The Life Room is the name I have given to the place where all the things that are important to me can live. It has also been described as a life trolley or umbrella.
This concept has changed my way of life, fortunes and understanding in the few weeks since I came across it.
Why? Because it links all the important things that I thought I had to choose between or prioritize, together in one place. It makes sense of the seemly unrelated parts of my life and stands them side by side in equal measure.
My Life Room is called THE SYSTEM.
It is The System, or in other words – the established way things are done – that constantly gets my heart racing, mostly in frustration.
Acknowledging this and going about my life truthfully and with intuition has changed my relationship with The System and in turn, it gives me a very different experience.
For example during the last year I have practically stopped all of my music teaching. I was struggling with having to ‘choose’ between the energy required to be a professional musician or a teacher. I could do both but having to work in the confines of The System, also know as schools, just made doing the bit I loved – inspiring children through music – impossible for me. It felt like a (small) cash cow and if totally truthful it was not what I wanted or enjoyed. It took my energy, it did not invigorate me. I could not find a way to change this experience for me.
I am a musician. I love performing and the joy it brings to others. This for me should be exactly the same whether I am on the concert platform or in the classroom. If I am sharing this experience with others, that is teaching for me, that is what I love.
Why does this seem so hard to achieve then? Why could I not create that in my situation. The answer was because of me and trying to hard to beat what I thought was a way I had to do things. I did know this but while I was in the middle of it I couldn’t sustain a lasting change. So I stopped. This helped because my situation changed. I could just focus on other things. I broke the cycle. But as a result I had stopped something I had been so passionate about for 10 years. I had also stopped giving.
Why was this point in time so important to me?
Because The System is always there. Whether it is a school, The Health Service, Government, an employer or my kids PTA. Then I saw clearly for the first time. Stopping and changing the cycle was good, but walking away if I was passionate about something was not. There had to be another way.
I realised that I didn’t have to choose between careers. Between performing music and teaching, writing a blog or developing apps. If they suit me and my belief system then they live happily together in my Life Room. I choose to perform, teach, write, and create anything that is true and important to me. I do anything that excites me because I know that changes my experience and therefore my vision of The System around me without even trying.
My 5 ways of dealing with The System so far.
1. I tried fighting The System. As a child I didn’t see why it mattered what my handwriting looked like as long as you could read it. Why does everyone have to do it the same? My opinion was (and still is) it doesn’t. Not surprisingly the teacher at the time was not of the same opinion and I got in trouble.
2. I have tried to change the system on my own and point out the flaws of a given situation! Don’t bother it just gets everyone’s back up because they feel you are telling them they are wrong.
3. I decided not to get involved because I felt nothing would change. Just walk away and live an easy life, let them get on with it! This relief is short lived because if you do care about something it is not going to go away. The things I am passionate about will always light my fire. They are deep rooted and need to be expressed. Also what if my ideas are good for me and others?
4. I assumed my thoughts must be wrong because so many others, more experienced people, said they knew best. The key to this for me was that they were successful too. So I decided to do exactly what I was told. Even when it didn’t feel right and even when it was making me ill. Just the pain needed to create my dreams? What a load of rubbish. I still can’t quite believe it took me so long to wake up. The point I missed was it is not about anyone else. The only person who knows what is best for you is YOU. All you have to do it listen.
5. Now for me I have my Life Room ‘The System’. I still find my heart racing in many situations but instead of getting frustrated I breath it in and let it go. I accept that others may see it differently but I don’t accept that it has to be ‘That Way’ for me. All I do is talk honestly about my beliefs and leave it at that. I can choose to be involved or not. I can also choose what the experience feels like to me.
Now this is where the surprise has come for me. By acknowledging my frustration, letting it go of any preconceived outcomes and just being myself, lots of the barriers that were seemingly impossibly to penetrate in The System have disappeared.
– My children’s school PTA of which I was Chair (then resigned because of my frustration) are now funding a music day to launch the new orchestra with the option to help fund a ‘New System’ to enhance and sustain their music provision. A great project. What the outcome will be I have no idea. But the point is that when I tried to create such a project when I was Chair of the PTA I could not get anyone to listen or understand my vision. Since stepping away all sorts of seemingly unconnected conversations I had with people has resulted in action and enthusiasm for something I thought was impossible to create.
– I recently had a meeting with an occasional employer that I have worked for in music because they wanted to know why I would not sign their contract to continue our relationship. I explained my reasons but also during the conversation I aired my views on other parts of their business that related to me. I knew I could deliver a better product, in a more efficient way, for no extra cost. I knew it would benefit all parties and the larger community. I also knew that I had never been able to get anywhere near THE SYSTEM to make a difference. But all of a sudden not only have my ideas been heard, they seem to very ‘good’ and I quote “I can’t believe it has taken us this long to have this conversation”! I should point out my ideas are not new I have been doing them for 10 years.
So my conclusion is that when I am lost. When I feel that I don’t know the best way forward I stop trying to work it out. I stop trying to change anything. I go and sit in my Life Room and let everything come and go as it pleases. I listen to the conversation and very soon know intuitively what to do next. It is very freeing and is changing my life dramatically. I am now ready and equipped to fulfill all the new, exciting things that seemingly have got bogged down in The System. I don’t need to beat The System anymore I am just going to create my own and invite others to come along for the ride.