Did you know that dandelions aren't weeds? That's right. Legit plants with tons of purpose. I wonder why they're considered weeds. {Alexa...? Google...?} This spring I was teaching a lesson to preschoolers about dandelions, and found out that there are a bunch (pun, intended) of uses for the dandelion. You can eat the flower, the leaves, and even the root. They're good for all kinds of ailments, including preventing cancer. My sons bring me the yellow flowers when they find them, and my younger one tells me to put it behind my ear. (Awww...) But everyone's favorite part of the dandelion is the puff of seeds. I found a lawn full of them today. The joy you feel when you find one is unlike anything else. Isn't that amazing?!? One little puff of seeds is that exciting.

Considering the joy of dandelions made me think about what else in life that people consider a weed, but is really a gift. Or something that is disregarded except for one small part of it, like loving the seeds and thinking the rest is garbage. We stay attentive for the thing that's gratifying in the moment, and fail to appreciate all of the good in front of us. I love seeing those dandelion seeds scatter all the more because I know that it's the  most magical part of the plant, but I think about the roots underground too, and I'm grateful for all of it.  

I thought about how dandelions relate to performing: the audiences sees the the sparkly performance, but not the hours, days, and years of practice beneath the surface. It takes time and attention -- even if it's only in nature -- for a dandelion to grow, just like a budding performer must be tended and nurtured to grow into realizing their full potential.  We also miss that the preparation time is valuable to becoming a better version of ourself, our true and free self. 

Performing is scary to a lot of people. Everyone gets nervous, I mean everyone. But some people experience stage fright, although they want to perform.  Consistent practice is the only way to build the skills and the confidence to perform in the face of fear.  Misty Copeland {the first African American to be named a principal ballerina} said, "Sometimes what you're most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free." Or as Buster Moon says to the shy Meena in the movie Sing, "Don't let fear stop you from doing the thing you love." 

Sometimes fear keeps us from trying something new. Or it keeps us from putting in the work to go on to the next level, or from going on stage when we know we could bring the house down.  When you name the fear, it begins to lose its power. When you take small, brave steps, you take the power back. After a while, those small steps turn into progress toward confidence, and you get to see who you really are.  

Appreciate every part of the musical journey because it's the only way to make magic.