Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Out of the Box

Liken it to a hamster wheel, or a merry-go-round, or even a racetrack, my routine has been like a lot of people's. I would make the rounds from one corner of my box to the next to the next, until I arrived back where I started from and began a new week. Of course it was a fairly predictable journey, although I did my best to make sure there were enough things to keep me interested along the way. There were some things I wanted to do and see, someday... but somehow those things didn't fit in the box of the routine I had created.

I decided that I wanted to get out of the box. Do some of those things I had managed to keep out of my schedule. See some of those places that just weren't visible from inside the box. In all honesty, I realize that I also wanted to bring forth qualities in myself that didn't really fit in the box. Determining that those things were important to me was the first step out. At first, I tried to be and do those important things from inside the box, but it became clear to me that "comfortable" and "predictable" were not part of the vision.

Getting out of a box of any kind is an interesting endeavor. For me, there were people who were cheering me on, individuals who were excited about what I wanted to create. And there were people who were doing their best to convince me that getting out of the box was at best a bad idea and at worst downright impossible. The greatest incentive was that I kept seeing more and more possibility as I took a stand for the things that are truly important to me.

My first steps out of the box have been a bit scary. There isn't a clear rut to follow, and I don't have a map to where I want to go. With so many options and so much wide open space, I could head in any direction, wander aimlessly, get completely lost, never really reach any destination at all. But instead of worrying too much about that, I started doing the things that I wanted to do... working on recording a large piece that has been sitting on the shelf for years, getting my second string quartet into the hands of professional musicians, scheduling Power of Connection courses, and putting the pieces in place to do more collaborative work with other artists. And I have the freedom right now to apply to artist colonies and pursue other opportunities that I've been putting off. My journey can hit all of the landmarks that I want it to.

At first I was criticizing myself for not having all of the pieces in place, for not having the whole journey figured out. Now I see that I can tell true north by keeping the destination in mind, and I can know the next steps by maintaining my commitment to the things that are most important to me. I may create a different kind of routine for myself, and I may realize at some point that I am just in a bigger box. But for now, I am willing to create a pathway and keep my eyes open for unexpected opportunities along the way. I know what I want. And I know who I am.

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