Last night, I went to the open mic/showcase hosted by Sacrificial Poets (http://www.sacrificialpoets.com) at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, and I was completely stunned and blown away by what I experienced there. Roscoe Burnems was the feature poet, and his sharing was beyond inspirational. Check him out http://roscoeb.webs.com/
I had a pretty invigorating/exciting/productive/creative day. Yet, about an hour prior to the show, I felt suddenly zapped of all my energy. You know, that feeling when you know something is wrong? Like, I either need to drink a lot of water, eat something, or if that doesn’t work just give up and go to sleep. So I drank water, I ate dinner, and I still felt that deep-seated energy-depleted exhaustion. At this point, I usually fall willingly into step three: giving up and going to sleep. However, tonight I wan’t having that. I was going to the open mic, and there was no question about it.
I walked in to what seemed to be a mundane bookstore, with people quietly perusing. I walked through and found the room in the back where the open mic was happening, and as soon as I heard those passionate words being spoken and felt the vivid energy of supportive community, something hit me like zzzzzing!! and I immediately had this deep sense of knowing that this is home. this is inspiration. this is community. this is what I’ve been missing. It felt as if my heart was at rest, soaking in the warm light of inspired community. It no longer mattered that I was exhausted, because I was home, and I was being held. I felt this in a room of people that I could have called strangers, but that I’d rather call family.
During the open mic portion, I was completely floored by the writers as young as middle school age that shared with us their most intimate thoughts and experiences. These youth were really being authentic! The authenticity that I crave to have with those around me, yet is so hard to find in my daily life. They spoke about their darknesses, their fears and confusion around growing up, the difficulty of parent-child relationships, and the simple enjoyment of nature.
Roscoe took us deeper into our one-night journey of exploring the meaning of life together–speaking about how the Word often comes from those who we are closest to, yet most of the time we are too closed off from them to see it. Something from one of his poems remains in my body’s memory: God is not the painter, God is the paint.
He emphasized again and again to us that our story is the most important one to tell.
My story?! Important? When I hear that, something inside of me sings out, saying “Yes! Yes, I’m here, just waiting to be unleashed! let me out! let me out! I need to be seen!!”
When I finally got back to my hut/treehouse/yert that I’m living in this summer, I immediately went for my guitar, and this song came rushing out of me. It happened so quickly. Without thinking, I knew the chords, the strum pattern, and the first few lines. My process of songwriting is quite an interesting one. I rarely ever sit down, intending to write a song, and then work on it until it is finished. Rather, a song comes to me, in the middle of whatever it is I am doing: swimming, walking, sleeping. It feels like a gift that’s being given to me, either from my unconscious, the Universal Consciousness, some creative hub, or the Source of Life itself. The tough part for me is usually whether or not I am willing to receive it.
I will often hear a song and choose to ignore it; why do I do this, you ask? I often rationalize: oh, I don’t have time for that right now, I’m busy doing this other thing, doing my life. I think that it really boils down to my desperate want for a (false) sense of control over my life. There’s a part of me, however small or large, that wants to be comfortable; it wants to be easily accepted by those around me, to feel like I fit into this society and this culture. It wants to be praised and loved by everyone, to always feel happy, and it thinks that if it can just find the answers to how to be perfect, then it can make my life one long happy party.
But this is not truth.
I think this longing comes from not experiencing unconditional love from those closest to me in my early life. I like to think of unconditional love as a rainbow of beautiful, colorful energy that we share with one another. If our love is conditional, the energy we share is missing colors. As a child, we depend on this full rainbow of love energy, and if we do not get it, we feel that absence. We try to fill it using whatever way we know. In myself I have seen this manifesting in countless ways, and trying to “control” or “perfect” my life is one of them.
So, this song comes to me. And this time I listen, I act. I write it, form it, shape it; I give it life. (I’ll be posting it here soon!)
And then, I went to sleep.
I woke up with another song-gift pulsing through me.
And then, I wrote this:
Songs are flowing through me like water,
and I know that I can no longer ignore.
The Universe is taking me for a ride.
I know that it is my Divine Mission to give birth to these songs, which have not yet known life.
I do not know where they come from,
or where they are meant to go.
I only know that I am their vessel;
holding them, lovingly, so that they cant touch the world, and the world can touch them.
I know that my path is different from yours,
just as yours is different from mine.
We all have this sort of Divine Calling, you see,
flowing through us like water,
just waiting to be given a taste of precious life.
But we are scared.
Oh, we are scared of this river rushing inside.
What if it takes me somewhere I don’t want to go?
What if I’m not prepared?
You are prepared.
You already have everything you need.
Now all you have to do is get out of the way.
After the show, I got the chance to talk to Roscoe. He was quick to notice that I was exhausted, and he lovingly reminded me of the importance of sleep, self-care, and listening to my body. I had a deep sense of knowing that, although my body was exhausted, it had led me to the showcase that night. You see, my body is always searching for inspiration, for connection to the Divine Love that surrounds me. My body delights in that river running through me. I just have to get out of its way.