A Whole Note in the Key of Life
A whole note is, according to the almighty Google, "a note having the time value of two half notes or four quarter notes, represented by a ring with no stem. It is the longest note now in common use."
For those of you who don't know me that well, I have a strong music background. I've played numerous instruments, written music, and practically made it my life by deciding to go to college and play piano professionally. During that last one though, my life took a sharp turn in a different direction, and to this day, I wonder what my life would have been like had I continued on that musical journey. Would I have become a professional musician? Would I have become a famous artist? Would I have become a music and song-writer like I had once dreamed of at a young age? Frequently, I ponder this alternate universe that I chose to leave behind nearly 20 years ago.
This does not mean though that my fingers don't hunger for the smooth glide across the steel strings of a guitar or yearn to fly up and down the ivory steps of a piano in an emotionally-driven whirlwind. I could not survive without immersing myself in the freeing experiences that music has blessed me with. It is an escape from all sense of time. Perhaps, even, it might be why I enjoy using my fingers to type this very blog; because my fingers yearn to dance again on the musical instruments they befriended many years ago.
Music has always been the easiest metaphor for understanding my life.
Regardless of where I once was though, I understand my life is here and now. My life is just as magnificent as it could have ever been had I continued my journey with music two decades ago. I firmly believe that. Just as I have always believed that life will guide you through your choices and will leave breadcrumbs along the way to remind you of where you came from. My life in music has defined who I am as an individual. Every person has experienced the joys of music at one time or another. For music is an opportunity to step beyond the boundaries of a confined lifestyle and live freely once again, even if it's only for the length of a short song playing through your headphones.
I find it interesting that the whole note is partially defined as "the longest note now in common use". It seems synonymous with life itself. Our lives are meant to be whole, just as this particular note is meant to be whole. It is the longest note in common use just as life should be lived as a continuous process following the rhythm of everything that has come before it. And the whole note is what leads and flows into the rhythm of the entire piece after it.
A whole life does just the same. It is complete; it is filled; it is never-ending; it is whole. The rhythm of your life is set by all of the experiences that come from the moment you are created. The rhythm you set in your life will also determine the rhythm that is set for the lives that follow yours. So your life is meant to be played like one glorious song. One WHOLE glorious song, to be exact.
Music has always been the easiest metaphor for understanding my life. Anytime I struggle or meet a new challenge, music frees me. It empties my mind by stirring my emotions and preventing them from stagnating inside of me ultimately leading me away from pain and towards movement, towards freedom, towards wholeness. A whole note to some may simply be the addition to all the other notes and viewed as a part of music that can be broken down into parts or counted as a sum of a particular number of beats. To me though, a whole note is not just a black empty circle hanging randomly from a line on a funny looking sheet of paper. It is an extended moment filled with a magnificent story driven by emotion, driven by the past that carries onward for as long as one chooses. This whole note becomes a whole vibration once the hammers strike the metal strings within signaling a whole resonance that invades and heals every space of your whole body. The only question left is, are you living whole enough to hear it?
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