“Be here now” said Baba Ram Dass back in the 60’s and it was good advice. Being wholly present in the moment is always a good idea. Children are gifted that for free, but the price of adulthood is that we are always torn three ways— planning for both the immediate and distant future, thinking back to the past with pleasure, pride or regret and doing our best to wholly savor the taste of the meal in front of us instead of wolfing it down on our way to our next appointment. It’s just the way things are.
So with a whole free weekend ahead of me amidst fabulously wonderful people, great weather and the natural beauty of the Carmel Valley, my main goal was to catch up with my growing list of things “to do.” Read 40 Level III reflections on the first week of our Orff training, correct 20 orchestration assignments, get two plane flights for the Fall, make a flyer for next year’s workshop series, keep searching for housing for our Interns, Skype with my grandkids, meet with my staff to schedule the 2nd week, do my laundry, etc. etc and again etc. With all of that hanging over my shoulder, the fantasy that I couldn’t wholly be here now until all of that was accomplished.
And it’s partly true. Still though, I found time to swim and read by the pool and go to a good movie (The Big Sick) and play Bach, Schubert, Poulenc and Cole Porter on the exquisite Steinway in the theater and go out to a few fun faculty dinners and occasionally breathe just a bit deeper and hear the birds singing while sitting on my deck. And at the same time, mostly catching up, though flights to Cedar Rapids, Iowa are expensive and difficult time-wise, housing in San Francisco is ridiculous and as soon as I crossed something off my list, another thing popped up to take its place.
Joseph Campbell famously advised “Follow your bliss” and so happy to be teaching my 5th Orff Course this summer and soon to do a 6th and then return to school, I have been blessed to do just that. But a long time back, a friend, responding to my little Memo book of “to do lists” in my front pocket (still carry one!), made a T-shirt for me that said “Follow your list.” And it turns out the two are related. The path to bliss is through the thorny details of planning the next steps with your list. At least for me.
This morning, we will sing our way through 400 years of Western Music History. In order for that to be as sublime as I hope it will be, I have some planning to do.