Tag Archives: Liberty Forrest

I Can’t vs I Haven’t Done It Yet

By Liberty Forrest

Throughout my life, from the time I was a little kid right up until my mother got dementia and she was no longer herself, she told me what I couldn’t do. Okay, there’s some stuff mums are supposed to tell you that you can’t do -like throw yourself off the roof of your three-story house when you’re playing Superman because really, honestly, no doubt about it, you will not be able to fly. No, not even with your beach-towel cape clothes-pinned to the shoulders of your T-shirt. Not even if you’re wearing your lucky underwear.

No, I’m not talking about the kind of “You can’t” that means you’re not allowed for reasons of safety, health etc. I’m talking about the kind that says you won’t be able to do it so don’t even bother trying.

I wanted to try this or that new thing and was always told, “You can’t.” I was told I’d get it wrong or mess it up or simply be unable because I was too stupid. And of course, if I did try and she turned out to be right, I got the ITYS three-course special crammed down my throat, right from “I told you so” for the starter, through to the smug look smothered in superiority for the main course, followed by the rather tart dessert, “You think you know so much.”

So I stopped trying.

The older I got, the more I dared try things that I “wouldn’t be able to do because I wasn’t ‘something’ enough.” Looking back, her words make me smile now because they’re just so ridiculous. How could she know I “couldn’t do” when I hadn’t even tried? But as a kid (and even later as an adult), that never occurred to me. I just believed her because she was my mother.

I was just listening to Fantasie Impromptu Opus 66 in C sharp minor – one of my favorite pieces of music, and one of Chopin’s best known works and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful pieces ever written. It’s insanely fast and complicated – until you get to the middle bit which slows and becomes deliciously romantic with one note melting into the next like rich chocolate blends into thick cream.

I was thinking about how I’ve learned that beautiful middle bit with no problem, but am wistfully waiting for the day when I can get the insanely fast parts down, too. Although I can play the millions of notes that run up and down the keyboard, I’m nowhere near fast enough. It feels a bit daunting when I listen to it. But then I remember a summer when I was 19. My mother came upon an ancient piece of sheet music that was her father’s. “Meditation” from the opera, Thais. She said, “Oh, this is beautiful! This was his favorite piece of music. But you could never play it. It’s way too hard.”

I suppose she’d forgotten about some of the extremely complicated and lengthy pieces that my music teacher had me playing on television, radio, at the Calgary Stampede and at various other venues and in competitions when I was as young as 12 or 13. A few weeks later, on a rainy Monday with no one else around, I spent eight hours at the piano. By Tuesday at noon, I had this piece memorized. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as the ones my teacher had given me years earlier. In fact, I thought it was relatively simple. But it was certainly one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard.

It was one of very many lessons in my life about the difference between “I can’t” and “I haven’t done it yet.”

What’s kind of funny is that the next time I saw my mother, I couldn’t wait for her to hear that I’d learned this song. I was so excited and thought that – for once – she might actually be proud of me, be pleased with something I’d done.

Without a word, I sat down at the piano while she puttered in the house and I began to play.

I got every note right. I played with lots of feeling (there is no other way to play anything, as far as I’m concerned). When I was finished, I waited for her to be surprised, to be impressed, and to be amazed that I’d learned it flawlessly and so quickly. But she made no comment. She continued puttering with her chores, as if she had not heard me play at all. I asked if she recognized the piece, hoping to get some sort of positive reaction. “No,” came her disinterested reply.

I told her what it was. She said it wasn’t at all familiar and that perhaps there’s some other piece called “Meditation” that my grandfather loved (which, as it turned out, was the case, and that piece was exceptionally simple by comparison and I couldn’t believe she had thought that one would have been too complicated for me!).

At the time, this was all rather upsetting but I can laugh at myself now, and I see how far I’ve come because eventually, with many lessons and a lot of healing, I stopped seeking my mother’s (or anyone else’s) approval.

I’m still carefully picking my way through the speedy part of Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu as though I’m walking barefoot through thistles. And sometimes I get impatient because I’m not playing it quickly and the only part I play as it should be done is the slower middle bit. Occasionally, my mother wanders through my head and tells me I can’t do it, but I just smile and whisper to her in the spirit world.

“Yes, I can, Mum. I just haven’t done it…yet.”

About Liberty Forrest
I Help Creative Entrepreneurs Develop a Bullet-Proof Mindset To Grab Life by the Throat and Insist on Chasing Their Dreams.

If you keep doing what you’re doing -you’ll keep getting what you’ve got

By Liberty Forrest

Imagine this: Every morning, you get out of bed, put on your bathrobe and brush your teeth. Bleary-eyed, you stumble to the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee. While that’s brewing, you haul out a frying pan, put it on some heat and chuck in some butter.
Next, you get a little bowl. You throw in an egg, a bit of milk and a pinch of salt. You mix it all up, drop a piece of bread in the bowl, flip it over to coat both sides, and once that butter is melted, you place the bread in the pan.
You stand there absentmindedly staring at the bread, mulling over the coming day without drawing any particular conclusions about it because you’re not fully functional yet. You keep staring at the piece of bread and wondering how it looks on the bottom.
After a few minutes, it starts to smell like the bottom might be cooked. You flip it over and discover that it’s a beautiful golden brown. Your mouth begins to water as you wait for the other side to cook.
You remember that you need to get the jam and other necessary breakfast things out so you stop watching the bread. You gather everything you need and put it all on the table.
You can smell the coffee as it’s beginning to seep through the filter and into the waiting pot below. Your nose is happy, knowing that it’s almost time to sip that potent nectar that will jump-start your heart and get you moving for the day.
When the second side of the bread is cooked, you slide it out of the pan and onto a plate. You pad across the floor and put the plate on the table. Picking up a knife, you scoop some jam out of the jar and cover the golden French toast with sticky crushed berries and a light dusting of icing sugar (or perhaps you’d prefer syrup on yours).

You get your cup of coffee, return to the table and sit down to eat your French toast for breakfast.
And you do this every morning. Day after day, week after week, month after month. The Same thing. Every morning.

But wandering through your head now and then are strange thoughts. Occasionally, there is the one that says you’d really love crispy bacon and a couple of fried eggs and maybe some hash browns or toast. Perhaps a bowl of oatmeal, or an even stranger one saying that you might enjoy a bowl of homemade soup for breakfast. Or perhaps you would enjoy some freshly baked muffins.
Yes, those other thoughts wander through your mind, not just while you’re standing at the stove and staring at the egg-soaked bread as it fries in the buttered pan. Those thoughts creep in sometimes when you’re at work or doing the laundry or even at the grocery store where you could actually buy what you need to make those other breakfast. But you don’t.
So there you are, wishing you could have one of those other breakfasts. But oddly, none of those ever appears while you’re melting the butter in the pan and mixing the egg and milk every morning. No matter how often you stand there thinking about bacon and eggs or freshly baked muffins, all that ends up on the table is French toast and coffee.
Are you dissatisfied with your job? Do you keep saying the same things over and over again in an effort to resolve problems with your partner, your parent, or your child? Do you feel discontented, restless, stuck and frustrated, knowing something needs to change but then not changing it?
Well, as long as you don’t change it, it won’t change. Unless, of course, someone else does the changing first but if you’re going to wait for that, you might be waiting till they’re selling ice cream in The Very Hot Place.
If your words aren’t being heard and the problems are not being resolved, find different words, a different approach, or another tactic. If you hate your job, start looking for a new one or turn a hobby into a business on the side and build it up over time. If you’re tired of doing the same old things, then find some more exciting new ones.
The bottom line is, if you want your life to change, you’ve got to change your life. The possibilities for ways to improve it, to get it moving, and to make it better are endless.
But one thing’s for sure. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got.

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