What word fills in your blank?
I was wailing away on a friend’s cello when suddenly he said – “There! Stop! Now play that exact same passage on your own instrument with the same amount of freedom and energy.” I picked up my cello and started to play. “No, no, no! You’re being WAY to careful and precise! Here—play this one again.”
I put my cello down and picked up his. Joy, expansion, freedom! BIG energy.
And then he had me do something genius:
“Okay. Now no matter what it sounds like, play the exact same way physically and energetically, and pay NO attention to the sounds that come out.”
This time, I overrode my tendencies to watch out for my instrument’s limitations, and brought the same power and finesse that worked so well on the other cello.
What came out was the strangled sound of a flat tire. My cello simply can’t handle the energy that I am now capable of playing with.
My cello is holding me back from fully expressing the joy and inspiration that I feel within.
As I came home, I struggled with this dilemna—upgrading my cello is a huge project, one that I frankly talked myself out of for the past 20 years, thinking that it didn’t matter that much.
I prided myself in MAKING DO.
I didn’t want the hassle and responsibility of a huge investment or a valuable delicate instrument, and so for 20 years I made do. I trained myself not to desire more.
But I forgot one important thing:
I am here to share inspiration. My job is to express to the best of my ability the clarity, joy, presence, and expansion through music. The nature of joy is to express and share itself. Mine is bursting at the seams, and my cello is holding me back.
And suddenly it was clear to me:
In 1999 I left the performing world because even though the box of my ability and talent was big enough, I was empty on the inside.
I have spent these past 16 years filling up on the inside, and have returned to my old roles of performing and teaching.
But this time, I am no longer empty.
What is resonating inside of me is pushing hard against the confines of my self-imposed box of me trying to stay small, convenient, and safe. The flow that is coming through wants to express itself with the same amount of freedom and energy that I expressed playing my friend’s cello.
So I ask you this:
What are the conditions and self-defining thoughts in your life that are keeping you small? Do you feel, as I do, that something MUCH BIGGER is trying to come through us? That we are here to bring about a much needed change in ourselves and the world around us?
It’s no longer about having a safe, convenient life.
Following joy is not easy. But it’s the only thing worth doing.