Standing in Your Own Light |

Stand in Your Own Light: Lessons from MusicFest

I have been a performing arts coordinator, a national parks supervisor, social worker, a Realtor, a spa therapist, a museum worker, a higher ed coordinator, an awesome bartender and a few other sundry occupations. I can market your home, counsel you on unruly children, melt away your stress with a massage while telling you about the best hikes in Yoho National Park. And if you fancy, I can mix you the best martini that you have ever had.  All of these experiences are woven into the cells of my being, but at the core, I am a creative person who sees the light that exists in everyone. I am like a moth – attracted to the light.

We have returned from another fantastic Vancouver Island MusicFest in the Comox Valley – this our 12th festival. Through the efforts of Doug Cox, Artistic Director/Executive Producer, hard-working staff, a Board of Directors and a tribe of 1200 volunteers, a sold-out crowd of 10,000 music lovers enjoyed music along the shores of the Tsolum River.

MusicFest helps to make our light shine brighter. The children bouncing up and down to the music expressing their joy – pure and uncensored. Men who have shed their business suits singing the chorus unashamed of who hears them. The 60-year old woman I met in the beer garden with a crown of ribbons cascading down her back. “I never had long hair,” she beamed.  And touching – so many hugs. Tears-running down-your-face laughter. Music is the great equlaizer and it creates magical moments.

One of the performers joked that musicians play at festivals for the joy of playing music and travel costs. “Make our parents proud and buy a CD.” I think that when we listen to music, we recognize the joy in the performers and this reminds us of the joy in ourselves. It takes courage to stand in our own light and not in the shadow of “shoulds” and “must do’s”.

Toronto-based singer, Shakura S’Aida shared a story of a choirmaster who told her parents that not only would she not be allowed to join the choir, but that she had no singing ability. Without recrimination, Shakura told parents to allow their children their dreams. Their kids would work it out on their own.

So if we have strayed, how do we step back into our own light? I think Danielle LaPorte‘s suggestion to do less of what doesn’t feed your soul and more of what does – is a good first step. Stand in your own light. Live the life that you were born to live; it is what you are best at doing. Funny that, isn’t it?

And then take it one step further. Allow others to stand in their own light. Honour their light. Hold their hand and stand with them. On the closing night of MusicFest, Buffy Sainte-Marie said it perfectly. “We are here by the skin of our teeth, so take care of your link with life.” Thank you to all the wonderful artists who shone their lights strong.

Matt Andersen performing Coal Mining Blues.

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