You Can’t Force the Music Out! + Listening to the Muse
Updated: Jan 10, 2022
I’ve recently discovered that for me, retreating to a place of solitude-with the purpose of composing there-often does not help me to compose at all, really. Every time I take a retreat, an artist residency of some kind, it seems as though I put myself in a position to force myself to do something simply because “I’m in a pastoral space.” I often find that I have more fun getting to know the other artists, and basking in the sun with the animals ☺️.
I ultimately find that my greatest work comes to me when I simply have these brief moments of clarity. They are so special to me. It can be on my way to teach a class, in the shower, while grocery shopping, but only in those brisk moments when I’ve stopped thinking about the act of composing all together. I’ve learned that instead of forcing something because you think you have to, it’s most important to get rid of the distractions and the noise and just sit…contemplate in those spaces of nature and silence. I suppose it’s a lesson for all the subjects and adversities of life. It is there that the muse can speak to you in a way that you can understand. It’s as if suddenly you realize that it has been talking to you, saying the same thing for quite a long time, and you’re now, just now…in a position to hear it…It’s like twisting a radio dial with 1000 different frequencies and in the process of removing yourself from the rest of societal commotion, you stumble upon the right frequency. The source of this direction…many people call it the universe, some call it other things. For me, it’s simply the voice of God.
If there’s anything this pandemic has taught me, it is that I actually have the time to do everything…and that I must make time for quiet…I learned that in those moments-in quiet, with family and friends-I am recharging, I am refueling my motivation, my drive, my thirst for expression, my love of humanity…so when I finally return to the work and all of it’s demanding technical stresses, it is practically bursting out of me.
I tend to work in a way where I consume SO much…and then it just flows! When it flows, it is the most exhilarating ride; a high like no other. In real time, you experience what your listeners will feel for the first time over and over and over again. You begin to think about their lives and how much you want them to be touched in some way by what you have to give. The process is so beautiful. I’m so very grateful for the ability to do it. Of course, it took hard work and patience, and still does, but my God, am I thankful for this thing called life and the opportunity to share this thing called love through the catalyst of inspiration.
All in all, lean into the quiet. It is there that the treasures lie waiting for you, the vessel, to claim them.