Hi! Thank you for visiting my website! I am excited to be able to share with you my story, and hope that it will perhaps inspire you to also reflect on living the life that YOU truly desire, a life that is in accord with who you truly are at your core, a life where by empowering yourself, you empower those around you, and genuinely make a difference in the world!
I am George Pasca, and I grew up in the city of Arad, Romania. From a young age, my path in life seemed to have been predetermined, when my parents decided that I will go to an arts high school, where I spent all 12 years of my lower education. There, I studied piano for the first 2 years, and then moved on to the cello, which I’ve been playing ever since – for nearly 20 years.
After finishing high-school, I moved to the U.K. to study at one of London`s top music conservatoires, where I have achieved my Bachelor and Master degrees. After graduating, I started to work as a self employed freelance artist, doing performance projects with orchestras, chamber groups and even touring with a very successful folk band. As I also trained as an instrumental teacher, I started teaching cello in schools, at a music center and also giving private lessons.
Looking at it from the outside, you could say that everything was in place for me to have a successful career as a classically trained professional musician. And everyone was certainly wishing me the best of success towards that end.
Except there is much more to this story… I believe that as human beings, only we, as individuals, can know the full extent of our own personal story. And I am humbled to share with you an intimate part of mine.
There are two main reasons why my life path (which seemed to be sorted out, set, and decided) changed, and I am going to explore with you both of these big contributing factors in the following.
How people perceive our lives from the outside, is not necessarily a true reflection of our inner lives. And sometimes even we cannot perceive this dissociation, and live under the illusion that what other people see as “the way” for us, is what we are meant to be doing in this life.
There was conflict in my inner life, a conflict between that which I thought I was “supposed to be doing”, and at the same time, knowing deep down that I wasn’t doing something which was coming from my heart, something which I was truly passionate about.
Now you might think that this kind of situation is actually not uncommon, and that having a stable, well paid job is all you need in life. Some people also seem to think that it would be naive, or even pretentious to ask more from life. And I would agree to a certain degree, when it comes to having a “normal” office job, or even an electrician, policeman or engineer job.
But when it comes to “the arts” (i.e. playing music, painting, acting, sculpting) I don’t think you can pull that one off.
As a classical musician, not only to have a chance at succeeding in a highly competitive industry, but also to have at least some degree of fulfilment in the midst of what is bound to be a very stressful lifestyle, you have to love what you are doing.
In my case, continuing my classical music career would have meant spending a lot of time and energy on something that I’m basically fighting with, instead of loving. It would mean a life of struggle.
I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life working this way, and the more I came to terms with this, the more I was feeling like a fraud in my work.
A lot of people might think that doing something you are truly passionate about, and using it as a means of living as well, is an unrealistic, romanticised idea, that only dreamers (people with their heads in the clouds) could come up with. I don’t agree. I’ve been told many times that I am dreaming too much, and that the times of “idealism” are long gone. First off – when are those times where idealism would have worked, supposed to have been anyway? I believe that on the contrary, we’ve nowadays got more opportunities to contribute to the world in our own unique way, and more choices as to how to do that, than ever before. And if we can no longer afford to be “dreamers”, what does that say about the society we live in? There is nothing wrong with dreaming, as all that we have co-created on this beautiful planet has originated in our minds, in our dreams. All the inventions and creations that have had a lasting impact on humanity, have originated in the minds of idealists, which refused to accept the paradigm that was present at the time, and dreamed a different, improved reality, despite being repeatedly told they are wrong or that it will never work.
Which brings me back to my career as a musician. The issue I was struggling with, is that I didn’t feel classical music was the right means through which I could genuinely make a difference in this life. And that’s because, to be brutally honest, I wasn’t passionate about it. The problem with studying classical music, is that it didn’t come from my heart.
So it was time to look deeper inside me, and face what I really felt about having a career as a musician for the rest of my life.
Through this process, I came to acknowledge that I was very rarely (if ever), enthusiastic about practising my cello. Practice never came naturally and I did it mostly because I had to. I also had to eventually come to terms with the fact that I was never genuinely interested in classical music.
It’s not like I could hardly wait to see a classical music concert, or listen to one of a dozen of classical records that my family have. And I think this says a lot. You might find this ridiculous if you’re a musician, but when I was a teenager, I actually much more enjoyed listening to the popular music of the day, watching MTV and other chart music channels… Yes, I know that might be pretty crazy, as I’ve been studying classical music for a long time, but I’d rather be honest with you.
You might then ask – why then did I spend most of my life so far, doing something I didn’t actually want to do? A very good question. Well, the best way I can answer is that I just felt I had to do it. Why? Because I thought that my path in life had already been decided for me, on the day I was enrolled at an arts high school, when I was 7. And although at that age, my own idea of “what I wanted to become when I grow up” definitely wasn’t music, the fact that I was enrolled at an arts high school, told me that music has already been chosen as my path in life, and that I was bound to follow that.
Nobody forced me to keep doing this over the years, but that bizarre belief I had as a child, had led me to continue down a path that wasn’t actually congruent with what my interests and passions really were.
Life can be strange like that. Or maybe it was me. In fact, one important thing I’ve learnt in life is that things are rarely black or white, so this is probably a mix of factors as well. But whatever the case, there came a point when I could no longer live in denial, and lie to myself.
It’s been hard for me to acknowledge my dissatisfaction with my music career, as I’ve spent most of my life studying music and working on it (I’m 28). And coming to terms with the fact that you’ve spent a considerable chunk of your life doing something that you don’t want to be doing anymore, is not easy. Though it was something that had to be acknowledged, in order for me to move forward in my life.
But you know what? I realised that doing something that doesn’t turn out to be your main purpose in life, is not all for nothing. It is not wasted time. Not at all.
As although I don’t (at this stage) consider being a musician to be my main purpose in life, it has given me many skills that will serve me forever. It has developed some of my talents, and it will forever be a means of self-expression for me, that I can make use of whenever I like. Not many people have access to this gift in their lives, and I am grateful for it.
Recently, I decided to rename the word “problems” with the word “challenges”. I used to think: “I have a lot of problems…..”. And I did. But I chose to exchange a word that was used from a victim state of mind, to a word that is empowering. As, a challenge is a means for evolution. And that’s exciting. So I’m deliberately saying psychological challenges, as I believe that the way we view and relate to our experiences, affects the quality of our lives. And a simple change in vocabulary, can make a big difference to the way we experience life.
But back to these challenges… They were of mental and emotional nature, and played a major role in bringing me to the point I’m at whilst writing these lines.
I’ll leave out the causes for now, and outline some of the effects that these issues had on my life and on my journey with music.
The first major troubling event that I can remember is during a piano recital at my school, when I had what I call, a “gagging attack”. It’s basically a combination between a panic attack and a gagging reflex. I know it sounds disgusting, or to some, maybe funny (hopefully the later.. ), but from that point onward, whenever I had to perform in public, or to speak in front of the classroom, I was literally tortured by the anxiety of a gagging reflex sensation.
Whether repulsively disgusting, or hilariously funny, this issue alone, was a tremendous burden throughout my studies, and by the time I reached college it had become a “monster” that I was basically carrying with me everywhere I went, not knowing when it would decide to show up. And it usually showed up and interfered with my life, in the most crucial and/or inappropriate moments.
The moments where I had the opportunity to stand out and show my value, or the moments when I could have focused on learning, rather than worrying about that.
It showed up when I had to speak alone in a classroom, while everyone else was listening – I could barely speak, if at all. As inside me there was a tremendous battle that I was fighting with the gag-monster, so that it wouldn’t come out and embarrass me forever in front of all my peers.
It showed up without fail, before and during all the performances and exams that I had. I was even fighting to keep it at bay during most of my cello lessons.
To kind of save myself from the risk of having the gagging reflex during a performance, or a lesson, or even a conversation, I would often let it unfold before I had to perform, or speak. Most times it resulted in me throwing up, which did mean that my fears were now largely put to rest, as at least I’ve gone through the scary event, and it was unlikely that it would come back for a short while.
It also meant however, that I was now feeling drained of most energy, shaking like a leaf, and with much less concentration power left, for what was meant to be a public culmination of my hard work for the past few weeks or months.
This was happening before 90% of my performances, constantly knocking down my hard work and self confidence, leaving me feeling angry with myself, depressed, frustrated and hopeless.
It had become a nightmare to live with, and I felt so wronged by life. As everyone around me seemed to be living out their lives normally and happily, and getting on with their studies.
All this said, I should mention there were the occasional 10% times, when I summoned up all the courage I could muster, when I embodied the warrior archetype, and entered the concert room, with full knowledge that the dreaded gag-monster could show up at any time, and wreck my life by making me throw up in front of everyone. Yet I went in, rode that fear wave, and survived, without the feared incident manifesting.
That’s what my performances came to be about though: surviving. And then there were also the few times when I’ve also braved this fear, but I couldn’t contain the gagging reflex, no matter how hard I tried (no actual throwing up on the stage though thankfully…)
Now ask yourself: how on earth could one enjoy performing and have a successful music career, if he has this to deal with every. single. performance. Not to mention many other day to day life events, when the same issue was present.
That specific issue aside, I had also developed quite a bad form of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and the perfectionism that has always been with me to some degree, got so severe, that it was literally stopping me from progressing in my music studies.
I was assaulted by so many “rituals”, obsessions, twitches and compulsions, that it got to a point where I had essentially lost my life to these things. They were running the show and I was living in an inner prison, which I carried with me every day.
I was no longer able to live freely, on my own terms.
I will end by saying that one of the things that helped me go through all these difficulties was humour/laughter. So my way of dealing with my over sensitive gagging reflex for example, was seeing it as hilarious. Whenever I heard of people throwing up in potentially awkward situations, I was also laughing my head off. In doing that, I was basically laughing at my own fear. And looking back at it, I think it was a great copying mechanism, that kept me going, and saved me from having serious nervous breakdowns and giving up on myself completely.
If my life were a book, I would say the chapter I`m currently living, is “Change”. And this is both a scary chapter and a tremendously exciting one at the same time, as at the other side of the (sometimes scary.. no, actually terrifying) bridge I am crossing now, lies my full potential, and living the life that I truly desire.
A life where I live in accord with my real passions; a life where I am using the talents I’ve been blessed with and the skills and wisdom I have acquired, toward the greater benefit of the world we live in. At the end of this bridge lies living my true purpose in this life – whatever that might be. Finding it, is what makes this stage of my life really exciting.
You see, I want to have a meaningful life. I don`t want to just “survive”, “get by”, and go through life with my head down, settle for mediocrity, and just stay in my “safe bubble”. I don’t want to be doing something that I think “I should be doing”, instead of doing something that I am genuinely interested in and passionate about, something that comes from my heart.
I want to thrive, and create abundance in my life, as well as for my family and other people. I want to positively impact the world that we live in, and make a genuine difference. And it is my belief that you can’t do this through something that doesn’t come from your heart.
I believe that by virtue of our own uniqueness – as no two human beings are the same – each one of us can make a difference in the world in a unique way. And for me this is fascinating to think of – imagine what the world would be like if every one of us was living out their true purpose on this planet!
By living our true purpose I mean living a life where we take full advantage of the unique qualities which make us who we are as individuals, and make use of those qualities to make a real difference in the world.
So many people are not using their unique qualities – and we all have at least one – as they dismiss them as useless and not relevant in the societies we currently live in, thus denying the world their gift.
Fulfill. Impact. Thrive.
The two major life aspects that I have described at length above, have worked in conjunction with each other, to bring me to the point I’m currently at.
I don’t know which came first, or which one was more prevalent, my lack of passionate interest for music, or my psychological trials. But I’ve come to realise one thing: if it weren’t for the psychological trials, I would have probably settled for continuing down a road that was fairly “safe”, but which would have also ultimately left me feeling unfulfilled, frustrated and very stressed.
I recently came to the realisation that OCD, perfectionism, anxiety and depression have actually done a wonderful job at steering me off a path which didn’t align with my life purpose.
As I wasn’t willing to listen to my own inner voice, which said “you’re heart is really somewhere else”, in came OCD & co, to save me. Initially there were only one or two challenges to deal with, but then more and more pilled up, effectively forcing me to decide to at least have a break from what I was doing, press the reset/refresh button, and see what I discover!
So here I am, having made what most likely is one of the most important, hard, and scary decisions of my life. That of at least temporarily leaving aside my career as a professional musician, and giving myself permission to freely explore for the first time, what I am really passionate about, what am I truly aligned with, and how I can make a valuable contribution in this world.
Creating this website comes very much as a result of that process.
What I envision through it, is to share with you the lessons, insights, and wisdom I have acquired through my personal trials, in the hope that they will help, guide, and support you in your own quest to reclaim yourself, heal, and fulfil your unique role in the wonderful world that we all are an integral part of.
Enjoy the journey,