Not my job/My job, Jana Philipp (artwork) 2021

This week has been one of much contemplation, reflection, emotional work and release. I am on beautiful Salt Spring Island visiting my eldest daughter at her home in the middle of a red cedar rainforest. Surrounded by the majesty of nature, right up next to its grandeur, breathing the purest air, I find myself ruminating on the meaning of life and of my work in it.

Some days, life feels just glorious. On others, it feels so full of pain and unimaginable loss. Today was the funeral of the life partner of a dear friend. Cancer took him far too soon. And saying farewell to him over the internet, watching on livestream as a singer friend from my earliest singing days keened along with a singing bowl in his honour and his family sat listening, I felt the deepest grief. I felt the void that a powerful human had left behind. I felt the loss of a great leader. And I considered my own place in this world: mother, teacher, friend, daughter, sister, lover, woman, singer, trouble maker. I reflected on my purpose.

Too often, I forget what my job is. I attach too much importance to the opinions of others, try too hard to be what people want me to be. I fail to recognize what’s important, lose sight of what’s right in front of me. And then this morning, as I was working in my daughter’s space, a small note posted on her wall caught my attention. I think it may even have been prompted by a conversation I had with her recently, about what things are NOT our job, and what things ARE our job. And pretty much everything she wrote in each category applies to me.

I post it here for your own reflective purposes: make of it what you will. For me, today I will remember that what counts is to love people. To teach what I know, and learn what interests me. To be true and authentic in this world. And, as always, to breathe. And when I breathe out, and the spirit so moves me, also to sing.