Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Laughing My Way to Freedom

I had a class in AT with David Jernigan tonight, good to be sharing this with Peter.  Today I am tired from a late night watching the NCAA Basketball Final and then be awakened at 4:20am by a fierce thunderstorm.  Part of me wanted to stay home, but I knew I always get energized by working with an AT teacher so I went.  David continues to invite me to find ways to incorporate thinking about how I am going to do something.

David has slowly and subtly expanded and opened my presence.  Reminding me to be in the space that I am in.  As I pause to think of this now at my desk, I sense my shoulders begin to widen, my spine lengthening, and in general I feel a lightness.  Remembering, finding the space, or opening to my breath are windows into the present moment.  When I arrive in the moment,  I have an opportunity to make a choice or to go with my habit(s.) By becoming aware of and exercising my thinking, I may even have the choice to act in a more constructive way; particularly when certain persistent mental formations manifest.  All is interrelated, and one part affects all others.  Thus a change in thinking can positively influence a lifetime of reactions, while this change of reaction can influence future thinking.  My experience has been that all of this happens slowly, and requires my active participation.

I always enjoy playing guitar after class, as being awake in my body is what I need to play well.  Tonight I began working with the tremolo piece, playing just one bar at a time.  Pausing between transitions to think of the AT directions and maintain my freedom.  After playing through the piece in this manner, I moved to the middle section where I still work too hard to play.  One bar of each, with a pause was how I played these six bars for several takes.  Then I played through these bars regularly, pausing between the repetitions of the section.  Finally I began to play the entire piece.  After successfully navigating the middle section, I found my thinking wandering to when am I going to find the name for this piece, can I call it the Tremolo Etude in Seven?  My playing collapsed.  I laughed.  And then I laughed some more.  No need to take myself too seriously in these pursuits, I thought.  Then I noticed there was a certain freedom as I began to play again, the laughter having shifted something in myself.

Finding myself in the room once again, allowing my body to expand and become free, I began playing on an out breath.  How many times do I forget to do this?  Always opportunities to remember, to connect with the body, the breath, my thinking, my guitar, and even music.  Yes, laughter is appropriate in my practice session, I've been serious for too many hours of this joyous life.  Pausing and smiling now, I am soon to resume playing.  May my smile connect me to life and my laughter lighten my efforts.  May music continue to inspire me and to connect me to what is real. 

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