“Knowing the answers will help you in school. Knowing how to question will help you in Life.”
Greetings Dear Ones!
Have you ever spent the weekend with a certain friend who leaves you swirling in endless questions? Questions that rip you open and leave you room to grow that, until then, you had not known you needed? How many ways are there to ask such questions? Is it Ok to have no answers? How may I live at peace with No Answers and instead live more authentically into where these Questions might lead? A musician-prophet my voice recognition software is calling “Elsewhere Phrases” wants to know—Why am I here? What the hell am I doing at a fiddle camp when I should be cleaning my garage and selling my furniture so I can move and get on to my Someday-Life? Why not a sewing camp? (Are there such things?) Why not a writing weekend, which might be more necessary in the short term? (Should I start a sewing camp?) Would I just wind up cooking instead? Or would I have to spend a lot of time wondering how to change a fuse box because the teenagers blew all the fuses with their hairdryers? At the very least, shouldn’t I be back in the shop, laboring over one of the 67 prom gowns, which has to be 3-6 inches shorter by May 11th?
Why go to a fiddle retreat? Because the grass is too wet to mow? Because I couldn’t face cleaning the garage? Because the Journey Continues? Or all of these things? Now that I am here, what is the best use of my time—to sit on a couch until the wee hours, making verbal burbled heart-connections with fellow members of this beloved tribe, or shall I travel out alone beneath the stars and use horsehair on a stick to capture one by one notes that scamper like fireflies into the bewildering darkness, until each is safely caught and resting in neat lines along the length of the tune, waiting submissively for me to tap it gently with my finger so it can glow when the time is right? Awash in music, intoxicated by an ancient Celtic reel clicking by at a heart-rate of 120 beats per minute, in a vortex of vibration, community, and the frictionless flow of a bow arm swinging like a piston on a steam train—is there any better way to LIVE? Ever? If only for a breath, a moment, or an evening that connects itself to Eternity in every direction?
What does it mean to Be Here? To be ALIVE? To me? To you? To any of us? Does that young mother, eating with one arm because the other one is holding a baby, have any idea what she is giving her child as she feeds her with her own hungers for Beauty, for Peace, for the thrill of this Universal Language that connects? What can mothers ever give us besides Food and also Hunger?
What is to become of us at this camp? And why did I think it was necessary to consume the Whole of that bean burrito at lunch? Will there be embarrassing consequences? How can I ensure that the “Vibrations” I raise, have nothing to do with the legumes I have ingested? How can we succor each other as we labor to bring Light to a world that cannot yet decide how it wants to be but only knows the choices are “for better or worse” but never for the same? Will we be better people come Monday? Is there any way to stand up, or sit down, or walk out, sing, speak, or shout, “Please, dear World, Choose Better!!!”? Or should I just cross my legs primly and wait, hoping I make it to the bathroom before everyone rushes out during break time?
Is there no greater act of Courage than in giving your soul to your art—to having some Call from within answered in your handiwork? Is there no greater act of Hope or Fear than in bringing a precious, vulnerable, newborn child into this world so that it can ruin your body, ruin your sleep, alter every aspect of your Life, your schedule, your finances, your flesh, your mind, your heart—yet see it grow so it can hear and play and LIVE this music?
Beyond Pro-birth, what does “Pro-Life” mean? Does it mean ALL life? Does it include spotted things like Owls and Salamanders? Does it mean we cherish our Polar Bears and the Jungle Lungs of the planet? And How do we honor those who bring and bear Life, who nurture, protect, and serve the vulnerable in their care? Where are the babysitters and math tutors they need? Who is their help? Who brings their food, provides their shelter, lends them vocational or educational support? Where are the extra muscles, hands and feet, when they can go no further, in their deep exhaustion, and do no more for their (our) young?
What was that note that just flashed by? Was it C sharp or C natural? Why are these beans holding me hostage? Why did I eat that Burrito? Where is the balance point in this battle in my head—in the struggle between words and wordlessness? Should I have stayed home? Was making sure a prom dress was 3 inches shorter a better use of my time? WHY did I eat so many beans?
When the instructor goes around the room and asks us to say why we are here, how do I reply? Is the correct answer to say that I want to master the up-driven bow in a snappy Strathspey? Or Grace notes? Or Love notes? What if I stand up and ask to be Forgiven and leave the “for what” up to everyone’s imaginations? Which will create the worse scandal? Truth or Beans?
What are the choices we make in our own lives, for Life? To be fully ALIVE—mentally, spiritually, organically—beans and all? Does Evil exist in any other form than the limiting, diminishing, or denying the privileges of Life? How can we begin to talk about this in larger, softer, kinder ways? Is there a friendly way to discuss Death when we cannot even decide if the bow should go up or down? For isn’t that what we imply, every time Life is mentioned? How can we enlarge the discussion about the Seed into the discussion of the Forest too? And what it means to Bloom? What are the ingredients we need to Flourish? How can we make sure others are getting what they need too?
What if Life is not something that can be defined by Biologists, Priests, or Doctors? What if it is something that only you and I and the Poets can know for sure, after dancing naked in the rain?
Who are you? Where have you been? How do you do? What do you do? Why are you here? How long has it been since I’ve seen you? Where are you going? What’s next? Have you found your voice yet? Have you heard your own throat in full song? What if every relationship we entered into from now on was an answer to the question “What does Cherish mean to you?”
Since when is Cynicism valued over Optimism, as if it is the more intelligent choice? How do we begin the process of installing Sophistication on Optimism and removing its unhelpful connotations of naivete and ignorance? What happens to us when we seek to define ourselves outside of (or without) the traditional contexts of “Success”? Is the cellist my software insists on calling “Gnat House” talking about a “traumatic” bass line? What is that word she keeps saying? Dramatic? Is there even a difference anyway?
As notes pelt and land on the desert of my skin, seeping through to join the beating of my blood and emerge as tears, I ask myself, “What is it I have to learn from this kind of Loving?” What if being around “like-minded” people is actually dangerous? What if our minds are too small? How can we be around more like-hearted people?
What if I told you that I don’t actually love you for your [music] (or art or science) but for that Thing within you that makes you seek and serve your Gift? Would you understand that? What if it is not about the painting, or the song, or the dance, or the clever use of metaphor I love so much—what if I love best your ability to say YES? What if it’s simply your Thirst for what is Good—for Justice, for the perfection of an up-driven bow, and for “No Voices to be Silenced” by Orchestral or governmental forces, that makes me glimpse your Source, and therefore mine? What if the Serving of that Thing is the thing that makes you most Alive? When are we going to stop worrying about what size or shape our candles are and start worrying about whether they are Lit?
What is Motherhood, essentially, but saying Yes to the Life crying to be born within us? And how is Mother’s Day to be endured by the aching women who said their Yes, yet whose empty arms extend with desperate longing to hold those yet unborn, those taken too early by disease, accident, drugs, disasters, or incarceration? How do we hold these women in our hearts and hugs and tell them they are not forgotten? That they have not “failed” Motherhood? How do we include those women who never had their kidneys punched from the inside, who never felt that hot, red, spiral of hellish pain as they pushed another person’s body out of their own body, and tell them they are still Mothers for all they sacrifice in doing What Must be Done for the young? That they are some of the Best mothers of all?
Who said the first Yes to your request to be here? How are you now choosing your own Life? Be it with roses, with kind deeds or chocolates, with a card, or simply in the Silence of your heart—how are you Thanking your own Mother for the gift of your one, tiny, Amazingly Precious Life?
I love you, my Darlings. Of that, there is no question! Happy Mother’s Day!