Some days it’s about all we can do to keep our heads above water. Other days, we feel an inkling of hope. Often it’s in the stillness that we are able to hear the voice of truth inside of us. I heard a quote last night that resonated with this very message: “The way out is in” (Thich Nhat Hahn). In order for us to make sense of this time, we need to turn inward and listen intently to our hearts.
So many of us singers feel cut off at this time, unable to share our voices, our songs. What we do is, by its very nature, outward facing. To turn inward seems unnatural, counter-intuitive. And yet it seems that it is what I am drawn to do in this moment. The texts that keep echoing within me frequently have to do with the minuteness of things (I’ve thought often of Wolf’s setting of “Auch kleine Dinge”, for example). I long for stillness. Silence. Listening.
I don’t feel like I have a lot to say other than to repeat the words of others. A poem (by Pablo Neruda) that has been quoted in various recent articles is Keeping Still, and I want to leave you with an excerpt from it today:
“If we weren’t so single-minded/about keeping our lives moving/and could maybe do nothing for once/a huge silence might interrupt this sadness/of never understanding ourselves, of threatening ourselves with death; perhaps the earth could teach us; everything would seem dead/but would then be alive”
It seems to be saying that we must take the time to look inside and discover once again what is powerful and good, from that still, small place within where the deepest, truest knowledge resides. The place from which singing is born. But in order to find it, we must first keep still. It will seem to be dead, but then it will burst into life. Only when we are ready. Hold on. Keep still.