My Unsung Song

"I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung."  — Rabindranath Tagore

I've been "gonna write" for weeks…months…a really, really embarassingly long time. I have treasured colleagues saying "Oh, please write about …" "I'm so looking forward to your post about …" And all kinds of lovely appreciation for the words I use in sharing my wondering, and my learning on this creative path.  And then today I received this profound invitation, disguised in an email from the creative heart behind Heron Dance "Pause for Beauty" (and if you don't know Rod MacIver's beautiful work, please check it out here!).

"I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung."

Can you feel the power — the yearning of these words?

"I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung."

What did you do today?
"I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument…

  • organizing my email
  • doing laundry
  • running errands
  • researching strategies for "making time to write"
  • downloading a free trial of writing software
  • re-reading and savoring past writings
  • wondering if my song is "just right."
  • browsing the "new and improved" options for my instrument
  • tweaking the strings, strumming a little, tightening, loosening, adjusting
  • hoping to find the magical combination that let's me exclaim "There! That's perfect! Once I do this, then I can sing."

…while the song I came to sing remains unsung."

I find my ear is tuned to small failings — the notes a bit off key, the rhythm not quite perfect. "I'm not ready. Just a little more tuning." Time and time again, I lay my instrument down and walk away. Yes. The instrument needs care, loving attention, nurturing. But remember, the instrument is not the song. And music can be made with the meanest of tools. Perfection is not necessary. Only the bright, shining joy of singing out.

I notice the pressure of this music, this song I came to sing, building in my solar plexus. This melody — rich with harmony and dissonance, complexity and simple beauty. A paradox and a wonder. I can feel the bird-heartbeat fluttering fast with desire, pressing against my clasped hands. Asking to give birth to the song. To relax the constraints and let the notes fly out from me and into the world. Soaring.

Here’s Mud In Your Eye!

Ahhh…spring! The longer days, the warm sun, the returning birds, and…the mud. Yep, mud. Just at the time we are “raring to go” to break free and dance into the new possibilities that spring promises here in Mud_h_2Vermont, Nature again shows her balanced wisdom — providing us with ample opportunity to stop, to notice, to experiment, to wait. I agree with Vermont essayist Will Baker who suggests “Perhaps Mud Season in Vermont is all about constructive tension, when we find ourselves poised between where we were and where we are headed.”

How do you want to respond to the constructive tension that spring transitions bring? When you experience the slip and sink of mud, the best strategy is to move forward slowly, steadily, consciously choosing where you want to go, staying alert, aware, and present. Yeah, wish I’d thought of that!

In reality, it is very tempting to just gun it — rev the engine, and power your way through. But sitting here in my suddenly closer to the ground car, I am learning that sometimes when you pour on the power, you just get stuck — really, really stuck. The over-the-wheel-wells-how-did-this-happen kind of stuck.

Sometimes all it takes to get moving again is a little time and
sunshine, or a little time and cold, to either dry things up or make
the road firm again. Then you can drive out easy as pie (as long as you
haven’t dug in too deeply).

If, on the other hand, you have managed to dig yourself in, the best, easiest way out usually shows up in the form of a friendly farmer with a chain and a tractor, and mud boots that go up to his waist. He’s already out in the woods because it’s maple sugar time. If you are stuck, just look around — help is on its way. And, speaking of maple syrup, it can help to remember that mud means things are changing and there are sweet rewards to be had.

So while we’re waiting, why not make mud pies? Since we’re gonna be in the mud anyway, we might as well revel in it.

To change…Here’s to “mud in your eye!”