Choral singing wide, pure vowels for a long time without overpowering the purity takes practice and finesse to balance well.

Pianississimo without enough effort and focus, and the pitch created wavers and won’t be sustained for long. The audience will not be on the edge of their seats.

Forte unleashed without focused technique becomes a shrill and shouted. It doesn’t appear effortless to the audience.

The thing is, it only looks effortless when done well.

Sometimes a composer intends for a singer or instrumentalist to play the struggled note as loud as it is written. And other times not.

You often have to step back to move forward.

How is the song created serving the listener? What is it trying to contribute?

Opportunity and Fuel

My favorite mental model right now.

Most of life, regarding the mental models and systems that we have in place to maintain stability and solve problems, is a wavering and balance between two extremes. Being a fiddler on the roof in our circumstances.

We prioritize and…

As we do our work and what matters to us and step into making something that might or might not work, it’s important to remember that we all do most of our work in the dark.

Art is made and then finds an audience, not the other way around.

Creativity for creativity’s sake.

It’s another tie to our relationship with what is at first unknown to us. We sit down with the uncertainty of doing in anything we do, and make it familiar to us. We paint in the dark.

That process begins even without an audience and even as small as an audience of one.

You can wait forever or you can engage and leap.

It might work or it might not.

And if you get what we want to get, which you might, what are you going to do with it?

I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Attachment to compulsive thought turns our attention away from the present moment, similarly to how a phone’s information absorbs us away from what is happening around us.

My mind is the phone that I cannot put down.

Why do we invest moments with thought, instead of awareness and presence? Why do we feel the need to keep it busy?

We can turn our attention to now or get caught in thought for far too long.

We read the mind with our awareness or the mind reads us, deeply catching our attention in a sticky net.

If you think or talk all the time, you’re not listening and adding space for noticing and being present.

We each feed each side in this tug of war. It’s up to each of us.

Thought about the broccoli tree parable from John Green today. It’s a lens on life for me. A lens on loss and remembrance and awareness and sharing love.

We can give something so much attention that we become a danger to it. Attention can accelerate the possibility of interaction…

Absolutely easy to bullet your way solo for a phenomenally charged sprint all about you. It’s the default perspective of being the center of the Universe. The hero of our own story.

But that’s not our reality.

Your story is only possible because of the larger story that came before…

When we get called on, pointed out, noticed, and chosen for something, our heart rate increases.

There is the space you are in right now that demands your attention and focus.

And then there is the arena within, constructed by everything in your narrative and conditioning and memory. An invisible…

Type 1: Exploratory Curiosity

Type 2: Absorptive Curiosity

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

Is a curiosity that only works for depth as valuable as one that constantly explores, grows, and makes connections on the surface, with less depth?

Matthew Palka

Avid Leadership Image Enthusiast, Journaler, Bass Fisherman, Nerdfighter, NY FCCLA Alumnus and Past State Officer, Photographer, Tuatarian, and R2NF sailor

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