For a couple of weeks around this time, everywhere I went I heard the same song on the radio, I got into my car, it was on the radio, I went into a shop, it was on the radio, I went home, made dinner, put on the radio and there it was again, loud and clear. Here it was a professional dating coach talking about how to improve your game.
“Stop, look, listen to your heart hear what its saying.” Then back in the next class, the ego was beginning to show signs of strain. I’d sit quietly in a corner where I could see and hear the teacher without having to make too much eye contact; just wanting to connect with what was going on inside, and it would start trying to goad me!
“OK, so what now? What now?! What’s next? That was good but what’s next? Huh, huh? Come on do something, make something happen… What! Are you achieving here? Right. You get up off this silly old cushion right now!! And do something…HEY! …Go and achieve something” it whined…I did nothing, just sat breathing in and out, noticing the breath leaving and entering my body.
“Nothing’s happening, I feel weird. Uh oh…something bad’s gonna happen…its too quiet in here ”
But while my mind was screaming at me like the text-book id, some other voice seemed to be whispering, as it probably always had been, “Be still,” and this time, I listened. I had run out of steam. I had come so far and gotten nowhere fast and now there was nowhere to go, but within. I took a very long, slow, deep breath and my first tentative steps on the long journey home.
I continued to feel exhausted. Some weekends I slept and slept and slept; I began to wonder whether I would ever feel normal again. After a few weeks of this, thoughts that were slightly ‘foreign’ to me began to come into my head. I began to wonder (shock, horror) whether I actually wanted to just be a famous singer. I had always been a fairly thoughtful person by nature and this passion for contemplation suddenly rose to the surface of my conscious awareness and began to seem at odds with the glamour and excitement of being on stage and the hedonism and superficiality of the music business. Of course I know that there are a lot of performers who are naturally shy people. In fact becoming a performer is often described as “the shy person’s revenge.”
But no, that wasn’t it exactly; I wasn’t that shy and revenge has just never been my thing. So it was something else; something quite strange and new. For the first time ever, I began to wonder whether I could perhaps find something else to do that was a bit more… meaningful?…fulfilling?… Or perhaps I should say, for the first time ever, I began to let my own feelings about what might make me truly happy float to the surface and be noticed. Of course I had always loved singing, and adored music my whole life, for as long as I can remember, and still do. It had been like a salve to my soul in difficult times, and long before I had a name for what singing did for me or how it made me feel I knew that it somehow connected me with something much far greater than myself.
I didn’t have the words to describe it then but I now know that music has always been for me a very powerful way of connecting to The Source. as a matter of fact, everything related to dating and how to pick up girls. Back in those days though, God was a scary, judgmental, all powerful figure with a long grey beard, sitting on a throne shaking a sceptre or a staff, or something. What could that guy possibly have to do with music? Nevertheless, I started singing in order to express and to connect with something deep within me. It was an innocent expression, something between me and my spirit, a cry from the voice of my heart.
Then, as I got older, I discovered that people liked the sound of my voice and seemed to like me more because they liked my singing. I had something special that other people wanted. I was no longer the retiring underdog…the weird girl with cold hands, and because I had been given this ‘gift’, of course the natural assumption was that one day I would be famous. Well it didn’t exactly fit with who I was… but being famous would mean that everyone I knew would like me a lot more and a lot more people I didn’t even know would probably like me as well, and anyway, how could I let everyone down when they all expected such great things from me?
Throughout my life I had felt that the “borrowed robes” of the ‘international singing sensation’ everyone told me I should become were a poor fit. The harshness I found in the music business was severely at odds with the intense feeling of love, connectedness and communion that came when I just opened my mouth and let the music out. I searched for a place, genre, situation or niche where I might thrive and be accepted within the great music biz monster, along with all my vulnerabilities and my kooky and curious spiritual sensibilities, only to rediscover, time after time, that this ‘business’ was no business of mine and that I was absolutely not cut out for it.
But every time I fell, there would be someone there to pick me up again and encourage me back into the futile fray once more. A well-meaning friend who felt sure that I’d “make it” one day if I just kept plugging away at it because it was my destiny. Or maybe a relative would remind me of how I’d amazed the whole family all those years ago when I stood up in front of all those people at that talent contest and how proud they all were of little Di. Or from out of the blue a sudden offer would appear. Or an unexpected call would come from some forgotten contact or jazz promoter begging me to do one last gig. And so, the need in me would be reawakened and my fragile ego would drag me, screaming, towards the promise of more flattery and validation.
Then finally, I began to get really centred in the silence and to enjoy the warm afterglow of authenticity that would increasingly follow me out of my meditations and into my day to dating life, and I began to experience a curious sense of dissociation during gigs. As my ego began to loosen its hold over me, my perspective began to shift. Instead of wondering whether I was giving a stunning performance or what the audience thought of me or feeling comfortable that I was once again proving myself worthy of love