You will be pleased to know that the CDs of ‘Places with high tevels of natural beauty’ arrived safely last week, and in time for the launch this coming Friday evening (you will now realise that my new website is based on the design for this new CD). So that was a relief. And now I am both nervous and excited!
I am thinking about what to say at the launch. I will talk about the genesis of this CD – originally private gifts for family and friends on special occasions in their lives – as well as some new works and some re-imagining of two older pieces. I will thank the dear people who have supported me in the creation, development and ultimate ‘giving birth’ of this new CD, friends and family alike. But what more do I want to say?
My paid job is outside of music, in the community sector. I manage a neighbourhood centre in Blaxland, the Lower Mountains Neighbourhood Centre, not far from where I live in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. I have a terrific team of 5 part-time staff and some 50 wonderful volunteers. There is a new direction in the community sector in terms of ‘community consultation’; how we find out what the people in our community need, how we can help them to achieve that. The term used by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, which has provided a framework for our work, is called ‘turning outwards’, and it is a wonderful framework for gathering the information pertinent to our work being relevant in our community (see http://www.theharwoodinstitute.org/) I met the founder, Rich Harwood, at the NSW state neighbourhood centre conference last year run by the peak body for neighbourhood centres in this State, the Local Community Services Association (LCSA). It was an honour to meet a man of his calibre and integrity, and I applaud the work that he does, and the framework that he is providing for all of us who work for and with our communities to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. And interestingly, my brother-in-law, Graeme, used the same term, ‘turning outwards’, at a function he spoke at in his own dedicated work for the people of his community just last week.
Yet in our personal lives I believe there is real value in ‘turning inwards’. We all need to work out the ways that we nourish ourselves so that we can deal with the stuff that life throws at us. Life is messy. Life can be chaotic (someone encouraged me recently to remember to embrace chaos). So we need to find our own way to ‘turn inwards’ to nourish and support ourselves. It might be through spiritual nourishment, prayer, meditation, quiet time, theatre, music, visual art, dancing, reading, story-telling, cooking, learning French, going to the football, playing netball, joining a music group for the over 50s, sitting in peace and comfort or exhilaration and joy with others, being still in solitude in your garden and appreciating the stillness without so you can sit with the stillness within. So many ways we can ‘turn inwards’ so that we can manage what we need to do to help us to be present in the world and ‘turn outwards’ in whatever that means in our daily lives.
My music is one of the ways I do that for myself, and I offer it to you so that it, too, might be a tool for tapping into the silence, turning inwards, in order to manage all that we do to be ‘outwards’ in the world.
Until next time,