Archive for May, 2012

h1

indigo-orange age

May 31, 2012

This evening I will step onto an airplane, and while I (hopefully) sleep I’ll be flown back in time 20 years.  Tomorrow morning I’ll wake in Boston and it will be 1992 by the time I reach my alma mater.  Fitting, then, that on the eve of reunion I read this:

“I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror a few days ago.  I don’t do it often, because I don’t believe what I see.  I feel about twenty-two – and I think there’s more truth in my feelings than in my reflections.” ~ Robert Lee.

 

h1

indigo-orange #3

May 25, 2012

On the cusp of a three day weekend, a three word indigo-orange.

“…joy suspends gravity.”  ~ David Cooperrider

h1

piano lessons

May 23, 2012

It was the first truly beautiful weekend day of spring, and there we all were, mid-Sunday afternoon, indoors, dressed up, sitting silently, attention fixed on the individual at the front of the room.  Listening attentively, clapping appreciatively.  Shifting slightly in our folding chairs while the next player settled themselves on the bench and placed fingers on the keyboard.

Ahhhh, piano recitals.

Yes, you remember, don’t you?  The clammy hands, the nervous stomach, the sense that you don’t quite have the piece as memorized as you should.  Or maybe not.  Maybe that’s just my memory of my own recitals.

But I know it isn’t just me, because I can see it on the faces of the young players as they approach the bench.  Some with joy, some with feigned nonchalance, some with ill-hidden dread.

They sit.  They play.  They finish.  They bow.

But the magic happens in the middle.

In the middle, when their fingers reach for the keys as their minds reach for the music, is where it gets interesting.  And what I noticed, surreptitiously glancing about, is that when a child plays their pieces easily, we are leaned back, relaxed.  Our concentration is low.  But when there is a hesitation, a missed note, the audience is pulled into the action.  We lean forward as if to offer our support.  We hold our breath.  What will happen next?  We watch, not the fingers, but the face of the player.

Grimace.  Cringe.  Quiet Laughter.  Headshake in disbelief.  Mumbling aloud.  Start again.  Sometimes starting over from the offending measure, sometimes from the start of the section, and sometimes all the way back at the beginning.  And again.  And again.  And for some, yet again.  For some, it ends in surprise.  For some, in triumph.  And for some, for some the focus of the mind is too flooded with feelings, the fingers and mind break their union and they cannot go on.

All those months of time with their teacher.  All those hours of practice on their own.  All culminating in this one performance, this one moment in time.

Or not.

Because while on the left hand it is about the music, on the right hand, it isn’t at all.  What does it mean to perform?  What does practice look like?  What are our expectations?  What do we do when we stumble?  Because we will.  Each of us will make mistakes, strike the wrong note.  Sometimes in the private space of our own minds, sometimes in the public arena of others.

So what’s the piano lesson?

Grace.  It isn’t about achieving perfection, it’s about being fully human.  Grace allows us to abandon the rigidity of a 4/4 march and sway into the softness of a 3/4 waltz.  Grace reminds us that within the music there is joy, no matter how technically proficient the execution.  Grace invites us to celebrate the accomplishments of ourselves and others each step of the way.  Grace calls – come as you are.

Practice. Play.  Perform.  Gracefully.  How are you composing your life?  Keep me posted.

h1

(an actual wednesday) indigo-orange

May 17, 2012

Yup.  The pressure was on, but I’ve managed to squeak in an indigo-orange on the first Wednesday of it’s life.  So here’s the first actual few-words-on-wednesday:

“…life is not like trying to reach a destination.  It’s like walking towards a star in the sky.  We never really arrive, but we certainly know that we’re heading in the right direction”  ~ Brené Brown

h1

indigo-orange mama

May 13, 2012

“A mother is not a person to lean on- but a person to make leaning unnecessary” ~ author unknown

h1

Love Potion #9.

May 11, 2012

On Wednesday I mailed a very important letter.  A letter filled with contents I did not know.  Well, I knew some of the contents.  The author allowed me to see most of the letter, but not the final few sentences.  Then he entrusted the missive to me and left for school.  Backpack slung over one shoulder, a few crumbs from breakfast still on his cheek, a model airplane to show his friends in hand.

Cole is now eleven.  And times, they are a-changin’.  He is on a writing kick right now- having mailed enough letters in the last week that my husband joked we were going to start charging him for the stamps.  But this last letter was different.  It was a hybrid construction.  It was written to one of his best friends.  A friend who has been near to him since kindergarten.  And now she is dear to him as well.

The letter was sweet, and simple, as feelings are when we are young.  He said what he felt.  He didn’t overplay it or shy away from it.  (something, it seems, we lose the ability to do as we get older).  He wants to hang out, wondered what her schedule was like.  And then…and then I don’t know what else it said.  I must admit, once he left for school, I was tempted to peel back the self-adhesive flap and read it.

He would never know.  But I would.

I would know that I broken my promise.  And I had expressly given it, for when he had me read the beginning, he clearly stated ‘don’t read the end’.  I told him I wouldn’t.  He could trust me.  I would never do that.  Then I paused.  I would never read something private, I said, unless I thought there was something serious an adult needed to be aware of, or, as we refer to it in our house ‘an issue of healthandsafety’ (a phrase that gets uttered often enough that Eleanor thought it was all one word for a while).

Long after the voices had faded and the car had backed out of the driveway, I stood in the front hall, holding the letter, weighing its contents in my mind.  A letter of hope.  A trail of words paving the path from childhood into adolescence.  A foreshadow of feelings to come as puberty blossoms.  The first few flaps of a fledgling.

I am thankful that Cole still wants to share his inner life with me.  I am grateful that he still seeks my input.  And I recognize that we are transitioning to a new phase.  The beginnings of change started a couple of years ago, around age 9.  The brew of testosterone, gonadotropins, and a host of others have begun their powerful and irreversible effects.  The transition is a bit unpredictable, chaotic.  Lurching forward and stumbling back as if drunk on the potent cocktail of hormones.  It is like watching Calvin climb under his transmogrification box.  You never quite know who or what will emerge.  But today, today he is still a boy.  He will always be my son.  No matter how tall, no matter how changed.  No matter how much he chooses to share, or not.

As for the letter?  I left the envelope sealed.  It’s been posted.

h1

Tradition! Tra-di-tion!

May 11, 2012

My friend Kelli has a lovely mid-week tradition called Wordless Wednesday.  She posts a picture.  No words.  It gives you a moment to see, to let the image sink in.  I often wonder what spoke to her about the photo, and if it is the same thing that moves me.  I’ve wanted to add something to (r)evolvingmama like this, and it has finally taken form.

So here’s a new tradition.  Think of it as A-Few-Words-Wednesday.  Each Wednesday (yes, I know it is Friday- but I am just so excited to get this going that I just couldn’t wait 5 more days.  And who knows, that may happen again when you least expect it.  So maybe I should say each Wednesday-ish. Or Wednesday, give or take 3 or 4 days) I am going to post something short. Sweet. Or bittersweet.  A quote, a comment, a mini-meditation.  A mid-week pick-me up.  Something to (hopefully) have you pause.  Drink in the imagery, and return to your day, slightly shifted.  Whereas the usual (r)evolvingmama posts are akin to sitting quietly, both hands holding a large warm mug, taking the time to sip something soothing until the cup is empty, A-Few-Words-Wednesday will be different.

Think of it as a shot of espresso.  Preferably to go.

Hmmm…Upon reflection, given my inability to commit to Wednesdays, I think it should have a day-less name.  So what to call it?  Each morning when I meditate, I begin with a reading.  Something to quiet and yet awaken my mind.  To move me from here to there.  I’m currently working my way through A Year With Rumi.  And recently, I came across a line that, at the time, I breezed over.  But as the day progressed, it kept coming back to me.  You know that feeling when the letters grow wings and the sentence flies off the page and swirls around you?  Phew.  That’s a relief.  I was worried it only happened to me.  Anyway, here’s it is:

Happy, unhappy, indigo-orange like the sky?

It felt like all of personhood & parenthood encapsulated in a small treasure you could hold, yet was as vast as the universe.  Simple, but not simplistic.  Oliver Wendell Holmes’ simplicity on the other side of complexity.

So welcome to indigo-orange. 

And just like waiting in line at your favorite neighborhood café, please feel free to contribute to the conversation around you.  Double shot?  Half-caf?  What is your favorite quote?  The one with bite, that creates a buzz in your mind.  Share in the comments below, or, if you’d like, zip me a message and I’ll add it to the indigo-orange queue.

Happy Wednesday-ish Friday.  Happy indigo-orange.

%d bloggers like this: