Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone. Jim Fiebig
It seems, no matter how old I become, I continue to be awed by our human potential in action. Tonight is the concert I've been working towards for the past several months. Yesterday, in support of it, a local TV Breakfast Show invited myself and the band to come in and talk about the project and to sing Ben E. King's iconic, Stand by Me. Three client musicians and two of the supporting local musicians turned up to sing and chat about the project and I was, as the saying goes, gobsmacked!
When we began the Stand by the DI project, it was with an idea of creating a piece of music that could be used for our Television and Radio ads. What we've ended up with is an exciting and innovative cover of a classic -- Stand by Me (King/Leiber/Stoller) -- a piece that moves people to tears, as happened yesterday when the director showed it to two clients from the US. "You've got to get this on You Tube," the male client said. "Give me a copy and I'll get it to Fox. This is outstanding."
Lewis Levin, the Producer/Director and I have worked on the editing of this piece for the past few weeks. No matter how many times I've seen it, I continue to get chills watching it. It was good to hear that I was not alone -- as I knew my bias could stand in the way of my objectivity!
Yesterday, when I got back to the shelter with the guys from the band, clients and staff kept coming up to tell them, "Wow. You guys sounded great." "That was amazing." Earlier, staff had turned the TVs on in the day area so that everyone there could watch and listen to the interview and performance. At the end of it, the band got a standing ovation, hoots and hollers and calls for more.
What awed me was the change in the three musicians. As the realization that the praise they were receiving for a job well done was sincere sank in, their shoulders straightened, their chins lifted and their smiles broadened. All things seem possible when supported by people who are standing by with honest to goodness words of congratulations.
One of the challenges of working with individuals who have been marginalized and beaten down is that their negative self-talk can sometimes corner them into playing self-defeating games. (Then again, it doesn't matter where we stand on the socio/economic scales. Our negative self-talk can always tie us up in self-defeating games.) Through the course of recording and rehearsals, one of the band members has fallen away as his anger and limiting beliefs propelled him into isolating himself from the group. Last night, as I was leaving the building, I went in search of him to make one last effort at encouraging him to turn up at the concert tonight.
"I don't really care to be part of it," he told me when I found him on one of the smoke decks. "I'm kinda flat about the whole process."
"Is this a self-defeating game?" I asked him. "To not complete something you started. Something you added great value to and something you said was very important to you."
"There's a whole bunch of hurt feelings here," he said. "Some people weren't very nice to me."
"Can you change the past?"
"What do you want more of in your life today?"
Pause. "If I did it I'd only be doing it for you." He wasn't looking me in the eyes. He kept his head downcast.
"What if you did it because you're part of it. You're in the video. Your name is on the program. You deserve to be on that stage as much as anyone else."
A longer pause. He lifted his chin and looked me in the eyes.
"I really loved it. Being part of it all. I really want to do it."
"Then what if you simply decide to do it. Turn up. Complete it."
"You'd let me?"
"This isn't my decision. It's completely yours. You can choose to turn up for yourself and be proud of being part of something very special. Or not. Your choice."
He's promised to be there. He works all day and as soon as he's back at the end of the day he's coming to the dress rehearsal.
"I've committed to you that I'll do this," he said. "I keep my commitments."
"I know you do," I said as I left, his quiet, "Thank you for not condemning me for behaving like an a--hole," trailing behind me.
For this man, not turning up was the only option he could envision. He's not been to any rehearsals. Not participated in any of the television or radio interviews like the other band members. His shame and self-talk have negotiated him into the corner of limited options where, "I don't care," has become his mantra. Truth is, he cares. A lot.
For this man, turning up is vital. The ice cream may have spilled from his cone, but in turning up, he's ladling on another scoop and dipping into the rich, creamy deliciousness of possibilities that open up when we STOP our negative self-talk and tune into the melody of life unfolding when we stand up for ourselves and step in harmony with the world we are creating. He's tasting the joy of forgiveness and giving himself a chance to enjoy a 'make-over'.
It's never too late to take a step in a new direction. It's never too late to dish up a new scoop of ice cream.
And when we do, it's astounding how the world stands-by and supports us, cheering us on as we get into the flow of being the most awesome, amazing, incredible human beings we are meant to be.
The question is: Has your ice cream slipped from the cone leaving you crying over its loss? Or, are you digging your scoop into the rich, creamy abundance of all the world has to offer when you turn up and take another lick of life?
For those in Calgary, tonight's concert will feature a guest appearance by Ben E. King.
7pm. Knox United Church. 504 4th St. S.W.
Tickets $15 -- at the door.