I wonder how many of us right now are looking with apprehension at this coming winter as the cost of living crisis starts to bite. If one is already economically challenged then this winter looks to be a bleak affair indeed. Suzzanne Vega wrote a song about a girl who went ‘ straight lines”, living a life that was bleak, joyless, existing rather than living and creating.
This feels like this kind of winter. I have endeavoured over these last twelve years to set up a flourishing music teaching business and to become a singer song writer despite my obstacles of geography, age and disability. In some ways these have flourished : I have given a great deal of joy and learning to the children who have come my way, devised a programme of education for two years for a school and a nursery, created songs, collaborated and recorded them. But I have always never quite flown or managed to earn that professional amount of money that is required. Then Covid came…..
Perhaps many creatives are looking at the bleak face of reality and realising that the Maslow triangle of human needs is not being healthily nourished through their work. I am now taking on for two thirds of my week, a job as a care worker. This is not a job I would choose to do but needs must, and I will have to grow enormously in myself to approach it with joy and enthusiasm.. At the same time as a song writer I have no collaborators and no means to practically develop or gig so this has also reached stasis at the same time as I have to accept my music teaching takes a backwards step.
It feels like my dreams and aspirations altogether, in one fell swoop, that I have so long worked at are dissolving in the winds of time.
Life feels like it is turning inwards to necessity and quietitude . Things are being stripped back to their basics.
My husband also needs to retire soon, so I need to become more and more the main earner in the nucleus of our little family. I do not know what the future holds or what I can do. It is like looking at a yawning chasm with a wolf baying at my heels. My skillsets /disability means I am a funny one to find an ordinary work home for.
But, puzzle this out I must, somehow …..
I do not know whether to accept defeat and allow my dreams to die as reality seems to suggest to me or keep a quiet aspiration through these tumultuous times, working slowly on my Kulning songs project and piano. I certainly have to accept defeat as far as the music teaching is concerned. I will forever be marginalised because of the QTS standard and maths. So what instead? For now I will go on teaching my small cohort of pupils: it brings growth and joy to all of us. But, I have to ponder pathways with as much stark realism as I can muster.
It is small comfort to know others are also facing perilous hardship this winter. But, we are doing our best to be resourceful;- growing our own food, collecting our own wood, making our own jam, wine and pureed fruit for the winter. We have even bought electric heated gilets for the winter months so heating can be kept at a minimum !
The macro global trends and my individual cirmcumstances run in parallel lines of sobriety . The patterning is to go inward, be more resilient and perhaps in the silence of winter we may find answers both collectively and individually.
Our economic systems and governmental policies no longer serve most of society. Things will change as a result. What the future will be none of us will know . It requires us to be a warrior of the spirit and put one foot forward a day at a time, doing what is our best in that day.
I once wrote a song called “Phoenix”. It feels particularly relevant right now for myself and for society. The ashes of the old and the dead have to become a fertile ground for the new to arise. Arise it must, for life moves ever on. But, the shape of that future can be crafted more consciously if we move forward with love and kindness and wisdom where we can.
I am seeking that wisdom and kind fortitude in my own life. Maybe that is why I wrote the song in part- so I can be reminded at times when I need this message.
here is a link to the song :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DliG1tnO_ug
I hope this winter of the soul will bring answers so I can move out of existing in ” straight lines” and find my way with space for my creative dreams……but who knows. I hope society can arise as a phoenix with kindness, wisdom and compassion…..but who knows.