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Month: October, 2012

Increments

Little things matter.  Small actions make a difference.  Big changes can come from little increments.  We know this to be true from personal experience.  For instance, the power of compound interest to grow regular savings of small sums to unbelievable amounts.  Or a little bit of daily exercise to make us healthier and feel better.  Or a few minutes of regular practice to help a student master his instrument.

The common denominator is discipline: the act of doing something again and again even if we don’t feel like doing it.  And that’s the reason we fail to accomplish so many goals – it’s very hard to keep on keeping on.  We know what’s possible but we can’t get ourselves to do what it takes.  The spirit is indeed willing, but the body is weak.

As I cruise through middle age a voice inside my head tells me: “It’s too late to start something new.”  My heart tells me I want to do it, but my head conspires with “that voice” to assure me that I can’t, or it’s not worth the effort.

Experience tells me that there’s one thing that can help me get started and persevere, and that’s accountability.  I need to tell my friends what I want to do and that I need their help to reach my goals.  And then I need to set little goals and achieve them one by one.

OK, so the secret’s out.  Let’s get started…

Autumn

Imperfection

“We try to achieve perfection in the classical world, but hearing this song I became aware of the power of imperfection.  He is not singing in perfect tune, but there’s a truth.  His words have weight because he’s living it, he’s lived it and it is coming from a very deep place.  And this song really reflects that moment of me being awakened to the power of imperfection.”

Akram Khan – Dancer

The song that Akram Khan is referring to is “Jesus’ blood never failed me yet”, a haunting soundtrack of a homeless man singing which composer Gavin Bryars has set to music.  Akram Khan is right; profundity can be found in imperfection but it is easily overlooked.  In fact, it takes particular insight to spot the hidden gem in the midst of the tattered, tired and unlovely.  Isn’t it true that we often look for beauty in all the wrong places?