My weekend with Clare Bowditch

cb and me
CB and me

I love Clare Bowditch!

She’s been on my radar for a long time as a singer/songwriter but was only recently brought into the cross-hairs of my attention when my dear friend, Isabella, forwarded me a link to Clare’s Big Hearted Business with a note saying she thought I might be interested. She was right! With a byline like “Do what you love, make money, save the world!” what’s not to like?!

Isabella’s email sent me off down a Clare Bowditch rabbit hole where I discovered a gorgeous world filled with music, creativity and inspiration. Everything I read and heard resonated with me like some kind of insight in to my own life or a future projection of it. Take for example her latest album: The Winter I Chose Happiness – I mean please, if my life was a book, that might just be the title of the current chapter! Suffice it to say, I got the album and devoured it! I mentioned in my last post that her song “One Little River” has become quite anthemic for me. I gorged myself on it with repeated plays until I was almost sick of it and yet I couldn’t stop listening. I eventually heard the next track but I’ll get to that…

As my extraordinary luck would have it, this all came just in time for me to climb aboard the Clare Bowditch bandwagon by snapping up a ticket to her Winter Secrets gig. Now in it’s fifth year, the show is something of an institution where, each year, Clare shares her stage and spotlight with a different collaborator – this year it was the super talented Spender. She also invites musicians in each state to audition to join her on stage to perform a cover of ‘One Little River’ – how amazingly giving and gracious is that?!

The more I read about the gig, the more it amplified that ‘why the hell haven’t I known about this before???’ feeling and the pang of regret at having missed out. Luckily, that was offset by the relief of now being inducted and recognition of the fact that I wouldn’t have necessarily been receptive until now, in this winter where I’m doing my darndest to chose happiness!

And what a happy night it was… and moving and inspiring and hilarious! Clare had us all in fits of laughter between songs. She also had me in tears with the poignancy and potency of her lyrics that seem to strike every chord I have. There were sing-alongs, poetry, dance lessons and a talented teapot named Frank.  It was like no gig I’ve been to before but I know I’ll be going back for more in the years to come.

The weekend didn’t end there though. Back when Isabella sent me the link to Big Hearted Business, I did two things: 1. Made future arrangements for an overdue catch up with Isabella; and 2. Signed up to the BHB mailing list. Several weeks later, I got an email from BHB announcing the Clare was hosting a morning tea on the exact date and at the exact time that I had prearranged to meet Isabella! Well now, that was just too portentous to ignore! I emailed Isabella immediately and she replied saying she’d bought us tickets.

The morning tea, a first for BHB, started with a plate of oranges being passed around the room. Clare explained that it had long been her vision to host a morning tea where she served tea and oranges in reference to the Leonard Cohen song Suzanne – only in her original vision, she thought it might be twelve people and yet here we were, 100 or so smiling faces filling up a sunny room in Glebe Town Hall.

I should say that the stated mission for BHB is to teach creative people about business and business people about creativity – the room was clearly dominated by ‘creative, sensitive types’ and over the course of a couple of hours, Clare shared with us her wit and wisdom regarding turning our passions into profit in a truly big hearted way.

At half-time (more oranges please!), she picked up her guitar and played us a stirring acoustic version of the track on her album that I alluded to earlier, the one following ‘One Little River’, the one that stopped me in my tracks when I first heard it and made me want to shout “YES! You get it! That’s what I want!” It’s called “Amazing Life” and talks (or rather, sings) about longing for a life full of diverse pursuits and fulfilled potential. Again, it got right to the heart of where my life now stands – poised at the point of wanting to create a life less ordinary by pursuing my dreams in a way that somehow makes a positive contribution to the world. But where to begin? That’s exactly what Clare is aspiring to help we  “multi-passionates” do (I loved being referred to as a “multi-passionate” – it sounds as euphemistic as it is!)

At the end of Clare’s talk, we were divided into our respective disciplines – writers, dancers, musicians, fine artists etc. to swap stories whilst delicious bickies and delectable teas were served (I have to confess, my detox resolve got a crack in it. Luckily, there was a lovely double chocolate cookie on hand to stuff it with!). Clare worked her way around the room with such charisma and grace, making time for each and every person and being totally present with them before seamlessly moving on. When it came my turn, I just wanted to hug her… so I did with a heart made all the bigger for this magnificent weekend in her presence.

At the end of it all, I’m still not sure exactly which path to take or how best to walk it but I’m inspired anew to just keep walking my own path, knowing that the simple act of doing so is what will lead to an amazing life.  Thank you CB.

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