Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Who Are We, Really?


I was blogsurfing my hobby blogs when I came across the above quote. It made me pause and think. (If this entry of mine sounds familiar... it's because you must know me from my other blog. Yes, I've cross-posted, but for personal reasons, I'm keeping the blogs separate from each other for now.)

The quote was from Peter Walsh, the "Clean Sweep" de-cluttering guru. Mr. Walsh said this to a woman on Oprah who was drowning in cookbooks and supplies she never used, in response to her telling Peter that she always intended to do more serious baking.

This is not who you ARE, but who you want to BE.

If you are Peter Walsh, this is probably the go-ahead to start chucking the cookbooks and supplies, and letting go of the desire to be someone you "aren't".

Or is it?

I tend to disagree, at least in part.

Perhaps this should be viewed as a signpost, pointing to your deepest dreams rather than a castle in the sky to be torn down without a second thought!

I'm all for uncluttering one's life and eradicating unnecessary items, for stripping away things that do not fit one's ideal vision of their lives. But who is to say that the person one wants to be is something that can never be attained?

Everyone lives in a state of denial, denying themselves the things they most want because limiting beliefs, negative past programming, and subconscious counter intentions tell them that they don't deserve it, they don't have the skills/talents, it's a waste of time/money/energy, it's extravagant, it's frivolous, it's too hard, it's too easy—and so on. We all have programming along these lines, particular to our own cases, thanks to our upbringing and what we've been exposed to throughout our lives.

But we will occasionally get nudges, glimpses into a better, brighter world, a world we want very much to trade up to and live within.

Maybe for the cookbook woman, the idea of being a more serious baker was the answer to a call coming from her soul telling her that her destiny is to BE a baker. Or a cookbook author. Or a network food chef. Or something related.

Maybe for her, it's the signpost pointing toward her deepest unrealized dream. Her destiny.

Or, perhaps it's a response to feelings of self-worth. Maybe she's trying to make up for someone in her life who failed to meet expectations. Maybe her mother wasn't "there" for her growing up, and she saw other mothers who baked for their families, and associated baking with love and nurturing. Maybe she feels a deep-rooted need to either fill the void in her own life that was created by her mother's ignorance of that role by going above and beyond expectations for her own family. Maybe she needs to bake to prove to herself that she's a better Mother/Wife/Nurturer than her own mother was. I'm speculating, of course. But it would make sense.

In the first instance, it would be wholly unwise for the woman to be told to chuck out her supplies and give up on trying to be that person. In this instance, she would be practicing even further denial of her own TRUTH. Instead, she should be encouraged to find out why she has been avoiding it, and work to overcome the limiting beliefs that are blocking her—then make "serious baking" a priority in her life. Begin to live the life that she's dreaming of.

In the second instance, it would be beneficial and life-altering for the woman to let go of the supplies, if she has also become aware of the beliefs that lead her there, and lets go of them at the same time. In this instance, letting go would bring about healing and allow her to see the rise of her own true self.

I suppose my response is not as simple as "No, that's wrong" or "Yes, that's correct". My response would be that one must go further than just saying "Oh, that's just who you want to be, but you're not, so let it go". One must delve deeply into their own psyche and find the reasons WHY they want to be this other person. Only then can they make a sound decision to allow themselves to BE the person they want to be, or to let that person go so that they can realize their own true dreams.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Piano Under the Stairs

My first awareness of who I am happened when I was very small. My parents took me with them to visit my maternal Grandmother in southern Ohio. For some reason, we went over to the "old house" to visit whomever lived there, so I must have been VERY small—like 4 or 5. Old enough to wander around on my own unsupervised, as long as I was within earshot and easy rescuing.

When we visited, we stayed with Grandma at her victorian farmhouse, the one on M Road. That's the house my Mother grew up in (and Sister, too, for a few years after her own father died). It's the house my Grandma grew up in. But not the first house. The first house Grandma grew up in was referred to as the Old Brick House. It's an impressive all-brick mid-1800s farmhouse in a tiny hamlet across the road from where Uncle H lived when he was alive. He and his boys farmed the land the house sat on (still do, or at least one son does).

That's where we were, at the Old Brick House. The adults were visiting amongst themselves. The older kids were off playing outside. I must've been too little to go outside with them, so I was exploring this fascinating old "mansion". (To me it was a mansion.) I found an upright piano tucked under the stairwell in the darkened hallway. I gingerly lifted the keyboard cover—not the whole thing because it was much too heavy, but the first hinged portion—I flipped it up and open... and my fingers experimented.

Oh my goodness, each of these white planks makes a different sound!

Randomly, my tiny digits walked the ivories, testing the sounds. Something clicked inside of me—there was a structure to this, and if I could figure it out, I could recreate the sounds I heard in my head. By accident, I missed a couple notes on the way down the scale I was exploring and discovered intervals. Didn't know what they were, of course, but my ear recognized that it corresponded to America The Beautiful.

Intrigued, I fiddled with it. Play the interval. Try to find the next notes. Miss. Hit. Miss. Hit. Hit. Repeat. Memorize. Not long after that, I was very slowly picking out the notes for America The Beautiful. Then I figured out, by ear, a couple of other little songs I'd heard before.

After a time, my Mother came to rescue the piano from me (I was probably annoying some of the pickier elders with the "noise" I was making). But before I was whisked away, I said, "Look Mom!" and I carefully picked out America the Beautiful.

I think I got a "that's good, dear" before she shut the top and dragged me back to the fold. But every chance I got, I found myself magnetically drawn back to the amazing noise maker (much to their annoyance), and everywhere we went, if there was a piano around, that's where you found me.

Shortly thereafter, I found myself enrolled in a children's choir, accompanied by a young gal who played guitar, and the rest is history. Guitar lessons began two years later.

It must've frustrated my parents to have to practice constant vigilance around me, keeping me close by when I was hypnotically drawn to pianos—which EVERYONE had, of course, but us—but... I have to wonder now... what went through their minds when they realized what they were hearing wasn't just tuneless banging, but was the actual melody to America the Beautiful? What thought did they have when they realized it was me picking out the tune, that I'd never been near a piano, that I had no musical training whatsoever (yet—I was four!), and that I was not only doing it completely by ear, but also at the right pitch AND from memory?

It must have blown their minds.

That I can remember this hazy moment so vividly is mind-blowing, as well.

Just a few moments ago, I realized something else. I need to confirm this with my cousin JH, but I think it's a good chance that I have that very piano in my possession now. When JH's mother, V (my Mother's cousin, daughter of Grandma's sister), was moved out West (where JH lives) to ride out her days in a nursing home, JH had to clear out the house. V said she wanted me to have the pianos (yes, plural) because I was the musical one in the family. JH said I didn't have to take both unless I wanted them, because the one was so broken down and in need of repair, but it was there because it'd been in the family for so long. Of course, I took it along with the refinished one, fully expecting that one day I'd have it restored.

It's been sitting in the garage at my old house since the day I moved it in. Untouched.

But it occurred to me today, that that piano may well be the VERY piano that was tucked under the stairs at the Old Brick House—the very piano upon which my fingers first cautiously and bravely picked out a familiar tune, launching my journey into the world of music.

No wonder I have major subconscious blocks about getting rid of it.