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Reply To: The powerful play goes on; you may contribute a verse; what will your verse be?

#72370
jamesn.
Participant

Thanks Stephen; no my music performance days are retired; but I think the thing for me now I find incredibly meaningful is looking back with gratitude for the journey. Not the achievement; but the actual experience and people I knew over the years and the fulfilment.

One of the things I was looking for toward the end was the answer to the question of resolution; “what’s it all about?”; “where is this going?”; what is it that’s pushing me and is there a point?”. I was getting older and the landscape was changing and the things that always kept me engaged were disappearing. And as my body was aging I began realizing at some point I was not going to be able to do the things my creative side was asking; and I began to see I was going to need to think about retiring and it was a very depressing thought to consider. (This had been the main motivating force of my entire life; and an emotional crisis was approaching that I was going to have to face.)

I had gone from a period of vinyl LP recordings; to cassette tapes; to digital CD’s; to digital files; and all the different styles that the music business had moved through; (both socially and technically); and the world I had originally started from had evolved into another context I was relating to; both emotionally as well as creatively; but this time I could see no future in front of me. I had always been able to overcome hurdle after hurdle and solve whatever problems were presented; or I was able to re-invent or re-calibrate another approach and move on to the next thing; but this time the reality was inescapable and I could not resolve it; (at least in a way that was acceptable to me). So there were two choices; 1.) to try and hang on getting more and frustrated and depressed. 2.) to retire and move on to the next thing not knowing what that was or what it would bring. (I chose the later.)

But during this time something began to happen to my outlook in the way I was able to interpret this life-season-change because I had accepted it. Because I had been reading Joseph’s ideas for many years the insights this material had provided began to work on me and I began to understand this was part of a larger life process and not to fight it. And all of a sudden I began getting invitations to participate in several different; (what to me became sort of: “swan-song” moments); from some of the various people I had worked with over the years; and the feelings of loss were replaced with deep gratitude. I began to see the context of these moments in a much more personal, intimate, and profound way; that it was the journey and not the achievement that provided the depth of meaning I had been searching for. Joseph says this in a way that frames this insight uniquely: “that your life has told you something”; and helped me to resolve my conflict and I could now let it go. And what it told me was: “You reached; you answered the call of your life and win, lose, or draw is not the point; but that you heard and answered this call of your life and (this) is your answer.” And you will never have to listen to the echo: “if only” at the end of your life.  (It was a moment like no other I have ever experienced; and informs me still.)

I have never considered my myself extraordinary in what I did musically; we had a mantra back then that: “you serve the song; not yourself”; and always felt fortunate to be able to do this. And I began to understand this in an even deeper context of my own life that it was the journey to get there from where I started that was my most important accomplishment; not whether this journey raised my stature or position above anyone else; but that it was a journey of my life’s fulfillment; an expression of the best that was within me and that I gave everything I had to it and could rest well with that no matter what. During these last few years the; “individuation” process; has provided the defining influence necessary for me to breakthrough many of my defense mechanisms that kept me from realizing what had been driving my life and to assimilate their meaning. Seeing one’s unknown face; that unpleasant dark side you don’t want to look at; with all it’s weaknesses and negative attributes was not easy; but it changed everything in the way I understood my life context and continues still.

It may sound strange but the work I’m most proud of was from groups and individual’s that people in the general public will probably never hear of because they are either buried in a vault somewhere or the artist has passed away. These were incredibly creative projects that never got a record deal; (many of the musicians went on to work with other artists who are well known); but the point was they were extremely challenging, and deeply moving. And it was the struggles you went through to do them and the respect of other musicians they got that makes them special looking back in retrospect. And all the adventures and you went through and the close relationships you had; that’s the stuff you wind up remembering the most; and that’s the gold of your treasure you keep.  Thanks for asking Stephen.