“What about Michael?” the quiet voice inside my head kept asking, even though I ignored it repeatedly. It just seemed so unlikely that asking Michael could possibly lead to what I wanted. But there it was, that gentle yet insistent idea to send Michael an email. And so I did, and now I’ve got a great story to share with you – a story about the delightfully grace-filled world of trusting in what we long for and allowing our inner guidance to lead us there.
For the past several months I’ve been in the process of creating two CDs. One is a conversation between an interviewer and me, the purpose of which is to explore what I call the Mindful Manifestation process, and the other is a meditation CD. The reason I’ve created them is, quite simply, that I wanted to. I really wanted to. The whole idea energized and enlivened me in that familiar way I’ve come to trust on this journey: when we give ourselves the permission and space to “follow the tingle,” as I call it, we are led to deeper and richer experiences that, layer upon layer, create deeper and richer lives. Lives that we love – lives of meaning, passion and purpose. So the tingle called, and I responded.
From the outset I knew I wanted my “interviewer” for the conversation CD to be Ann Murphy, a friend and former client with a natural, lively curiosity about life and a voice as liquidy-smooth as silver. Yes, she was the one, and I hoped I could convince her to participate. And so the minute after I declared to myself, “I’m going to create these CDs!” I called Ann to start the process of persuasion.
Except that no persuasion was actually necessary. Ann was not only willing to participate, she was genuinely excited. Working with her voice has always been a source of pleasure and satisfaction for Ann, and after having dabbled in various formats such as recording Public Service Announcements, reading for the blind and taking a course in “How to Make Money with Your Voice,” Ann was ready for her next step. She followed her own tingle, stimulated by my invitation, and jumped eagerly into the project.
And so we began a dynamic back-and-forth process, kicked off with an email I sent to my distribution list of friends, clients and colleagues to find out what kinds of questions they’re grappling with on this journey of consciously creating lives they love. As I considered my answers to their questions, I wrote them down and a script for the conversation began to form. Ann and I met regularly to read through the evolving script – recording it on a very convenient little digital recording device generously loaned to the project by our mutual friend Janice. With each recording we became clearer about what worked and what didn’t, and I began to get a sense of how to focus the content and flow of the conversation.
Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that, while I could create the content for the CDs, I had no idea how to actually produce them. I needed someone to guide me through the process. Lo and behold, in a conversation with a friend about my plans, she reminded me of a man I’d worked with years ago in one of my corporate jobs, a marketing and communications maestro with boundless creativity, crystal-clear vision, the calm and confident presence of, say, a surgeon… or just a really cool person…and a wicked sense of humor. I emailed him to see if he’d be willing to shepherd me through this process, and once again was rewarded not just with willingness, but with enthusiasm. And not only would he serve as my project manager, he would design the covers and inserts for both CDs. How great was that?! So my creative team expanded to include the immensely talented Richard Ruberti of Lionheart Incorporated, and I felt deeply blessed.
Things were progressing nicely with Ann’s and my audio rehearsals, and with Richard’s cover design and his successful search for a recording studio. There was just one piece that hadn’t yet fallen into place: the music for the meditation CD. By this time I had established a firm timeline for the completion of the project in that I had committed myself to selling the CDs at a women’s health expo in Dover on October 24th. So with about one month to go before heading into the recording studio, I needed to find just the right music for the meditation CD.
I understood that the most expedient option was to search for, and select, music from one of the many websites offering a vast number of musical tracks that can be used for commercial purposes in exchange for a relatively affordable fee. I could also find music I liked from an existing CD and contact the publisher to see if I could negotiate rights to the music. Those were really sensible options, but what I secretly wanted was original music, composed specifically for my meditation CD. (Those secret wants of ours are rarely sensible, it seems.) But that wasn’t remotely possible, I told myself. For starters, I have no musician friends or contacts in the music industry…
Except one. Michael Samson.
Just a couple of weeks prior to my mind-numbing and increasingly fruitless search of those cavernous websites with gazillions of oddly-labeled music tracks, I’d met with a new client. His wife had purchased a couple of coaching sessions for him as a Father’s Day gift. She saw the coaching as a way of supporting his desire to expand his career in music. We’d had one session, and all I knew about him was that he was a jazz pianist and a music composer, that he was highly accomplished in many areas of his life and very committed to his music, and that I liked him. That was it, and I had no reason to believe that he could – or would want to – compose music for a meditation CD.
But as I waded through selection after selection of music samples on the website that were catalogued as “meditation” but sounded more like – well, like something you might hear in a remake of an Alfred Hitchcock film – that little voice inside my head kept suggesting that I contact Michael the musician. I argued with it, of course. I mean, come on – even if it was possible for him to compose three new music tracks in such a short amount of time, I probably couldn’t afford to hire him. And what if I hated his music, which I’d never even heard?
The little voice just kept repeating its suggestion, clearly and firmly and without any fanfare. So I decided to indulge it and sent Michael an exploratory email, filled with all kinds of halting qualifiers such as, “I’m guessing there may not be enough time…” and “I don’t know if you even compose music like this…” and “I have no idea if I can afford what you would charge…” Not exactly the most powerful and compelling invitation a person could receive! But miraculously, Michael responded with a sure and steady, “Yes, I’m interested!” It turns out that, on his own journey of creative expression, he had long wanted to create music for deep relaxation and personal contemplation. You know, music for something like yoga or…meditation.
So we met to talk about it. And after only one conversation in which I offered him supposedly illuminating descriptions of what I was looking for – you know, really crisp and clear definitions (I’m kidding here) such as “inner journey” and “calm” – he came back in a couple of weeks with five sample tracks of music for me to consider. I hoped upon hope I would like what he created, but I had promised myself that I wasn’t going to accept music for my CD that didn’t feel right to me. I was willing to miss my own deadline rather than force an outcome just for the sake of a finished product, delivered on time.
And so I took a deep breath, slipped on the headphones Michael had thoughtfully provided, and listened. I let out my breath, then took another…and another. My breathing was relaxed and joyful. I could hardly believe that I was listening to the perfect music for my CD.
I chose three of the tracks for inclusion on the meditation CD, and within a short amount of time Michael had expanded them into the 15-minute versions I had requested. He dropped them off on a Friday night, giving me exactly one day to work with them before heading into the studio on Sunday. Which was all the time I needed.
The recording session flowed beautifully. Ann and I executed our well-practiced conversation, and then I recorded the meditations that would accompany Michael’s gorgeous music. In one take. I couldn’t have asked for a more pleasing or satisfying creative experience. On the drive home that day, Ann and I marveled at the fun and ease of the entire process - which was particularly gratifying, given that this very kind of experience is what my teaching and coaching is all about. When we dare to acknowledge - and to honor - what our souls really want, and when we follow the clear guidance of our true inner voice without judgment, our lives unfold in delightful ways that are nothing short of miraculous.
And so as I anticipate the delivery of my first order of artfully designed and professionally produced CDs from that – surprise! - friendly and helpful customer care agent who works for the company which is duplicating and packaging them, I sit in deep gratitude for the flow of little miracles that opened me to new levels of appreciation and wonder. I am both humbled and reassured by the knowledge that in surrendering to the joy of the process – and in being willing to let go of any need to forcefully control things – I invited harmony and effortless productivity into my life. I can hardly wait to hold in my hands the tangible outcome of that most intangible and delicious of all processes – the creative process.
Just think – a provocative interview CD led by the silver-tongued Ann Murphy and a contemplative meditation CD with original music composed by the incomparable Michael Samson. Wow.