It is dawn in Carmel Valley, California. The day is slowly revealing itself like a developing photograph. The orchestra of birds are tuning up, announcing another day of beautiful music about to happen. While newspaper headlines scream the horror of our failed humanity, here in this tiny corner of paradise, miracles abound. For last night, 23 music teachers in our Orff Level III Course finished their Practicum, the teaching lesson designed to show what they understood about the deep pedagogy of inspired Orff teaching. Without exception, each taught in their natural character, enticing their classmates to enter their lesson and come out the other side transformed by exquisite music artfully presented. At the end of every lesson, the group exploded in genuine uproar of amazement, chanting their classmate’s name and rushing up to hug them and thank them for leading them to joy. There was a whole lotta love in that room.
When the last lesson was taught after four hours of non-stop epiphanies, we sat down, exhaled and savored a few moments of bathing in that collective love. And then talked about what happened. One of the Turkish teachers called the experience “awesome” and returned that word to its proper place beyond the cliché it has become. We toss around “awesome:” and “love” too casually, using it to describe our feelings about our new ap or a hamburger. But now those words had weight.
“Why was there so much love in the room?” I asked and then quoted the passage from "The Education of Little Tree” where the grandmother says “You can’t love what you don’t understand and you can’t understand what you don’t love.” Many of these people have been through five weeks of Orff training through three summers, a training that not only fills them with knowledge of music, dance, drama and how to teach it, but leads forth and draws out their intuitive understandings that they’ve always had. Class after class that not only covers curriculum, but uncovers their humanity that has been hiding.
We all have a big part of ourselves in hiding and understandably so. The world is a dangerous, harsh, and often unfriendly place and to care and to be vulnerable and to love makes no sense in that habitat. So we cover it all, protect it, send it into hiding and bring it out in the safety of our family, our home, our circle of friends, our solitude. Or keep covering it up with electronic distraction or bricked-in emotion because it’s too scary and too dangerous to show who we really are.
But class after class in our training, led by teachers who create a haven of safety and a protective circle of a loving group, we slowly reveal it. Encouraged by our classmates and our own amazement at such freedom, we shed layer after layer and show the glowing diamond we all carry, each with its own unique sparkle and facets and flaws. We do this in full view of our fellow classmates and they gradually come to understand us and thus, grow to love us. And that understanding is further fed by the love, by our intention to wholly know each other in the short time we are blessed to be together.
And that’s what happened last night. Those euphoric shouts of joy at the end of the lessons and the collective roar of amazement when the last note of the last lesson echoed off into the hills was not just relief to pass the milestone of the Level III Practicum. It was a way to say to each fellow classmate, “You have showed another facet of your shining diamond, refreshed us with your way of seeing and teaching the world and it was beautiful.”
You won’t find this story in the AOL Headlines. The profiteers from the Culture of Fear have nothing to gain from showing how life’s miraculous bounty and possibilities are real and tangible and happening all around us. If everyone had a chance to do what we did, the entire industry of arms dealers, warmongers, advertisers shouting at us to consume unnecessary stuff to fill in the emptiness of our lives, would disappear.
To all those pushing the worst of humanity and all those drowning in those dangerous waters of newspaper headlines, I refer you to Led Zeppelin:
You need coolin', baby, I'm not foolin',
I'm gonna send you back to schoolin',
Way down inside honey, you need it,
I'm gonna give you my love,
I'm gonna give you my love.
Wanna Whole Lotta Love [X4]
Watch out, world! 23 dangerous teachers are about to be released who are gonna give you their love, send you back to a new (and ancient) schooling that will teach you the same and give you what you so desperately need. Starting with the children. Get ready for a new world with a whole lotta love.