Singer/songwriter and Motivational Speaker Catherine Graham begins a conversation about losing and then finding her passion which will get you thinking about the question… what’s your passion and have you lost it?
Many of you will already know the classic, Bye Bye American Pie, sung by Don McLean. The song is about three of history’s greats, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. Buddy Holly at the time was Don McLean’s hero, and hence, why Don wrote, “the day the music died“.
I, too, had a very similar experience. In February, 1999, after a long battle with lung cancer, my father passed away. I was only sixteen at the time……
The year before he died, I was filled with dreams, with hope and with a positive outlook to the future. I was entering singing contests, and many dreams of become a famous singer, and would often play my guitar and sing for my parents. The day we were told that my Dad had only six months left to live, my head went into a whirlwind. I became depressed, rebellious. Although I still had my dreams, they just didn’t seem as important anymore.
My last Christmas with my Dad, he gave me a copy of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Journal. In it, he wrote a message to me. The words that stuck with me, through so many years, were “ You have a great voice, and I know that you want a singing career. Go for your dreams. You can achieve them and I hope I’m still living to see you become number one in the music world, because you are a star in my world. If by chance I’m not around, remember, I told ya so. Love always Dad”.
It was a great way for me to see that he was by my side, but the day he died, I felt the music die within me. I didn’t have the same passion that I had once had to follow my dream. Without him, I felt as though I had nothing, and so I stopped.
For eight years, it was all too easy for me to just not sing, to not play guitar, and to simply miss him. I was stuck between being neutral and being negative. Old friends and family would constantly ask me if I was still singing, or playing guitar, and I would constantly come up with an excuse as to why I wasn’t doing it anymore.
As my twenty fifth birthday approached, I started what I like to call my pre-mid life crisis. I was wondering what I had actually accomplished in the first of a quarter of a century in my life, and besides having three beautiful children, it just didn’t seem like there was much more that I had done. I felt the familiar need to play music again, to sing, to find that passion that I had hidden so long. I picked up a cheap guitar as a birthday present to myself, and relearned how to play the guitar. Within a month, I had written four songs, and the creativity just kept coming.
I had felt empty for so long, and by simply letting the music live within me again, I was able to fill the emptiness.
February 26, 2009, marks the tenth anniversary of the death of my father. It also marks the tenth anniversary of the day I let the music within me die. February 26, 2009, also marks the release of my first album, Power Surge.
If my father taught me anything, in his passing, it was to keep the dream alive. Life doesn’t always pan out the way we want it to. Family, friends and lovers come and go. We battle with disease, divorce, death, unemployment, and our world leaders making decisions that we can’t understand. There is a lot that we have absolutely no power or control over.
However, each of us, has the power to follow our dreams and live up to our own expectations of ourselves. For each and every negative experience, we can use it as a stepping stone, or a learning lesson for us to grow from, and turn it into a positive one. All of our dreams are unique to ourselves, all of our life passions different. What remains the same is the power within each and every one of us, to achieve our dreams and to step out into the world and make a difference, in our own small ways.
Whatever your passion, hold onto it, grow with it, and believe in it. You have the power for the life that you’ve always dreamed of!
Until next time, live love and love life,