In searching for a "theme" for each day of the week that I blog, I've landed on the following trajectory:
- Mondays will be related to writing or teaching
- Tuesdays will be related to crooning, jazz, and the "good old days"
- Wednesdays will be What I'm Reading Wednesdays
- Thursdays focus will be inspiration of any kind
- Fridays will be Philosophy Phriday, when I take my exhausted, loopy mind and pretend to be Jean-Paul Sartre for a few paragraphs
Much like the Dalai Lama's advice for living, I'm going to stick to this structure until it no longer serves me. Then I will adjust. That might be in a year, it might be in a few minutes. Either way, it will be fine.
So, without further ado: Inspiration.
Last night I was inspired by a lovely woman named Renee. Older than me by somewhere between 30-40 years, she has the type of face, the type of smile, the type of attitude, and the type of grace that make you all but certain she was an absolute knockout in her hey-day. She's still beautiful, in fact.
The first time I met her was probably about a year and a half ago at Bistro 60 in San Diego. We were both there to listen to jazz and to sing a few tunes with the band. After she heard my first song, she came to me and asked in her velvety voice if I knew a song called "It's Impossible." I had never heard it. When people request songs that I don't know, I often smile, admit my ignorance, thank them for their support, and forget the title. But something about Renee stuck with me. I went home and searched for the tune.
I went months without seeing her at all. I never sang the song in public. It sat in the back of my mind, though. When the pretty girl at the Red Fox asked me to learn "Summer Wind," I didn't. When a close friend asked me to learn "My Funny Valentine," I didn't. So why was I remembering the request of a complete stranger?
In any event, last night I was at the same restaurant listening to my good friends Paul Gregg and David Shaw play some fine jazz music. I got up to sing a few songs when I noticed Renee in the back of the room, eyes sparkling, smile gleaming at me. I hadn't seen her in quite some time -- nor had I practiced the song since the first week after we met -- but something told me to sing it. Somehow, I didn't miss a word.
So what did I find inspiring? As I mentioned before, her grace. Her overwhelming warmth. Our strange acquaintanceship helped me see that simply being genuine with others, being genuine with yourself, and being present in the moment can influence so much around you. She was genuine and present the night we met -- and it influenced what was a 28 year-old narcissistic crooner to go out of his way to do something for another person. While I can't say that my transformative experiences of trying to better serve the world around me come directly from Renee, I can definitely say it is people like her who make it all seem worthwhile.
I hope I can sing to Renee again soon.
"And tomorrow, should you ask me for the world somehow I'd get it,
I could sell my very soul and not regret it,
For to live without your love? That's just impossible…"
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