I was in Chicago last week for an intensive, but really educational, training course. To let off steam, we went out at night, putting back a few cocktails and checking out the local sights. As this was Chicago, we HAD to make our way to at least one blues club. Luckily for us, there was a native Chicagoan in the group who took us to a great club, Blue Chicago. We stood a foot away from a terrific blues band and listened to wonderful music.
What struck me most about the whole experience was that while the singer didn’t have the best voice, she had amazing soul. I know this isn’t a big insight. If any of you are blues fans, you know that the band is only as good as the soul that’s expressed.
But this experience reaffirmed a bigger notion. As I’ve written before (What’s Behind the Pleasure of Beauty), we are beautiful not just because of the symmetry of our faces or the strength of our bodies but also because of our essences. In other words, because of our souls. I don’t mean anything spiritual or religious here. I’m referring to that inner energy, vibe, character and passion that we all have and sometimes have to temper or hide. This singer’s music was beautiful because she expressed her full, honest and individual essence — her soul — in her singing. I don’t mean to be repeating the “inner beauty” mantra we all hear, i.e., you’re beautiful because you’re kind, and warm, etc. Of course I’m down with that! What I’m referring to here is our unique, deeply seeded and fully revealing personalities, passions and stories. If we all felt relaxed enough, safe enough and confident enough to let that part of ourselves fully shine through, I couldn’t even imagine how beautiful our world would be!