Category Archives: Self Discovery

Routine Adjustment


My morning got flip-flopped and now I’m not even sure what day it is.  I hadn’t realized how important the actual, precise morning routine was to the rest of my day, but an unexpected change has thrown me for a loop.  Sounds pathetic, but there it is.

Girl #2 had to go to school thirty-five minutes earlier this morning to complete some pre-testing rigmarole.  Everybody else remembered and had it planned, but I got home late last night and no one mentioned it to me.  This morning, I woke to a partially awake and moving house when it’s usually a still, slumbering one.  I guess that made me feel like I was behind and late, so I rushed around to get everything done before she left.  Then the other two had to go at the regular time, so I felt like we should leave for the bus 20 minutes early.  I actually had time to stop, pour a cup of coffee, and stand still for a minute.  The whole thing was topsy-turvy.

I’m still feeling like a horse after a race, hours later.  Maybe it’s what I needed.  A little shake-up is envigorating, and things might fall back to place in a new and more interesting pattern.  That could be too much to ask for a little routine change, but I’m going to run with it…

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Filed under Day to Day, Growth, Reflection, Self Discovery

Blank Slate


It is always days when I have too much on my mind that I have nothing to write.  The distilling process in my brain hasn’t had enough time, and decisions need to be made or changed.  I go to write down one thing, and the scene changes.  I adjust, and it changes again.  The act of thinking too many things stops me in my tracks sometimes.

There are days when I would just like to wipe the board clean and wait silently for whatever new will show up.  This seems to be one of them.

Anyone Can Whistle – music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Anyone can whistle,
That’s what they say-
Easy.
Anyone can whistle
Any old day-
Easy.
It’s all so simple:
Relax, let go, let fly.
So someone tell me why
Can’t I?
I can dance a tango,
I can read Greek-
Easy.
I can slay a dragon
Any old week-
Easy.
What’s hard is simple.
What’s natural comes hard.
Maybe you could show me
How to let go,
Lower my guard,
Learn to be free.
Maybe if you whistle,
Whistle for me.

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Filed under Finding Inspiration, Self Discovery, Writing

Retroversion


The drummer leaned over during rehearsal last night and said, “I’m a band director, and you know what I always asked my kids? ‘What’s the difference between a twelve year old trumpet player and an adult one?’ (Meaningful pause…)  ‘Not a thing.’ (Ba-dump-ching!)”

One of the interesting side effects of my re-dedication to music has been not having to work to rediscover my younger self.  Seems she was there all along, and as soon as I sit down in a section of brass players she grins slyly and pops out in most of her glory.  I may be a hair less quick-witted and my mom persona sometimes sensors that brassy girl, but when the other guys in the section are telling jokes, making bad puns, and singing songs from “Blazing Saddles” (fake Teutonic accents and all) in between making great music, it’s like I never grew up.

It’s not just the group I played with last night, either.  It seems as though every time I sit down in a row of brass players I morph into a wry jokester, goofing around and saying whatever comes to mind, usually sotto voce so the director won’t hear but my section mates will.  Sometimes an opportunity arises to pop off to the whole group, but I think the other musicians just expect that from us; I’d hate to not meet their expectations, after all.  The trick is to be able to have some fun with it and still hit every note just like you meant to.

Getting back to ensemble playing has been a little like meeting up with an old friend; no matter how many years it’s been since you’ve seen them, you pick up right where you left off and continue the conversation you were having, full of laughter and joy.

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Filed under Accomplishments, Friends, Self Discovery, Self Improvement, Success/Failure

Something Happened


“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit. “No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.”

Isn’t this the way many things progress? You begin a task or start a thought, and there is imminent sense to the endeavor.  It seems right, it seems whole.  You’ve thought it out and decided that this is the direction you want to go.  Then it all goes off-track somewhere, sometimes without you knowing, and usually by the time you notice you’re not pointed at your destination anymore you’re so far off point you’re not sure you can get facing the right way again.

Sometimes you get to wandering because it just makes more sense to go around a pothole than through it.  Sometimes you lose direction because your vision isn’t clear.  Sometimes you get distracted by something or someone else’s journey and it affects yours just like a magnet to a piece of iron.  And sometimes it’s just because your original thought was incomplete or flawed.  There wasn’t any real sense in it to begin with, even though it seemed like there was at the time.

It’s not the first time I have identified strongly with something Winnie the Pooh has said, nor, I imagine, will it be the last.  I love the incongruity of getting deep thoughts from children’s books.  The best stories I read to my girls gave me little kernels of truth too, keeping life as simple to me as it is to a child.

“It’s just that something happened to it along the way.”  A simple acceptance of the fact, and moving on.  I guess that’s pretty grown up after all.

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Filed under Growth, Reflection, Self Discovery, Success/Failure

My Happy Place


I step out of my room, sarong brushing against my ankles, book in hand.  The sun has been up long enough to warm the sands. A slight breeze has begun gently blowing, making the palm fronds rustle overhead.  Fluffy clouds seem to sit still in an azure sky.

There is no rush, nothing I need to go to or be or do. All my children are safe and content, but elsewhere. I spend the day reading and watching the sea and the people around me, cold drink that never needs refilling in my hand. Later, when I feel like it, I dress for dinner and find my way to a table to be catered to by kind and laughing people.

As I dine, the sky eventually darkens to indigo, stars come out twinkling, dodging the remains of the fluffy clouds.  There is a thumbnail moon, so it’s not too bright, but the waves are phosphorescent on the beach and the sound is hypnotic.  I could take a walk on the beach, or move to the patio for a nightcap.  Anything is possible.

Everyone needs a place like this in their minds.  Somewhere they can go to when everything gets to be a bit much, somewhere they can be immediately, without any effort or thought.  A place they have already constructed in their mind, because when they are stressed, the last thing they need is another mental exercise.

Your place will be different from mine, with things unique to you setting the stage.  Perhaps it’s someplace you can be active and fulfilled, rather than relax.  Maybe you build a mountaintop chalet, cut off from the world by ten feet of snow.  It doesn’t matter where or what, just that it is yours.

Excuse me, I hear the reggae music starting….. (~ cue music ~)

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Filed under Finding Inspiration, Growth, Reflection, Self Discovery

The Sound Of Silence


I’ve mentioned before that I have a soundtrack to my life.  I have playlists organized by mood, artists, genre – something for just about every frame of mind and activity.  Chores go faster with loud and fast music, I can think better with quieter music on.  Sometimes I’m more in the mood for classical if I’ve been practicing a lot.  Other times, I look for lyrics that support, continue, or change the mood I am in.

Lately, though, I find myself not even turning music on.  Perhaps I can’t decide which to listen to, or maybe I don’t even think about turning something on.  I get to the end of the day and realize that I haven’t been listening to anything.

What does that soundtrack say about my life?

I can only hear the world around me.  The hum of the appliances in the kitchen.  The blower snapping on and off at the furnace.  I can hear a cat walking down the wooden stairs, though, admittedly, around here that is not as quiet as it might seem.  It’s snowy out, so I don’t hear much traffic, and the birds are silent outside my window.

Perhaps this is just a pause between movements in the concert of my life.  Don’t applaud yet, please.

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*And no, I haven’t missed the irony in feeling that I had to link to that old Simon and Garfunkel song on my Nest Tunes page today. If you go there to listen, do yourself the favor of listening to both versions of the song that I have linked…  It’s a poignant juxtaposition and eloquent depiction of what years can do – and proof that there is still power in a song.

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Filed under Changes, Day to Day, Growth, Self Discovery

Prickly


I am irritable and ruffled up.  My teeth are clenched and I have a sense of disquiet and unease.  Nobody had better cross me.

There are days where there is no right way, only things that rub me the wrong way.  Sometimes I wake up like that; others, I get nudged down that path through numerous irritations, roadblocks, and encounters with recalcitrant people.  On those days, there is no saving grace except, perhaps, to use my slowly building head of steam toward something that has been difficult or that I have been delaying action on.  It’s a bit of therapy – turn that energy towards something that I don’t want to do but have to.  After all, it’s a “might as well, the day couldn’t get worse” kind of feeling.

Perhaps I have been putting off making a difficult call.  If I am in a mood, however induced, I can do a better “that is not acceptable” call to the school, or cancel subscriptions or services, or any number of things I have been avoiding.  Maybe I have been too lax and allowed the house to get a little out of control.  Major Mama comes out in full force, and things get done. I put my foot down and stand up straight.  Iron materializes in my backbone.

I am not generally an alpha personality.  I don’t push back very often, and I try not to make waves. But sometimes you just have to release the tension that has been winding up on that spring, no matter how long it’s been tight.

Then it’s time to be ruthless and get things done.

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Filed under Day to Day, Growth, Reflection, Self Discovery