I Believe We Are All Connected
I believe that you and I and the entire world are connected. Buddhists say “We are all one.” Christian’s say “We’re all God’s children.” Carl Jung says we share a collective unconscious. However you want to describe it, I believe that which connects us as human beings is much stronger than that which divides us.
On an ordinary day, we’re often focused, as we sometimes need to be, on our own duties and priorities. But there are wonderful moments when distinctions of career, class, age, gender, race and almost any other difference you can think of just melt away. For me, that happens when I’m creating art with other people.
I grew up in a very theatrical family. I acted in my first play when I was 5 and I haven’t stopped acting since. Later in life, I took up singing and playing the fiddle. Some of my best memories come from theatre and music, where I joined with others to create a single work of art. Acting and making music with others provide a very deep kind of human connection.
I felt that connection very strongly one day when my madrigal singing group, the Bloom Consort, performed at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire near Lancaster. We were dressed in Tudor era clothing when we stepped inside a small structure on the Faire grounds built to look like a miniature cathedral. It had beautiful acoustics. We stood in a circle and listened intently to each other, which is always crucial for singing a Capella harmony.
As we sang a Renaissance motet, one we’d sung many times before, it suddenly became more expressive than ever: We made the music swell dramatically at one point and taper to a delicate pianissimo at another.
And we did this simultaneously, every one of us, as if we were all thinking the same thoughts. There was no discussion beforehand, and it wasn’t the way we usually sang the piece. Somehow it just happened in the moment, and we all went with it. The performance was incredibly beautiful.
When we finished singing, we stood silently for a moment, looking at each other. All eight of us were wide-eyed with amazement. We couldn’t believe what had just come out of our mouths. It was a moment of spontaneous, artistic “one-ness” that gave us all chills.
Every year, from August through October, I return to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire as an independent musician. I play my fiddle and sing every Saturday and Sunday. And each year there are more of those peak moments with my fellow musicians. I’m drawn by the irresistible joy of sharing music with other musicians and with our audience. I can lose my self completely in moments of musical and theatrical collaboration. There’s a sense of family, an incredible closeness as we create, together. I never want to live without that feeling.
I believe in connecting with my fellow human beings, through creative collaboration.
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