Finding the right vision

Reading a fellow composer's post today on 'The Achilles Heel of Sour Grapes' (feeling jealous of other's success) made me think of how we view people who complain too much or spread too much negativity, and how that might, unbeknowest to the person involved, inhibit their career. It prompted me to remember a time a dozen years ago when I was going through Julia Cameron's 'The Artist's Way' with a friend. We'd read a chapter every week or two, do some of the creative exercises, and then meet to discuss over coffee.

We got to a chapter that asked you to visualize your dream and write it down. Of course mine had to do with music... and the more I thought about doing the exercise the more angry I felt. I was filled with sour grapes, and then some.

But I went ahead and wrote down my dream, which was, me dressed in a beautiful evening gown, standing on stage in front of a cheering audience on their feet after my world-shattering performance. I read it over. I was mad because despite the years of training and trying that hadn't come true. I cried, I wailed, I slammed a door or two.

After a couple of days of this, I started to think about that vision more deeply.

I realized the goal of that 'critically acclaimed performance' was to prove to aaaaalllllll of the many people in my life who had called me names (school) or put me down (family, work) that they were wrong, wrong, wrong! The vision said, 'Look at me!! I've accomplished something, I'm recognized, I'm 'better than you creeps'! - See how wrong you were to treat me like that?'

Once I had that realization, I really started to see the negativity, the TON of sour grapes, that went into this supposed dream of mine. And I knew then that this was not who I really wanted to be.

I was able to look at this vision again and ask myself what I truly desired. What did my real dream look like?

I'm a music soul. Yes, I'd like to be 'more successful' in terms of paying the bills and saving for retirement and even perhaps have a little recognition in the biz of being a good person, a reliable creative, etc. I believe that comes through continually learning craft, persevering through the doubts and rejection, building skills & experience, and most importantly, creating sincere relationships with other creative/musical people who walk the same path and understand. (It's amazing how much support I see offered in songwriting and composing groups, 50-90, NaNoWriMo, FAWM, TAXI, etc).

But the best thing I learned in this TAW exercise was that my true vision is to wake up and 'be' IN the music everyday. Whether singing, playing, practicing, teaching, performing, reading scores, composing. And that's what I do my best to do. Imperfectly, doubtfully, joyfully.