Benjamin Zander discusses “The Way Things Are” in Chapter 7 and “Giving Way to Passion” in The Art of Possibility. This is the core of Buddhist teachings as well, as well as a large body of counseling/psychiatric practices.
After working lots a factory line and retail jobs through my early 20s, getting paid to do things that I really loved was such a joy. I became one of those people who find themselves on an upward trajectory for many decades. I taught college in my 20s and was lucky to be in teaching situations which invited new ideas. After a successful stage in commercial music production, I came to Full Sail at age 32 to teach Synclavier Digital Music system. I had a lot to say about how we could improve the curriculum. Again, I was taken seriously. Moving to Music History and Introduction to the Media arts, i poured ideas and love into very successful courses. Allowing Course Directors to create their curriculum invites ownership and passion. Such passion danced in step with growing notoriety in the field of classical composition and a healthy beautiful family.
But what goes up always comes down. A great boss means everything, I found, because not all of them welcome creativity. I moved up in the company carrying the assumption that I was to do what I’d done in the past – find creative solutions. I felt called to bring heart and a feeling of overall community to an unrecognized and neglected faculty and staff. Instead, I was to be a yes man, not allowed to push back. I was so naive to not know this! Crashing has such a hard won wisdom.
Accepting the way things are requires meditation and honesty. Such processing is helpful with a trusted spouse or friend. The pain involved might be something like what a tree feels when being pruned. It is necessary for health – and absolutely painful. Understanding your own part in things that go awry, uncovering unwholesome desires for status and access – Leaving something of yourself is like dying. Rebirth follows. Anyone who holds onto their spark has to get good at this process. I struggle with this daily.
The way through is holding out for our passion. But, passion can be confused with desire which leads back to disillusionment; which must be pruned off. And patience. Sometimes you know you’re in the wrong place, but must wait for the time to leave to ripen. That’s where leading from where you are becomes a powerful practice. Finding possibility in the narrow places. Crashes and the pruning have reshaped me. My passion for teaching is stronger, my artistic and scientific directions clearer. Top Gun Keith has died – and, as hard as it has been for me to accept this, my life is again full of sparkling possibilities without those beautiful folks flying the DC3 in the clouds.

  • Reply

    Yesenia Martinez

    23 07 2010

    I enjoyed your Keith and I am glad that you noted that these practices are common in the psychiatry and counseling field. I also liked the part where you discussed that leaving something of yourself is like dying. I agree that in order for positive change to occur, we must make sacrifices. I am happy to know that yours have paid off. Good Job~

  • Reply

    Joy Flack

    24 07 2010

    Keith, I feel your growth as an individual. I know the �Yes� man routine, and the route to being the saviour for everyone. When you move into position that has running wheels and a driver, it is hard not to step on anyone�s toes. When to inspire and lead is not always the option, or is it better to follow and sneak attack? You will always inspire and find the possibilities if you put it in the universe. As a faculty we had to read the �Secret� and I learned a lot about myself similar in little ways to our text. I always look at things that don�t go my way and say if I am still standing then was it really that bad…unless it is the dentist. Keri Hilson, Kanye West, and Ne-Yo, sing it in �Knock You Down.� I think it applies to relationships, but I think of it in the real world.

  • Reply

    Karen Smith

    24 07 2010

    I found it interesting, but not surprising, that we both wrote specifically about Chapter 7 and I quoted the Bible and you mentioned Buddhist teachings. I have found that even when we think religions are very far apart from each other, they just are NOT that far apart. Yes, there are differences, but there are also similarities. I think this shows it. You went to a low spot, so did I. But God brought both of us through those spots and they probably won’t be the last ones. Pretty neat. Thanks for your writing.

  • Reply

    Patrick Welch

    25 07 2010

    Keith I think that life is an exercise in reinventing oneself as a response to the constant of change. This reinvention can arise from disillusionment, indifference and just plain boredom. Shakespeare said, �to thine own self be true.� So what did Polonius mean by this when he gave this advice to his son leaving home? I think the answer is both simple and profound. The simple answer is by knowing who you are, we have a constant that is a foundational background to work from, when change comes we know we simply have to say is this change part of who I am or is this change in juxtaposition to who I am. The profound Keith comes from the idea that knowing one�s self is really is the beginning of all knowledge, a beginning from which to operate and make decisions. Having a base from which to operate gives us certainty and lowers stress, making reinvention a less common occurrence. An interesting paradox here is that reinvention ultimately leads us to self-discovery. The final thought I leave you is that all change begins and ends with you.

  • Reply

    ms. stacey

    25 07 2010

    I think is great that you have not allowed others to discourage what you know is correct. Your passion and desire may be what allow you to move forward and make what you think could be impossible possible. After reading your entry you made me think of a quote that I sometimes forget, but I believe it can apply to you as well… Without struggle there is no progress (F.Douglas) Keep your passion alive because when one door closes you are ready when the next one opens.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *