Letting Go To Create

I wrote this song in a cab on the way back home from town:

Life is a song

That is to be sung

You don’t go back

You don’t go back

There’s nothing wrong

With being weak

Take it slowly

When things look bleak

No need to be afraid

About what people think

Darling don’t be afraid

Just be kind to yourself

You’ll never be perfect

And that’s okay

Can you feel

How much you’re

Loved anyway

You can be yourself

There’s no need to rush

Life doesn’t hinge

On any one thing

Live day by day

Embrace each moment

No matter what happens

You are loved

Your soul is held

By eternal hands

The maker of time

Will bring you home

I’ve been in a very creative mode of late and my creative work ranges from poetry, to music and songs to illustrations and other pet projects like my mushroom patch in a Bell-jar. I think it has to do with a sense of freedom and space that I found myself in after emerging from an abusive marriage.

I have intentionally decided to take time out to let myself go and explore what it is like to go with the flow instead of defaulting to prioritizing and approaching tasks in a sequential and logic-oriented manner. Instead, I start something, say, a piano session, take a break, and move on to writing a blog piece. I don’t finish that blog piece but move on to take a shower, afterwhich I might wash a few dishes in the sink while setting the laundry machine.

Normally, this might appear to be symptomatic of ADHD, but I have found that my brain feels clearer and more ordered and there’s a flow in the way I work. As I go with the flow, I somehow find myself back at the piano and pick up from where I left off. There’s a real sense of freedom in living this way, it’s is almost as if I am intentionally letting go and walking away from a spirit of fear and control, so as to allow my inner wisdom to guide me.

Living like this has informed my creative work. It has freed up my inner voice and quickened me to moments of inspiration which I seize, instead of waiting for the perfect set-up to create. This could look like capturing ideas on a napkin, or googling a random word that pops into your mind to see which rabbit hole that takes you down, or getting up to write poetry in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep.

I wrote the song above while in a cab on the way back home from town. It took me 3 minutes to write the words out – a kind of encouragement to myself while I weather the loss of a 10 year relationship and process the trauma from the abuse and hurt that was locked up inside of me for so long.

I didn’t think that these lyrics would work itself into a song easily. There was no clear verse, chorus, bridge format as you would expect. However, it sat in my pile of lyrics for songs for a while. Approximately two months later from when I wrote those lyrics, I’d find myself feeling my creative juices flowing one night – I was almost in a trance when I opened up my Ipad and located the lyrics to ”Life Is a Song” and put music to it. It took me all of 10 minutes to put down chords to the lyrics which I left 98% intact.

I changed only one line.

The line ”You don’t go back” in the first verse was originally “You can’t go back,” but I wanted to make it sound more empowering, so instead of using the word ”can’t” I used the word “don’t.”

Life is a song

that is to be sung,

You don’t go back

You don’t go back

This line has a special significance for me as a singer-songwriter because in the past when I performed I would get really hung up about flubbing or playing a wrong note or chord, to the point that when I made a mistake, I would freeze up and stop playing the song in the middle of a performance.

Like a deer caught in headlights, I would lose my momentum and this would result in my having to go right back to the beginning of the song so that I could play it “perfectly.” I have since heard from a few music veterans that this is not the way to go – you do not stop playing the song in the middle of a performance and start from the beginning, you don’t go back.

Music has been an integral part of the healing journey I am currently on, so the issues and themes I am dealing with come out in my lyrics. And as I was reflecting on my life and what brought me into an abusive 10 year relationship and as well as what brought me out of it, I realize that many painful moments in my childhood were re-enacted in my own marriage.

It is almost as if I had subconsciously tried to “fix the past.”

Now, I realize that we can only learn to face up to and accept the past, but we cannot change it. We can learn to acknowledge the truth about the people that abused us and deal with the trauma that we went through, once this happens, everything is overlaid with a softer lens and history is revisioned in a way that helps you to put the past where it belongs – in the past. As you do this, you learn to live in the here and now, fully embracing all the joy and opportunity each moment brings.

This song is basically a quick little manual about how to do that: it starts with being kind to yourself and embracing your inner child – listening to her and giving her what she needs through your creative work. It starts with letting your inner voice speak without self-censoring, but by embracing all the different shades of who you are as a person. It starts with forgetting about what other people say or think about you, and letting go of trying to project any image of yourself into the minds of others. It is also telling your internal critic as well as your internal cheerleader that you want them both to leave, because your inner voice of wisdom is enough, and it will emerge when those loud voices of blame, shame and forced cheerfulness leave.

It is also about letting go of fix modes of thinking and internal boundaries and allowing the muse from your internal universe to create from the space that you give to it. It is a lot like dipping into a universal consciousness and riding the wave of inspiration that comes when you tap into that space.

How will you let go to create this very moment? 🙂

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