“To truly listen is to risk being changed forever”
Find Someone to Riff With
I attended a workshop that went to the core of collaboration, using music as the vehicle to catalyze change - Improv as the way to get there. One of the greatest take-ways for me was making sure that you have someone to “riff” with.
Miriam Webster defines a riff as “a rapid energetic often improvised verbal outpouring”.
Magic happens when you have someone to riff with - on anything, about anything, about nothing at all. It opens the channel to creativity and finds places within you that you had no idea existed.
How do I embrace not only the change, but the freefall that must accompany it? What if our quest for safety is a crock of shit and the freefall is the moment of epiphany? What if the freefall is the liberator that illuminates our way and a safe landing is the impediment that blocks all life? What if our challenge is to let go and never grab back on again?
“The only constant is change” - Heraclitus
A long holiday vacation from the regular routine of work, gifted me the ability to simply settle into the rhythm of the days. Doing nothing or doing something, and the choice as to how to move through the day, has been an offering that I have accepted. We all require longer stretches of time than we allow ourselves, where we break from regular routines - don’t feel compelled to “do something - go somewhere - experience something - be constructive - be productive”, but rather to simply settle into the quiet winter rhythm of slowing down.
The coming New Year has a voice and a life of its own. For me, it is a clapping, pulsating - almost African drum rhythm - of enormous change. There is an opening and a closing, a rising and a falling, a clarity and a blurring, a tearing down and rebuilding, all taking place at one time, begging for quiet moments where insight and vision seep in. It’s impossible to move into the experience without the time, without the quiet. I am blessed for having that time and quiet, and am wildly open to everything coming my way.
I have a palpable sense of enormous change coming in 2012. It surrounds and permeates me and was the first breath I took in the new year.
“Change wears my sister’s moccasins. He stays up late and wakes up early. He likes to come up quietly and kiss me on the back of the neck when I am at my drawing table. He wants to amuse people and it hurts him when they yell at him. Change is very musical, but sometimes you must listen for a long time before you hear the pattern in his music.”
-J Ruth Gendler - The Book of Qualities
We’re on the precipice of such enormous social change in what feels like one of the most important periods in my lifetime. Not a time to sit back, but rather to remember that the smallest contributions that we make to that change can have enormous ripple effects. It’s time to boldly stand up.
Give yourself only to situations where your true nature is fully visible. Without that you sacrifice your precious self to the situation, rather than allowing your true nature to be reflected back to the world, and inwardly to yourself. Everything changes at the moment you fully experience yourself regardless of the external. Your radiant self is the catalyst, the movement, the flash of energy that infuses - the metamorphosis.
Struggle is the great hindrance to change. We live under the illusion that struggle will bring about change - that it is the impetus that will move us off the mark. Instead, it only digs us in deeper - It is the inertia that keeps us stuck.
When we end the struggle…..bravely give it up….that is the moment when things smash open and change occurs. Struggle serves as a signpost that change is smoldering, begging to surface, but it is only when we step aside from the struggle that we create enough space for the changes to happen. Struggle is the barricade that stops life dead. We mistakenly get lost in there and search for the answers in the opposition that struggle creates. Transformation comes when we release ourselves to the exquisite freedom that surrender brings.
Do you have to understand everything to make a change? No. You just have to be bold enough to move forward.
When we finally make the agreement with the unknown - to live in that place of not knowing what will happen - We don’t get to change the rules mid-stream. When a new situation arises that shakes the core of us - takes us back to some frightened childhood time - We don’t then get to demand then that we know what will happen.
Opening up to faith is not situational. It is a permanent state of belief, trust and fully turning ourselves over. Those times that catch us up short and take us again to the all too familiar fear of having to know where we are going, are sign posts along the way, reminding us that we’re never quite there. When we pause in the core of our unease, there is a calming familiarity that says, “You’ve been here before. Let go, and you’ll move on to the place that cradles and cares for you.”
It is not the outcome that provides us with that sense of “ah”, but finding wholeness and peace in the center, that will never let us down. This is faith.