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Riley Music Academy Music Cast: Normal/Not Normal

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Each week I try to reflect on my experiences and redirect it into some sort of helpful insight. Today I want to share three experiences with you and hopefully give you something to ponder.

Spoiler: It includes the Heimlich Maneuver, Jason Rebello and sore knees!

Read on…

Normal/Not Normal

the kessel runners

Last weekend I ran a 24hr race with my brother. It was an insane experience and after 3 hours sleep and a lot of physical exertion, it was made more insane by us dressing up as Han Solo and Chewbacca for the last lap!

Anyway, some of the other competitors were off the scale. Some men and women ran on their own for well over 100 miles. Pretty spectacular right? This is example 1.

Example 2 comes from my local paper. Nothing ever happens in my town (apart from the threat of hospital closure) but the front page this week was of a man who managed to save someones life in a local restaurant by slapping her until food was dislodged from her throat. Apparently her eyes were bulging, face was pale and her legs were going from under her. One man had the sense to remember his first aid training and save a life.

The last example comes after a meeting with a fellow jazz enthusiast and promoter. He was kind enough to hand me a solo piano album by Jason Rebello.

So… what have these 3 examples got in common?

In my mind, they are all heroes and have exceptional talent. It’s easy to call them heroes because context depicts that they stand head and shoulders above the rest.

What is the reality though? In their minds they are normal human beings. Reality is perception filtered through an individuals mind. That is why we all have different thoughts and opinions. It makes life fun doesn’t it? It gives us something to talk about. It gives us politicians with hugely different arguments.

I remember listening to Coltrane when I was in my early 20′s and thinking that he was out of this world. I still think that today and it can sometimes get me down when I compare my humble musical offerings to his, but there will always be people of this stature because our minds categorise them so. We witness superhuman feats and group the individuals in the ‘hero’ category. We also tend to over critique our own work and categorise it as normal, unimaginative, cliched…[insert derogatory terms of your choice here].

The only difference between ‘Normal’ and ‘Not Normal’ is our perception. This, in my mind, means that we can all be both ‘Normal’ and ‘Not Normal’. We can work on ourselves to show others that we are superhuman, masters in our field, heroes to idol, but when in comes to the crunch we are also the same. The same people, with the same fears, the same concerns, the same insecurities.

When comparing my running endurance, my ability to react in an emergency and my piano skills over this week, I remind myself that all of these things are completely achievable and it’s satisfying to continue the journey.


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