more listening more giving more practicing empathy

I am continuing my holiday theme of listening, giving, practicing empathy.

In a world that needs LOVE to heal all things, we are surprisingly unable to LOVE everyone and everything.

I hear musicians singing of the John Lennon "Imagine" dream of world peace and then ending the song and speaking to their audience about how much they hate Donald Trump.

Well, Donald Trump is PEOPLE too. To love everyone we have to somehow love even those we find to be unlovable.

It is a really divine task to truly LOVE EVERYONE.

I've had a mental block for years when it comes to loving my fellow musicians in Minneapolis who are in my similar genre and play at the similar level places that I play.

I've been threatened and afraid.

I've thought they would be dismissive of me and hurt my feelings.

I've thought they would say we're the same when I wanted to stand out, stand taller, rise above.

I've thought they could hurt me.

I once had a dream about this when I was still living in New York, beloved New York.

This was about four years ago.

I dreamed that I had moved back to Minneapolis, which was my greatest fear at the time, that I wouldn't make enough money to be able to stay on in NYC.

In the dream I had moved back and immediately went out to play a show with my guitar in hand to a favorite old live music cafe.

I got to the place, took my guitar up onto the stage and began to play and sing.

Just then the front door of the venue busted open and a loud raucous mob came in shouting, yelling, holding up flaming torches!

I tried to get off the stage and run away, but they came straight for me!

They backed me into a corner, and I could see their faces in the flickering flames of their torches. I recognized these people to be all the competitive songwriters I knew in Minneapolis.

Suddenly one of them, the guy who was always calling me in real life asking how my music career was going, he grabbed a wooden chair from in front of the stage and held it sideways, jabbing the legs of the chair at me the way old fashioned lion tamers used to do to the poor lions.

They were all shouting, "Back, get back!" at me and in my mind I was an animal they were trying to tame.

That's the end of the dream.

I didn't like that dream for a long time but now I love it.

I am an animal.

I am not tame.

I will not be tamed.

And I am seeing that extending my wild animal feeling and spirit of inspiration to other songwriters is the way to go.

I can give people hope by recounting some of my tales.

So in these recent days I've been meeting with other songwriters hearing about their no less difficult journeys.

I've been going to their shows and sitting in gratitude and reverence for the chance to be a listener instead of always the performer.

I'm enjoying seeing how we can support each other and how you can turn suspicion to LOVE by knowing the deep inner struggles behind every face, behind every song.

I am going to support their songs, their efforts, their dreams, whenever and however I can.

I am so glad I got this most basic concept of generosity straight before Christmas.

And in addition to the gifts of my children, my friends, my own music and writing, I will add the gift of camaraderie with these colleagues in songwriting.

This is going to be the best Christmas yet!

Love to all.

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