A few nights ago, Andrea and I went to see a show billed as “The Free of Fear NYC Debut and Album Release Concert.” Our two sons, Lennon and Jack, had written the album’s music, played most of the instruments, and were the front men for the show, so naturally we went.
My expectation for the evening was to see a set of musicians walk on stage and play all of the pieces that appear on the album. There was indeed that, but far, far more. I and the rest of the audience were treated to a fascinating mixture of visual and auditory art created and performed by a variety of colorful individuals all seeking to explore this idea of being free of fear.
Off in one of the corners of the venue was a collection of thematic paintings and drawings.
Dramatically performed poetry readings, a thoughtful short story, and an intriguing dance number were all interwoven into the overall evening experience. Most unexpected of all was an aerial acrobatics act that could have easily been something out of Cirque du Soleil. Here, as the musicians played a kind of eerie celestial number that mounted in intensity, a lovely woman became entangled in two black curtains that symbolized fear. As she appeared to mightily struggle with these curtains—yanking herself high above the audience, twisting, twirling, suddenly falling upside down to within an inch of her skull, clawing back up once again and finally freeing herself–audience members were left with their jaws hanging from their mouths.
What Is Free Of Fear?
As the musicians in the band describe it:
Free of Fear is the music we always wanted to make but, up until now, never knew how to. It is the intention of creating from a neutral ground of infinite possibility, a place of total spontaneity, completely in the moment, unfettered by fears and self-doubt.
However, during the process of creating this music we experienced countless moments of uncertainty, lack of confidence in our abilities, insecurity about if people would like our sound, and a host of vague, strange, unnameable fears that arose while writing, recording, practicing, and performing our creation. During those moments the concept of Free of Fear has been a rallying cry inspiring us to overcome those trepidations and bring us back to the moment of this point in the journey, reopening ourselves to a deepening gratitude for the vibrations of the universe.
And now we wish to extend that rallying cry to you. We invite you to join the Free of Fear Movement. Its purpose is to foster an environment of encouragement that instills confidence and inspiration in each individual to create the art that only they can make. We invite you to explore the reality of the fears and insecurities in your own life, to stand up to them, and to step foot onto a path of creating and living the life that you truly wish to lead.
After the last notes were played and Andrea and I drifted into the cool night air, thoughts drifted through my mind. Enjoying being with a group of people, sharing a musical experience, dancing to lively rhythms and meeting interesting new people were beautifully achieved. A band seeking to inspire people to overcome their fears that have been preventing them from doing the things they really would like to be doing–I guess I kinda like that idea. Inspiring narratives have begun to stir a process within, deepening my understanding of the nature of an intriguing emotion.
A few months earlier, I had written a post on Nelson Mandela, and I have now begun to think more deeply about how he inspired so many throughout the world. Certainly one reason is his gripping narrative that involves resisting injustice despite the fear of a violent repressive regime, then his 27 years of suffering in prison, and then his phenomenal rise, against all odds, to become president of his country. But there is something else. Once he got out of prison, Mr. Mandela put forth a vision of why his struggle was important, a vision that allowed millions of people to enter into a connection with him and with one another. “Great anger and violence can never build a nation,” Mr. Mandela declared. “We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.” With such words, Mr. Mandela invited all of humanity to work toward a more just world.
The Free of Fear movement has a narrative that, in a sense, is like Mr. Mandela, in that it describes a process of achieving something of value despite moments of fear, and it is a cause that most of us feel a connection to. The Free of Fear movement, to be sure, is a less dramatic story than Mr. Mandela’s, at least at this early point of its existence. The band members’ one year struggle with their own fears while living modestly in NYC doesn’t quite compare with Mr. Mandela’s 27 years in prison. And creating a fresh new set of music and presenting it on the modest NYC’s Shangri-la Studios’ stage with other artists’ creations is a much smaller scale event than what Mr. Mandela achieved on a national and international stage. But in a deeper sense, human beings can profoundly benefit from both types of narratives. The Free of Fear movement, currently, focuses on basic fears of your typical person on the street attempting to find the courage to ask someone out on a date, or creating something despite the fear that others might not like it. These types of struggles are more of what we may call your typical garden variety struggles, but to each of us who are struggling with them, they are of vital importance.
Consider, for a moment, the many people who have come to realize that their drinking has become a serious hindrance to their daily life and fear that they won’t be able to overcome this problem. Here is a problem that occurs everyday in pretty much every community. Over the years when I asked people who succeeded in overcoming this problem what was most helpful, the most common answer has been that they went to some self-help group meeting and became inspired by the many personal narratives of people who had struggled as they were, and despite serious set-backs along the way, they managed to beat their alcohol-related difficulties.
Interestingly, of all of these types of alcohol dependency recovery stories that I heard over the years, the one that stands out most to me concerns a man whom I will here call Bob. In addition to hearing these recovery types of narratives, Bob had an additional source of inspiration. Throughout the lowest period of his struggles, although most of his neighbors treated him with great disgust, there was one fellow who offered him a bit of kindness. Bob wanted to recover not only for himself, but because he wanted that bit of kindness to mean something. This kernel of kindness had grown in his breast and he desired to live in a way that honored all that it meant to him. For some reason I entered into a profound connection with Bob when I heard him tell his story in a choked-up voice.
And so, upon thinking about what it takes to inspire, these are two of the ideas that came to me–a narrative of a struggle that was eventually overcome, coupled with a vision of why the particular form of success was of value not only to the struggling individual but to others as well.
In my next post I’ll try to convey other insights I have achieved as a result of that delightful night in NYC. In the meantime, I hope you’ll take a little time to get acquainted with the fresh set of inspiring musical numbers now available on Free of Fear’s brand new album, See You On The Otherside. It is available for free at https://freeoffear.com/album_download.
Some people will enjoy reading this blog by beginning with the first post and then moving forward to the next more recent one; then to the next one; and so on. This permits readers to catch up on some ideas that were presented earlier and to move through all of the ideas in a systematic fashion to develop their emotional intelligence. To begin at the very first post you can click HERE.