It’s my birthday on Tuesday. I’ll be 50. I can deal with saying and hearing the number, but when I actually see the number, it’s a whole different ballgame!

I look back over these years and wonder what I have to celebrate. Again and again, I realize it’s the ability to experience a deep sense of Joy and connectedness. I’ve taught hundreds of cellists, performed throughout the world, produced and recorded numerous albums, and have a good start on my writing. But dwelling on those things doesn’t hold a candle to the experience of Joy.

It’s like after an awesome performance.

The magic of musical performance happens in the moment, and ONLY in the moment. Have you ever noticed how recordings never fully capture the energy of being on stage, or the presence of the performer? And performers, have you ever noticed how odd it feels to think back and congratulate yourself on a particular passage? To me, it just feels empty.

What can we truly take away from live performance? What can be carried over after the applause?

The only lasting effects are those that change our consciousness—that uplift our level of awareness, or complete our sense of release, wholeness or clarity.

The more we cling on with our egos, the less we can notice these changes. It’s like the worst birthday party—the one where all your friends are there, but instead of paying attention to you, they’re busy having a good time with each other. What do you do in that moment when you suddenly realize that it isn’t all about you?

We have that same opportunity in performance. Sure, the audience’s attention is on you for a time, but even so, the applause will end. We certainly don’t have control over what they might experience through the music, but we can open ourselves to feel the flow of Grace. And that, my friend, is where things can really improve.

So no matter if the party is a total flop, or the performance is a disaster, you can still tune in and feel that flow of Grace, that sense of upliftment completely separate from lesser egoic fulfillment.

Here’s how to improve this flow of Grace in performance:

  1. Find your center, and focus in your heart. Feel for energy that flows upward through the spine.
  2. Release any reference back to your ego upward in offering and feel for the expansion it offers.
  3.  As you perform, feel for any deeper connection with the music, the audience, or your true Self.
  4. End your performance by returning to a point of stillness in your own center. Feel for that resonance of magic.

Then carry any subtle change with you for as long as possible. Infuse it into your life however you can: work, relationships, meditation, and recreation. Once you start tasting this Joy, you’ll seek it more and more.

It’s real. You need it. Celebrate!


What Do We Really Celebrate?

2 thoughts on “What Do We Really Celebrate?

  • September 17, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    My birthday wish for you is that you feel that sense of stillness after everything that you do (the performances on stage and performances off stage). Masters blessings on you!

  • September 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Happy birthday, David!

    Thanks for the reminder that even if a birthday is a flop, there is always joy! Though I hope your birthday is a joy on all accounts!


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