Happy New Year, everybody! I must admit I was laying in bed when the clock struck midnight, but not until after enjoying a fantastic day full of more delicious food and fun than any one person deserves. My cup runneth over with the smells and sights of perfectly prepared brisket, thoughtful snack foods, sports rivalries, and more laughs than I could begin to count. Hats off to the chefs, one of whom creates a sensory oasis on every plate, even though his own sense of smell left him years before Covid went and made it a thing. Imagining what life would be like without the ability to actually smell it gives a whole new perspective to its value, as far as I’m concerned. When I was younger, I used to believe that it was the one sense I would choose to live without, but now that I’ve stopped to smell the proverbial roses, I believe my thoughts are much better served in other areas of life, and I’d rather leave that choice to chance! Surprises, welcome or not, change our landscape without enlisting our consent or control. Things can change in an instant. Our own personal habits and beliefs are challenged by unexpected circumstances and we rise to meet them with creativity, curiosity and/or resistance – wherever our emotions + intellect leads us.
Although it wasn’t planned, I’m sure it’s no coincidence that our official New Year (January 1) always steps in perfect time with ORM’s Music Week. Or that Christmas falls within Mentors Week, for that matter. Objectively, it is much easier for human beings to feel the spiritual aspects of beginning a New Year than it is to think about pushing the spirit of Christmas onto all of the people who weren’t brought up to believe or participate in those customs. Even those who go all out for Christmas have differing reasons for engaging with the ‘magic of the season’, ranging from strictly commercial to deeply religious, and often landing somewhere in the middle. Contrary to its ingrained branding, the holiday season does not provide joy for everyone–not by a long shot! Intentional gratitude, sharing resources, and planting future seeds, however, are all part of the natural process that our souls endeavor to pursue at the end of each year. We are never more open to life’s inevitable changes, collectively, than we are at the beginning of a brand new year, but even that may not be enough to make us see it.
The blending of Mentors and Music Weeks offers us solid insight into the emotionally-guided tangle at our individual roots (each of us-every one-regardless of specifics). Mentors Week digs into the stuff our egos are built around, helping us realize that the Ego’s domain is a wholly unique plane of existence for each of us. Conversely, Music Week’s soulful ethos speaks to our human connections, separate from our vast and growing differences. The Pillar of Music pulls at our chords from the inside out, reminding us, reflectively, that we are all joined together, at a basic, structural level. Our Egos and our Souls, in combination, offer up a powerful level of active human resource that cannot be easily achieved without our considered awareness. We might have flashes of universal understanding, but anything sustainable uses the support of our intention at the heart of its power supply.
Music Week is not only the first of the spiritually-toned weeks, it is where we begin to see and feel the network of universal support that exists all around us. It isn’t always obvious, but with a little bit of focused attention on the things that happen in our environment, we begin to see a larger picture emerge. One in which our egos and our intellect take a back seat to the messages that come from deep within us–I call this our soul voice, but it goes by many other names. Since we each came into the world with a different way of relating to it, the messages aren’t always clear, but they ARE always supportive. That’s the way to be sure it’s the voice you are hearing. It offers solutions, understanding and forgiveness to situations that our egos tend to handle with swift judgment. The sounds of our spirit may not always be joyful, but they never lack meaning and purpose. They meet us with the connection and understanding that we normally reserve for the people we care about the most.
We aren't always in the habit of treating ourselves with the open kindness that our hearts are built to foster. Love and loss, joy and sadness, emotional highs and lows are all facts of life that are more easily navigated with some sort of soundtrack. It can be specifically curated or naturally occurring. Music - lyrics and notes - weave together in song after song giving nuances of expression to our timeless conditions and circumstances. No matter what we encounter in life, someone around us has already experienced something similar - even though we may regularly feel as if we are completely alone. Suffering in silence is a long-held practice that has never proven its value.
The Pillar of Music has the power to shift the way we see ourselves in the world, as well as the way we feel. Fine tuning comes with regular attention, and the rewards of practicing Our Raw Material are already immeasurable. They are also different for each person, making it hard to determine what another person truly needs, even though we often think we do. Ultimately, that information resides within each of us, so long as we utilize the tools that unlock it.
Traveling to brunch today, I heard my first 3 song spin of the New Year: Changes by David Bowie, Mr. Soul by Buffalo Springfield, and then Have a Cigar by Pink Floyd. This is my personal start to the New Year and the message seems clear: Everything changes as time passes, our souls measure things differently than our egos, and the agendas of those around us don’t have to affect our own dreams, pursuits and passions. unless we ‘choose’ to take them in (consciously or not). ORM seeks to be THE human toolkit and I dream that its natural simplicity becomes available to every human being who is searching for a way to connect to themselves, and to the world we live in. There isn’t much we have commonly available to each of us, apart from water and breath. And this framework for our ever-changing thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Here’s to 2023!