Spiralsposted Jun 25 2009 · No Comments
It’s always an interesting experience to perform songs that I wrote a couple of years ago, but that are only now reaching their audience. “Do you get tired of playing the same song over and over again?” is a question that I feel artists get asked from time to time. The answer, in my experience, is a resounding “No”. But the reason for that is more humbling than it is noble.
I just got back to New York after an exciting six weeks in New Zealand sharing “Hiding So Long” and setting plans in motion for the future. To me, performing a song requires one to live the song in the present – not necessarily to remember what the song meant when it was written, or what it’s supposed to be about – but to allow the experience of the song to offer something new, to be alive right NOW, to allow it to evoke something from within in the present.
And what struck me, as I performed the song day after day, and given that I often sing it while playing around with my guitar at home anyway, is how real the song still is to me. The truth is, I feel like a different person from the one who wrote the song a couple years ago. And, at the time of writing the song, I even felt I was writing it somewhat in hindsight. But what the song continues to remind me, as it continues to feature in my daily life, is that the challenges of being human are never something we overcome and say goodbye to forever. They arise every day in different ways, calling us to choose our response, to choose to either allow them to reveal new depths within us, or to struggle against them, deny them, react to them.
So I notice that the themes of Hiding So Long – self-betrayal, the denial of one’s own truth – still appear in my life in different ways. The difference, now, is that I’m quite aware of my own choice in that, of my own participation in that drama: that the choice of really being true to my inspiration, rather than to my fear, though it may be a more intimidating path, is always available.
I remember hearing a vocal coach once say, “Learning to sing is circular. You keep coming back to the same issues again and again, but each time, you’re at a slightly higher level.” It seems that it’s true of our learning in general. Though it’s understandable that we often want to completely eradicate anything that bothers us in our lives, the reality is, we seem to move in spirals (hopefully, upward-moving spirals). We meet the same challenges again and again, but each time with greater awareness and freedom than before. And, hopefully, we remember that the point of arrival that we tend to strive toward, where we are free from all challenges, is called death; and that the journey itself is the vehicle of life.
Totally unrelated, here is a photo from a recent in-store performance at ESPRIT on 5th Ave, with my acoustic trio. Lots of fun, watching the rain pour down outside as we rocked out in the store window.