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Creative community simply works - Angela Westphal (Bright Way Podcast)

bright way podcast Apr 18, 2021
 

Former veterinarian Angela is greatly inspired by the creative Community. She shares how supportive Community actually works - how Community comes together around a vision, how Community is cultivated over the long term, and how the dynamic of many strong creatives can be held in a #collective that honors each individual vision as a benefit to all.


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All right. Welcome Angela. Thank you. Where are you right now? Right now? I am in Germany. In fact, because I am, I grew up in Germany and for some days ago, arrived in Germany. That will be here in Germany at my brother's place for two months. Yeah. And where do you usually live? Usually I am living in Northern Norway.

It is about 1,800 kilometers North from Oslo. And that means not from the optic Circle. I am living on an Island called<inaudible> big Island, but it's a very remote area. Beautiful. And you are a wonderful harpist, a very creative person. In addition to your harping, which we're going to talk about and other instruments that you play as well,

you've had a whole other career. Could you say a little bit about that? Yes. I can say something about that. I have always had different interests. I had have had interest in animals, especially horses and music since I was very small and I always followed these two paths in a way. And when I should choose education, I choose to become a veterinarian.

And I did that. And that brought me to Norway because I was there as a student and was doing practical things. Learning practical things and nowhere. And then I, I worked as a vet in clinical practices on farms and things like that for some years. And then I choose to go more into the direction of systematic use the knowledge I have as a vet from lit more,

little bit more systematic things that was both food health and animal health and animal welfare. And there, I worked in state organizations doing surveillance in these things right then. And then I went over from having to do with animals to have to do with people. And I was working in the surveillance for work working conditions for people from us for nine years. And the last,

I think, 15 years, I worked as a, I had role as a leader in these organizations, Marvelous work. And during that time, were you also involved with music the entire time? Yes. I was always involved in music and I, but I didn't, it was so normal for me. I didn't recognize it, but when I looked back at letters I wrote and so I recognize I always have been doing different kinds of music.

Hmm. How did you balance that? That is a good question. I Don't really do you think balance when you'll see, I think of time, I'll say things like that. I just, this, this music thing is, has always been a place for me to relax and to find energy. I think when I had, I have three children,

I have five in fact altogether, but I have three I've bought myself and whenever small, I always, for example, then they were playing outside with them and were playing my instrument. I always found places where I could play anyway. Yeah. I've noticed that for some people they have felt like, Oh, well now is sort of career time. I don't have time for my creativity,

but it almost feels like from what you're describing, when you engaged with your creativity, not to say that you weren't creative in your job because you were, when you were engaged with your art form, it actually gave you more energy. Yes. For me. And it's not that I am. I'm not a very all, yes, I'm organized maybe,

but it's never that I have said that. I said this at this day from hour, so I want to play, but I just plant, I just found these possibilities. And for example, when we were on holidays, I always had instruments with me. And my husband said he had to tie the pipe, pay up piano so that I didn't take it.

And I brought the instrument. Children were playing a little bit, not for many years, but I brought the instrument then too. I just need, I think it has, it must be that I needed it. It seems to me that you've really stayed in touch with the fun aspect of making music. You haven't let it become a stressful thing or a thing that has become sort of a source of judgment for you.

I remember back in the day, you know, I used to be worried about my Practice sometimes because I was worried that I wouldn't live up to what I wanted to sound like in my own practice. But it sounds like you stayed very in touch with the joyful and inspirational aspects maybe. But I have in my family there quite a lot of professional musicians too,

and I never was one of these very, very good musicians. And then I think I found fun when I started playing folk music. And also I've been playing a lot for dancing, Norwegian folk dance, and then you were playing for dance. The people are not really interested in you as the musician, because it's just a function. You have to give the rhythm and the music to the dancers.

But that is a very nice way to play and to relax in a way, at the same time, you get a lot of interesting feedback about rhythm and tempo and things like that. Yeah. I wanted to ask what are the types of music that you play and what are the instruments that you play? I started playing the recorder and I know that many people hate their recorder and think it is not a good instrument,

but I love the recorder. And I am in fact, quite good Plan recorder. I have also been playing concerts with people in churches and things like that at some time that rock music and I love this old music. And then I started because I wanted to play to the Norwegian folk dance. I had a very short time of mandolin playing, but that wasn't that long.

But then I started the, on the accordion to play for them, Norwegian folk music. And, and then in 2006 through this dancing group, I came to Allen. I had been in Ireland in 1974. I was 18 years then, but I came back in 2006 and started over the course of taking a whistle playing cross. And that was not so difficult for me because I was good at the recorder and I just could switch over.

So, and then I recognized that I could be playing in sessions if I learned a lot of terms. So I had two years where I really were learning tools. I was doing all the time. And then I came back and I could join into sessions. And that was wonderful. And then my, my brother, you know, in Germany, he's also playing Irish music and his wife.

And we started in the same year without knowing about each other, knowing that that was very crazy. So we are doing this together a lot, but then I came back, I started then also to play the shallow. I was playing a little bit classical music, but I did not have a teacher. It, it wasn't very much fun, but I was also playing and playing,

playing, but then I listened to Harp in Ireland and the special ones one evening and I was haunted by it. So I asked my brother, do you think it is crazy if I start playing the hub? Yes. He said, but you should do it. I got myself 10 years ago and I started paying and that was the thing I have that I love it.

I love hearing you play and you have your own compositions as well, in addition to your arrangements. So I'm struck also by how much community is involved in the music, making that you describe. You talked about playing for dances and playing in sessions. And I know a major reason that you joined our Circle was for Community. Can you speak a little bit about how creativity and Community intersect for you?

Yeah. When, before I started in the Circle, I thought maybe there was something wrong with me, cause I want, I need this community and I need other people to play with. And I also have a desire to share what, for example, I have learned or music I have made. And I thought that is a little bit sell important or things like that.

So I, I was not comfortable with it in a way, but then I understood when joining the Circle that it is. Okay. And, and I'm interested in some other philosophic things and there are, we have had a discussion about, I have asked other peoples I am in which polarity I am when I am playing music with others, is it the male of a female?

And then I've found out, somebody said to me, and I think that's true when I'm accompanying, then I'm in a female polarity in a way, because I, I support the rest. But when I bring it up to attune, then I'm in the male polarity. I like both of these things and it keeps, it is communication. It is relations,

but it is, yes, it is not to throw our rational mind, but it is in a way from heart to heart. And I love that very much. Yeah. Yeah. He knew it in our system. We correlate Community with the Element of Spirit because there is this mysterious quality and energy of connection that happens really can't be described just by the brain as much as we love,

you know, all that rational stuff in theory. And, you know, we get a huge kick out of those things. There is also this Essential quality, a spiritual quality really of, of communing with other people. And it doesn't mean spiritually religious in particular could be, you know, that you don't believe in anything really closely, but there is a,

an energy that gets generated from that community that is actually Essential as you, as you were mentioning. And sometimes we feel like, Oh, I shouldn't need Community. I should be just strong on my problem. Why do I feel like I need it? But you know, I think we've come to find that it's actually essential to have it. Yes,

it is. For me, it isn't. And now I think I can, I can say it and it can be comfortable, comfortable to say, yeah, I need it. And I think also we get a lot of very, very special and very nice relations to other people through playing music together. Yeah. It's a very unique way of communicating.

It is. Yeah. Yeah. And it's also because you have all, it's also that you have to listen. I mean, you can't just Plan, I haven't this in sessions, you have some people who are just doing their things, but they wouldn't come very popular. But the nice thing is, Oh, yes, there's a guy who's playing the guitar.

He uses other crowds than me. Oh, how come? What does that mean? And then I love that. Yes. Yeah. It's a very deep form of communication with people. It feels to me and you know, it goes beyond sort of more surface issues. So for example, you know, right now we're in a very fiery time and people are very,

you know, disconnected with each other, arguing all this kind of stuff. And you wonder how can people come back together at this point? Something like music is a way to connect, regardless of all those other things and to connect in a very genuine way. I agree. Maybe I should say one thing more. And that's when I, some years ago,

it's four years ago now I also took this IATP education as a therapeutic musician. And for the first I learned a lot of, of improvising and that also made me more confident to make composed some tunes, but it also taught me a lot about this awareness and also this connecting with people, playing for people's feeling, what do they need? And that gave me a very big input that helped me with my practice.

That in a way that then I understood what my purpose, what music that was, was a part of it, what my purpose is. And yeah. Yeah. Would you feel comfortable sharing what you're Purpose Yes. Yeah. I can do that. And I just have to say, when we should define our Purpose, I, I was, I was not struggling,

but I was thinking, what should I do? What is it As Step one of our whole system, Then Casey returns. She said she could help us to make a picture to visually visualize it. And for me, that was crazy because when she said that, then I recognized I had a picture. I already had a picture. And when I looked at that picture,

I know what my purpose is. And that is the picture is me in an oval taco with lots of music, symbols around. And these symbols for me, is it like semi permeable membrane where connection or relation go out of, for me to this, the world around me and the other way, and for me, music is the purpose is to connect with myself because when I am playing,

I find back to myself and feeling well, it is connect with the world around both people and the world as it is. And the third thing is music protecting me. And that is a very important thing because I had, when I took this education, I had a time in my work at my work, which was very hard and I really did not feel well at all.

And then I experienced that when I was that music, music could help me to survive. And when it was too bad, I just had a melody in my head and I sang it in my head. Nobody could see that. And then I was fine. You are using healing music on yourself. Yeah. So healing music yeah. Is definitely a form of Community.

So they're therapeutic music as part of Community sorry about the drill guy. This is life. It happens. No problem for me. Thank you. Yeah. So Purpose you already had it and this is something that's so important about our system is that your purpose is not something you go outside to look for. You actually go inside and find it that it's already there.

Yeah. I loved that for me. That was very good and great experience about finding the Purpose. And I understand now, as you say said, when I have my Purpose, that makes it much easier to play and also to find out what will I do and what don't I don't have to do. I love it. It is really important, but thank you.

It is. I didn't, I never would have found out that on myself, I think, but, but I found it through the Circle and that was very important for me. Thank you. Yeah. I wrote down actually to go back and look at your picture again, cause the first time I saw your Purpose picture, I was so moved by it.

It's just beautiful thing. So yeah. You know, your purpose can be more visual. It could be a sound, it could be a sensation. A lot of people, it is a written statement, but it certainly doesn't have to be because Everybody's different. Yeah. So I just love how you also are always learning. You know, you took up the Harp 10 years ago,

you you've already got such a huge backlog of education and experience and at the same time you keep learning anyway. Cause you just seem to love the process of learning itself. Yes I do. And I, I, I believe that we never must stop Learning I had a father who he learned philosophical things until he died and was reading new things and very,

I, it is something to develop ourselves and, and I mean, life is, is very exciting and it is, eh, it is never boring. Yeah. You're you're inspiring me. I'm writing things down. Yeah. So yeah, just to, to summarize, I love how you really kept in touch with your Inspiration and the reason that you make music so that you kept it fun.

It did not become a burden or a place of fear or a place of judgment for you. You kept that front and center always. I'm very struck by that. I don't know if you want to add anything about that. Yes. I just can say I have been working on that too, because I know this feeling that you and I, even in Ireland,

a lot of people suddenly come into the people I have been admiring. They say, Oh, I feel that I'm not good enough. And then I thought, what is this about? And I do not want to have that approach. So in a way I am stopping it actively in me. I do not want to have that approach. Music is not a competition for me.

Music is a very important thing for my life, but it is not. And that is where the Purpose. If I want to make impress others, then I get nervous and I'm playing a lot wrong when I am. It's terrible. Yeah, same for me. But when I can say, I love to play music, I want to give this feeling to others.

Then it works. You know, I really think that is actually the key to working past performance anxiety, which I think is one of the very worst problems that musicians face. And then it's a type of creative block as well that you know, that other creatives experience as well, or even writing an email. And someone's just too afraid to say what it is they need to say or make that step in their business or,

or whatever it is this sense of really being beholden to what is outside you rather than letting it come from the inside. And when you let it come from the inside and it's coming from a place of purpose, you just feel excited to share it. But if you have learned, you'll have a very big part. I have been working on that before I met the soccer,

but it was so good to read it and to experience it, to learn it and to hear it from you. And, and it is. I also believe that is important because I was wondering why I am not to not have anxiety when I'm playing in a nursing home, but when I am playing for other musicians and it's terrible. And then I have found out that must be something with this,

that when I'm playing in the nursing home, I want these people that had a good time. It's not important. What is they're so focused. Yeah. Yeah. So I have, I have tried to take that into my plan. I have done, as you gave me this tip to play in the coffee shop, I've done it sometimes now that was great,

but it works. Yeah. Yeah. When we're so excited about our Purpose that when we're in touch with it, then we just want to share it, you know, without any type, we don't have fear. Cause I actually feel the fear, although it can feel overwhelming is very, very small compared to your Purpose. Like I visualize the Purpose as being this beautiful thing.

And when we bring that in, you know, Purpose is like the head of a pin and we're like, Oh, there's, I mean, sorry. Fear is like the head of a pin. You're like, that's nothing, you know? So That's very, it's very, very good. Yeah. Wonderful. And I, another theme of course,

that you're having is the idea of lifelong learning. It's not like, Oh, you know, I graduated college. This is it. No more Learning for me, I turned 40, no more learning for me, whatever. None of that. I mean, no one of my greatest teaching experiences was starting this wonderful woman at 83 years old to play the Harp.

She had always wanted to play the Harp and she'd had a wonderful long marriage with her husband. He passed away. She had to work through the grief for about five years. And as she was coming out of that grief, she was like, I always dreamed about playing the harp. And she contacted her, her cousin who was a conductor and said,

do you know any Harpists? And he said, actually I do. And she lives two blocks away from you. And so I would go over to her house and she had very, very bad performance anxiety. Cause she used to be a very serious classical pianist. And within a year and a half, she was putting her Harp in her car. Now usually you should bring the Harp out and somebody would notice,

so that help her, you know, on the street. But sometimes you'd do it all on her own. She would drive it to the hospital. She would play in the lobby with completely Great Purpose and joy. And you know, she was a massive inspiration to me, Very sadly. She passed away at 86 and a lot of her funeral was describing about what the Harp had done for her in that it was her companion and her way of expressing herself and people felt,

they got to know her even more. Her children were like, we saw a side of our mother that we didn't know was in there, you know, and she was amazing enough already. And then all this came out. Wow. You know, so yeah, yeah, we can do this. And then the other parts is Community that, you know,

Community is nothing to feel like, Oh, I shouldn't need Community or I should just stand on my own. And no, I, I think, you know, we, we learn. So from each other, we inspire each other so much and it's just a joyful thing to share, but you have been very good at creating a culture that is supportive and good.

And I, I do not know how you started to do all that, but I really enjoyed it is very important. I hope it will stay like this. It is so good to really help and support each other and it works. Yeah. I think it is working. Yeah. Yeah. I, yes, I it's very deliberately cultivated culture and you know,

it's based on all the principles that we work on, you know, coming from a place of heart, coming to place on a place of direct experience. So people, sorry, again, the drill people only share from direct experience. So for instance, that's why we don't have any outside links in the group because that's where hearsay and all these rumors and this and that.

It's like, no, just speak from your direct experience, because number one, we want that richness directly experience. And number two, we want that quality of information that it was from you. And it wasn't just something that we heard on the internet. So yeah. Can we put our heart and direct experience? And from there, you know, I mean we're really living from our purpose and when we do that,

we are our best selves and great things just come out. You know, I feel like when, when people are acting, you know, mean or disrespectful, which does not happen in our Circle, but when they do in the outside world, I don't feel it's the real them. I don't think that's truly them, you know? And I just have that as an article of faith,

I believe in the positive. I like that too, if you're the only way for me, because I can't believe in the, in the, the very bad I can't ride with you and with you. Well, I feel that's the perfect note to wrap up on. Thank you again, Angela, for sharing all your, just beautiful experience, your wisdom and yeah.

I'm looking forward to the journey as it continues. Thank you for listening. That's very nice. Thank you. Yeah. Wonderful. Okay. So let me stop.

 

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