Updated: Nov 16, 2021
The way I love is magnificent and devastating.
The love of my life was piano. Today, I still dream about piano several times a week, though I quit seven years ago.
It wasn’t until I touched the piano keys that I could breathe. Nothing else felt real compared to the realness I experienced in communion with this instrument.
At the end of my career I played 7-8 hours a day.
When I choose to love something big, it is as though I am in a direct relationship with its spirit. We communicate regularly (constantly), I surrender to how it asks for me to love it well, and I grow. (I am all in.)
This makes it so that times I really love all-in are few and far in between. Loving fully consumes me — at once gives me life and shatters me. What I love is the air I breathe. Nothing else compares. (This is the life of an artist.)
When I lose or leave that thing… the mourning periods are long. “God, will I ever love so deeply again.”
Most of what I do, I don’t put my all into. A flip of a coin the day before applications were due determined that I would apply to Harvard. (I duplicated my Yale app — never intending to apply to either, I got into both.) My degree in Neurobiology never came close to my heart. These are all impressive achievements, but they weren’t my true loves. I have a mountain of accidental successes. Nowadays, I can work a 5-hour work week and be fully financially sustained by that.
I half-love frequently (and usually invisibly). It is a gift and a curse. In this world, living at my 10% can camouflage as full capacity.
Success is one thing. In contrast, in my full devotion, I am destroyed.
(I rarely won first prizes in piano competitions. I felt constantly wracked by self-doubt, was incredibly private about my playing, and did not post any video recordings until years after I quit.)
I did not ‘win’… but I was deeply stretched by my craft. Life felt heightened, sensitive, alive.
I can count on one hand how many times in this life I have chosen to love so fully. Rare times in my business — an all-in coaching container called Feminine Value, with two 3-day retreats on either end. A partner. Childhood.
All of those killed me… reduced me to tears, to anorexic half-deadness, to asexuality, to isolated obsession.
My love is magnificent and devastating. My heart is of gold.
If I am not brought to my knees — social gatherings paling next to Bach Goldberg variations — wet and blubbering, wordless, in my own grief — at the mercy of the life form I have chosen to dedicate myself to — begging for another sip of it… (even when I am only 2nd, 3rd, 4th place in its eyes)… I am hiding.
Of the million things I could ‘succeed’ at, as a capable, intelligent being… you can know what really got to my heart by what ruined me — if not, my genius is not active, I am not fully alive.
I hear notes wherever I go. She speaks to me in a different language, which I hallucinate. Chamber music — music played with others — feels to me better than s*x. I cobble together a piece of music in a single week to play with Yo-Yo Ma, most famous cellist in the world. Put any sheet music in front of me — I can play it.
My feelings — self — essence — come through. I am dissolved in the music.