There was a woodpecker hammering away at the gutter of our house this morning. He was making an awful racket, and I was a little bit afraid that he was damaging something. I knew I had just cleaned out the gutters a week ago, so I was a bit annoyed at the idea that there was anything tasty lurking around for him to eat. I thought about chasing him off, and then I admitted to myself that I had better things to do than guard the gutter all day to keep a woodpecker away from it. As I watched him, he decided it wasn't such a great idea after all and flew off.
I've been doing that in my life, too. There are some things that at one time seemed like really appropriate things for me to believe and do, but I'm realizing that they don't really provide what I'm looking for. I can hammer away at a metal gutter all day long, and it won't ever be as satisfying as getting into a real tree crawling with tasty bugs. For me, the metal gutter has been playing small: not speaking up when I see something I would like to change, not being comfortable talking about my own endeavors, not taking a chance on something unless I could reasonably predict how things would turn out.
This week, I have had several opportunities to try out some new ways of being, and they have actually been much more satisfying than playing small. I can speak up tactfully and with integrity. What I offer to the world is worth me letting people know about it. And I can break free of the limitations I put on myself if I am willing to be surprised by possibilities. In becoming comfortable with some new ways of thinking and expressing myself, I realize that there is a powerful motivation at work. It would be easy and comfortable to keep doing things the way I have been for years. It wasn't satisfying, but it made sense to me. What has truly changed now is an awareness of my intention. Being able to articulate a purpose, both in the macrocosm of my life and in each day's decisions, means I recognize how what I choose is in alignment with who I am.
As I was talking about Mysteries in a radio interview yesterday, I had great clarity about the value and purpose of that project, and it was natural for me to want to share that very personal music with anyone who was interested. I avoided this kind of publicity for a long time, using all manner of excuses. I still don't need for anyone to listen to my music, but I sometimes forget that my intention for composing music is to communicate something meaningful in an expressive and compelling way. In that case, of course I want to tell people about what I've been creating musically! And in other areas of life, it has proven equally true: When I remember to acknowledge my deepest intention, the commitments and the decisions I make just naturally follow.