Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sounds of Joy & Wonder

There's a reason I call her my favorite person in the whole world.  Joann has been wonderful during my recovery.  After dinner I began to help with dinner clean up.  She told me the most useful thing I could do is to play my guitar.  Truly I am Blessed.

And play I did.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Finding My Way Back Home

Where to begin?  Constantly. Oh that's when to begin. 

Currently I am recovering from a double hernia repair.  The first half was known and needed, while the other side was found during the procedure and will save me the trauma of another operation in the future.  I've never done "fragile" well.  I can be quiet, aware and gentle but I also have a rather large well oiled frame in reserve.  Except when I don't.  Then I begin again, within the unknowing.  Generally this is not comfortable for me.

The pain meds have been put away, so the most intense part of the recovery is over; but the physical, mental and emotional repercussions continue to resound in my being.   Fatigue in all these levels  abounds.  I rest a lot, read, watch a few shows and have been listening to music.  Most of the music I have been listening to has been new to me, a simple challenge to grow even while growth is a far away dream.

I hoped to pick up my guitar for the first time in 4 days yesterday, though it seems much longer than that.  In a sense it has been longer.  Hampered with the nagging pain of the hernia, overjoyed with being with visiting family, life's practicalities and searching for that ever elusive rest were major parts of my path during the weeks leading up to entering the body repair shop.

Now the question becomes - How to begin?

I thought of studying scores these past couple days but neither my focus nor resolve were there.  Not beating up on the musician just a simple acceptance of where I was.  Still, how will I begin after this time off could prove pivotal over time.  Plenty of options to pursue - long tones, exercises or a review of repretroire were obvious ones and if done with quality - bravo.

I yearned for a direction ...

Another day went by without my guitar.  This morning on awakening I knew I would pick it up but still this question of direction shadowed and informed me.  Could I accentuate the positive?  My hands have been still.  How to begin guiding them back home?  A venture into the unknown.  Yet a challenging one, some structure appeared necessary.  What would it be?

Investigating Scriabin's Mystic Chord came to mind.  Over the years I've experimented with this chord to no avail.  How might I today?  The what to do had manifested, now how?  I needed an intention.  With hands, heart and head out of sync how to guide them back home? Simple - connection.  My intention was to connect with myself, my guitar and music; pure and simple Guitar Craft Fundamentals.

As I moved towards my case, I sensed my hands.  Noticing my nails have not been addressed in some time, I knew that the appointed reunion would have to wait just a few more precious moments.  The need to address the practicalities of practice is part of the path.  Nice to be home.


Photo by Yogendra Joshi

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Shape of Things to Come

People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around
Terry Pratchett  

This holds true for this musician also.  I've done my share of exercises, learning etudes and the works of others.  Now I find an exercise when I new piece arrives that requires an exercise to hone the execution.  What of the stories I tell myself about myself as a musician?

Changing these stories has been a very slow process, fostered partly by the words and insights of a few musicians who I respect.  Still the ones I generate myself are the most important.  Listening for the truth and building this foundation through practice is the story I am interested in today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Gathered Hearts

Yesterday was my Brother's Birthday - the first born.  I meditated on my parents within me and felt their joy on this day 69 years ago.  My young proud Father beaming - it's a boy, it's a boy;  My Son.  Cigar smoke wafting with joy; the incense of the working class of Southeast Baltimore.  Life.  Life.

Impermanent, yet ongoing.  Nourish the dearth of death with one more conscious breath.  Touch the life of those around I remind myself.


I played Gathered Hearts for them; for me.  Then I called my sister-in-law to see how she was doing.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Reflecting Freedom

Like the water in Sligo Creek.

Watching reflections
 of fast moving swollen basin
overcast & shadowed with storm clouds,
each moment 
a different reality reflected.

change also
reflecting back
 waves of ripples
within the universal consciousness.

One place
one moment
change too fast to fathom.

So be still.

Be still

Rest in the change.

Change is still.