My Page: Rachael Yamagata
by Rachael Yamagata on October 13, 2016
It's daunting to write about a subject of my choice— in prose, that is. Songs are easier—they live in subtext and you often have an entire album to share an identity. Melody and delivery hint at possible intention for the listener to interpret, and there doesn’t always have to be a message behind the song at all. This, however, is stark. Words only here.
My subject for this piece is love.
We live in a time of extreme passion, brutal, unimaginable acts, suffering and heated debate, but we all want love. I believe this. I “fluffy bunny” believe, knowing this could change the world. How to love each other better has always been the focus of my work— the pursuit of connection, emotional bridge-building, the translation of need. Still, I’m a social hermit, continually battling insecurity and questioning my own voice. How many others out there with the potential to heal are holding back out of fear? Posturing and blustering and pontificating are loud, big things, but love is a quieter thing. It’s the most powerful tool that we forget to use when we are attacked or on the defensive, but it may make all the difference.
In business, I try to choose my M.I.T. (most important thing) for each day. We have limited attention spans and energy, and doing this is crucial to moving the big picture along. What if our life M.I.T. could be kindness? Respect? Compassion? We could still yell and fight for, convince and sway, but if something kind took precedence, then could we do all of it—better? This doesn’t mean not taking a stand for what you believe in—it takes heat to make change— but rather remembering that we are all in this together and we have to reach one another at the core. We have to open hearts in order to get in.
I write what I feel and hope it picks up on something that others can connect with, entering that art is a reflection of our world zone, but I never know. Of late, I’ve been thinking of the tightrope walker—balance, focus, perseverance—one careful foot in front of the other to get to the other side. Something in my heart is driving me to express our need to keep going through the grand heartache, whatever it may be, on a personal and global level. I dig for how we can quiet the noise, find our center and become privy to a new perspective that brings us to greater heights and inspires others. Can we transcend our pain and contribute by being our own symbol of strength and peace, practice and diligence? I think we can, and I think we are all trying our best to do so daily. Pain only holds us down— holds us back and colors our actions in ways we might not choose if our source was love.
It starts with the simple things—the way you do even one thing. Are you present, full, authentically there for whatever it is? Small group dynamics of your family, a band, two people from the opposite ends of the earth interacting—what are they like? These specific dances among us can shed light onto a bigger picture of the energy directing the state of the world. Our own homes become the butterfly effect. If we can’t find a way to communicate and relieve our hearts within the context of our inner circle, then how can we hope to do so on a grander scale?
There is a sweet spot during a performance when all stage fright is lost and the audience and artist are one. It’s like being in the zone for athletes, and you can almost actually see the energy in the room. You can bend it and direct it and everyone feels connected and part of something greater. It’s a perfectly flowing conversation, the great date magic. It can be power for just the showman or power for all. It can start revolutions and channel our passions, lift us to new ideas and bring people together. I think of the tightrope walker in this continual state of perfect poetic movement, walking for no reason other than he is compelled to do so, and the symbol of what he does and all it takes to do so affects us. He is the art. Transcending the pain of our lives and pushing through in spite of it, with love and kindness still, to me, is art.
We have precious little time but still have the ability to give to one another, to share moments and streams and streets of connection. We can hug and join hands and run. We can remind ourselves to pursue magic with each other and for each other, and that we as a collective whole can move mountains. We can be grateful and start small and find our why and breathe and act with our authentic selves and speak up and stand out in loud and quiet ways. We still have time to be loving toward someone and to hear them—really hear them. And all of this is hard. It means looking someone directly in the eye and showing yourself in the most vulnerable way and hoping they get you, too. We will fail many times at this, but we have to try. You are the artist of your own life. Use your gift. Trust. Stay open. Love.