My fingers glide effortlessly over the keys. No one in the history of piano — including Ludwig van Beethoven — has ever performed Für Elise quite as well as I am playing it now.
I sit at the piano in our living room, right near our home’s front door, “sniffing the keys” (my piano teacher‘s phrase for playing with emotion). I am certain that a talent scout is about to walk up to our door — maybe he or she masquerades as a phone book deliverer so as to catch me being natural — and hear my piano brilliance, pluck me from my bench in our obscure town and take me to a Big Stage, transforming my life.
I have this thought every time I practice the piano.
I am 10.
As I searched for my Word for 2014 (2012’s was Write and 2013’s was Speak), this memory, long buried under more than a bit of embarrassment, arose.
And I see that in more subtle ways, I have still been waiting for someone — a hero to my inner helpless and waiting young, small girl — to pluck me from where I am and take me to someplace better, bigger.
I wasn’t a fan of this song when it first came out. In fact, despite its ubiquity on the radio waves late in the summer, I didn’t really pay attention to it until this.
I watched this video over and over after the start of the school year, verklempt with emotions I can’t quite explain (peace, acceptance, harmony? in a high school??) — and not just because Tessa’s birth brother makes an appearance at 3:30.
I began tuning into the song. And, trite as it sounds, I am drawn to the line,
I went from ze-e-ro | To my own he-e-ro.
I have had many heroes and helpers in getting my book published and launching my speaking career. I won’t list them for fear of inadvertently omitting someone. Helpers and heroes in my life, in my passions and pursuits, I have them galore.
My book came out in 2013, which is still a pinch-me thought. It was a long slog to turn me into a published author and a public speaker. In some ways, these accomplishments are a pinnacle of my professional life, achievements of a dream that prior to 2008 I would not have dared dream.
But it happened — pinch me! Against all odds the stars aligned and I now hold a hard copy book in my hands. I now get up on stages to teach people how to parent with a heart that’s open to their child’s yearnings, able to listen to the whispers of that child’s heart.
And yet after these pinnacle accomplishments, my life is much the same — which is not a bad thing. I had a good life before and I have a good life now. But I have not been transformed as a blogger. Things are not easier booking myself as a speaker. I’m not suddenly able to make a living doing what I’m passionate about (but I’m open to that possibility).
I realize that all these years later I’ve still been waiting for someone to pluck me from my corner of the world to a Big Stage. I thought it had happened in getting first an agent and then a publisher. I thought that being plucked in this manner would transform my life in a big way, much like my childhood fantasies of being discovered on my humble piano bench would magically transport me to Carnegie Hall.
In my heart of hearts I have spent decades waiting for a Hero, a plucker to take me from my little pond to Put Oprah on hold, please. I’m talking to Ellen now and will have to call her back.
Just about as silly a thought as the one about the talent scout/phone book deliverer.
I wish to shift my mindset. In 2014 I acknowledge that I am my own hero. I am all the archetypes, actually. Everything I need I hold within. Everything I need to release I hold within me the power to. Whatever is to come my way shall come because I will realize that in addition to all my very real external heroes (you know who you are), I am my own hero. I am not small and helpless, waiting on a piano bench for someone more powerful to notice me.
I don’t plan to roar, exactly. I desire no big “look at me” moment. Instead, I seek an inner change, a subtle shift in the locus of heroism that has been off-center my entire life. I wish for that little girl on the piano bench and this big girl at her keyboard to further move in to her self-authority.
When that happens, a hero’s roar doesn’t even need to be that loud.
How might you be your own hero in 2014? Have you picked a word for 2014?
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