Remember Why We Do This

It is easy to get distracted by the task at hand and forget about our real goals in life.

When backpacking, I often get caught up in the momentary struggle. I get distracted by the act of hauling myself up the side of a mountain and I forget some of the reasons I even hike.

I don’t hike so that I can torture myself by carrying 40 pounds across rough terrain. I don’t hike so that I can feel like my feet are about to fall off. I definitely don’t hike so that I can eat dehydrated food.

I hike so that I can engage in the act of finding something. I’m never sure what it is and sometimes I don’t find it. Maybe I’m looking for myself and how nature brings out different parts of me. I could continue to speculate.

But it is easy to forget that we struggle for a reason.

I recently competed in a flute competition in Raleigh, NC and preparing for it consumed me. 1,000 thoughts per minute ran through my head about technique, expression, traveling, what if I don’t make it to the finals?, how will I play my accompanist?, when to warm up, WHERE to warm up, how to warm up, how the judges would feel about that passage I’m playing sort of weird, etc. And this went on for weeks. I was climbing a mountain and I was completely consumed by the thought of the steps it would take to get to the top.

After it was over, I remembered a text I had sent to my teacher weeks before. It said “I don’t care if I never win a competition or audition as long as I can communicate what I’m feeling.” In that moment, I remembered the real reason I was climbing this mountain: so I could find some part of myself and be able to communicate it.

I write a lot about trusting the process and continuing to put one foot in front of the other. But none of it means anything if we forget that we do it for a reason and that that reason has nothing to do with climbing mountains or winning competitions.

Whether we hike or play music or just go to work every day, we have to remember that we don’t do this just do it. We do this to learn something about life and maybe ourselves.

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