THE SIZE OF LIFE

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Arthur Ashe

 
starfish

Some days I feel as my life is too small. I do ordinary things in ordinary places. When I left Venezuela I thought it was for good. I sold everything I had to fund the dream of building a life in freedom and possibilities in a country where I could grow and experience the amazing range of knowledge and diversity my heart yearned for. I wanted to belong in a place evolving “at loud” where an honest and committed effort can bloom, at its own pace, but definitely bloom.

Life can turn around in a twist and what was unthinkable becomes real. Heartbroken and defeated, I saw myself jumping on a plane back leaving behind all my possessions and my heart in a box.

Life here seems to be lived in reverse, constantly involving, shirking to a point where you cannot breathe. Life dies hard though, even in hopeless areas and under the shade of large and imposing trees; a seed germinates pushing through rocks and roots fed by a silent promise and the soil and sky’s generosity.

Challenges breed resilience and perseverance when a dream awaits; when there is enough love and trust that Good as the seed, is fighting to grow.

You find yourself in a place you don’t belong, with nothing but “you” and the many experiences stacked in your soul. You came back not because you wanted to, but because there was no choice. Failure is indeed a bitter pill to swallow, one with the power of erasing at a stroke the many heroic moments and accomplishments of a lifetime.

One step at the time you come to realize that a blank slate is a space for ideas to be born, a lab for exercising courage and get to know the person you have become. If we allow life to speak, it will hint us about the actions to take, directing the spotlight on a number of spare parts that somehow need to meet and reveal those ones missing for the picture to be clear.

Projects come and go, intentions dissipate or flourish transformed by the circumstances and “yes and no’s” accumulate as we walk. Everything appears to be random, but it is not. This is the single certainty we might enjoy. If only pieces came in a box with an image at the top!

I have come to work as an “intervention” piano coach. I am being referred students who lack motivation or practice habits and are about to fail or give up. As I see their pain, I remember my own. I wish for them what I wished for myself – belief and support- a hand to hold and accompany me back home, to that place of worthiness and possibility where there is a reason for all and I am truly loved for who I am, no matter what is going on.

As life presents itself, the chain of events ostensibly has a dream of its own. The original dream still beats in the background too weak to dare to impose. I need to trust that something wiser than me is pulling strings and somewhere in time the two shall meet and give birth to my fate, the one it is meant to be and I have both searched for and resisted.

In the meanwhile I sit and think of my small life and the things I have done and wish I could do. I understand how caught I have been in the idea that what you have or you can prove, defines you. Success today dresses in glittering clothes and makes loads of noise. I have no bright clothes and fled to noise. I want to change the world and reach high, but my scope and resources are too small.

Then I reflect about the metaphor of starfishes in the sand and the hand that send them back to the ocean. My life might seem small from the point of view of a simple woman picking up messes and knocking on doors, but when a kid hugs me or I see him smile and shine, or when the adult’s eyes betray their masks and innocence and hopes are reborn; then, just then, my life is a big as my soul and the dreams of a rainmaker are nurturing the soil.

Purpose comes in different sizes, I am not sure if we chose if they are big or small. It might be in other’s hands to determine their scopes. What I can choose is to act or not. The impact I leave in one person might be imperceptible for statistics, the media or the last reality show. It is not for the fabric of the world though…

One person is a world in its own, defining her fate as she touches as well those in her scope. One by one we fulfill our destinies and the chain of people grows,  those who might not see us in the papers or glittering clothes, but will remember our love and be strong and confident to pay it forward making others feel loved.

I thus declare…

There is no such thing as small lives; there is only poverty of dreams. I shall live to remember that when a dream is lost, is not just the dreamer the one affected but the Universe as a whole. I shall keep then, focused on the soul in front of me and enjoy the greatness I might not be able to see but that will have a tiny bit of me.

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