if this tugs at your creative curiosity and funny vertebrae.