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Published: 2003/02/24
by Cris Janoff

The Stars Are Calling

As a great, great lover of music, I’ve found myself in the
heart and soul of many gloriously moving, uplifting, and truly meaningful musical
experiences. Monumental heights and deep excursions into the blues with the
Allman Brothers Band; the colorful, mind expanding magic, wisdom filled insights,
and euphoric flights I’ve taken with the Grateful Dead; the special things I’ve felt
and experienced while listening to the Beatles; and all of the other rich moments
when I’ve been stirred to the depths by the lyrics being sung or the notes being
played a cathartic outpour of emotion, for which there really are no words, but
that makes this life a grander, more wondrous, more enlightening one to live.
But through all the years I’ve spent feeling and absorbing the
music, something has risen to the surface the need to take the inspiration, the
wisdom, and the magic, and wave my own wand of creativity. For as they say,
you can only go so far on somebody else’s dime, although in the case of music,
you can go pretty far, and even at times, all the way. However, there is still
something left unfulfilled, a yearning for something more, a calling you can hear
inside of you.

And this calling is an invitation – an invitation to paint your
own pictures, whatever form they may take, on the Grand Mural of Life. And
that’s when the real fun and action begins; when you dip your brush into all of the
colors you have and create, bringing something to life that didn’t exist before.
And that really is magic starting with just a hat and reaching inside and pulling
out a Mountain Jam, or a China Cat Sunflower, or any other song you wish to
birth and play into the air.

And if you listen closely enough to the music, you can hear it
invoking you to join the band. To offer up your ideas, your textures, your tones,
the deepest, truest part of your heart and soul. And it’s not just the Grateful
Dead or the Allman Brothers or the Beatles, for example, who can make
innovative and inspiring art. For they are human beings, just like you and I, who
have taken it many steps further and gone inside of themselves and tapped the
wellspring of creativity. And while there, they have explored their inner lands,
bringing back the treasure that they’ve found; treasure that can help us in many
profound ways in our own lives.

But just as anyone can turn on their faucet and bring forth
water, so too can anyone open the floodgates of imagination and artistic
expression. And though it’s empowering to listen to someone else play, it’s even
more meaningful and worthwhile to fill up your own palette, to use your life as an
instrument and play your own music to the world. Not to merely sit idle or start
off strong only to lose the hunger and fade away, but to do something with it all
the entire way. And there’s much work to be done and we’ve been given this
time to do that work, to take great chances over and over again, to make
something great with this life.

And the sky is not the limit, for there is no limit, no barriers
on what is possible. Just look around you and see and feel what others have
done and are doing. But don’t get too wrapped up in their creations and think
you could never make something on that level, never come up with anything
that’s worthwhile, and then not try at all. For there is something of your very own
vision waiting to be born, a brand new song or hundreds of songs that are there
for you to create and play. And it’s not a matter of better or worse, just his songs
or her songs and your songs the Songs of Life, which all have their place and
are meant to be on the setlist.

And the business now at hand is to go into your workshop
and build something from the ground up or continue the work you’ve been doing.
Piece by piece, one step at a time, while opening yourself to all of the infinite
possibilities right there at your fingertips. All the while, keeping the flame of
determination burning every day, through the darkest of nights and the fiercest of
storms. And even when it seems that the well has dried up or that there’s no
more chances for you to take, know that it’s limitless and will always have
something inside of it for you to draw out. Always – you just have to take your
bucket down to the well and prime the pump for as long as it takes. And though
there may be nothing at first or just a few drops, after a while you’ll find that you
don’t have enough hands to carry all the buckets and that the water’s

A metaphor I like to use is being in the audience of a concert
and having a notion or vision that you can be in the band and make a
contribution of some sort. And if you feel strongly enough about it and are
courageous enough to roll the dice that are in your hands, they just could come
up seven. But the only way for things to happen is if you try and make them
happen. And there certainly are no guarantees and you may end up losing and
feeling the sting that comes along with it. But it feels good and all is possible
when you lay your money on the line with the highest hopes that you’re going to

But above and beyond winning is creating and taking
chances, however the chances should come out. And you may want big things
to happen, but you go on making your music no matter what. And no one can
take that away from you. It’s your palette and you can paint anything you want
on it. And as far as you’re willing to let your imagination go, that’s how far you
can take it. The world is truly your oyster and it’s wide open. You just have to
reach inside and take the pearl. And it’s there for you to have every day.
And you can know what those feel who have inspired you to
the heights and helped you experience things that were meaningful beyond
anything else. Just pick up your guitar and plug it in to your amp. Then you just
have to turn it on and jam. And there’s no limit. For if you reach up you can
touch the stars.

_Cris Janoff is the author of Songs From The Golden Flute:
A Book of Poems and Lyrics available at Amazon.com_

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