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When I was a young girl, my parents purchased a beautiful new piano, and when it was delivered to our home, I was given the opportunity to learn how to play it. At first I loved the idea and so the proper books were purchased and a teacher was found. It was about a month in I discovered that this was a challenge. Not only did I need to learn how to read symbols, some Italian words and fingering sequences, how to coordinate my left hand and my right hand, but I also learned I needed to hold proper posture and spend time practicing!  

This would require a lot more discipline than I wanted to acquire at the time! However with encouragement, a lot of patience and possible bribery (I’m not naming names to protect the innocent and the guilty), I decided to stick with it. At first it was more intellectual information: learning staffs and notes and how to place my fingers on the keys, memorizing treble and bass clefs, and learning sharps and flats and whether that meant white keys or black keys.  It was a lot like learning a whole new language. 

As a little more time went on, my practice hours were increased and something wonderful awoke inside of me.  One day much later on, with the sun streaming through the glass of the bay window of our living room,  I closed my eyes and let my fingers dance on the piano keys, playing only what I was feeling. My fingers had already learned the keyboard and were now comfortable in striking the correct chords and music was transformed into its true meaning. Emotions without words began to be expressed and the ability to convey a message became so much stronger.  A talent and skill were being honed. A wonderful blessing was happening too.  

Every day since I have loved music with a greater appreciation. I have seen music change the environment it’s played in so quickly. I’ve witnessed its healing effects. I’ve seen music provide energy and give life back to the weary. Music can bring tears or smiles when words fail us. It’s such a gift. There are times when we may forget why we went into the kitchen,  but when a certain song is played we transport to the memories that are attached to it with ease!  Experiences that allow us to feel are so important. 

A similar process can be the answer to when we need direction or answers in life – like a compass guiding us home, indicating where our true strikes are:  

1- Acquisition of knowledge

2- Application of that knowledge

3- Allowing our hearts and souls to seek out true expression

This process can result in our happiness and joy.

Each one of us has been endowed with talents, skills, and abilities which impact our life’s journey through humanity. The opportunity to use them with integrity and purpose is presented with each new day.  When we choose to use them with integrity to express ourselves in the way we speak and act, our results can become beautiful chords in the music of life.  May we choose true notes so that goodness and love are the results.  

Once one has mastered this, then one can share with others. This is how the beauty of each individual is enhanced and our world becomes a better place.  

To be or not to be is still the question!

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause: there’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!

The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons

Be all my sins remember’d!

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

What will you do within the days ahead? What will you do with the time and talent that has been given to you? I hope you will choose to honor your life with integrity and purpose. I hope that your talents, skills and abilities are used to create a wonderful, full life with goodness and that your true strikes are abundant. Play on!