grasping or aspiring

I really like this book I'm reading from Stephen Cope, The Great Work Of Your Life.

There's a section I read last night where he discusses the difference between grasping for success and aspiring to meet your highest calling.

Grasping is what I have done in the past, as in, until like just recently.

Grasping is when you are constantly freaking out that the path you're on has no security so you keep wanting to achieve worldly success as quickly as possible.

Grasping is when everything you do with your artistic calling and your life's work turns into a get rich quick scheme, a business proposition.

Nobody likes to monetize their art more than I do.

But it backfires on you if that's your main goal.

The other way to go is to aspire.

Your aspirations are noble by definition.

You aspire to a higher level of manifesting your calling.

You aspire, you visualize, you believe, you focus, you be present, and you be excellent.

But you don't grasp and demand and fret.

I remember that a new minister was being chosen for the church I used to attend regularly when I was raising my children.

I was in the church choir at that time.

A new potential minister and his wife came to sit in on the Sunday service one week.

The choir was singing one of my favorite compositions, the Verdi Requiem.

In choral groups I am a high soprano.

I really get off on singing those high descants in a good choir.

You fall back, metaphorically, into the arms of the choir around you and your voice becomes one with theirs and the whole thing is one of the most fucking awesome experiences you can have with a group of fellow humans. Revelatory. Transcendent. As good as good sex. Divine.

The minister who came to visit was chosen and eventually he and his wife moved to our town and he started serving as the head of the church.

One day I was standing around in my choir robe after a Sunday service and that new minister came up to me.

He said, "Hey this is kind of weird to say, but my wife and I have really been looking forward to meeting you. We feel like you have a really special gift with your singing. The first time we ever came to visit the church, you were up there singing in the choir and we both remember you and the look on your face. It was like you had a halo around you. Your face that day was one of the things that convinced us to join this congregation."

When I started writing songs again during that same time period, I knew that the feeling I needed to channel was that holy feeling of communion with God.

I still know that.

I have written songs that don't do that, that's for sure.

But some of my songs can do that if I am singing them from the place of aspiring and not from a place of grasping.

If I'm thinking about how much I want to impress you with my performance when I'm singing my song for you, I can guarantee you will not be moved by the Holy Spirit.

But if I'm humbly singing my song with a sense of knowing that the performance of the music is a way to channel the Divine and to create a space of sacred communion with you, I have a good chance of giving you a gift of feeling moved by the music for yourself.

That's a lot of throwing organized religion words around for a Monday morning.

Take all the words here as they are intended, which is to give a conjuring of feelings that cannot be defined by human language.

Take the words and make them whatever words work for you.

This is not meant to be me preaching about choirs and Sunday services and religious ceremonies.

This is me talking about the feeling I aspire to when I write and perform music.

And this feeling has nothing to do with worldly success but it's very probably the only path to success of any kind for me.

Amen.

 

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