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Playing a Different Part of the Same Elephant

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

This was originally posted to the comMUSIKey website July 31, 2020. (click that date to take you back to the original post with a comment by Michele McFadden) I am reposting it here on April 12, 2022. Things have changed. Reading this now takes me on a trip back to early covid that set my own inner stage for change. At that time it was clear to me that the curtain of separation had fallen. Your infection was my infection. My medicine was your medicine. We would share our resources to tackle this problem. We would listen to each other's ideas and find commonality in our thinking. The animals were reclaiming their land. It was the beginning of the transformation I'd been longing for. And it was happening inside me and outside of me.

Naive, huh? Or maybe I was playing a different part of the same elephant. Now that I hear how my part sounds with your part, my part is evolving, and your part is evolving too. Evolution can take a long time.


My Inner world was crying out so loud last night that my body could not relax enough to sleep. It wasn’t till I started preparing my breakfast that I began to connect with my Inner World enough to know that she was really hurting. She hadn’t stopped hurting after the few hours of sleep I eventually got. It reminded me of the parent who is so preoccupied with working to put a roof over their children's heads, that they forget to hold them close and let them know how much they mean to them. Some of us are missing physical touch so much that it brings physical pain. Our Inner and Outer worlds need to touch like never before. We must do it ourselves. In the channels of communication we have available to us, it appears that we each have not only different but opposing outer worlds. And yet I’m convinced that our Inner worlds are very similar to each other. Hermes Trismegistus said “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.” This kinda implies that our Outer worlds are not only similar but the same. Maybe our collective Outer world is like the elephant in the room and we are all blind people thinking we know what the elephant is by just touching our little piece.  When I improvise music with a group of people that I might not ever have played with before, the song we are creating reminds me of that elephant. Each of us plays a part of this living being and we each have a different perception of what we are creating. Each of us is putting extra attention on our personal contribution, so we see it from that perspective. For instance, I tend to think the ending to the song is coming sooner than other people think. I’m just playing a different part of the elephant. I can lay out and let them end without me. I can change my ending feel into a pre-ending feel. Or I can play ending cues to let people know that I really want to end the song and I'm willing to put myself on the line to do it. I would add to Hermes’ list, “as in music, so in life, as in life, so in music.” It seems to happen in music so much easier than in life. Maybe through practicing this kind of listening/sharing with music-making, we can learn to do it in “real life”. Maybe we can learn that the reason I see things differently than you is simply that I’m playing a different part of the same elephant. 

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