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Published: 2002/10/23
by Cris Janoff

Chance Of A Lifetime

{Editors note: This month, we offer another essay from Cris Janoff, drawn in part from his Songs From The Golden Flute: A Book]
Life is like a great treasure hunt with an endless amount of riches that lay waiting for us to come and find them. The gold of love, the enchantment of beauty, the emeralds of the earth, the glory of song. A fortune thats there to be won, if youre willing to go on the hunt, to seek the things that sparkle and shine with true richness and splendor. Open up your eyes and realize that you hold the richest prize Your treasure chest so full of bright shining jewels
Like being in the audience of a concert and envisioning yourself up on the stage playing in the band. For a few moments you allow yourself to get lost in the glory of that thought, but then you come back down to reality and tell yourself that it couldnt happen to you, that something so grandiose is out of the realm of possibility.
But what you dont know is that you could go from being in the audience to being in the band, metaphorically or literally, if you believed that it could happen, and then took a shot or many shots at making the dream, the fantasy come to life. Lots of people run the race but few go for the gold If you wanna reach the mountaintop you have to be courageous and bold
In truth, life is a gamble, if you make it that, and some people sit on what theyve got and play it safe, while others roll the dice and try for the Big One, try to make something great happen. Things that are beyond their wildest dreams, but things that the real players, the real gamblers realize could come to them, if they take the chance. Dropped a coin into the slot and pulled the handle down And good Lord willing that jackpot bells gonna sound
But most people never even make it to the table, because they take themselves out of the game before it begins. And they could have lived a life beyond their wildest dreams had they believed that anything was possible and laid their money on the table. But instead, their dreams, their lives, sit in a box collecting dust, day after day, year after year, while a much richer, grander life lay in wait, right there to be had. Dont let the shackles of fear keep you stuck for the rest of your years Untie your ship and set sail today The wind of your dreams will carry you away
For theres a million instruments to play and a million ways to play them. And you dont have to be in the spotlight in front of thousands of people or rolling around in millions of dollars, although that would be nice. The goal is to find the instrument you love most of all and then play the songs you most want to play. Thats reaching the mountaintop of life. Because when youre in the moment doing what you love and youre fulfilled in every way, to the depths of your soul, youve won the richest treasure of all. Now that youve found the key youve been looking for and opened up that sacred door Youre drinking that sweet wine and singin in the sunshine
And thats the peak, whether youre singing a song by yourself, like a bird sings on a beautiful spring morning or playing in a majestic theatre to two thousand. And theres a Song thats inside of you just waiting to come out, and until it does, we wont be making the music we were born to make, the songs we most want to play. And the greatest tragedy of all
would be if we didnt sing as gloriously and live as triumphantly as were meant to, as we can. Know that you have life and breath because you were born to play a special part Youre meant to put the Golden Flute to your lips and play whats in your heart
Weve spent so much time talking about and yearning for all we wish we had, the kind of life we wish we could live, but its not going to fall into our laps. Its right there to be had, but we have to reach for it and start taking steps towards it. Thats the only way it will come to us. Its not just the dream that counts. Its making the dream come true thats worth everything, that makes all the difference in the world. If you wanna hold the star in your hand you cant just wait for it to land You have to reach up into the sky and try to grab hold of it before this life passes you by
And thats what separates the men from the boys. Those who muster up the strength and determination and take that first step and keep taking as many steps as it takes. Because if you dont drop the coin into the slot machine theres no chance of winning anything. But if you drop it in and pull the handle down anything is possible. And if you take enough chances,
someday you just may see Triple 7s shining before your eyes, and all of the gold pouring out into your hands.
As Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia said, you either go whole hog or not at all. . . .Thats the only way to do it. You keep parlaying what youve got . . . The worst thing that can happen is you end up back where you were . . . . But if youre bold enough to go for it, the things you see sparkling in your mind can truly be yours: Cause the pot of golds the gamblers prize You spin the wheel a thousand tries And you go way out on a limb with the highest hopes youre gonna win And you lay it all on the line and take the chance of a lifetime

Cris Janoff is the author of Songs From The Golden Flute: A Book of Poems and Lyrics available at

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