Inspired by Life's Music

Pianist Stephen Hough is one of the most successful performers of our time. He wrote a brief reflection describing how, at the beginning of his career, he was pressed between needing to learn much new music and the cost of this endeavor on his physical and emotional life. He states that “I would only really find joy in my music if I was not expecting the music itself to provide me with joy. If I could stand back from it then I could see it in perspective, a partner in rather than a provider of happiness.”

the tasks we perform every day are like the music Mr. Hough performs; raising children, studying for exams, serving others. Our small acts of love and kindness represent individual notes in life’s on-going performance. Sometimes they bring joy in and of themselves. Other times they just seem tiresome. They are heavy burdens; weighing down our souls as we strive to perfect their execution.

Much of our lived experience is like learning to play a new piece of music. It’s about practice, repetition, mistakes, timing. We feel tired, inadequate, insecure. That’s all part of learning to play. Few have the privilege and pain of being a concert pianist. But everyone of us is the author, performer, and participant of our own unique and necessary composition. When the world closes in, step back and look with wider perspective at the variations in your melody, and celebrate its uniqueness and beauty. We are partners in creation.

When you hear an inspiring piece of music, Give it your full attention and reflect on the work and love in its execution. Remind yourself that your life represents uniqueness and beauty. Remember that while individual tasks may be unpleasant, they contribute to the harmony of your performance. Take time to find joy in your partnership with life’s creative power.