Sunday, January 31, 2010
my one wild and precious life
Tell me, what is your plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
- Mary Oliver, from "The Summer Day"
I have still been feeling the winter blahs lately. The temperatures dropped this week and we were flung back into the throes of a normal Minnesota winter. I have to remind myself in just one month it will be March, the month when spring begins to unfold.
Out of boredom, or maybe desperation, I went to the library one day and ended up browsing the aisle that contains "religion", "psychology", "self help", "nature", and "auto repair". It is, after all, a small library. I ended up with a self help book written by an architect. Really. Sarah Susanka, of "The Not So Big House" fame, has a book entitled "The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters". Of course I have been living the experience of building the "not so big house" for a while now, and I have learned a lot about interior design from her books. And who says you have to have a degree in psychology to write a self help book anyway? It's been done.
I'm about halfway through, and while I enjoy the architectural perspective, I realize it is just another self help book. And I realize that my life is not so big to begin with, compared with the examples. But like any good self help book it has gotten me to think about my life. In one chapter there is an exercise that asks the reader to "recall any situations where Providence moved to create the perfect conditions for your own exploration or pursuit of an interest or passion." For some reason I thought of something I had never considered before.
When I was in sixth grade, nearing my twelfth birthday, I played the violin. I was doing okay, pretty good really, but for some reason it just didn't excite me. Then one day, I don't know how or where I came up with the idea, but suddenly I just knew: I wanted to play the flute. What's more, I knew I was going to do it. My conviction must have impressed my mom, who went so far as to speak with the coordinator of musical education for the school district. After all, they needed all the violinists they could get and flutists were a dime a dozen. But I ended up learning the flute, even accompanying the church junior choir and playing a solo on Easter Sunday, barely six weeks after I started!
So where has the flute taken me? I only wish that passion and confidence had stayed with me, that I had dared to dream I could be...a flautist. But then again, I would not be here in this life I know, so let's not even go there with the "what if's". But I still have the passion for music, and it's been showing itself more often in the last year or so. What if I could still invite that passion to move me to action, to make my life more about music?
Then yesterday I was tagged in a Facebook note by my dear blogging/FB friend Jim. He asked to respond to the question "What are my plans for living my one wild and precious life?" (See the Mary Oliver quote above)
My plans? Have I ever had any? It seems I've just been rolling along with the flow. I like a lot of things about where the flow has taken me, but what if I had the courage to make plans? I know, nothing makes God laugh more than humans making plans. But somehow, and this is going to sound incredibly stupid, I never realized I had the choice to make things happen and live my dreams.
So my plans? Practice. More practice. Make a commitment to play music with others. Print a business card: "Musician". Write those songs I've been meaning to write. Sing whenever the mood hits me. Join in. Play flute under the bridge even when there are canoeists within earshot. ;) I knew it when I was not yet twelve. I've been ignoring it for way too long. I plan to be a musician. Well, I already am, but I mean even MORE of a musician. One who actually is heard in public.
I have been having some incredible times with the flute lately. I'm reeling on the reels, and jigging with the jigs. Not that I'm ignoring the other instruments; the guitar was out of its case for a while, as was my singing voice. Both were fairly in tune for having been ignored so long!