Article first appeared in Prediction Magazine, March 07 Issue, page 51
Around my seventh birthday, my father got back from a long trip to the Far East where he spent some time exploring China. Soon afterwards, an enormous cargo box was delivered at home.
Amidst the excitement and anticipation of opening this unexpected cargo, a beautiful mahogany piano from Shanghai emerged and was readily placed in our living room; and my parents ‘casually’ declared that it’s my birthday present. Wow, what a big toy, I thought. It was a much bigger version of a toy piano my parents had presented my sister and I with, the Eid before.
What I failed to realise then is that present came with a commitment to two sets of piano lessons, classical and Arabic music, endless hours of practicing as well the expectancy of taking and passing piano exams; something I was not prepared for and felt I was tricked into – it was not a play time after all!
To begin with, I enjoyed the piano lessons and learning how to ‘work this big toy’, but loathed practicing and the time it demanded. My piano teachers endlessly stressed that I would get as much out of the piano as I was willing to put into it. If I practiced for one hour, then I would get better by one hour, and so on.
For a child, that meant practice had to be non stop. Then one day, my brother, who sensed my exasperation, sat me down and said you have a choice of becoming either a Mozart or a Beethoven. What’s the difference? I asked, contemplating the prospects. He replied: one used to practice by himself; the other had to be disciplined by his parent in order to do so. I realised that either way I was going to have to face the inevitable, practice and aspire to a destiny similar to the idols I read about and whose biographies stood on my book shelf.
With time, dare I say practice, I had come to enjoy the time I would spend on my own, by myself at my piano. It became a sanctuary I would visit any time I wanted to, and feel exhilarated when I left it. By the time I was 12 years old, I had won a national piano competition. My classical piano teacher presented me with a small bust of Beethoven to adorn the piano with, and my Arabic music teacher gave me a lovely and unusual watch shaped like a flower.
Looking back, these gifts gained a new meaning, a reminder, that commitment to visiting the sanctuary releases inspiration; and that with time new beginnings bloom. The real gift from my parents on my seventh birthday was the valuable lessons that sometimes, although it may seem that we did not chose, nor enjoy circumstances we’re in, the situation, whether good or bad, always presents an opportunity. It helps us uncover a unique quality, ability, or a talent within us, if not a deeper understanding of our life; that would have missed otherwise. So, do not wait until your life coaxes you to make a visit, create your sanctuary now.
Your Sanctuary Pointers
Any resistance you may feel, is just your soul’s way of inviting you to visit your ‘sanctuary’. You could very well discover a place of inner peace which rejuvenation. Set a time aside, for a favourite activity, sitting in the park, at your desk during lunch time, or just sitting in silence, and teach yourself to listen rather than think about your worries. You activate The Sanctuary by releasing and preconceived ideas of what it should be, and often allow yourself to feel its (subtle) effects once you have left it. The more you visit your sanctuary, the more you will get out of it. Act on any inspired feelings or thoughts you receive, while you are in your sanctuary, or are most likely to receive, after you have left it.
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