Over the summer, I discovered a tiny marigold seedling miraculously blooming next to my basil plant. Though this plant had barely even popped out of the dirt, it was already bold enough to show off a cheery orange blossom. It wasn’t concerned at all about being too small or not being ready to support a flower.
I found this brave plant on the morning I was starting a brand new class of students I had never worked with before. Despite my experience of teaching music for more than 16 years, I always find myself feeling a little apprehensive on the first day. When I am facing something new, it is hard to put aside my doubts and trust that I am prepared and have the skills to succeed. The discovery of this tiny flower, helped me refocus and realize that the only way to truly prepare for the unknown is to open my heart.
When my heart is open, I am present and in the moment. I have the courage to try new repertoire with my choir and new singing games with my students. I feel connected to my singers and I can quickly adjust the pace of my lesson, as needed. Most importantly, instead of getting sidetracked by other distractions, I stay focused on my primary goal: to build each child’s love for singing in community. My teaching stays fresh, my energy is unlimited, and my students and I are filled with joy, simply because we get to sing together. When my heart is not open, too often I am seduced by the elusive “someday” when all my lessons will be perfectly planned and sequenced and my conducting cues will be flawless. At these times, I drag my feet to start new projects in hopes that “someday” I will have more time, more knowledge, or be more ready.
Though I was just seeing this tiny flower emerge, the truth is, this plant already had a lot of history. Before it was even visible to my eye, the plant was a tiny seed, containing everything it needed to grow and bloom. To the naked eye, it appeared that nothing was happening, but in reality amazing things were happening beneath the surface during the 45-50 days that it took this seed to germinate. The same is true for me. Though it may feel like I am taking on something new, the reality is that I have been preparing for this venture for years, developing my skills as a musician, teacher, and most importantly, as a person who loves and cares for others. I am ready.
As the new year begins with my students and singers, I am taking a moment to open my heart, to commit to making the most of every moment. There is no better day than today to get out there and bloom!