Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Most Important Container

While riding home the other evening I heard an interview with vocalist Norah Jones. She asserted that she would like to be able to sing with "a little more of an edge."  But whenever she sang something it came out sounding like Norah Jones - beautiful.

Upon hearing her say that, and while listening to a brief clip from her new CD, The Fall, I was struck again by the realization that we are our own container.  More surely than any website profile or YouTube posting, we are the molder of our expressions. 

Certainly we can hone our expressive skills - we do it all our lives.  Barring some tragic mishap, you will be a far better writer, singer, mathematician, engineer, painter, photographer, dancer, or philosopher, in ten years or twenty years than you are now - if you work at the skills. 

But that very process of self-definition and improvement will make it very difficult for you to "play yourself falsely."  When music moves through Norah Jones it comes out beautiful.  It is the message being true to the container.

As you move through your life, a variety of pressures will be brought to bear upon your "container."  Physical, emotional and intellectual demands will be made of you.  Consider your options in fulfilling those demands.  You are molding the most important container of your life.  Mold one from which the only possible expressions are those of which you will be proud; expressions which must be beautiful.


WXPN-FM, 88.5  (2009). Norah Jones: A Star Is Reborn. Retrieved Nov. 17, 2009, from National Public Radio, Washington, DC. Web site: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120384820.


  1. I really enjoyed this post. I can connect to it very easily and I completely understand what you mean by being your own container.

  2. This post is especially interesting when thinking about musicians. Oftentimes, musicians I hear about musicians who are forced into containers that are not their own, to make music that conforms to the demands of record companies so that they will reach high profit margins. Recently I was watching an episode of Numb3rs where the were discussing a algorithmic program that music producers use to determine if a song will be "pleasing" to listeners based on the certain sounds that we are most accustomed to. Whether or not this type of system is used, it would be an interesting idea to consider. Norah Jones is perhaps one of the most talented artists I have heard and I have followed her music for some time. The authenticity of her music is what draws me purchase not individual songs on iTunes but rather her entire album because I find that an entire album represents a story with its sequencing - somewhat like the narrative of a book, with chapters. I wonder if it takes us time to realize to understand that our containers our for ourselves to mold rather than determined by the wishes of our parents. At least for myself, it has taken sometime for me to understand that the container my family wanted (scientist) was certainly not my authentic self. When there is this feeling of authenticity the ability to freely move and grow seems much more feasible. In time it seems that my family has been more grateful that I realized my container is my own more than they ever were happy that I was trying to fit in their imagined one. - SaraN

  3. this is very interesting because it true. i understand her viewpoint as well because she has held herself up to a diff standard even though she is already really great at what she does.
    I guess in life, you just have to keep on practicing.