On Saturday night my living room became an intimate music salon glitter-bombed by Tinkerbell.
The room was decorated in sparkly Christmas lights, candles and pumpkins painted a shimmery robin’s egg blue.
It was the first Spark Concert and my goal was to create an enchanted atmosphere for the audience.
There were over 30 people in my living room–about 50% more people than I thought would fit…
To be honest, the night before I had a panic attack wondering if my 60 year old, bi-level house would be able to support that many people.
I awoke in a cold sweat as I dreamt of the wooden beams caving in and plummeting myself and my 9 foot piano to our demise through the wood floor and onto the cold concrete floor of the garage,
Thankfully though, the wood beams did their job, everyone survived and I learned that the house is stronger than I thought…(you can’t beat the quality construction of the past!)
There were a few more lessons I learned that night that I’d like to share.
Although these lessons gleaned at the keyboard seem to be just about music, they are not…They connect us all in this magnificent highway of energy we call life…
Music gives a rare window to harvest valuable wisdom about the nature of our existence. It is close to a Quantum connection, if we feel open to explore it.
The door of music will open as wide as we feel comfortable…
In my life, I’ve been pretty audacious in my curiosity to open it further and further. That is why I am passionate about the blending of music, medicine and energy.
So, if you’d lend me an ear…let’s explore the 3 Keys to Happiness harvested from the Spark Concert on Saturday.
I believe these tips can help us all spark joy!!
1- The Power of NOW
This is the name of a book by Eckhart Tolle that I read over the summer. It was a book that I resisted for many years, under the assumption that it was too ‘whoo-whoo’ for me.
But I was totally wrong.
It was truly a deep and powerful book with profound insight.
Tolle describes that liberation and joy come from being present in the moment.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.”
Our mind has the linear propensity to be dwelling on the past or planning for the future. If you focus it to the present moment then you can attain fuller awareness of joy.
To bring this into the realm of the piano, I decided to try to apply this principle when I was performing the Beethoven Appassionata Sonata on Saturday.
I connected with my intention to be in the moment with every note.
I tried to listen deeper and be creative in the present, not follow a pre-existing map I had already prepared for my interpretation.
When my mind wandered to the past to judge and criticize myself for any passages that didn’t quite go the way I wanted them to, I said, “thanks, but this is not the time…We will deal with that later” to that inner critic.
When my mind tried to race me forward to remind me of what is coming up and warn me of upcoming challenges in the music, I also had to reel it in and say, “thanks for the heads-up…but I’m good right now”.
In short, it was a fight.
That is the battlefield of the mind—resisting the urge to go back or to anticipate too far in the future.
When I did focus on the moment, I truly uncovered a wealth of artistic possibility there. It was a treasure chest filled with options.
Music is life…This experience taught me that living life in the moment is the best gift we can give ourselves. It is a field of limitless possibility.
Truly the present, is a present….
2- Be responsible for your energy
At 7:15 pm, I sat in my bedroom which acted as my ‘green room.’ I was collecting my thoughts and reviewing my talking points. The program was going to begin at 7:30 and already most of the audience had arrived.
Suddenly I realized that it was eerily quiet in the living room. My husband came in to inform me that everybody had arrived, yet is was so quite you could hear a pin drop…I mean it was the kind of quiet that would make a librarian want to do a happy dance.
But the silence scared the living daylights out of me…
Because, I realized that I had to bring the energy into the space.
The audience was expectant. Respectful. Attentive…The perfect audience.
But yet, in that space of expectancy, I realized that I needed to bring a new energy to the space.
I had to counter the silence with the right sound.
My mood would reflect on the audience like a mirror. If I was feeling nervous, they would feel ill at ease…If I was feeling awkward, they would feel uncomfortable.
So the stakes were high…But it was also an opportunity of enormous possibility.
In life, we need to be the change we want to see, as Ghandi said.
Our energy will influence the change.
Harvard-trained neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor, in her NY Times best-selling book My Stroke of Insight writes about her recovery from a stroke that shut down the left side of her brain.
In the days following her operation, when many people assumed Jill was in a comatose state as she lay in the hospital bed, she was actually acutely sensitive to the energy people brought to the space when they entered.
If a nurse entered in a bad mood, Jill felt it…even if the nurse didn’t utter a word. If a nurse was open and giving, that resonated with Jill’s heart and put her at ease. These interactions had a direct impact on Jill’s healing.
Energy, our attitude, our approach to life is the most powerful thing we have.
These internal states expressed outwardly in the form of empathy, humor, warmth, and compassion more so than money or any other display of power is the tool that can make good happen.
We can start our own ‘Love Revolution’ simply by treating others the way we would like to be treated.
3- The In-Between State
Ruiz’s book The Four Temperaments, opens with a scene from the past with a dark night sky. A young man steps out of his cave looks up at the stars and realizes that the stars are made of light, but they are not the light.
Light is the Divine.
He looks at his hands and realizes he is made of stars…he is made of light.
Then he contemplates the space in between the stars and realizes that it is not empty space but a dynamic zone where intention and life is made manifest, mostly through thoughts and words.
This is an abstract concept and hard to understand in practical terms.
What I love about music is that it teaches this and other metaphysical lessons in the most lovely and easy to understand of ways.
We cannot fathom space in the universe. Infinity of time and space is an overwhelming concept.
However, we can break it down and experience that concept in music using our sense of hearing.
What I am speaking of is the space in-between the notes.
Mozart said that music occurs in the space between the notes.
On Saturday, as I tried to keep my focus on the present moment during my performance, one of the divine breadcrumbs that kept my brain there was listening to the space in-between the notes.
The space in between the notes is best described as a yearning…a craving for the next note as it is reached for from the previous note…
It is like the hand of a baby stretching to its mother…like the branch of a tree stretching to the sky…like the eager baby eagle’s neck craning to span the vista of the valley from the perch of its nest.
Today, I feel so blessed to play the piano and to have a window on these metaphysical concepts in a way that is concrete.
What kind of activities do you love to do that teach you about the deep things of the spirit and universe and that connect you to greater Truth?
Or maybe it’s a piece of music, art or literature that gets you there?
I’d love to know…Leave your comments below.