What does it mean to change the world? I am asking myself this, sitting in a cafe in Berlin, one of the greatest focal points of change in the 20th Century.
Berlin, in contrast with the richly historical and tradition-steeped Vienna I am leaving, readily accepts change. There are funky neighborhoods to explore with cafes full of antiques and modern art, and entire streets where store signs are written in Arabic, Persian or Turkish. Faces of countless colors smile and speak German and other beautiful languages. Berlin is open and free. People are happy, even when the sky is cloudy and grey, like today.
Why is that?
There is something about accepting and embracing the darkest parts of our human nature with all of our brokenness and shame which allows for freedom and joy. There is something beautiful about a heart that has been through a sieve of hatred, horror, shame, and disbelief-turned-to-acknowledgment. That something is the glue that holds the pieces of our hearts together after they were forced to break in a million tiny pieces. This glue is Love and it shines with all the brightness of a brilliant, toothy smile.
While in High School in Oregon, I learned about World War II. I learned about Hitler and the concentration camps and the Nazis. It was America against evil, and America saved the world.
An interesting shadow hung over all of this learning as I knew by this point that Fromherz was a German name, and that my great grandfather came over to America from Konstanz, Germany as recently as 1917. It became very real that I am very close to the German people and tied to this country right down to the blood that runs in my veins.
It is not by chance that the greatest process of change in my life, what I like to think of as my final 'birthing from the heart of the Universe' as a singer and as a person, is happening to a great extent HERE.
All of the road signs on this path, I find, have to do with reaching what I could call a 'tipping point' ...a transition from being trapped in guilt and shame to a place of love, energy, and positive thinking. It is a transition to realizing that life is created in the present moment, free from all past (no matter how grisly), and surrendered to the future.
The Berliners have been through evil and lived it in many forms (whether, in the case of my generation, through their parents and grandparents, or directly). Perhaps the curse of the atrocities that were committed against Jews, the disabled, and the 'different' survived for a while in the generations which followed the war. But despite the pain and the temptation to hold on to guilt generation after generation, the Berliners live and love NOW, creating beauty all around this city.
The point of rebirth in Europe is Berlin. I am convinced. And if this rebirth can happen in the face of the history of evil, it can happen for anyone, anywhere.
So, what does Berlin have to do with my process of being a singer? As I've stated in other words in other posts, the path to my voice is the same as the path to completion as a human being. It is an honor and a great Healing to be able to live in a place of such art.
Vienna showed me what it is I am seeking. Berlin, I have a feeling, will continue to show me where to find it. Stay tuned for more news on the Search... in particular I am excited to share some of my many realizations from my voice lessons with Master Jean-Ronald. They are revolutionary!
Mit Vollem Herz und einen Lächeln, (With a full heart and a smile,)