I first fell in love with the cello when I was young and there were no rules.
All I knew was that when I picked up that beautiful instrument, and pulled the bow across the perfectly tense strings, waves of energy cascaded through my whole body. And that was more than enough…for a while. Soon my mind clamored for more direction on how to play beautiful songs, my body sought ways to align itself with the instrument so that it could create pure tones with the least amount of effort or strain. Thus began a long path of study and education and…practice, practice, practice.
But somewhere along the way I got a little tied up in being “perfect.” No, not a little tied up, A LOT tied up. The better I played, the more intensely comparative and competitive I grew. Self-criticism went through the roof. Any time I didn’t feel like “the absolute best,” I felt like exactly the opposite: “the absolute worst.” It was debilitating. My plummeting self esteem and feelings of not being “enough,” stopped me every time I tried to play or participate in anything musical. I resisted direction. I abhorred practicing. What was once filled with love and curiosity had now somehow become filled with monotony and dread. It was as if once I realized there was always going to be someone better than me, and that I would never be good enough for even my own standards, I simply quit trying. Eventually, I quit playing. I gave up.
At University on a full-ride-music-scholarship, I suffered through performing the minimum requirements (which for me meant nothing less than straight-A’s), but the joy was gone. Soon after I graduated the cello was relegated to the bedroom corner for many years. I plunged into the world of the office place. I worked high-paying jobs with 401k’s, health insurance, and paid vacations. I set up my life so that I was continually praised for being “more than enough.”
At first I felt relieved. But over time I felt empty. Something was missing. To my soul, it felt like I was jamming a pencil in my eye every time I sat behind a computer screen. I thought about the cello from time to time, but there was no way I was going back to that grueling, humiliating vocation of playing my heart out and feeling inferior. The very thing that once brought me the most joy now represented the worst in the worlds of right/wrong, good/bad, better/worse, worthy/worthless. It would only break my heart again.
But the Universe, God, Destiny, my soul…call it whatever you will…had a different plan for me. Through a series of happy, and sometimes not-so-happy seemingly random occurrences, I found my way to you, to this page, to this performance, to this music, to this moment. Or perhaps I should say, you, this music, and this moment found your way to me?
I would like to share my journey with you from pure passion to pure pain and back again. I would like to share the great massive failures, the illnesses, the losses, and the wild successes and triumphs of my life thus far. But more than that, I would like to share the beautiful music that slowly, gingerly started to peek through the cracks of my fear-filled, competitive, stuck, ego. I would like to share how music brought me back to life, both literally and figuratively. And even more than that, I would like to share a new way that the world can listen to music, can play music, and can use music as a microcosmic metaphor for our macrocosmic lives and the existence of our whole entire Universe. I know, seems big and dramatic, but it’s actually quite simple and straight. And quite terrifying, soothing and enjoyable…much the way surfing the biggest wave of your life might feel…
Without further ado, I invite you to close your eyes and open your minds. I invite you to breathe in…and breathe out…to expand and swell and relax, to shrink and tense and tighten, and then relax again. I invite you to feel every feeling you can possibly stand to feel. I invite you to change your life forever...