It takes a lot of faith of different varieties to do the things we need to be successful.
I talk a lot about clearing away, opening up, and just letting things happen but I don’t talk enough about how to do that. And I think faith is the key.
I don’t necessarily mean religious faith although that could be a part of it. I’m talking primarily about faith in ourselves and faith in the process.
When I’m backpacking, I sometimes feel like I could throw more effort into the venture and somehow get up the mountains more quickly. But that is a good way to get disenchanted with backpacking because it doesn’t always work that way. I’d much prefer thinking about letting the top of the mountain come to me.
But that takes faith. Faith that there actually is a top to the mountain – and I have certainly questioned this on a steep incline. Faith that every step is making progress despite how insignificant it feels. And it takes faith that whatever happens, assuming I survive the event, I will be a better person for having done it.
I was performing in a pit orchestra recently and was not feeling very successful with my intonation (especially given the infamously horrible listening environment that is most orchestra pits). I found myself getting more and more frustrated as the rehearsal went along as I tried harder and harder to force my intonation to slot into place. Eventually, I stopped focusing on my goal and started to focus on what I was doing. I realized that not only was I tense but also that I wasn’t really listening to the musicians around me. So I started concentrating on listening more intently to what was going on and, seemingly without trying, I found myself playing better in tune.
Instead of fixating on the top of the mountain, I had to have faith in myself that, if I concentrated on the process, the peak would come to me. I focused on the steps rather than the goal and I found myself suddenly succeeding.
I was irritated because I had lost faith not only in the process of the moment but also in my lifelong process of being a flutist. I lost faith in all of the tuner practicing I do on a daily basis, the interval training, and the tone exercises.
It’s easy to lose faith while pursuing worthwhile activities. As the cliche axiom goes, “nothing worth doing is easy”.
But we just have to remind ourselves to put one foot in front of the other and have faith that it will eventually take us somewhere cool.
(Image retrieved from thehikinglife.com)