I want you to consider a question for a moment.
"If what gives you passion and creates fire and desire within your soul was gone tomorrow, what would be your next step ? where would you go ? what would success be defined as from that point forward ?"
What if what you could not control the departure of that skill or passion from your daily regime ? How does that then change your course of actions moving forward and where does this inevitably leave you ?
For many, this isn't a question that would ever be entertained. We are far too comfortable living in a society that "provides" and where we need not hunt for our next meal. I recently had a conversation with a good friend and this is the dilemma facing them.
As a friend, where does this leave me ? The only successful answer to this question is as a "helping hand" to my friend. While travelling home from Nashville, as I fly back to Calgary I considered the questions above and many more. I reflected on what I have and what I have worked for and realized along my path to what I consider success - I have not once given any thought to these questions; let alone my response and course of actions.
We are not geared this way to consider anything in this regard, we are hardwired with an interior mechanism to move forward until we encounter and impassable junction in our journey. I guess when I think of my photography in comparison, what if I "physically was unable" to hold the camera in my hands. What if years of age took it's toll in the way of painful arthritis ?
I've never once considered this - as sobering a reality as it is. I can't imagine how I would feel.
The art is what makes the difference for me and for my friends. The photos, the paintings, the music and composition of all these elements. When a situation presents itself that creates a blockage in our creative process we must rise above it and grow beyond it in adaptation and ability. The obstruction is simply a "challenge" to create and grow beyond the comfort of today and embrace the uncomfortable feelings of growth and development. This is where the art is - it must be mined and extracted to be appreciated.
Each time we create we are reborn and realize the limitless boundaries of artistic expression. We must celebrate this and push ourselves off the safety of the ledge and expand our wings and lean into the descent to the earth. Only in a terrifying descent from such a ledge can we appreciate the metaphoric view and pleasure of the forthcoming flight of success.
When I considered the above questions I remember two individuals performing at Muddy Roots Music Festival who were nearing the end of their earthly lives. When I witnessed Dr. Ralph Stanley & Little Jimmy Dickens play I saw "tired, worn and aged men of a defining musical era". I remember seeing both of them so frail that a stiff evening breeze could create a challenging adversary. Toward the end of each setlist I saw both men stand firm and take charge and "deliver the goods". I remember seeing the passion in their eyes as they unleashed their senior fury on the crowds witnessing history in the making.
But, they had their time for many years - consider if as an artist or perhaps a fan of music; that was unceremoniously cut short.
As a guitar player you could no longer play, or as a drummer you were unable to keep your stamina, perhaps as a singer your memory failed you.
We don't consider this but it happens. For no good reason it happens. It sounds cliche but when one door closes another does open. Remember that music is simply a thought without a composer, it takes true talent to compose music and produce the same. It was told to me years ago that when someone prays for success; they are not given "success" but rather the opportunity to be successful. Similarly, with praying for "adaptation" we are not granted a wish of adaptation but rather the opportunity to adapt and overcome the insurmountable obstacles in our path.
Beyond the ability to play I would ask you to consider this article, I want you to consider those around you as we grow old. There will come a day when the guitar must be returned to the case. When the banjo strings will break for the "last time" and when it's time to sit back and let your light dim on performing and shine on the technical composition.
Accept the privilege to compose and write, you've earned it. . .you are valuable and loved. Some of the most magnificent composers throughout history were less concerned with being the "performer" and more specifically concerned with the performance itself.
The greatest performance has not been written yet and is within you as a composer and this is the catalyst to bring it forward. Step to the ledge. Look up where you want to go - not down! Step forward confidently and feel yourself overcome with the "fall". Lean into it!
Open your wings - compose and succeed.
Never look back. . .