What is it that pierces our understanding of the world and opens new horizons, especially those we are resistant to yet which mean greater freedom and ability?

Have you ever thought you could not do something and when someone insisted you could, you refused to believe? Then, they showed you beyond a doubt that you were capable and you were changed forever?

I am not a musician. Not to this day. Yet, many years ago I attended a workshop by the cellist, David Darling, in New York City entitled, Adventures in Improvisation.  It was advertised as requiring no experience, and was open to beginners and advanced practitioners alike.

Incredulous, yet desirous, I enrolled and soon found myself in a room with some 50 others. Sure enough there were people like myself, who had no musical confidence to speak of. And others were there who were accomplished, from classically trained to professional entertainers. As a group we were introduced to two important principles:

  1. No wrong notes. Every sound in the universe lives with all the others.
  2. Silence is your friend. You are always playing a duet with the silence around you.

I was enthusiastic, but still an unbeliever. David Darling cured that. We started with simple exercises that anyone could do, playing with sound and feeling. And inside of three hours we were creating beautiful ensemble pieces that seamlessly integrated the well-trained among us with the complete novices like myself. I experienced it. It was undeniable. My sense of what is possible was forever stretched to include my own musical performance.

So, how can this be applied to greater hurdles in life?

For example, wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same thing for advancing girls’ and women’s equity? What is that stops people from treating girls and women equitably? Look at the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is likely to be put before Congress this week. Now is the time to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that women deserve equal pay and to sign it into legislation. Yet, unbelievably, since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, there is still a gap between what women earn and what men earn for the same work.

If you would like to be the David Darling the USA needs right now, and demonstrate to all that women deserve equal pay for equal work, be a 2-minute acitivist by visiting this website and letting your congress-people know how you feel. Join me, and help our country treat women equitably once and for all.

I don’t see why it should be remarkable that you can acquire a reputation for fairness and decency.

– Michael Paiin