Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leaving these fields for India

I thought about re-posting my support letter for the sake of time until I realized that I would be defeating the true purpose of this blog (and only at the second post!): to serve as the deciphering and interworkings of my thought process throughout this journey towards faith in what I cannot see.

So...speaking of leaving these "narcotic fields," I will be leaving for Manali, India, on April 8 and returning on the 20th. I thought I would address the background of this whole shindig a little bit:

Last fall, upon returning from a summer of teaching music in Pennsylvania, I began seriously considering the idea of putting money back to spend a month in India. My daydreaming consisted of living and working alongside of two dear missionary friends already stationed there and spending a considerable amount of time studying the native music of that region. I have always wanted to study ethnomusicology, either independently or through a graduate program, so the idea of visiting friends, leaving the country, and embarking on my first ethnomusicological endeavor seemed like the perfect plan.

It was around this time, of course, that my heart began to direct itself (or be directed, however you see it) elsewhere: towards living in a city again and the higher likelihood of having music-related opportunities that didn't include being a music minister or a music teacher in a public school system (no offense, non-cities). Of course, the opportunities started showing up unexpectedly and I didn't feel that it would be the wisest decision to ignore them. So, as you've probably guessed, I put India on hold to move to a city and pursue music.

Fast forward to a month (ish) ago. I get a call from my good friend, Justin Brock, asking me if I want to join a team of people headed to Manali for the month of April. My first response? "What's the cost?" When I was given the answer, I immediately shut the trip out of my mind. There was no way I could come up with that money while transitioning out of a decent-paying job to a much lesser-paying music teaching job. In addition, I was content keeping India in the backseat for a while longer if it meant I would be pursuing what I loved.

Sometimes you get the feeling that you should be somewhere doing something. It could be completely random, so completely left field, so far from good rationale. But the idea just grows and grows and becomes completely unignorable. I tried to shake it, I really did. But it didn't take very long for me to realize that this was a place and a time that I needed to be a part of for whatever unknown reason. I always find it amusing when you leave an idea or dream behind, find contentment without it, and it still finds its' way back to you when you least expect it. I mean, not only will I be working alongside of those same missionary friends, but I will also be given opportunity to teach and assist in music projects in the orphanages and schools there.

So here I am. Gearing up to go to Manali, India, in a couple of weeks. And I am ready for whatever is unknown to me now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Narcotics and fields?

“There is much to enjoy in their lazy company, in these long Sunday afternoons spent at brunch, drinking champagne and talking about nothing. Still, when I am around this scene, I feel somewhat like Dorothy in the poppy fields of Oz. “Be careful! Don’t fall asleep in this narcotic meadow, or you could doze away the rest of your life here!” –Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love)

I am only recently leaving the life of a small town. There are many aspects of small town life that are absolutely breathtaking; aspects I wouldn’t trade for the stereo-typed coldness of a city crowd any day. There is also a certain stagnancy I felt come on as strong as a midwest tornado – the storm of complacency that raged so heavily inside of me that I nearly missed my escape back to the reality of who Erin Dalton, at this moment in time, really is: needing to be on the move and not in the mood for stagnant complacency. Now the need for clarification comes once again: complacency is not bred by living in a small town. I have seen beautiful, monumental movements and actions in small towns. It is all dependent on where you are at the time and how wisely you are using the time spent there. At the time, I was feeling a very strong urge to live in a city again and I felt that I would better thrive in an area where there would be more of an arts-focused crowd. (Though not impossible, I have found that this rarely, unfortunately, happens in small southeastern U.S. towns.)

As all of this was coming to grips in my mind, I had the opportunity to move to Charlotte. This was certainly not the first city on my list of places to move to, but I was not about to pass up cheap rent and good housemates in a city. Not to mention the higher probability of opportunities in the arts (which I have been hugely blessed with since moving!).

"Narcotic fields," in my case at this point in time, have little to do with leaving for the sake of leaving. I have had my fair share of antsy moments - feeling the wanderlusting urge to pack my life belongings and move to another part of the country or world. These "fields" are much more related to the stagnancy that I let myself fall to when I feel like I am lacking the courage to pursue what I was created to be.

I created this blog to document my journey away from the stone walls created by remaining always in narcotic fields; to serve as a reminder that I am not created for stagnancy, but to live and breathe and move as a child who is created for a purpose.