The opportunity turned up as a general invitation and while I prevaricated and swivelled in my chair for perhaps ten seconds longer than my intuition told me and my rational self tried to take control, I did eventually stand up and make my way, with quick steps to the stage.
I took the time to find the note and hummed my way into the first line, finding the tenor and the timing enabling the words to find their way into my mouth. Just a few lines and some moves to build the inclusive experience for all in my typical signature way, and it was easeful. Within a few moments spells were broken that had been cast long ago. How ironic for the moment to be a musical one and how powerful for it to be an improvised one. The basic building block of improv is yes, and. And this moment was met with yes, and.
The Spell Caster in this story, finding ways to block and disable opportunities was left without a leg to stand on as I took to the stage. The old carefully crafted incantations of self-protection designed to effect fear and instil caution were swept away by the mantra “I am enough”. It was very safe to come to the microphone, the musicians and one holding the space had my back, had the audiences as well and in the complementarity of both, was able to find a path to keep the container to hold us all solid and secure. Deep gratitude to his skills and experience!
The voice in my head as I left the stage was of one my children saying Mum you are living your best life. Over the past few years, I have not known what living any kind of life might be like, let alone a best one. I have flayed around trying to find the right tune, right tone, a harmony, and the odd blues note – yet somehow in these few short minutes on stage I managed to get to the entire next level and make sense of some of the time now past. Taking my time with the humming into the space such a useful metaphor to take the measure and feel and hear what the music was asking of me, the call to my response. Then finding the notes and making up my own lyrics, to express what I had learnt, seen through the day, with the backing of a band, not a solo artist or even a solo musical instrument, but multiple players and multiple instruments, a profound reminder I am not alone and there are harmonies and chords to be found in the notes and the spaces between the notes is where the music finds its shape and form. Then my invitation to the audience to abandon their position and sway with hands in the air, a reflection of asking people to come follow me, knowing they have the capacity and capability to do that and do not need any more sophisticated instruction, just a simple demonstration and then everyone can participate. And finally, the recognition that all have a place, a contribution to the song and leaving the stage, the music goes on and the next person can step up. Just like the geese in formation, another can take their turn in the lead and helping to reduce the wind resistance and taking it in turns conserves energy for the whole flock.
Instead of malevolence there is benevolence – bene volent – well wishing – surely a great way to break a spell! There were only well wishes being bestowed in the moment at the microphone this week. The realm of generosity, joy and gratitude appeared in the magic of the moment, by invoking the instruction of the poet David Whyte of being half a shade braver. I also took the advice of researcher Brene Brown to let hurtful stuff drop to the floor, and step over it and keep going. “You can’t take criticism and feedback from people who are not being brave with their lives.”
A spell was broken this week, more stuff dropped on the threshing floor to step over. The stage was that place where the chaff was tossed to the wind and the wheat made ready for the bread of salvation to be baked. A different kind of communion, as fully transformational as any other consumed previously.