Composing a Symphony (pt 2) / by Kendall R


Composing a Symphony
Originally uploaded by Lauren Barkume
(This is the 2nd part of a series I am posting around a week I spent isolated, cut-off from human contact in a cabin high in the mountains. You can read the 1st part HERE)

When I headed into solitude it wasn’t just to get the blood flowing again in those dried spaces in my soul. I was hoping to explore what it is I forgot to be, what it was that was dreamed in me so long ago. It is not a mistake that it takes blood flow to find the Dream again.

Though I had no TV, I did have my Macbook and a few movies to watch. One of which was ”Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” - a film that unusually gets me every time (must be the kid and creative in me). In beginning of the film Molly Mahoney says to Mr. Magorium:
”I’m stuck….When I was a kid I could play Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto and everyone was talking about my potential. Well, I’m 23 now and everyone’s still talking about my potential. But if you ask me to play the song I know best…. I’ll still play Rachmaninov’s 2nd.”
Mr. Magorium responds: ”May I suggest you stun the world with Molly Mahoney’s 1st!”
She says, ”I want to. But I am Stuck!”

Rachmaninov’s 2nd is no easy thing, and most people would be satisfied with even coming close to playing that piece of music. But it wasn’t Mahoney’s… it was someone else’s idea, someone else’s dream.

Shane Hipps once said, “We may borrow the dreams of people we envy. But if we come to terms with the fact that we are borrowing dreams outside of us, it can hurt.” And it leaves us spent and tired, or angry and controlling. I have known this hurt. Like Mahoney, I grew up with people talking of my potential. My potential for what, I never heard. And I have had quite the extraordinary life, doing some pretty amazing things, being involved with cool projects, creative ground-breaks, adventurous risk. Only, lately, have I felt the empty road of dreamless pursuits. I wouldn’t say I felt stuck, but I felt more like a gun for hire than a generatively creative man stepping into his skin.

Now the irony is, over the past several months - months wherein I’ve not been able to get anything off the ground other than various freelance writing/editing gigs, months where I’ve lost a lot of the normal things that give a person a sense of security and place – I have felt more in my skin on most days than ever before. Maybe that’s a result of Liminal space, “a place where boundaries dissolve a little and we stand there, on the threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to be.” After all, Israel spent 40ish years (translation: a very long time) in the wilderness un-learning to live like slaves while finding out who they really were all along – and it looked nothing like slavery.

Rachmaninov didn’t write his 2nd in one fell swoop. It took time. Mahoney’s 1st wasn’t a finished product but an ongoing composition played out each day. And I came to see some of the pieces to the puzzle that weren’t in view before that time in solitude – or they were but I didn’t trust them, wasn’t sure what to do about them.

Finally, Hipps says, “Are you pursuing the very thing you were made to be, that you simply are? If so, you will find that whatever challenges you face are faced with courage and hope. You’ll find that no matter how steep the hill gets, you’ll always have enough strength to climb it, because it’s just what you’re made to do.

These are the questions that have to be placed before us throughout life... our task is not to answer the questions once and for all. Our task is to keep those questions in front of us on a regular basis: Am I chasing someone else’s dream or Am I doing what I’m made to be?”