I was out with some girlfriends the other night, and one of them asked how things were going with my music. I told her it was up and down, back and forth, somewhat of a roller-coaster ride.  Some days present set-backs, some days are super exciting, but most days, it’s just work.  I shared my internal ponderings on my fear of turning something I love so much into “just work;” and whether the correct reaction is to simply stay distanced and even-keeled through the ups and downs, or to celebrate the ups and try to stay level through the downs.  I openly laughed at the prospect that I might have this kind of emotional control in the first place, but I always love a good self-study.  There must have been something in my passion coupled with my attempted objectivity that struck her because she said, “Ugh, it sounds like a relationship.”  My eyes got big, I let out a huge laugh, and I emphatically confirmed, “It is exACtly like a relationship.” 

I was out with some girlfriends the other night, and one of them asked how things were going with my music. I told her it was up and down, back and forth, somewhat of a roller-coaster ride.  Some days present set-backs, some days are super exciting, but most days, it’s just work.  I shared my internal ponderings on my fear of turning something I love so much into “just work;” and whether the correct reaction is to simply stay distanced and even-keeled through the ups and downs, or to celebrate the ups and try to stay level through the downs.  I openly laughed at the prospect that I might have this kind of emotional control in the first place, but I always love a good self-study.  There must have been something in my passion coupled with my attempted objectivity that struck her because she said, “Ugh, it sounds like a relationship.”  My eyes got big, I let out a huge laugh, and I emphatically confirmed, “It is exACtly like a relationship.” 

Now I can see - it isn’t exactly like a relationship, it is a relationship.

And here’s the thing.  I’m good at committed relationships.  I know where I stand and I never question that work, that passion, or that dedication in my life.  However, I’m not good at dating – the in-between phase of discerning, “Is this worthy of a commitment or not?”  Although the art of flirting can be intellectually stimulating and fun, for the most part, dating is incredibly confusing, full of uncertainty, and quite ego centric and judgmental.  I’m not knocking it as a necessary process…it is… not everything or everyone is worth our commitment; but the truth is, at the end of the day, there will always be reasons not to commit.  Eventually, it takes a leap of faith to jump in and live in it.  And so I’ve realized… I’ve been dating music.

So, what’s the hang up?  Why haven’t I fully committed? 

At first, I needed to know I was good enough.  O.K., I’ve worked through that.  Second, I needed to know it would be kind to me.  Overall, music has been incredibly kind; and in the places where it hasn’t, I’ve grown stronger and deeper into my own sense of self.  Third, I needed to know it could be intimate.  Could it touch the depths of my soul and help me grow?  Yes, unequivocally.  Fourth, and this was an interesting one to clarify and evaluate – I realized I needed a relationship that was outwardly focused.  Could this be a partnership so intimately aligned that it has the maturity to work as a gift to others?  After nine months of playing shows and receiving very personal e-mails from people who were deeply touched in some way has confirmed – indeed, it can.  So, the last and final question…. Can I depend on it?  Hmmm…

Funny, most people might define dependability as monetary.  Although I’m very practical on the necessity of money, I’m too much of a romantic to make it a matter of my heart.  So, I’ve had to ponder more deeply, “What IS dependability to me?”  Honesty seems to be the best definition. 

And wow, is music honest… as long as I’m listening.  It tells me when I’m off balance, not in tune, ill-prepared, outside of appropriate boundaries, not breathing, too controlling… Ultimately, it tells me when I’m being dishonest with myself.

So, why not commit?  Another friend of mine is adamant about his belief in not defining his present relationship or having a spoken commitment.  He and his partner are clear that they only want to spend time together when it’s a sincere desire.  I understand the good intention, and on the surface it seems like the highest form of an egoless relationship.  He was surprised to hear me argue to the contrary, especially knowing my open mind, my yogic ways, and my devotion to Jesus’ teachings on selfless love. 

But here’s the thing, nothing truly excellent comes without discipline and commitment. Athletes don’t become the best from just doing their sport when they feel like it.  They practice through the good moods and bad.  Their “feelings” don’t determine their discipline.  The same is true of any field, practice, or relationship; and ultimately, this is where the ego surrenders.  

In the end, it’s a paradox - the expansive freedom to truly love something (or someone), to fully express through it, to infinitely grow from it, and to indelibly celebrate with it, comes from and through that narrow tunnel of discipline.  There’s just no way around it.  Sitting on the fence, enjoying the world as it passes, and “playing” when inspired, is lovely, and it’s a fair choice.  I get it.  It’s where I’ve been.  It’s just not the fullest expression of my ultimate capacity…

And my soul said to itself, “Sweet Charlotte, stop projecting onto others and sh*t or get off the pot.”

Comments

david wilson December 07, 2012 @08:14 am
 

Sweet Charlotte,you are wise beyond your years. I am setting here this morning listening to your beautiful music.It goes right to the heart. You have 'yo mamma's eyes and yo daddy's character'.Your music has integrity.DRW

Doug Burtt August 08, 2012 @02:35 pm
 

Thanks for your thoughts in this blog! Love your new record.

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