An Accidental Songwriter and Moors, Music and Meditation. Creating Flow in Songwriting.

It is good we are different because it means the world has space for everyone, everything gets done and we can practice appreciating diversity( although I think humans need a lot of practice with this!). Being a song writer is not a very usual path and I think it’s one that usually finds you rather than you finding it! When I say I write songs I often get an interested response and sometimes people ask if it’s very laborious and difficult.

I personally find it much easier to write lyrics and an accompanying melody than filling in a form or working on the computer! I often wish it was the reverse- because that would make my life a lot easier! I could fit into a normal job, earn normal amounts of money, have some financial security and have things called holidays! But, we are all born in the skin and mind that we are in and it is simply best to make the most of who you are, what you are and where you are. Maybe there is strength in difference.

My sister came to stay and she asked me why is it so easy for me – how come I can sit down with a cup of tea in the sun for half an hour and pop out a song, with albeit a vague melody at that point, but a melody none the less. It got me thinking…in the blog, I wrote, time before last, I talked about the song writing process but my sisters question got me thinking about why is it easy!

So these are my musings…..

Firstly there is the question of attachment or non attachment. Attachment bizarrely drives things away from you rather than towards you.It seems to be a natural law- desire in all its forms is like honey on a razors edge and often the more we want, the more that thing eludes us. One can not own creativity, it is a force that exists through one. The creator is only the vehicle, the channel through which something from the realm of ideas flows through. I genuinely believe in different planes of existence; there is the physical realm and then there is the realm of thought, feeling and spirituality. A flow of energy, of life force, ties these all together and can be expressed by us. Grasping at this is as foolish as grasping at clouds. It is better to just allow it to flow like breath- through and along and out. As the force moves through you, you inevitably give it your own colour, idiom, accent and feel as it is coloured by the breadth of your own take and experience of life. So just allowing and allowing oneself to step back is part of the creative flow.

Then there is the ego, which is linked to attachment! The ego is a very useful tool but an incredibly bad master. Ego as a tool helps us stay alive and helps us know when situations are not healthy- a very useful tool. But ego as a master wants to rule, control, have it’s own way, be admired, be successful and generally be King or Queen of the castle. A bit babyish really -but we are all tied to it, babyish or not. So, when I song write I try to lessen my “Me-ness”, to feel more of a sense of equanimity with life. Somehow, just that wish and trying to do so, lessens the ego’s hold, for a teeny weeny while and allows free flow to happen. It is actually quite restful and the peacefulness that comes from being in my flow state is enriching and balancing.

Messiness is the next ingredient! I work with a lot of children as a freelance music teacher and the methodology I use has a lot of play and games in it to create embodied, holistic, multi faceted learning. That means that as an adult I have an unusual kinship to play. Adults don’t play really very much: they become very serious and dutiful and goal orientated. None of these are bad qualities but without play we become dry, with life stuck between two parallel train tracks. Play is about exploration, making surprising links, curiosity, inquiry, no shape, no control, going with the flow. Play is a flow state all of it’s own. To practice creativity is to embrace playfulness, messiness, mistakes, funny connections and new -ness. I believe it is very good for our brains and probably helps keep youthfulness, happiness and humour. So, get messy, splash in puddles, doodle crazy pictures, dance as if no one is watching, sing a wordless song as you skip and twirl…..let go of ego inhibitions and adult strait jackets and remember the child you once were, alive with curiosity and no pre -conceptions or judgements of what is good or bad and make friends with mistakes. Recently a new recorder pupil started with me, she is 7. She said ” I already know music because I can play some notes on the recorder and sing! ” She has no notion of where she is on the journey but has a gleeful sense of her own ownership of that. My job as an educator is to keep that confidence and playful ownership whilst guiding her to be more accustomed knowledge. Keeping playfulness as part of our adult experience will naturally allow for more creativity and happiness, I believe.

This leads me on to releasing judgement. Our western world loves critical analysis and so we are taught to judge, evaluate, criticise. This again is useful but I believe we take it to an out of balanced place in our thinking and perspective of life. Life in the end is a process, not a few highlights of goals achieved. It is in perpetual motion and this can not be judged. Creating something is equally a process; we don not judge a rose when it is not yet a rose, but only a winter pruning with life held in it waiting to burst out. Everything has it’s place in a journey and the mind of judgement can wait till the point when the process has occurred and we can sit back and evaluate. I would rather use the word “evaluate” as this allows us to draw a balanced conclusion that allows for growth rather than just the critique of judgement. Creativity and flow will just not happen if you judge before it is time. It is a complete creativity blocker!

The next element to creative flow is maybe a bit unusual and may well be a little more uncommon……

Ever since I was small I would sometimes just know things….it might be knowing how something might play out, reading someones mind, having telepathic moments, seeing bits and pieces of the future, seeing energy around peoples bodies, sometimes. I believe it is not freaky but something we can all be attuned to. It usually happens to help me understand something or someone or to help me be wiser, kinder or more compassionate. I think this channelled knowing of something deeper than surface things is linked to the creative field and thus is something I can dip into like an underground stream in my head and release a stream of creative ideas/songs/lyrics.

All these elements are the reason why songwriting is easy – it is because I just allow the above elements to live in me when I wish to create or when creativity wishes to visit me. I allow it to come and flow when the stream wishes to appear…..

For me, that is easier than filling in a grant form, trying to navigate links and widgets on the computer and create spreadsheets. That is a whole different kind of brain processing- one that our world is, unfortunately for me, inextricably linked to! Hey ho- perhaps I will just go and sit in the sun and write another song……! I might give up on this I.T lark for today.

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