A couple of nights ago I was watching "Julie and Julia" with my beloved. For the record, I was the one ecstatic to find it at Redbox and was the one that suggested we watch it...I'd seen it before; she hadn't. Realizing some of the details in the life of Julia Child were dramatized, the movie still inspired some deep reflection for me. Julia figured out what she loved to do in life, and then went after it. She didn't set out (I don't believe) to change the world, but she did. She kept after her passion and eventually became iconic and legendary. Did she wake up one day and say to herself "I'm going to set out to change the world?" Maybe she did, maybe she didn't. However things worked out, she did what she was drawn to do, and she stuck with it.
The geeky side of me must pull out a Star Trek quote here: Zephrem Cochran said, "Don't try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgements."
This may be part of my quandary...I'm trying to be a great man.
I realized a few years ago, that I was destined for greatness.
It sounds narcissistic, I know, but this realization washed over me. I was meant to be a great teacher/leader/transformer/guide...I have important things to do!
Then I think, "Really? What makes you so special?? Who do you think you are?" I used to have a button pinned to my denim jacket "I'm a legend in my own mind." So there is a constant battle between the voices in my head..."you're special, and even though everyone is special, you're REALLY special!" (sounds a little bit like 'Animal Farm', doesn't it?) and "you must remain humble no matter what happens, because people who are truly great show great humility and underplay their accomplishments."
Of course another voice slips in there, "Who are you kidding? Look at what all these other single parents/music therapist/martial artists do...do you really think you can ever measure up?"
So then I started thinking about where my passion is...what is my version of Juila Child and her revolutionary cookbook?
Let's see...I'm a single parent trying to be the best dad I can, teach my children all the positive things martial arts can offer and get them involved in music in a structured way, I'm close to testing for master rank in tae kwon do, I'm a Reiki master preparing to co-teach a group of co-workers, I'm a classical guitarist who lacks confidence in technical skills, I enjoy learning ukulele, ocarina, didgeridoo, penny whistle, riq, konnakol, solkattu...I'd love to learn doumbek and play traditional belly dancing rhythms for my beloveds to dance to, I have ideas to contribute to the fields of music therapy, neurologic music therapy, education...when I finish my masters (which I have been putting off for a long time) I might apply for a doc program at the local university and tailor it to my interests, or the PhD program in music therapy at Temple, or get a masters in neurologic music therapy at Colorado State or...
I recently connected with someone on Facebook with an interest in drumming. After accepting my friend request, she sent a message and pointed out other interests we share. We exchanged a few messages, and then I decided to check out some of her work. Turns out she has a website and some albums and some videos on YouTube. Look her up...her name is Pamela Lynn.
The thing that impressed me most was a statement on her website. She says that she has committed herself to getting up at 3AM every day and working on her drumming skills for three hours. THAT is commitment! She re-evaluates this commitment on a yearly basis and re-dedicates herself to it year after year.
One of the videos I found on YouTube was an interview Pamela gave over the web. She was talking about her music and the subject of her voice came up. She said something to the effect, "I may not have the strongest voice, but I have something to contribute."
A lightbulb moment for me. Pamela Lynn has something to contribute. EVERYONE has something to contribute, including me.
But the question remains: Where is my passion? How do I decide??
I am a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. A guided meditation by Gael Chiarella says "you are being guided. Remember you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing."
So is it simply attention deficit? Or am I supposed to be cultivating all of these interests in different instruments and types of music? Is this part of what it means to be a warrior musician? Develop many skills in many areas to be as versatile as possible. Prepare myself to battle as many physical challenges and emotional traumas as I can?
I don't know what my beouf bourguignon is going to be, but it doesn't matter. I don't have to decide what my great contribution will be. I don't even get to decide the level of greatness or whether I will ever be considered great at anything at all. Like Zephrem says...let history be the judge.
For now, I think my passion is found in helping and teaching people. The methods I choose to do this are not as important as remembering the passion itself. So the drive and commitment I learned from Pamela Lynn, the trust in the process I learned from Gael Chiarella and non-concern for results I learned from Zephrem Cochran leave me with my passion, in the many forms it may take. Do what you do, do it the best way you know how, and do it with every bit of your heart and soul. The details will work themselves out.
Have you lost sight of your passion? Are you going through the motions to get by? What is one thing you can do today to reaffirm your passion? Let me know where you're at and where you're going!