Time and Music

Many people die with their music still in them. . . . Oliver Wendell Holmes

quietOne of my favorite authors (at least of inspirational non-fiction) is David Kundtz, author of  Mind – One Minute MindfulnessOne Minute Mindfulness is a collection of short essays describing what Kundtz calls stillpoints, very short exercises to stop your mind during the day, mini-meditations that can keep you centered when meditation isn’t an option (of course, it always is, except in our heads, but that another post).  The quote above is from an essay titled Time Runs Out.  Of course, he’s not suggesting everyone speaks the language of music … he means whatever music dwells in our souls; be it the music of accounting, the harmony of teaching, the notes of repairing, the symphonies of poetry, the melodies of marketing, the tunes of programming, the rhapsodies of selling, and on and on through the whole gamut of human states, activities, and gifts.  Why do they die with their music in them?   Because, Holmes continues, too often . . . because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.  Time running out … a remote notion at 21 but a companion at 74.

I’m no Oliver Wendell Holmes but I have a few thoughts on the subject.   Reading the essay made me wonder, have I let my music play?  And exactly what is my music?  For many years I was a very good … and successful … engineer.   But as a man with a love of art and writing, I always thought of engineering as just a career.  If I’d thought of it back then, I’d have probably said my hobbies … drawing, painting, music … were my music music notesand I secretly wished they were my profession.   Then, in my late forties, some changes in my life … some good, some bad … made me re-examine my life.  I joined a spiritual program, I took some writing classes and I began to write seriously, hoping to become an author.   A few years later, I formed a company with a long time mentor.   We got to do the kind of work we had to fight to do working for big industry.   I realized that I actually loved engineering.  I started blogging which made me feel like a writer.  But I’d always been one.  I’d written thousands of pages of engineering reports long before I posted thousands of blog posts.  Now I have an art blog, too.

You could say I’m just lucky and you’d be right.   But I believe that oft times, we have been playing our music all along without noticing it.  Sometimes the tune is joyful and sometimes it’s sad and sometimes it’s discordant.   But if we take time to listen … and value it because it’s ours, it is by default, our music.  In which case, I’d suggest that Many people die without knowing they’ve played their music … because they’ve been too busy living to stop and listen themselves.

What do you think?


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