October 1, 2012
Dangling on a limb is what monkeys do. They think nothing of swinging from branch to branch high in the sky, flicking bugs off each other and humping anyone they see as a ‘How do you do’. To be a monkey must be so much fun. And they never once ask themselves, “Am I worthy?”
In a Ted talk from 2010, social scientist Bréne Brown, who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame, asked herself the meaning of human connection. Like monkeys, we need a sense of belonging to not only survive, but also to thrive. What she discovered was that what unravels connection is our sense of shame. Simply put, shame is the fear of being disconnected, and yet it is the very thing that disconnects us from ourselves and others. It is the emotion that questions our worthiness.
What underlies this sense of shame is excruciating vulnerability. In order for us to feel a sense of connection, we have to be willing to really be seen by others ~ warts and all. It takes courage to make yourself vulnerable like that.
What I witnessed this weekend is it is truly worth it. My friend Albert Frantz, Husband and I went to Oktoberfest yesterday. As a classically trained pianist living in Vienna, Albert decided spontaneously that it was time to conduct the Oktoberfest tent orchestra. Clear-headed and focused (it was early on in the evening!), he approached the conductor and asked if he might take up the baton for one song.
The amazing thing? The conductor said yes. And Albert got to live out a dream because he believed he was worthy of doing so.
“It is fun to make exhibitions of our inhibitions,” he said.
He’s so right!
Brown discovered that people who have a sense of worthiness also have a strong sense of belonging and connection. They, like our monkeys in the trees, don’t question whether they are worthy or not. They simply believe they are worthy of love. As I have mentioned before, our belief systems carve out the pathway of our lives. If we believe we are worthy, we’re right! If we believe we are not, no external circumstances can change those feelings. The origin of all emotion comes from within.
So I ask you: what’s holding you back from living out your dreams? Everyone has intrinsic value. The moment you discover your worth is the moment your life can really begin.
June 4, 2012
I heard God tonight. No, it was not the booming-voice-from-above kind of sound. It came from a flute and three string instruments played by a quartet that breathes the divine power of Mozart. Believe me when I say: music can heal. I left the Salzburg concert hall, in all its golden, guilded beauty, with soaring spirits. Salve for the soul, indeed.
How could you not smile to the beat of The Magic Flute? I found myself grinning stupidly throughout the entire two hour program. We gave them a standing ovation; they gave us an encore.
It was magic. In a flute and a few strings too.
Thanks, Wolfy. I owe you one!
October 4, 2010
If you don’t know TED, drop what you’re doing and run, do not walk, to this site. An actor friend of mine got me turned on to this organization that hosts conferences on the most diverse subjects.
TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design. It was originally created to foster discussion about these areas by professionals in those fields. But it quickly went viral as countries around the world wished to partake in the conversation. In 2009 TEDx was born. It stands for independently organized TED event. On Friday, I attended one in Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart with a town center so quaint that it almost hurts.
My new friend, Albert Frantz, held the first talk of the day. He discussed the meaning of music and how to embrace dissonance because that is the very thing that makes the music interesting. Later he played a piece by Beethoven that gave me chills. In that moment I realized how healing music can be.
One of my favorite inspirational quotes about music is
Music is what feelings sound like.
I couldn’t agree more.
In the spirit of the mind-body connection, SANOSON is an example of a therapeutic approach to healing through music. It has been scientifically proven that you can regulate your heartbeat, blood pressure and more through its process. From a subjective standpoint, music has a centering and calming effect like nothing else.
So how can music help you bring more slow to your life?
Listen to a recording of African drumming or some other rhythmic beat. Dance to it. Let yourself really go for it as you become one with the instruments. We did this technique in my acting class yesterday. It was incredible how everyone in the room was transformed when they let the music flow through them. We were more concentrated, productive and, ultimately, happier for it.
I bet you will be, too.
July 8, 2009
While much of the world was bidding Michael Jackson adieu, I was in a Salzburg radio station translating an interview with The Soulmate Secret author Arielle Ford on the other line. The radio host was incredibly gracious ~ she handed me her questions in German, which I simultaneously translated to Arielle. She spoke for two minutes, then I summarized what she said in German. I was very nervous at first, but relaxed after the first few minutes. All in all it went well.
Earlier in the day I grieved Michael Jackson’s passing. In fact, I’m not done yet. It comes in waves. The sight of him on the front page of a tabloid, his music on the radio ~ he has left a gaping whole in our hearts. As one new friend told me yesterday, “He gave so much of himself to this world. A piece of ourselves went with him.”
I was really present to the paradox of life yesterday. A joyful topic, such as finding your soulmate, can be handled simultaneously as a global icon bids farewell. It was a poignant moment for me in which I gave time an extra hug.
We all have a personal bank account of time available to us. Michael spent his time on Earth as an artist who was largely estranged from the very world he was entertaining. His fame came at a very high price.
I’ve decided to joyfully skip down the lane of life with my bank account of time resting softly in my heart. What will you do with yours?