Friday, February 5, 2016

The Stuff I Value Is Not.....Stuff

It felt downright indulgent, selfish and "North American" to write out my "Day of Delight" last week.

What about all the starving children in the world?

Their day would be simple.

Find food. 

A person without work would only need three words.

Find a job.

But after having a week to ponder the exercise and review my delightful day, I have more to add to those critical thoughts. And they are a little less critical.

Now, I would agree that we are terribly self-consumed in the United States, and the truth is, we are one of THE most fortunate countries on the little globe that spins in my studio. (As a child, I always found those fascinating). 

But what if it simply means that we, who have been given so much, have a high calling to make the best of what we've been given and make a difference in this world?

But what if a day of delight isn't even about making a difference? What if it's simply a day of delight? Oh my, back to feeling self-indulgent! Or is it? As soon as you must make a difference in the world, it puts you back into "oughts and shoulds" which leads to obligation and removes the possibility for a "day of delight".

On to the next assignment: write down your life values.

On the surface, the pictures and text I chose last week would speak of luxury, technology, nature and fine dining. Stuff. However, emerging from this seemingly guilty pleasure of creating a day of delight is an interesting list of things I value and surprisingly, it doesn't seem to be "stuff" at all.

Supposedly, they say that our values cannot be based on our circumstances and those pictures look pretty circumstantial, even tangible to me. Glass buildings, an English butler serving me delicacies and ending the day on a farm in Franklin, Tennessee - they would all appear tangible.

But what if those were all taken away from me?  That could be easy to imagine, since I don't own a glass studio. In fact, my studio is in my "home" and my home is small and simple. I don't have an English butler (though my Dutch husband does serve me treats sometimes) and I certainly don't live on a farm in Franklin.

My songwriting tools, though somewhat contained in a digital format, are not simply pulled up by a vocal command and stored digitally automatically (unless I don't know how to use technology right - which could be true).

I DO have a cat that I adore. I DO ride a motorcycle and so does my husband. I DO get to spend time writing music and lately, I've even been ice skating a little bit. Those are all delightful.

So if what we value can't be based on circumstances, how do we find out what we value below the surface of our day of delight?

I'm not sure yet, but here's what I think I see emerging through my "tangible" list.


atmosphere, climate, mood, feel, character, quality, flavor, look, tone


setting, surroundings, aura, color, cultivation


bring into existence, fashion, design, imagine, compose, give life to, shape, dream up


regular, familiar, seasonal, methodical 


discipline, training, movement, pursuit


wisdom, information, study, education, knowledge


sounds that are pleasant


silence, privacy, peace and quiet, aloneness (not loneliness)


connection, friendship, exchange, rapport, bond, kinship, marriage, nearness

I have always been very sensitive to ambiance and environment (you can insert all the above synonyms here).  I am easily inspired or brought down by surroundings.  All that being said, I am becoming creative about taking any circumstance and surrounding and finding delight in it. That's real creativity!

Basically, I believe that I was wired to create. Specifically, to create ambient musical structures that are intangible.  Music is like the wind, you can hear it and you can see the effects of it, but you can't see it without notes on paper or audio waves on a computer. You can drive down the road, turn on a song and be transported to a place of tranquility, though you never "see" the sound waves.

A by-product of that wiring seems to be a vocation wherein I create songs of honesty, peace and comfort, so I value the "places" from which my creativity originates.

In other words:

I value nurturing of the soul, both mine and others. I believe I can do that best by creating music.

Creating music (at least for me) comes about best through a routine consisting of a healthy blend of the following:

Solitude, spiritual disciplines, exercise, learning, relationship, ambiance and environment. The edifice of my soul is the strongest when these elements are present, no matter where I am.

In a nutshell, here's a perfect example:

I discovered a new kind of "delight" when I tried to take up figure skating a couple of years ago at the recommendation of my counselor. "Do something fun for once", she advised. I went ice skating - something I've loved since I was little.  I was not seeking to write music for a new project, I just simply followed my gut and took up skating. In fact, when it was first suggested to me, I had disengaged from creating music. I was quite depressed.

What has emerged? A brand new me, and with it, a brand new project of music. Somehow, the delight in skating evoked a new level of creativity and resulted in a stronger soul, expressed in the new music.

Maybe there is something to this "day of delight" thing.

Here's a very short video announcing the new music and the inspiration for it.  What a delightful day!!

Click here to view video.

Why not take some time to do this exercise for yourself? It can be transforming.