Lee's Story - Part 5

Somewhere around the end of June 2015, Heather came home with a book she said I might like to read called Every Word Has Power by Yvonne Oswald .  The premise of the book is that every word we speak has either positive or negative influence over us, and that, by learning to speak positive words, we can positively shape our lives and our future. 

In chapter four, Oswald relates a story where she was attempting to sell a house.  After many months of no buyers, she decided to sit down and come up with a "sell-by" date.  She picked a date and began to envision herself selling the house on the given date.  What's more, she envisioned selling the house for more than her asking price. She wrote the date on a calendar and began speaking the sell date out loud and picturing the act of selling it in her mind.  Well, lo and behold, on the date she picked, a man walked into her house and offered her cash for more than the asking price of the home!

Yvonne then challenges the reader to do a similar exercise.  I thought, "OK, what do I have to lose?  This sounds a little kooky to me, but I'll do the experiment."  So, grabbed the first thought in my mind: "I'm going to have someone offer me a license for my music on July 27, 2015 for $200,000."  She said to be big but realistic, and I thought receiving a music license would be big but realistic for me (I really wasn't sure about the $200k, but that was the number in my head, so I went with it).

I wrote it on a calendar, and I told Heather, my kids, and my brother (I wasn't dare going to tell anyone else!) about my declaration. Then, for the next 3 or so weeks, I began to envision myself receiving a license for my music on July 27.  I began to say it out loud as I drove to and from work.  I even sent myself emails declaring it.

July 27 came and went, and nothing happened.  Surprisingly, I wasn't too disappointed.  I decided I would take whatever lesson I could from the experience…even if it was learning that this was all hogwash :).  But, then July 29th came, and my life has not been the same since.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 4

One Friday afternoon in February 2015 I was driving home from work in heavy traffic and rainy weather.  Normally I would have listened to a book or the radio, but on this particular day I had a sense that I needed silence. In the quiet, a strong feeling rose in me that it was time for me to quit my corporate job.  Even more, I felt I was not to look for another corporate job. 

To me, this seemed like insanity!  How crazy is it to quit my job without having an income stream???  Yet, I couldn't escape the feeling, so I said, "God, if this is you, then you're going to have to tell Heather, and she has to bring it up!  I'm not going to bring this idea up to her because it will send her over the edge!!"

I arrived home and soon left the memory of my commute behind.  Heather and I had scheduled a date for the evening, so we got the kids squared away and headed out the door.  As we were driving to our destination, I asked her how her day had gone. 

She had gone to Summit Church for a Sozo healing prayer session that afternoon and began sharing some of the highlights of her session:

During prayer, she saw an image of a large ocean liner or battleship tied to a dock with heavy ropes. In her vision, the ship represented her and the ropes were things tying her to a "safe life" near the shore.  But a life lived near the shore, tethered by ropes, is not what the ocean liner/battleship is created for.   Moreover, she had the impression in the vision that it was time to untether the lines and go out to the open seas!  

As she was telling me this, I was debating in my head whether or not to tell her about my "conversation" with God during my commute home -- about us "untethering" the lines as she was putting it.  Not wanting to read too much into her words, I decided to wait a bit.  She continued to give me more details about her vision and feelings, and it soon became clear to me that we were on the same wavelength.  I then told her about my conversation with God that afternoon.  It was at this point that I really began to consider that God had indeed spoken to me in my afternoon commute.

Yet, was I really to quit my job??? We were scared and uncertain, so I continued to work the corporate gig…for the time being.  The convincing push to get me to quit was an even bigger move still.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 3

Read Part 2

By early 2014 I was playing my trombone again regularly, and I was starting to compose for band and orchestra again.  I began playing with the Mansfield Wind Symphony, where I continue to play today as well as serve on the board of directors.  (I have to put in a plug for the Mansfield Wind Symphony here.  We are an outstanding community band committed to growing music and the arts in the Mansfield, Texas area.) That feeling of truly belonging in music as a composer as well as a player that had started in 2013 was more fully flourishing now. 

In February 2014 I found out about a composition contest put on by Hans Zimmer, the famous movie music composer (Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, and many others).  At first, I wasn't going to enter the contest.  Though it sounded cool (the winners would get to go to Hollywood to study with Zimmer), I felt like I didn't have time to put together a decent composition in time for the deadline. 

I was working 60+ hours a week on an IT project, and I was trying to maintain connection with my family at home.  Yet, something kept telling me I needed to enter the contest. 

The night before the composition was due, I finished a work project around 10:00 pm.  I was tired and ready for bed.  But, my son Josh had expressed interest in playing a guitar solo if I composed something, and I was having this nagging feeling that I needed to enter the contest no matter how good the quality was.

I decided to go for it.  I stayed up all night and wrote a piece of music to enter in the competition (you can hear it here: https://soundcloud.com/leeharbaugh/leeharbaugh-bleedingfingers-1 ).  Although I didn't expect to win, I had a sense that something was going to come out of the competition for me.  I even wrote about it in my journal (because the feelings really felt a little kooky at the time) in case anything did come of it.

The competition ended, and I didn't hear anything from anyone.  After a few months or so, I chalked my feelings up to wishful thinking on my part, and I put those notions away on a shelf.  Then, about a year later, other strange "feelings" began emerge.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 2

As I began to play my trombone more regularly in early 2013, I felt like I was being connected to something beyond me.  Each time I would play a Bach suite or a Rochut etude, it was as if my innermost being was being awakened.  As I mentioned in part 1, I had kept my piano chops fresh along the way, and while there is certainly a spiritual connection in the piano, there was something different about playing the trombone that I just couldn't put my finger on.

Later that year Heather and I began going to counseling for some family issues we were having.  In the course of counseling, some of my spiritual history began to emerge.  I learned that our counselor had a story very similar to mine (Christian -> agnostic -> Christian again).  As he and I began to talk one on one, he said something interesting to me, that in his 30+ years of experience he noticed when a person goes from being a Christian to an agnostic or atheist, there is usually a life event that corresponds to the questioning/doubting of the original beliefs.  As I began to ponder this, I realized that for me that life event was the point I had put down my horn.  Prior to that, the trombone had been an integral part of me.  When I laid the horn down, it was as if I laid a huge part of myself down.

Suddenly, things were starting to make sense for me.  The spiritual veil being lifted was my re-connecting with God/Creator.  What I still couldn't understand, though, was how I could really know who God is.  During my 17 years as an agnostic, I had pretty much jettisoned all my prior theology.  Now that I was starting to be open to the possibility that there might, in fact, be a divine being moving in me, I wasn't quite sure how to relate to him/her/it!

One thing that was clear was that I knew I was created to make music.  I began to realize that I had to reconnect with the trombone player and symphonic composer in me.  In hindsight, I believe this was God moving in me to show me how to relate to him.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 1

I'm going to begin this blog by telling you a little about myself (Lee). 

Until about 17 years ago, I was a very devout Christian who had been baptized at the age of 8 in a Southern Baptist church.  I even served as a youth pastor at a Vineyard church in the late 1990s.  17 years ago I began to seriously question the roots of my Christian faith.  In an effort to solidify my beliefs, I spent a couple of months holed up in a seminary library every day reading all I could about the history of Christianity.  At the end of this intensive study time, instead of solidifying my faith, I found myself wondering if there even was a God.

For the next 15 years or so, I read, studied, discussed, watched videos, etc. as much as I could in an effort to better understand Christianity, religion, and spirituality.  Yet, it seemed that the more I dug, the more I became convinced it just wasn't possible to know if a divine being of any kind really existed and that Christianity was nothing more than a well-intentioned device to help people feel better about themselves.

Before I continue, I must provide a little more of my background.  I grew up as a musician.  I am a composer, and I play the piano, trombone, and euphonium.  I was a trombone major in college, and consequently, the horn played a vital role in my life well into my 20s (during my Christian phase). During this 17 year period of searching, however, I pretty much set aside my trombone due to the demands of family and work (I began working in the IT field during this phase of my life). 

In early 2013, I was invited to play in a trombone choir as a tribute to my college trombone professor.  As I began to pick up the horn and play again, something magical occurred -- something which didn't quite occur the same way when I play the piano, which I did continue to do during this 17 year period.

At the time, I didn't quite understand it, but it was as if a spiritual veil was being lifted before my eyes.  There was a connection that I suddenly felt that I could not explain.

Stay tuned….