It was a day for me to step out of my box and do things that are not in my routine. Yesterday, I taught a bellydance workshop at a local dance studio. Afterwards, I made a guest appearance with Deep Fried Funk at Ginger Bay Cafe which was literally moments away from the studio. Life was quite interesting.
It was a good feeling to create a space for women to come and share the dance with each other. My facilitation led to thoughts and application to daily life. Women discovered things that were lacking in their lives and made steps to change. Smiles glowed across the room as each woman was given a chance to own the stage in her own way. I look forward to doing this again in the near future.
Upon arrival in the cafe, I flashed the drummer a wicked smile. We met years ago when I presented myself for a spoken word night at Bed on South Beach. We have worked together ever since. He smiled back and motioned for the sound engineer. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, we have a harpist..”. “A WHAT?!”. Laughter filled the air as the words slowly sunk in. After a discussion with the pianist, Misty & All of Me (John Legend) opened the night. There is no feeling in the world that can match performing in an ensemble. Nothing comes close. The listening and blending make for an uplifting experience.
As a glass of wine met my hand, thoughts of the day flashed through my mind. My CDS were ready to be sold. The workshop went well. The performance was fun. All of this made me feel as if I had many things to offer which brought a smile to my face. It felt good to be creative and in service all at the same time.
It was the night before my cousin was due to fly home to England. She had come to the U.S. to visit my mother, and had spent a good three weeks of fun and merriment. My mother called to ask what time I was stopping by to say good bye. Before we knew it, we had planned a farewell gathering. Since I am always interested in entertainment, I suggested that I hire a spoken word poet. There was a particular word artist that I had in mind. It had been a long time since I had first watched her work in a poetry house. She made a life long fan that evening with her poem about a particular work experience.
After contacting her, she informed me that she was available to perform much to my delight. She entered my family home and made everyone smile. Her poetry told stories of healing and domestic violence. Her faith in Christ was evident as was her incredible stage presence. My mother demanded an encore presentation and she graciously bestowed us with one more piece. The guests had several questions for her regarding her career, and everyone hugged her before she left.
When you make a connection with an artist of any genre, there is a magical spark that takes place. I told her that the first time that I watched her perform, she made me feel as if she was reading the pages of my journal aloud, and that I was the only person in the room. In reality, she was talking about one of her experiences in a very public forum. Imagine how her sharing such a tale made the world a smaller place. Her awesome stage presence commands a stage and brings the audience just a bit closer to her words. I was so very happy to be able to share something so special with my family and friends.
Thanksgiving found me with a five hour performance at a familiar haunt. The opening of this holiday season would prove significant for me in that it would gauge the rest of the season. A first time happening popped its beautiful head in that I was also booked for the day after the dry bird for the first time ever. I wondered if there would be sadness over the missing presence of my father during this time. Fortunately, the sadness never came. Why, I found myself quite happy and rejoicing.
I think what helps me a great deal is that I do not think of my father in the past tense. My relationship with him continues. As sleep came after a terrible headache caused by a lack of meat, Daddy paid me a visit in a dream. He was happy as could be. I saw him in his home at the end of the hallway with a big smile on his face. It seems as if he was pleased with how I was caring for my mother and he encouraged me to continue along my way. My eyes opened the next day with great joy as the packing for the bris began.
My bed was consuming me for a while as the time crept closer towards my performing in West Palm Beach. When the phone rang, I saw that it was my brother. He informed me that our mother had been rushed to Baptist Hospital. I knew that I was going to have to go there whether or not I could still make the wedding. In a complete teary flurry, I dressed and loaded for the performance. As I breathed, I took control of the task at hand. Baptist was at least 30 minutes south of me and it was now my job to get there in one piece. As my Element took the 826, my friends began to pray.
My brother was there in her room. He stood so very tall in his six feet with his large gray shirt. He was in Weston on his way to work when he had to turn around for Kendall. Our father was asleep with sciatic pain. As the doctor spoke to my mother, I took the opportunity to paint my face. I greeted my concerned father. When my mother saw me, she voiced her happiness over my appearance. She felt very lucky to have her entire family around her. The little room was cramped with love. Friends and live prayer soon streamed in to round us out.
The traffic from Baptist Hospital to West Palm Beach was fair. I arrived in no time and was able to complete the entire performance with little distraction. My mind was more at ease after seeing my mother. Apparently, she passed out in front of her home and her friend dialed 911. Because the attending doctor does not know the cause of the problem, he has asked her to stay in observation over night as a precaution.
After the wedding, I went home to refresh myself and have a meal. I figured that there was no sense in me spreading myself thin with worry. It would only upset my mother and possibly compromise my already troubled system. As I greeted my mother for the second time today, she was overcome with surprise. She did not expect to see me after my performance. I stayed with her as long as I could before escaping the hospital grounds in search of slumber.
Somehow I managed to end up in the prayer garden. There was a fountain in front of lovely benches. The chapel windows had stain glass windows that shined in the light. The hour was late and yet I still found myself stealing some moments on the benches in front of the fountain. I imagined angels surrounding me there with encouragement and light.
My Sunday was scheduled to be a busy one. It has been cleared of all responsibilities. It is important for me to take some time to understand this moment for everything that is has brought to me. People of various faiths prayed for me and my mother today. My family came together to uplift our mother. Friends from near and far came to stand beside their beloved sister. There is power in love and unity. I want to take the time to understand all of these things.
It was a bright and sunny Christmas morning. My performance was inside of a country club in West Palm Beach. Since it was for five hours, there were many breaks to take. Upon returning from my second break, a mother brought her young daughter to meet me. She informed me that when I left for my break, problems began at her table. Apparently, the little girl was enjoying the sounds of the harp and wanted to know when I was returning. She was so insistent that the mother thought it would be best both of them came by the stage to say hello. I greeted my new friend and thanked her for her support. When her mother asked her if she was ready to leave, she shook her head no.
During another occurrence at that very same country club, I was dressed in a purplish dress with flowers. As I performed on stage, a little girl in the same color walked up to the stage and parked herself. She remained in front of me for a very long time. She simply listened to the music. She seemed entranced in the middle of the hustle and bustle of all of the waiters and people swarming around the gigantic food displays. The chefs noticed the interaction and mentioned that a photographer should have been present.
I used to feel terribly lonely during the holidays because I would be away from family and friends performing in far away places. It came with the territory of being a musician, and I dealt with it the best that I could. During one of those holidays, a little girl brought me a picture that she had drawn of me during brunch with her family. There I was sitting at the harp with the words, you play like an angel. Since she bestowed such an honor on me, I have not felt lonely during holiday performances.
He smiled at me and asked for a business card. This particular Sunday afternoon found me performing at a holistic conference in Fort Lauderdale. He contacted me a few days later only to find me in the middle of a dress fiasco. The dress looked horrible and the sales lady had to comfort me because my face had crumbled to the ground. A large gasp was covered by my hand. She felt my pain and rushed to my side, “Oh sweetie its not supposed to hurt that much…” . The phone rang in the middle of the comfort session, and I heard a male voice on the other end. It was bad timing on my part but perhaps a distraction was needed given the fashion disaster and all. (A late night picture text to a friend brought about the words: BURN IT).
We started talking about this and that. It did not take him long to chime that he wanted to talk to me about performing at his best friend’s wedding for free. Allow the word to settle. Do you feel the length of that pause? That was my reaction as well. He went on to say, completely oblivious to the pause, that he did not know what my financial situation was like but that he did not have a lot of money. (Regardless of my financial situation, it certainly was not about to improve by talking to him!). He did not know anything about the particulars of the friend’s wedding, his best friend’s wedding, but was sure that I could work something out with him because he was a producer….as if I was looking. The next line that he threw at me is now an infamous classic: “These are very spiritual people and if you are able to do this, you will see how things will manifest in your life”……hold that thought.
A few weeks prior to this joke of an individual contacting me, I my proclaimed admiration for one of my mother’s social groups at her church. It gave me such an invigorating feeling to know that these retired ladies would get together once a month in their place of worship just to enjoy the company of each other. I wanted to perform for these wonderful women that were showing me that there is life after retirement. They welcomed me with open arms and were so very appreciative of my efforts. Do you know that I now have a regular client because of this performance? She saw me there and asked for my card. This is called beauty.
Let us now return to the djembe individual. It should be noted that he is actually a Bob Marley looking musician that happens to play Latin drums. Any product or service that is remotely close to the word spiritual comes with a hefty price tag. Have you tried purchasing a crystal? Perhaps you have visited a metaphysical store. Did your mouth drop wide open? Yes, I know. Try getting a cleansing or a reading. You won’t be able to do so without some serious cash. When he said that infamous line to me, these are the things that went through my mind. You are probably wondering why the conversation went as far as it did. Remember, he caught me in the middle of a dress fiasco. In order to avoid future pointless conversations, I texted him prior to my paid performance that I was unable to grace his friend’s (wait…his best friend’s wedding he knew nothing about), event.
by Crystal Sawyer (Notes) on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 7:59pm
October 3, 2011
I went to Walgreens one day to have some pictures enlarged. The Walgreens guy assisted me. We got to talking, and I told him that I was a musician. This seemed to be of great interest to him. He mentioned that a PR Firm, which also employed him…as what I have no idea…was having a grand opening in Pembroke Pines. He said that within his community there was only the same man that always did all of the special events. I could come and perform for 1.5hrs and then he, the gracious Walgreens Guy, would introduce me and then I could be the one to perform at all of the special events. I smiled and said, “Ok, may I have an email address where I can send a pricelist?” He firmly responded if I understood what he was getting ready to do for me. I firmly responded yes, and if he understood how many times someone has duped me in such a grand offer before. Obviously, I had no intentions of working without proper compensation. He realized this after he called to confirm my performance, and I made it extremely clear that I was not going out of my way to perform for free. Mr. Walgreens Guy had two jobs and thought that I would work for free….what was Mr. Walgreens Guy smoking? I do not really go to Walgreens anymore…but when I do, I see Mr. Walgreens guy and shake my head.
Friday, July 9, 2010 at 10:18pm ·
There I was again. Alone in a quiet solace. My stage was gone, and my life had encircled me yet again. Darkness set in, and my thoughts beat loudly in my head. The beat pressed for more until a picture painted itself in front of me. My heart longed for you…hold me in your arms and allow the light of your heart to radiate my entire being was said barely above a whisper. As my eyes fell to the floor, my heart fixated on its obsession, its reason for beating. The love erupted from me and I began to strum. Pluck their sadness into the universe until it vanishes. You have the power, you have the art…turn the vision into a reality. Be the dream sweet goddess. Be the dream…heal the world. Spread the light. Connect with the universe.