Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Inspiration? Dedication? Passion?

How's my mental health today?

My mind has been in a bit of a fog since Sunday night when I came down with a nasty headcold that won't let go. It hasn't affected my mental health other than feeling exhausted. That's a radical shift from only getting 1 - 3 hours of sleep a night the previous 2-3 weeks. Now it's hard to wake up and feel alert.

All that makes writing a challenge. I'm having difficulty coming up with something to write about. When this happens I usually do 1 of 3 things; I sleep, or I read, or I surf the net looking for interesting stuff. Yesterday I did all 3.

While randomly browsing through Youtube I came across a moving story. A clip from the TV show "Korea has Talent" featured a shy young man who had come to sing. He had no formal music training; he had been dropped off at an orphanage at 3 years of age; he ran away at 5 years old after being beaten at the orphanage. He lived on the street for 10 years, selling gums and energy drinks, sleeping in stairwells and public washrooms. He got interested in music after hearing a singer at a nightclub where he was selling gums. He learned to sing  by observing and practicing.

His was a story that begged for a Hollywood ending. When he began to sing, the audience and judges were stunned, many people, including two judges, had tears running over their cheeks. The young man's operatic baritone voice filled the hall. One of the judges told him she was going to help him get voice lessons, regardless of how he fared in the ongoing competition.

As I watched this video, I began thinking about where and how people discover their inspiration, their passion, and their dedication to make something of their passion and gifts. I remember being part of a male choir 20 some years ago. We choristers were all amateurs and the director, who had a PH.D. in music, had been in the music profession for decades. The choir had been gathered for a weekend to record music for Christian radio broadcasts. I don't remember many details from that weekend, but one incident stands out clearly. The circumstances are beyond my recall, but I remember the director saying to us that we (choristers) were more musically talented than he was. The difference was that he loved music more than we did!

So where does that passion-driven living come from?

I have a talent for many things. Do I lack the life driving passion to achieve something with my talents? Does my history of mental illness bear the primary blame for my limited and short-lived successes? Where do I find the consistent energy required to maintain the level of discipline to realize my potential? I need to figure this out if I want to continue to consistently and successfully develop my writing skills.

I have friends and family that provide me with a lot of support and encouragement. Now I need to dig deep within myself to overcome my mental health and physical health challenges. The young Korean man had some intonation difficulties, but his passion pushes him to continually improve. I'm having fun with writing - will I be able to push myself forward when I experience days where it's not so much fun?

I'm pushing through a cold that has my eyes watering and my head feeling like it's filled with cotton to write this post. Maybe that's a positive indicator.

It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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