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10 August 2008

Day 23 :: Let yourself full body sing

Singing"This Monday, driving to work, I realized that I had not sung in over a week. Really sung. Not humming along to a tune but a closed eyed, body sing. I haven't put myself first and have let all the worries and troubles of life overshadow what makes me happy.

My whole life I have wanted to sing. But something always came up. It's not realistic. You need to get an education first. Come on, you couldn't make it. You couldn't make it. You couldn't make it. I have said that to myself over and over and over again. How silly. What is making it?  What is making it if you have 37 days left?

If I had 37 days left I would sing as much as I could with no thoughts of success or failure. I would write as many songs as I could and sing for as many people as I could. I would make sure to sing a special song for my Mamaw. I would wake up every morning, grab my guitar and sing whatever I was feeling at that moment and at night I would lie in bed humming a tune to sleep.

I would hold a concert in a park and invite everyone that I love. I would smile when I sing, laugh and cry. I would let it all out to the melody of sweetness. And on my last day, I would look into the eyes of the ones I love and smile, hoping that they heard my song, my life, my gift to them."

-Valerie McQueen

Interestingly, I received this essay from Valerie on the very day I met a dental hygenist who was finally taking singing lessons after years of wanting to, after years of deferring it while she cleaned teeth. Like Valerie, I got the sense she had found her own voice and was taking it out for a spin, singing jazz.

Several years ago, I had a beautiful young woman in a class of mine. "Could we have lunch together one day this week?" she asked. And so we did. She told me of her love for dance and rhythm. I had seen her dance out of her mind at an impromptu drum circle that had sprung up on campus the evening before. She had a body that connected to the beat, undeniably. It was in her bones in a way it would never be in mine. Her choice was to either get experience inside a corporation or go to Brazil to study dance. She wanted my advice.

I found myself telling her to get experience inside a corporation. I gave her all the reason why she should defer her dream until she got some credibility. And right around the time I got to the black olives in my salad, I realized what I was saying. I put down my fork and looked at her. "Forget all of what I've just said," I explained. "There is no reason you should follow my path, none at all. There is no reason to defer your dream, to mark time for a few years so you can put it on your resume. There is no reason not to follow your passion right now. Go to Brazil."

She left for Brazil shortly after the class was over.

Valerie McQueen is singing for all the world to hear. She is doing some full-body singing. She is doing some dancing in her car kind of singing. Won’t you, too? Close your eyes and sing.

What is the story we tell ourselves about what we can and cannot do?

A copy of LIFE IS A VERB is singing its way to Virginia for Valerie.

(Would you like to answer the question, "What would you be doing today if you only had 37 days to live?" If so, you can email it to me. As we count down to the publication of LIFE IS A VERB on September 2nd, I'll post an essay from a reader each day.)

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great post! why do we defer our dreams, believing the negative messages we receive from ourselves and others? we should all be telling the young people in our lives to follow their passion. where would we all be right now if we had the courage to do just that?

Patti ... Valerie's contribution strikes a loud and resonate chord with me!

I met with fellow blogger/facilitator Johnnie Moore today in Melbourne and shared with him something about singing and playing music. For me ... the song writing process is therapeutic and healing. I can express things that fly under the consciousness radar ... through the poetry I can find solutions and meaning.

I penned a song last week about 'being present' with my own family. It weaves a story that links this presence with re discovering "six strings" (my guitar) and about finding the space to write songs again.

In the next few minutes a song about my own Dad literally jumped out of the page. I'll send it to you as a part of the 37 Day countdown.

Geoff

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