NPR hosted a feature recently asking folks to recount the first piece of classical music they fell in love with. When I first started listening, I thought “what a random feature!” And then I heard something inspiring.
Among the stories was a woman who’d been homeless (read about Ariane Myasaki), working holding a sandwich board. She’d been able to save up enough for a discman, but then only had a few dollars left over; enough to buy a recording of Beethoven (Symphony No. 6, “Pastorale” … listen to it!). She played it as she worked, and in a single moment, it brought her fully into the world around her. And then this:
“Because of that symphony, that moment, I decided to dedicate myself to music. I got my GED. I went to community college and got an Associate’s in Flute Performance, and another in Humanities and Social Science. …”
In a single moment! Her life was changed forever.
me too, please!
It set me to thinking about how I feel suddenly changed. These most recent efforts to get fit, there’s something else in them. It’s not just “I must lose weight,” or “I want to feel good in clothes again.” I am working toward goals I never have before: I want to be fit. I want to be athletic. I want to push my body and see where it takes me. I want to bring myself to challenges and meet them, exceed them even.
This is all incredibly new, and it feels like it sprang from nothing.
I know I’ve felt deeply inspired by a blogger I follow, Ms. Bitchcakes. Her attitude is not to be believed. Her challenges are greater than mine have ever been and she’s found the tools to work through them. I know that in reading her posts something in me clicked. Her blog may be my “single moment.”
But I also know that it’s more than that; and that Ariane Myasaki wouldn’t have turned to music if there wasn’t already something else working inside her to tell her it was right.
single moments: the unplugging
And because I’m set to thinking about things in metaphor, I wondered how it is these single moments work. I came up with this:
Picture a funnel set over a vessel. And I am filling that funnel continuously with various things. The funnel gets heavier, sometimes overflows. Sometimes gets spilled all over the place and I have to start again. So I fill the funnel with all my familiar things. But the vessel remains empty.
And finally, I realize the funnel is plugged. With gunk. “That’s it!” So I unplug it, and then there’s a gush and the vessel is slowly filled with those things I’ve been working so hard to fill it with.
The single moment is the unplugging. But only the unplugging. It lets loose things that have been there all along and finally have a means of escape.
it’ll still be work
I have a feeling all those years Ariane spent in school were difficult, harder still because of where she started.
I don’t assume that my single moment of inspiration will carry me effortlessly through all the changes I have coming. But damn if it doesn’t seem a hell of a lot easier.