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Out of Our Minds
Friday, June 16, 2006 1:00 PM
Stink And Be Free
Kate Yandoh on Life

What could karaoke possibly teach you about living a more fulfilling life?  One hint: it has nothing to do with perfect pitch.

Most of us have a long list of things we’d like to try someday.  Maybe it’s windsurfing, writing a poem, or taking up the musical instrument we wish we’d played in the high school band.  Why aren’t we doing it?  Of course, there’s the proverbial  “I’m too busy,” but I think the real reason is a little closer to the stage than the time clock:  we hesitate because we hate to do things badly.  To really, really stink.  To be an absolute beginner, in public, where people can see and snicker.  

What happens when you just stop caring?  Probably fun, and possibly magic. I get a little annoyed when a really, good singer takes the mic on karaoke night.  If you’re that good, go sing in a band, or audition for something.  Karaoke is not the place for trained perfection. It’s for bad, bold, and spirited.  It’s where the best performances come from people who miss more notes than they hit, but are so into their song and suprised at their own performance that they leave the crowd cheering. They’ve taken a leap and embraced the words of Rumi, recently quoted to me by a very famous fellow who will be appearing in our next issue: “I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think.”

The freedom to be bad can open up a world of possibilities.  I’ve seen it myself in pursuit of two of my favorite (and definitely newer) hobbies, dancing and surfing.  While I’ve felt the frustration that comes from wanting to be Excellent At Everything, but I’ve gotten a lot more or a rush from the times when I stopped trying, completely went for it, and, oddly enough, for at least a moment, ended up being not bad at all.

1 comment

Janet Auty-Carlisle - 6/16/2006 4:45:33 PM
Hey, I did this very thing at a workshop I did on Wednesday night. When we were in training as coaches we had to do something called a "Breathless Act." Something so scary it took your breath away. You had to be in class the next day and do what you said you would do. Some people did things like wearing red cause they never did, others looked people in the eye and shook their hands...sounds simple and it wasn't for them. Me? I blurted out that I would play my guitar and sing a song. A lofty goal given I had just begun learning the guitar a few months earlier. Well, I did it...and nobody walked out. thankfully. I actually made a couple of mistakes and started again. So, this past Wednesday I was talking about things that have been in my way and how to tackle them. One was through committment. Once I had blurted out in that class that I would play I was committed. Same thing on Wed. night. I told them I would sing and play and I did....scared as I was. Again, nobody walked out. I'm not great, I'm not awful. But that's ok with me cause I keep trying. Happy surfing. Another goal of mine once I get near enough to an ocean! Living la vida fearless, Jan


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