Falling Apart and Coming Together

Posted by Steven Russell on Sunday, January 21, 2018

Things fall apart. That’s what they naturally do. We can cry. We can mourn. We can celebrate. It depends on our perspective. But we can’t avoid the inevitable. Things also come together. Sometimes this is by design. Sometimes by chance. Sometimes unexplainable. Sometimes unnoticed.

When we are young we dream of what our life will become. It seems to be a scary yet exciting prospect for a well-planned, orderly life of reaping the rewards of what we have sown in our youth. I doubt this ever happens. Our lives always seem to be a haphazard stitching together of ragged remnants from success and failure, triumph and tragedy. And yet, we still dream.

I don’t know how to define my life. My purpose. My career. My reason for doing what I do. It was in tearing it apart that I have come to realize, at least to some extent, how it has come together. It was in undoing what I thought I was to have built up that I came to understand how the things I do have come together to define what I am. I recently shifted my career. I used to call it retirement. But I’m not retired. I never envisioned quitting work to move to Florida to golf day in and day out. When I was young I dreamed of being a performer. But it became evident that I didn’t have the natural facility it would take to do that as a career. At the same time, I dreamed of being a teacher. I went to school to become a teacher. I even taught music for five years. Then it was either grad school or suicide. I chose grad school and never went back to teaching school. After grad school I went into full time church music. I was always active in church music, but I’m not a very religious person. I like church. I like ritual. I like helping groups of people sing. But I never dreamed of spending years developing a career working for the church. So, I started my plan of undoing.

I got interested in yoga and became a yoga teacher. I got interested in other ways to promote health, and became a massage therapist. Then it came time to let things fall apart. I was convinced that my marriage would cause the church to fire me, as it had many of my colleagues and friends. But it didn’t. I had to quit. So, I did. And it was in this undoing that things came together. I started to realize how all of these things that I do come out of who I am. My breaking apart of my life was actually a coming together. I realize that I am a person who helps others to breathe well, move well, appreciate their bodies more, and use them with greater efficiency. It is though helping others as a teacher, as a church musician, and as a conductor, that I enable others to sing, play, and express in a healthy way. It is through yoga that I help others breathe and move and create a safe relationship between their mind, body, and soul. It is through massage that I help others relax, move, stretch, and appreciate their body for what it is, and for what it can become. The things that I do all have in common body and mind, but above all, breath. So, what do I do? I help people to use their bodies to breathe.

 

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