So many times, after one of my concerts, someone comes up and says, “I wish I could play music like that!” The story usually goes like this: “I took piano lessons when I was a kid, but I didn’t think I was very good, so I quit” or, “I can read music from a book, but I’m afraid to improvise.”
At this point I wish I had an easy way to say what needs to be said like, “Follow your Joy” or “Let your love for music lead you and teach you.” These statements are true for those who ‘can hear’, but the fact of the matter is that resistance often comes up in us whenever we move towards fulfilling our dreams.
We can see it in ourselves in the form of thoughts like “I can’t”, “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t afford it (don’t have time),” “people will be jealous (won’t like me etc.)” or any of the thousands of reasons we grab onto when we start to get uncomfortable.
The trick is, just on the other side of uncomfortable is a new level of ability. Let me tell you a story.
As a kid, I had some musical talent and a teacher who really loved music. I managed to hack my way through the usual classical literature for kids, loving the music but not really ‘doing it justice’. By the time I was a sophomore in college the love for music was getting stronger. I took an audition for admission to the Eastman School Of Music. Mr. Easley, the admissions officer told me I wasn’t serious enough and I should try another school. He told me that even a good student would take more than a year to be admitted at my level. He would, however, allow me to study piano in the secondary school department.
How grateful I am now for his honesty! I got so angry at Mr. Easley that I decided to go for it anyway.
So I took the lessons, determined to succeed. Every day I went to the practice rooms, closed the door and faced an out of tune piano and my resistance. It wasn’t so bad, the music was lovely but I just couldn’t play it!
Each time I would sit down and play through the music as best I could, enjoying myself until I got to a hard spot. As soon as I started to really work on getting that spot right, I would suddenly feel anxious and just have to run out of the room to get a drink of water. Gradually I learned to come right back and work on the trouble spot.
After a while when I jumped up to run away I was able to stop at the door. It became funny when I was able to just run around the piano bench. Soon after that I could simply jump up and sit down. Finally, as I learned to stay with it, I began to be able to feel the resistance and still work on the music at the same time.
Resistance is the border patrol of who we think we are. As we meet resistance we see the limitations we have accepted about ourselves. Resistance can be harnessed. Once we learn to recognize it, we can remain open to the feeling, and move through it to a wider perspective.
This sounds simple and doesn’t always feel easy. To break through resistance we have to love our goal more than what we would cling onto.
So I say to you, my fellow dreamers, ‘Love your dreams, follow your Joy, stay with that which will make you grow’. For love is more powerful than resistance. (If we choose it.)
~ Richard Shulman
Excerpted from Breaking through Resistance, copyright 2013, RichHeart Music www.richheartmusic.com
Every Sunday, 11:00 am
Center for Spiritual Living
Asheville, North Carolina
Saturday, March 1 and 15, 2014
Sonny Thornton Trio at the Coal Fire Bistro
Greenville, South Carolina
Saturday & Sunday, March 22-23, 2014
"Open Your Heart & Mind to the Gift You Are" Seminar
Circle of Miracles Church
New Britain, Pennsylvania
Monday, March 24, 2014
"The Bliss of Being" Concert
Circle of Miracles Church
New Britain Pennsylvania
To book Richard Shulman for your upcoming event, see his profile at Luminary Voices - Richard Shulman.