When I thought about playing my guitar at this month’s “The Risk of Pursuing Your Passion” event, it seemed a perfect fit. After all, my music is my passion and life itself is imbued with risk. I don’t mean “risk” with overtones of menace or hazards but more like the “risk” inherent in opening one’s life to possibility.
Here’s what I know about passion and risk.
After an extended time away, music and I have found each other again.
Passion evolves. The way I love, what I love, and even when I love, these have all changed in nuanced and varied ways during my life.
My connection with music was there early on, but not clearly defined. My first guitar, black with a red rose, came to me when I was thirteen. I immediately began teaching myself how to play every style I heard. At twenty I declared that my formal training would begin, and with that I immersed myself in study at a music conservatory, naïvely confident as I walked that path.
In my training as a classical guitarist, I learned to listen differently. What I didn’t learn was that life unfolds in unexpected ways, and my ability to pursue music would have to shift accordingly.
The pursuit of my musical passion was eclipsed as other passions grew into my life. I evolved spiritually, which helped me immensely in coping with losing my parents soon after graduation. I discovered my passion for teaching children. I manifested my passion for life by having my own child. In my daughter I found the most beautiful song I could ever hope to sing! The passion I felt for music never went away, but my other passions came forward to be expressed and nurtured.
Passion, I believe, is a language spoken from the soul, and it is spoken in many tongues.
Eventually, as a stay at home mom, a window of time began to open. There was space to breathe on my own, walking to and from the school bus. I took that time to reacquaint myself with my guitar. From there I was drawn back into my love of improvisation, creating beautiful musical moments in time. Through trial and error I put together a modest home studio. Then I began to capture those musical moments by writing them down, by recording them, eventually producing and publishing my catalogue of original music.
One step seemed to lead to the next.
In 2010 I created my “Music as Metaphor” online presence and reached out to media venues to license a handful of tracks. Following my success with that, I decided to make and market my own albums. I used social media to reach an audience far beyond my Hoosier roots. I created albums in many music genres, including World, Americana, New Age, Electronic, Neo-Classical, Trip-Hop, and Soundtrack.
This year, recognizing my desire to connect with local audiences I began to head out with my guitar and my music to play at festivals, art galleries, and other special events, like “The Risk of Pursuing Your Passion.”
In pursuing my passion I intentionally take risks every day, just to see where they will lead me. Will I transpose a thought or feeling into a beautiful piece of music, or create an improvisation that flows through my fingers, just for the moment?
The thing is, none of this really feels all that risky. Instead it feels like I am following a plan that is unfolding just a few steps ahead of my awareness.
One step leading to the next.
Michelle Qureshi is a composer, multi-talented musician, and classically trained guitarist. Visit her website, Music as Metaphor, to learn more about her work. Michelle will be providing music both before and after the November 7, 2013, Spirit & Place event, The Risk of Pursuing Your Passion. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held at the First Mennonite Church, 4601 Knollton Rd, Indianapolis, IN, 46228. Doors open at 6:30 pm for pre-event activities and music. The panel discussion begins at 7:00 pm.