I had a zampoña lesson the other day after an absence of two weeks. For some reason, I was nervous. I didn't realize I was nervous until I started shaking. René noticed. Neither of us could understand why I was nervous, so we kind of chatted for a long while. René is amazing. I understood all of what he had to say, but it made me sad. Very very sad. All of what he was expressing is a thing of the past for me. I once felt for music in the same way he does now. I still do feel the same for music, but I have put music out of my life for the past year. And that has proven to be a very good decision, although an accidental decision it may be. I never mentally decided, 'Enough with music. It will no longer be a part of my life.' That just kind of happened.
Without my music mentality, I have been really happy. I have discovered many things about myself. I have changed in ways that I still can't believe. I have changed for the better. I have found this sense of peace. I have lived the last few months of my life without worrying about the external things in life. I have discovered "self-referral," as Deepak Chopra puts it. Instead of seeking the approval from others, I have found approval within myself. I never had that once in my life before I made it to Bolivia. This is a very powerful thing. When I started zampoña lessons here, I was doing very well. I didn't make perfection my goal. I wasn't looking for praise. I wasn't ever trying to please my teacher. I was just in it for the fun. And with that new mindset, the praise came anyway. It came more than it ever came when I was doing music in high school. More than when I was trying so hard to please everyone in the first place. When I quit worrying about things outside myself, everything around me improved. I quit trying to control everything. I quit trying to control the reactions I got out of people. Hell, I quit even caring if I got a reaction at all.
I lost this powerful way of thinking in my lesson the other day though. I think I know why. René started that amazing talk about music. He doesn't know my past with music. He has no idea how much I just wanted to sit there and cry. Cry because I understand everything he was talking about. Cry because I really do miss being able to sit in the band room and practice alone until 11:30 on a school night. Cry because he is so inspiring to me and he doesn't even know it. Every little thing he said held some place in my heart, but I forgot about those things until he reminded me. He dredged up some old feelings that I thought I had put behind me. After crying myself to sleep that night, I woke up pretty hideous the next morning. And I felt pretty crappy all day. But I didn't let it get the best of me as I would have done before Bolivia. I just kept myself busy. I thought a lot. And I organized my thoughts, thanks to my mother and a good friend. I left from volunteering the next morning and felt really happy. I had forgotten about my worries while I was working with those children.
I think that I was nervous because I was trying to please René. I lost my new mindset in that instant. Instead of being just something goofy to do while in Bolivia, zampoña turned into something more serious for me. I wanted to play really well, and I wanted René to recognize that. I was searching for his praise because he turned into something more special for me. René became someone more important thatn just 'my zampoña teacher.' He is René now. He is a person I am happy to be acquainted wiht. He is a person whose thoughts I understand. He is a person I want to keep in my life. He is a person I want to make happy. So with that change, everything fell apart. I just tried too hard.
So I know I love music. I know that I can't force it out of my life, but it can no longer be the focal point of my life either. I have officially made the decision to put music behind me, and I am happy with that decision. I have no plans to pursue music. Before Bolivia, that confused me. If I wasn't going to pursue music, what would I do?! Oh my goodness! I have no future! But now I do have a future. And it is really positive. I was introduced to a great new major called Global Resource Systems. In short, I get to help the world with that major, and I am really excited. Through volunteering with some amazing children, I have realized how selfish I have been all my life. I spent four years of high school positively hysterical. I never once did anything to help anyone else. I was constantly planning my future and thinking only of myself. That is so horrible. Here, I have actually experienced the beauty of helping others instead of just thinking about helping others and believing that made me a good enough person. Now, I feel like I really am a good person, and I want to keep that feeling for the rest of my life. Before, I was sad about leaving music behind, because I never saw an alternative. I felt confused and lost. Now, I have an alternative. And it is really great. I am excited. I am not confused. I can have music in my life, but I can't let it rule my life. I can't always be searching for praise. Instead of searching for praise, I am now giving praise. I am not quite so selfish. It feels amazing.
In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, it is stated that being "immune to criticism" is a good thing. I agree. My only problem is that it was never mentioned that being immune to praise might be a good thing as well. I believe that as soon as I quit searching for praise in all my relationships, I will truly find peace. When I quit worrying about the approval of others, "there is an absence of fear, there is no compulsion to control, and no struggle for approval or external power." When I do that, the approval comes naturally.
So I woke up this morning and was refreshed. I can't explain it. I always say that I am high on life when I get really happy and giggly with my close friends. Right now, I really mean that quite literally. I sat at the computer this morning and simply existed. My mind was quiet. I didn't want to be at the computer. I didn't want anything exterior to tamper with my frame of mind. so I just sat there all empty and such. I felt blissful. Simplistic. I experienced "infinite silence." And then I emailed Brad Bonner to tell him I am high on life. :) Then I realized this morning would be the perfect time to start reading Deepak Chopra's book. I was feeling all loopy and philosophical. I was in the right frame of mind for a little deep thinking. so I thought. Then I put some of those thoughts into this blog. And now I am just happy and content.
I think this blog has been really great for me. Writing my feelings has always been so much easier than saying them. It feels less personal and less intimidating. I am not afraid to be completely honest in my blog. Probably because I know I won't break down crying half way through it. :) I don't feel pressured to express my feelings in a different way as I would if I were saying this face-to-face with someone. I simply say what I feel and then hope later that you won't think I am insane. And if you do think I am insane, then go right ahead. I'll feel good all the same.
I also want to say that I think self-help books are a really funny thing. I believe they are only truly useful to those that have already experienced what the book has to offer. Such books serve merely as guidance along the way to awesomeness if you are already on that path. Every time I start to feel awesome and learn some of life's mysteries, I usually whip out the philosophy. Only at those times do I really understand what a book is talking about. If I have experienced it already. The books really just organize what I am already experiencing. I think very few people pick up a self-help book and decide to make changes according to that book. You gotta do that stuff for yourself. Plus, we're all too skeptical to really believe what a self-help book has to say until you experience it anyway. They are like infomercials. And who doesn't love laughing at infomercials? They are full of caca half the time.
Also, and I only half-apologize for being so blunt, but if I ever go through 9 months of pregnancy, the pain of pushing 8 pounds out of my vagina, and then raising that 8 pounds, I am shipping that 8 pounds out on a Rotary Youth Exchange as soon as that 8 pounds is of age. And that 8 pounds shall be required to do volunteerism. I refuse to bring another selfish human being into this world.