“It’s Your Life – Make it Sing!” -Lowry Olafson
My dear wife Valerie is to blame for a lot of great things in my life. If I am pushing beyond my comfort zone, chances are Valerie is involved in some way. And so it was a couple of weeks ago, when Valerie said: “Merry Christmas! Lowry is going to call you and you are going to write a song together.”
Lowry, as in singer / songwriter Lowry Olafson. Lowry is tall and sprightly with a shock of great blond hair even at an undisclosed age that measures substantially north of the half-century mark. He is a long term resident of Gibson’s BC, most famous as the setting for the “Beachcombers” TV show. This great Canadian show played on Sunday nights on CBC. “‘The Beachcombers’, brought to you by Kraft. Try Kraft Velveeta cheese at your next party!”.
Oh yeah – this is about Lowry, not a cheesy recollection of my childhood. We first met Lowry about nine years ago. Lowry was touring local schools doing “ThemeShops” where the kids write and perform their own songs. After hearing of this concept, Valerie figured that the Lakes Animal Friendship Society should have a song. Why not? So one summer day by the lake, we gathered a rag-tag crew of volunteers and critters and critter lovers to create a song.
After working for a couple of companies in different roles, I had a mixed view of facilitators who help “kumbaya” your organization toward a mission statement or rallying cry. But there we were, dozens of people with different ideas and abilities, skilled trillers and tone deaf hackers, all riveted by Lowry. He cajoled and pivoted and slung his guitar around and strummed and transferred our thoughts to successive sheets of chart paper with quick jabs and strokes.
It was one of those rare moments where you see someone and say. My god, this person has a gift.
As the day wound down, our song came together. “Teach My Person How to Love Me” was a catchy tune about the needs of a pet, written from the pet’s perspective. We were thrilled with the results, and even got Lowry to record a studio version. We made a CD that became our calling card for many years. The CD had two versions, the recording of our group by the lake, complete with lapping waves and dog bark, and the clean studio version with Lowry and session musicians. Hmm, I guess that technically I can add “Record Producer” to my LinkedIn profile.
When Valerie told me I would be writing my own song with Lowry, I didn’t hesitate. First of all I was trying to stretch myself with more writing and creative expression. Secondly, I knew that I could spill a bag of Scrabble tiles, read them randomly back to Lowry and he could make a song out of it.
This time it was a little different than the ThemeShop, the idea was to develop a PowerSong: a musical set of aspirations or personal call to action. Something that inspires movement toward what is important in life.
It was a fascinating session. If I were proposing some ad copy to Lowry I might say: “It’s cheaper than therapy, and you get a song out of it!”. Lowry applied his gifts in helping me to focus and economize and shape a series of messy and half-formed thoughts into a compact and powerful tool. And I do mean help. He was careful not to impose his views and was more concerned about drawing out what I wanted to remind myself as I considered the direction of my life.
Affirmations can seem a bit delusional. Some folks, me included, have a hard time with the concept of “the laws of attraction”. Where cosmic goodies roll in based on the sort of energy you are putting out. That said, perspective matters. It is easy to slam the door on opportunities or relationships that don’t conform to the filters we have put on ourselves. I felt that this was a chance to remind myself to be more open to possibilities.
I won’t talk about the song in detail, it is a simple ditty, but I will share one of the epiphanies that came out of it. One of my thoughts was that I wanted to continue to be of service, in particular to animals in need. We captured that thought in a working line about “changing the world”. It wasn’t working and we kept getting hung up.
Finally, a slap to the forehead realization that was slow in coming. Changing the world, that is an expectation. It is an expectation of other frail humans with their own bags of troubles and concerns. If we are to measure our lives based on other people’s actions, that is a recipe for disappointment. I have certainly generated a lot of suffering in my own life as a result of such expectations. Out the line went, and the mental block cleared.
As the final lines of the song go, a more worthy objective is to greet those around us with love, and be open to the love that flows from them. And even to love ourselves, or at least cut ourselves some slack now and then.
Check out the song here: Simple Things – POWERSongs
And if you want to hear “Teach My Person How to Love Me”, you can click here: Songs – Lakes Animal Friendship Society
If you are interested in your own POWERSong, check out Lowry’s page https://powersongs.ca/ and give him a call. If you sign up before December 31st 2020 and tell him that you heard about it on Alistair’s blog, he will knock $150 off of his usual already quite reasonable fee. If so inspired, the Caring Curmudgeon opens that door for you without fear or favour, and certainly no compensation…