“Forgive/Embrace” first emerged out of studies of Toumani Diabate‘s hypnotic solo kora music. While I was trying to adapt some of his music to the vibraphone, I did some free playing and the initial groove/pattern (the intro) for this piece came about. I started to add a melody, and the piece took a different direction. That’s where the title comes in. 

Forgiveness. It seems easy. Say something is forgiven, and the problem is solved. But it’s difficult to forgive what you don’t want to accept. For me, that’s often meant accepting things I don’t like about myself. I feel like a relatively well-adjusted person. But when I’ve really looked at it and been completely honest, being kind to myself has not always come easily. 

That’s what started coming up in writing this piece of music. I felt that inner pain coming out through the melody. But I also felt a sense of acceptance. Working through the inner conflict, mending and healing.

One life lesson that has been coming through for me over the past few years, especially from meditating, is that deep down, the mind does not make a distinction between your treatment of another person and your treatment of yourself. You may feel love, hate, indifference, or something else toward another person. But the object of those emotions does not matter – you live within those emotions when you feel them, no matter who they are directed towards. Ultimately, our outward treatment of others is also directed inward, no matter how much we don’t want it to be.

Therefore true love begins within. And what is blocking that love, also begins inside first. But if we accept things as they are and forgive ourselves, we can clear the way for love to come through. You can more fully love others if you truly and fully embrace yourself. 

It’s in the end of this piece, when the music broadens and shifts into a different tonality, that I imagine this embrace happening. Warm, strong, also tender and full of love. I am wishing you this inner embrace. Especially in times of darkness and strife, like the time we are in now, it can be difficult to be kind to yourself. But it’s now that we need it most. 

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