I feel equally challenged and blessed by my vocation. I read once in a Carolyn Myss book that there’s a distinct difference between “work,” a “career.” And a “vocation.” To roughly paraphrase, I believe she described work as something you do purely for the cash – no heart in it. A ”career” is something you are passionate about and committed to and represents stability, growth and financial prosperity. However, with a “vocation” you’re serving something greater than yourself. You work sometimes without compensation; you build without certainty; you follow your inner calling no matter the economic statistics or financial gain. It’s a calling and it requires faith, an open heart, a thick skin and strong stomach.
I pretty much get, at this point that being in service to the power of music, creation and art is my current vocation. I can tell because I leap on faith all the time, sacrifice comfort, meet my edges and am spiritually rewarded daily.
I love music. I love dancing to it, writing it, letting it work its magic on me and delivering it through recordings and from the stage . . . It’s a gift to be a steward of the mystery that is music. I’ve been traveling with music since 1999 and over the past 5 years the highway has been a more of a rule than an exception.
Sometimes folks are excited to live vicariously through our travels. Sometimes folks are resentful of the travel and “freedom” they perceive. Others consider me “unemployed” rather than “self-employed” and still yet some feel that I’m a big fat fool wasting my life. I wonder sometimes if they feel that way about their musical heroes. What if Bob Dylan had opted for a straight job? He’s certainly intelligent enough to have made good money as a lawyer or journalist. Like Bob, I am a self-admitted fool, but I don’t feel as though I’m wasting my life. Everybody has an opinion and a projection and usually it reflects their own hopes, fears and dreams. Life is funny that way.
What I know is that music heals, transforms and serves the spirit. . . I know life is often hard no matter what industry you’re in and no matter how much money you have. I know that music is a place people go for comfort, solace, celebration and rejuvenation. I know it has magic magic sexy powers and can hold families together and connect people with the divine.
At the end of the day, I don’ t much mind the uncertainty or the shady business when I see in people’s faces, hear in their voices and read in their letters that the music I’ve delivered has transformed their life or gotten them through an impossibly rough time or been the soundtrack to their greatest personal love story. It’s got value. Maybe the rewards don’t always translate into dollars, but damn, is it powerful. . .
I don’t consider myself a starving artist nor do I want to. I’m a hard working woman. I’ve paid dues for a long time and hope to one day to make enough of a living to someday soon support a family. Every honest sale of an album and every sincere fan-endorsement to new fans helps to keep my vocation alive. . . Thanks to the venues, musicians, fans, agents, volunteers and patrons who have been so moved to help me keep this music alive, it’s still cruising down the highway. For you all, I’m eternally grateful.
And who knows, perhaps work+vocation will = an amazingly abundant financially prosperous career sometime soon. . . All I can do is love, serve and continue working to create soul quenching music.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs that seems to sum this up much more poetically than my rambling blog. . . Leon Russell’s “Magic Mirror.”