Something that brings light, excitement, depth, and strength to life, wouldn’t you want to have a piece of it?
When I was a child, I believed human beings could achieve whatever they could dream of, even if their physical predisposition did not make the idea forthcoming. I thought the human will was a powerful weapon against the odds and that there were invisible allies within and around to help us leap.
This certainty weighed tons in my overall outlook of life, which made the strong rejection it generated in the people surrounding me, incomprehensible. Thus, I witnessed the walls erected around this precious idea in total bewilderment. As children we do not stop to question our angels or demons until something happens that renders them troublemakers or figments of our imagination to be overgrown in due time.
It is hard to prove what cannot be felt or seen unless one is open to the possibility, or bears the unwavering faith of precocious wisdom and sight. I suppose something in me experienced the contrast of reality and held to that luminous magic world behind the walls and fences that parceled the skies and hid the flowing currents of dreams in the making.
Eat Poop, Billions of Flies Cannot Be Wrong
A lie repeated many times becomes the truth! Yes and no…it might be that the way our thoughts and emotions vibrate beget more of the same energy creating an incontrovertible circle of crap from which is hard to unhook ourselves if we are unaware of our fears, irresolute pains, and regrets. This is how we end up soaked by unfulfilling narratives and drowned in the individual parades of muddy waters of unquestioned beliefs and inflexible routines.
Discounting beliefs and moving ahead can be terrifying when the terrain is unknown, and we fear ending up balancing on a cliff or wrecked in a gutter. Nevertheless, some people are not meant to drive the highways, some, like me, are distracted and pulled in by overgrown trails in need of heavy arms, strong scythes, and a firm footing. We are meant to walk without maps, to follow an inner compass never mind if at times it seems to play against us.
When truths clash and contradictions flag long-held statements, when struggle marks your every minute and pain and rejection become unbearable, there is no choice but to follow our instincts. Consciousness or faith? Who cares, both abhor renouncing. Hence, we leave the familiar grounds and walk the lonely path of inner discovery.
The Ghosts of the Past
As an adult, I understand how upbringing and culture influence our choices. Our level of awareness has nothing to do with our level of education and opportunities. By the time we can wield the sword of identity, we have been already exposed and perhaps crushed under the not so liberating layers of traditions, familiar ways, and abstractions covered in the thick frosting of prevailing “how to’s ” and right and wrongs.
Many of the ‘elders” in my family were already dead when I was born or died in my early years. My family secrecy tendency made it harder to explore “similarities” and the “takes after” were reduced to generalizations.
The law of action and reaction made it clear that I had many traits displayed by the ghosts of the family past. It was the only explanation for the undeserved antagonism to what I held so dear and considered sacred.
Do – re – mi
Music made its first appearance when I was seven, and as it came it was quickly taken away. But music is unforgettable, and it has stricken so hard, that by the time I was about to finish high school, it came back clashing against any possible choice for the future that did not include it, an avalanche coursing through my veins and destroying my whole world in its path. The tower of daily life crumbled, its merciless boulders disintegrating, smashing bonds, achievements, and loyalties. Classical music made its appearance, and the ghost of beloved composers joined the flanks of the irreverent ones with ties to my forbidden family tree.
Music worked an inescapable spell, like the one cast upon me by nature, books, and open skies. I graduate from high school with honors and threw my degree in the basket of an incipient pianist to be, already too old to dream of becoming a professional.
Here be Dragons
The soul does not care about parent’s expectations or age. I shied away from becoming a doctor, a diplomat, a sociologist, or a translator to end in constant battle with my family and running after private tutors (music schools did not accept old beginners). I burned myself practicing piano 6 to 8 hours a day (sometimes more) to make up for my flaws.
After the initial shock generated by the uncontroverted fact that I would not leave my musical studies, my parents and I made a deal: to do both, college and music school (there was no music college in my birth country at the time).
I cannot convey how difficult is to follow up with two demanding careers that required 16 working hours plus homework. It was unsustainable in the long run. I was left with one choice: if music was to be my life, I had to leave home. Considering that in Venezuela, schools do not have dorms and we do not leave home until we have a university degree or get married, this was the kind of rebellious act that would cost me being severed from the family, persecuted, and end up living as a homeless.
Visible & Invisible Angels
Surrendering to life, flowing with the confidence that a higher power was taking care of me, did not come naturally. Yet, I was never alone in the strict sense. Kindness and appreciation shown by those who saw the silent determination or were bothered by the image of a teenager walking the roads of the city and life alone in the night, helped me moved along the musical path.
After some years of hard work and unwavering focus, a University Alliance opened a music school. I won a scholarship despite my age and graduated.
The road to becoming Me and a Musician, was turbulent, mainly because I was crowded with self-doubts in my abilities. I allowed the insidious comments and honest perceptions of the limitations of others to cloud my heart. This left little room for joy or acceptance. I never doubted music, but my work was fueled by duty and responsibility, the fear of “not enough time” and the need to prove myself. Responsibility and discipline took away most of the pleasure of learning music and I ended in a hate-love relationship with my instrument.
It did not matter how much appreciation and acknowledgment I received from the few who supported me, as I could not bring myself to feel worthy of my gifts. There were too many voices inside my head and outside in the world that sang in unison about the impossibility of my dream. They foretold my doom, and I ran from them with fire in my hands and soul, and lead in my heart and mind.
Music as Redemption
The first time I listened to Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Concerto, I felt completely naked. I was 16 years old and being disrobed of all my protective shells, secrets, my most precious longings, and beliefs.
What a nerve! I was stunned. How can this guy, know me better than myself? How can he expose me without warning to the world?
Inside the confusion, an unfathomed ring of truth called my attention. Whatever was breaking the dam of my soul, was also bestowed a singular grace to the rushing waters and swirls of emotions. My mind was at rest, silently and devoted to grasping the magical language tearing apart the understanding of existence and meaning and bathing me in a light so beautiful and loving that nothing but wonder could be held in the space within.
The storms of the learning process to become a musician, or better, an artist, and the path to performance and creation could be dissolved in the warmth of this purifying light. The light of the soul, the genius and imagination, the heart that breathes and beats in music, is the sum of the hearts and souls of the many before us, with us, and ahead of us. Music has the capacity to traverse time and space, prejudices, and frozen patterns, it melts barriers, weaves gentleness, and brings about the essential oneness of the totality of existence.
Music is a form of prayer that elevates what is already divine to face itself in the world and beyond it.
I Hear You! The Joys of Discovery
What do you find in music?
“Yes, yes, that’s it!” I have found truths, soulmates, good friends, spiritual guides, and more in music written hundreds of years ago.
I am grateful and deeply honored to be able to join my voice to the countless ones who have spoken through music language about existence, finding meaning, purpose, being alive, loss, love, peace, and any imaginable subject.
Freedom of Expression
What can be more precious than the power to communicate our deepest longings and joys in such a beautiful and poetic way capable of erasing frontiers, differences, time, and space, to reach the hearts and souls of millions and bring them together.
Tolerance & Respect
Music transports me to a realm of Dreams, it allows me to experience the utopic world I envision where being human is the highest accomplishment and compassion and understanding are not subjects of trauma or imposed as standards, but the result of seeing one another, connecting with our sense of shared humanity and embracing our oneness.
Apprentice of Greatness
Every piece is a hero‘s journey, a beautiful metaphor for life. As I explore the meaning and look for the best way to perform, to convey the well of emotions and revelations behind music notes, I find answers, lessons, questions. I am transformed. The emphasis is not on technique, but on how that technique can help me bring about the magic within the message and myself.
The torch is being passed, something divine born from the gifts of others joins my own and my responsibility is to pass it on for others to remember the incredible power of the soul, the imagination, and the human heart.
Music is a language that belongs to all, that can be accessed through many channels. One does not need to be a musician, or even like it, to be touched by it. Music casts a spell that is recognizable everywhere, a silent force that penetrates, nurtures, and frees the self, tears down the fragile shell of our roles and imposed identities, and speak directly to the softness within, to the fire of stars that dwell in the microcosms of our beings, fractal mirrors of the magnificence above, bellow, beyond and within.