Two days ago was International Day Peace, during which I participated in an online version of the largest wave of meditations on world peace ever coordinated. . . and was able to convince my daughter to participate in 5 minutes of it. I almost did not participate, because looking around the news of the world in a given day can make one start to question the futility of such an effort. Meditation on Peace in the face of aggression. Meditation in the face of conflict and war. Yet I continue to believe these spontaneously growing efforts like Med Mob and Global Care Room and other groups are arising out of something that may be bigger than any of us.
This was a remarkable effort on behalf of people in about 500 countries on a single day.
It also coincided with me housing some lovely musicians from Holland for my town’s 4-day international celebration of gypsy jazz. This got me thinking about the connections between making music and making peace. At a literal level, a violin bow or a clarinet does not make an ideal weapon for conflict (though it possibly has been tried), and at another level, the making of music brings people together – listeners and musicians – in often wordless expression that resonates with the heart.
For me, someone with little spending cash for music lessons or concerts, housing musicians is a way I can obtain a ticket to a live concert in trade. And this week it had the desired effect I was seeking – to reconnect me to my internal compass toward music. I played piano for two hours yesterday and completely lost track of time. Like taking a sound bath! Making music was such a huge part of my life and neural feedback loop for 14 years (ages 7-21) that it is emotional for me to reconnect with that impulse all these years later.
Thoughts that arose as I listened to the extremely talented and passionate gems of free on the street and concert hall performances this week: Music can be this little bubble of freedom and beauty amid the drudgery of day jobs for the vast majority of musicians unable to earn a living wage with their music (or their day job). How fragile and temporary like a bubble. Maybe listening to or making a piece of music can change our entire day or even a life. Just like listening to or making peace.