A friend of mine had a question which she asked everyone she met: “What’s your passion?”, she would inquire. Often she was answered with blank looks, sometimes shocked-open eyes. Then she had to explain what she meant: passion is that which moves you in the deepest, most personal sense and overwhelms most of the rest of your life.
Sharon believed that everyone needs at least one passion in their lives. For her it was music, which she came back to when she was at mid-life, and discovered that she had wonderful natural musical talent and a love of sharing her music with whomever would listen. Sharon was so in love with music that it overcame any reticence she might have otherwise had: once on a business trip to San Diego we realized that she was no longer with us as we walked down the street to lunch. We retraced our steps and there she was: businesswoman in suit playing a fiddle solo for the itinerant street musician!
Sharon and I shared a love of music, and I learned about life’s passions from her. Like Sharon, I came to my true musical self somewhat late in my life, and with a totally different approach than my earlier involvement as a classical flute player. I reincarnated as a hammered dulcimer player, and then moved on to Irish whistles and the hurdy gurdy. It was the music, rather than the instrument, which drew me in—I love the happiness of Irish music, and the heartiness and surprises of French dance tunes.
I don’t particularly enjoy solo performance, either: I simple love to play music alone or with other people.
Since October 8, 2007, I have not played music. Not one note. I haven’t practiced, learned a new tune, or sat in a Monday evening Irish music session at The Loading Dock bar. I have had friends over two times in early October to play a little music, but since I fractured my hip, I really can’t sit comfortably enough to even try to play. Since the infections, I have an IV line in my right arm and the first thing the doctors said was, “Avoid repetitive motions with your right arm.” I thought, no snow shoveling or firewood chopping! And then I thought, No hurdy gurdy cranking, either.
So, I can’t sit and I can’t crank. How depressing! Besides, I am here at Orchard Creek, where the sounds of twenty television sets regularly bounce from room to room. I suppose I could go ask all my housemates to turn down their hearing aids so I could practice and not disturb them, but somehow I think I would meet with resistance. And I don’t even like to listen to music much right now: it’s like taking just a spoonful of someone’s luscious dessert– why didn’t I order a whole one for myself?
One of my coaching clients once said to me: “ I want more music in my life. That’s one of my goals—more music.” I asked, “What would more music look like? Can you imagine yourself with ‘more music’? Can you describe what your life would be?”
That’s the key, of course. If we can mold goals into passions, and if we can visualize, live and breathe those passions—then we are on the right track to meaningful direction and personal change. And for me, physically sidelined for the moment from my musical passion, music must live in my imagination–not just the tune itself, but the feel of air under my fingers and the sound of the bodhran as it mimics my heartbeat.