Embracing the Unknown with Improvisation

The lights go off and there you are, trying to sleep.  Maybe it was when you were a child and maybe it’s happening today.  The dark creates unknown for us, and that can be uncomfortable and even scary.  As children and adults we all have preferences related to our personality traits (how we’re wired) and characteristics (learned).  Depending on those and other variables we react differently to change and in general, the unknown.

It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school and I had made my decision to go after my passion in music, conducting and education and what was high level of focus turned into a passionate-driven-mindfulness.

PATH CHECK: I knew what I wanted and I went after it.

I saw my high school career in front of me, I knew where I wanted to go to college.  After my freshmen year in college, I knew where I wanted to go to graduate school and in the back of mind I had a goal of being one of the band directors at my alma mater, the University of Arizona.  At the age of 25 I interviewed for that position and won the position… now what?  Three years into my job I realized that this was not what I wanted to do long term and for the first time, I did not know exactly what I wanted.  I knew it still had to be related to music, conducitng and education, but I sensed there was more, but my clarity was clouded.

PATH CHECK: I knew what I didn’t want.  I vaguely knew what I thought I wanted.  I had no idea about how to go after it.  I was scared.

I resigned my position, was hired as an educational trainer by ATI as described in my article, (Six Ways to Re-Inspire yourself), and began to explore the possibility of matching my University income but in only 2 or 3 months.  I was interested in this so I would have more time to create new ideas and have time with my family, which at the time included my wife Marie and my 2 years old daughter, Sam. As I began to open myself up to new ideas, I met Dr. Carroll Rinehart who I speak of often in my articles.  At first this exploration of new ideas was uncomfortable, yet fun, and eventually inspiring.  There were some early morning meetings with Dr. Rinehart and our colleague Dr. Jack Hughes, which left me asking, “Why am I here?”  I need to be doing something that has a direct impact on my ability to make a living.  Many of our meetings seemed to at first as very interesting, but with no measurable outcome.

PATH CHECK: I was beginning to embrace the unknown, but didn’t even know it.  I didn’t know what that felt like or looked like, but I kept exploring.

Through Carroll, I met a young artist and educator named Corey Ferrugia.  Corey was also a student of Carroll’s and we began to collaborate in many ways.  Corey also pushed my sense of being willing to spend time exploring ideas, only some of which might come to fruition.  Over time, all of the effort and hours put in with these individuals help shape my mind in a different way.

PATH CHECK: Not only did I recognize that I was exploring the unknown, I was actively seeking the unknown in improvisational ways.

Over the last 17 years I have created my own schedule of play (what some might call work).  I direct a Foundation I created in 2000, conduct a lot of community to professional musicals, lead children, teachers and parents in learning workshops, keynote at conferences, and perform original music on piano and voice.  I’m also the co-author of the children’s book series, Sam the Ant (www.SamTheAnt.com ), the inventor of iBG (Intellectual Brainwave Games, at www.SamTheAnt.com), and the part of the team behind the new app Sumerian.  I don’t share this to brag.  I share this go give you an idea of what is possible when we actively explore the unknown.

PATH CHECK: I understand that looking for outcomes first, greatly limits what we can achieve because it limits our willingness to improvise in the moment.

I am happier than I have ever been.  I’m as fulfilled as I’ve ever been.  My family unit is as connected as it’s ever been.

PATH CHECK: In flight into a boundless unknown of possibilities!

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