Letting go and coming alive

IMG_20140218_120440“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Four weeks ago I packed everything I could fit into a 1996 Kia Sportage and left my life in Austin, TX for a valley in the North Cascade mountain range in Washington State. It was a tough decision but in the end there really wasn’t a question. There aren’t many things in this life that I feel sure about. What I am sure of is that singing and writing songs is as much a part of me as breathing. I am sure that being around kids strengthens my soul enough to weather most confrontations I have with adult egos including my own. I am sure that it will always be extremely difficult for me to be anything other than myself. I am sure that if I don’t spend the majority of my time doing something that I enjoy and that I find exciting and purposeful, that I will slowly die.

I made the choice that served every desire (besides money) my heart was longing for. More time singing, more time being creative with kids, more fresh air, less time in traffic, less time recuperating from a job that would deplete my creative energy rather than strengthen it, I got in the car and drove forty hours through the desert and the sunset colored hills of California and through the wet forests of southern Oregon back to my heart so I could BE alive instead of TRYING to be alive. Life has a way of making us think that there is always something more or different that we could be if only we tried harder. I find more and more that by accepting who I am in this moment and embracing it wholly brings me the closest to realizing my full potential.

As many others, I have often made the mistake of comparing my life to other’s, scrutinizing my choices and wondering why “normal” things like family, a steady job and home have never happened. I’m eternally grateful to whatever higher consciousness has helped me to see that our most precious belonging, our greatest treasure is our story. With its beauty and intrigue, heartbreak and strange twists and turns….this what we have to share with each other. When we find a way to share our selves and our most authentic story with the world, whether its through writing, singing, teaching, building a house or bombing down a snowy mountain..this is when we truly come alive and are serving the greater good of humanity.

I have a lot to say these days so stay tuned. I hope to take advantage of these chilly nights and early mornings by writing my story and sharing it with you.

The Adjacent Possible..

“..the adjacent possible defines all those molecular reactions that were directly achievable in the primordial soup. Sunflowers and mosquitoes and brains exist outside that circle of possibility. The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.”

Johnson, Steven (2010-10-05). Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (p. 31). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

Most people I know are building something. Or thinking of a way to build something. Or wondering what they should build. Or wondering what they would build if they had the right skills and talent. Or inspiration. There is an urge in all human beings to make stuff. Whether it is a painting, a relationship, a book, a presidential campaign or a new way to arrange living room furniture, everyone is making something. Or desires to make something if only they had the courage or the skills they assume they lack. In many instances, we yearn to take this to another level, and to make something that no one else has ever made. To make something that others will find useful. To make something that will revolutionize the way of making that thing from this point forward.

We have more than enough materials to make stuff with. We have metal, sun, oxygen, innate talents, education, books, instruments, technology, and on and on … Yet there is a mystery in how to integrate a singular vision with the infinite amount of materials and genres available and to produce something utterly new. Something that holds meaning and allows us to leave an indelible mark on the world long after our inspiration, and eventually our bodies, leave this plane of existence. It is the mystery that forces us to choose between our intuition and our fear and doubt; the trusty followers of those first sparks of inspiration. In order to carry out an idea from the inward to the outward, vulnerability is necessary. A blind step into the unknown must be taken with faith that the inner vision will take form. A hundred places at once, red paint hits canvas, chisels shape wood, fingers hit guitar strings, lips crush against each other and somehow there is a different result every time.

Johnson’s “adjacent possible” speaks to the infinite possibilities that reside outside of the finite amount of energy and resources available at any given moment. There is a mysterious element to creativity, a secret passageway that allows the creation of something new from material that has been used over and over from the beginning of time. I believe that by leaning into the mystery, into the fear, and ultimately the rush a new song, a new love, a new idea brings, we have the ability to discover an authentic  expression of the human experience through creation. In other words, there is never an end to what is possible. And there are few words to explain why this is so, and yet it is.

Where does your “adjacent possible” reside? Just outside of your comfort zone. Go there. Image