Hard to believe I’ve been gone from Truth Love Beauty for two whole weeks. I’ve been over at The Music Within Us, populating it with blogs related to my latest interest area, physician burnout. Amazing the amount of dialog on the blogosphere and in print media like the New York Times about this subject. Lots of doomsday stuff that feeds into a pervasive tone of doctors being “victims of the system” in which they work.

Maybe so, but I’m throwing my hat into the ring as a fresh, outside voice with no agenda other than sharing what I’ve learned. I am just plain curious to see what will happen if someone speaks directly to doctors and offers them a completely different way of looking at the present situation. Instead of a collective “woe is us” victim story, what if doctors got very quiet and looked inside themselves as creative leaders of their own lives?

Counter-culture, yes. Contrarian, yes. Challenging, yes. All things that I have always loved to be.

Which was the theme of my weekend. I dropped by two different “jam” sessions that I found on the internet. A few months ago, you would not have found me voluntarily going alone to meet a group of strangers somewhere to play who-knows-what music together for an undisclosed amount of time and no apparent payoff other than “for the hell of it.” But that’s what I did. And I had so much fun! It was relaxing to me, and I felt connected to people in the only way that really matters to me right now…at the level of the soul.

When you make music with another person, you understand them on a level that makes conversation unnecessary and even unfulfilling in some cases. Of course, this was my attitude going into it. I have no clue what was going on inside the other people. I was just very happy to keep it at the level of the music. That’s all I needed.

And I’m very happy to play more! We all come to music from different perspectives. For some, it’s an escape. For others, it’s an obsession. For others, it’s an obstacle.

For me, right now, it’s a reminder of my essence, which is joy. I love to dance, to play, and actually to be the support to a great vocal with my tonal countermelodies. I was thrust in the roles of soloist and concertmistress for much of my life, but it’s not where I need to be. I love a great collaboration and the privilege of being with others who “have the chops” to play anything with anyone, and just roll with it.

There is a simplicity and space to the music I like these days. I have little patience for loud, fast, constant playing. There’s a desperation to the complexity that just makes me smile and feel grateful for the peace I can feel in my heart every now and then.

There is a calm devotion that I am going toward in my sound. I felt it a few times this weekend in some improvised melodic duets with vocalist/guitarists.

Elizabeth Gilbert, in her remarks at the 10th anniversary bash for O Magazine in New York, reminded us that we each have a deeply resonant inner voice that is ours alone. This is The Music Within Us. We are here to learn to listen to it, and follow its guidance toward the peace, freedom, and joy that we were born to live.

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