Discovering the Extra-In-Ordinary

As a culture, we tend to honour the pursuit of the extraordinary. The paparazzi serve to supply us with images of the elite, and we all want to be known as knowing someone extraordinary – we even post signs about our local talent that made it to the big league – as if to suggest that we are extraordinary by association. This is curious (and highly subjective), but it can also rob us of contentment, peace and freedom to be.

I have disproportionately strong hands. They are tough hands, able to sustain injury and even bleed without me noticing. They have several scars on each and are rarely if ever manicured. Some of my friends like to joke that they can’t tell if they are looking at my hands or if I am “holding a bunch of bananas”. I get a kick out of taking my rings off and passing them on to others to try on – as they usually end up on thumbs or toes.

I have often said that it is an odd connection to have a musician’s heart with a concrete-worker’s hands.

So, maybe it is a miracle that I can play guitar at all – but I find the hand an amazing piece of design work. There are 29 joints, 27 bones, 123 named ligaments, no muscles – all of which are controlled by the forearms, and the mind. As I type this post I am aware that my mind is sending messages through neuro-electric impulse, in rapid fire sequence to select the various keys on the keyboard – and I can’t even begin to fathom how it works. A communication system extraordinaire!

But music requires more than the hand and mind to produce. It also requires the ear for hearing, and the voice for singing – and the structure within which to arrange notes, including the dictates of what is melodic or not.

Then there is hearing – on pitch, or not! Three of the tiniest bones in the human body combine with 20,000 hair cells and an inner ear drum the size of a pencil eraser to be the receiver of sound waves travelling at 1130 feet/second within specific frequency ranges.

The human voice is generated through a complex set of tasks requiring the coordination of many muscles and sensory nerves. Each sound we create begins with the movement of rib and stomach muscles in coordination with the diaphragm to control the air flow through the throat and voice box. The voice box functions somewhat like a reeded instrument. Air flows back and forth as we tighten and loosen muscles to create vibration. This vibration of your vocal cords being blown apart and then sucked back together repeats hundreds (the average male hits about 110) and even thousands of times per second, producing voice.

All of this to say that I started my creating with grace experiment to overcome the negative emotions, limitations and inhibitions that led to a 10-year musical silence for me — BUT I am discovering far more than music through the effort.

The vast majority of what I have created in music by using my hands, ears, voice and mind was already present in the foundation, of who I am designed to be. If the song turned out to be extraordinary, and we gave it a grade of 100% – it must stand on the 95+% of foundation that exists in all of creation.

If we are not able to be grateful and joyful for this foundation – the basic design of who we are, and the context within which we live – what could we ever add that will change this? 

There are unforced rhythms of grace; a way of living that is grateful and free to create – without fear and the need for validation.

Are you trapped, thinking you have nothing to offer, or that you can’t be happy until you reach your goal?  If so, it might be time to explore the EXTRA-IN-ORDINARY.