This is the central question illuminated tonight during a conversation afterwards with a parent. He said that what was comforting, from a parent’s perspective, about the previous method (where I appeared to be following the model of my mentor…which was an illusion) was that it was “linear” and it was “going somewhere”. I laughed in my mind, because I thought to myself, “Where they’re going you don’t want to go. Believe me. I know the alumni. And it’s why I’m choosing to cut the cord while I still can.”

I know it all comes down to trust. They don’t know how to trust me right now because they only know the previous image of me I projected when I didn’t know what I know now. So, now that I do know better and I am trying to DO better, there’s a fair amount of concern. These people – none of us, really – are not welcoming to the important stranger called Change, especially when it comes to their children. One of these poor souls is hiding the fact that she is divorcing her husband, and has been doing so for almost two years, in order to protect their six-year-old from the truth. Poor lamb.

It really does highlight the central tension in what I’m doing (which is what any artist or entrepreneur must do). I must straddle the line between doing my art and giving people what they think they want. The problem is, people don’t really know what they want until after the fact. They have to make the decision first. And that’s scary for most people. It keeps you small, in a box, only able to associate with a certain approved list of people, places, and brand names. I now can start to see it with a sense of humor and love, without judgment of anyone as “right” or “wrong”. It is all just so interesting.

I can see that this new form of play and interaction is extremely threatening to certain people’s identities. I can see it because I was there once. I used to scoff at certain forms of music, at the way certain people dressed or groomed themselves, and it caused me to close off to interacting with them because I thought something was gravely wrong with them. I thought they would have nothing to offer me.

Gradually – mostly since I’ve been “without an industry” and on my own as a solo entrepreneur – I have been exposed to different types of people and realized that none of the above is true. I have been impressed by the work ethic and intelligence of people who dropped out of high school in order to pursue their own paths in art or music. I have been touched by the honesty and integrity of people who were once drug addicts but followed their own path to become clean, hard-working business owners focused on excellent customer service.

And I have seen self-important, wealthy people living in very prestigious ZIP codes, paying top dollar for “educational opportunities” for their children such as violin, yet exposing them to music that inspires a 10-year-old to mimic strip-dancing moves and describe the music as having “sex appeal.” I pitied the little girl who didn’t know what she was doing by gyrating in front of a group of adults and children, sultrily unzipping her jacket, and then tossing it into the audience, grabbing her chest, and then catwalking across the floor. She is innocent. She doesn’t understand, although when I challenged her by asking, “Do you know what “sex appeal” means?” she said to me, “Of course I know what it means. I wouldn’t use those words if I didn’t know what they meant.”

And this would be the oldest and tallest student in my school, someone that everyone looks up to. I felt compassion for her, as she was really proud of her music choice and really seemed to think that she was superior to the other children for the sophistication of her music choice.

Later on, we heard excerpts from the Estonian composer Arvo Part, and the Spanish group Capercaillie.

The feeling in the room tonight was one of extremely diverse resonance and discovery. I was struck by how a few families can manage to dominate the tone of the conversation. Via desire to control. I sat directly across the circle from the father of the gyrating mini-Britney superstar. And I noticed there were five other very interested adults (not including him) that I would gladly spend an hour with as a coaching client or in a sound healing session or in any other capacity.

I was very keenly interested in these other energies, because they were foreign to me. They were more subtle, and my guess is that in the past, they were dwarfed in my field of attention by the magnitude of this one swirling vortex of powerful negativity sitting in the room every time.

But at the end of the session, he just couldn’t hold it in anymore. He had to assert his control by making some comment about the fact that having kids at the session made it “impossible” for him to focus. I watched the kids’ behaviors as the adults were talking, and it was very clear that none of them had ever been told what was expected of them when they are in a setting with adults. Could it be because they HAVE NO PRACTICE?

I called everyone over to the circle – there was something very beautiful to me about adults and children being in a circle together, experiencing something in unison rather than being cordoned off (like a Kids’ Menu at a restaurant). I told everyone very calmly and clearly that I expect them always to remember that this is a learning space, and that no matter what I do in this room, it is for the purpose of teaching something. Whether that means asking you to dance, or lay on the floor, or listen, or play, there are certain basic rules that must be followed. You respect the person who is talking. You stay safe, and don’t endanger yourself or others. You respect your own body and other people’s bodies. You respect your own property and other people’s property. Several of the kids were completely helpless, because they had never ever been told anything other than, “Here’s your iPod.” or “Go play with the other kids and don’t bother me right now.” The others, who grew up in homes where children are included in activities of the family, started mimicking immediately the crazy behavior of the ones who didn’t know what to do with themselves except kick, jump on top of each other, put things in their mouths, and play on their iPods.

Or I could be wrong. These are merely my judgments after observing the situation. I felt compassion toward the kids who truly had no idea what to do with themselves. May they someday find their own way to learn those lessons.

I actually thought it was wonderful to share the music listening experience in an environment where we were free to move around, dance to the music, and express how it made us feel.

Why did Old Mister Sour Puss have to put a cap on the evening like that?

All in all, I left with the confidence that human souls are one. We are meant to speak to one another, to understand and connect with the hearts of one another. We can all get there. Music can take us there. I believe with my whole heart in that, and there is much work to do with it in the world!

Advertisements