When I was little, my mother was my music teacher. She had all kinds of tools and resources that she used to teach me and my siblings how to sing, how to listen to music, and how to play music…on a variety of instruments. One such tool was a game in which we had to listen to a music excerpt and identify the musical instrument being played. There were some instruments I really liked and some I absolutely did not. My favorite one was the flute. Every time we played the game I secretly crossed my fingers and held my breath hoping that I would get that excerpt.
Soon, my love of the instrument caused me to ask my mom if I could learn how to play the flute myself. One of my best friends, who was older than I, played the flute beautifully, and I wanted to play with her. Alas. I was told no. I had to first be consistently responsible with my home chores and my piano practice…demonstrating a particular level of piano mastery before I would be allowed to add the flute. Add the flute. Dropping piano or anything else was not an option…it would be an addition and I had to learn how to manage my time before the addition would be allowed.
Finally, the stars aligned just right and not only did I eventually attain the appropriate level of piano proficiency, but an amazing flute teacher came to the mission. After much discussion, my parents agreed to purchase a flute for me and made arrangements for it to be brought to us by a visitor from the United States.
I remember vividly that night the flute arrived. The case lay on my bed…unopened. I stared at it…for hours…unbelieving that this desired thing was now in front of me…was mine. When I finally had the courage, I gingerly opened up the packaging and flipped up the latches. Slowly, I lifted the lid and was flooded with sensations: a tangy, metallic scent; the rich blue velvet case; the smooth, cold, shiny metal. I quickly closed the lid again…overwhelmed by it all, completely unsure what to do next.
What came next was my first flute lesson. I learned how to put the flute together carefully, avoiding smudging the finish with my fingerprints or smooshing the delicate mechanisms in my grip. I learned how to align the pieces for optimum hand formation due to my long fingers. I then learned how to take it apart and how to clean it. The cleaning part was the most important, I was told. In such a humid climate the pads could easily mold or become sticky, so it was imperative that I kept them as dry as possible without ripping them.
All of this before a single note was played.
And then…I was told to try to make a sound. Nothing. Well…not nothing…lots and lots of air. I tried again. Still, only air. My assignment for that week was to keep trying…keep learning how to make adjustments with my lips, the angle of air and the flute in order to make sound on this instrument. I eagerly agreed.
Two days later, I hit the “Oh Shit!” stage…that stage where I realized that this wasn’t going to come easily…I was going to have to work, and work hard. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to work that hard. So. I let it sit for a couple of days. But. It just sat there…this object of desire for so many years…mocking me. Here it was…finally…and now I just wasn’t sure I wanted it after all…I wasn’t sure that all the work it was going to require of me was worth it.
And, this is where we are…October 2014…Full Harvest Moon in Aries, a lunar eclipse, Mercury Retrograde, and a fire trine…all packed into a few short weeks. We finally have this “thing” we have dreamed of and desired so intensely for so long. It’s finally here, and we’ve joyfully received it, chosen it, and stepped into the opportunities, expressing gratitude for these wondrous events. And now the reality hits…that “Oh shit!” moment of understanding…this is going to take work…and lots of it. And, no matter how talented or passionate we are about it, there is no getting around the hard work. So the questions inevitably arise:
Did I make a mistake?
Do I really want this?
Is it really worth it?
Do I continue to choose this path and figure it out as I go?
Can I make adjustments without losing everything I’ve worked for?
Should I walk away completely?
The choice is yours.