Coincidence or Kismet?

piano

Do you every think that things are just meant to happen when they happen? That the universe has a plan and you just don’t know about it? Today was one of those days for me. At a time when I was lacking motivation, questioning my decisions and wondering if the direction I was going in was leading me the right way, I had an Oprah moment. You know the one. The quintessential “aha” moment. I wasn’t unhappy, I was just unsure of where things were going or if they even needed to go anywhere. Should I soldier on or reevaluate and make a change? I felt I was lacking a focus. Then I had lunch with a very wise and lovely friend that I had been trying to connect with for months. Coincidence?

A classically trained pianist who grew up in, of all places, Prince George, Stephanie and I met when our kids attended the same pre-school. She started playing the piano when she was two and her piano teacher recognized her talent early on. By the time she was fourteen she was flying down to Vancouver once a month for lessons. She was accepted to Juliard, Peabody and Eastman – the creme de la creme of music schools in the US. After choosing and studying at Eastman she was destined for a career as a concert pianist. She, however, had a defining moment when her panic attacks started to get the best of her. She also never felt the pull that many performers feel for an adoring audience or a standing ovation. Many performers continue for the ego boost, but she realized that the direction she was heading was not meant to be. What was meant to be, was to bring the pure joy of music, that she felt, to others. As a teacher.

Her approach to teaching is truly organic. As I ate the delicious spicy Mexican soup she had made us for lunch, I listened to her explaining how learning music is not just about the notes and the technique, but the feeling you get from playing. She has been known to tell a student to “go and watch water”. The point being, to teach the lightness and finesse of playing the notes. To mimic the way the water flows and bubbles. “Some kids get it, some don’t”. She went on to say, that teaching young kids comes with a unique opportunity to mold the way they approach playing and practicing. Most would start with the easy stuff and go on from there. She encourages them to start with the most challenging part. That is a difficult thing for anybody to do at any age.

water

The most important thing she tries to instill in her students is that music should come from a place of happiness – not from a place of ego. You could win a hundred music competitions and still not understand the meaning of the music you have played. Some of the best musicians play for the pure love of it. If they are able to make a living doing it, then it really is just icing on the cake. The need for a gold star or, in my case, verification that somebody is reading my blogs and that I am making a difference, is a huge stumbling block for me. She reminded me that perhaps there was somebody out there reading my blog and thinking “wow, that’s exactly how I’m feeling too”. I could be making somebody think a different way or see a different side to something. Maybe I’m just allowing somebody to steal a few minutes from their day, read a story and enjoy the way it makes them feel.  Like a piece of music.

As usual I went into this situation with one idea and came away with a completely different point if view. I started out being envious of my friend’s passion for music and the way that she had been able to take that and use it to teach children and left feeling like maybe, just maybe, I too had a path to follow. An opportunity to catch up and learn about her music career turned into a life lesson for me. Go figure. I left her house feeling inspired, rejuvenated and happy to have reconnected with such a kind and insightful friend. Even if nobody is reading my blog, I am doing what makes me happy. Perhaps I am not “over achieving” but my family is happy too. I need to live my life for the joy and not for the gold star. The Best Thing in Life is just letting things happen the way the universe wants them to happen and enjoying the kismet.

November Challenge Completed

The life you want begins when you start embracing the life you already have.The Best Things in Life are right in front of you

At the beginning of November I challenged myself to find one of the Best Things in Life every day and document it on Twitter. So, the first day I did it and thought, piece of cake. Day two I forgot and had to get out if bed at midnight and find my phone and send a tweet. The next day I set up an auto reminder on my phone so that every day at 5:00 pm until November 30 I would be reminded to stick to the challenge. That was the only hard part. Finding something each day seemed to just…..happen. Some days it was obvious and some days I had to think about for 10 seconds before it came to me.

The tweets were quite different day to day. Some were simple little things like a cup of cucumber mint tea.

One was recognition of my son turning eighteen. Truly a huge moment in both of our lives.

Sometimes the Best Things in Life turned bad.

Looking back it seems that a lot of things were outside.

A few months ago I wrote a post about being happy. One of the ideas I talked about was called 100 days of Happiness. It’s a similar idea to what I have done but it’s longer and you email your daily happiness point to somebody you don’t know. This, I felt, was a bit more personal for me but also allowed me to share it with my followers. (I always find it weird saying that I have “followers”). At the end of the day it has made me realize that it is extraordinarily easy to find some small things in each day of your life that are special, unique, personal, meaningful and just one of the Best Things in Life. I am resetting the auto reminder on my phone to “never”.  Follow me on Twitter here and see where this takes me.