The other day, I pulled my car off the road to listen more fully to a flute concerto with soloist Jean Pierre Rampal. Letting it sink in. Childhood dreams of being a flutist...like Rampal. And then later...of being a writer, an activist, a philosopher...like Simone de Beauvoir. And then later...so many famous names!
The joke was on me. These lives were already taken. I had to receive my own. A journey of discovery. In an early journal I copied Rainer Maria Rilke: "I have been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song?"
Listening to the flute concerto in my car brought me back home, to who I am, receiving the truth of my life. It is all about listening and trusting, isn't it? Right now, right here, nothing else. Slow learner. I am learning that lesson over and over again.
In the 1530s, before tiger parents and the Mozart effect, Pierre Montaigne, a new father, hired a musician for the sole purpose of awakening his young child every morning. In the deep interiors of a stone castle in Bordeaux, the young mind of Michel Montaigne curved around the resonant, quiet tones of a lute. "Music - lyrical, wordless - was the soundtrack of his childhood, the ground beat of his existence," writes Patricia Hampl in Art of the Wasted Day. In adulthood, Michel returned to the castle to write his now famous reflections.
On the vast steppes of Mongolia, animal herders listen to the winds whistling through grasses, the roar of horse hooves, the lament of their flocks. They reflect the soul of this lonesome landscape in the sounds of their Morin Khuur, a string instrument unique to their culture. It is said that the Morin Khuur can make a camel weep. When a mother camel gives birth to a calf, she sometimes rejects her offspring, stressed by the pain of arduous labor. When traditional Mongolian camel farmers then play the Morin Khuur, the mother camel listens...and comes home to herself, re-adopting her calf. She sheds large tears. Merely the wind playing with the strings can have this effect.
What do these stories have in common? I think it is about allowing ourselves to soak up energies coming our way that create wellbeing, a sense of home. Here and now. So that we can be who are and trust who we are. Receiving our life. Giving ourselves permission to drop into authenticity, a natural way of being that is whole and meaningful. Receiving ourlife. No need to become a lute player or a Mongolian herder. Just us.
We have a choice. We can receive. We can receive the energies that are around us to guide us and trust that they give us our own meaning, impact, and voice. Beautiful music, a compliment, wealth, creative inspiration, trees, love, it really doesn't matter. Listening and trusting. Gratitude for what we receive. Why not?
Why not? Well, with me it is that my habitual mind tells me otherwise: "I must be something I am not, because I am not worthy. I am not lovable the way I am. Not now. And so on." By arguing for our limitations we get to keep them. By practicing dropping into positive feelings when they arise we expand our capacity for wellbeing and success. My challenge is to receive who I am and give myself space - enjoy the space- by simply showing up.
What if we learn to trust what comes to us just for what it is, without any need to own it, react to it, become an agent in it? What if we trust the voice that then breaks through? Just as we are? Trusting our inner tenderness to express our highest truth. We can make deliberate choices.
That's my practice for this week!
NOTE: Love it if you share this with your network. Thank you in advance! And if you are interested in a circle or conversation that supports us in coming home - for impact, fulfillment, your own voice- please email me.
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