Ten years ago, I wrote a song that I never got around to recording called “I Am Enough.” I remember Beth and I both liking the message as well as the way it was constructed with three interlocking melodies. I have never written anything like it before and haven’t done so since then.
Sometimes, my best work feels like I have channeled it from a source that is beyond my mind. Lots of songwriters experience this phenomenon. It’s one of the reasons we write at odd hours or find ourselves singing into our phones (it used to be an answering machine) so that we can recall these interplanetary gifts from someplace in the cosmos. Or, put another way, we have only to get in the flow.
While taking a much-needed hike with Beth, yesterday, I posited that most of our successes were not original. In fact, almost all of the ideas that we brought to completion that were generated solely by us have plotzed and been tremendous wastes of time and/or money. By contrast, we’ve enjoyed tremendous success with ideas that came from others, people like PTA moms, children’s librarians or, more recently, our colleagues at The John Lennon Real Love Project. Our conclusion was simple: we are better at crafting art (and business opportunities) that responds to a need than we are inventing one from whole cloth.
This is a hugely important discovery that has eluded my conscious brain for decades. I think it’s a part of a societal message that I received about creators, namely, that we must create on a blank page. Some do, I suppose, but even artists like Lennon and McCartney admit that they consumed a lot of music from their heroes (mostly African American performers like Chuck Berry and, in McCartney’s case, dancehall schmaltz) that they consciously imitated, especially early in their career.
I feel as if a lightning bolt hit me on the hike. Here’s my truth: I no longer have to invent stuff. I’m better off responding, collaborating and answering to the needs of others. This means that my Ego, the part of me that yearns to be stupendous on it’s own, can take a hike. I’m better off, the data says, co-creating, serving and supporting other people’s ideas than I am my own,
Beth pointed out that the Japanese manufacturing giants did a version of this with autos and electronics. They didn’t invent cars, refrigerators or stereo equipment but they figured out how to make them better and cheaper and got rich doing so. They served the need, not their own egos.
As I have written about many times (including yesterday), I am very interested in “Let Go, Let God.” This new discovery fits nicely with that concept. I now believe that all I have to do is make myself available to serve, to respond, and the next right thing to do will be delivered to my doorstep like a gift from God. Instead of seeking to achieve, I will be waiting to receive.
That means I can hike and bike, go to farmer’s markets, laugh and chat with friends and strangers, and just be who I am (a gifted conduit and channeler) instead of longing to be some sort of inventor.
God has only spoken to me once. It was about 11 years ago and the message was quite clear. “All you have to do, Scott, to get everything you need, is to let go of control.” It’s taken me over a decade, but I think I’m finally ready to believe it.
“I Am Enough” means that I was born with everything I need. We all were. The Adventure of this lifetime is returning to the place where we no longer need to accumulate more, but learn to live with what we have, to create a life based on inner contentment instead of constant longing. Once there, we feel at peace. Once there, we are finally home.