Conforming to Society vs. Growth

I hope that the school year has got off to a great start for you! This year, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hoshana, corresponds precisely with the commencement of the new school year adding to the feeling in the air of a new, fresh beginning with new opportunities for learning and improving. With any new start, however, comes reflection.

As I reflect upon my current life circumstances and the world around me, I realize that there are many thing over which I have little or no control. My noble yet humble aspirations to make the world a better place through my music and creative pursuits is not only often not rewarded or compensated but at times appears to be revoked and unduly unjustified. Do I need to change who I am and who I instinctually believe to be true with all good intentions in order to conform to another’s view point of how I need to be spending my time, whether this other entity is another person, society as a greater whole or the government? The answer, of course, is no. However, change in of itself is necessary in order for us to grow and pursue our goals and dreams.

It takes a lot of courage to make a change, and especially to stand up to what one believes to be just and true. When we look back at all of the courageous people in history- the ones who fled from concentration camp to another country in order to be free; the Artists, like Shostokoivtch in his fifth symphony, who were brave and tenacious enough to portray the truth through their Art; and the leaders of our country such as Martin Luther King Junior who fought for equality, we see a pattern. Each of them were willing to sacrifice something in order to fight for a greater truth, which in each case ultimately not only saved them, but also their Art, which is for many of us, the core of our integrity. As Artists, we view and express the world and the truth of our lives through the lens of our Art. As Artists, we do not always expect to be compensated or understood. However, in a county, which professes freedom at any cost, we do expect the freedom to express our Art, especially as a vehicle in which we can bring about positive change in other people’s lives, without rebuke or penalization.

My hope and blessing for all of us is this season is that we each may experience growth and change in us as the caterpillar does in becoming a butterfly. The essence and the soul of the creature does not change in becoming more fully who he/she is , but rather the outer coatings of the cocoon, all that which is no longer needed and hinders us from flying to new heights, is shed. That is my hope and my wish for all of us.

As we anticipate changes with the turning of the leaves and the ever changing climate of the world, I send you best wishes and love that you may continue your evolution of change and growth while searching for truth and beauty.