Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Lesson from my Dad

I feel most creative when I am alone. I oftentimes don’t feel like I have the freedom to express myself fully in every creative way I desire when I am in the presence of someone else, even indirectly. I love to be alone and just let it flow: words, music, prayer. These are the most intimate treasures inside of me, and if I keep them to myself, I cannot be hurt through their dissection. If you take a song I have written and break it down, you will find the center of my heart beneath all the layers of creativity. The most courageous thing I have ever done is to take the risk and share what I have written with others, for therein lies the hub of my vulnerability. Inside of my creativity, my most powerful work is religiously inspired.

Nothing fuels me more than my spiritual path, but playing music is the main way in which I can fully let go and be free. Music is pure and emotive. Music opens you and breaks through your walls. Music penetrates even the deepest hurt and provides healing. Music can touch you when you shut down and can release your emotions when you bury them. When I become the musician, the whole world passes away, all the insecurities and filters and censorship, all the hurt, the pain and the sadness is gone and only I am left; just me. This is a trait I learned from my Daddy.

My father was not a musician, but no man loved music more and no one better illustrated the power of music more than he. Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller. These were the bands that helped us find common ground; as much as we loved one another, we never had much in common. My dad was a drug-induced schizophrenic/manic depressive, and one of his more frequent cycles was anger–not just typical anger, but break-stuff, shoot-holes-through-the-doors anger. I would watch him explode as he lost control of his emotions and then witness the beauty of the music that soothed the beast inside of him. He would turn the lights off and turn the music up until all of his anger or hurt or sadness was gone, and only he was left with the sweet sounds in his head to block out the voices. It was then that we would be able to talk and I would see my real dad. Such was the power of music in our lives.

In light of the short-but-sweet performance I gave this weekend at Dublin Irish Festival and the lovely compliments I received, humbling compliments about how my music was able to touch people, I offer thanks to my father for showing me long ago the power of music and encouraging me to make this manifest in my life. May he be at peace surrounded by the song of the universe.

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