“Orchestra, you are free to go! Choir, just a few more spots to go over…”
I put my cello away and stood for a moment watching the Pacific University choirs prepare for tonight’s performance of Durufle’s Requiem. Here were 70 singers in the prime of their youth, singing beautifully and shining with joy.
If I were to offer them any words of wisdom, what could I possibly have to say? What kind of fool would choose to try to lecture musicians on top of their game?
My role is not one of a critic. I am not here to rip performances apart or point out all the tiny little flaws that are preventing a perfectly executed performance.
I’m here to take what’s amazing and make it even better.
So for all of you about to perform this month, I’d like you to ask yourself:
What is the best possible outcome for your performance?
Let’s take it for granted that you perform flawlessly and the audience immediately rises to their feet. People flock to you backstage, and you were noticed by someone of importance. This performance leads to another an another, and you soon find yourself in a career as a performer, with fame and fortune.
But I’ll ask you again—what is the best possible outcome for your performance? Just because people applaud to no end doesn’t mean that you will find lasting fulfillment. Fame and fortune don’t ensure lasting happiness.
I invite you to imagine an outcome that is in itself so gratifying that you won’t need to think about the reviews or how good the party afterward is going to be. An outcome that feeds you from the inside, and is only the beginning of greater things to come.
What is this possible outcome? The unadulterated experience of inspiration—whether you experience it as bliss, power, light, sound, peace, calmness, wisdom, or love.
Standing ovations have a finite limit—eventually the audience WILL go home. But the journey into inspired performance has no end. Just as the resonance of a string instrument improves with every beautifully played note, your experience of inspiration will continue to develop with each performance. Unlike a never ending road that only wreaks boredom, the outcomes of inspired performance only get BETTER and BETTER!
So here are a few things you can do for the best possible outcome:
- Relax into the moment. Try to feel for a quiet place inside that will enhance the resonance of your inspiration.
- Let any mistakes lie where they have fallen. Don’t go back to pick them up and grieve until much later.
- Feel for any genuine experience in your consciousness. In every breath or rest, try to expand that glimmer of inspiration until it fills you completely.
- Get out of the way, especially when its going incredibly well. The greatest fails happen when you take yourself out of the moment to think about the adulation you deserve.
- Feel gratitude. Gratitude is the 5-star accommodation for inspiration to book an extended stay.
Enjoy your performances!
Come explore these and many others at a workshop or retreat this summer!