|Weekly Reflections on Life and Music|
― Douglas Adams
Most of us probably had a variety of ideas about what we wanted to do when we “grew up.” I would guess that many of those things never happened and that there are some of us who would never have dreamed of being where we are today. I started out in college as an engineering student. Nope. Not for me. I ended up as a political science major but never got into law or politics. I had an opportunity to get into the radio news field. Not that either. (No- I never wanted to be a fireman, but an astronaut was on that list.)
Somewhere along the line something happens that gets us thinking about the career we eventually followed. There was a moment in time when the idea came into our head to do this thing or another and all the other ideas fell away.
Even at that things change. I am told that there was a time when people stayed in a career for their entire lives. They thought little of changing, even if they might have wanted to. They may even have worked for the same company for an entire adult working career. That has changed over the years. With changes in the world and the world economy we may even be forced to change careers if we can’t make a living at what we started out to do.
Now the younger you are as you read this, the more likely your are right where you intended to be at this age. It is not a surprise for some of you when you get to where you are going that day to be where you planned. I am not one of them.
But I am right where I have needed to be. I am right where life has led me. Better yet, I am right where following the open doors of my life has led me. And I know I am probably not done yet.
Let’s be clear- this is not just about work and career. It is also about relationships and hobbies, avocations and out-in-left-field interests. In addition to what I do for a living, I also write and read, am an advanced amateur photographer and ethics consultant, and I am a musician. This doesn’t even begin to touch the relationships as a spouse, parent, or friend.
What does all this have to do with music and playing trumpet? For one, for those of us who do play, there is something about music that is not just a career or a fun thing to do in our spare time. There is something beyond that- even more important than that. It is passion. We do what we do because we like it and it inspires and energizes us. When you were first learning to play, would you have believed that you could enjoy practicing or playing those seemingly interminable long tones? I never remember anyone ever telling me that I would still be playing them 50+ years later. Or even that it would be important to do so.
Not in this life. I will move beyond that or perhaps get tired of the whole thing.
But if it is a passion- and more than a passing example of “falling in love”- you will end up where you need to be. That is the way life can work when we pay attention to our passions and energies. Don’t ignore or short-change that part of your life. Keep at it. Don’t let the daily grind take away the reasons you do what you do. Instead know that you are right where you need to be today. It is that simple. Then live it.
But live what?
Life is a dance, a song, a celebration.
It is more like love and less like logic.
— Osho Rajneesh
Of course there is nothing wrong with logic and philosophy. I like a good bull session on those things from time to time. But to live only guided by those would, for me, be dull. Passion is about love and not logic unless you are a logician! It is not about philosophy, unless you are a philosopher! Even what to me may be dull, might be an endless source of energy and passion for someone else.
So you grab hold of it and move with it.
I am amazed every year at the Shell Lake Trumpet Camp by the amount of energy and passion flowing through that place. You see it in the students who get that horn out and start playing and keep on playing, who sit and listen to Mr. Baca and the other staff for hours, trying to get a bit of energy or information that might help them move to a new level. What a joy and an out-of-this-world experience for someone who thinks he has seen it all.
And the faculty! Is this where they intended to be when they decided to keep on playing trumpet for more years? We can ask them, and in some ways they might say yes. But I have a hunch that it is just the right place that they needed to be.
Life- it is a dance and a song and a celebration. It is what we are all about.
This week’s video is a celebration of life. It takes place at a wedding, but it is more than that. It is the passion of what makes life worth it.
Play your music. Inspire the passion; energize the music. Then dance!