Lois Fein

 

THE PHOENIX: A Weekend with Songwriter David Wilcox


"The Phoenix"

by Lois Fein

It was July-Fourth weekend, and I arrived in the rain.  I came to the Omega Institute for a songwriting workshop.  It was there that I met the man who triggered one of my most profound personal experiences. His name is David Wilcox.  We arrived late in the evening and gathered together, the forty of us, in a circular wooden room with the screened windows.  As we sat on pillows in a circle, we could hear the warm summer rain outside. 

“It’s the simplest thing of all,” said David as he rose from his pillow, “It’s the imagining.” (Someone had asked David how he maintains such a high level of concentration when he performs.)  “It’s childish,” he said. “I saw it happen today and it really surprised me.  I was all alone on this basketball court at Omega, and I imagined that I was at the final game of the NBA playoffs.  The score was tied and all of a sudden a man got on the loudspeaker and asked the person holding ticket stub #55109 to please come forward to take the last, winning foul shot.  And as I looked down at my ticket, I saw that I had the winning number.” The forty of us laughed, and for a moment we drowned out the sound of the rain.

“So, there I was at the foul line,” said David, recreating the scene, and he bounced his imaginary basketball.  He rocked in place back and forth and bounced the ball again.  He looked up, his eye focused on only one place – the imaginary net in our high-beamed, circular room. 

“Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave,” our voices grew, and then – he released the ball.  We watched as it sailed through the air.

“Now what have I done here?” David asked, breaking the spell.  “I’ve given this shot – in the middle of nowhere, where no one is watching and it doesn’t matter – I’ve given this shot significance and by its imagined significance, I’ve concentrated, con-cen-trated,” he said as he motioned with cupped hands as if gathering up a clump of clay.  “And now, this is the moment.  It’s not just one foul shot.  This is it. Now. Whoo – Swish,” and he laughed, like a child, enraptured by his words, as was I.

“This is the moment,” I said to myself.  “This is the moment,” and I repeated the phrase over and over again like it was some kind of mantra, “This is the moment,” as if it were some kind of key.  And in this moment I experienced what one might call an awakening. 

I thought to myself, “If I live this moment, then I will have no fear, no pain from the past, no anxiety over the future.  If I live this moment, then I can experience the ‘rapture of being alive,’ as Joseph Campbell puts it.  If I live this moment, then I can feel what it feels like to have the Spirit enter my body and move me, and in my stillness I can see and enjoy the Spirit as it moves through others.  If I live this moment, then I will be in sync with the One.”  This was my moment of knowing.

Eight months later, it seems that very little has changed on the outside.  I’m still five-ten.  I still love to wear raggedy jeans, and I still only comb my hair once a day.  But, I know there is something different.  I can feel it. 

Now, I simply stand in awe of the mystery, in awe of the Spirit, and when I am quiet enough – inside – I can feel it moving through me as I go about doing the most ordinary of things.