Last week I enjoyed a fun evening with a group of friends. Part of the evening involved going to see and hear one of my favorite, on-the-cusp-of-being-discovered bands, and my supportive friends were happy to accompany me to determine whether or not they liked the sound of this relatively new group as much as I did.

We had a great time – don’t get me wrong – I believe (as the old saying goes), fun was had by all.

As the band began to play, they pretty much looked just like they do in their CD photo and the online video I’ve watched a couple of times. I recognized them and where they stood on stage and the instruments each one played – that all seemed familiar. Yet it wasn’t quite the experience I had envisioned.

The venue was not ideal. It wasn’t designed for music or acoustics and the environment seemed somewhat forced.  Have you ever walked into a restaurant where the atmosphere seems forced? It’s as if the message they convey is…‘if the music is loud, it must mean you are having fun’. I have never really bought into that line of thinking. For me, frenzy does not always equate to fun.

The band played and we listened to the entire performance; we were entertained by their talent and we enjoyed ourselves, yet I was aware that the music was loud as if it had to compete to be heard.

Days later talking with a friend after knocking the fuzz off a can of tennis balls for an hour or so, the thought occurred to me that the concert scenario was not so far removed from our everyday lives. As my hitting partner and I talked about our lives and how to wade through decisions and changes I heard myself posing the question,
            “are you listening to the music or are you distracted by the sound of the noise?”.

The conversation with my tennis partner wasn’t about music, it was a conversation about knowing what to do and when to do it, when to make changes in one’s life, when to take risks and when to fully believe that regardless of age, circumstance or history, that things will manifest and present itself according to plan. And, we also understand that sometimes we must take a leap without seeing the safety net but to trust in its presence just the same. Not easy stuff, particularly not as adults.

As we discussed how to recognize those telltale signs in our lives, the memory of the earlier concert experience surfaced in my mind. That concert was performed by talented musicians yet for the better part of the show, the audience could not quite appreciate the combined acoustical and vocalization talent because the noise of the amplifiers overpowered the talent. The noise overpowered the music. And in that instant, talking with my friend as we recovered from a heavy hitting session on the tennis courts, I openly posed the question to us both…‘are we listening to the music or are we distracted by the sound of the noise’?  Our life creates it’s own soundtrack and its music has lyrics which guide and lead us all the while the noise is there to distract us from fully tuning into what we really ought to hear.

My friends and I enjoyed the concert last week. As I left the venue I was aware that it had not lived up to my preconceived notions, yet it was enjoyable and I was glad I attended. Only later, on a tennis court a proverbial 100 miles away did I recognize the similarity to that concert with our life choices: the beautiful music was overpowered by the noise at the concert just as the beautiful music we often miss in our lives due to all the distractions. Music, with its meaningful, thought-provoking lyrics is there for us to hear; it is our job to tune into the music and learn to distract ourselves from the sound of the noise. The noise isn’t particularly enjoyable at a concert nor is it helpful in our lives.

We will do well if we can listen to the music and tune out the noise.
The tricky part is learning to distinguish the music from the noise and owning the ability to recognize what we really ought to hear.

Are you listening to the music or are you distracted by the sound of the noise?

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven


Source: New feed

There is so much I enjoy about music…the different genre’s, the lyrics and rifts, the beats and crescendo’s and the ability it has to temporarily transport us to a different place in our mind at any given time. I am interested in how artists influence one another and discover at different times that different sections of a song will resonate with me. So last week while driving my Mini Cooper to a friend’s house I was enjoying the fun and freedom of having the volume very high while listening to a Coldplay CD from my little car’s large stereo. Caught up in the sound of Chris Martin’s voice breaking as it tends to do on certain notes, I had allowed my attention to roam far beyond the fundamental obligation of the speedometer.

I was abruptly brought back to reality by the blue flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. As I pulled over, I turned the volume down slightly, but not all the way. Despite the pending visit by the pesky officer with the flashing lights, Coldplay seemed destined to be my ticket-receiving background music. It was a cold morning, the temperature was below freezing, and I had all heaters engaged: the seat and both upper and floor fans were working to keep me warm. Inside my heated, music-filled British auto-car, with the British band playing British music, I was wearing a coat, scarf and gloves and not looking forward to rolling down my window to allow the precious heat to flee in order to hear the proverbial, “License and Registration please”.

As Chris Martin continued to croon in his voice-cracking manner and the heat continued to blast from the vents, I rolled down my window to see a police officer standing at my window without a coat. Not only was he not wearing a coat, he was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. It was 31 degrees. In what must have been a brain-frozen moment, I lost all capacity to follow the general ‘get-pulled-over-for-speeding-rules’. When the coatless officer leaned into my miniature car and asked if I knew why he pulled me over, I responded by saying, “Where’s your coat?”. At that point I had broken with protocol, instead of listening to the officer and being concerned that I had been driving a little too fast on an empty road, I heard myself talking at him…“Do you know how cold it is?”“I’ve got my heat blasting and you’re wearing short sleeves”“Where is your coat?”.“Why aren’t you wearing a coat?”.  I couldn’t stop, some deeply, embedded message spewed from me like a slow-motion, somewhat frozen volcanic eruption. I heard myself, but couldn’t stop and meanwhile Chris Martin and Coldplay had become my “Where is your coat”  theme music.

The coatless officer, likely taken aback by the woman driving the small car on an empty road actually began to answer my questions. I heard him explain he had been sitting in his warm car all morning, that he had been drinking a hot cup of coffee and that he isn’t outside all that much. I know I was shaking my head in disapproval and I could not seem to stop myself. For me it was not about my speeding, or a potential ticket, it was all about this officer standing outside my car in 31-degree weather wearing short-sleeves.

I gave the coatless officer my license, registration and insurance information and probably way more facts than he needed to verify that I was not an errant serial killer on the loose listening to Coldplay at 8am in a well-heated British auto-car while driving a little too fast on an empty road. As he verified my non-serial killer status I rolled up my window and once again listened to what I presumed would be my ticket-receiving background music.

The officer returned in a manner of minutes. Chris Martin was still singing the same song as the coatless officer once again leaned into my little car and said, “Ma’am…I’ll make a deal with you….if you slow down, I’ll put on my coat”. We shook hands through the window as I said, “Deal” and then proceeded to put all the insurance and registration cards back in the little packs. I was grateful the coatless office had chosen not to give me a ticket but found myself more pleased that he was going to put on his coat.

As I pulled out onto the empty road, I turned up the volume once again and looked in my rear-view mirror….the officer had put on his coat. I drove just under the speed limit. Deal.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven

Source: New feed