And that is all.

Since finishing nursing school I have been a little bit lost in my head, wondering how to reconcile everything, what to do with "everything…" and how. How... everything. What is everything? 

First of all: music. 

I have been playing cello since I was 11-years-old, and so that has been, and taken most of my life. Thirty-two years to be precise. 

When I went to school for music, I was repeatedly told that when you are a musician, you are a musician for life. That is who you are, your essence. You can't be anything else. It made me believe there was nothing else I could possibly ever do with my life. I am a musician, period. How stupid. But that is what got me through school, what made me practice... and practice for countless, endless hours at a time, just to perfect one little phrase, a few notes, a sound, that special effect. I was so passionate about it, it was my life. It didn't matter that I had no money, that I lived with families and cleaned their houses to get through school, that I had no life other than practice. Cello was my life.

Funny enough, the same was told to us… in 2013... in nursing school. Nursing school!!!! Yes... nursing is a calling. Hum… but what about cello? And the blog?… running? climbing? friends??? my children????? 

Well I also hear they say mothering is a calling, or something one devotes their life to.

So then, how does one reconcile all that? I am a mother, therefore I need to be there for my kids. How much? How much room does a dedicated mother have to improve herself, to continue to learn, to do what she loves. And am I a musician first still?...

And then came my love, through having my kids, of learning about health, food, how to take care of them, how to make life meaningful. Does that detract from my love of…cello? Or my children? And does taking care of myself as a person, as a woman, or even my spirit... detract me from loving my children? 

And then… was choosing a new career…  that I absolutely love, that is hard, challenging, and that gives meaning to my life… egotistical of me? Or smart of me? Showing my children what hard work can accomplish? Or irresponsible??? because going to accelerated nursing school was so fucking insane that I swear I think I lost a few extra years of my life there with the stress, angst, lack of money and sleep. My colleagues lost hair.. gained weight… went on anti-anxiety pills… I resorted to a whole bunch of crying… a lot really. And running late at night. And writing letters. Every night. Every single night. Crying purged. Running and writing kept my spirit alive. 

But all that junk is done. I now have a job as a nurse. I am back on my feet, solid. So then… how do I put it all together? How do I do it? Am I neglecting one thing in favor of another? Am I too intense? Do I have a problem? Does my mind race? Am I an overachiever? Am I never happy with what I have???? Am I trying to do too much? And do all poorly as a result? Am I a fucking narcissist? 

I have been told all those words over the years. And they have an insidious way of sticking in the back of my head. And staying there. Wreaking havoc. Causing misery... and self doubt. And torture. True torture.

It is none of that. None of it. Those are all the wrong types of phrases. The wrong questions. The wrong words. Not even wrong. Painful. Really painful.

There does not need to be any judging involved. Judging squashes and kills everything. Death. 

I sat many nights since I moved to Wyoming in front of my computer, trying to write. Thinking. What am I doing? What do I do with cello? What about the blog? And running? And climbing??? The level here is so incredibly high, I am a complete beginner- just like when I moved to Boston to study cello in 1987. What the hell do I do??? Am I too old for it???… can I learn something new, all over again?

And then… of course, running... it came. While running. I love running. Just love it. I am not fast. I stop and walk. My legs hurt, I get injuries, and was told I cannot run because one leg is longer than the other… and all that junk. But I love it. So I do it.

And that is the question.

What do I love doing?

Do what I love doing.

Mr. Benjamin Zander, back in 1989 when I was just starting college, no money, desperate, my cello neck snapped, no cello to play on, unable to afford the repair. And he said to me, giving me a ride home from school one day- follow your heart. Always follow your heart. And the money will come. And a cello came through. And school. And scholarships. And endless cello lessons from Andres Diaz, who took me under his wing, telling me not to worry about technique and just play, play, play. And how there is always a place in the world for a good musician. 

Same later in life. When I wanted to try and climb. And I met Stephen Koch... who said one thing that just stuck. And clicked in my mind. "You can be a strong woman." 

I can. Yes I can. Simple as that. The support of a true friend.

Same now, coming to Lander. And meeting Vance White and Jan Babits, who challenge me to cold, wind and bad weather, and the patience to keep at it through breath and focus. Just climb. Climb, climb, climb. None of the bullshit of oh I only do this or that… this training… that workout. Just climb. Lead, top rope, it doesn't matter. Just get out there and do. 

So then… what about cello/ the blog? what about being a... musician? Climber? Nurse?… 

I am none of that. I am a person. I am a person first. Learning to follow not what others "may think" I need or…"should" do… but what I, Sofia Zappi, need to do and be in order to be in synch, in harmony with the universe. By sitting quiet, running to silence the mind… and listening to my gut. Breathing. And following it. Present. And that is when all happens. I am just being. And creating. Life.

That is all. 

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