It Takes a Vision AND...


My daughter has been given the opportunity to play in the band at school. She had to have good grades to qualify and she worked hard each day to make sure that happened, going above and beyond requirements. She was clear on her vision and went after her dream. She tried out the instruments with enthusiasm and finally selected a flute.

Yesterday she brought home the flute for the first time. It's not anything like what I thought it would look like, but it is designed for kids starting out. Her first assignment was to practice each day in front of the mirror with the mouthpiece only so she can get used to how it works.

I'm happy for her and also impressed by her determination when she really wants something. This business of simple starter work seems so tedious to me: 15 minutes a day of whistling, essentially, and yet it reminds me of the necessity and importance of small details that will end up making a big difference. Once she gets this piece of the process firmly in place, she will be ready to make some music.

Had I been in her shoes, I might have given up. It makes too much noise and might make people uncomfortable. It's not very fun to do this for 15 minutes. I have no way of knowing if I will actually get better at it. Those are the excuses I could think of off the top of my head. But my daughter is there, with a beautiful beginner's mind and a vision of what could be, and that is enough. She thought it was great fun! I am inspired by her example and am resolved to approach some of my current challenges with a new determination.

I have envisioned many dreams, but argued myself out of pursuit with plenty of excuses. Why? I had the vision but I didn't want to backtrack to the beginner's mind. There's a chorus of I should know this by now in my head. Yet it takes both to stay the course and realize the dream: vision AND the humility of starting from scratch.

Is there something in your life right now where you need to give yourself permission to be a beginner (in spite of that singsong chorus of you should know this by now)? You have all you need to begin. The starter work is just as important as the envisioned performance. Let yourself enjoy the process. Bring what you have. It truly is enough.

Jamie Bagley