Shared Stories

I first heard Darden Smith on a local radio program as I was leaving town for the weekend.  Darden was on the radio promoting his newest album and I have not been able to stop thinking about Darden and the stories he shared since, that was over 6 weeks ago.

In this TED Talk Darden shares a song he co-wrote with Radney Foster, and which was likely my first time to hear Darden and his gift.

Also in this talk, and the reason I share it with you today, is he talks about the fear and excitement in using our gifts.  Darden’s gift is songwriting and he talks about some of the creative ways he is using his gift.

In many ways Darden’s story is like many of our own stories.  He shares being in an unfamiliar place sharing his songwriting and thinking he has nothing in common with those he is around.  So often we find ourselves in a group of people and may have the same thoughts, “Do I have anything in common with these people?”  “Does anyone know I am here?”  We do have something in common with those around us and we share stories with those in our space, sometimes in the most unlikely of places.  Sometimes finding the commonalities may require a little digging to find.  This past week I was sitting at the car shop all day for three days in a row.  Although I was in an unfamiliar community the shared stories of the other customers who were waiting for their repairs continue to excite me. Some of the customers shared their stories of their search for meaningful relationships, their passion to travel and find their career aspirations.  We talked of shared tastes in music and film and places to travel.

In the video Darden also shares some of the unconventional ways he shares his gifts.  He pursued life as a rock star for many years.  He has written and recorded several songs that resonate with me and have become part of my life script.  One of current ventures is using the stories soldiers share and helping them write songs.  One of the unconventional ways I have used my gifts in the past was as a Volunteer Coordinator with Grace Hospice.  Through that experience I grew and was shaped by the lives I crossed paths with.  Working with Volunteers was not something I had set out to do and in many ways felt unqualified to do.

One of the things I enjoy most about providing Career Counseling is helping clients expand their search to include career paths and opportunities they may not have considered.  Helping them find unconventional ways to use their gifts and interests and I think that is why this video is so powerful for me at this time.



Music and it’s impact on our culture and economics

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Texas State University Center for Sociology Inquiry symposium Hill Country Music Scenes.  There were two presenters and several members of a panel.  The first speaker, Dr Bryce Merrill, presented on the impact music has on our economics.  Although I did not study Economics in school I found this very enlightening.  He spoke about not only musicians, but publishers, recorders, and the other crew members and how they bring tourism, travel, and support the economy when people buy merchandise (CD’s, T-shirts, etc).

The Second presentation, by Dr. David Grazian, was on the impact of music on culture.  He spoke specifically of urban areas where buildings are repurposed for music and gave a specific example of a church.

Living in the Austin Area for the past 13 years I have seen how the community is impacted by musicians.  I see a community that is very creative, not only in writing and playing music, but stretching dollars.  We spoke about how unfortunately many who enjoy music in this community do not tip the musicians, but simply enjoy a “free” show.  How unfortunate! Is there any other profession that is asked to share their skills for free?  There are also creative people who design album covers and take photos of the musicians for publication.  Then there’s always a critic, who writes about the experience.

In 1999 SIMS Foundation was created in Austin.  It is a local non-profit that provides mental health services for local musicians.  I have always been fascinated with this agency.  They provide personal (individual) counseling, family, substance abuse and also band therapy in the past.  So often a band operates and interacts like a family.  The foundation was created after at least two musicians experienced a mental health crisis. Earlier this week the national news covered a story about a musician who completed suicide.  In light of the symposium and my experience with SIMS Foundation I wondered if this musician had reached out for help recently.  I hope to have the opportunity to work with some local musicians in the future.