A few years back while visiting my mother I was taking a morning run in Central Park, when I came across some young performers rehearsing Godspell. They were singing and dancing on the same stage where years back when I was a resident of NYC I had seen the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, Janice Ian, the B52’s, and many others.
I jogged in place for awhile, enjoying their deliriously soulful renditions of Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord and Day by Day. I even joked with them after they finished a song, pretending I was their director, “Pretty good, but one more time with feeling!” They laughed, and I was relieved they enjoyed my attempt at humor, because they sure weren’t lacking feeling. They sounded and looked as spectacular as anything I had heard and seen on Broadway.
What a treat, to have literally run right into their rehearsal.
But then I jogged away from the free concert. Why? A voice in my head, one that commanded authority, ordered me to. My ‘boss’ reasoned that being true to my daily discipline of aerobics was more important than enjoying what had so graced my life unexpectedly.
Routine and rules over Grace.
Ever make that choice?
But my heart has a voice as well, one that has been gathering momentum over the years, getting louder as I have learned to listen and take action.
And my heart has no allegiance to rules, nor routine.
It was telling me to jog back to The Unity Players.
And not just to listen. My heart had other plans.
You know the voice. The one that tells you that life is too short to stay in your comfort zone. The one that guides you to run towards your fears, not away, so as to finally be free.
Sometimes I hate that voice.
But every peak experience I have had has happened because I was willing to follow my heart, to feel the fear and go for it anyway.
I tried to remember that as my pulse was quickening, not from the jogging, but from the nervous anticipation of what I was about to ask the Unity Players.
I waited till they paused, and spoke up.
I asked if they could back me up on Day By Day. I explained that it had been a lifelong fantasy of mine to be in a Broadway musical, and they would be helping to make my dream come true.
I requested an onlooker if she would take my phone and record it for me. She did.
With these fantastic singers supporting me, I hammed it up, and it was glorious. I get high from watching it. Go ahead. It will make you feel good. We all get a contact high from witnessing each other go for it.
After that my inner critic tried to take back the stage and attempted to take me down a notch and drown out my peak experience by arguing that realistically, this was a rehearsal of youngsters in Central Park, not me starring in a show on Broadway.
My inner critic, such a ‘realist.’
But I have learned over time that what I am after on this earth is not to have my name up in lights, but to live my life in the light.
I’m after moments, more and more of them, of listening to and acting on the voice that points me to the music, not just as a spectator, but as a vibrant participant, the starring role in my play.
Yes, you and I are instruments. We are not here to play it safe, but to play. And be played.