Shi*ft Happens!

It was approximately one year ago to this day that I made my 2021 New Year’s resolution to learn to play the keyboard.

As not very often is the case with resolutions, I made this one work. Lockdown in the UK helped, as there was not much else to do given the circumstances... Constancy pays, it seems, so after a full year of working at it almost every day I today can compose pieces like this one on piano. 

A lot has happened this time, most notably I moved to New Zealand three months ago or so. I have been silent because, as you may imagine, I have been busy making sure my life is not in shambles! Lots of admin, lots of organising and a lot of re-arranging the insides of my mind have taken my time. 

However, after having lamented to myself the fact that I had too little time for music and finding myself frustrated about not knowing how to change the situation for the better, I have to say that a shift has taken place.

I am now feeling more clear on what has gone wrong all these years and on what needs to be done to make it right. After an excellent Tarot reading with a local ‘wizard’ I met in my new town (Wellington) I realised that perhaps my fundamental issue is that I have had poor boundaries.

This has taken the shape of giving too much of my energy to others and keeping insufficient amounts for activities that nourish me and my creativity. I am aware that many people face this dilemma nowadays, notably women with families, but not only. I am one of those people too, and I just needed to prioritise music and art in a way that has not been possible before. 

One of the main reasons for moving here was to make this change, but you know what it’s like to change. It can be scary, especially if it is in a direction that feels important because we want to get it ‘right’. Well, I realised there is no guarantee for me to know what I’ll end up doing, but one thing I have learned is that if I trust my capacity to deal with whatever comes and let go of anxiety about my future I am more likely to allow new opportunities to come into my life.

So I have put coaching (my primary activity till now) on the back burner, by allowing clients to come to me without worrying about it or pursuing it, and focussing on music and writing instead. As a result, I am now spending at least four hours a day on music and related activities and I am a lot more creative and happy!

I realise it isn’t always easy to carve out time, but in my case, it was a matter of resistance due to fear rather than a real obstacle. I was afraid of failing, afraid of making a fool of myself, afraid of not being ‘good enough’. Well, it’s about time I walk the talk and put into practice what I teach! 

I now spend most of my time playing piano, studying and teaching songwriting and complementary creative subjects,  drafting the first part of a short fiction series called “Fragments” and, a recent addition, researching and producing for sync (that is, learning how to pitch my compositions to TV Shows and Film). 

This work feels exciting and natural, although not always easy, because it is in alignment with what I have always wanted to be: a full-time musician. Although my career in coaching has been successful and I am good at what I do, I always felt it should not dominate my life, but fear kept me from moving my attention elsewhere.

So, here’s to a big ‘fuck it’ and here’s to getting frustrated enough with yourself to making the leap. It's taken its sweet time and I have had to experience many a crisis to get here but it's finally happened. I also know that I will still have difficult moments and it will be a lot of work but I can tell already it will be worth it. 

To kick off the process, and to practice letting go of perfectionism, I’d like to show you a piece I have been working on even though I appreciate the performance could be (and one day will be) a lot more polished. 

This composition was born out of practicing keys. This month it was D major, its relative minor B minor and D minor. While playing the first part, I was reminded of the film Amelie and allowed the memory of the music to inform the piece. 

Afterwards I posted this on fb to receive ideas on how to develop it, so I asked listeners what images came to mind when listening to it: below are the comments I got. Please leave your own here, as it will help me carry this piece forward!

Also, I am curious as to what shifts you have had in your life and how did you make the leap? What propelled you forward? Please leave a comment below, it may help others in their journey!

When you listen to this what do you see? Here are previous comments:

Andrew Walston:

Dancing Argentine Tango to a waltz... on the stairs of Sacré-Cœur in Paris... and feeling your heard fall into love... It just sounded like a french bistro too... needing some clanks of coffee and eclairs...

Christine Potter

Beautiful composition Elyssa! I felt a loss and aching in my heart for the one I loved. Then I felt a determination to carry on and finally hope for love to come again. It was a very emotional song. Nicely done 👍

Susie Shanti Alman: 

Beautiful, thank you for sharing, images of trees moving to the music come to mind. Really lovely ♥️🌲♥️

David Cadoch

Pensive images of walking by a river bank and being lost in thought, it was a pleasure … soft melodic and a soothing melody!

Joseph Daniel

Very cool and inspiring! thank you for sharing. Does a velvet rose mean anything to you?

Joseph Daniel

Very cool and inspiring! thank you for sharing. Does a velvet rose mean anything to you?

Matthew Dalzell

Sud Tirol, small village, she is the daughter of a textile merchant, her father has high hopes for her, she's in love with the blacksmith/mechanic she sees riding by, she imagines a festival or dance together, the mood sours as she suspects he's been promised to service or the army. She wonders whether to ask, or let the story emerge. She tells herself she has time. It's summer 1914.

Laura Trobiani

Emily Dickinson, le sorelle Brontë e la campagna inglese

Vicky Evans

I thought of parts of the movie The Piano, very evocative. I hope you’re feeling brighter!

Gillian Jane Morris

Waterfall, river flowing, raindrops...

Owen Radmore

running along a beach, playing in waves, love found love lost love rediscovered

Add your comment below!


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