Friday, August 10, 2012

Life Lines Up Like That

Here, arranged chronologically from right to left, are the journals I’ve written, illustrated and shelved over thirty plus years.  Over time, they have morphed from tiny cloth-covered lined-page notebooks to large blank-paged sketchbook tomes whose covers I paint myself.

She holds it for me -- a relic from a college-era nude body sculpture class tightens it up.

Over the course of my life, I’ve gone to great lengths to hide them from others, and even from myself.  After all, who wants that mirror?

Apparently, hell yes, I do.

The other day I pulled out that green one.  Because I date everything I write, I knew this particular book charted the amazingly painful waters of my music therapy internship in a large failing medical/psychiatric hospital that was poised precariously between wealthy pristine neighborhoods and the impoverished rougher part of a grey gritty city.  Day and night sirens screamed full-throttle into our unprotected 4th floor dorm cavern, and my entries waxed on about my doubt and achy longing for personal and professional connection.

I surmised that reading my own writing again, now, would help highlight how I can be fully present and open to today’s test-drive “Now Hear This!” event that I’m holding in just a few hours in my home -- a house that is stunningly similar to what I dreamily described on Super Repeat in that journal.  This gathering is all about careful music listening, storytelling, and the literal lightening of memories.  And that green journal -- among entries about brazen many-hour walks through questionable urban territory, an intense observation of a forceps (two types!) baby birth, and what I ate too much of at all hours -- included a particular entry about a very specific piece of music.  

This piece of music, when heard in a group setting among people actually listening with me, had suddenly shed light on who I was at that moment, what music truly meant to me, and the shape and color of my immediate future should I choose this or THAT (or some other) direction.

Except the entry wasn’t there.

Looking for it meant reading through the entire book -- shockingly, I could not put it down.  While that memory could still be hiding in some paperwork I have yet to resurrect from a bedroom closet, very slowly it dawned on me that the reason I pulled out that journal wasn’t for that entry after all. 

Past Trista survived and documented her path so that Present Trista, at least this week, could look back and appreciate, pull forward, share, and luxuriate in the very bits she once meticulously and tirelessly worked to hide.

You've experienced this, too?

Perhaps the experience of reviewing written periods of one’s life feels, oh, I don’t know, sickening, and invites “I’d-rather-[fill-in-the-blank]”.  Thoughts of zealous book-burning may come careening from dark corners.  

What comes up when sitting through that Hell for just one moment longer? No, the moment after that? Holding it -- the feeling, the book, the passage of time, the acknowledgement of change -- and realizing, Yes, it’s clear I am no longer that person, is nothing short of exhilarating.

Life lines up like that.  And on it goes -- a chapter shelved, another begun.

Helping others realize the rich value of those challenging moments and how they reward us NOW, especially through music and the arts, is an Amen Hallelujah Glory Be Hot Damn experience.

So today, won’t you help us hold moments for each other, casting away what is NOT,  and allowing glorious light to fall upon what we’ve been / who we are? Together we throw wide open the doors for new experiences to oh-so- gladly, good-wickedly, confidently and seductively usher themselves in.

Amen Hallelujah Glory Be Hot Damn.

Another imperfect post, accompanied by:
Peter Gabriel -- Secret World
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Trista Hill is a professional harpist and fine artist, creativity coach, educator in the arts, and Board-Certified Music Therapist. What her formal degrees in music and art gave her pale in comparsion to the gifts she's experienced in working with creatives just like you. Visit her website — — for links to her blog, performances, and other fantastical creative offerings. 

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