The music chooses you.


I want to share one of the most defining moments of my life. 

A sophomore, I was in my college dorm room and had just cued up a new CD that just arrived in the mail. (Remember that?)

I heard the first strains of the first track, and immediately felt my whole body and being become… activated.

It was an unforgettable, transcendent experience. I had just heard the music of Hildegard von Bingen. I sensed something very important had just happened, although I couldn’t define it at the time.

That initiation was the seed for a lifelong, sacred romance between me and Hildegard. I would spend a lot of time with this song. My heart was in rapture. And it led me to some wildly interesting and important places in my life and career.

But as I grew up, and went out into the musical world, I began to push.

I thought that I needed to “do” something to make this music happen. And when I entered the professional sphere, I felt that I had to make it “work” for me. And my ego took possession of the romance. Of the music.

I was too immature to recognize the magic of the music, and the way that it initially worked me from the inside. 

I don’t blame myself: I was responding to my environment, and just doing what I believed was what I was supposed to do…

Make a career for myself.
Stake my claim.
Get out there.
Display my talent.
Prove my worthiness.
And dear god better make this career work or I’m doomed?

Until I woke up one day and said: this is not only making me miserable, it’s also clearly not working. Dear God, stop the madness. What is happening here??

Where did my romance go? I can tell you firmly that it did not “go” anywhere. Rather, it was suppressed under the mental noise of my ego.

As a result, I was grasping pushing shoving to somehow make the music work for me. Built on the premise that I am the one to be served by the music.

So I reversed the question: how may I serve the music?

What would happen if I completely surrendered, and allowed myself to be a vessel for the Divine moving and working through me?

In an instant, I felt relief sweep over my entire being. I didn’t even realize what a burden I had been carrying! 

And what’s more, I recognized and understood a creative calculus that we tend to obscure in our culture.

(A culture that places a price tag on our creative output, a stamp of worthiness on our relative artistic, vocal, or musical talents, and a value judgment based on our external accomplishments.)

The sacred math: you don’t choose the music. The music chooses you.

When you allow this splendid truth to permeate the outer layers of your ego, you feel an ease. A calm. A knowing.

Your being says: Ok, then. How may I serve you?

Hildegard did not say to the visio: how is this going to advance my reputation?!

She utterly surrendered to the Divine flow of creativity that moved through her like electricity. She was receptive in every way. (And we are still talking about her, 900 years later.)

And how do we, in the 21st century, allow this same openness to guide our creative footsteps as we come to understand our own role as a prosperous, luminous creator?

Although everything about our external circumstances could not be more different, the energy and intention are entirely the same.

Ask how you may serve. And let the music take the lead.

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