I performed last night, and I LOVED it. I had so much fun. It was such a different experience to anything that I had had when I’ve performed in the past. It had been a few years since the last time and many years again prior to that.
The bottom line is that I feel like I truly showed up, not only with my musical capacity, but more importantly as Me. I was able to connect into the music and truly perform as an expression of my soul. My experience right now as I write this the following morning is one of liberation, of freedom. I think the part that is liberating is that I simply allowed my soul to freely express, to release itself from the bounds that normally constrain it, and allowed that to be witnessed by those present.
I performed without a set list which in retrospect was a very wise choice. I’ve learned through my spiritual practice, and through life in general, that each moment is new and you never know how (or even who) you are going to be in the next moment. To try to have a plan for song sequence gets in the way of immediacy, of the beauty of being spontaneous. I did have a list of songs as a reminder of music I’ve been enjoying lately, but there was no plan, no sequence, not even an opening or closing song, just the immediacy of my experience inspiring whatever came next.
I feel transformed in a way, and it has to do with the freedom which comes from one’s personal expression in a public way. When we personally express in an authentic way, there is nothing which gets between us and others. The immediacy of the exchange becomes apparent. The gap between myself and those in attendance last night seemed to dissolve at times. People sang along and danced and I fed off that energy and gave back more and more of myself. I just rolled with it all too, accompanying others, taking requests, I even channeled a little Ray Charles a couple of times!
I had a curious insight an hour or so before the show. I was at home and noticed that I was feeling a little anxious. Ordinarily I would think that that is a natural reflex for a situation such as this, but I realized that there was nothing in that actual moment producing that anxiety. I recognized that my emotional experience was based on my history and thought structures from my past, and applied to my future. It had nothing to do with my ‘present.’ This is the opposite of the ‘immediacy’ which occurred during the performance. Immediacy, I believe, is the true gravy of a spiritual practice, and it occurs when the mind learns to rely less and less on what it has learned, and more and more on what simply knows.