A strange loop, indeed.

The first step of shifting reality is to visualize that new reality that you wish to manifest. But what happens when you can’t see what you want your life to look like? That has been, in a nutshell, the crux of my problem…or so I thought

After trying for two weeks to visualize what I wanted my life to look like, I was stumped. Writer’s block of the highest order. And then I heard some gorgeous music emanating from outside my door. A sonorous solo cello, mesmerizing, blinding in its beauty. In just a few seconds of listening, I was transported to another time, another place. It was enough to inspire me to take up music again when I can manage. Only my instruments (cello and piano) and I are separated by 1100 miles, a closed border, travel restrictions, family drama, and perhaps the greatest barrier of all, by time. Years of being apart, of silence, of collecting dust. Which would make me starting up again probably more painful than I can tolerate, both physically and emotionally.

I go to investigate the source of this music. What is this? My friend tells me about the performer, who he knows personally. A cellist, who creates music for films and plays on stage. He lives in the country about an hour outside Montreal, in an area called the Eastern Townships, where he farms medicinal herbs for market. The LA philharmonic will call him up while he’s knee deep in dirt, and in muck boots and all, he’ll hop on a plane to go do a performance. I stammered upon hearing this. What a life! An absolute dream! Maybe if I had never given up on my music, maybe that’s my life would have resembled.

‘And he hates it. He’s miserable.’

Somewhere an old record player screeched to a halt. How could that be? I wondered. How could a person so successful, leading what I would consider the perfect life, a dream life, be miserable?

Are you’re one of those people who believe that everything has a purpose?Sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. I went back to my own life, to the source of why I had stopped music. I was a determined young kid, who never had to be told to practice. I wanted more than anything to reach that level of mastery of my instrument, and by my teenager years was well on my way, despite learning challenges, despite a home-life flipped upside down. But then I was unfortunate to listen to a bitter teacher who told me that I’d never be what I’d want to become, despite how hard I’d work. That I wasn’t good enough, and never would be, and there was no place for what I wanted to become in this world. In a few sentences, that teacher crushed my dream and ground it into the pavement. So I stopped. And a hole in my life opened up that I could never fill up. And then too much time had past, and the window was closed. But looking back at that life not lived, I wonder what was the point of a young, hardworking girl’s dream being smashed to pieces, that has sent her life into a tailspin ever since? Was I meant to forever wonder rootless, my life in constant upheaval, unable to pick up the pieces? To get on the endless loop of falling down and pick myself up over and only to fall again? Isn’t that what everyone is doing? Isn’t that what life is all about? I can’t help but wonder that if my reality were to shift to that guy’s life, that dream life, gardening, creating gorgeous music that people love, I would never, ever, not for one single second, take it for granted.

And then last night I read “I am a Strange Loop” by Douglas Hofstadter, in which he writes:

“In the living room we have a book of the Chopin etudes for piano. All of its pages are just pieces of paper with dark marks on them, just as two-dimensional and flat…and yet, think of the powerful effect that they have had on people all over the world for 150 years now. Thanks to those black marks on those flat sheet of paper…millions of listeners, including you and me, the profound emotions that churned in Fredric Chopin’s heart, thus affording all of us some partial access to Chopin interiority…. to his soul. The marks on those sheets of paper are no less than soul-shards– scattered remnants of the shattered soul of Chopin. Each of of those strange geometries of notes has a unique power to bring back to life, inside our brains some tiny fragment of the internal experiences of another human being– his sufferings, his joys, his deepest passions and tensions… and makes little fragments of his soul dance again… in our souls….”

In my quest for shifting reality, I am developing a series of children’s adventure books about music and science. Underneath, they carry inspirational messages about having courage to try something new, about having patience with yourself to make mistakes and to keep on coming back to it every day. To never give up.

You don’t take happiness or any sort of success for granted. After reading Hofstadter, I wonder if this project is the scattering of my soul-chards. Maybe it is a message in a bottle. Maybe one day my nieces will read my books and understand why things turned out the way they did for their Abba. Or maybe they’ll never be that curious. The hidden blessing in falling, of having a dream taken from you, is that it teaches you to never take success for granted. Of course all of this is still conjecture for now. But in the meantime, if my words can touch just one person’s life, to encourage a single person to not give up, then I’d know that all of my struggles were indeed worth it.

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