Playing the flute: work and passion
Overwhelmed because four and a half years into my path with MS I am still able to stand up, breathe fully and freely and make music. I have worked hard to remain there, and I am thankful for this miraculous gift. You see, playing the flute is my work and passion.
Over the years I have played for thousands of people in four different continents. But MS has tried to stop me on more than one occasion. Dealing with a chronic illness is without a doubt one of the most challenging things that can happen to anyone.
And MS will not hesitate to take us to very dark places – places inhabited by fear, doubt, sadness, anger and many other feelings that come and go along with the symptoms MS chooses as a vehicle to express itself.
At times you will not be able to see the flowers in spring, or the sun shining, even on the clearest summer day. You will only wish to lie down and sleep, hoping that it is all just a bad dream.
Leaving dark spaces
Always remember it is possible to leave those dark places, in a one-way trip towards the light. But you have to desire it more than anything. And this desire has to stir strong emotions inside. It will awaken you, it will make you feel alive again, and it will guide you to the end of the tunnel. You must feel convinced deep down that you will make it. As the captain of the ship, you always know where the shore is, and you know what it takes to arrive there, despite heavy tides and scary storms. You can make it happen. No one else has that power but you.
Re-learning the flute
Several times, twenty-some years into my career, I have been forced to begin learning to play the flute from scratch. Several times, forty-some years into my life, I have had to learn how to walk and run again. Every time it has been heart-breaking. I have felt lost, in the midst of despair and sadness. But also, every single time I have been able to take it as a challenge.
Every time I have meditated with more discipline, and I have visualised myself for lengthy periods of time every day playing the flute like a bird up high, walking effortlessly, running and playing football with my sons. At times I have been practicing like a beginner for two, three, four months in a row. It’s tough, but I know I have done it because I have a passion for music that drives me with unbelievable strength.
Transmitting the passion
Not surprisingly, I have transmitted the same passion; running alongside my laughing children, hugging my loved ones and simply breathing. And it is passion alone that guides us through the dark times.
At first nothing will happen. Everything remains dark, and we may feel that all our efforts have been in vain. We might feel as if we cannot swim. Maybe we’ll even feel that we are slowly sinking. But then, as long as we persist, as long as we have a clear goal in mind, as long as we do everything it takes, as long as we never give up, small progress comes, like scattered bits and pieces of sunshine behind the clouds, that bring a little warmth.
Strength slowly begins to come back, and we feel powerful no matter what our current condition is. And then one day it just happens, we’re able to swim again, to play scales, to go down and up those stairs, to hug our children and our loved ones.
Back into the light
And if it does not happen fully, it does not matter. We must not be so hard on ourselves. Then, symptoms or not, we’re back in the light and we’re the kings of the universe, for we can breathe, see, love and live! Clouds go and the sun shines again. Maybe multiple sclerosis can take some things from us. But it does not need to take our smile away, because MS or not, life remains overwhelmingly beautiful, even actions such as walking (something else I have always taken for granted)