This is one of my favorite blog posts from a couple of years ago, and an homage to the man.
Last year David Bowie put out a new record, which is a big deal in the music industry. The man is 67-years-old, a legend, a huge rock star. I’d heard an interview with a member of his band a few days before the record launched, and the interviewer asked, “What earlier record is this new one like?” I found myself hoping he’d say The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust or Hunky Dory – two of my favorite Bowie records from the 70’s. But this band member only said that it was the best record Bowie had ever made.
So when the album came out on iTunes, I checked it out, hoping to hear songs that would take me back to 1976 and tanning by the pool in Palm Springs with my friend Marcie. Those were some days. I was 16 years old, had long brown hair, and wore bikinis. Boys liked me and I loved music, a doorway into a rich place full of feelings that I couldn’t yet articulate, but which I knew promised me access to a deeper part of myself.
But when I listened to this new album, I didn’t hear anything resembling the Bowie I had loved. Instead I heard the crooning stuff he’s been putting out in the last few years – not my cup of tea.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know what Bowie was thinking when he put out the record, but his band mate told the interviewer that Bowie makes the kind of music that’s coming through him.
I didn’t get the Bowie album I wanted – but if what his band mate said is true, and Bowie responded to the music coming through him, then Bowie made the best album ever, because as a creative person, hearing and responding to your own music is everything to your deeper success and ultimate joy, and the only way to do anything authentic and sustaining.
Of course, I’m not just talking about music – I’m talking about all the juicy juju that comes through us when we follow our instinct and imagination: ideas for projects, colors we’re drawn to, clothes we want to wear, friends we suddenly want to be in touch with. It has a lot with saying yes to ourselves, yes to what’s moving through us.
We train for this at the Wild Writing table, where our job is simply to be a channel for the words that are coming through us: bad words, silly words, potty-mouth words, words that don’t make sense, words that we’ve never spoken before. I invite the women I work with not to reject a word or thought that is presented to them, not to try and find a “better” thought or a “better” word. If they do, I tell them, their writing will go south. When we write or make art, we’re in partnership with the creative unconscious, and if we ask for its help but reject what is offered, it stops working for us.
If we follow our desire, our instincts, what we hear, what we’re hungry for, our whole earthly vibration rises. We might actually hear ourselves humming. That’s the music inside of us getting louder. That’s us tuning into our own unique and glorious frequency. The only thing we have to do is start listening and be brave enough to act on what we hear.
And here’s the icing on the cake – when we’re walking around the planet vibrating as the creative animas that we are, more people, more ideas, projects and opportunities will come to us because we’re easier to spot. The best way for people and ideas to find us is when we’re lit up. And we light ourselves up by following what moves us, what brings us joy.
Creativity chooses us, but we have to be listening for it. When I look at anything I’ve created. It’s all rooted in what I love – not what I think other people will love.
And so I have to think that’s what Bowie did when he was making his latest album – and why he’s still making albums after 44 years. I don’t have to love it. What matters is that Bowie can still hear the sound of his own music. Lucky, lucky Bowie.