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Year Two, Day 301: Faking It

I had a difficult night.  Tossed and turned. Worried.

Woke up exhausted. Tired. Depressed.  Felt like my heart was heavy.

The weather outside reflected the condition of my soul.
I dressed very comfortably and made my morning tea.  Walked the 2 minutes to work.  Immersed myself in my office work, all the while trying to rise above the gloom I felt.

I took a break halfway through my day. Sipped my tea. Ate a Lara bar.  They were on sale at New Seasons. Gluten Free Pecan Pie.  Quite tasty! I felt my spirits rise a bit.

After work, I came home to practice piano a bit before I headed out to teach.  I opened up my devotional, and inserted the CD of Bach's B Minor mass that someone left on my piano at choir practice last night.

The mournful sound of the Kyrie actually started to lift me.  It reminded me of a discussion I had with one of my adult students the other day. She has been feeling down. She feels the need for a change in her life.  Lately she has been learning to play the 12-bar blues in our lesson.  At her last lesson, we mostly talked. She was quite sad.  Then I asked her to put her feelings into music. I provided the chords below and she "sang" the blues with her right hand on the piano. It was quite liberating. We both got goosebumps.

I shared with her that it is OK to be down sometimes, but it helps to know what to do with these feelings. And we make beauty out of our pain by channeling these feelings into art or music.

I hesitate to dump or vent on family or friends anymore. I have done way too much dumping in the past. I do not want to become a burden. My student and I joked that we should create a secret group on Facebook. The "Dump and Go" group. Where we can just dump negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

She told me she sometimes gets together with her friends for a "Wine and Whine" session. I like the sound of that!

So as I listen to the Mass, I open my devotional. This whole week, if you recall from my last post is concerning death.  Perfect for my mood.  

I am on Week 10 of Challenge: A Daily Meditation Program Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The heading for week 10 is: "How does the thought of death impact the way I live?

It sounds morose, but thinking about death actually perks me up.  Today's question was "How would I react if I learned I had a date with death tonight?"

I kept that thought with me the rest of the day. As I waited for the bus in the cold rain, cars spashing me as they whizzed by. As I stopped for green curry at a favorite Thai restaurant. 

As I read Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely by Lysa TerKeust as I sipped my tea after lunch.

As I waited for the next bus to my first student's house. And as I sloshed from the bus stop to their home, avoiding puddles because my rain boots had sprung a leak. 

Each time I started to think negative thoughts, about how cold, wet, tired or sore I was. How my nose was running and my cold sore was throbbing. How my shoulders hurt.  How I wished I could lose more weight...yada yada yada, 
I told myself, "What if this was my last day on earth. Would I want those to be my last thoughts?"

It helped. A lot.

And something amazing happened at my first student's house. A mother and daughter, both beginners take lessons from me. They are friends with another one of my families in the general neighborhood. The dad is an artist and a musician. He plays stand up bass, sings and plays accordian. But he has not been performing lately. 

Last week the dad texted me and said he would like to take lessons from me. To get him motivated to start getting music gigs again. I agreed. I thought he wanted to brush up on note reading on the piano.

But after I taught mom and daughter, he comes in and said in his loud, jovial voice, "I am ready for my lesson!"

I asked him what he would like to focus on. 

He said that what he would really like is for me to accompany him on the piano while he sang.

This surprised me. I am not much of a singer. But I could accompany! That might be fun. And I had played for numerous choirs, even led a few. 

But then he handed me The Real Book. I gulped. 

Jazz. He wanted to sing jazz. And the book he handed me was a fake book. Actually THE fake book full of jazz standards.

I could read music. Very well. I'm an excellent sight reader. But that is when the music is totally written out. A fake book has the melody line written out. That would be the part he was singing.  I was supposed to  make sense of all the chord symbols!  

I have never tried to play from The Real Book in my life. 

But luckily I was holding that thought about my imminent death in mind. So I took the plunge. And I faked the heck out of it!

He has a really amazing voice. He is a big guy.  Big in spirit and physically. With a big, booming baritone voice full of spirit and resonance.

He didn't seem to notice my chicken scratching at the piano. He was just so happy to be singing away!  

We worked on "'Round Midnight" for the whole lesson. He hadn't sung in awhile, so I helped him with his part.  

After the lesson, his wife came out to talk about the financial bit. At that point, I confessed that I did not have any jazz experience. I told them that I didn't feel right accepting money from them for his lesson. I was learning along with him!

But, they are really cool people. They said, "Nonsense". They said I must accept my usual rate. 

He even lent me his Real Book to take home.

And believe me, I will practice before our next lesson.

And you know what? I am not depressed anymore! The fog has lifted. I am excited to finally get my toes wet in the jazz pool.

So death, you will have to wait. I have a lot of music to do!

Happy Wednesday!

Today, I focused on peace.  (From Galatians 5:22-23)

Talk to you tomorrow! :) 



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