Lighting a Candle

We were sitting in a parking lot, of all places, blissfully unaware of the magic that was about to happen. It was the Blues Festival that was being held in Orillia and the first time we had the pleasure of listening to Shakura S’Aida. Wow. She blew our socks off! I remember Robb and I both thinking, “I can’t believe we’re listening to this magnificent voice in a parking lot!” For sure we thought this would end up being one of those “remember when?” stories. As it turns out, it certainly was – and is – a “remember when” story as she has since gone on to be nominated countless times for Juno and Maples Blues awards.

What I remember so distinctly about the “Shakura in the parking lot” concert, was the remarkable support she had around her. Everyone was wanting her to shine, and there was one in particular who not only made it happen, but who seemed to bask in her incredible performance. That person is Orillia local Lance Anderson, a gifted musician and producer. Another performance Robb and I both absolutely loved was Lance’s “The Last Waltz” production that we saw at the Orillia Opera House. What I remember most was that each featured musician seemed to build on the stunning performance that preceded them. There was a magical momentum of collective talent, enthusiasm and generosity of spirit. I recall watching Lance and seeing the unbridled joy as each musician knocked it out of the park. It takes a special sort of person to bring people together in a manner that not only encourages them to shine, but absolutely delights in it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this very kind trait and people who genuinely seek to bring out the good, to nurture it and to celebrate it. In a world that often views others as competition vs collaboration, I find this approach so refreshing and inspiring. People like Lance reject the notion that happiness, success, and joy are scarce and limited resources. Acts of kindness and support like this remind me of one of Ghandi’s quotes:

“A thousand candles can be lighted from the flame of one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness can be spread without diminishing that of yourself.”
May we all be inspired to bring out and celebrate the goodness in others. Even better, may we help show them their greatness, perhaps a greatness that they didn’t know exists. As one of my yoga teachers used to say, “When one of us shines, we all shine.”
Warmest regards,