Like a Jazz Singer

Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to do something that surprisingly I’ve never done as a singer. I had the opportunity to sit with a group of musicians – instrumentalists and other singers – and just improv through the music in the moment. I believe it’s called jamming. I am a novice at this type of singing, because I was operatically trained and then sang musical theater. In those genres, I never was allowed to never deviate off the notes. You sang what was written with precision and correctness and that was that. If you were told to hold a high note for a certain amount of beats, you strived to do just that.

So, this type of making music was a new experience for me and it got me thinking about life and the way we sometimes live it. Sometimes, we just feel we have to stay on the page we’ve written. We live our lives with precision and correctness, guided by the things we’ve been taught to believe and to do. We are living a script that either was written for us or one we have written for ourselves. Ernest Holmes once wrote, “Practically, the whole human race is hypnotized because it thinks what someone else told it to think.”

So, last night, just as I went off the page of what I had learned to be the song “Summertime,” in life I can do the same thing. As I began to improvise the song, other melodies and nuances came to me. I began to do something I never thought I was good at and that was harmonize. A whole new idea began to come through me and the more I surrendered, the more fun it got.

Life is a song. It is a song that is forever new. As we let go of the old ideas that obstruct our way, I know we are more open to hear and listen to what our true self has to say through us in the moment. Although there can be a path, as the song laid out for me, there is also a path off the path that perhaps no one has ever taken that is just mine. What was it that Robert Frost once wrote? “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

There is a path/road for each of us. We travel with others and then sometimes we turn and move another way. There is a voice within us that lets us know what path is ours to walk and when to turn. It’s up to us. When we earnestly ask and earnestly listen, the answers come.

I think I will be more free in my singing after last night. Knowing that I cannot be afraid to make a mistake. That’s one of the things about jamming. There really are no errors while you are learning. In life, the same thing holds true, being afraid of making a mistake has held many of us back. I believe, for myself, it is time to let that one go.  My fear of making a mistake blocks the flow of Spirit’s guidance.

I commit to jamming like a jazz singer through life.

Love and Aloha,

Rev. Rita

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