Sunday, May 2, 2010

Encourage Your Soul To Sing!

"You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note." --Doug Floyd

If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Awhile back, hubby and I yanked out the guitars, plugged in the vintage amps and took the digital recording equipment out for a spin. One of the classic songs we worked on is a long-time favorite: "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones. I memorized this tune back at the tender age of fifteen *gasp!* and to this day relish the intricate chord changes and plaintive lyrics. Love it, love it, love it… Except for one pesky little detail. Singing in the dreaded key of G.

Now I could transpose the chords or slap on a capo but for the accompanying lead guitarist, that’s a pain in the arse. There are those too who would argue that the richness and depth of the original chords are compromised.

Flash back to a few days earlier. Sipping a fine glass of cabernet, we’d been listening to the "Rolling Stones Rarities" album. The version on this disc has a blues feel, more vibrant and intense. Something about the husky tone in Mick's wail reverberated inside my soul. Suddenly, I just *knew*. The urge to redo the song thundered in my veins. So after hubby patiently arranged the microphones just so, and we dashed through the chord changes a couple of times, we gave it a go.

"Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to." ~George Seaton

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. ~Martin Luther King Jr.

The first verse came out in a wobbly squeak, rather like an adolescent boy pushing maturity. A sure sign of the frustrating inability to Find My Note. Yet when the haunting chorus came around, I somehow magically tapped in. Faltering at first, but I could *feel* the correct pitch somewhere deep within my bones. By the second verse, I miraculously clung to the note for a few more seconds, astonished to hear myself singing in this impossible key. What a wild, incredible, brilliant rush. Yet… Could I hold it?

"Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's." ~Billy Wilder

Each time I'd begin anew… The exhilaration would snatch me up, toss my soul into the wind and I’d thrill in a wave of ecstasy hearing the clear chime of My Note. Up until that fateful moment when I realized (with a rush of stark fear) what I was doing… *snort* At which point, my voice would once again wobble and squeak and my spirits would plunge down to the ground.

Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours. ~Richard Bach, Illusions

The process fascinated me. As soon as I let my thoughts wander over to an observation of my actions I’d lose focus. An image popped in my mind. The classic Warner Bros. cartoons where, in his eternal quest to snare the clever Roadrunner, Wile E. Coyote would race off the cliff, legs windmilling wildly. His nimble feet would carry him several feet into the air until a tiny pinprick of awareness would nip his consciousness and, with eyes widening in realization, he’d sneak a glance down.



Life requires a certain amount of faith. Perhaps it’s most obvious in performance mode (or while chasing an elusive Road Runner), yet it’s clear that this axiom serves throughout every aspect of our existence. I know that when I’m typing, if I stop to think about the process my speed will slow considerably. I’ll become self-conscious, wondering if my fingers really know what to do. I'll make mistakes and often begin an endless cycle of correction, which then leads to even more mistakes.


Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

The last sentence is really the crux of the matter. While most of us (whether deliberately or not) work towards a measure of self-awareness, we also must step away from being self-conscious. Meaning, we must learn to not second-guess each decision or micromanage every step of our life. Which isn’t always easy.

Faith is courage; it is creative while despair is always destructive. ~David S. Muzzey

What I realized during the course of the night is that even the most impossible task can be accomplished if you tune in just right. Not to say that one can bypass the effort required to move past the blocks, whether it be learning the chords, striving to understand the process of plotting, delving into the particulars of mixing hues on a palette, or even distinguishing between an intrusive weed and potential bud in your soon-to-be-blossoming creation.

"Faith is a passionate intuition." ~William Wordsworth

Yet one thing remains clear. It is that initial “tuning in” process that carries us through. Whatever you dream, whatever you yearn for, can be accomplished. For writers, we must close our critical "mind's eye" and open our hearts to trust in the process of creation. Trust that the characters will spring to life and the light of inspiration will reveal an amazing story just waiting to be shared. We all have to have to trust that we can and will Find Our Note. Let those fingers fly and encourage your soul to sing.

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. ~Michael Jordan

The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do. ~Author Unknown

Wishing everyone a productive and inspired week!

--Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas

PS.. I also want to let you know that if you like my weekly essays and want the motivational boost every week, you can sign up to be a follower of my blog. Just click on the notice at the top of the page. When you sign into Blogger, you'll see my weekly essay which posts every Sunday. Thanks so much!


Lynn said...

Trust the process. I so love those words. Faith for me is to keep stepping into my dream, even when my critical mind kicks in. Thanks for this essay, your words. Lots to consider and remember, and I like all the quotes you used. I'm glad you have had the courage to 'find your note' and share with others. Have an inspired week, too.

Kathy Holmes said...

So true - relax or it'll never happen - is the secret to life.

I woke up yesterday and wrote the beginning of a song - something I told myself I could never do, forgetting I had done that once when I was a kid. It felt awesome just to acknowledge I could do if it I really tried and that was so freeing. So much so, I felt more creative working on my wip.

And certain sounds like "Wild Horses" will forever recall my youth, driving up and down I-5 - from CA to Oregon and back. Pretty powerful stuff, here, pulling me back to some special times, feeling free, living in a world that felt more poetic, expressive, and creative. But there seems to be a creative explosion happening now.

All good stuff, Chiron! Thank you, once again, for starting my week off with a bang!

Terresa said...

Great post. Love those quotes & the invitation to sing!

Chiron said...

Hi Lynn!

Thanks so much for your kind words! It seems to me that there are few moments in life as exhilerating as when we let go our fears and create. I'm reminded of Peter Pan's story, how a little fairy dust and thinking 'happy thoughts' can help us to fly.


I've reworked an old quote to reflect the axiom shared by so many successful people: "I'll see it when I believe it."

So... here's to believing in our creations, believing in our success, believing there's magic in our fingertips.

Hope your week was inspired! Thanks so much for visiting.


Chiron said...

Hello Kathy!

Wow, I wonder how many miles I logged, driving with a friend between HB and Portland. We never could have done it without singing songs the whole way! *laughs*

How very cool that songs are now coming to you!! Just last week, I finally figured out how to play one I'd written a decade ago. Believe it or not, during my singer/songwriter days, I realized I'd written upward of forty songs. How fun those days were!! But I often made up alternate chords, so hadn't a clue what I was playing, which meant many a sheet has lyrics and no chords written. *slaps forehead*

A few weeks back, we were playing a favorite Fogerty tune when I suddenly felt a blast of inspiration. I scribbled down an extra verse (one of my singer friends had been complaining the song wasn't long enough). Damn if people didn't love it and seem astonished that I had written it. Yeah, baby!!

Thanks for reminding me of the exhileration and daring of my early days, whether zipping down 101 or up I-5 to Portland. Funny, those memories uplift me but I feel like we're creating some more Good Old Days right now!

Always a pleasure to see you, my dear!


Chiron said...

Hi there Terresa!

Thanks so very much! Always lovely to have another 'soul singer' to join in the chorus. *smile* Here's to embracing the magic within!


Ishwara said...

Hi Chiron,
Very inspiring! It is such a fun adventure reading your essays! You really take everyone on a ride that creates joy, enthusiasm and creates careful, thoughtful reflection to grow within that leaves a solid birthing ground for creativity! Thank you! :-)

Celia Yeary said...

CHIRON--I didn't understand any of the technical jargon you used, not being a musician, but that didn't matter, did it? Resonate is a word we all understand, when applied to our own drum beat. I noticed you used "faith" several times, and I can appreciate that. Of course, we're all self-concious at one time or another, but I'd never thought about it in connection with the keyboard. See? I've done that. Typed away, slamming words onto the page, letting my thoughts go where I thought they should--but suddenly, caught in thin air--the realization all my words are...well, bad. So, I begin again, having faith it'll all come back to me. Thanks--Celia

Chiron said...

Hi Ish!

Thanks so much for your kind words. :-D I really apprecate it!


Chiron said...

Celia, I really hear you. It's a juggling act, for sure, learning to let go enough to let the words flow and yet be aware enough to channel those words into something delicious. *smile*

Like Michener and Michael Crichton, I'm a great Re-writer. I re-read everything I write, no matter how mundane. Emails, comments, and stories. So it's definitely a two-step process. As long as we have faith enough to know these words aren't etched in stones, we can learn to let go and just let the words flow, eh?

And whenever I read your words, I *feel* that flow. *grin*

So you must be doing something right!!

Thanks always for stopping by, my dear friend!