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You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
I have been playing the piano a lot recently, and it feels totally new even though I’ve been playing since I was 4 years old. I sat down and started playing on the first day of my school holidays, just because I could, and have found myself drawn back each day, just because there was no expectation.
The old discipline is there, the technique, the mathematical precision. That old rigour is something I stretch into so easily and willingly.
But there is a new, tiny breath of life…something that resonates within my very self. In my words, the unspoken, that arrives right through my fingertips through the keys…
I’m playing like it’s a conversation, listening and responding, hearing new nuances, creating new understanding.
I can feel myself navigating the corners of each piece, wanting to find the right colour, having an absolute sound in my ears that I want to create.
I am shaping phrases the way I look for words, like a language that I am practising, like allowing each note to be held and then slip through my fingers like cool beads, like water, translucent and free.
I can feel the smooth solidness of the keys underneath my fingertips, and there is no anxiety, shame, fear, sadness, or grief…just pure communication. A thread of consciousness.
In all the exploring and discovery, the messiness is beautiful to me. Because I have an intimate understanding of it. Like me, I know exactly where I am heading, and if not, that I will get there through navigating exactly this moment.
In the last few weeks, I have travelled through more beautiful sounds and perfect silences than in all my university years. I didn’t have the maturity or the courage to ask for the boundaries to allow this love to flourish. And now, as I sit with this conversation between myself + the piano, my mind and my creation, everything seems so new. With this new conversation, there is a “small shy truth” that arrives, to nestle in my heart. A new flower in the middle of the concrete desert. How did it take this long for me to have this conversation?
I’ve been working toward this for so many years…I have delighted, I have skinned my knees, I have played and rehearsed for countless hours, but why do I feel such freedom now?
It’s because this conversation is through the momentum generated purely by me. Time flows, and time also paradoxically stands still. I am not afraid of the challenges, I am not afraid of the imperfections…I can see what they will become with great insight and practise.
This is my conversation now.
I am joyful.
Reading this article struck a chord with me: Walking to Think Creatively
I am an avid walker. I walk everywhere. Make me run for more than 2 minutes and I cough up a lung, but I can walk for hours and be perfectly happy.
Aside from the energy that walking gives me, I have found that my day unequivocally goes better if I get my walk in morning. I’m usually out the door at 5:45am and walking until 6:30am; then it’s a scramble to get ready for school and start the drive before the real morning traffic hits. That 45-minutes of walking is gold time for me; part of it is “play-time” for my mind, which I sometimes find calm and organised, and other times completely scattered + bursting at the seams with random pieces of information. Walking somehow allows it to make all the elliptical connections it needs and align itself. I can actually feel + direct the process some days. Other days, it’s like being in the guts of an enormous, half-finished puzzle, where I can dive in and out of the pieces at will. I run through entire choral warm-up sessions during this time, role-play difficult conversations, look for the right pathway into a topic of a half-thought lesson plan, or rehearse a conversation I need to have with a student where I can explore every outcome…this time is magic. I can’t do this sort of thinking, to this capacity, at any other time than during these morning walks. I catch the most extraordinary ideas during these walks…the most creative and imaginative snippets of ideas that start to grow and by the time I’ve reached home, have arrived almost intact and whole. Entire sets of lyrics, or harmonic progressions for compositions happen this way too…maddening, since I can sit for an hour at my work desk or piano and have nothing during “actual” work time!
But most of all, this time is pure play time for my mind. A chance for my heart and mind to touch base with each other, have a conversation, do the crazy and whimsical “what-ifs”, wonder and wander freely, so that I may have all my thoughts and ideas lined up before I start the day.
The day goes better when I get released into the wild for my walk. What about you?