Monday, September 10, 2012

Today Is Your Best Day So Far

My mother, as many of you know by now, is my hero and my role model of strength.  Two days after she had major brain surgery to remove a very large cancerous mass, she had one goal.  To walk that day.  She wasn’t focused on what just happened or what may or may not happen tomorrow.  She wanted to get out of that bed, walk to physical rehab and walk up the three steps.  Nothing else truly mattered to her that day (except, as always, that Dad had something to eat for lunch and didn’t get lost!). 

I was with her the day she climbed those stairs.  It was the same day they gave her a walker to help her along (which, after her death, we gave back for someone else to use).  It was difficult to walk those steps.  She was slightly confused and very overwhelmed but she was determined and focused.  What mattered was now…this moment that she was given…this blip on the timeline of her life…this is what mattered the most.

I am accused sometimes of being too positive. It has been difficult to remain positive since Mom’s passing but I give it my best.  What really drives me crazy are people who are negative based on what has happened in the past and what they perceive will happen in the future.  I don’t understand that way of thinking.  When I’m negative it’s about the moment right now – something is happening right now that is giving me reason to feel not so positive.  But I tend to quickly pick myself up because I realize there is nothing you can do about the past.

When I taught voice and piano lessons there is a lesson I learned from my voice professor that I carried to my own teaching (tone of lessons, actually, but here is a great one).  His name is Dr Craig Maddox and I am proud to say that I studied in his studio.  I learned so much about myself and there are so many tidbits of information from within his studio that I absorbed and use still today.  He taught me that once I made a mistake it was not my business to get upset about it.  Learn from it and move on.  There is nothing, absolutely NOTHING I could do about a wrong note sung or a technique I dropped on a note.  It’s out there for the world to hear – they heard it – it’s done.  You can’t grab it and say, “oh never mind”.  You can’t erase it – you can’t do anything about it so move on.  Don’t waste your energy worrying about what just happened – learn, grow, stand proud, and work on right now.  Don’t worry about that phrase that’s coming up in two measures – the note you are singing right this very moment is the most important and once it is sung you move on to the next.

Most of my students figured it out quickly.  Move on and focus your energy on what’s happening in the moment.  Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “with the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future.  I live now.”

Bill Waterson, author and cartoonist of the famous series Calvin and Hobbes, said it well when he wrote, “We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that we don't take time to enjoy where we are.” 

Look, the point I’m trying to make here is that perhaps you spend too much time worrying about what you did and how it will affect your future.  You are missing the point of living.  The point of living is right NOW.  This moment…what are you doing today?  Get up out of the darkness you wrapped yourself in, move away from the sharp objects that you placed around you to cause you pain, and wake up from the sadness that you invited to take over your being…there’s a whole world out there and it’s your responsibility to yourself to live today.  Prepare for the future by living today and the future may very well surprise you.  But live in your current present and behold your future is already here. 

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”
Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

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