Inspiration14 Jul 2010, by Uncategorized in
After a laptop crash, repair and ultimately a replacement, I’m back in action as a regular blogger for TEN. Please forgive my absence. And know for certain that the “India girls” (as my children call them), the cause, the inspiration were always on my mind, even when I couldn’t get the words to you. It’s good to be back.
Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the process of inspiration. The balance of hanging on to and making use of the opportunities for creative thought, without letting it slip through the cracks of a full life. As a mother of five and household CEO, there isn’t an endless amount of time or space to find inspiration, to muse, to think, to question, to create. Ironically, one of the most treasured gifts (and there are many) of my trip to India with TEN, was having a little distance from the “regular” me. I had a chance (think 30 hours of travel time each way) to browse through the countless albums on my ipod, listen to the “To Kill a Mockingbird” audiobook, catch up on “This American Life” podcasts and bask in the genius work of author David Sedaris. I spoiled myself in all of these creative, thoughtful and funny sources of indulgence while we traveled.
But during our actual volunteer time in Kolkata, I needed to be led into quiet moments. To say the city is bustling is a gross understatement. Just know that when I flew back to the USA, we arrived in New York City. As we drove home, the roads and city seemed sleepy, empty, and eerily quiet. So couple the sonic intensity of Kolkata with the heart wrenching, soul lifting work we were doing, my mind wasn’t easily soothed. I found peace in exploring and escaping to music. On long van rides to visit shelters, loud cab rides throughout the city, and silent jet lagged moments in the middle of the night, I would put on my ipod and slip away. One of the musicians that captured me most was Amos Lee. And while I’ve always dug his sound – the rich voice, the soulful vibe, the heartfelt messages – I was using his art in a totally new way. It was beyond personal enjoyment, but more fulfilling and grounding. And this music will always have a special place in my heart for the role it played in my first trip to work with survivors of slavery in India.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend an Amos Lee concert. I traveled to North Hampton, Massachusetts to a funky, small venue (shout out to The Iron Horse!) to enjoy the music that had taken a trip – and greater life journey – across the world with me. When I purchased my ticket in April, I considered it good karma to pay my respects to the artist, to the sound, to the energy of the music and honor the inspiration and peace it had provided me. And throughout the night, I found myself totally engaged and filled with gratitude – the kind of full circle feeling I was hoping for.
In a fabulous turn of events, Amos Lee sat down at a table after the show and welcomed anyone in attendance to come say hello. I took the opportunity to let him know about his music’s connection to my trip, how dearly I hold it in my heart, and the work of The Emancipation Network. Visibly humbled, he stumbled over where to begin. We talked briefly about the power of human right’s work – all heartbreaking and uplifting at once – and its importance, the need to keep at it. In a moment of mutual gratitude, there were thank yous and acknowledgments of shared inspiration. It was all so fleeting, but so full.
It’s amazing what we find in the space between who we are, what we like, what we do. It’s beautiful to be so blessed by art that we find strength where there was none. What’s even more divine is the opportunity to share gratitude for those gifts with one another. And so, under the layers of “regular”life is where the inspiration runs deep. Make room for it. Welcome it. Put it to good use. And then say thank you.
And be sure to check out my “most listened to in India” Amos song, “Kid” here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdvFs7goXSA.