I think the thought process actually started years ago. A long lost statement by Laurie Anderson in which she spoke of long walks she would take out of NYC, and how those were her moments of absolute freedom and non-attachment. That connected for me to the particular joy I felt on my weekend 180 mile bike rides to Austin. It was somewhat forced, but for just two days, my only task was to pedal.
And to be.
Last year, following a series of conversations I had with her about finding a way to live without many possessions or financial burdens, my friend Alejandra sold most of her belongings and moved to Koinonia for room, board and a tiny stipend.
Months later a dinner conversation with Normalcyispasse sparked the same thoughts, or was it a question by now? We discussed the events leading up to his move to Korea, his time (two years was it?) without a physical address, and the way the universe (aka the internet) just pulled together and got his needs met fairly effortlessly. For him, as I recall, this was a very specific freedom.
So last night I see strange, sweet Jane Siberry perform to a crowd of maybe thirty or fourty people. All of us transfixed by her odd movements, and singing to prerecorded birds and cows. She told fanciful tall tails of “cool kids” she met in the forest, and their blank stares they gave when she tried to sing to them. “They were just perplexed.” She presents her art with no apology and only pure connection with it. That is why my heart beats fast when I see her, or listen to her. Even if I don’t particularly like what she is doing at the moment, it is clear that she is being perfectly sincere with herself.
For her first encore, she announced that this was the last time she would be playing her red guitar. She had auctioned it off on her website, along with all of her belongings. She told the audience that she was separating from herself, and the audience laughed. She wasn’t kidding. The woman who won the guitar was in the audience, and Jane handed it to her personally. I swear to you, her countenance changed dramatically after that. I thought it would be a sad moment, Jane letting go of her friend. But she was clearly delighted with this act, as it she were becomming lighter and lighter by the moment with all of this shedding of…well….matter.
She talked about photographs, how at first she was going to throw them all away except for one photo of each person, but decided to throw them all away. She said that she remembered them all, and if she didn’t, well, maybe it was time to let go of that person anyway. My friend Amy shouted from the audience “What are you going to do?” She looked into the air for a moment and said “follow the signs.” Well, she said it much better than that. The general idea was that she was going to let herself be guided and, as much as possible, take herself (ego, perhaps?) out of the decision making process.
I spoke to her after the show, she remembered me from the MP3 I had sent to her of Erin and I performing one of her songs at our Ovations show. We only talked a bit, but the most important thing that she said was that she was doing all of this letting go in order to become the purest kind of musician, and that she wanted to learn how to be in the present moment as much as possible without having to worry about maintaining her posessions.
What does all of this mean to me?
The list of letting go is getting longer by the day.