So I woke up this morning needing something. It seemed everything had welled up to the surface, both good and bad. It needed expression it seemed.
No, there was something very specific I needed, something I knew, but had lost or forgotten.
As I sat at my computer ignoring the email from the Biggest Loser Club, I turned to itunes as I often do and there it was. Bruce Springsteen’s Unplugged version of Thunder Road. So I hit play. Here is how he explained the album Born to Run.
“What’s it about? It’s an invitation…we invite you to something. Something is opening up to you, what I was hoping it would be is what I got out of rock and roll music which was a sense of a larger life, greater experience, hopefully more and better sex, a sense of fun, personal exploration and the possibilities in us, the idea that it was all aligned inside of you just there on the edge of town.”
An invitation. Exactly.
I often feel like I am simply an interruption into people’s lives. In fact one writer, Joe Kita, recently explained my approach to fitness in his blog. He said that what feels at first like an interruption to life will transform into life itself. I remember reading that and thinking how right he’d gotten it.
But here’s the thing. It sucks being an interruption. It sucks being perceived sometimes as SPAM. Maybe it’s my style. But maybe it is life has gotten so busy for people, that they are all doing what they’re supposed to do but feeling like it’s not leading where it’s supposed to go. Maybe people think so little of themselves that because what we’re doing isn’t working, that somehow we’re simply not good enough. We must try harder. And I interrupt the “working harder.”
I won’t get into an argument about whether things are working or not. I don’t think much of what we’re doing collectively is doing the work we all want done, leading us where we want to be. What I know is a significant number of people are not becoming the person they thought they would be. I know that because I talk to a lot of people. I listen. How have we evolved to the point that someone wanting to listen is perceived as an interruption?
But Springsteen reminded me that life itself is an invitation, an invitation ALWAYS to be something better, to the possibilities inside ourselves. How many of us go through life doing the things we think we’re supposed to so we can become what we want to be and yet lose ourselves in our own wake? How many of us are consumed in our own consumption of things? And we simply don’t know anything else to do or try. So we tell ourselves to be positive.
Springsteen reminded me this morning that life is an invitation, reminded me that I am life, my life, that I am my own invitation. He reminded me that wonder is an invitation and that worry is an interruption.
We need a more inviting world, a world built on the life inside each of us, not marketing disguised as invitation, crafted to attract us to things we don’t need or want.
There is one thing I know for sure. The things we buy, the things we consume, are not life. They are the tools for us to live life. But when the tools define the work we do instead of life creating the tools we need to live what’s inside of us, our economy becomes about jobs, not the doing of work. And when jobs drive how we live, something is wrong. When the powers that be, whether political or financial, become the gatekeepers, when they define the tools, it doesn’t work. We become their tools.
In Thunder Road, Springsteen sings “I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk.” One of life’s tools expressing what’s inside of him.
What I realized this morning is if I am not, if my life is not, the invitation to life itself, then I am simply what I like being least– an interruption.
Be the invitation. Discover what’s inside you and use that to define your life’s work and create the tools to fulfill it. Allow other people who seem like an interruption in. Ask yourself exactly what they are interrupting. Are they interrupting your work or just your job? Are they interrupting the checklist of the things you need to get done or are they an invitation to the life that is inside you? Are they interrupting your Standard of Living or are they an invitation to a higher Quality of Life?
Be the invitation. And if you need someone to listen so you can hear yourself, if you feel like you are an interruption and you are tired of that, give me a shout. YOU are invited.
“What else can we do now? Roll down the window and let it blow back your hair.”
And here is how Springsteen closed the performance:
“So this was my big invitation, to my audience, to myself, to anybody that was interested. My invitation to a long and earthly journey. Hopefully in the company of someone you love, people you love, and in search of a home you can feel a part of.”