2015 Theme Word: Feel

It is a new year. 2015 is here for the next 361 days. In keeping with tradition, I selected a theme word to guide, direct, and set the tone for this year. I briefly considered not doing it… but why not? I’ve done it this many years, why not another? I kind of like not having resolutions that are filled with all kinds of impossible goals and standards. I also couldn’t avoid the fact that I recently had an experience that pulled some things together for me and kind of placed my word right in front of me.

This post is a bit more personal than I tend to share on a public forum. There is a good chance you might not follow my train of thought and there are a whole lot of details intentionally left out. But here it is.

2015 Theme Word: Feel

Back in December Will and I went to see A Winged Victory For The Sullen at The Independent. It had been ages since our last concert. Thankfully the style of music played in our favor and gave us a different concert experience. A unique one that helped bring together some things for this years theme word.

Winged Victory is an ambient modern classical duo featuring Dustin O’Halloran & Adam Wiltzie. In hindsight it is easy to say that the sound that they produce is nothing but emotion. It wasn’t until I experienced their music live that I was able to call it that.

The setting was an old theatre turned music venue. There was some cafe style seating up front and rows of chairs in the back and on the sides. Sitting for a show? Yes, please. My days of spending numerous hours in line, then even more hours for the show, and then hanging out after show is long since over. But I digress.

The music didn’t start till 8:30. It was a Tuesday night in December with a mostly older crowd. You could tell everyones energy was waning. One guy actually slept through part of the Winged Victory set. The music started with an Icelandic cellist, Hildur Gudnadottir. Very moody. Very real. Explosive yet soft vocals. Another 30 minute intermission and then a Winged Victory settled in: 2 keys (one of which was on guitar as well), 2 violins, and the cellist from the opening set.

A winged victory for the sullen

The music starts. It has a way of stopping you… commanding your attention. The lighting further sets the mood and the fog creeps in. You are there to experience. And if you let it, you are there to feel… to let the music take you to the places you need to go, the places you are afraid of or have forgotten about. It is there to put you in touch with your inner being. It shocks you, delights you, and reverberates your very soul. The deep notes do exactly that… reverberate the core of your being. You can’t deny it either, it just happens, it is part of the experience.

As you tune in you start to move around a bit. To let your mind wander. With no words to direct your thoughts, you are free to float about. You feel something as you find the rhythm of the sound waves. It playfully taunts you to let go and go further, to release yourself to the places inside you that you forgot existed. It’s asking you to connect to the innermost part of you that we as a society have tried to disconnect ourselves from.

As the music played on it asked me if I would go. Though sometimes it isn’t even a question of “will you go” but instead a question of “can you go” to where it is calling you. Interestingly enough I didn’t feel threatened, but more contemplatively challenged.

A winged victory for the sullen

Music is a powerful life force. It can bring both life and death through its notes. It is an outward expression of our inner being that is directly tied to our emotions and the things we feel. I have lost touch with this over the years. Something that was so imperative to how I lived quietly faded into background noise.

Was it fear? Was there one too many emotions for me to handle? Did the music bring death that I chose to never rise from?

Whatever the cause may have been, I have long since walked away from the life force that is music. I placed music and all that it brought with it to the side and continued on.

It has taken me some time to realize this but as with everything there was a cost. My cost? A disconnect. And one I didn’t see, just something I rode the spiral down. Now of course music wasn’t the only element of this disconnect but a very powerful one to say the least.

I couldn’t help but tie these thoughts about the reality of my disconnect back to worship music and the way I used to connect to God in various music settings. I was reminded of how worship and praise is a opening connection to God. To praise Him is an act of service, an outpouring expression of the heart. Be it a rock show or Sunday morning worship, I poured out emotion… it was safe, it was right. But this disconnect… oh the unforeseen cost.

So many things disconnected. I can’t ignore this anymore, I see it all too clearly.

I have to reconnect.
I must feel.

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