Friday, May 08, 2009

No Approval Needed to Shine

Nearly two and half years. That's how long it has taken to shepherd my new album, Consequences of Seeing in the Dark, from vague recording itch to final product. In all that time, I was rarely impatient for the process to go faster. I chalk this up to knowing somewhere inside that I was also preparing to handle the terror of putting my soul's work on display.

With the finish line in sight, I've been jumping up and down at folks -- sometimes literally -- about how excited I am. This project is so close to my heart, and only a handful of people have heard it during the years it took up residence in my life. With only a couple more weeks before I have the CDs in hand, I couldn't resist putting some tracks on MySpace.

Because I'd only received positive feedback thus far, I was caught off guard when a friend told Emily he wasn't sure what to make of the songs. I always knew such a day would come -- I'd pictured myself reading a review, pondering how I'd feel if the person was underwhelmed -- I just hadn't expected it so soon, or from this particular source.

But the surprise of it was a gift. It reminded me to hold on to the joy I feel when I listen to the songs. Even just talking about the project, I'm at my most grounded, powerful, and present. I glow. This friend's reaction -- which I know came with absolutely no ill will -- reminded me to prepare for the next phase of the album's existence.

Fate conspired today to take me to Grace Cathedral. I knew that walking the labyrinth would provide a perfect opportunity to learn how protect my heart going forward, not by building a wall around it but by strengthening that inner glow. As I walked the twists and turns in the sunshine, I sought a way to remain grounded in the profound creativity I'd been privileged to experience.

What I discovered in that labyrinth is that my soul doesn't need anyone's approval to shine. Not even mine.

Do I hope people enjoy the album? Of course. I hope it's wildly successful and heard far and wide. In the end, though, my dearest wishes have already come true: the music simply thrills me.

I still have fingers crossed that my friend will appreciate the album once he hears it in its entirety, rather than a few tracks out of context. But if not, that's okay, too -- perhaps his soul just resonates differently from mine. All I can do is send my flare up and enjoy the fireworks, however many voices join me in marveling at the show in the night sky.


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