On Uncertainty

Part of surviving the last 2 years has been navigating the ever-changing waters of uncertainty, and it’s very much like trying to stay afloat on a surfboard whilst out in the open seas. I received news today that I was not admitted into the Van Cliburn Piano Competition screening auditions today, and although I had a sneaking suspicion that would be so, I was really hoping for some good news. A few days prior, there was news from the Takamatsu International Piano Competition (which I fortunately did get admitted into), that they would be considering postponing the competition in light of the situation in Japan.

With my departure from Sydney encroaching but never quite set in stone, it’s like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel yet the disc of light remains the same pale glow no matter how long you’ve been in the tunnel. How am I supposed to know how to plan out my future?

In preparing for the competition, I’ve set up a regiment of self-discipline and deliberate rest (more on that later after I’ve figured out myself a bit more), but now that days, weeks, and months seem to come and go like the crashing of waves – constant, uncontrollable, and unceasingly relentless, everything is feeling out of my grasp. Is this normal? Is it normal to feel like my career, my future, and my hopes and dreams to be seemingly out of my control?

And to be honest, I still don’t exactly know what it is that I will do. I’m 30 and I really have not figured it out. Part of it has to do with fear, insecurity, a lack of discipline, and distractions.

Let me give you an example. I have yet to pluck up the courage to post on instagram – the 100days of practice challenge. It’s not that bloody hard but I still haven’t gotten down to doing it.

Another example – and this is the one that’ll take some courage: approaching orchestras around NSW and beyond with my recordings, my CV, my bio, and asking to play with them.

What is it going to fucking take for me to slot out the time to actually get these things done?

Another example: PODCASTS. I’ve been rambling on and on about them, sharing the dream with the likes of dear friends, and I have still yet to get it done.

A wise friend once asked me: am I disappointed with myself? Honestly, no. I am not disappointed with what I have achieved so far but – and a REALLY huge ‘but’ is that, I KNOW I can do so much more. I know I am capable of so much more, and the desire, the hope, the intrinsic hunger to prove myself, to share things of beauty, goodness, and truth with the world, and the thirst to explore, delve, suffer, grind, and refine myself from a lump of Asian Australian coal to something remotely shiny – it’s there.

What will it take?

I keep trying to adopt disciplines, activities, and regiments. I keep trying to learn from the greats (reading this book called Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang), but the hours continue passing me by.

Writing helps – that much I know for sure. And I’m going to go back to practice now. But an image came to mind just now and I’ll try to illustrate it so that it becomes more highly defined.

The inevitable waves of uncertainty will continue to rock the boat (or board) that I’m on. Any pioneer must tread the waters of uncertainty, at times gasping for air, in any adventure. To expect any sort of adventure without uncertainty is to live much too comfortably. I must ride out these waves of uncertainty remembering that:

1. I don’t need to prove myself to anybody.
2. I must keep on keeping on.
3. Show up and do the bloody work.
4. I must find the time to look back on how far I’ve come and plan the journey ahead. Writing helps. Maybe that’s the discipline I must continue to adopt.

And to you, Witt – HBD. May waves of good fortune drift you gently but surely to the shores of fulfilment and peace.

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