“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~Rumi
I adopted that Rumi tagline as my personal motto several years ago when I was feeling very discouraged about getting my freelancing business off the ground. I had given up trying to survive on what I was making from selling articles to magazines and begun managing a talented songwriter. We were both broke, and at our first business meeting looked in each other’s eyes and said simultaneously, “I’m tired of being poor.” I didn’t know how a starving writer was going to help a starving musician do anything but starve a little longer, but we popped a bottle of champagne and set off on a new path together.
Over several years in getting to know this amazing individual, he remains the epitome of the “Let the beauty” quote to me. He has been slogging away at making a living as a musician for longer than he wants to admit, road weary and barely surviving most of the time. Yet despite the trials and tribulations and a desire for what he does to be more financially rewarding, he’s never far from the belief that if we are living our passion and telling the truth as we see it, we have everything we need. He has the keen ability to turn nearly every event in his life into a touching and deeply personal, yet universally meaningful song. This uncanny gift, relentless touring and his 1000+ songs have gathered just a small circle of loyal music lovers. “How could this be?” I thought the first time I heard his music. It’s poetic and entertaining and moving. I remain perplexed by his lack of commercial success, but have developed a strong admiration for his ability to keeping the beauty of what he loves at the forefront of what he does.
One of his performances sticks in my memory. He was flushed and nervous despite having spent thousands of nights just like that doing the exact same thing. I had seen him prepare and perform enough to know how much of his heart he pours into every show, and yet again, he blew my mind with the innovative and touching material he pulled out of his box of tricks. I realized each of his songs are moments when he finds yet another way to kneel and kiss the ground, and each time he sings them he is weaving those moments together to create them anew for us. After the appreciative audience had departed and we were closing up the event, I heard him telling someone, “It’s nights like these that remind me why I do what I do”.
I’ve since amicably parted ways with this musician as a client and am getting ready to publish my first book. As I step out onto that unknown stage, risk failure, open myself to a whole range of new disappointments, I’m reminded of my friend’s attitude of abundance. What a great memory to keep me humble, to keep allowing each word I write to become a bow, to let what I love be yet another way to kiss the ground.
NOTE: Check out Nathan Moore’s latest bow, Hippy Fiasco. Kudos to my friend for finding another creative and inclusive way of kissing the ground and for being a steadfast inspiration.