Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dream Work

The mind never fails to astound me. Yesterday I planned my classes in my sleep and awoke with them ready-made. This morning, I re-imagined today’s workshop and came up with some exciting connecting pieces. The downside of both days was awakening at 5:00 am, but otherwise, it’s simply extraordinary the way the subconscious mind keeps working after the awake planner nods off. Of course, that thinking mind driven by intention, will and ego has a huge part to play. It needs to kick off the thought process and do as much as it can, but the finishing work often comes through the dreaming mind, either literally at night and or in another form in its daydreaming cousin.

The subconscious being what it is, you can’t predict it or count on it (“Hmm. Wonder what I’ll teach tomorrow? Oh well, I’ll just dream about it tonight. “). But once you get the current of thought flowing in a clear direction, you not only can, but often must, set down the oars and drift to the next tangible expression. This is why I can’t write a book while I’m teaching—the mind can’t travel down  two streams at a time. I need six weeks to put other things to the side and start rowing towards a coherent gathering of thoughts and ideas and practices and minimize distraction. Once the rhythm is in place, I go to bed at a night with the next sentence lingering as a question and often appearing the next morning as an answer.

This is especially true of work like mine that requires imagination, be it writing, jazz piano or Orff teaching. But perhaps it’s true of all work. The athlete first dreams the 100-yard run to the touchdown, the winning soccer goal or the perfectly executed gymnastic move and then when all the conditions are lined up just right, they go and do it. (Though an interesting dynamic with the one who has dreamed the perfect tackle or goalie save!)To visualize one’s hopes in ephemeral form before it takes on body is a strategy few teachers share with their students. But it’s real and it’s effective and it’s powerful.

From the dreaming to the doing— and so off I go to teach today’s workshop having already lived the laughter, fun, great music and intriguing ideas in my mind. And now I get to do it again!

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