10th November 2023

For those of us who have enjoyed time with needle and thread for many a year, it will come as no surprise that there are times we need to adapt how we ply our talent.

For some, the gentle processing of aging will see us get to the point where our eyes no longer have the ability to focus on intricate work, or it may be that the arthritis in our hands means holding a needle for any length of time is no longer possible. Whilst for others, an injury or sudden onset of illness will see them having to change how they spend their time with needle and thread.

Whilst not related to needle and thread, a recent email from The Tonic titled ‘Overcoming Challenges’ brought thoughts on adapting front of mind. Their email conveyed Ludwig Van Beethoven’s story of overcoming the ultimate challenge for a performer and composer.

While in his 20s, Beethoven ‘began experiencing symptoms of hearing loss. As the tinnitus grew, he had to retire from his performance career as a pianist as he could no longer hear himself or the other instruments on stage’.

Understandably he fell into a period of depression. However, as ‘the only way Beethoven knew how to deal with the stress was to immerse himself in composing’, he adapted the way he had once composed.

Upon realising that he didn’t need to hear other musicians to write music as it was all in his head, he made use of custom-made pianos that increased the vibrations of the notes he struck. As he lost himself in this new method of composing, Beethoven created ‘what many consider the greatest masterpieces of his career, his 9th Symphony’.

Whilst no one knows if Beethoven would have created such pieces had he not gone deaf, ‘it can’t be denied that his music took on a much broader range of emotions once he completely lost his hearing’.

‘Instead of focusing on his loss of hearing, he focused on his art.’

Beethoven made the most of a difficult situation, reminding us that ‘with the passage of time, we can see how these moments are turning points in our lives, and without them, we’d never step out of our comfort zones, think outside the box, adapt, and overcome’.

Given the choice, we’d all rather avoid such ‘turning points’, but the truth is, they’re all but inevitable. So, ‘the next time you’re navigating troubled waters, sometimes all you need is to hold tight and stay the course. Bad times will pass, and you’ll look back to see what amazing fruits your hardship bore’.

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