“When a thing has served its purpose, it will go away. If you try to hold on to something that has already fulfilled its purpose in your life, you are going to hurt yourself. If holding on is disturbing your peace of mind, it makes sense to let go. Surrender all attachments to people and things that you have been struggling to hold on to.”
– Iyanla Vanzant
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
Sometimes glimpses are just enough to stir something inside of you.
There’s a beast we try to tame inside all of us and moments like these ignite its repressed desire to be let loose. Afterall a cage was never fit for any beast, least of not, the beast that quietly resides within us.
You’d told me before that one decision could completely change our lives. One step off the pavement could lead to a fantasy come true, all you needed to do was to make that step. With you shining the light in the crack, I felt it once again; I felt the enormous power of potential and the lurch of a moving heart. It makes you think that if only you wished it, one day you could really have it all.
“Of all the judgements we pass in life, none is as important as the one we pass on ourselves.”
– Nathaniel Branden
As the Olympians have been preparing to compete in Rio, I’ve been making my way to piano eisteddfods in pretentious dresses that I’ve found no occassion for otherwise. It doesn’t sound like much of an event, and honestly it isn’t when compared to something like the Olympics, but when I thought about my long hiatus from competitive stages, the stress made it seem larger than life.
During this period of preparation, I actually noticed that sport and music were really similar; the endless hours of training and practise, the bid to push yourself to move just those milliseconds faster, the determination to be your absolute best. Both careers mandate excellence in high-pressure environments and both sportsmen and musicians alike aim to get one step closer to perfection with each new day. There’s so much work to be done behind the scenes, so much pressure to be at your peak form that with music, I find it is just as much about refined technique as it is tremendous passion and just as much about frustration and failure as it is about enrichment of the soul.
It’s been 5 long years… I have really taken a great deal of time off from the competitive side of piano-playing and I feel the years would likely have rolled on into eternity had I not snapped out of my self-encasing doubt.
Piano competitions used to be a religious routine since I was 7, but as a kid, it was different; you just did it. Your parents enrolled you in something and it was just another activity to do to pass the time in your day. As adults though, oftentimes stress, illogical emotions and the ease with which you can simply choose to give up finds itself in the mix and it really stops you from being in an ideal state of mind. As each year whizzed by during this time off, I lost more and more chunks of my sense of foundation and my need to perform at a high-standard.
My purpose in playing was chipping away and I dipped my toes in other things, trying to find the passion I felt I had lost. However, with the numerous new beginnings I realised one important thing; the problem was never really with piano itself. The problem was actually always with me.
The issue wasn’t with what I was doing, it was with how I was doing it. It was simply a lack of zest with my approach to my activities which caused this internal conflict to build up, making me think that I was better suited to other things. So many people seem to fall into this trap; they chase passions blindly, thinking that they can find happiness simply by pursuing a different path. However, they usually find that they’re just as miserable as before even in new settings. Attitude is the absolute key. So instead of trying to search for passion, try taking passion into the work that you are doing. This shift in perception makes you realise that happiness can be found almost anywhere. For me, in these recent weeks, I’ve become more and more aware of my direction, learning a lot about myself, others and life in the process.
In terms of what I’ve rediscovered, I think the attribute I’m most thankful to re-embody is confidence and belief in myself. I actually have some friends to thank for making me see myself in another light, making me see the limits I had unconsciously imposed.
Fear stops you from doing a great deal. It makes you become comfortable with not trying, enclosing you behind pretty fences, leaving you to doubt your potential and capabilities. Don’t do that, don’t allow yourself to stagnate. Life, you’ll find, exists between your greatest fear and your deepest desire. Just make sure you keep dancing in between.
“Almost everything you do, you do because you are afraid to die. And yet dying is exactly what you are doing, from the moment you are born. You were born as a sacrifice. And you can either participate in the sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering.”