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“Shoulds” and the Rumblings of Manifestation

I’m back in Chernivtsi in Ukraine, where I’ve been a few times over the past year now, and while I like it here, it’s easy for me to see how having a sense of purpose or activity in my life helps me to feel easy and comfortable, and how feeling a little less structured can make me more uncomfortable. Today I got into the music school building in town to practice. Thanks to a phone call from Lidia’s mother and a box of sweets for the woman in charge of the building, I am now free to use the facilities there to practice piano. I played there for an hour and a half today, alternating between exercises and playing songs, with a portrait of rather stern looking slavic man overseeing my practice. It felt at times like he was grunting and whacking the piano with a baton, but somehow he actually felt like my teacher and I appreciated his support. I got to use the recital hall which has two grand pianos to choose from. Fun. The point of writing this is that when I feel like I a being productive or bettering myself in some way, then I feel good about myself, and when I am more aimless, then I feel worse. I just hate wasting too much time and feeling like I’m not accomplishing anything. It grates against me.

I do love playing piano and am starting to make some progress. My “vocabulary” seems to be growing so I can hear more chord progressions and play more by ear than ever before. I probably know 60-70 songs that I can play and sing. I feel I have many miles to go to actually play more fluent jazz piano, but I am encouraged with how far I’ve come so far, enough so to make me want to keep making strides… and head to the music school to practice every day while I’m here.

I realized today that while on “holiday,” I naturally give myself permission to not accomplish much of anything except relaxing and simplifying. When I’m no longer on holiday (and this holiday ended psychologically for me after the beach in Bulgaria) then I feel the need to be more productive. When I am at home, I feel this strongly, as home time certainly doesn’t feel like holiday time. I need to be making something, improving something, working on some business venture, or improving myself. Just easing through the day isn’t enough. Going for a nice long walk, meditating or exercising definitely counts for me though, so the bar of what constitutes accomplishment isn’t set so high really.

It’s interesting to see how my desire to accomplish much has receded over the years. I used to have a strong internal push that ushered me through undergraduate and graduate degrees, and an entrepreneurial streak which led me actively into the business world for about 9 years. I also spent several years designing and building my own home which satisfied that urge to accomplish/achieve as well. Nowadays, I’m starting to feel the nascent wellings of accomplishment desire, but I wouldn’t exactly call it “accomplishment,” but would suggest perhaps “manifestation desire.” I feel the urge to manifest in the world again, but the urge is perhaps a little more artistic and/or philanthropical. It’s not a full-on desire yet, but I can feel it’s rumblings. I have a lot of capacity to accomplish once I put my mind towards something. I think what’s really wanting for me right now is the actual idea, something to truly lean my weight into. Photography is interesting for me, but it doesn’t have that “full-on-throw-myself-into-a-big-project” energy to it. I do have fantasies stirring about in me of running an orphanage somewhere or building a school in a remote corner of the world. That kind of project I find very stimulating as it connects more to my heart as well as uses my practical, more worldly skills. Who knows what, really, but the rumblings are there.

Sometimes with all this traveling that I’ve been blessed to take on in the past year or two I start to feel a responsibility, a feeling like I need to do something grand with the opportunity that I have. My energy has been fairly inward over the past year so some extra-extravagant travel doesn’t feel like it fits me well, yet the feeling of “letting the world down” comes up for me like I “should” be doing more. I write about this “shouldness” because it feels very connected to this feeling I have around needing to accomplish things with the time that I have. Although I know it very well, I think I often lose sight of the fact that we are all born with only so much precious life energy and when you couple that with physical, intellectual, emotional, financial, artistic and practical capacities it seems a shame to not harness that energy in some way for the greater good of our planet and/or it’s inhabitants. I’ll be curious what might arise over time with this, but I do wonder if I’ll “rally” at some point to take on a project larger than simply myself and my individual betterment. Any ideas?

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