Monday, June 6, 2011

Letting Go & Moving On

::::::Dearest Blog Readers::::::

Can you forgive me for my absence?? It has been so long since I posted! Over the past two weeks, I have had many blog ideas come into my mind, but nothing has really stuck. I personally do not like blogs that contain filler, so I choose to only write about a topic that I really feel very strong about. I kept wondering when the right topic would enter my mind... on my long runs, during lessons, jamming with friends, writing songs... it's been busy to say the least! I have missed corresponding with blog readers and sharing my journey with the world. Luckily, the new blog topic came to me yesterday during two different situations. The topic is Letting Go & MOVING ON.

By "Moving On," I do mean in life, but also in music. Dedicated readers know that I am going through a huge transition in my life & learning how to adjust to a totally new lifestyle. As always, the parallels between music and life's challenges are becoming more and more obvious to me. Yesterday, while jamming with my friend Racheal's band, we noticed after each take that we all independently pointed out our mistakes. David, the drummer, said, "Well, that's what rehearsal is for." In other words: get over it. Ha! How simple but necessary to remember. We cannot get stuck in our musical mistakes, especially when we are practicing!

Music and life provide many moments where we can choose to stay stuck in the sadness, dissapointment, fear, worry, regret or we can move on. In Pema Chodron's book "Taking the Leap" she describes a study that finds that the average amount of time we are truly experiencing an emotion is only one and a half minutes. The rest of the time we spend worrying is a result of repeating a story in our heads, basically trying to stay stuck in that awful feeling.  At some point, we have to make a choice if we will stay stuck in the negativity, or if we can move on. Moving on isn't easy, I know. Especially when your heart is beating really fast, and your face is getting red with anger. There is a big temptation to stay in that feeling, but what good will it really do? I had a challenging moment like this yesterday.

At the retirement home where I host my recitals, I was gathering my students in the TV room like I always do. I turned the TV off and a very crabby old man yelled at me. The ironic thing is I was about to do a calm-down breathing session with the kids to help them relieve their nervousness. I calmly told the man I would turn it on after 5 minutes of talking with my students. He didn't want to hear it. He kept yelling at me. I was completely shocked. I couldn't believe someone would yell at a teacher right in front of her students. That made me angry, but I kept thinking about the example I was being forced to set right then and there. When I realized that this man really wanted to keep yelling at me, I decided to ignore him and I instructed all of the students to turn their attention to me and I made eye contact with as many of them as I could as we silently waited for him to stop yelling. It was the worst timing ever. The kids were already freaked out about performing and now this man was yelling at their teacher! They had looks of worry on their faces and that made me angry at this man. I was not feeling compassion for him in that moment. Not at all. The kids were there to do a service! I couldn't believe it.

I was very upset, but I had to gain control as fast as possible because I did not want them to start a show feeling upset and scared. I asked all of them to take 5 deep breathes with me. By the time we finished, one of the dads had an employee come to quiet the man down. I tried to stress that we were all there because we love music and we want to share, but I could tell they were all discouraged. It was hard, because so was I, and whatever I feel, they feel. I didn't know what to do, so I had them all go into the living room where we perform and sit in their designated area. I asked a friend if he had any suggestions for getting them to shake what had just happened. He told me to keep encouraging them. I realized that I had to let it go. Right there. I had to just drop the shock from my system and move on as fast as possible. So I went over to them and looked at them all and said in my most relaxed and joking voice.... "Man that was awkward!" They laughed and I felt relieved. I told them how much they mean to me and that all week long I had looked forward to this recital because I am so proud of them.

Racheal opened up the show with a beautiful song she wrote. This was the best way to transition into the show. It ended up being out best recital yet. Everyone seemed to feel good afterwards, and I was so, so, so proud of them.

Yesterday taught me to let things go as fast as possible. If you don't they will continue to influence the rest of your experiences, and who wants that? In music, the show MUST go on, so we simply have to shake things off, like crabby old dudes bullying a teacher. We can't carry it with us if we want to perform well, whether that performance is on stage or in life. Here's to letting things go, and moving on!

At My New Place