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  • Linda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #32


"When I was in my early twenties, I went with a date to a nightclub in New York. Appearing there were two talented young musicians, Daryl Hall and John Oates. Although we would later know them as Hall and Oates, at that time they were known but not that well known, and their music had the fabulous impact of fresh beginnings and new sounds.

"Something happened to me that night. I had been to many concerts before, but I had never experienced as I did then the transcendent way a musician can bring an entire room into a single heartbeat. I remember thinking, 'They're priests; that's what they really are. They're priests.' They weren't taking me on a magic carpet ride to music. Music was the magic carpet on which they were taking me somewhere else in the land and sky inside ourselves. It's the purpose of our lives to find that place and stay in it.

"After that, I grew more in love with music and live performance but, most important, I became enthralled with the idea that a human being could create a space, through music or anything else, where people's hearts are harmonized and lifted up. I knew that was what music did, and literature and philosophy and all art. What fascinated me was not just the role of art but the role of the artist, not just philosophy but the role of the philosopher. What gave a person the magician's wand, that he could wield such awesome power and transport whole groups of people to an enchanted land?

"And that's what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to take people higher, the way artists did, and philosophers. I fell in love with the thought that a human life could be a priestly conduit, a connecting link between earth and sky. It didn't matter, then, whether we were artists, philosophers, teachers, or rabbis. What mattered was that we laid down our ego lives, that we might be used as some sort of highway to a life that lay beyond all this. And as I grew and as I stumbled and, most important, as I began to love and be loved, I realized that the ultimate priest is the lover inside us, and the ultimate priesthood is the role of friend and loved one.

"... In the priestly role, we hold a space within us for the splendor of life and the splendor of people. And then, when we are present, the people around us can see more clearly what is possible for them and possible for all of us. We become miracle workers and healers as we take on the mantle of a serious humanness."

-Marianne Williamson, A Woman's Worth (1993), pp. 128-129) "The Tresco Children" sculpture by David Wynne, at Tresco Abbey Gardens, in the Isles of Scilly, England. Photograph by Page Morahan, https://www.pagespagesgallery.com/

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