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Sing Loud, Sing Proud

Posted in: Blog by admin on September 23, 2010

June 27, 2010

Last night was one of those perfect, hot summer nights — the kind that beckons you to sit back, have a cold drink and absorb the heat and calm that summer often brings. And, there I was, enjoying it in my most favorite way. I was listening to music.

I was at the Crossroads Guitar Festival at the Toyota Center, and I was surrounded by people who love music, people who love to play instruments, people who sing and people who simply love to dance and feel free. From Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood to Jimmy Vaughan and B.B. King, the night was full of legends, mastery and abounding talent. And, while that is enough to make for a perfect night, there was something other than the captivating sounds that grabbed a hold of me and told me to pay attention: It was the passion with which each revered musician played. I couldn’t help but to see it and to feel it. It was palpable, and I wanted to absorb every ounce of it.

I’ve always been envious of those who can sing soulfully, play guitar masterfully, learn a dance routine effortlessly, etc. But, I realized last night that it is not the talent that I envy … it is the passion with which these talented individuals display their craft.

When Sheryl Crow took the stage, she said how this festival is her favorite gig to do. And, how could it not be? She gets to collaborate and jam with some of the greatest, and they’re all pouring their souls into their music — together. I can’t imagine how powerfully amazing that must be to experience as an artist. The energy must be all-encompassing. I can imagine a sliver of that feeling, for I, fortunately, have known passion. Even though I don’t get to experience that feeling on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans, I imagine that the rewards of doing something about which you are passionate are quite similar.

That is what got my attention last night: the passion. Ironically, it did not hit me when all of the greats joined together on stage for the awe-inspiring finale. Rather, the spotlight shone on this reality as I watched a man play hacky sack. Marc pointed this man out to me soon after we arrived, around 2:00 p.m. He commented on the man’s talent, which was hard to miss. In the midst of the crowd, a young man had that footbag flowing off of his ankles, chest, heels and neck. He was lost in his talent. He was lost in his vivacity. Now, he may have looked foolish to some, but he reminded me of this important fact that I feel fortunate to know: Do what you love. Do it big. Do it often. Hey, do it in the middle of a crowded music festival if that is what your soul is telling you to do.

Nine hours later, at 11:00 p.m., as I was still captivated by the sounds surrounding me, I scanned the crowd and saw this hacky sack player still going at it. That is when it hit me. I don’t have to envy those with talent. I simply need to emulate those with passion.

I thought about people whom I’ve known and loved and admired. And it’s always the passionate ones towards whom I gravitate. My cherished Grandma Flo lived each day with purpose, and the poet in this wise woman came up with this saying:

Life without a cause;

Is nothing but a dispassionate pause.

So, now, we might feel like it’s time to find a cause. But, of course, it is not that black and white … there doesn’t have to be one specific cause. There just has to be passion.

Go ahead and play hacky sack for ten hours if that is what makes you feel alive and free. Or strum the guitar. Or write poems. Or sing loudly, even if it’s off-key (just consider doing so with your car windows up, as my daughter Emily requests that I do!).

I believe it is that simple.

Be passionate. Be alive. Be free.

We are here afterall. And, we have passion to exude, to experience, to envelop, to embrace. (See, I’m even passionate about alliteration right now.)

For that is what last night’s guitar legends, along with one hacky sack expert, taught me: Live your life with passion … Even if you’re a little off-key.

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