Music as Eternal Life
By bahafaith, Sep 19 2017 09:51PM
I was sitting with a friend a few weeks ago, when the song, “All we need is love” by the Beetles started playing in the background of a television commercial. And in the state of a split consciousness (meaning I was present in my reality but my mind had inadvertently focused on the song), I said to myself, “If I do live forever, I hope it is in the note or lyric of a beautiful song.” So moved by the thought, I immediately shared it with my friend.
My journey had inadvertently led me to the power of music - not just its melody, but lyrics. I had by virtue of birth in a small country, been socialized in my formative years to grow up to be a lawyer. There is where “smart” people ended up in life. There is where intellect was respected, and rewarded. But here I am starting a blog to support a website to highlight my poetic contribution on a jazz album - a jazz album by an American Bassist who has played with and for the greatest musicians in the world, garnering 7 grammy awards along the way.
But moreover, my very spirituality had come to be moved by music, and my intellect had joined it. I had without thinking come to be convicted that eternal life could be found in the note or lyric of a beautiful song. And how exactly had I come to this point in my split conscious introspection?
A long time ago, well, that’s relative …. Seventeen or so years ago after finishing law school in England, I found myself caught up in the general elections campaign season of my small country, The Bahamas. It provided a wonderful escape from the fact that I didn't want to be a lawyer, and that I couldn't define if a deep spiritual call on my life meant that I was to be a Priest. I did apply to Seminary.
I was really searching for what the words of my dying father a few years before meant, when he challenged me never to settle for the status quo expectation of success in a small country i.e. being a lawyer. He had after all died at the age of 54, from incessant cigarette smoking which was a by product of his depression. He was a lawyer who never uncovered what to do with his creative and philosophical proclivity. He challenged me just before his death to search for what I was born to authentically do with my life, no matter how long, no matter how difficult - because if I found it, he said, I would one day shake the world.
He didn't say that I would almost lose my mind, and that the status quo in my small country would judge harshly, an aging woman with obvious talent, always on the run in search of an ever evasive goal, when it was obvious that she should be a lawyer.
In all of the dodging and jiving, and hustling and unsettledness of an inward search which at times came off as mental illness externally, I stumbled upon a giftedness for writing. And, somewhere in the traveling associated with running away from my last messy fiasco to running toward my destiny, I found extended family in Detroit, Michigan - eventually, the jazz community. And, in all of my crazy mad dash to make sense of my life, hinged on a challenge of a man who had been resting comfortably in peace for almost 2 decades, I met Robert Hurst, by chance, in his house, on the eve of my birthday, which was my connection with his mentor, Master trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, whose birthday was the day before mine.
Lamb chops and Mac n Cheese, some collard greens, and fooling around with music well into the wee hours of the morning led years later to some of my poetry landing on the next album of Robert Hurst.
Very few lawyers go on to be remembered by the masses in an ever evolving world. Without argument, great legal minds, and I still have a half assed one, shape this world every single day, from generation to generation. (The irony is that I am probably going to finally shake the world, through a legal concept related to mitigating Climate Change). But in the broad context of moving the hearts and minds of humanity, whether the individual contemplating life and death, or an entire nation caught up in the furor of some national achievement - it is the arts, music in particular, which becomes the great spiritual equalizer or mode of inspiration for the most ordinary and extraordinary among us. These are also the timeless gifts left on our planet which transcend and outlive us all.
I can mention the names of brilliant English and American legal minds whom each in his or her jurisdiction made pivotal decisions in the areas of lets say Constitutional Law which led to monumental movements of democracy, and the attainment of greater rights and freedoms around the world; or as another example, legislation which gave women the right to have control over their reproductive choices. But neither would impact a reader like the name, Michael Jackson or Frank Sinatra. Both of whom, long after their deaths have left behind great ballads and musical genius, which have the never ending power to in a moment change the mood of the lover, the depressed, or the human in search of authenticity.
And that is why, without even a blink or major contemplation, my split mind, on that day came to overcome even the need to reason, with the conviction that whether in this realm or the next, if I could live forever, throughout eternity, beyond the concept of heaven and hell, I would wish to do so in the notes or lyrics of a beautiful song!
I’d bet my life, that many of you feel the same way too!
Authentically Yours ….