I’ve spent so many hours of my adult life—and with great pleasure— browsing in record stores, bookstores, musical instrument stores, looking for nothing in particular. But my antenna are up waiting for some signal and suddenly a recording of Romanian brass bands, an obscure book of poetry, a Thai jaw harp will leap out at me and I think, “Someday this will come in handy.” I don’t know why or how or when, but some trustworthy intuition says, “Get this. You’ll need it someday.”
And so my house became a storehouse loaded with so many multiple themes—music from just about every corner of the world and every recordable time period, books about neuroscience, the history of literacy, anthropology, mythology, fairy tales and Jungian psychology, Zen Buddhism, jazz biographies and so much more, the accumulated treasures of years of browsing, all enjoyed in the moment and stored away for some future time when its importance would be revealed.
And that time is now. Every day these past 7 weeks, I’m confronted with novel situations that call for the full breadth of my knowledge, intelligence and problem-solving skills and down I go to my basement storehouse and lo and behold, I never come up empty-handed. Not to say that I have the Romanian Brass Band CD in hand (though come to think of it, that could be useful in Saturday’s workshop!), but that these years of self-directed independent study have prepared me equally for a 3-year old online music class, an 8thgrade jazz project, a spontaneous-now-regular neighborhood sing out on the street, an online Orff workshop attempting to speak equally to teachers from New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Wyoming and yes, Romania!
My whole life long I have trusted in such intuition and it has never let me down. The habit of filling the storehouse with the wonders of human thought and expression has never appeared so important as now. I wonder about those who have nothing to turn to beyond the endless parade of TV sitcoms, ephemeral pop songs, newspapers and such that they’ve filled their time with. Not too late to start filling the storehouse with things worthy of hauling up from the basement, but I’m so grateful that I started early.
And I’m not just talking about great books and music recordings. We never know when the deepest and most precious part of ourselves will be necessary and helpful and useful, but now is the time when we are finding out. We each are indeed needed and if we’ve been reluctant to step forth before, too shy or not confident enough or worried that we’re not worthy, put it all aside and come forth! Show us what you have and how it can help bring joy, alleviate suffering, be useful and important to a fellow human being.
And when you do, I’ll bring a Romanian Brass Band to provide the celebratory fanfare!